Many of the most severe restrictions on voting in Wisconsin may remain on the books, a federal appeals court has decided, concluding a nine-year partisan battle in time to shape the presidential election in one of the most hotly contested battleground states.
The unanimous decision Monday also likely reduces the chances of success for a wave of fresh lawsuits, filed surrounding the state's nationally notorious April primary. Plaintiffs hope to ease the path to the November polls in light of the coronavirus pandemic.
The sweeping and multifaceted ruling from the 7th Circuit Court of Appeals upholds laws restricting early in-person voting, requiring Wisconsinites to live in their neighborhood for a month before voting, and prohibiting the use of email or faxes to deliver absentee ballots.
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The coronavirus means absentee voting needs to be easier in Alabama, at least in next month's primary runoffs and especially for the elderly, a federal judge says.
A ruling Monday, by District Judge Adbul Kallon of Birmingham, waived the current requirement that absentee ballot return envelopes be notarized or signed by two witnesses — and also contain a copy of the voter's photo ID. No other state requires that much verification of a mail-in voter's authenticity.
The judge also said the state must permit curbside casting of ballots, allowing voters to make their choices without leaving their cars.
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The weekend brought two setbacks for the expansion of voting rights in Iowa.
The Republicans who control the General Assembly cleared legislation requiring voters to provide identification in order to obtain absentee ballots. But the legislators went home for the year Sunday without taking an expected vote on restoring the franchise to convicted felons.
The debates over mail-in voting and ex-convicts' political rights have been intensifying nationwide, spurred by the coronavirus and nationwide protests over racial injustice. Iowa has taken some steps this year to make remote voting easier because of the pandemic, but it's the only state where felons are forever barred from the voting booth.
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UPDATE: The governor has signed the measure.
Compromise legislation that would make it easier to vote absentee in North Carolina this fall, and safer to vote in person, has been cleared with bipartisan support in the General Assembly.
But it faces an uncertain future on the desk of Gov. Roy Cooper, who is being pressed by fellow Democrats for a veto because of a voter identification provision added at the last hour by majority Republicans.
The measure has produced the last in a long roster of fights over election rules in the 10th largest state. Attention is heightened because North Carolina is hosting the bulk of the Republican convention this summer and is a potential presidential battleground this fall — and its part in the nationwide struggle to assure safe and open balloting during a coronavirus pandemic is being complicated by its vivid role in the South's long struggles over voting rights.
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