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Gov. Phil Murphy is expected to sign the legislation to expand early voting in New Jersey.

New Jersey to institute permanent early voting system

Amid nationwide efforts to restrict access to the ballot box, New Jersey is pushing ahead with plans to expand voting opportunities for the state's upcoming elections.

On Thursday, the state Senate voted 28-8 to approve a bill requiring early in-person voting options for primary and general elections. The state House voted in favor of the bill earlier this month, so it now goes to Democratic Gov. Phil Murphy, who is expected to sign it as early as next week.

It's unclear, however, if there will be enough time or money to get the new early voting system in place in time for gubernatorial, state legislative and municipal primaries in June and general elections in November.

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Louisiana will remain the only state that doesn't use voting machines which utilize a paper-based component.

Trump conspiracy theories help stop plan to modernize Louisiana's voting equipment

Louisiana's unique standing as an election integrity risk, because it's the only state without any paper trail for votes, is going to continue indefinitely.

That's because the top elections official on Wednesday called off his search to replace the state's antiquated and entirely electronic fleet of 10,000 voting machines.

Secretary of State Kyle Ardoin acted amid a whipsaw of criticism. On one side are two election equipment manufacturers who filed formal complaints alleging the bidding process was tailored to favor the current vendor, Dominion Voting Systems. On the other side are influential fellow Republicans, furious that a $100 million contract might go to the firm that former President Donald Trump has put at the heart of his conspiracy theories about election rigging.

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Election security experts are concerned over proposed guidelines that would allow disabled wireless devices in voting systems.

New election equipment standards could pose serious cybersecurity threats

The Election Assistance Commission is poised to approve new voting security standards this week, but election security experts are ringing alarm bells over a last-minute change they call "profoundly ill-advised and unacceptably insecure."

Ahead of Wednesday's vote, the federal agency tweaked a section of the proposal to allow for disabled wireless technology to be included in voting equipment — a move election security experts say would pose a serious cybersecurity threat to the United States.

Experts fear this change could also undermine efforts to build back trust in the nation's election systems after a divisive 2020 contest that millions of Americans still erroneously believe was stolen from former President Donald Trump.

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Gen. Mark Milley, chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, ensured the military would play "no role" in post-election disputes.

The top 6 reasons why democracy's guardrails held after the election

The certification of election results on Monday in Arizona and Wisconsin, the last of the six states where President Trump challenged his defeat, is a bittersweet victory for advocates of rule by the people. The nation's brush with autocracy was troublingly close, and the damage to public confidence in elections could be lasting.

Still, it's worth acknowledging the guardrails that have held fast against the nation's severe democracy stress test, and against Trump's specious and ongoing fraud allegations. There's no guarantee these railings would hold against a more sophisticated adversary, and the need to shore up voting rights and election administration remains urgent.

But the fundamentals of American democracy appear to have prevailed, thanks to key institutions that upheld the law and relied on the facts. These are the six most important:

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