A Supreme Court ruling on Thursday means that it will remain easier than usual for people in Rhode Island to vote by mail in the November election. In an unsigned order, the justices kept emergency rules in place that allow people to cast their ballots without the signatures of two witnesses, reports Reuters. Democratic Gov. Gina Raimondo suspended the two-signature requirement in April, ahead of the June primary, because she said it would have posed a health risk during the pandemic, per the AP. State lawmakers agreed to keep the looser restrictions in place for next month's primary and the November general election, but the Republican National Committee and the state's Republican Party objected.
On Thursday, though, the court allowed the rules to stay in place, noting that no "state official has expressed opposition." This marks the first time the court has ruled on a voting matter related to the pandemic, notes the Washington Post. The ruling said justices Clarence Thomas, Samuel Alito, and Neil Gorsuch would have granted the GOP request. Republicans oppose easier mail voting because they say, as does President Trump, that the process is vulnerable to fraud. But a rep for the ACLU says the ruling means "hundreds of thousands of Rhode Island voters will be able to safely cast their ballots without risking their health." (Trump has suggested he may issue some kind of executive order on mail voting.)