Democrat Joe Biden‘s presidential campaign has amassed more than 190 endorsements from sheriffs, prosecutors and attorneys general even as Donald Trump centers his campaign around a call for ‘law and corder.
The list includes former sheriffs, state attorneys general, and U.S. attorneys. Many come from battleground states such as Colardao, Michigan, and Arizona, during a campaign when protests and violent clashes in cities has become an undercurrent of the campaign.
Some of those lending the name to the effort, which was reported by Fox News, blasted Trump as a ‘lawless’ president.
Joe Biden’s campaign announced the backing of 190 former sheriffs, state attorneys general, and U.S. attorneys
Among them was Noble Wray, the retired police chief of Madison, Wisconsin. “It’s ironic that a lawless president claims to be the ‘law and order’ president,” Wray told the network. “We are at a crossroads with this nation, and we need a president that has always prioritized the safety of Americans and their families.”
Said the Biden campaign in a statement Friday morning: ‘Their endorsement comes on the heels of Donald Trump’s attempts to characterize himself as the ‘Law and Order’ president despite failing to condemn violence, his gross mismanagement of the coronavirus, and his incitement of chaos, destruction and violence as a way to rally his base and advance his political agenda. Additionally, 23 Democratic Attorneys-General have already endorsed Biden.’
Biden’s list came out a day after the former vice president toured Kenosha, Wisconsin and met with the family of Jacob Blake, who was shot in the back seven times by a police officer.
President Donald Trump listens to Kenosha County Sheriff David Beth (R) on September 1, 2020, at Mary D. Bradford High School in Kenosha, Wisconsin. – Trump visited Kenosha, the city at the center of a raging US debate over racism, despite pleas to stay away and claims he is dangerously fanning tensions as a reelection ploy
Trump has made support from law enforcement groups a pillar of his campaign
Both candidates toward Kenosha, the site of protests and destruction following the shooting of Jacob Blake
The Biden camp announced the endorsements after both he and Trump visited Kenosha, Wisconsin
Trump had visited a day earlier, where he toured small businesses turned to rubble and met with law enforcement members who support him – including Sheriff David Beth, who has already drawn controversy for his 2018 comments calling for a group of black shoplifters to be warehoused for life.
Late Thursday, Trump tweeted: ‘Why aren’t the Portland Police ARRESTING the cold blooded killer of Aaron “Jay” Danielson. Do your job, and do it fast. Everybody knows who this thug is. No wonder Portland is going to hell!’ He tagged the Justice Department and the FBI.
Michael Reinoehl, 48, an Antifa gunman who had admitted shooting Danielson, a Patriot Prayer supporter, died later in a shootout with U.S. Marhsalls.
Trump and the White House also sought Thursday to clarify comments from the president’s trip to North Carolina on Wednesday, when he suggested that those who vote by mail vote again in person. Trump said Thursday that he was merely suggesting that voters follow up to ensure that mail-in ballots are counted. The White House said he wasn’t advocating breaking the law.
Here are some significant developments:
September 3, 2020 at 1:00 PM EDT
Biden meets privately with Blake family members, lawyers
Shortly after landing at the airport in Milwaukee, Biden and his wife, Jill, headed to a building there for a private meeting with family members of Jacob Blake, the Black man recently shot by Kenosha, Wis., police, as well as members of the family’s legal team.
According to Biden’s campaign, those taking part in the meeting include both of Blake’s parents as well as other family members, some of whom are participating by phone. Three members of Blake’s legal team are also either present or taking part by phone, the campaign said.
Biden is scheduled to head later Thursday to Kenosha, Wis., where Blake was shot in the back by police multiple times, for a community meeting.
During Trump’s visit to Kenosha this week, he did not meet with Blake’s family.
By John Wagner
September 3, 2020 at 12:31 PM EDT
New Biden ad speaks to Black voters ahead of Kenosha visit
Biden, ahead of his trip to Kenosha, Wis., on Thursday released an emotional new ad online that tells Black voters, “we’re listening.”
The Democratic presidential nominee is scheduled to meet Thursday with the family of Jacob Blake, the man who was shot by a Kenosha police officer and left paralyzed. Video of the incident, recorded and released on social media by a witness, has brought renewed national attention to the protests against police brutality and systemic racism across the country after a long summer of demonstrations.
“Why in this nation do Black Americans wake up knowing that they can lose their life in the course of just living their life,” Biden says in the ad’s opening moments.
“Part of the point of freedom is to be free from brutality from injustice, from racism and all of its manifestations,” says Sen. Kamala D. Harris (D-Calif.), his running mate.
Harris, who is of Black and South Asian heritage, features prominently in the ad, in which she details the campaign’s support for a national use-of-force standard for police officers. Federal funding for police departments, she said, would be contingent upon “the adoption of that standard.” She also said the campaign supports “reining in qualified immunity” for police officers.
The ad is running digitally in Wisconsin, Michigan, North Carolina and Pennsylvania. It is part of a broader $45 million investment in digital and broadcast advertisements this week by the Biden campaign, and the campaign said it will begin running on cable in “top battleground markets” this weekend.
By Jose Del Real
September 3, 2020 at 11:59 AM EDT
Covid-19 has killed more police officers this year than all other causes combined, data shows
As of Sept. 2, on-the-job coronavirus infections were responsible for a least 100 officer deaths, more than gun violence, car accidents and all other causes combined, according to the Officer Down group. NLEOMF reported a nearly identical number of coronavirus-related law enforcement deaths.
By Christopher Ingraham
September 3, 2020 at 11:40 AM EDT
N.C. elections board discourages voters from checking status of mail-in ballots at polls on Election Day
The North Carolina State Board of Elections on Thursday discouraged voters from coming to the polls on Election Day to verify that their mail-in ballots had been counted, a step that Trump is advocating.
“The State Board office strongly discourages people from showing up at the polls on Election Day to check whether their absentee ballot was counted,” Karen Brinson Bell, executive director of the board, said in a statement. “This is not necessary, and it would lead to longer lines and the possibility of spreading COVID-19.”
The statement was issued following Trump’s comments during a trip to North Carolina on Wednesday in which he suggested that those who cast mail-in ballots vote again in person. On Thursday, he sought to clarify his remarks, saying he was merely advocating checking in at polling locations to ensure voters’ mail-in ballots were received and properly tabulated.
In the statement, Brinson Bell also stressed that voting twice — or asking someone to do so — is illegal.
“Attempting to vote twice in an election or soliciting someone to do so is a violation of North Carolina law,” she said.
Separately, Facebook said it would delete a video of Trump’s original comments in North Carolina.
“This video violates our policies prohibiting voter fraud and we will remove it unless it is shared to correct the record,” the company said in a statement.
By John Wagner
September 3, 2020 at 11:10 AM EDT
Biden, Trump tied in North Carolina, new poll shows
A new Monmouth University poll shows Biden and Trump in a virtual tie in North Carolina, a state that Trump won by more than three percentage points over Democrat Hillary Clinton in 2016.
Biden takes 47 percent among registered voters in the survey, compared with 45 percent for Trump. The poll was conducted Aug. 29 to Sep. 1 and has a margin of error of plus or minus 4.9 percentage points. Libertarian Party nominee Jo Jorgensen takes 3 percent in the survey, and two other candidates take less than 1 percent. Three percent of registered voters in the survey are undecided.
Trump visited North Carolina on Wednesday to name Wilmington the country’s first World War II Heritage City.
In the battle for the U.S. Senate, the poll shows an even closer race. Sen. Thom Tillis (R) takes 45 percent among registered voters, while his challenger, Democrat Cal Cunningham, takes 46 percent.
The gubernatorial contest, by contrast, is far less competitive. Gov. Roy Cooper (D) is leading Lt. Gov. Dan Forest (R) by double digits, taking 51 percent to Forest’s 40 percent. One potential reason for the lead could be Cooper’s handling of the coronavirus pandemic, experts say.
Cooper is also viewed most favorably among the four major Senate and gubernatorial contenders. Fifty percent of North Carolina voters view him favorably. Only 32 percent view Forest favorably. Thirty-two percent view Tillis favorably, and Cunningham was viewed favorably by 34 percent.
By Felicia Sonmez
September 3, 2020 at 10:58 AM EDT
Trump seeks to clarify comments on voting twice
Trump on Thursday sought to clarify remarks in which he suggested voting twice, saying in a series of tweets that he was instead urging those who vote by mail to follow up at their polling place to make sure their mail-in ballots have been counted.
During a trip to North Carolina on Wednesday, Trump suggested that those who vote by mail “then go and vote” in person as well. Intentionally voting twice is illegal, and in many states, including North Carolina, it is a felony.
“Based on the massive number of Unsolicited & Solicited Ballots that will be sent to potential Voters for the upcoming 2020 Election, & in order for you to MAKE SURE YOUR VOTE COUNTS & IS COUNTED, SIGN & MAIL IN your Ballot as EARLY as possible,” Trump tweeted Thursday. “On Election Day, or Early Voting, go to your Polling Place to see whether or not your Mail In Vote has been Tabulated (Counted). If it has you will not be able to Vote & the Mail In System worked properly. If it has not been Counted, VOTE (which is a citizen’s right to do).”
Following his advice, he said, would assure “THAT YOUR PRECIOUS VOTE HAS BEEN COUNTED, it hasn’t been ‘lost, thrown out, or in any way destroyed.’”
His tweets came shortly after a television appearance in which White House press secretary Kayleigh McEnany insisted Trump was not calling on voters to break the law.
“The president is not suggesting anyone do anything unlawful,” McEnany said during an appearance on Fox News. “What he said very clearly there is make sure your [mail-in] vote is tabulated, and if it is not, then vote.”
“Basically, when you get an absentee ballot and you send it in, there are poll books, and it is recorded that you have in fact voted, and if you show up at a polling site, they look at the poll book and say your vote’s been counted,” she continued. “He wants verification. Democrats want a whole new fraudulent system of mail-in voting never tried before in American history, and what Democrats are saying to you is, ‘Trust us, but don’t verify.’ What this president is saying is verify your vote.”
Trump, who has claimed the 2020 election will be rife with fraud and rigged against him because of greater mail-in voting during the pandemic, was asked Wednesday by a television reporter in North Carolina whether he had confidence in the system.
“Let them send it in and let them go vote, and if their system’s as good as they say it is, then obviously they won’t be able to vote. If it isn’t tabulated, they’ll be able to vote,” Trump said, adding, “So send it in early and then go and vote.”
By John Wagner and Colby Itkowitz
September 3, 2020 at 10:17 AM EDT
House Oversight Committee requests probe into alleged Hatch Act violations during GOP convention
The House Oversight Committee on Thursday asked for an investigation into alleged “multiple, repeated violations” of the Hatch Act during last week’s Republican National Convention, after critics and watchdog groups argued that the event improperly blurred the lines between official and campaign activity.
Oversight Committee Chair Carolyn B. Maloney (D-N.Y.) and three other Democrats — subcommittee chairs Reps. Stephen F. Lynch (Mass.) and Gerald E. Connolly (Va.) and Virgin Islands Del. Stacey Plaskett — made the request in a letter to the Office of Special Counsel, which enforces the act.
The Hatch Act bars executive branch employees from participating in politics in their official capacity.
“Throughout the Convention, Administration officials repeatedly used their official positions and the White House itself to bolster President Trump’s reelection campaign,” the Democrats wrote in their letter. “The Trump Administration staged a pardon and naturalization ceremony in order to use video of the event during the Convention later that day, they repeatedly used the White House for Convention speaking engagements, and Secretary of State Michael Pompeo engaged in political activity speaking at the Convention while on official travel abroad.”
In an interview with Politico last week, White House Chief of Staff Mark Meadows rejected the notion that the administration had run afoul of the Hatch Act during the convention, asserting that the law was being applied “beyond the original intent.”
“Nobody outside of the Beltway really cares,” he said.
By Felicia Sonmez
September 3, 2020 at 10:15 AM EDT
Pence is heading to North Carolina on heels of Trump’s trip to the state
Vice President Pence is headed to Raleigh, N.C., on Thursday, the second time in as many days that a member of the Republican ticket will touch down in the battleground state of North Carolina.
Pence is set to visit Gateway Women’s Care, a pregnancy and sexual health center in downtown Raleigh, where the White House says he will participate in a roundtable discussion with “mothers and pro-life leaders.”
His itinerary also includes a stop at a Baptist church for another antiabortion event and a stop in nearby Cary, N.C., to accept an endorsement from the Southern States Police Benevolent Association.
Trump traveled to Wilmington, N.C., on Wednesday for an event commemorating the end of World War II.
By John Wagner
September 3, 2020 at 9:22 AM EDT
Democratic senators ask Trump administration for sanctions over election interference from Russia, other countries
Democratic senators asked the Trump administration Thursday to immediately impose sanctions on individuals and agencies acting on behalf of Russia and other countries that are seeking to interfere with this year’s U.S. election.
In making the formal request to Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin, 11 senators cited a recent intelligence finding that Russia is using several measures “to denigrate former Vice President [Joe] Biden” and other Democrats in advance of the election.
“Congress has mandated a broad range of sanctions tools, and it is long past time for the administration to send a direct message to President [Vladimir] Putin: the U.S. will respond immediately and forcefully to continuing election interference,” said the letter, written by Sen. Ron Wyden (Ore.), a member of the Senate Intelligence Committee, and co-signed by 10 others, including Senate Minority Leader Charles E. Schumer (N.Y.).
By Tom Hamburger
September 3, 2020 at 8:40 AM EDT
Network of news sites must register as a political committee because of Democratic links, complaint alleges
A new complaint filed Thursday with the Federal Election Commission alleges that a national network of local media websites must register as a political committee because of its ties to a Democratic-aligned group.
Courier Newsroom, which includes seven news sites concentrated in presidential swing states, is backed by Acronym, a politically active nonprofit organization run by Democratic strategist Tara McGowan.
Federal election laws and regulations do not apply to media outlets unless they are “owned or controlled by” a political party, committee or candidate and are acting as a media outlet rather than a political one.
By Michelle Lee
September 3, 2020 at 8:29 AM EDT
Rick Snyder, Michigan’s former GOP governor, endorses Biden
Calling Trump “verbally abusive” and “a bully,” former Michigan governor Rick Snyder on Thursday announced his support for Biden, becoming one of the highest-profile Republicans to back the Democratic nominee.
“We will not continue to be the greatest nation in the world if we can’t get along among ourselves,” Snyder said in a USA Today op-ed in which he stressed the need for civility in politics. “We have only become more divided over the past four years. We need a leader who believes in civility and bringing Americans closer together. While I am endorsing Joe Biden for president, I am still a Republican who also will be publicly supporting Republican candidates at the local, state and federal level.”
Snyder served as governor of Michigan from 2011 to 2019.
Snyder is among a group of nearly 100 Republican and independent officeholders, government officials and political operatives who are backing Biden, according to Republicans and Independents for Biden. Former New Jersey governor Christine Todd Whitman (R) is serving as chairwoman of the group’s steering committee.
By John Wagner
September 3, 2020 at 8:15 AM EDT
Pentagon restarts projects defunded for Trump’s wall, helping campaigns of some GOP senators
Trump’s decision to use Pentagon money to pay for his border wall created problems on the campaign trail for Republican senators seeking reelection in states that lost military construction projects to the president’s effort.
But the Defense Department’s move in recent months to restart many of those domestic projects has provided political cover to several Republican incumbents facing tough reelections.
Defense Secretary Mark T. Esper announced in April that funding would be restored to 22 of the 34 construction projects at domestic military bases that were defunded last year. In a memo, Esper indicated that the Pentagon would obtain the $545.5 million needed to revive the projects by diverting funds from projects overseas — many designed to shore up defenses against Russia.
By Paul Sonne
September 3, 2020 at 8:11 AM EDT
Trump campaign manager claims Fox News battleground state polls are ‘a little askew’
Fox News polls showing Biden leading Trump in three battleground states that Trump won in 2016 — Arizona, North Carolina and Wisconsin — are “a little askew,” Trump’s campaign manager argued Thursday during an appearance on the network.
The Fox News polls, released Wednesday, showed Biden leading Trump in Arizona, 49 percent to 40 percent. In North Carolina, the Democratic challenger was up over the Republican incumbent, 50 percent to 46 percent. And in Wisconsin, Biden was leading 50 percent to 42 percent.
“I love Fox. I love Fox News. I love you guys. I don’t love your polls,” Bill Stepien said during an appearance on “Fox & Friends.”
Stepien suggested Fox has sampled too many Democrats and said the Trump campaign has “very different” polling. He did not relay what that showed.
By John Wagner
September 3, 2020 at 7:46 AM EDT
Trump heading to Pennsylvania, a key battleground state
Trump is heading to Latrobe, Pa., on Thursday night for a campaign speech to be staged at the airport there, underscoring the importance of Pennsylvania to both the Republican and Democratic tickets.
Trump’s trip to the city in the Pittsburgh metropolitan area comes on the heels of Biden’s speech in Pittsburgh on Monday. The Democratic nominee and former vice president accused Trump of fomenting violence in America’s cities and said the president is incapable of addressing it.
In 2016, Trump carried Pennsylvania over Democrat Hillary Clinton by less than one percentage point.
A Monmouth University poll released Wednesday showed a tight race this year, with Biden taking 49 percent among registered voters and Trump at 45 percent. That gap is narrower than in July, when the same survey showed Biden taking 53 percent to Trump’s 40 percent.
Ahead of Trump’s trip, Biden issued a statement predicting that “you almost certainly won’t hear him take responsibility for the economic hardship his presidency has caused Pennsylvanians.”
“President Trump’s mishandling of the economy and the coronavirus pandemic has caused millions of people across the Commonwealth to file for unemployment since March, has led to a staggering unemployment rate of over 13 percent in Westmoreland County, and caused nearly 8,000 Pennsylvanians to lose their lives from the virus,” Biden said, referring the county that includes Latrobe.
As if 2020 needed another bout of apocalyptic news, reports circled this weekend that an asteroid is headed toward Earth right on Election Day. “Just in Time for the Election: An Asteroid?” the New York Times reported. “Asteroid heading our way right before Election Day,” the CNN headline blared as the topic trended on social media.
It would certainly be the cherry on top of a not-so-sweet year. But just as headlines about the murder hornets were overhyped, this asteroid is nothing to fret about — this year.
“It currently has a 0.41% chance of entering our planet’s atmosphere, but if it did, it would disintegrate due to its extremely small size,” NASA’s Planetary Defense Coordination Office tweeted on Aug. 23.
2018 VP1, which is the name of the asteroid, is about 6.5 feet in diameter. While November 2, 2020 is the day that it has a 1 in 243 chance of hitting Earth, the asteroid wouldn’t cause any damage even if it does strike us. It’s far too small. In fact, it’s not uncommon for asteroids of this size to burn up in the atmosphere.
For context, the asteroid that researchers believe wiped out the dinosaurs was roughly 6 miles wide. Its impact radically changed the climate and atmosphere, which led to a mass extinction event.
Dr. Ed Lu, executive director of the Asteroid Institute and a three-time NASA astronaut, told Salon it will be like “a shooting star in the sky” if it enters Earth’s atmosphere.
“This is ridiculously small, meaning even if it hits the Earth it’s a bright show and that’s it,” Lu said. “It would look like a fireball in the sky. It’s the kind of thing that happens every few weeks on Earth.”
In 2018, astronomers discovered the asteroid using a robotic telescope called the Zwicky Transient Facility in California. Its trajectory has a high uncertainty, since it hasn’t been seen since its discovery, but it has a two-year orbital period which means it is on its way back to us. While it is expected to be near Earth on Nov. 2, 2020, the day before the United States’ Election Day, it is more likely to pass a few thousand miles away from our planet.
Lu said it’s possible that this Near-Earth Object (NEO) could swing back and make an appearance in Earth’s atmosphere at a later date, but emphasized it still wouldn’t do any damage on Earth because of its size.
“Asteroids in general that come back to Earth do swing back at later times,” Lu said, adding that it could be a “teaching moment” for researchers and the public in part because of how hit or miss asteroid tracking is at the moment.
“You don’t have perfect data, because you have a limited number of observations so therefore you’re just sort of a range of possibilities that are all consistent with those two data points that we have,” Lu said.
If it isn’t a big deal, then why did this story go viral? Nobody knows, but it could be the funny timing — coming right on the same day as a pivotal election.
“This story should have been cut on the newsroom floor before it went viral,” Danica Remy, President B612 Foundation, told Salon. “Clearly someone went digging for this non-news story on the JPL Sentry page for sensationalized drama and clicks”.
Notably, last week a small asteroid also flew by very close to Earth; an asteroid named 2020 QG. According to NASA’s Jet Propulsion Laboratory, it is now the closest known non-impacting asteroid. Like the Election Day asteroid, there was no concern about it impacting Earth because it would have likely have become a fireball as it entered Earth’s atmosphere.
“It’s really cool to see a small asteroid come by this close, because we can see the Earth’s gravity dramatically bend its trajectory,” Paul Chodas, director of the Center for Near-Earth Object Studies (CNEOS) at NASA’s Jet Propulsion Laboratory in Southern California, said in statement. “Our calculations show that this asteroid got turned by 45 degrees or so as it swung by our planet.”
As Donald Trump warns inaccurately of voter fraud and polls show the unpopular president staying within touching distance of Democrat Joe Biden, the prospect of an unresolved US election draws horribly near, especially as the impact of the coronavirus is widely seen as likely to delay a result by days, if not weeks.
History does provide some sort of guide. There have been inconclusive US elections before. They were resolved, but not by any constitutional mechanism and the consequences of such brutal political contests have been severe indeed.
In 2000, the supreme court decided a disputed Florida result and put a Republican, George W Bush, in the White House instead of the Democrat Al Gore. Though of course the justices could not know it, they had put America on the road to war in Iraq, economic crisis, the rise of the evangelical right and a deepening political divide.
That case is well within living memory. But an election much further back produced even more damaging results.
The campaign of 1876 ended with the electoral college in the balance as three states were disputed. Out of deadlock, eventually, came a political deal, giving the Republican Rutherford Hayes the presidency at the expense of Samuel Tilden, who like Gore, and indeed Hillary Clinton in 2016, won the popular vote.
Tilden’s compensation was that his party, the Democrats, were allowed to put an end to Reconstruction, the process by which the victors in the civil war abolished slavery and sought to ensure the rights of black Americans, via the 13th, 14th and 15th constitutional amendments.
The awful result was Jim Crow, the system of white supremacy and segregation which lasted well into the 20th century and whose legacy remains crushingly strong in a country now gripped by protests against police brutality and for systemic reform.
Eric Foner, now retired from Columbia University, is America’s pre-eminent historian of the civil war, slavery and Reconstruction, a prize-winner many times over. He told the Guardian the US of 2020 is not prepared for what may be around the corner.
“In 1877 there were three states, Florida, South Carolina, Louisiana, where two different sets of returns were sent up, one by the Democrats, one by the Republicans, each claiming to have carried the state.
“There was no established mechanism and in fact, in the end, we went around the constitution, or beyond the constitution, or ignored the constitution. It was settled by an extralegal body called the Electoral Commission, which was established by Congress to decide who won.”
National Republican chart from 1876 featuring Rutherford Hayes for president and William Wheeler for vice-president. Photograph: Education Images/Universal History Archive/Universal Images Group/Getty Images
Through wheeling and dealing in smoky back rooms as well as the precincts of Capitol Hill, that process produced a result.
“If there is such a dispute this November,” Foner says, “one of the things that is similar to 1876 is that today you have a divided Congress. Back then, just as now, you had Republicans in control of the Senate and Democrats in control of the House. And that gave each party a lot of power.”
If Trump does refuse to vacate the Oval Office, Biden may have to make concessions.
“Let’s imagine that the Republicans recognize Biden, withdraw their claim that, say, Biden is ahead by 7m popular votes but the electoral college is disputed. In exchange for that, Biden has to promise to do X, Y and Z. He’s got to promise to build the border wall to completion. He’s got to promise to make Russia the 51st state. Whatever it is Trump wants.
“Is that conceivable? I don’t know, probably not. But somebody has to decide and in 1876, in the end, it was this Electoral Commission.
“In 2000, I remember very well, a bunch of historians took a full-page ad in the New York Times, calling for a new Electoral Commission to examine the whole thing, and I thought that was one of the worst ideas I’d ever heard. When you go back to 1876, part of the deal was the surrender of the rights of African Americans. I’m not sure that’s a precedent we want to reinvigorate, you know?”
Many fear Trump and the Republicans will consider no tactic too underhand, no punch too low, before or after the vote.
“The election of 1876,” Foner says, “would not have been disputed at all if there hadn’t been massive violence in the south to prevent black people from voting and voter suppression like we have today. Now, voter suppression is mostly legal. Back then it was violent, you know, mob activity or Klan activity or other things to intimidate blacks or prevent them from going to vote.
“In other words if you had a fair election in the south, a peaceful election, there’s no question that the Republican Hayes would have won a totally legitimate and indisputable victory.
Many urge that the only real way to resolve fears of a contested result is for the electorate to hand Biden so resounding a victory that Trump will have no choice but to go. Foner agrees, though as “the country is fairly evenly divided, it’s hard to win a landslide election”.
Does he think, as many do, that the US is now as divided as at any time since the civil war and its aftermath?
“Sure, in a sense. We’re in a very ideological moment [but] right now we don’t have the violence. President Grant sent troops into the south in 1871, to suppress the Ku Klux Klan. We had a civil war, which we’re not quite on the verge of yet, I hope.
“But in the aftermath of civil war, yes, the Democrats were explicitly and overtly a party of white supremacy. That was their principle. The Republicans were the party of Lincoln, of emancipation and, increasingly, basic rights for African Americans.
“Those were very different positions and they led to extreme partisanship. Not a single Democrat in Congress voted for any of the so-called Reconstruction legislation which tried to protect the rights of blacks in the south. The hyper-polarization was there, 150 years ago.”
Swap the parties round, and the parallel to today is clear.
A cartoon depicts intimidation techniques used to suppress southern black votes in the election of 1876. Photograph: AB Frost. From Harper’s Weekly, October 21, 1876
Foner also says that while a contested result in 2020 could send America down a very dark path, a big Biden victory could herald a brighter future.
“It’s possible Biden wins by a large majority, [the Democrats] get control of the Senate. You know, the atmosphere in the country, whether it’s the racial issue or the pandemic or the economic crisis we’re in, all of that cries out for people who are looking for serious, substantive leadership, which of course we haven’t had lately.
“On the other hand, if Biden squeaks in, you know, with 52% of the vote and the Senate remains in the hands of Mitch McConnell and the Republicans … Biden can reverse all of Trump’s executive orders but he’s not going to get the major progressive legislation through.”
In the words of William Dean Howells, the dean of American 19th-century letters whom Foner has quoted elsewhere, the American public always wants “a tragedy with a happy ending”. Thanks to the election of 1876, Reconstruction did not deliver. As the election of 2020 looms, the Trump presidency may. Or may not.
Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern said the September national election scheduled would be delayed by four weeks, citing voter safety and a lockdown in Auckland that would make it difficult to campaign.
SYDNEY, Australia — New Zealand on Monday said it would postpone its national election by four weeks as a cluster of new coronavirus cases continued to spread through the city of Auckland despite a lockdown.
Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern, who has the sole authority to determine when people cast ballots, said she had consulted with all the major parties before delaying the vote, originally scheduled for Sept. 19, to Oct. 17.
Ms. Ardern called the decision a compromise that “provides sufficient time for parties to plan around the range of circumstances we could be campaigning under, for the electoral commission to prepare and for voters to feel assured of a safe, accessible and critical election.”
She also ruled out further change. Even if the outbreak worsens, she said, “we will be sticking with the date we have.”
The shift keeps Election Day within the time frame allowed under the law — the latest possible date is Nov. 21 — but it also highlights the national concern as a cluster of at least 58 new cases frustrates investigators, clears the streets of Auckland and suspends scheduled campaign events.
Ms. Ardern’s approval ratings skyrocketed after the country’s first lockdown, in late March, led to what health officials described as the elimination of the virus and a return to life verging on normal, with crowded restaurants, stadiums and schools. Now, she faces greater scrutiny over what went wrong and how long the country will have to endure another round of restrictions.
“If it transpires that there was a considerable oversight, lax regulation or flawed implementation, that could have a very significant impact on the narrative,” said Richard Shaw, a politics professor at Massey University in Palmerston North, New Zealand.
But, he added, “there is a deep reservoir of good will toward the prime minister,” and it is possible that the way she has handled the election delay will only bolster her chances.
“She might have just added 5 percent to her polling by making an announcement that many New Zealanders will think is reasonable, fair and sensible,” Mr. Shaw said.
He added the election delay was inevitable in part because the September date would have required the dissolution of Parliament on Monday to allow for a month of campaigning. Parliament will now be dissolved on Sept. 6.
“She needed to be seen as responding to this,” he said of Ms. Ardern. “It’s a straightforward political decision.”
New Zealand’s election is far from the first to be postponed because of the pandemic. Hong Kong cited the virus in delaying by a year a Legislative Council vote; more than a dozen U.S. states moved the date of their primaries, as did New York City. And though President Trump floated the idea of delaying the general election, he was promptly shut down by members of Congress and his own party.
In the short-term, Ms. Ardern’s delay will allow her government to focus primarily on the virus. Health officials in New Zealand are still scrambling to test thousands of workers at airports and other points of entry, along with quarantine facilities and a frozen food warehouse, to try to determine how the virus re-emerged last week after 102 days without known community transmission.
On Sunday, officials announced 12 new cases tied to the cluster of four from last Sunday. On Monday, they announced nine more.
Many states have travel restrictions, and lots of them are taking active measures to enforce those restrictions, like issuing fines or asking visitors to quarantine for 14 days. Here’s an ever-updating list of statewide restrictions. In general, travel does increase your chance of getting and spreading the virus, as you are bound to encounter more people than if you remained at your house in your own “pod.” “Staying home is the best way to protect yourself and others from Covid-19,” the C.D.C. says. If you do travel, though, take precautions. If you can, drive. If you have to fly, be careful about picking your airline. But know that airlines are taking real steps to keep planes clean and limit your risk.
I have antibodies. Am I now immune?
As of right now, that seems likely, for at least several months. There have been frightening accounts of people suffering what seems to be a second bout of Covid-19. But experts say these patients may have a drawn-out course of infection, with the virus taking a slow toll weeks to months after initial exposure. People infected with the coronavirus typically produce immune molecules called antibodies, which are protective proteins made in response to an infection. These antibodies may last in the body only two to three months, which may seem worrisome, but that’s perfectly normal after an acute infection subsides, said Dr. Michael Mina, an immunologist at Harvard University. It may be possible to get the coronavirus again, but it’s highly unlikely that it would be possible in a short window of time from initial infection or make people sicker the second time.
I’m a small-business owner. Can I get relief?
The stimulus bills enacted in March offer help for the millions of American small businesses. Those eligible for aid are businesses and nonprofit organizations with fewer than 500 workers, including sole proprietorships, independent contractors and freelancers. Some larger companies in some industries are also eligible. The help being offered, which is being managed by the Small Business Administration, includes the Paycheck Protection Program and the Economic Injury Disaster Loan program. But lots of folks have not yet seen payouts. Even those who have received help are confused: The rules are draconian, and some are stuck sitting on money they don’t know how to use. Many small-business owners are getting less than they expected or not hearing anything at all.
What are my rights if I am worried about going back to work?
It is unlikely that many schools will return to a normal schedule this fall, requiring the grind of online learning, makeshift child care and stunted workdays to continue. California’s two largest public school districts — Los Angeles and San Diego — said on July 13, that instruction will be remote-only in the fall, citing concerns that surging coronavirus infections in their areas pose too dire a risk for students and teachers. Together, the two districts enroll some 825,000 students. They are the largest in the country so far to abandon plans for even a partial physical return to classrooms when they reopen in August. For other districts, the solution won’t be an all-or-nothing approach. Many systems, including the nation’s largest, New York City, are devising hybrid plans that involve spending some days in classrooms and other days online. There’s no national policy on this yet, so check with your municipal school system regularly to see what is happening in your community.
The leaders of other major parties also argued that the Level 3 lockdown in Auckland, the country’s largest city, prevented campaigning and would have made a free and fair election impossible on the original date.
Winston Peters, the deputy prime minister and leader of the New Zealand First Party, Ms. Ardern’s coalition partner, said in a letter to Ms. Ardern last week that until the alert level dropped in Auckland, the “playing field is hopelessly compromised.”
The National Party’s leader, Judith Collins, has said that she would prefer that the election be moved to next year, which would require approval from 75 percent of Parliament.
On Monday, Ms. Collins said the focus must be on determining what led to the current outbreak “so we can be sure it won’t happen again.”
What the delay means for Ms. Ardern and her party’s prospects in the election may depend on the vicissitudes of the virus.
In the announcement on Monday, Ms. Ardern sought to portray the delay as an example of her willingness to listen to the public and make tough decisions.
“Covid is the world’s new normal,” she said. “Here in New Zealand, we are working as hard as we can to make sure our new normal disrupts our lives as little as possible.”
In a brief exchange with a reporter near his Rehoboth Beach, Del., home, presumptive Democratic nominee Joe Biden gave no indications Sunday morning whether he has come to a decision on his running mate.
“Are you ready?” the former vice president replied when asked whether he’d made his choice.
President Trump, meanwhile, started the day at his golf resort in Bedminster, N.J. He is expected to attend a fundraiser in Long Branch, N.J., before heading back to Washington later Sunday.
Here are some significant developments:
August 9, 2020 at 3:55 PM EDT
Biden campaign fundraising kicks into high gear
Joe Biden hasn’t decided on his running mate yet, but his campaign is already committing her time to raising cash. The woman who will be on the bottom of the Democratic presidential ticket will be holding a virtual grass-roots fundraiser with Biden and headline a “Women for Biden” virtual fundraiser, according to a list of finance events shared with The Washington Post. The dates are all to-be-determined.
Biden’s calendar is filling up, too. On Thursday, he’ll headline a fundraiser with Muslim Americans. And on Aug. 17 — the first day of the Democratic National Convention — he will appear at a virtual fundraiser with House Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.).
Biden’s surrogates are also making a money push, in events that read like the schedule for an online Aspen Institute retreat. Upcoming fundraisers will feature Sen. Elizabeth Warren (D-Mass.) and Rep. Katie Porter (D-Calif.); a “cook along” with Sen. Jon Tester (D-Mont.), former White House chef Sam Kass and chef Tom Colicchio; and a climate change conversation with Washington Gov. Jay Inslee (D).
And, for those with an interest in antitrust policy — they’re talking to you, Big Tech — there’s an upcoming “virtual conversation” with Sen. Amy Klobuchar (D-Minn.) and Rep. David N. Cicilline (D-R.I.). Cicilline chaired this month’s hearing on the market dominance of the country’s largest technology firms, and Klobuchar is the top Democrat on the Senate’s Judiciary subcommittee on antitrust, competition policy and consumer rights.
The campaign staff is putting in time as well. Jennifer O’Malley Dillon, Biden’s campaign manager, is holding a “virtual campaign briefing” on Tuesday at 5:30 p.m.. Tickets range from $1,000 to $35,500. Former senator Ted Kaufman (D-Del.) will headline a digital infrastructure conversation, and Biden’s campaign general counsel, Dana Remus, is set for a virtual conversation about the rule of law.
By Annie Linskey
August 9, 2020 at 2:49 PM EDT
Biden and Trump’s son find (some) common ground
Biden and Trump’s eldest son have one policy position in common: Both want to preserve Bristol Bay, the salmon-rich Alaska waterway that is a proposed location for a new gold and copper mine.
“It is no place for a mine,” Biden said in a statement Sunday afternoon.
Last week, Donald Trump Jr. posted on social media that “the headwaters of Bristol Bay and the surrounding fishery are too unique and fragile to take any chances with.”
The Obama administration determined that the mine would harm the sockeye salmon population, but Trump last month revised that ruling and found that the Pebble Mine “would not be expected to have a measurable effect on fish numbers” in the Bristol Bay watershed.
By Annie Linskey
August 9, 2020 at 1:57 PM EDT
The Trump administration is ending the census a month early. Experts say that could result in an undercount of communities of color.
Census experts and advocates warn that the Trump administration’s decision to end the decennial count a month earlier than expected will result in a dramatic undercount of Black and Latino communities across the country, which could have grave effects on federal funding and political representation in their neighborhoods.
They point in particular to alarmingly low response rates in places such as the Rio Grande Valley in Texas and the Bronx in New York, where the coronavirus pandemic had already interrupted outreach in some of the country’s hardest-to-count census tracts.
National nonprofits and community activists are putting together urgent persuasion campaigns in an attempt to cram three months of work into two — driving through neighborhoods with bullhorns taped to vehicles, pouring funds into geotagged digital advertising, and phone-banking.
By Jose Del Real and Fredrick Kunkle
August 9, 2020 at 1:02 PM EDT
Biden holds slight lead over Trump in Wisconsin, Pennsylvania, polls show
New polling by CBS News and YouGov shows Biden with a slight lead over Trump in Wisconsin and Pennsylvania, two states that will be crucial in the campaign for the White House.
According to the polls, Biden is favored by 48 percent of likely voters in Wisconsin compared with 42 percent for Trump. In Pennsylvania, likely voters prefer Biden over Trump by 49 percent to 43 percent.
In 2016, Trump narrowly defeated former secretary of state Hillary Clinton (D) in both states.
Aiding Biden is the fact that about three-quarters of likely voters in both states said things in America are going badly, compared with only one-quarter who say things are going well.
The CBS News/YouGov surveys were conducted Aug. 4-7, 2020. The margin of error for both polls is plus- or minus-3.7 percentage points.
By Felicia Sonmez
August 9, 2020 at 12:18 PM EDT
O’Brien: Trump ‘has told the Russians many, many times not to interfere’ in U.S. elections
White House national security adviser Robert C. O’Brien said Sunday that Trump “has told the Russians many, many times not to interfere” in U.S. elections, but he declined to specify the substance of those conversations or when they had taken place.
“I don’t get into the conversations that the president has had with foreign heads of state,” O’Brien said on CBS News’s “Face the Nation.” “But I can tell you we’ve made it very clear to the Russians, very clear. No administration has been tougher on the Russians.”
The head of the National Counterintelligence and Security Center said in a statement last week that Russia was engaged in “a range of measures” to promote Trump’s reelection. Asked whether new punitive actions were needed, O’Brien said, “There’s almost nothing we can sanction left of the Russians” and “we’ve sanctioned the heck out of them.”
Although Trump has repeatedly expressed doubt about intelligence community conclusions that Russia interfered to bolster his candidacy in 2016 and in subsequent elections, O’Brien said that “President Trump continues to message the Russians — don’t get involved in our elections.”
Noting the extensive array of sanctions currently in effect against Russia, the Trump adviser said that “all of these sanctions, all of this toughness happened under President Trump, not under President Obama” or his vice president, Joe Biden.
One of Barack Obama’s final acts in office was the expulsion of several dozen Russian diplomats and the closure of two Russian properties in the United States. Trump has authorized the sanctioning of hundreds of Russian individuals and entities, either by executive order or congressional mandate. Some of the sanctions have been election-related, but many have been in response to alleged human rights and economic violations.
By Karen DeYoung
August 9, 2020 at 12:01 PM EDT
Kanye West’s presidential bid bolstered by Republican operatives in at least five states
Rapper Kanye West’s presidential effort has largely sputtered since he formally filed in July to run as an independent candidate representing the “Birthday Party.” He has held just one campaign rally — last month in North Charleston, S.C. — where he appeared onstage wearing a bulletproof vest and broke down in tears, prompting his wife, Kim Kardashian West, to post messages on Instagram asking for the public’s “compassion and empathy” as he struggles with bipolar disorder.
But in at least five states, Republican activists and operatives — including some who have publicly supported Trump and a lawyer who has worked for the president’s 2020 campaign — have been involved with efforts to try to get the rapper on the November ballot, according to an examination by The Washington Post of public filings and social media posts. Their involvement raises the specter that West’s candidacy is being propped up by a GOP-driven effort to siphon votes from Biden.
By Rosalind Helderman and Josh Dawsey
August 9, 2020 at 11:23 AM EDT
Jill Biden says Trump should stop ‘attacking my family’
In an interview that aired Sunday, Jill Biden, the wife of the presumptive Democratic nominee, said her children should be off-limits in the presidential campaign.
“I don’t think he should be attacking my family,” she said of Trump in an interview on CBS News’s “Sunday Morning.” “My family is not fair game. Joe is running against him. That’s different. Not my children.”
Trump has vowed to make the work of Biden’s son Hunter in Ukraine a “major issue” in the general election, and Senate Republicans are pursuing an investigation into the matter, despite warnings from Democrats that the Republicans are laundering Russian disinformation into the United States through the Senate by doing so. The president has even mocked Hunter Biden’s personal problems, including his discharge from the Navy after he tested positive for cocaine use.
In the “Sunday Morning” interview, Jill Biden also said she has spoken with her husband about his search for a running mate.
“Well, you know, we’ve talked about the different women candidates,” she said. “But it’s got to be Joe’s decision — who he feels most comfortable with, who shares his values. And that’s what he’s always said that he and Barack had.”
Joe Biden told the program he believes his wife is best at helping him “figure out who [among] the people around me would be most compatible with me.”
“She knows me, I think, better than I know me,” he said.
Jill Biden, who earned her doctorate in education from the University of Delaware, also said she plans to continue working as a teacher if her husband wins the White House. While serving as second lady during the Obama administration, Biden taught at Northern Virginia Community College, where her students knew her as “Dr. B.”
“If we get to the White House, I’m going to continue to teach,” she said Sunday. “It’s important, and I want people to value teachers and know their contributions and lift up the profession.”
By Felicia Sonmez
August 9, 2020 at 10:56 AM EDT
Democrats — and Republicans — are increasingly ignoring Trump
Shortly after a deadly explosion in Beirut last week, Trump offered a theory — backed by no apparent evidence — that the devastating incident was “a terrible attack,” claiming “some of our great generals” thought it was probably the result of “a bomb of some kind.”
Such a bold proclamation from a U.S. president would usually set off worldwide alarms. Yet aside from some initial concern among Lebanese officials, Trump’s assertions were largely met with a collective global shrug.
More than 3½ years into his presidency, Trump increasingly finds himself minimized and ignored — as many of his more outlandish or false statements are briefly considered and then, just as quickly, dismissed. The slide into partial irrelevance could make it even more difficult for Trump as he seeks reelection as the nation’s leader amid a pandemic and economic collapse.
By Ashley Parker
August 9, 2020 at 10:51 AM EDT
Biden campaign braces for sexist attacks on his vice presidential pick
Jennifer O’Malley Dillon, Joe Biden’s campaign manager, warned on a recent all-staff call that when his vice presidential pick is announced, sexism will motivate the ugliest attacks against the running mate — no matter who she is.
O’Malley Dillon delivered this directive: Everyone on the campaign will be enlisted to defend the pick.
The all-hands-on-deck approach within the Biden campaign, described by someone on the call who spoke on the condition of anonymity to discuss internal deliberations, is being separately bolstered by some of the country’s leading women’s groups, including NARAL Pro-Choice America, Emily’s List, She the People and UltraViolet, which have been strategizing for months about how to best defend Biden’s vice presidential pick from sexist and racist insults.
Even before the nominee is named, some being considered by Biden are beginning to face the same sorts of attacks, playing on negative stereotypes, that the campaign and independent groups have vowed to confront.
By Annie Linskey and Isaac Stanley-Becker
August 9, 2020 at 10:45 AM EDT
This Montana race has put the Senate within Democrats’ reach
GREAT FALLS, Mont. — Republican Steve Daines, the freshman senator in this sparsely populated state of hunters, fishers and big-government skeptics where Trump crushed Hillary Clinton four years ago, was supposed to coast to reelection in November.
Democrats were mounting a modest field to oppose him. Daines, if not defined by legislative wins in Washington, had forged a close alliance with the president. He’s a reliable conservative in a state that has voted Republican for president every year since 1968, except for Bill Clinton 28 years ago.
Then came Steve Bullock and the coronavirus pandemic. And with less than three months until Election Day, the faceoff between the two-term Democratic governor from Helena and the wealthy former software executive from Bozeman has transformed into a margin-of-error race that has helped put Senate control within reach for Democrats. It will measure whether Montana’s proud history of political individualism is sustainable in an era when voters are more polarized than ever.
By Lisa Rein
August 9, 2020 at 10:34 AM EDT
Biden attends church service, deflects question on running mate
REHOBOTH BEACH, Del. — Biden started his day with a church service at St. Edmond parish in this city.
He walked into the church just before 9 a.m. accompanied by a phalanx of Secret Service agents. A church-goer told the post that attendees wore masks and practiced social distancing.
The church is just a few blocks from the ocean and a short drive from Biden’s beach home, where he is holed up deciding who should be his running mate. After Mass, he posed for selfies with fellow churchgoers. As he left the church, a Washington Post reporter asked whether he had chosen his running mate.
Biden replied: “Are you ready?”
Last week, Trump attacked Biden’s faith, saying that the former vice president hated “the Bible.” Biden is a practicing Catholic who has spoken regularly about his faith and its role in his life.
Sergei Cherechen, the leader of the Social Democrat party
Andrei Dmitriyev, the co-chair of the Tell the Truth movement, a campaign group which has been raided by the authorities
Two key opposition figures were barred from running and threw their weight behind Ms Tikhanovskaya’s campaign.
Noisy defiance as election looms
By Abdujalil Abdurasulov, BBC News, Minsk
The calm streets of Minsk sporadically burst with the noise of drivers honking their car horns. Some flew a flag with a red stripe on the white background – the symbol used by the opposition.
Voicing dissent is dangerous in Belarus but activists still make noise despite a crackdown. People can be detained even for playing the wrong music, as happened to two DJs at a government-sponsored event in Minsk earlier this week.
It is this defiance that is making the election if not unpredictable then at least the most challenging for Aleksander Lukashenko.
Since the start of the election campaign in May, more than 2,000 people have been detained, according to Human Rights Centre Viasna.
Early voting began on 4 August and monitoring groups say their volunteers have frequently been prevented from observing the vote and even arrested.
Rumours have spread widely that the government is going to shut down mobile networks on Sunday to hide mass falsification of the results.
President Donald Trump chats with reporters Friday as he heads to Marine One on the South Lawn of the White House. The day before, he floated the idea of delaying the election, prompting criticism from the Federalist Society’s co-founder.
President Donald Trump chats with reporters Friday as he heads to Marine One on the South Lawn of the White House. The day before, he floated the idea of delaying the election, prompting criticism from the Federalist Society’s co-founder.
After voting for President Trump in 2016 and staunchly defending him in conservative publications, a Federalist Society leader appears to be having some very public buyer’s remorse.
Steven Calabresi, co-founder of the powerful conservative legal organization,is now calling on the House of Representatives to do again whatit has already done once this year: impeach Trump.
In a scathing opinion piece in The New York Times published online Thursday, the Northwestern University law professor points to what ignited his newfound ire with the president: a tweet Trump sent out shortly after news broke Thursday morning that the U.S. economy had suffered its biggest recorded contraction ever last quarter.
“With Universal Mail-In Voting (not Absentee Voting, which is good), 2020 will be the most INACCURATE & FRAUDULENT Election in history. It will be a great embarrassment to the USA,” the president intoned on Twitter. “Delay the Election until people can properly, securely and safely vote???”
With Universal Mail-In Voting (not Absentee Voting, which is good), 2020 will be the most INACCURATE & FRAUDULENT Election in history. It will be a great embarrassment to the USA. Delay the Election until people can properly, securely and safely vote???
Calabresi declared himself “appalled” by the tweet, which he characterized as “seeking to postpone the November election.”
“Until recently, I had taken as political hyperbole the Democrats’ assertion that President Trump is a fascist,” the conservative legal scholar wrote. “But this latest tweet is fascistic and is itself grounds for the president’s immediate impeachment again by the House of Representatives and his removal from office by the Senate.”
It was a remarkable turnaround for a man who as recently as November had accused House Democrats of conducting an “unconstitutional” and “Kafkaesque ‘trial’ ” in their Trump impeachment proceedings.
Calabresi also had some stern advice for Republican lawmakers, many of whom have routinely approved conservative judicial nominees endorsed and promoted by the Federalist Society.
“President Trump needs to be told by every Republican in Congress that he cannot postpone the federal election. Doing so would be illegal, unconstitutional and without precedent in American history,” Calabresi warned. “Anyone who says otherwise should never be elected to Congress again.”
Calabresi’s public distancing from the 45th president was applauded by other conservatives critical of Trump.
“Steve Calabresi, welcome to the Resistance,” tweeted Washington attorney George Conway, the famously Trump-bashing husband of senior Trump adviser Kellyanne Conway.
Former national security adviser John Bolton, whose scorching tell-all account of his time in the Trump White House was published last month over the objections of Trump’s lawyers, tweeted that Calabresi’s op-ed was “a must-read.”
Trump, for his part, did not directly respond to his one-time ally’s demand that he be re-impeached. Instead, the president sought to portray his provocative suggestion that the election be delayed as stirring a needed public debate.
“Glad I was able to get the very dishonest LameStream Media,” Trump tweeted later on Thursday, “to finally start talking about the RISKS to our Democracy from dangerous Universal Mail-In-Voting (not Absentee Voting, which I totally support!).”
Many news organizations — including NPR — have noted that, contrary to Trump’s assertions, there is no universal mail-in voting for the November presidential election, just as there is essentially no difference between mail-in ballots and absentee ballots.