Feb 28, 2019

Federal judge halts Texas voter rolls purge in citizenship review

Photo: Chip Somodevilla/Getty Images

A federal judge temporarily blocked Wednesday an attempt by election officials in Texas to purge suspected noncitizen voters from electoral rolls, saying there was no evidence of widespread voter fraud.

Why it matters: U.S. District Judge Fred Biery of San Antonio's ruling comes after Republican Texas Secretary of State David Whitley's claims in January that almost 100,000 registered voters would need a citizenship review to be able to vote — an investigation The Washington Post reports was soon found to be "deeply flawed". Judge Biery called officials' conduct “ham-handed” and “threatening”. The case may impact on Whitley's political career as the Texas Senate has yet to confirm him. Opposition from the chamber’s 12 Democrats would prevent him from winning the required two-third majority, the Post reports. Texas Attorney General Ken Paxton said in response the judge was "improperly assuming control" over the state's voting system, according to NPR.

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Coronavirus kills 2 Diamond Princess passengers and South Korea sees first death

Data: The Center for Systems Science and Engineering at Johns Hopkins, the CDC, and China's Health Ministry. U.S. numbers include Americans extracted from Princess Cruise ship.

Two elderly Diamond Princess passengers have been killed by the novel coronavirus — the first deaths confirmed among the more than 600 infected aboard the cruise ship. South Korea also announced its first death Thursday.

The big picture: COVID-19 has now killed more than 2,200 people and infected over 75,465 others, mostly in mainland China, where the National Health Commission announced 118 new deaths since Thursday.

Go deeperArrowUpdated 6 hours ago - Health

SoftBank to cut its stake to get T-Mobile's Sprint deal done

Illustration: Rebecca Zisser/Axios

T-Mobile and Sprint announced a revised merger agreement that will see SoftBank getting a smaller share of the combined company, while most shareholders will receive the previously agreed upon exchange rate. The companies said they hope to get the deal as early as April 1.

Why it matters: The amended deal reflects the decline in Sprint's business, while leaving most shareholders' stake intact and removing another hurdle to the deal's closure.