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A legal fight over the fate of thousands of names on Wisconsin's rolls is now likely to linger beyond November. Here, Milwaukeeans waiting to vote in the Covid-troubled April primary.

One Midwest win for each side in the voter purge wars

The partisan fight over how to maintain voter registration lists has delivered one victory for each side this week — both in Midwestern states central to the November election.

The top court in Wisconsin decided against fast-tracking a decision about removing from the rolls more than 100,000 people with potentially out of date registrations — a delay that benefits the cause of voting rights advocates. But in neighboring Michigan, a conservative group claimed victory and dropped its lawsuit against Detroit after the city took a group of dead people and duplicate names off the rolls.

The cases capture a debate that pitches those (mostly Democrats) who believe aggressive attempts to remove, or "purge," names from voter rolls are an attempt at voter suppression against those (mostly Republicans) who believe poorly maintained voter lists clogged with the names of the mortally or physically departed provide an opportunity for fraud.

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A pivotal batch of mail votes went missing. Fraud!? Town is so sorry.

At a time when the hard-to-find intersection of mailed ballots and election fraud has become one of President Trump's obsessions, 202 envelopes in a town clerk's vault in central Massachusetts may get an unexpected amount of attention.

The ballots were from a local election last week in Grafton, where the people appeared to decide — by just 98 votes — to raise municipal taxes by $4 million to improve schools and local services.

The potential consequences of what's inside the envelopes are as mathematically apparent as the recent presidential polling in many swing states. (Tax hike opponents would have to account for three of every four uncounted votes, a deficit tough but not impossible to reverse.) The reason the votes weren't counted are much less clear, providing only minimal support for a presidential outburst on Twitter.

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Registration lists are under attack. We have a moral obligation to protect them.

Adruini is president of the Susquehanna Valley Ethical Society, a branch of the American Ethical Union, a humanist organization that emphasizes "deed before creed," the view that people can be moral and ethical independent of a belief in God.
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The suit claims voter rolls in 17 counties are not being properly maintained. Above, a March primary polling place in Warren, Mich.

GOP activist sues 17 Michigan counties with 'abnormally high' registration

A Republican official in Michigan has filed a lawsuit alleging 17 counties across the battleground state are violating federal law by not removing ineligible people from the voter rolls.

The suit is similar to claims filed in several states by the conservative Public Interest Legal Foundation, which maintain that voter manifests in plenty of closely contested areas are clogged with the names of far too many who have died, moved away, gone to prison or are no longer eligible for other reasons to cast ballots.

These lawsuits are at the heart of a mostly partisan debate pitting Republicans, who see maintenance of these government records as essential to preventing election fraud, against Democrats, who deride such efforts as purges of eligible voters in the pursuit of Election Say advantage.

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