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Democrats say no August election changes, look to November

MADISON, Wis. (AP) — An attorney representing Democrats in a federal lawsuit seeking to make absentee voting easier told a judge Monday that his clients are no longer looking to carry out changes in time for Wisconsin’s August primary and are now looking ahead to the November presidential election.

The Democratic National Committee and the state Democratic Party filed a lawsuit in March seeking to ease regulations on absentee voting in the state’s April 7 presidential primary as the coronavirus was spreading across the state. The lawsuit was consolidated with two other lawsuits seeking to make absentee voting easier in light of the pandemic.

The U.S. Supreme Court ultimately rejected the Democrats’ arguments a day before that election but the lawsuits are still pending.

The DNC attorney John Devaney told U.S. District Judge William Conley during a status conference that Democrats aren’t seeking to make changes for the Aug. 11 primary and are instead prioritizing the Nov. 3 presidential election. He asked Conley to build in time for appeals to play out once he issues a ruling.

Conley ordered all briefs to be filed before the end of July and scheduled a hearing for Aug. 5 and Aug. 6.

The lawsuit seeks to erase requirements that voters supply proof of residency and a photo ID with registrations and absentee-ballot applications submitted electronically and by mail; extend registration deadlines to the Friday before the election; extend the deadline for clerks to receive absentee ballots from 8 p.m. on election night to within 10 days of the election; and suspend the requirement that absentee ballots include a witness signature.

Republicans are opposed to the changes, arguing voting by mail is ripe for fraud.

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