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Ohio appeals federal court’s ruling striking down limits on early voting

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The state of Ohio filed a federal court appeal on Thursday seeking to restore a Republican-backed limit on early voting and accelerated voter-registration measures that were seen by civil rights groups as boosting minority turnout.

U.S. District Judge Michael Watson in Columbus ruled on Tuesday that Ohio violated voters’ rights by reducing the period that ballots could be cast before an election to four weeks from five weeks.

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Watson’s decision also struck down Ohio’s elimination of a seven-day window during which residents could both register to vote and cast their ballots all in the same week – a period known as “Golden Week.”

Ohio’s Republican-controlled legislature abolished “Golden Week” and shortened early voting by seven days in 2014, drawing a legal challenge from the American Civil Liberties Union and the National Association for the Advancement of Colored People.

Watson sided with the ACLU and NAACP in finding that both changes, which critics said directly limited opportunities for minority participation in elections, violated the Voting Rights Act of 1965 and were unconstitutional.

On Thursday, Ohio Secretary of State Jon Husted, a Republican, petitioned the 6th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals to review Watson’s decision, which he said scrapped a court-approved settlement the state previously reached with the ACLU and NAACP on early voting.

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The settlement allowed voters to cast ballots on multiple Sundays leading up to a presidential election and provided for additional evening voting hours, according to ACLU documents.

Husted said Golden Week had become an administrative problem for state elections officials and increased the potential for voter fraud, arguing its elimination had broad bipartisan support.

The Ohio Democratic Party countered with a statement accusing Republican state officials of “defending a law that clear data showed imposed a stark discriminatory impact on Ohio’s African-American voters.”

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The appeal came a day after the Ohio General Assembly passed legislation that would require any resident or organization to post a cash bond with a local court in order to keep polling stations open later than scheduled on election day.

Judges in Ohio have on occasion ordered some polls to extend their hours because of voting equipment problems, major traffic issues and severe weather, including during the 2016 primaries.

Opponents of the bill have said it violates the 24th Amendment to the U.S. Constitution, which expressly prohibits the imposition of a “poll tax.”

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(Reporting by Kim Palmer in Cleveland; Writing by Steve Gorman; Editing by Peter Cooney)


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‘I thought he was joking’: CNN’s Cuomo didn’t buy Spicer’s humble brag about being a ‘staunch Christian’

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Don Lemon and Chris Cuomo

During the Tuesday night "hand-off" between CNN's Chris Cuomo and Don Lemon, the two chuckled about former White House press secretary Sean Spicer, who made his "Dancing with the Stars" debut Monday night. Spicer bragged about being a "staunch Christian," as the reason for why he won't win "Dancing with the Stars." But Cuomo chastised Spicer for trying to score votes.

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Trump adviser ties his tongue in knots trying to explain away the president’s anti-Hispanic racism

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On Monday night, President Donald Trump received heavy criticism after a rally in New Mexico in which he turned to one of his Hispanic advisers, Steve Cortes, said he "looks more like a WASP than I do," and asked him "Who do you like more, the country or the Hispanics?"

Talking with CNN's Chris Cuomo on Tuesday, Cortes was completely undeterred from going to bat for Trump against accusations of racism.

"Forget about how he put what he put to you last night. He's not the greatest wordsmith. It was a little clumsy, you recognize that, none of that matters to me," said Cuomo. "Here's what matters to me. How can the Latino community believe that he loves them when he has said so many anti-Mexican and even anti-Puerto Rican things, how can he love Latinos when she's shown such animosity?"

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Netanyahu refuses to concede after he falls short — blames media instead

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Prime Minister of Israel, Benjamin Netanyahu, refused to concede after being down in the election night polls. Like the last election, Netanyahu is claiming his own personal victory and blaming the media for all of his woes.

Senior Diplomatic correspondent Barak Ravid, at Channel 13 News in Tel-Aviv, was live-tweeting the election results late Tuesday night.

https://twitter.com/barakravid/status/1174116674225758209?s=21

"Netanyahu says Israel needs a Zionist government that is committed for Israel as a Jewish state. No government can be based on support from Arab parties," Ravid said.

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