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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.

Updated 3 hours ago - World

Reports: Up to 17 U.S. missionaries kidnapped in Haiti

Haitian soldiers guard the public prosecutor's office in Port-au-Prince earlier this month. Photo: Richard Pierrin/AFP via Getty Images

Children were among up to 17 American Christian missionaries and their relatives kidnapped by a gang in Haiti on Saturday, the New York Times first reported.

Details: The missionaries had just left an orphanage and were traveling by bus to the airport to "drop off some members" and were due to travel to another destination when the gang struck in Port-au-Prince, Haitian security officials said, per the NYT.

5 hours ago - World

Melbourne, "world's most locked-down city," to lift stay-at-home orders

Victorian Premier Daniel Andrews during a news conference in Melbourne, Australia, on Sunday. Photo: Quinn Rooney/Getty Images

Melbourne's stay-at-home orders will end five days earlier than planned, officials in Australia's second-biggest city announced Sunday.

Why it matters: The capital of the state of Victoria has had six lockdowns totaling 262 days since March last year. That means Melbourne spent longer under lockdown than "any other city in the world" during the pandemic, Reuters notes.