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Voters casting ballots. Photo: Scott Olson/Getty Images

An Ohio federal appeals court on Wednesday ordered the state to allow voters who have been previously purged from its voting rolls in the last six years be allowed to cast provisional ballots in next week’s midterm elections. 

Why it matters: The emergency ruling is a major victory for voting rights groups as, earlier this month, a lower court upheld the state’s aggressive efforts to purge its voter rolls. This is the latest partisan battle over access to the ballot box in a battleground state that features high-profile midterm races for governor, the U.S. Senate and a few key House seats.

The context: The purging system, which disproportionately affects minorities and the poor, has kicked thousands of people off the rolls if they skipped voting in a few elections and failed to respond to a notice from election officials. The U.S. Supreme Court in June ruled in favor of Ohio’s practices, which officials said is intended to promote ballot integrity and keep voter registration lists up to date. But civil rights advocates are still challenging the practice.

  • The U.S. Court of Appeals for the Sixth Circuit, in Cincinnati, ruled that the "plaintiffs have a reasonable, and perhaps even greater, likelihood of success on the merits of their claims that the [state] confirmation notice did not adequately advise registrants of the consequences of failure to respond, as the [National Voting Rights Act] requires."

What they're saying: Republican Secretary of State Jon Husted said he won’t challenge the temporary order "because that would serve as an unnecessary source of contention with an election only five days away."

  • In a state where races have been called by narrow margins, attorney Stuart Naifeh of the Demos organization that is challenging the state's purging practices, said voter purge could change election outcome.

Go deeper:

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Updated 52 mins ago - Politics & Policy

Coronavirus dashboard

Illustration: Sarah Grillo/Axios

  1. Health: Coronavirus deaths reach 4,000 per day as hospitals remain in crisis mode — CDC warns highly transmissible coronavirus variant could become dominant in U.S. in March.
  2. Politics: Biden says, "We will manage the hell out of" vaccine distribution — Biden taps ex-FDA chief to lead Operation Warp Speed amid rollout of COVID plan — Widow of GOP congressman-elect who died of COVID-19 will run to fill his seat.
  3. Vaccine: Battling Black mistrust of the vaccines"Pharmacy deserts" could become vaccine deserts — Instacart to give $25 to shoppers who get vaccine.
  4. Economy: Unemployment filings explode againFed chair: No interest rate hike coming any time soon —  Inflation rose more than expected in December.
  5. World: WHO team arrives in China to investigate pandemic origins.

NRA declares bankruptcy, says it will reincorporate in Texas

Wayne LaPierre of the National Rifle Association (NRA) speaks during CPAC in 2016. Photo: Saul Loeb/AFP via Getty Images

The National Rifle Association said Friday it has filed for Chapter 11 bankruptcy and will seek to reincorporate in Texas, calling New York, where it is currently registered, a "toxic political environment."

The big picture: The move comes just months after New York Attorney General Letitia James filed a lawsuit to dissolve the NRA, alleging the group committed fraud by diverting roughly $64 million in charitable donations over three years to support reckless spending by its executives.

3 hours ago - Politics & Policy

Biden: "We will manage the hell out of" vaccine distribution

Joe Biden. Photo: Chip Somodevilla / Getty Images

President-elect Joe Biden promised to invoke the Defense Production Act to increase vaccine manufacturing, as he outlined a five-point plan to administer 100 million COVID-19 vaccinations in the first months of his presidency.

Why it matters: With the Center for Disease Control and Prevention warning of a more contagious variant of the coronavirus, Biden is trying to establish how he’ll approach the pandemic differently than President Trump.

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