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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.

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.”

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.

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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.”

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

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Alex Jones accused of sending child pornography to lawyers representing Sandy Hook victims

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Attorneys representing victims of the 2012 Sandy Hook massacre who are suing conspiracy theorist Alex Jones for defamation have accused the InfoWars host of sending them files containing child pornography.

The Connecticut Post reports that court documents filed on Monday show that the law firm representing the Sandy Hook victims claims that it discovered several inappropriate images involving children in a large stash of electronic files that Jones had been ordered to turn over.

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‘Art of the Deal’ ghostwriter Tony Schwartz: ‘I can’t say I’ve ever seen Trump running more scared’

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The ghostwriter for Donald Trump's "Art of the Deal" book observed on Monday that the president is "running more scared" than he has ever seen.

Tony Schwartz made the observation in a tweet that came after days of angry presidential tweets and interviews.

"I can't say I've ever seen Trump running more scared," Schwartz wrote. "The more worried he feels, the more lies he tells."

I can't say I've ever seen Trump running more scared. The more worried he feels, the more lies he tells.

— Tony Schwartz (@tonyschwartz) June 17, 2019

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Duncan Hunter threw his wife under the bus — but now it appears she’s cooperating with prosecutors

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Rep. Duncan Hunter (R-CA) may be in serious trouble if his wife's guilty plea is any indication.

"Last Week Tonight" host John Oliver began his Sunday show with a short segment about Hunter throwing his wife under the bus during an interview. Now, however, his wife is pleading guilty. It made Oliver chuckle because a guilty plea typically means the defendant is cooperating with prosecutors.

RollCall cited the plea agreement, which instructs Mrs. Hunter to "make a good faith effort to provide substantial assistance to the United States in the investigation and prosecution of others."

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