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The Commission on Presidential Debates promised to tighten the rules for the next two debates "to ensure a more orderly discussion."

Democracy's challenges pushed to new depths by a shambolic debate

Now it's a presidential debate that has created the latest low-point for our dysfunctional democracy — and on several fronts.

Tuesday night's chaotic 90 minutes of hectoring, crosstalk, bombast, browbeating, baseless assertions and buck-passing will be remembered, at a minimum, for effectively extinguishing the already sullied concept of civil political discourse.

It will also be known for President Trump finding yet another venerable democratic institution — somber debate of the top issues by the nation's two would-be leaders — that he was eager to attack. He employed so much off-point heckling and demeaning personal attacks that his exasperated challenger, former Vice President Joe Biden, twice labeled Trump a "clown."

And that was all before the sitting American president decided to intensify his unprecedented assault on the integrity of the coming presidential election itself and his unwillingness to promise a peaceful transition, unheard-of rattling of democracy's bedrock before a global audience that included an estimated 29 million American voters.

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Indiana is the ninth state to extend the deadline for accepting mailed ballots since the outbreak of the coronavirus.

Courts grant more time for absentee ballots in Indiana, Wisconsin

A federal judge extended the deadline Tuesday for mail-in ballots to arrive at the election offices in reliably red Indiana, while an appeals court upheld a similar extension in battleground Wisconsin.

Judge Sarah Evans Barker of Indianapolis ordered a 10-day extension for absentee ballots, meaning as long as they are postmarked by Election Day they will still be tabulated if they arrive by Nov. 13.

That ruling makes Indiana the ninth state where the window for accepting mailed ballots this year has been extended, either by the state voluntarily or as a result of a court order. The longer deadlines, which have become one of the more frequent easements for the record surge of voting by mail because of the coronavirus pandemic, mean results of close contests up and down many ballots may not be reliably clear for many days after Nov. 3.

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100,000 New Yorkers receive flawed absentee ballots

Nearly 100,000 New York City voters were mailed general election ballots with incorrect names and return addresses.

The defective absentee ballots were first reported on Monday, and the following day the New York City Board of Elections confirmed the problem affected 99,477 voters in Brooklyn who had requested one. New ballots with correct information will be printed and sent immediately to those voters.

With just 34 days until voting ends Nov. 3, this kind of critical error could sow confusion and distrust in an election already flooded with attacks — mostly prominently from President Trump — on mail voting.

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A new poll finds most voters don't expect to know the results of the presidential race on election night.

Voters prepared for delay in election results, poll finds

If the winner of the presidential election is not known on election night, it won't be an alarming surprise to most voters, a new poll shows.

Only 20 percent expect the outcome will be clear the night of Nov. 3, according to polling by Politico and Morning Consult released Monday. Another 19 percent think they'll know the next day if President Trump won re-election or was defeated by former Vice President Joe Biden — with 26 percent anticipating the victor won't be clear for a week and 21 percent thinking the wait will last even longer.

Those numbers are good news for the election officials and good-government groups. They have been working for months to prepare the country for a protracted count if the contest remains close, the totally legitimate consequence of record mail-in voting in battleground states because of the pandemic. Trump says the numbers on election night should be dispositive and that delays mean his baseless predictions of a fraudulent count are coming true.

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