Two federal judges ruled on Wednesday in favor of plans in Montana and Alabama for mail-in and absentee voting in November's elections.

Driving the news: In Montana, U.S. District Judge Dana Christensen, ruled in favor of the mail-in voting expansion plans of Gov. Steve Bullock (D) to safeguard against COVID-19. In response to claims by the Trump Campaign and the Republican National Committee of widespread voter fraud, he wrote, "The evidence suggests ... this allegation, specifically in Montana, is a fiction."

  • In Alabama, U.S. District Judge Abdul Kallon issued an injunction stopping the state's plans to impose absentee voting requirements that could put voters at risk of contracting the coronavirus, including notarized signatures.
  • The judges in both of Wednesday's cases were appointed by former President Obama.

The big picture: President Trump has repeatedly railed against voting by mail and made baseless claims that it's prone to widespread fraud.

  • "Polls show voters in Montana are leaning for Trump, while the Republican president has a large lead in Alabama," AP notes.
  • U.S. Senate elections are being held in both states this November, including what's expected to be a close race between Bullock and incumbent Sen. Steve Daines (R).

What they're saying: Alabama Attorney General Steve Marshall (R) said in a statement he would appeal the ruling.

  • The Trump administration and RNC did not immediately respond to Axios' request for comment.

Go deeper: Kevin McCarthy warns Trump's war on mail could screw GOP

Go deeper

Early voting eclipses 2016 total with 12 days until election

People stand in line to vote early in Fairfax, Virginia in September. Photo: Tasos Katopodis/Getty Images

Americans have cast more than 47.1 million ballots in the 2020 presidential election, surpassing the total early-vote count for 2016 with 12 days left until Election Day, according to a Washington Post analysis of voting data.

Why it matters: The election is already underway, as many states have expanded early and mail-in voting options because of the coronavirus pandemic.

Court allows North Carolina mail-in ballots deadline extension

An absentee ballot election worker stuffs ballot applications at the Mecklenburg County Board of Elections office in Charlotte, North Carolina, in September. Photo: Logan Cyrus/AFP via Getty Images

North Carolina can accept absentee ballots that are postmarked Nov. 3, Election Day, until Nov. 12, a federal appeals court decided Tuesday in a 12-3 majority ruling.

Why it matters: The 4th Circuit Court of Appeals' ruling against state and national Republican leaders settles a lawsuit brought by a group representing retirees, and it could see scores of additional votes counted in the key battleground state.

SurveyMonkey poll: Young voters' red-state blue wall

Data: SurveyMonkey; Chart: Danielle Alberti/Axios

There are only five states in the U.S. where voters younger than 35 embrace President Trump over Joe Biden, and none are swing states, according to new 50-state SurveyMonkey-Tableau data for Axios.

Why it matters: These scattered red spots in a sea of blue vividly illustrate Trump's peril if young people were to actually turn out this year. Put another way, Trump's path to re-election depends heavily on younger adults staying home.

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