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Illustration: Aïda Amer/Axios

If mail-in ballots are rejected in the 2020 election at the same level as this year's primaries, "up to three times as many voters in November could be disenfranchised" in battleground states compared to the 2016 election, AP reports.

Why it matters: Americans are expected to vote by mail in record numbers in November due to the coronavirus pandemic.

Details: Ballots can be rejected if voters forget to sign them, signatures don't match those held at local election offices, or ballots arrive too late through the mail, per AP.

  • Understaffed election offices could have a difficult time notifying voters of problems with their ballot in time to fix them — especially since officials in key states like Pennsylvania have to wait until Election Day to sort through ballots.
  • The U.S. Postal Service has seen declines in on-time delivery for priority mail in the last few months, after it warned 46 states that it cannot ensure ballots sent by mail in the general election will arrive in time to be counted.

For example, nearly 43,000 Pennsylvania voters could be disenfranchised in November if voter turnout stays unchanged from 2016 and ballot rejections are on course with the state's primary, AP reports — nearly the same number of votes Trump won over Hillary Clinton when he won the state in 2016.

What to watch: Vote-by-mail rejections could have an outsized effect in areas concentrated with Democratic votes, per AP, since Democratic applications for absentee ballots have surged.

Go deeper: How to prepare for an election facing unprecedented threats

Go deeper

Dec 14, 2020 - Politics & Policy

Early voting begins in Georgia's key Senate runoffs

Voters line outside the High Museum polling station in Atlanta, Georgia on the first day of voting in the state's Senate runoffs. Photo: Jessica McGowan/Getty Images

People lined up outside polling places across Georgia on Monday for the first day of early voting in the state's two runoff elections that will determine which party controls the U.S. Senate.

The big picture: More than 1.2 million people have already requested mail-in absentee ballots and more than 260,000 have returned them as of Monday, per data compiled by the U.S. Elections Project.

Updated Dec 15, 2020 - Politics & Policy

Electoral College affirms Biden's victory

Photo: Chip Somodevilla/Getty Images

President-elect Biden officially received the majority of Electoral College votes on Monday, further solidifying his victory even though the outcome of the election has been known for weeks.

Why it matters: The Electoral College result affirms Biden as the next president after weeks of President Trump's false accusations that the election was stolen from him, dozens of failed legal challenges from the Trump campaign, and protests threatening the safety of states' electors.

Swing voters oppose Texas abortion law

Protesters at a rally at the Texas State Capitol. Photo: Jordan Vonderhaar/Getty Images

All 10 swing voters in Axios’ latest focus groups — including those who described themselves as "pro-life" — said they oppose Texas' new anti-abortion law.

Why it matters: If their responses reflect larger patterns in U.S. society, this could hurt Republicans with women and independents in next year's midterm elections. The swing voters cited overreach, invasion of privacy and concerns about frivolous lawsuits jamming up the courts.