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Voters wait in line at a polling site in Toledo, Ohio. Photo: David Greedy/Getty Images

Restrictive voting policies could influence the outcome of 2018 battleground races in at least four states: Georgia, North Dakota, Ohio and Arkansas.

The battle lines: Voting rights advocates say Republicans are trying to prevent minorities, who overwhelmingly vote Democratic, from casting ballots. But Republicans argue that their efforts are meant to increase voter confidence, modernize elections and combat rampant voter fraud — even though numerous studies have found no evidence of widespread voter irregularities in the U.S.

State of play: In North Dakota, Native Americans are working to minimize the effects of the Supreme Court’s decision to uphold the state’s voter ID law, which requires voters to provide identification with their residential address rather than a P.O. box number.

  • Critics said the high court’s move harms Native American voters who live on reservations, where residential addresses largely do not exist. It also threatens the reelection of Heidi Heitkamp, one of the Senate’s most vulnerable red-state Democratic incumbents, who has received broad support among Native American voters in the past.

In Georgia, a coalition of civil rights groups sued Brian Kemp, the secretary of state and Republican nominee for governor, last week for placing more than 53,000 voter applications on a “pending” list. The list — created by the voter verification method called “exact match,” which requires voter applications be perfectly matched with information on file — has a disproportionately high number of black voters.

  • Kemp’s spokeswoman, Candice Broce, denied accusations of voter suppression and said those affected will be allowed to cast ballots if they show a photo ID that proves they are eligible to vote.

In Ohio, a voting rights group recently appealed a federal judge’s decision to uphold the state’s aggressive efforts to purge its voting rolls. The system, which disproportionately affects minorities and the poor, kicks people off the rolls if they skip a few elections and fail to respond to a notice from election officials. 

  • The appeal seeks to allow purged voters to cast ballots next month in a state that features high-profile races for governor, the U.S. Senate and a few key House seats.

In Arkansas, where Democrats hope to flip a Republican-held House seat, the state’s highest court upheld a voter ID law that requires residents to show photo identification before voting. But voters can cast provisional ballots without an ID if they sign a sworn affidavit.

Go deeper

1 hour ago - Health

Boris Johnson announces month-long COVID-19 lockdown in U.K.

Prime Minsiter Boris Johnson. Photo: NurPhoto / Getty Images

A new national lockdown will be imposed in the U.K., Prime Minister Boris Johnson announced Saturday, as the number of COVID-19 cases in the country topped 1 million.

Details: Starting Thursday, people in England must stay at home, and bars and restaurants will close, except for takeout and deliveries. All non-essential retail will also be shuttered. Different households will be banned from mixing indoors. International travel, unless for business purposes, will be banned. The new measures will last through at least December 2.

Updated 2 hours ago - Politics & Policy

The massive early vote

Illustration: Sarah Grillo/Axios

Early voting in the 2020 election across the U.S. on Saturday had already reached 65.5% of 2016's total turnout, according to state data compiled by the U.S. Elections Project.

Why it matters: The coronavirus pandemic and its resultant social-distancing measures prompted a massive uptick in both mail-in ballots and early voting nationwide, setting up an unprecedented and potentially tumultuous count in the hours and days after the polls close on Nov. 3.

Updated 3 hours ago - Politics & Policy

Coronavirus dashboard

Illustration: Sarah Grillo/Axios

  1. Health: Ipsos poll: COVID trick-or-treat.
  2. World: Greece tightens coronavirus restrictions as Europe cases spike — Austria reimposes coronavirus lockdowns amid surge of infections
  3. Economy: Conference Board predicts economy won’t fully recover until late 2021.
  4. Technology: Fully at-home rapid COVID test to move forward.
  5. States: New York rolls out new testing requirements for visitors.

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