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Tuesday, Oct 21st

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Obama Names Ron Klain as Ebola Czar

Ron KlainPresident Barack Obama will appoint Ron Klain his "Ebola czar," knowledgeable sources tell CNN.

The president on Thursday signaled his openness to the idea to have one individual coordinating the entire federal response to any threat of an outbreak in the United States.

"It may make sense for us to have one person ... so that after this initial surge of activity, we can have a more regular process just to make sure that we're crossing all the T's and dotting all the I's going forward," Obama said.

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Appeals court restores tough Texas voter ID law

Texas voter id lawStrict voter ID requirements are back in force in Texas after the 5th Circuit Court of Appeals intervened late Tuesday to stay an order from a district court judge that found the law had been written with an “unconstitutional discriminatory purpose.” The three-judge panel cited U.S. Supreme Court admonitions against instilling confusion by changing voting rules too close to an election.

The ruling [PDF] — which reinstates a law that infamously allows some forms of identification, like gun permits, but disqualifies others, such as a current student ID — comes less than a week before early voting begins in Texas.

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Arkansas Supreme Court Strikes Down Voter ID Law

Voter IDArkansas' highest court on Wednesday struck down a state law that requires voters to show photo identification before casting a ballot, ruling the requirement unconstitutional just days before early voting begins for the Nov. 4 election.

In a decision that could have major implications in the state's election, the state Supreme Court upheld a lower court ruling that determined the law unconstitutionally added a requirement for voting.

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Texas voter ID law reinstated by federal appeals court

Voter ID TexasA federal appeals court on Tuesday reinstated Texas’ tough voter ID law for the November election, which the U.S. Justice Department had condemned as the state’s latest means of suppressing minority voter turnout.

The ruling by the New Orleans-based 5th Circuit Court of Appeals temporarily blocks last week’s ruling by U.S. District Judge Nelva Gonzales Ramos in Corpus Christi, who determined the law unconstitutional and similar to a poll tax designed to dissuade minorities from voting.

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Judge blocks Wisconsin law used in Walker probe

Scott WalkerA federal judge Tuesday blocked enforcement of a Wisconsin election law that's at the center of an investigation into Gov. Scott Walker's 2012 recall campaign and more than two dozen conservative groups.

U.S. District Judge Rudolph Randa granted the request to block the law from the Milwaukee-based group Citizens for Responsible Government Advocates while the conservative group's underlying lawsuit challenging its constitutionality goes forward.

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Midterm Voters Drown in Dark Money

Dark moneyCrossroads GPS has assailed Democratic Senator Mark Udall for shortchanging Colorado residents with his votes on health insurance; Patriot Majority USA has gone after the Republican Senate candidate in Arkansas, Tom Cotton, for being a supposed shill of the insurance industry and opposing a farm bill.

This is standard fare in the U.S. midterm elections, where spending could exceed $5 billion and outside groups specialize in attack ads. Trouble is that Colorado voters won’t know which special interests may have financed the anti-Udall message nor will Arkansans know which vested interests may have ponied up for the attacks on Cotton.

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Courts Block Voter ID Laws in Texas, Wisconsin

Voter Id lawsA federal judge likened Texas' strict voter ID requirement to a poll tax deliberately meant to suppress minority voter turnout and struck it down less than a month before Election Day — and mere hours after the U.S. Supreme Court blocked a similar measure in Wisconsin.

The twin rulings released Thursday evening represent major and somewhat surprising blows to largely Republican-backed voter identification rules sweeping the nation that have generally been upheld in previous rulings.

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