Advocates for easing restrictions on absentee voting during the coronavirus pandemic have won a split decision in federal court in South Carolina.
A judge on Monday barred the state from requiring a witness signature on mail-in ballots for the congressional and legislative primaries in two weeks, but she said the state could require those ballots to arrive by the time the polls close.
The ruling was the most important news over the holiday weekend for the cause of easier voting this year, which also brought fresh lawsuits challenging a diverse set of rules in North Carolina, Michigan and New York. These are the latest developments:
- The 6 toughest states for voting during the pandemic - The Fulcrum ›
- Democrats sue to ease absentee voting in Pennsylvania and S.C. ›
- Vote-by-mail limits challenged in three Southern states - The Fulcrum ›
- South Carolina expands absentee voting for primaries - The Fulcrum ›
The unique effort by top Democrats in New York to outright cancel their presidential primary looks to be over after just 10 days, ending an extraordinary challenge by the party to the bedrock democratic principle that contested elections are never called off.
A federal judge on Tuesday ordered election officials to conduct the primary as planned on June 23, with all qualifying candidates on the ballot.
The ruling halts a plan to drop the presidential contest, ostensibly over concerns about the coronavirus, while nonetheless proceeding with nomination elections for all other down-ballot offices. That inconsistency prompted progressive groups, especially, to accuse Gov. Andrew Cuomo of a shameless attempt to help presumed nominee Joe Biden while trampling the electorate's fundamental rights.
- Lawsuits and other coronavirus-related election updates - The Fulcrum ›
- N.Y. absentee rules are unfair to the blind, federal complaint says ›
- New York delays primary; Virginia eases ballot access - The Fulcrum ›
New York's new absentee voting rules discriminate against the blind, a coalition of disability advocacy groups says in asking the Justice Department to intervene.
Democratic Gov. Andrew Cuomo announced this month that absentee balloting will be wide open to all voters in the June 23 primaries, the biggest state to expand voting by mail in its partisan contests in order to maintain social distancing while participating in democracy during the coronavirus pandemic.
But requiring voters to use paper ballots is discriminatory because that prevents blind people from voting "privately and independently," the complaint filed Tuesday says.
- Vote-my-mail excluded from stalled stimulus package - The Fulcrum ›
- Covid-19 worry a worthy excuse to vote absentee in Texas, judge rules ›
- Absentee ballot requests denied over signatures in Ohio - The Fulcrum ›
- N.Y.'s Democratic presidential primary to be held after all - The Fulcrum ›
- Oklahoma Legislature, governor reverse absentee vote ruling - The Fulcrum ›
Organizer: Leadership Conference on Civil and Human Rights
The Leadership Conference will speak with New York voting rights advocates who are in the center of the COVID-19 hotspot and how they are working to ensure that elections are safe, secure, and accessible. Participants: Ashley Allison, executive vice president of campaigns and programs, The Leadership Conference; Andre Richardson, political practitioner and consultant to Common Cause/NY; Monica Bartley, community outreach specialist, Center for Independence of the Disabled, New York.