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    By JEFF AMY and BEN NADLER, Associated Press ATLANTA (AP) — The Georgia Senate on Tuesday pushed through the first batch of what could be a raft of restrictive voting measures Republican lawmakers say will safeguard voting but Democrats decry as based on a lie and aimed at overturning their party's recent electoral success in Georgia. The most important measure passed was Senate Bill 67, which carried on a largely party-line 35-18 vote. It would require that a voter include their driver’s license number, other state identification number or a photocopy of an approved ID when applying for an absentee ballot. That would replace the current process of signature verification, one of the key elements former President Donald Trump and others attacked following Trump's November loss in Georgia. “It’s not about disenfranchising voters. It’s not about overly burdening the electorate. It’s about efficiency, integrity, allowing the Georgia public to have...
    A federal judge who is the sister of former Democratic Georgia gubernatorial nominee Stacey Abrams has rolled back an earlier decision and agreed to allow a Georgia county to require some voters to cast provisional ballots, Politico reported Thursday. U.S. District Court Judge Leslie Abrams Gardner issued an injunction shortly before midnight Wednesday, Politico reported. The injunction replaces her previous restraining order that had prevented Muscogee County from requiring the more than 4,000 voters who faced eligibility challenges to cast provisional ballots. Gardner’s decision comes just days before the two Jan. 5 runoff elections in Georgia, which will decide control of the Senate. The eligibility challenges arose based on data from the U.S. Postal Service’s National Change of Address registry, which Democrats have argued is unverified and unreliable. Although Gardner’s order allows the county to require that those voters cast provisional ballots, it prohibits eligibility challenges from being upheld solely...
            by Daniel Payne  Election rules in multiple key battleground states permit voters to submit mail-in and absentee ballots without having their signatures checked to ensure the vote is valid. Five states that have historically been competitive in presidential races — North Carolina, Iowa, Wisconsin, Pennsylvania, and New Hampshire — do not require signature-matching for mailed voting forms. In some cases, state officials have explicitly codified that rule. In August, Karen Bell, the executive director of the North Carolina State Board of Elections, wrote in a memo to all local county boards that a voter’s siagnture “shall not be compared with the voter’s signature on file because this is not required by North Carolina law.” “County boards shall accept the voter’s signature on the container-return envelope if it appears to be made by the voter,” she continued, “meaning the signature on the envelope appears to be...
    By HOLLY RAMER, Associated Press CONCORD, N.H. (AP) — Communities can require that both voters and poll workers wear face coverings on Election Day to prevent the spread of the coronavirus, according to state officials. Attorney General Gordon MacDonald and Secretary of State Bill Gardner released a 10-page document Wednesday with guidance for the Sept. 8 primary and Nov. 3 general election. They said they agreed with town moderators that decisions about mask requirements should be made locally given the wide variation in the size of polling places, expected volume of voters and other factors. Communities that require face coverings for voters must, however, provide alternatives for those who can’t or won’t comply, the officials said. While the officials said they believe towns likewise have the right to require poll workers to wear masks, they also highlighted the “risk of a legal challenge” and urged local officials to consult their...
    Amid the coronavirus and protests against racial injustice, CBSN is launching a new series focused on voting rights, safety, and access. This is the first in the series, which will include in-depth reporting and conversations. In the lead-up to November, you'll hear a familiar refrain from politicians and on the airwaves: "Want to make a difference and effect change? Vote." It seems like an easy course of action, and it should be. But voting isn't easy for everyone. There are regulations in place that make it more difficult for some people. And that's no accident. Get updates from the campaign trail delivered to your inbox "The vote is the heart of American democracy. We all believe that passionately, but it's also been a big fight over the centuries about how we vote, who votes, and very often people trying to make it harder for other people to vote," says...
    By JULIE CARR SMYTH, Associated Press COLUMBUS, Ohio (AP) — Health and safety guidelines that Ohio's elections chief sent to county boards Wednesday recommend, but do not mandate, mask-wearing and other preventive measures for those voting in person this fall, a nod to voter freedoms in a closely divided battleground state. In a Statehouse news conference designed to reassure voters about the safety of casting their vote, Secretary of State Frank LaRose said nothing — including the coronavirus and skepticism about mail-in voting that's been stoked by President Donald Trump, a fellow Republican — will stop the election and that it will be safe and secure. “There absolutely will be in-person voting on Nov. 3,” LaRose said. LaRose said he is strongly recommending masks for in-person voters to prevent the spread of COVID-19, but that any requirement would step on people's right to vote. He said those voters who choose...
    Alabama Attorney General Steve Marshall and Secretary of State John Merrill are telling counties and cities that the state cant require voters to wear masks. They said making masks mandatory at polls to guard against the coronavirus would go against local laws. Word of their position comes just days before Alabama voters are set to go to the polls on Tuesday for the primary runoff election, AL.com reported. “While it can be ‘strongly recommended’ that an individual wear a mask, it cannot be required,” Merrill said. “In our state, we will continue to see that the right for every eligible Alabamian to vote is protected.” Merrill cited a notice Marshall sent on June 30: “Though the Attorney General strongly recommends that voters and poll workers follow CDC [Centers for Disease Control and Prevention] guidelines when in public places and behave in a manner that is respectful of poll workers and fellow voters, it...
    Democratic New York Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez said in a virtual town hall Thursday that defunding the police will require “experimentation” with public safety. “We can disagree about the details of it, but we can’t go back,” Ocasio-Cortez said. “As much as we want policy to be ‘I’m gonna propose it. I’m gonna have all of the answers and put a neat little bow and we’re gonna pass this one law once, and everything is gonna be fixed.’ That’s how we wish all of this stuff works.” Ocasio-Cortez added that defunding the police will require lawmakers to pass legislation in the “spirit” of experimentation. (RELATED: Will Defunding The Police Work? Here’s What History Tells Us) Democratic New York Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez walks through a House corridor following an impeachment proceeding announcement, at the U.S. Capitol in Washington, U.S., Sept. 24, 2019. (REUTERS/Tom Brenner)“What is it really is going to take...
    This content was republished with permission from WTOP’s news partners at Maryland Matters. Sign up for Maryland Matters’ free email subscription today. While Republican members of the Maryland State Board of Elections prefer mailing ballot applications to voters for the November election, local election officials say doing so could be costly and confusing for voters. Instead, David Garreis, the president of the Maryland Association of Election Officials, urged Gov. Lawrence J. Hogan Jr. (R) in a Monday letter to adopt universal mail-in ballots for voters this fall. “We cannot overstate the devastating consequences likely to result if the State of Maryland does not plan now to mail every voter a ballot for the 2020 Presidential General Election,” Garreis, the deputy director of the Anne Arundel County Board of Elections, wrote to Hogan, state Elections Administrator Linda H. Lamone and state Board of Elections Chairman Michael R. Cogan. He also urged Hogan to...
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