President is planning a visit to Mankato

President Donald Trump plans to stop in Mankato on Monday as part of his re-election campaign, USA Today reported. The report says Trump will hit the road next week, while Democrats rally around Joe Biden and Sen. Kamala Harris during the Democratic National Convention. Trump plans to visit four states that could go a long way toward deciding the fall race between him and Biden: Pennsylvania, Wisconsin, Minnesota and Arizona, the president said during a “tele-rally” with Wisconsin supporters on Wednesday. Trump carried Wisconsin, Pennsylvania, and Arizona as part of his Electoral College victory over Hillary Clinton in 2016, but some current polls show him trailing Biden in those states. Trump narrowly lost Minnesota four years ago, but aides feel he can turn that state in his favor this time around. He is expected to stop in both Mankato and Oshkosh, Wis., on Monday. Further details have not yet been released.

Iowa counties sued over applications

Trump’s re-election campaign has sued two Democratic-leaning Iowa counties that are making it easy to vote by mail during the coronavirus pandemic, seeking to invalidate tens of thousands of voters’ absentee ballot applications. The Trump campaign, the Republican National Committee and other GOP groups filed the lawsuits Wednesday against elections officials in Linn and Johnson counties. At issue are absentee ballot request forms that the counties are sending to registered voters with personal information already filled in, including their names, dates of birth and voting pin numbers. Voters just have to review, sign and return the forms to get ballots in October that they can mail back or drop off, avoiding crowded polling places. Iowa Secretary of State Paul Pate, a Republican, last month told auditors in an emergency election directive that request forms mailed to voters must be blank in order “to ensure uniformity.” Pate’s office has not taken any legal action to block the two counties’ mailings but said Thursday it is investigating their actions.

Trump pushes false Harris birther claim

Trump, in an echo of his false birtherism claims against President Barack Obama, said questions raised by one of his campaign advisers about the eligibility of Sen. Kamala Harris to run for vice president were “very serious.” Harris was born in Oakland, Calif., and is, by the laws of the Constitution, a U.S. citizen. But some birther conspiracy theorists say, wrongly, that her parents’ immigration status at the time of her birth makes her ineligible. Trump’s remarks were a reprise of his past false allegation that Obama was born in Kenya rather than in Hawaii and thus ineligible to serve.

Court won’t block mail voting change

The Supreme Court on Thursday rejected a request from Republicans to block a trial judge’s ruling making it easier for voters in Rhode Island to cast absentee ballots during the coronavirus pandemic. The judge’s ruling suspended a requirement that voters using mailed ballots fill them out in the presence of two witnesses or a notary. The Supreme Court’s unsigned order included an explanation, which is unusual when its acts on emergency applications. The case differed from similar ones in which state officials had opposed changes to state laws ordered by federal judges, the order said. “Here the state election officials support the challenged decree,” the order said, “and no state official has expressed opposition.” The order added that Rhode Island’s last election was conducted without the witness requirement, meaning that instituting a change now could confuse voters. Justices Clarence Thomas, Samuel Alito and Neil Gorsuch dissented.

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