Political campaigns always take on a chaotic feel around this time, just weeks before Election Day. This year, an extra factor is contributing to the disarray: Courts around the country have made a string of late decisions changing voting rules or election procedures in some key states.
Over the past month, a series of court rulings have impacted voting requirements and whose names appear on the ballot in North Carolina, Ohio, Wisconsin, Texas, and Kansas, providing election officials and voters alike little time to react and potentially causing confusion, with Nov. 4 fast approaching.
It's not all that unusual to have a number of lawsuits popping up near an election, according to Dan Tokaji, a law professor at Ohio State University. But "courts making very late changes to the rules" is out of the ordinary, he said.
And there still could be more to come: Arkansas, for one, is still bracing for a possible on its voter ID law within a month of the election. Wisconsin and Texas just had decisions on theirs this week.
Here's a look at the states that have recently made major preelection adjustments after late court rulings:
TEXAS AND WISCONSIN
Voters in Texas and Wisconsin will not have to bring a photo ID with them to the polls this fall—at least, for the time being—following separate court rulings that came within hours of each other Thursday night. In the Lone Star State, a federal judge decided Texas's voter ID law could not be enforced in the November elections following a September trial. Attorney General Greg Abbott, a Republican who is running for governor, plans to appeal the decision.