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Federal Appeals Courts Emerge as Crucial for Trump in Voting Cases

  • October 17, 2020

Republicans, led by Mr. Trump, have argued that easing those rules or expanding the use of drop boxes would leave the voting system so open to fraud and chaos that it would threaten the very legitimacy of the election.

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A series of rulings handed down in the late summer and early fall rejected that argument, pointedly noting the dearth of evidence that fraud poses anything close to the threat the president and his Republican allies say it does.

“The state did not provide any actual examples of voter fraud,” Judge Robert Pitman, an appointee of President Barack Obama, ruled in blocking Mr. Abbott at the district court level from limiting drop boxes in Texas, where Democrats have made substantial inroads in recent years.

“The record shows that voter fraud rarely occurs today,” another district court judge nominated by Mr. Obama, Abdul K. Kallon, ruled in easing balloting requirements in Alabama, where Republicans are hoping to unseat the Democratic incumbent, Senator Doug Jones.

“No evidence was introduced at the hearing to support the conclusory reference to fraud,” Judge Dan Aaron Polster, a Clinton appointee to a district court, wrote in rejecting attempts to limit drop boxes in Ohio, a state that Democrats believe they might be able to swing to their column in the presidential election.

Appeals courts stayed those decisions in Texas, Alabama and Ohio, as well as a similar ruling in Wisconsin that had extended deadlines for mail-in ballots. The decisions in the cases came from panels including judges appointed to the appeals courts by Mr. Trump.

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