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Lawsuit filed over Arkansas absentee ballot rejections

September 22, 2020 GMT

LITTLE ROCK, Ark. (AP) — A lawsuit filed Tuesday asks a federal judge to require Arkansas election officials to give absentee voters a chance to correct their ballots before they’re rejected due to signature issues.

The League of Women Voters of Arkansas argues in the lawsuit that Arkansas law regarding absentee ballots disenfranchises voters because they’re not given any notice or chance to cure any deficiencies.

State law requires election officials to reject absentee ballots that are missing a voter’s signature or if there’s a mismatch between the signature, address or date of birth on the absentee ballot and the application materials.

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According to the lawsuit, Arkansas already provides notification to absentee voters if there are photo ID issues with their ballots.

A spike in absentee ballots is expected in the state because of the coronavirus pandemic. Gov. Asa Hutchinson last month signed an executive order stating that concerns about the virus were a valid excuse to vote absentee.

Secretary of State John Thurston’s office declined to comment on the lawsuit.