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Harmeet Dhillon, one of the state's Republican National Committee members, says a new law's extension for postal delays creates "a lot of opportunity for mischief."

California will mail ballots to all and count those arriving 17 days late

Griffiths is the editor of Independent Voter News.

Ballots will be delivered to every registered, active California voter this fall under a law signed Thursday by Gov. Gavin Newsom.

The measure assures everyone in the nation's most populous state will be able to vote by mail in the presidential contest. It's the biggest single expansion so far of this alternative for the general election, when a surge of interest in absentee balloting nationwide seems guaranteed as a result of the coronavirus.

The bill also assures the outcome of close contests won't be known until nearly Thanksgiving, because a provision mandates that envelopes postmarked by Election Day be tabulated if they arrive as long as 17 days later. No other state has that long a grace period to allow for slow postal service.

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A line to vote in the primary in Houston in March. The wait for some Texans was four hours.

Texas won’t see a revival of straight-ticket voting this year

Straight-ticket voting won't be returning to Texas now that a federal judge has rejected an effort by Democrats to maintain the practice.

Allowing Texans to cast one quick vote, in favor of one party's entire slate of candidates, has been allowed for a century and was the way two-thirds of 2018 ballots were cast in the second most populous state. But the Republican-majority Legislature eliminated that option starting this fall, joining a wave of other states in recent years.

The state Democratic Party sued in March to keep the system as is, but Judge Marina Garcia Marmolejo dismissed the claim on Wednesday by rejecting its central argument: Switching will cause so much confusion and delay in November that throngs of would-be voters will give up and walk away, effectively being disenfranchised in violation of the Constitution and the Voting Rights Act.

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No-excuse fight revived in Arkansas, 35 years after its top court ruled in favor

The legal crusade to make mail voting easier this year has finally arrived in Arkansas, where some of the nation's toughest ballot restrictions haven't been challenged until now because the coronavirus pandemic arrived after the primaries.

Two prominent Democrats in the deeply red state filed a lawsuit Tuesday alleging the Arkansas election law flatly violates a 35-year-old state Supreme Court ruling that greatly expanded the right to absentee balloting. They asked a state judge in Little Rock to order election officials to stop demanding a detailed excuse from anyone who requests an absentee ballot — which resulted in 99 percent of votes being cast in person two years ago.

GOP Secretary of State John Thurston signaled he would fight the suit. "Given where we are at with the Covid-19 pandemic," he said, "the current voting system will be adequate."

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Missouri’s new rules for notarizing mail ballots getting tested in court

Progressive groups may use the courts to pursue even more wide-open absentee balloting in Missouri this year.

At issue is a new law, enacted this month in response to the coronavirus pandemic, suspending the state's usually strict excuse rules for voting by mail — but requiring a notary's signature on August primary and November presidential election ballot envelopes of people younger than 65.

The NAACP and the American Civil Liberties Union have sued to block that witness requirement, which they argue is unconstitutionally burdensome during a public health emergency and discriminates in favor of older voters.

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