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Democrats say no August election changes, look to NovemberSubmitted: 06/29/2020
Democrats say no August election changes, look to November
Story By Associated Press

MADISON - An attorney representing Democrats in a federal lawsuit seeking to make absentee voting easier told a judge Monday that his clients are no longer looking to implement changes in time for Wisconsin's August primary and are now looking ahead to the November presidential election.

The Democratic National Committee and the state Democratic Party filed a lawsuit in March seeking to ease regulations on absentee voting in the state's April 7 presidential primary as the coronavirus was spreading across the state. The lawsuit was consolidated with two other lawsuits seeking to make absentee voting easier in light of the pandemic.

The U.S. Supreme Court ultimately rejected the Democrats' arguments a day before that election but the lawsuits are still pending.

DNC attorney John Devaney told U.S. District Judge William Conley during a status conference that Democrats aren't seeking to make changes for the Aug. 11 primary and are instead prioritizing the Nov. 3 presidential election. He asked Conley to build in time for the appeals process to play out once he issues a ruling.

Conley ordered all briefs to be filed before the end of July and set a hearing for Aug. 5 and Aug. 6.

The lawsuit seeks to erase requirements that voters supply proof of residency and a photo ID with registrations and absentee ballot applications submitted electronically and by mail; extend registration deadlines to the Friday before the election; extend the deadline for clerks to receive absentee ballots from 8 p.m. on election night to within 10 days of the election; and suspend the requirement that absentee ballots include a witness signature.

Republicans oppose the changes, arguing voting by mail is ripe for fraud.

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 IN OTHER NEWS

CRANDON - The Forest County Humane Society works around the clock to help animals find forever homes. But taking care of those animals during their stay doesn't just take a lot of time; it takes a lot of money, too.

The shelter got a helping hand, thanks to a $35,000 grant from the ASPCA. It's part of an initiative to help brick-and-mortar shelters improve their animals' quality of life.

Shelter director Angie Schaefer says that money paid for 20 new cat-condos, fencing for two new dog yards, and several other much-needed supplies.

"We're small, we're in a small community, so to raise that kind of money to get these items would have been quite a task. For them to step in and do that for us is amazing," said Schaefer.

Schaefer said the extra yards will allow dogs to spend more time outside and socialize with each other.

If you're interested in volunteering or donating to the humane society, visit its website for more information.

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MADISON, WI - Cigarette smoking rates have dropped since Wisconsin's Smoke-Free Indoor Air Law went into effect 10 years ago.

In 2008, before the law passed, 20% of Wisconsin adults smoked cigarettes. By 2018, the rate had dropped to 16%. High school youth cigarette smoking rates dropped from nearly 21% in 2008 to nearly 5% in 2018.

State cigarette taxes were also increased during this time period and contribute to this reduction.

"Wisconsin is breathing easier today thanks to this law, but we know there are many people in our state who still smoke," said DHS Secretary-Designee Andrea Palm. "We urge smokers to take advantage of the programs available to help them to quit, especially now during the COVID-19 pandemic, as people who smoke are believed to be more susceptible to the virus, and can become severely ill with it."

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MADISON - Wisconsin health officials have confirmed nearly 600 more cases of COVID-19 in the state.

The state Department of Health Services said Friday that the state has now seen 30,317 confirmed cases since the pandemic began in March. That's up 579 cases from Thursday.

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RHINELANDER -
The Hodag Water Shows Board of Directors have canceled the water ski shows for 2020.

You can still walk past and spot the skiers keeping their skills sharp for next summer, but organizers say having shows is too risky.

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RHINELANDER - The Pioneer Park Historical Complex is popular not only among tourists but also school field trips and Rhinelander natives.

The buildings give people an endless amount of historical background on the city and surrounding areas.

Like many city-owned places, the complex operates mainly on donations.

In the past the museum has had trouble accepting the donations of larger amounts and tax-deductible ones.

Until a recent partnership, the museum was unable to accept donations of large amounts and tax-deductible ones.

The new alliance with the Rhinelander Community Foundation led to the creation of a general fund.

Creators of the fund George and Sondra Juetten will match any donation up to $25,000 to the fund.

Museum director Kerry Bloedorn says the new partnership opens up more opportunities towards projects at the park.

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ST. GERMAIN - The St. Germain Chamber of Commerce is hosting the first ever 'Sunday Funday.' 

On Sunday, July 5th, there will be two bands: Flying Blind from 11 a.m. to 2 p.m. and Tony Ocean 2 p.m. to 5 p.m. 

St. Germain's Chamber of Commerce Exec. Director Penny Strom said she wants this to be an opportunity for people to get outside while being safe.

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- The U.S. headed into the Fourth of July weekend with many parades and fireworks displays canceled, beaches and bars closed, and health authorities warning that this will be a crucial test of Americans' self-control that could determine the trajectory of the surging coronavirus outbreak.

With confirmed cases climbing in 40 states, governors and local officials have ordered the wearing of masks in public, and families were urged to celebrate their independence at home. Even then, they were told to keep their backyard cookouts small.

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