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Flurry of Election Cases Hit Courts, Law Enforcement

A federal judge in Pennsylvania ruled on Monday that mail-in ballots received on time but are undated should be counted, arguing that a state law rejecting such votes violates the Civil Rights Act of 1964, The New York Times reports.

It was one of several voting and election rulings in this week’s news, as the 2024 election creeps closer and, as the New York Times noted, Republicans and conservative advocacy groups continue to push for stricter voting laws.

Also on Monday, a federal appeals court moved to strike down a crucial part of the Voting Rights Act, blocking private citizens and civil rights groups from suing under a key provision of the law called Section 2. The ruling on Monday is almost certain to be appealed to the Supreme Court, where many legal challenges to the Voting Rights Act have ended up, writes Nick Corasaniti for the Times, in a piece that recapped some of the important court battles related to the landmark voting law, which was signed into law in 1965 by President Lyndon B. Johnson.

Black voters in North Carolina filed a lawsuit, also on Monday, challenging new state legislative maps as a racial gerrymander in violation of Section 2. And on Tuesday, the Wisconsin Supreme Court heard arguments in a case “with the potential to upend political power in the state: a challenge to the state’s legislative district maps, regarded as among the most aggressively gerrymandered in the country,” the Times wrote. The plaintiffs argued that the state’s existing legislative districts — many of them broken into several unconnected pieces — failed the constitutional requirement that districts be compact and contiguous, and that the maps should be entirely redrawn.

In other indicators of how charged the electoral system has become, turnover in election jobs has doubled among election-office workers, according to a survey released last week by the Reed College Elections and Voting Information Center. And the FBI and the U.S. Postal Inspection Service opened an investigation into letters, sent to election offices in Washington State, Oregon, Nevada, California and Georgia this month. Several of the letters seem to have been laced with fentanyl; at least two contained a vague message calling to “end elections now.”


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A daily report co-sponsored by Arizona State University, Criminal Justice Journalists, and the National Criminal Justice Association

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