Masks at the Polls, Election Funding, Ex-Felon Enfranchisement and More — ProPublica

Electionland 2020: Masks on the Polls, Election Funding, Ex-Felon Enfranchisement and Extra — ProPublica



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Electionland 2020: Masks on the Polls, Election Funding, Ex-Felon Enfranchisement and Extra

This week’s headlines on the most recent vote by mail adjustments, a slew of litigation and Trump’s new takes on absentee voting.

Voting Throughout a Pandemic

  • The CDC says Milwaukee didn’t see a spike in coronavirus circumstances, hospitalizations or deaths after the April Wisconsin main. (Milwaukee Journal-Sentinel)

  • Greater than 200 Ohio well being care professionals despatched a letter to the secretary of state calling for minimal necessities for polling locations within the fall, together with enforced social distancing and a masks mandate. (

  • Two staff at a Kansas county clerk workplace had been recognized with COVID-19, and the opposite two staff had been quarantined earlier than this week’s main. (Topeka Capital-Journal)

  • Some California counties are struggling to search out places for voting facilities within the fall; at the very least two counties will use stadiums. In Texas, election directors are getting inventive and contemplating placing polling locations in defunct banks, parking garages and resort ballrooms. (KQED, KUT)

  • A Georgia voting rights activist began a corporation that goals to recruit 5,000 younger ballot staff for the overall election. (WSB-TV)

  • The governor of Maryland is dealing with a “huge backlash” over his election plan for the autumn, which incorporates conventional precinct polling websites amid a historic ballot employee scarcity. (The Washington Post)

  • Michigan’s governor didn’t mandate masks at polling locations to keep away from constitutional questions of refusing to let maskless voters forged a poll. (Frontline, Columbia Journalism Investigations and Detroit Free Press)

  • Wisconsin isn’t requiring masks at polling locations. An elections official stated ballot staff should let folks vote in the event that they’re not carrying a masks, and voters who do put on masks gained’t must take them off to confirm their id. (WPR)

  • Chicago election officers gained’t require masks on the polls within the fall. (Chicago Sun-Times)

  • In Missouri’s St. Louis County, masks had been required at polling locations throughout this week’s state main, and staff gave out free masks. One voter stated he refused to put on one and in addition turned down the choice to vote from his automotive, so he didn’t vote. (STL Today)

  • Some Florida counties are nonetheless ready for CARES Act funding for PPE and mail poll prices, amongst different bills. “I’ve despatched emails as much as the state and we’ve gotten no reply,” stated Brian Corley, Pasco County elections supervisor. “We’re at the hours of darkness and we want it.” (WTSP)

  • Along with surgical masks and face shields, New Hampshire ordered an estimated 16,000 KN95 masks for native election officers, however the state epidemiologist suggested in opposition to giving them to ballot staff. (NHPR)

  • “Being an election official is like anyone shoving you right into a batting cage, sincere to God,” stated Tina Barton, clerk of Rochester Hills, Michigan. “Fastballs are coming at you from each course, and also you’ve received to be like this election ninja, attempting to keep away from getting hit.” (Politico)

Trump’s Takes on Mail Voting: A Timeline

  • July 30: In a tweet, Trump attacked “Common Mail-in Voting,” praised “Absentee Voting” and advised suspending the election, which he doesn’t have the facility to do. (Trump)

  • July 31: Stephen Miller, one of many president’s most influential advisers, falsely claimed that officers aren’t checking if mail voters are U.S. residents. In the meantime, the administration’s personal intelligence officers dismissed the president’s claims that international powers may intervene with mail ballots. (TPM, CNN)

  • August 1: The president’s chief of employees backpedaled on Trump’s July 30 assertion about attempting to delay the election, and stated that the election date won’t change. (The Washington Post)

  • August three: The president stated he would sue Nevada for approving laws to develop vote by mail. He additionally criticized mail voting in New York. At a press convention, Trump stated “absentee is great,” however added that “common mail-in ballots goes to be an important embarrassment to our nation.” A senior White Home official advised The Washington Submit that the White Home plans to “repeatedly emphasize the dangers of ’mass mail-in voting’ in upcoming months.” (Politico, The New York Times, The Washington Post)

  • August four: Trump tweeted that Florida’s voting system is now “Secure and Safe” and inspired Florida voters to vote by mail. He claimed “Florida’s Voting system has been cleaned up”; he’d made unfounded accusations of fraud in Florida in 2018. (An elections researcher identified that extra Democrats have requested mail ballots than Republicans in that state. A Democratic strategist tweeted: “[M]y GOP mates in all probability want he had tweeted this earlier than torching Republican confidence in vote by mail, and in the identical fireplace, burning 25 years of investments to construct up a VBM machine.”) Later that day, the Trump marketing campaign sued Nevada. (Trump, Michael McDonald, Steve Schale, Courthouse News)

  • August 5: The president tweeted a criticism of Nevada’s mail poll system, and praised Florida’s. In an Oval Workplace assembly that day, the governor of Arizona defended the state’s vote by mail system. (Trump, KJZZ)

Vote by Mail Information

  • In July, a consortium of college researchers performed a 50-state survey on who plans to vote by mail in November. The bottom share of voters who stated they had been considerably or very more likely to vote by mail was 39% (Tennessee) and the very best was 94% (Washington). (The COVID-19 Consortium for Understanding the Public’s Policy Preferences Across States)

  • The governor of Kentucky is working with the secretary of state to provide you with a plan for no-excuse absentee voting for the overall election. (Lex18)

  • Pennsylvania can pay for postage on mail ballots within the fall. (NBC Philadelphia)

  • Throughout this month’s state main, Kansas noticed a 515% enhance in requests for mail ballots in comparison with 2018. (Lawrence Journal-World)

  • The Home Oversight Committee requested the brand new postmaster basic, a Trump appointee, to testify in September. (Axios)

  • Virginia voters will be capable of observe their mail ballots like a bundle, due to a brand new rule accepted by the state board of elections. (WTOP)

Mail Voting Issues

  • There are stories that some Missouri voters hadn’t acquired their absentee ballots earlier than this week’s state main. (KSDK, KCTV)

  • A complicated white label affixed to absentee poll envelopes in Detroit could have brought about ballots to be returned to voters. The USPS stated it might work with election officers to revamp the ballots for the subsequent election. (WDET)

  • In at the very least a dozen states, voters reported by no means receiving the absentee ballots they requested in the course of the primaries. (538)

  • As of per week earlier than the first, greater than 20,000 Connecticut voters hadn’t acquired their absentee ballots. (Hartford Courant)

  • Some Black voters are distrustful of mail voting and plan to vote in individual. (AP)

  • Kentucky officers rejected greater than 32,000 mail ballots from the June main; greater than 1 / 4 of the rejections stemmed from an issue with the inside envelope. (The Guardian)

  • The USPS reportedly had hassle processing a few of New York’s pay as you go envelopes for mail ballots, which led to some votes getting thrown out for missing a postmark. (The New York Times)

  • Mail delays brought on by cost-cutting procedures at USPS are worrying postal staff and voters alike. (The Washington Post)

Voter Enfranchisement Tales

  • Demetrius Titus, a previously incarcerated Michigan voter, on why he’s voting within the upcoming election: “Once I got here house, I wished to shout as loud as I may to be heard. I truly really feel now that though I solely have one voice, it carries the burden of a whole bunch of women and men that I personally know who’re left again in jail.” (Detroit Free Press)

  • Some inmates in Florida jails are eligible to vote, although there’s lots of variation in how accessible jails make the method. In Arizona, efforts are underway to assist eligible jail inmates to vote. (WFSU, Arizona Republic)

  • Hawaii has made it simpler for visually impaired voters to forged a poll from house. (Honolulu Civil Beat)

  • Michael Jordan and his model are donating $2.5 million to struggle Black voter suppression. (Nike)

Election Legislation Information

  • Iowa: The governor signed an government order to enfranchise former felons, which can permit them to vote within the fall. (Des Moines Register)

  • Louisiana: With no present plan to develop absentee voting, the Louisiana secretary of state stated he’s in dialog with legislators and the governor a few potential emergency election plan for the autumn. (The Advocate)

  • Nevada: The governor signed laws to develop vote by mail for the overall election. (KSNV, Reno Gazette Journal)

  • Ohio: The secretary of state stated it’s as much as the legal professional basic to difficulty a authorized opinion in order that counties can add extra poll dropboxes. (Local12)

  • Pennsylvania: The Division of State requested legislators to mandate that counties ship out absentee ballots earlier for the November election, and issued a collection of suggestions to legislators to alter the election code earlier than November. (The Morning Call, Penn Live)

  • Nationwide: Home Republicans launched the Emergency Help for Secure Elections (EASE) Act, which would offer $400 million to states for the overall election. Individually, the Home passed an appropriations invoice that features $500 million for election safety. The Home subcommittee on Cybersecurity, Infrastructure Safety and Innovation held a hearing and mentioned the necessity for additional election funding. (The Hill, Courthouse News)

The Newest From The Courts

  • Florida: Nineteen states and the District of Columbia filed a quick asking an appeals courtroom to rule in opposition to the state in its ex-felon voting case. (Politico)

  • Indiana: Advocacy teams are difficult the state’s deadline for receiving absentee ballots. (The Statehouse File)

  • Louisiana: Voting rights teams are suing the state over its lack of vote by mail choices. (AP)

  • Michigan: The state Supreme Courtroom won’t hear a case attempting to increase the deadline to obtain absentee ballots. (AP)

  • Minnesota: Voters won’t want witness signatures to submit an absentee poll this fall, a choose determined. Additionally, ballots shall be counted in the event that they arrive inside per week of the election so long as they’re postmarked by Nov. three. Within the ruling, the choose cited a Trump tweet. A gaggle of voters backed by GOP legislators are suing the state over its masks requirement at polling locations. (Star Tribune, Sam Levine, MPR)

  • Nevada: The Trump marketing campaign filed a lawsuit to attempt to halt the state’s enlargement of mail voting. (Reno Gazette Journal)

  • New York: A choose dominated that the state should rely hundreds of absentee ballots from the first which can be lacking a postmark. The Board of Elections is interesting. (Gothamist, NY1)

  • Ohio: Two lawsuits had been filed in opposition to the state: one to permit voters to make on-line requests for absentee ballots and one other over its signature match system for mail ballots. (

  • North Carolina: A federal choose dominated that the state should notify voters with rejected ballots and supply a approach to repair any errors that had been discovered. Nonetheless, the choose stored in place the state’s witness requirement for mail ballots. (News & Observer)

  • South Carolina: Two high-risk voters requested for an emergency Supreme Courtroom listening to on the state’s voting regulation, which they are saying doesn’t shield weak voters. (The State)

  • Tennessee: The state Supreme Courtroom struck down the state’s expanded vote by mail system. (AP)

  • Nationwide: The Brennan Heart printed a state-by-state voting rights litigation tracker; constitutional regulation professor Justin Levitt additionally put collectively an inventory. (Brennan Center, Election Law Blog)

Any newsroom can apply to be a part of Electionland. We’re searching for newsrooms — particularly native newsrooms — that shall be dedicating sources to protecting voting issues in the course of the 2020 election. Radio, TV, on-line and print reporters are all inspired to use. Sign up here.

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