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Georgia Gov. Brian Kemp called off a state Supreme Court election and plans to appoint a new justice to the bench.

Can he do that? Ga. governor, voting rights villain, cancels election.

It's a startlingly bold move, the legality of which is now being challenged in court: Republican Gov. Brian Kemp, already an enemy of voting rights groups nationwide, has canceled an election and says he'll fill a seat on the Georgia Supreme Court all by himself.

After he won an extremely narrow election in 2018, Kemp's critics said it was entirely because, as secretary of state at the time, he used his power to suppress the vote for Democrat Stacey Abrams by aggressively purging the registration rolls, closing or moving polling stations, rebuffing voters with missing middle initials on their ID cards, and tossing absentee ballots for similarly small bureaucratic mistakes.

Now, the governor has opened himself up to intense criticism that he'd rather stack the state's highest court with another fellow conservative than abide by the spirit (if not the letter) of the law.

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Fearing the coronavirus may drive down turnout, Sen. Ron Wyden proposed giving states money to cover the costs of voting by mail.

Citing virus, senior senator proposes $500 million for voting at home

With the coronavirus now officially labeled a pandemic by the World Health Organization, concerns about its impact on the election keep growing.

Candidates are canceling rallies. Sunday's Democratic presidential debate in Phoenix won't have a live audience. And election officials are worried the disease's unpredictable spread will dampen turnout in the remaining primaries and in November.

An influential senior senator is proposing a remedy for that last concern: Make it easy for voters to cast their ballots from home.

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Beyond Virginia, pushes against gerrymandering in several states

Update: The Virginia House cleared the measure Friday night, 54 to 46, assuring a statewide referendum vote in November.

While the world of democracy reform holds its collective breath about Virginia, which is just one day from a do-or-don't deadline for ending partisan gerrymandering, campaigns to combat such behavior got underway this week in two more states.

The way political district boundaries get drawn has come under intense scrutiny in recent years, with a steadily expanding campaign to give the task to independent outsiders rather than politicians interested only in preserving their own power. This spring's census, which will provide the population numbers mapmakers must use, has magnified the issue yet again.

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