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The State of Reform
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Democrats have filed a lawsuit against Georgia election officials over the long waits voters have had in recent elections, including this scene from the June 9 primary.

Georgia's long lines focus of the latest elections lawsuit

Georgia, which has been sued plenty in recent years for allegedly violating the rights of its electorate, is facing a fresh complaint about voter suppression of the most obvious kind: Making people stand in line for hours to exercise their democratic rights.

The lawsuit, filed in federal court Thursday, is the latest development in the courthouse crusade to make it easier to vote in the presidential election.

In neighboring Alabama, a state judge this week dismissed a lawsuit that sought to ease voting rules for the elderly and disabled. And Friday saw the latest in a series of suits, this time in Pennsylvania, seeking to guarantee a do-over for people who make mistakes on their absentee ballot forms.

These are the latest developments:

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Pennsylvania Gov. Tom Wolf says the state will pay the postage for absentee ballots used in the fall election.

Pennsylvania to pay postage for absentee voters

In the latest move to make mail balloting more appealing in a swing state, Pennsylvania has decided to pay for the return postage on all absentee ballots in the fall election.

The announcement by Democratic Secretary of State Kathy Boockvar will add the nation's sixth biggest state, if only this year, to the roster of 17 others that routinely foot the bill for mailing back a remote voting envelope. These include other presidential battlegrounds led by Wisconsin and Arizona.

The decision also makes Pennsylvania the 25th state where normal laws or regulations have been relaxed, either proactively or because of a lawsuit, to make casting a ballot easier and safer in November in light of the coronavirus. On that list, just one other state, reliably red South Carolina, has also decided to pay for postage on mailed ballots — a move that will eliminate a minor logistical hassle for everyone along with a financial burden for the very poor.

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Voters in Pennsylvania, including Philadelphians who participated in the June primary, are the subject of competing lawsuits by the Trump campaign and Democrats.

Democrats hit back at Trump campaign in Pennsylvania countersuit

Two weeks after the Trump campaign filed its first voting-by-mail lawsuit, hoping for more restrictive absentee balloting rules in bellwether Pennsylvania, Democrats have struck back with a countersuit looking to loosen those same processes.

The state party, 15 politicians and Democratic Secretary of State Kathy Boockvar, sued in state court to make the state relax five of its vote-by-mail rules in time for November — when turnout will shape who wins the state's 20 electoral votes.

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Progressives' final indictment of gerrymanders cites voting curbs

Manipulating district lines is just one way politicians stay in power. Another is by making it harder for the electorate to vote them out. A new report by a liberal think tank concludes that partisan gerrymandered legislatures have led to more voting restrictions — "a power grab on top of a power grab."

The Center for American Progress study, released Wednesday, found that Republicans in four states used map-guaranteed statehouse majorities to enact voting restriction (such as photo ID laws) and block easements to the ballot box (like longer early voting periods) — efforts that have proven particularly burdensome for communities of color, which usually vote Democratic.

The report is the fourth and final in a series designed to show why the cause of redistricting reform — turning district map drawing over to independent commissions — should be more of a priority for the left. The first, in December, blamed partisan gerrymandering for an absence of new gun controls this decade. The others cited the system for limiting Medicaid expansions and curtailing government spending on child care and education.

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