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Illustration: Rebecca Zisser/Axios

The Supreme Court on Monday sided with South Carolina officials and the state's Republican Party by mostly restoring a legal requirement that absentee ballots must be signed by a witness.

Of note: Supreme Court Justice Brett Kavanaugh wrote in the judgment that ballots cast before the ruling or received within the next two days would be exempt from the order.

Driving the news: A lower court had ruled in favor of a Democratic group's challenge that the requirement would impact on voting during the coronavirus pandemic, per the New York Times.

What they're saying: "This Court has repeatedly emphasized that federal courts ordinarily should not alter state election rules in the period close to an election," Justice Brett Kavanaugh said in the ruling.

By the numbers: Over 18,000 of the 200,000 absentee ballots mailed out have been returned, per the South Carolina State Election Commission.

Read the full ruling, via DocumentCloud:

Go deeper: How the Supreme Court could decide the election

Go deeper

Updated Jan 13, 2021 - Politics & Policy

Lisa Montgomery first female inmate to be executed in U.S. in nearly 70 years

Demonstrators protest federal executions of death row inmates, in front of the Justice Department in Washington, D.C., in December. Photo: Nicholas Kamm/AFP via Getty Images

Lisa Montgomery became on Wednesday the first female inmate to be executed since 1953, per AP.

The big picture: The 52-year-old Kansas woman was declared dead at 1:31am after having a lethal injection at the federal prison in Terre Haute, Indiana, following a Supreme Court ruling late Tuesday.

Focus group: Former Trump voters say he should never hold office again

Illustration: Sarah Grillo/Axios

"Relief" is the top emotion some swing voters who used to support Donald Trump say they felt as they watched President Biden's swearing-in, followed by "hope."

Why it matters: For voters on the bubble between parties, this moment is less about excitement for Biden or liberal politics than exhaustion and disgust with Trump and a craving for national healing. Most said Trump should be prohibited from ever holding office again.

Updated 13 hours ago - Politics & Policy

Coronavirus dashboard

Illustration: Eniola Odetunde/Axios

  1. Health: Most vulnerable Americans aren't getting enough vaccine information — Fauci says Trump administration's lack of facts on COVID "very likely" cost lives.
  2. Politics: Biden unveils "wartime" COVID strategyBiden's COVID-19 bubble.
  3. Vaccine: Florida requiring proof of residency to get vaccine — CDC extends interval between vaccine doses for exceptional cases.
  4. World: Hong Kong to put tens of thousands on lockdown as cases surge.
  5. Sports: 2021 Tokyo Olympics hang in the balance.
  6. 🎧 Podcast: Carbon Health's CEO on unsticking the vaccine bottleneck.