Midterm Elections Updates: CEO of Michigan Election Software Firm Seeks Dismissal of Charges

The latest on the midterm elections.

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CEO of Michigan Election Software Firm Seeks Dismissal of Charges

The head of a Michigan election software company facing felony charges in California for allegedly storing poll worker data in China filed a motion on Thursday to dismiss the case, arguing the alleged conduct, even if true, is not criminal.

Eugene Yu, founder and CEO of Konnech Inc, has been accused of violating the company’s contract with Los Angeles County, which restricts the sharing of election workers’ personal information to citizens and permanent residents inside the United States. He was charged with grand theft by embezzlement and conspiracy to commit a crime.

The Los Angeles District Attorney’s Office, which brought the charges, has said the investigation was triggered by a complaint from Gregg Phillips of True the Vote, a Texas nonprofit and prominent purveyor of debunked voter-fraud claims.

In a filing to the Superior Court of California, County of Los Angeles, Yu’s lawyers asked for the complaint to be dismissed, arguing that prosecutors had wrongly sought to criminalize a run-of-the-mill contract dispute.

“This is a deeply misguided prosecution,” attorneys Gary Lincenberg, Thomas Reichert, and Alexis Wiseley wrote. “This is a civil breach of contract case that has been dressed up in a costume that doesn’t fit.”

The spokesman for the district attorney declined to comment on a pending motion.

The filing is the latest development in a months-long saga between Konnech, a small company of about 20 people which makes software to manage payroll and scheduling for poll workers, and the principals of True the Vote.

Phillips and Catherine Engelbrecht, founders of True the Vote, have made a series of claims about Konnech and Yu. They alleged the company was holding sensitive personal information on some 1.8 million poll workers on a server in China, and accused Yu, who immigrated to the U.S. decades ago, of being an operative for the Chinese regime.

Konnech has said the allegations are false and last month it sued Phillips, Engelbrecht, and True the Vote for defamation.

That case is playing out in a federal court in Texas, with a hearing scheduled on Thursday on whether Phillips and Engelbrecht should be held in contempt for not complying with a temporary restraining order put in place last month.

Lawyers for Phillips and Engelbrecht did not respond to a request for comment.

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Nevada High Court Says Rural Ballot Recount Violating Law

Volunteers in a rural Nevada county spent a second day tallying ballots in a first-of-its-kind hand count of mail-in votes that became even less certain late Thursday when the state Supreme Court issued an opinion concluding the current process violates state law.

The high court stopped short of halting the recount in Nye County. But it sided with the arguments the American Civil Liberties Union of Nevada made in an emergency motion filed earlier Thursday.

It said it’s up to the county and the secretary of state to decide how to proceed.

The ACLU accused Nye County officials of violating a Supreme Court order issued last week that requires the count to be conducted in a way that prevents public release of early results before polls close to in-person voting on Nov. 8.

The ACLU argued that reading candidates’ names aloud from ballots within hearing distance of public observers violates the court rule.

Attorneys for Nye County said in a court filing earlier Thursday that the ACLU was engaging in “political stunts and ‘gotcha’ games.” It asked the court to distinguish between observers verbally describing the “vote count” and observers learning the “election results.”

Nye County spokesman Arnold Knightly said counting was scheduled to continue Friday.

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Sanders Aims to Boost Vulnerable Democrats in US Tour

Vermont Sen. Bernie Sanders kicked off a multi-state tour in Oregon on Thursday by talking about abortion, but honed in on a topic some Democratic candidates have largely avoided on the campaign trail: The economy.

The tour is an effort to energize young voters and shore up support for vulnerable Democratic candidates ahead of the midterm elections. Other planned stops for Sanders include California, Texas, Michigan and the battleground states of Nevada, Pennsylvania and Wisconsin.

“This is the most important midterm election in the modern history of our country,” Sanders told the crowd of hundreds of people gathered at downtown Portland’s Roseland Theater.

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Biden Says Republican Plan Will Boost Inflation

President Joe Biden contrasted his economic plan with Republicans’ on Thursday in a last-ditch effort days before U.S. midterm elections to convince voters that Democrats are best equipped to battle inflation and create jobs.

“The previous president made a string of broken promises in places like Wisconsin, Indiana, and Ohio,” Biden said. “On my watch, we’ve kept our commitments. On my watch, made in America isn’t just a slogan, it’s a reality.”

Biden spoke in Syracuse, New York, where Micron Technology Inc plans to invest up to $100 billion in computer chip manufacturing, part of tens of billions in new factory spending announced after the president signed the CHIPS Act subsidizing the industry in August.

The visit was aimed at touting efforts to bring manufacturing jobs back to upstate New York, an American center of innovation associated with brands like IBM and Kodak that lost jobs that went to lower-cost locations abroad.

Biden contrasted those his made-in-America manufacturing approach with what he framed as Republicans wed to former President Donald Trump’s “Make America Great Again” movement.

Some Republicans have pledged to use the U.S. statutory borrowing limit or debt ceiling to force cuts to federal spending, extend Trump’s tax cuts, repeal Democrat-enacted laws lowering prescription drug prices and block Biden’s student debt relief plan.

“I would argue it’s reckless and irresponsible and will make inflation worse, if they succeed,” Biden said.

His trip comes at a time when the White House optimism that Democrats could buck history and retain control of one or both houses of Congress has waned. Any shift will shape the final two years of Biden’s term, and Democrats could lose control of both the Senate and the House of Representatives.

Voters identify rising prices as their biggest concern amid inflation that has hit four-decade highs.

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Connecticut US House Seat Targeted by National Republicans

Republicans see an opportunity this year to flip a U.S. House seat in blue Connecticut, banking on a candidate who insists he doesn’t fit the mold of many GOP contenders this year who are publicly loyal to former President Donald Trump and the party’s conservative agenda.

George Logan, a former state senator and mechanical engineer, has pitched a message that he isn’t a “typical Republican” in his race against U.S. Rep. Jahana Hayes, a Democrat seeking a third term. In one of his TV ads, he’s seen standing next to a box with those exact words scrawled across it.

“They’re only coming after me now because I won’t fit in this box,” he says.

By some measures, Logan is right. He’s a rare Republican in favor of abortion access. In the state Senate, he voted with the Democrats some of the time, including on bills to amend firearms storage regulations and expand absentee voting.

But Democrats argue Logan can’t be trusted to be the social moderate he claims to be, especially if he gets to Washington, where one of the priorities of the House Republicans’ midterm election agenda is to “protect the lives of unborn children and their mothers.”

“If anyone in this room thinks that the Congressional Leadership Fund is putting millions of dollars into the campaign of someone that they can’t trust will vote for the things that they would like, then you are all sadly mistaken,” Hayes said during a recent debate.

Logan said he will ”not blindly follow any leadership, Republican or Democrat, in Washington.”

The race between Hayes and Logan is one of several in blue states that have been surprisingly competitive this year.

Outside organizations have so far spent more than $7 million on the race in the district, which covers northwestern Connecticut and a chunk of the state’s center. If Logan unseats Hayes, he would be the first Republican to represent Connecticut in Congress since U.S. Rep. Chris Shays lost a reelection bid in 2008.

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Schumer Captured on Hot Mic Talking to Biden About 2022 Midterms: ‘Didn’t Hurt Us’

Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer (D-N.Y.) was heard Thursday discussing Pennsylvania Lt. Gov. John Fetterman’s debate performance with President Joe Biden on a hot mic.

“The debate didn’t hurt us too much in Pennsylvania, so that’s good,” Schumer told Biden during a stop in Syracuse, New York.

“We’re in danger in that seat,” Schumer also said on the tarmac of a local airport. It’s not clear what seat he was referring to.

Fetterman’s performance against Republican Dr. Mehmet Oz was widely criticized, even by corporate news outlets that are generally much friendlier toward Democrat candidates. A recent stroke victim, Fetterman spoke in a halting manner, often slurred his words, made mistakes—some of them contradictory—and sometimes could not form complete sentences.

At the start of the debate, Fetterman told the audience: “Hi, goodnight everybody.”

Fetterman suffered a stroke in May, casting his primary ballot from a hospital room. His campaign has faced criticism for allowing him to run instead of recovering, for not allowing members of the press to obtain his full medical record, and for blocking access to his doctors.

Polls and oddsmakers have signaled that Republicans are gaining traction in several battleground states, including Nevada, Pennsylvania, Arizona, Georgia, and others. And Oregon, which hasn’t had a Republican governor in decades, may elect its first to the governor’s office next month.

Read the full article here

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Pennsylvania Woman Sues Gubernatorial Candidate Josh Shapiro for Defamation in Political Ads

Pennsylvania mother of three Toni Shuppe is not running for office, but Pennsylvania Attorney General Josh Shapiro keeps brining up her name in his statewide campaign advertising for the governor’s seat.

He has called her a dangerous conspiracy theorist who spread blatant lies about the 2020 election.

Now she is suing both Shapiro—the Democrat candidate for governor—and his campaign manager, Dana Fritz, for making defamatory, slanderous, and libelous statements about her, court documents say. Shuppe says these statements have damaged her reputation and brought threats to her safety.

Her name and photo have been the subject of press releases, social media posts, and statewide television commercials, with the Shapiro campaign quoting a Vice article claiming Shuppe is a “QAnon-linked, election-denying conspiracy theorist hell-bent on upending the current election system.”

None of that is True, Shuppe told The Epoch Times.

Read the full article here

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Oregon Could Be 1st State to Make Health Care a Human Right

Oregon voters are being asked to decide whether the state should be the first in the nation to amend its constitution to explicitly declare that affordable health care is a fundamental human right.

State Sen. Elizabeth Steiner Hayward, a main sponsor of the legislation behind the ballot measure, said making health care a human right is a value statement and is not aimed at pushing Oregon to a single-payer health care system, a longtime goal of many progressives.

But opponents warn the amendment could trigger legal and political woes and open the door to lawsuits.

Measure 111 got onto the Nov. 8 ballot because the Legislature, where Democrats hold a majority, referred the issue to voters last year. There were earlier efforts, including in 2018 as then-President Donald Trump tried to dismantle former President Barack Obama’s health care law, but they died in the statehouse.

Republican lawmakers consistently opposed efforts to ask voters to enshrine health care as a right in Oregon’s 163-year-old constitution.

“The bill doesn’t fund any system to deliver on that promise,” then-Senate Republican Leader Fred Girod said when the resolution was debated in March 2021.

Steiner Hayward recently told The Oregonian/OregonLive that if the measure passes next month, the state’s current resources can handle any financial impact in the immediate future. But she would not rule out possible future tax increases to help provide that health care.

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North Dakota AG: Poll Workers Can’t Demand Citizenship Proof

Some poll workers in North Dakota who allegedly demanded proof of U.S. citizenship during the spring primary had no power to do so, the state attorney general said.

Attorney General Drew Wrigley said in a five-page document released late Wednesday that North Dakota law does not require a voter to provide documents of citizenship in order to cast a ballot. Every voter is asked if they are a citizen and if they answer yes, they should be allowed to vote provided they have proper ID, Wrigley said.

“There are legislative provisions that could alter this legal structure in North Dakota if enacted by a future legislative assembly, but they are not yet before me,” Wrigley wrote.

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Arizona Board Says It Will Follow Law in Partial Hand Count

The Republicans on a rural Arizona county board that wanted to conduct a full hand count in the upcoming midterm vote have clarified they will follow Arizona state law allowing only partial hand counts following a harshly worded letter from the state’s election director who threatened legal action.

“The Board wishes to follow all applicable requirements in statutes and the Elections Procedure Manual when conducting its expanded precinct hand count audit,” reads the Wednesday letter signed by Cochise County Supervisors Peggy Judd and Tom Crosby. The third supervisor, Democrat Ann English, had voted against a full hand count and did not sign.

“That will mean that there will not be a full count of every item on every ballot,” said the letter that the two board members sent to Secretary of State Katie Hobbs and State Elections Director Kori Lorick after an emergency meeting Wednesday afternoon.

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Hand Count of Ballots in Nevada County Draws Court Challenge

An unprecedented hand count of mail-in votes began for a second day in a rural Nevada county Thursday, while opponents asked the state Supreme Court to issue an immediate order to stop the process.

The American Civil Liberties Union of Nevada filed an emergency request for action shortly after 7 a.m., just one hour before Nye County officials resumed a count that on Wednesday tallied about 900 of 1,950 mail-in votes that the county had received.

A 20-page court filing accused Nye County of violating Supreme Court rules, set last Friday, that require the count to be conducted in a way that prevents public release of early results before many voters have a chance to vote by mail, in-person early, or at the polls on Nov. 8.

Nye County spokesman Arnold Knightly said he could not comment on the ACLU filing, but said the county would respond to the state high court.

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Judge Considers Stopping Phoenix Ballot Drop Box Watchers

A federal judge in Arizona said he hopes to decide by Friday whether to order members of a group to stop monitoring outdoor ballot drop boxes in the Phoenix area.

The groups Arizona Alliance for Retired Americans and Voto Latino asked U.S. District Judge Michael Liburdi during a Wednesday hearing to prevent members of Clean Elections USA from gathering within sight of drop boxes in Maricopa County, the state’s most populous, and from following voters and taking photos and videos of them and their cars.

The attorney for Clean Elections USA said that such a broad restraining order would be unconstitutional.

Liburdi said he hoped to issue a decision by Friday but could continue to weigh the matter into the weekend.

The League of Women Voters filed a similar suit Tuesday in federal court in Arizona, alleging that Clean Elections USA is intimidating voters.

That suit also alleges that the groups Lions of Liberty and the Yavapai County Preparedness Team have undertaken their own effort to watch ballot boxes and film voters in Arizona’s Yavapai County.

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Kansas Lawmakers’ Power Back on Ballot

Kansas voters are being asked to reduce the authority of the governor and other state officials and give legislators a bigger say in how the state regulates businesses, protects the environment, and preserves residents’ health.

A proposed amendment to the Kansas Constitution on the Nov. 8 ballot would make it easier for the Republican-controlled Legislature to overturn regulations written by state agencies and boards—those under the control of the governor but also others in the executive branch of state government. At issue are rules as varied as which vaccines are required for children attending school and how often hotels must clean guest rooms.

November’s proposed amendment would allow the Legislature to nullify agency rules or parts of rules with a simple majority vote in both chambers, with no option for the governor to veto the move.

Gov. Laura Kelly and fellow Democrats have been the most vocal critics. State Treasurer Lynn Rogers said Wednesday that the measure would strip agencies of their independence from lawmakers.

Attorney General Derek Schmidt, a Republican seeking to unseat Kelly in the November election, backs the measure even though it would apply to his office. Secretary of State Scott Schwab’s spokesperson said Thursday that he’s supporting it, because “it makes the most sense” for lawmakers to have that power over policy. Another statewide elected Republican, Insurance Commissioner Vicki Schmidt, hasn’t taken a public position.

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Maryland Kicks Off Early In-Person Voting

Maryland kicks off a week-long period of early in-person early voting on Thursday.

Voters can go to an early voting center in their county to vote for the 2022 Gubernatorial general elections between 7:00 a.m. to 8:00 p.m. local time from Oct. 27 to Nov. 3, the Old Line State Board of Elections says.

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Mail-In Ballot Total Surges Past 10 Million Across US Ahead of 2022 Midterms: Research

More than 10 million people have cast mail-in ballots ahead of the November 2022 midterms, according to an election monitoring project.

Another 5 million or so have voted early and in person, research from the U.S. Elections Project shows as of Thursday. This week, a number of states opened early in-person voting, including Texas.

The project is managed by University of Florida professor Michael McDonald and it tracks early voting activity among states that have reported data so far. Texas, California, Florida, and Georgia have reported more than 1.5 million in-person and mail-in votes as of Thursday afternoon, the project numbers show.

Read the full article here

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Cheney Endorses Democrat in Contested House Race

Rep. Liz Cheney (R-Wyo.) on Oct. 27 endorsed Rep. Elissa Slotkin (D-Mich.), Cheney’s first endorsement of a Democrat.

Cheney has been anathema among Republicans during the 117th Congress for her role on the Jan. 6 Committee, which other Republicans have described as little more than a “partisan witch hunt” directed against former President Donald Trump and his allies.

“I’m proud to endorse Elissa Slotkin. Serving together on the Armed Services Committee, I have come to know Elissa as a good and honorable public servant who works hard for the people she represents, wants what’s best for the country, and is in this for the right reasons,” said Cheney.

She added, “While Elissa and I have our policy disagreements, at a time when our nation is facing threats at home and abroad, we need serious, responsible, substantive members like Elissa in Congress. I encourage all voters in the 7th district—Republicans, Democrats, and Independents—to support her in this election.”

Read the full article here

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Police Make Arrest in Connection to Burglary at Arizona Gubernatorial Candidate’s Campaign Office

Phoenix police have made an arrest in connection with a burglary at the campaign headquarters for Katie Hobbs, the Democratic nominee for governor.

Police did not release the person’s name or say whether they believe the crime was politically motivated. Sgt. Phil Krynsky said more information would be released later Thursday.

“Earlier this week, a break-in occurred at our campaign headquarters,” Nicole DeMont, Hobbs’s campaign manager, wrote in a statement. “We continue to cooperate with law enforcement as they investigate, and we are thankful to the men and women of the Phoenix Police Department for their work to keep us safe.”

Read the full article here

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Air Force Admits Fault for Releasing Records on Republican Candidate’s Sexual Assault

The U.S. Air Force (USAF) has accepted responsibility for a leak that revealed that GOP congressional candidate Jennifer-Ruth Green survived a sexual assault during her time in the military.

Initially, the USAF denied responsibility for the leak.

However, a spokesperson for the branch later told The Epoch Times that the leak, while unauthorized, was the result of a misstep in how Green’s documents were handled.

“Based on the preliminary findings of an investigation, it appears information from Jennifer-Ruth Green’s service record was released to a third party by a junior individual who didn’t follow proper procedures and obtain required consent,” USAF Chief of Media Operations Ann Stefanek said in an email.

Read the full article here

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Wisconsin Judge Hands Win to Republicans Over Mail-In Ballot Lawsuit

A judge in Wisconsin on Wednesday rejected a request to allow election officials to count mail-in ballots with incomplete addresses on them.

Dane County Circuit Judge Nia Trammell refused a request from the League of Women Voters, a group that sought a temporary injunction and argued it “would upend the status quo and not preserve it,” “frustrate the electoral process by causing confusion,” and said her court doesn’t want to “add to the confusion” by issuing a temporary injunction with just two weeks to go before the 2022 midterms, reported The Associated Press.

“I believe that voters catching snippets of the court’s decision from local media or by word of mouth could reasonably conclude that markings made by their witnesses on the witness certification portion of the absentee ballot would suffice in any shape or form,” Trammell said, according to the Wisconsin State Journal. “A higher court could potentially disagree, and if that is the case, then there is a risk that such voters’ absentee ballots would not be counted in the upcoming election.”

Read the full article here

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Sen. Graham Pushes Back Against Allegations Targeting Herschel Walker: ‘Kavanaugh Storyline’

Sen. Lindsey Graham (R-S.C.) pushed back on allegations against Republican Georgia Senate candidate Herschel Walker, saying that the timing is suspicious and that it reminds him of claims made in 2018 against then-Supreme Court nominee Brett Kavanaugh.

Self-described activist feminist lawyer Gloria Allred said Wednesday in a news conference that an unnamed woman claimed she had an affair against Walker in the late 1980s and early 1990s and that Walker, a former NFL and college football star running back, paid for her abortion. After the claims, Walker categorically denied them.

“Well, I’m gonna just say right now guys, I’m done with this foolishness,” Walker said after the news conference. “I’ve already told people this is a lie and I’m not going to entertain [or] continue to carry a lie along.”

Later, Graham, the ranking Republican on the Senate Judiciary Committee, also questioned the timing of Allred’s claims.

Read the full article here

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Peltola Faces Palin, Begich, Bye in Alaska House Debate

Alaska U.S. Rep. Mary Peltola in a televised debate Wednesday called partisanship a threat to the country as the Democrat sought to make the case for reelection to the seat she’s held since September against challengers including Republican Sarah Palin.

Peltola beat Palin and Republican Nick Begich in a ranked-choice August special election to fill the remainder of the late Republican Rep. Don Young’s term. Those three, along with Libertarian Chris Bye, are running in the Nov. 8 election for a full, two-year term, starting in January. That election also will be ranked choice. All four candidates participated in the debate.

Palin and Peltola have been cordial to one other; Peltola’s time in the state House overlapped with Palin’s time as governor, and the two had kind words for each other Wednesday night. But Palin has railed against Alaska’s ranked-choice voting system, approved by voters in 2020 as part of an elections overhaul. Palin, in an opinion piece published by the Anchorage Daily News this week, said the system, used for the first time in the special election won by Peltola, had “produced the travesty of sending a Democrat to Congress to represent Alaska, one of the reddest states in the country.”

Palin has joined Begich in urging voters to “rank the red,” or the Republican candidates.

The ranked vote system was not among the topics raised during the debate, which touched on issues such as inflation concerns, suicides among military veterans, and the pandemic.

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Herschel Walker Faces Fresh Claim of Paying for Abortion

Republican U.S. Senate candidate Herschel Walker, who has said he opposes abortion with no exceptions, faced fresh allegations on Wednesday from a second woman who said he pressured her to have an abortion and paid for the procedure after a six-year relationship with him.

Walker, who hopes to unseat Democratic incumbent Senator Raphael Warnock of Georgia in a Nov. 8 election that could determine which party controls the Senate, has already denied allegations from another woman who claims he paid for her to have an abortion in 2009 and that she later gave birth to one of his children.

Neither woman has revealed her identity publicly. The first to come forward provided supporting documents to the Daily Beast, an online media outlet, including a check.

“I’m done with this foolishness. I’ve already told people this is a lie,” Walker said when asked about the claim, according to a video posted by Atlanta media. He has called the first woman’s assertions a “flat-out lie.”

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Trump to Hold Rallies in 4 States Ahead of Midterms

Former President Donald Trump is set to go on a rally blitz for candidates he has endorsed in at least four battleground states during the final days before the Nov. 8 midterm elections.

Trump is scheduled to hold rallies in Iowa, Pennsylvania, Florida, and Ohio in the span of five days until the eve of the elections, according to separate press releases issued through the Save America political action committee on Oct. 26.

The first stop is Sioux City, Iowa, on Nov. 3, when Trump is scheduled to “advance the MAGA agenda,” referring to his campaign slogan, Make America Great Again, by campaigning for Republicans including Iowa Gov. Kim Reynolds and Sen. Chuck Grassley (R-Iowa), both seeking reelection to their current positions.

Read the full article here

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Early Voting and Mail Ballot Turnout Trends Point to 2020 Replay

Nationwide early voting and vote-by-mail turnout trends for the 2022 midterm election reflect a pattern similar to the pandemic-skewered 2020 election.

As a result, it may take several days after polls close on Nov. 8 for results to be confirmed in several key battleground states, including Pennsylvania, Wisconsin, and Michigan.

In-person early voting periods and vote-by-mail have grown increasingly popular over the last two decades. They became mainstream during the 2020 election when more than 101 million Americans cast early in-person votes or vote-by-mail ballots.

Read the full article here

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Fetterman Team Claims Closed Captioning ‘Full of Errors,’ Debate Host Responds

U.S. Senate candidate John Fetterman’s campaign alleged that the closed captioning system used to assist the Pennsylvania Democrat candidate against the first—and only—debate against Republican Dr. Mehmet Oz was full of errors and delayed.

Earlier this year, Fetterman, the Pennsylvania lieutenant governor, suffered a stroke and has struggled with his speech and communication, triggering concerns that he is unfit to serve in the Senate. The campaigns of both Oz, a longtime TV doctor, and Fetterman agreed to allow him to use closed captioning for the debate.

Following the debate, Fetterman spokesman Joe Calvello told reporters that the campaign believed Fetterman performed well despite what he said were errors in the closed captioning.

Read the full article here

Jack Phillips, John Haughey, Frank Fang, Joseph Lord, Lorenz Duchamps, The Associated Press, and Reuters contributed to this report.

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