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Democracy reform’s A-listers join the call for voting at a social distance

Voting absentee has officially become the hottest cause for the democracy reform movement during the coronavirus pandemic: The celebrities have weighed in.

The biggest pop culture icon to put her celebrity behind fixing the system, Jennifer Lawrence, started doing so again Wednesday: She launched a social media campaign to promote the virtues of voting-by-mail by sharing a video of herself in her home. At least 10 other celebrities have since joined in the conversation online.

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Ohio's primary was originally scheduled for March 17, but Gov. Mike DeWine postponed the election due to the coronavirus crisis.

Voting rights advocates say Ohio’s new primary plan is unconstitutional

Voting rights advocacy groups have sued to stop Ohio from conducting its primaries in four weeks with almost no in-person voting.

The lawsuit, filed in federal court Monday, is the latest challenging efforts to keep electoral democracy going during the coronavirus pandemic. But it appears to be the first alleging the backup plan favored most by democracy reformers — switching to vote-at-home — is inappropriate if implemented too quickly.

The groups allege that the state's plan violates federal law and both the First and Fourteenth amendments by not providing more than a month to prepare for, and inform voters about, a primary in which almost every ballot will be delivered by mail.

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Gov. Andrew Cuomo announced New York's primary would be postponed until June due to the coronavirus.

Virus alters more election rules, starting in New York

The state at the epicenter of the American coronavirus pandemic is now positioned to be the final big prize in the Democratic presidential race.

New York on Saturday became the 11th and by far the biggest state to postpone primaries during the peak of the Covid-19 outbreak. Such delays are just one example of the broad array of ways states are responding to the historic public health emergency.

Also over the weekend, a push intensified in the biggest battleground state, Florida, to expand voting by mail in time for November. One judge was pressed to ease the Arkansas absentee voting deadline, while another judge made it temporarily easier to get on the ballot with petitions in Virginia. But the obvious problems gathering signatures during mandatory social distancing prompted the end of a ballot referendum drive in Arizona.

Here are the latest developments:

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