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Voters enter a polling station in Camden, Alabama on Super Tuesday, March 3. Photo: Joshua Lott/AFP via Getty Images

The Supreme Court voted 5-4 on Thursday to block a trial judge's order that would have eased the use of absentee ballots for three Alabama counties, the New York Times reports.

Why it matters: The decision temporarily allows election officials in Lee, Jefferson and Mobile counties to enforce an ID requirement for disabled voters and those 65 or older in an upcoming primary runoff election, the Times reports.

The big picture: State and federal courts and lawmakers, governors and local election officials have been working to determine how Americans will safely cast their ballots in November while in the middle of a pandemic, Axios' Stef Kight reports.

Catch up quick: Alabama state officials asked the Supreme Court to intervene in the district court's decision, arguing that it "had come too close to the election and threatened its integrity," per the Times.

Go deeper: Deadlines start now for safe voting in November

Go deeper

Top 5 mail voting mistakes (and how to avoid them)

Map: Danielle Alberti/Axios

If you're planning to cast your ballot by mail this year rather than voting in person, these are the most common mistakes to avoid so you can ensure your vote is counted.

Why it matters: About 1% of absentee ballots that were cast in the 2016 and 2018 elections were ultimately tossed, according to the U.S. Elections Assistance Commission (EAC). That could translate to hundreds of thousands of uncounted ballots this year — enough to potentially change the outcome of the presidential race.

Tim Kaine says he's seen "dramatic uptick" in Dem-friendly early voting

Sen. Tim Kaine (D-Va.) Photo: Axios

Sen. Tim Kaine (D-Va.) said that Virginia and other states around the country have seen a "dramatic uptick" in early voting among those most likely to support Vice President Joe Biden during an Axios News Shapers event on Friday.

Why it matters: Early voting has taken on increased importance and use nationwide amid the coronavirus pandemic with as many as 80 million people expected to cast their ballots before Election Day, whether by mail or in person.

Judge blocks Texas limits to mail voting drop-off locations

Election workers accept mail in ballot from voters in Houston on Oct. 7. Photo: Go Nakamura/Getty Images

A federal judge blocked Texas Gov. Greg Abbott's (R) Oct. 1 proclamation restricting voters to one location per county to drop off absentee ballots in the general election, NPR reports.

Why it matters: Abbott said he was attempting to protect election security by reducing the number of places where Texans could drop off mail ballots during early voting. State Democrats accused the governor of trying to suppress the vote by forcing voters to travel further and to more-crowded locations to drop their ballots.