The Latest: Group sues over Mississippi absentee procedures

JACKSON, Miss. (AP) — The Latest on the U.S. Senate race in Mississippi (all times local):

2:05 p.m.

A civil rights group is challenging Mississippi's absentee voting procedures in a lawsuit filed on the eve of the U.S. Senate runoff election.

The Washington-based Lawyers' Committee for Civil Rights Under Law is asking a federal court to make Mississippi extend its deadline for voters to return absentee ballots.

The complaint says some voters didn't have enough time to fill out and mail absentee ballots for the runoff over the Thanksgiving holiday unless they paid for costly overnight shipping.

The group sued on behalf of the Mississippi NAACP and three voters.

The secretary of state's office didn't immediately return an email seeking comment.

Republican Sen. Cindy Hyde-Smith is facing Democrat Mike Espy in Tuesday's runoff.

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8:17 a.m.

President Donald Trump is stumping in Mississippi on Monday for a Republican Senate appointee who wants voters to focus on her unwavering support for him, and not the racial questions that have made Tuesday's runoff election a much closer contest than anyone expected.

Sen. Cindy Hyde-Smith has made Monday's rallies a highlight of her runoff campaign against Democrat Mike Espy, and Trump thanked her right back on Twitter for voting for "our Agenda in the Senate 100% of the time."

But race has become a dominant issue as Hyde-Smith faces Espy, a former congressman and U.S. agriculture secretary who would become Mississippi's first black senator since Reconstruction.

Hyde-Smith has drawn fire for a photo showing her wearing a replica hat of a Confederate soldier, and a video showing her praising a supporter by saying, "If he invited me to a public hanging, I'd be on the front row."