Oct 24, 2018

Judge blocks Georgia officials from rejecting certain absentee ballots

Georgia Secretary of State Brian Kemp. Photo: Jessica McGowan/Getty Images

A federal judge issued a temporary restraining order on Wednesday to block Georgia election officials from tossing out absentee ballots with mismatched signatures, in response to two suits brought by voting rights advocates that argued hundreds were improperly rejected.

Why it matters: Georgia's highly-contested gubernatorial race is clouded by concerns of voter suppression following a report that said tens of thousands of voters, predominantly African Americans, were placed on hold.

The details: U.S. District Judge Leigh May ordered Secretary of State Brian Kemp's office, who is also the Republican nominee for governor, to end the practice for the midterm elections. Her ruling also included a procedure to allow voters to resolve the alleged discrepancies which disproportionately affected Asian Americans and African American voters.

Voting rights advocates said election officials have violated voters' constitutional rights for failing to give voters a chance to fix the problem.

Go deeper:

Go deeper

Coronavirus cases rise, as more Americans on cruise confirmed ill

Data: The Center for Systems Science and Engineering at Johns Hopkins, the CDC, and China's NHC; Note: China refers to mainland China and the Diamond Princess is the cruise ship offshore Yokohama, Japan. Map: Danielle Alberti/Axios

A U.S. public health official confirms more than 40 Americans on the Diamond Princess cruise ship off Japan have coronavirus, while the remaining U.S. citizens without symptoms are being evacuated.

The big picture: COVID-19 has now killed at least 1,770 people and infected almost 70,000 others. Most cases and all but five of the deaths have occurred in mainland China. Taiwan confirmed its first death on Sunday, per multiple reports, in a 61-year-old man with underlying health conditions. Health officials were investigating how he became ill.

Go deeperArrowUpdated 2 hours ago - Health

Scoop: Inside the Trump campaign's big hedge on Facebook

Illustration: Eniola Odetunde/Axios

The Trump campaign has invested most of its advertising budget to date on Facebook, testing thousands of versions of ads per day to maximize its spending.

But behind the scenes, a source familiar with the campaign tells Axios, the thinking has shifted: "As everyone can see, we still have strong spending on Facebook, but the percentage of our total media budget [on Facebook] is shrinking."

Trump's revenge tour has the House in its sights

Illustration: Aïda Amer/Axios. Photo: Saul Loeb/Getty Contributor

In the lead-up to the 2018 midterm elections — buoyed by Republican control of both chambers — President Trump viewed campaigning for the House as a lower-tier priority and instead poured his energy into rallying for the Senate.

But after the GOP reckoning in 2018, and experiencing firsthand how damaging a Democratic-led House has been to him, Trump is now personally invested in helping Republicans regain the majority in November, several people familiar with his thinking tell Axios.