Stacks of ballot envelopes waiting to be mailed are seen at the Wake County Board of Elections in Raleigh, North Carolina, on September 3.

In several places, the United States Constitution says that states may not “deny” or “abridge” the right to vote based on several characteristics: race, sex, inability to pay a poll tax, or age. Given that these constitutional amendments prohibit both “denial” and “abridgement,” we would expect those terms to mean different things and for courts to prevent either action. Unfortunately, in a case out of Texas, a federal appeals court just construed the word “abridge” so…

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