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The State of Reform
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Download Unite America's free report analyzing the impact of four key political reforms.
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Michigan, which held its presidential primary in March, is expecting a surge in mail-in ballots in November.

Suit to ease Michigan voting dies, but new ones born in three other states

Michigan's top court has decided not to weigh in on one of the emerging big issues of the November election: whether absentee ballots delayed in the mail should still count.

The state Supreme Court decision means that Michigan, like most of the presidential battlegrounds and 33 states altogether, will only open and tabulate envelopes that have landed at election offices by the time polls close on Election Day. As a result, the franchise may be denied to millions nationwide unless the beleaguered Postal Service is able to keep up with the coming torrent of mailed-in ballots.

Friday's decision was part of the latest flurry of legal developments over voting rights — including a lawsuit, similar to the one in Michigan, to make Indiana count late-arriving ballots, along with two fresh suits to relax absentee voting rules in Ohio and a bid to force South Carolina to make elections safer for people vulnerable to the coronavirus.

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These are the details:

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Congress
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Texas Republican Ted Cruz reading "Green Eggs and Ham" during a Senate filibuster in 2013.

TV coverage of the Senate may reduce its effectiveness

Televising every moment of the Senate's proceedings is a wonderful monument to government transparency, one that brings corruption-scrubbing sunshine to the self-proclaimed world's greatest deliberative body. Right?

Perhaps, but it's more complicated than that. Newly published research concludes gavel-to-gavel coverage of Congress has reduced substantive debate, heightened partisanship and increased the amount of time members spend on posturing and self-promotion.

The report is the second in recent days detailing what's underpinning the dysfunction of the Capitol, at a time when legislative branch weakness is widely viewed among the main threats to democracy. In the other, former members of Congress painted a dire picture of their former workplace, saying it is ill-equipped to rally even in emergencies such as the current coronavirus pandemic and economic collapse.

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Darren McCollester/Getty Images

Lawsuits have been filed this week in North Carolina and Virginia in an attempt to make it easier for people with disabilities, like the voter above, to cast their ballots in the fall election.

Blind voters sue for easier balloting in two states

With the presidential election now fewer than 100 days away, courthouses across the country are continuing to process a record flood of litigation hoping to improve access to voting during the coronavirus pandemic.

This week legal actions were filed in New York to extend the deadline for registration, and in both Virginia and North Carolina to improve the ability of blind citizens to vote from home.

Success for any of those lawsuits would likely increase turnout, but the only place where the extra voters might prove dispositive is North Carolina, where both the presidential and Senate contests look to be tossups. The other two states seem solidly blue.

These are the details of the cases:

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