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SANTA FE, N.M. (AP) — New Mexico Gov. Michelle Lujan Grisham on Friday defended her handling of accusations of harassment by a former campaign spokesman that resulted in a financial settlement of at least $62,500 in payments from her political campaign, explaining that the pandemic demanded her attention.

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WASHINGTON (AP) — The Justice Department will scrutinize a wave of new laws in Republican-controlled states that tighten voting rules, Attorney General Merrick Garland said Friday, vowing to take action on any violations of federal law.

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NEW YORK (AP) — Stories of race, racism and colonialism in the U.S. swept the Pulitzer Prizes for the arts, from Louise Erdrich's novel “The Night Watchman” to a Malcolm X biography co-written by the late Les Payne to Katori Hall's play “The Hot Wing King.”

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BATON ROUGE, La. (AP) — In the final minutes of their legislative session, Louisiana lawmakers agreed to change the way the state shops for voting systems, to include more public vetting and require an auditable paper trail, after two recent efforts to replace the state’s voting machines failed amid controversy.

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CHICAGO (AP) — Illinois Democrats used inadequate data and an opaque process to draw new legislative districts, a Latino civil rights organization argued in the latest lawsuit seeking to block the maps from being used for statehouse elections over the next decade.

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BERLIN (AP) — Germany’s environmentalist Greens are putting the finishing touches on their election pitch and preparing to formally endorse Annalena Baerbock as their candidate for chancellor, amid a slip in the party's poll ratings fueled in large part by its own mistakes.

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NASHVILLE, Tenn. (AP) — Race-related tensions within the Southern Baptist Convention are high heading into a national meeting next week. The election of a new SBC president and debate over the concept of systemic racism may prove pivotal for some Black pastors as they decide whether to stay in the denomination or leave.

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ATLANTA (AP) — For more than a decade, Georgia Democrats struggled to lure highly qualified, big-name candidates to run for statewide office. With Republicans firmly in control of all constitutional positions and the state legislature, none wanted to take the risk.

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HELSINKI (AP) — Finland holds local elections Sunday in a first litmus test for popular young Social Democratic Prime Minister Sanna Marin, who took office 18 months ago shortly before the pandemic outbreak, and whose party is behind in polls across the country.

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BATON ROUGE, La. (AP) — Louisiana lawmakers Thursday completed a nine-week legislative session where they spent hefty sums of coronavirus recovery money, worked to overhaul the state's tax structure and found themselves battling over social issues that nearly derailed the financial debates.

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LOS ANGELES (AP) — Democratic leaders in the California Legislature announced Thursday the state would cover the estimated $215 million cost to stage an expected recall election that could oust Democratic Gov. Gavin Newsom from office, potentially allowing the contest to be held at an earlier date this year.

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NASHVILLE, Tenn. (AP) — A longtime Tennessee judge who drew backlash from Republican officials for ordering an expansion of absentee voting during the COVID-19 pandemic won't seek reelection next year, saying it's a decision she made before GOP lawmakers unsuccessfully tried to remove her from office early this year.

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MONTGOMERY, Ala. (AP) — U.S. Rep. Mo Brooks is attempting to raise cash for his Senate race with a fundraising email detailing how his wife was served with papers notifying the congressman of a lawsuit accusing him of inciting the crowd that stormed the U.S. Capitol.

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