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:

Go deeper

Updated 2 hours ago - Politics & Policy

Coronavirus dashboard

Illustration: Sarah Grillo/Axios

  1. Global: Total confirmed cases as of 12:30 a.m. ET: 18,288,573 — Total deaths: 693,805 — Total recoveries — 10,916,907Map.
  2. U.S.: Total confirmed cases as of 12:30 a.m. ET: 4,713,562 — Total deaths: 155,469 — Total recoveries: 1,513,446 — Total tests: 57,543,852Map.
  3. Education — Fauci: Schools can reopen with safeguards, but those in virus hot spots should remain closed
  4. Politics: White House will require staff to undergo randomized coronavirus testing — Pelosi says Birx "enabled" Trump on misinformation.
  5. Sports: 13 members of St. Louis Cardinals test positive, prompting MLB to cancel Tigers series — Former FDA chief says MLB outbreaks should be warning sign for schools.
  6. 1 🎥 thing: "Tenet" may be the first major film to get a global pandemic release.
Updated 3 hours ago - Science

Hurricane Isaias lashes the Carolinas

People walk through floodwaters on Ocean Blvd. in Myrtle Beach, South Carolina, on Monday. Photo: Sean Rayford/Getty Images

Hurricane Isaias made landfall as a Category 1 storm near Ocean Isle Beach in southern North Carolina at 11:10 p.m. ET Monday, packing maximum sustained winds of 85 mph, per the National Hurricane Center (NHC).

What's happening: Hurricane conditions were spreading onto the coast of eastern South Carolina and southeastern N.C., the NHC said in an 11 p.m. update. Ocean Isle Beach Mayor Debbie Smith told WECT News the eye of the storm triggered "a series of fires at homes" and "a lot of flooding." Fire authorities said they were responding to "multiple structure fires in the area."

Exclusive: Trump declines to praise John Lewis, citing inauguration snub

President Trump dismissed the legacy of the late Rep. John Lewis in an interview with “Axios on HBO,” saying only that Lewis made a “big mistake” by not coming to his inauguration.

The big picture: Trump's comments were a glaring contrast with the praise Republicans and Democrats showered upon Lewis this week, and a default to personal grudges during a week of mourning for a civil rights hero.