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Connecticut is among the states significantly increasing the number of ballot drop boxes available to voters this election cycle.

The drop box rises as a compromise between the mail and the voting booth

There is no silver bullet that will save this pandemic-plagued election. When the president calls on his supporters to commit a felony by voting twice, and on the same day his attorney general fabricates a fake election fraud indictment, it's clear the climax of 2020 will be like no presidential race before.

But there's one solution that is so affordable, practical and achievable that it deserves special notice: ballot drop boxes.

For voters too afraid of the coronavirus to turn up at the polls, and worried the Postal Service will be too overwhelmed to deliver ballots on time, drop boxes — secure, locked structures that can be temporary or permanent — offer a relatively simple and confidence-boosting fix. Drop boxes are increasingly popular, may be installed at the discretion of local election officials, and will be used more widely than ever this year.

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Montana's tough donor disclosure law survives at Supreme Court

Oregon remapping bid dies at Supreme Court, now 0-7 on easing democracy during Covid

The Supreme Court has extended its unbroken string of rulings against making it easier to be part of the democratic process during the pandemic.

The justices on Tuesday blocked a lower court's ruling that it should be easier for Oregon's redistricting reform advocates to collect signatures during the national health crisis. The decision means there won't be a referendum on the November ballot that would take the power to draw congressional and legislative maps away from the Democratic powers in Salem and turn it over to a new citizens' redistricting commission — the top goal of crusaders against partisan gerrymandering.

It's the latest of seven cases since this spring where the conservative-majority high court has ruled against groups seeking relaxed ballot rules because of the coronavirus. It has not ruled once in favor of such an effort.

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A handful of states are in the final stretch to get anti-gerrymandering measures on the November ballot.

Four states inch closer to redistricting reform

Four states are on the cusp of approving anti-gerrymandering petitions for the November ballot, but challenges still remain.

Putting independent commissions, rather than politicians, in charge of drawing district maps is widely regarded as the most effective way to combat partisan gerrymandering. Next year, following the census, 14 states will use such commissions to draw state legislative districts, and eight will do so for congressional districts.

Getting on the November ballot and leaving it up to the voters is the last chance Arkansas, Nevada, North Dakota and Oregon have to make the switch to an independent redistricting commission before maps are redrawn for the new decade. But the Covid-19 pandemic has made gathering signatures to qualify for the ballot especially difficult.

Here are updates on redistricting reform campaigns in those states.

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Because the Supreme Court stripped the "preclearance" section of the Voting Rights Act in 2013, states must enact their own laws to protect the rights of communities of color, according to Greenwood and Norouzi.

Why it's time for every state to enact its own voting rights law

Greenwood is co-director for voting rights and redistricting at the nonpartisan Campaign Legal Center. Norouzi is deputy director of OneAmerica, an immigrant and refugee advocacy organization in Washington state.

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