Appeals court keeps Tennessee mail voting signature match

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FILE – In this Aug. 5, 2020, file photo, vote-by-mail ballots are shown in sorting trays at the King County Elections headquarters in Renton, Wash., south of Seattle. In every U.S. presidential election, thousands of ballots are rejected and never counted. They may have arrived after Election Day or were missing a voter’s signature. That number will be far higher this year as the coronavirus pandemic forces tens of millions of Americans to vote by mail for the first time. (AP Photo/Ted S. Warren, File)

NASHVILLE, Tenn. (AP) — A U.S. appeals court panel won’t change Tennessee’s signature matching requirement for voting by mail ahead of the November election.

Three judges from the 6th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals split on the decision Thursday, which upholds a lower court’s ruling.

For the majority, Judge Julia Smith Gibbons wrote that there is no evidence anyone’s constitutional rights are likely to be infringed by Tennessee’s signature verification procedures.

Judge Karen Nelson Moore wrote in dissent that the ruling is “yet another chapter in the concentrated effort to restrict the vote.” Plaintiffs in the case are seeking changes to allow voters to fix signature issues on ballots before they are rejected.

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