Judge blocks Tennessee law that limits new voter mail voting

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FILE – In this Tuesday, Aug. 18, 2020, file photo, a person drops applications for mail-in-ballots into a mail box in Omaha, Neb. U.S. Postal Service warnings that it can’t guarantee ballots sent by mail will arrive on time have put a spotlight on the narrow timeframes most states allow to request and return those ballots. (AP Photo/Nati Harnik, File)

NASHVILLE, Tenn. (AP) — A federal judge has blocked a Tennessee law for the November election that bars first-time voters from casting ballots by mail unless they show identification at an election office beforehand.

U.S. District Judge Eli Richardson ordered the preliminary injunction in the midst of the COVID-19 pandemic.

Plaintiffs say it affected an estimated 128,000 newly registered voters last election cycle. The judge wrote that the state relied on “a non-existent” congressional requirement and congressional intent to argue for the law.

Republican Secretary of State Tre Hargett’s office declined to comment, citing the pending litigation.

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