Election Day 2020
The day has finally arrived and it appears as if President Donald Trump is surging across all of the key battleground states, including the make or break ultimate swing state of Florida.
Democrats have done a magnificent job of turning out their voters, but while the state is usually called after the Florida panhandle reports, the ongoing surge in Republican voting in Miami-Dade County could prove to be the early deciding factor that tips the scale in favor of President Trump.
Democrats have been scrambling to make up for the ground they have lost to Republicans in Florida’s most populous county.
Democrats may be able to find some comfort in Broward County as the second-most populous county just north of Miami-Dade is showing significant voter turnout, a turnout that could cancel out the poor showing in Miami.
Any way you slice it, it looks LIKE 2016 all over again, and Trump is expected to lose in a landslide, according to all the polls.
Again, we saw this same scenario play out in 2016, but this year is a little different in that Trump’s massive rallies leading up to election day are even bigger, but so are the number of Republicans and Independents that are dealing with Trump fatigue over things that tend to come out of the president’s mouth.
Again, all bets are off, and no one will be able to predict the winner until later tonight.
For all we know, Biden wins in a landslide, or Trump wins in a landslide, or one of these candidates squeaks out the victory. MUST READ MORE
Debbie Wasserman Schultz @DWStweets-US House candidate, FL-23 Today I joined some of South Florida's most incredible women elected officials to help #GOTV with President @BarackObamaI Floridians are ready, we are energized, we are already voting in record numbers and tomorrow evening we'll be sending @JoeBiden to the White House!
Ted Deutch @TedDeutch-I know you want this as much as I do. I know it’s so close, you can almost taste it. So just sing or scream so the world can hear you - “#IHaveAVoice!” Then do something so the world can feel you - VOTE!
Matt Gaetz @mattgaetz-So why the F was the FBI investigating? Because the FBI has become the repository for the Resistance.
Brian Mast @BrianMastFL- Pam Keith's divisive and hateful rhetoric has no place in our community. I believe our country is strongest when we stand together - one nation, indivisible, with liberty and justice for all!
Jason Pizzo @senpizzo-Florida: “Voters may wear campaign buttons, shirts, hats, or any other campaign items when they enter the polling place to vote.” DS-DE 11 Eff. 04/2020 (R1S-2.034, F.A.C.)
“Bovo questions “voter maturity” of Biden-supporting Cuban-Americans voters” by The Floridian’s Javier Manjarres – The race to lead Florida’s most populous county comes to a head on November 3rd, as County Commissioners Daniella Levine Cava (D) and Esteban Bovo (R) make the final campaign rounds in the hours leading up to election day. During a press conference at his Miami campaign headquarters, Commissioner Bovo gave reporters an update on the status of his campus before entertaining media questions, one of which was specifically directed to Cuban-American voters who support Biden. When asked about his thoughts on why Cuban-Americans would vote for Vice President Joe Biden considering his past and present position of embracing the same Communist regime in Cuba many of their family members led from, Bovo question the “voter maturity” level of those Biden supporters, asserting that Biden’s “Cuba policy” was a “monumental failure.” “The beauty of democracy is that we could disagree and I think it shows a perhaps a level of voter maturity amongst Cuban-Americans that they select between parties,” said Bovo. “As to Biden and his Cuba policy it will be a monumental failure and we’ve seen, we’ve seen Cubans that were more interested not in democracy and freedom in Cuba but maybe lining their pockets. We know them in our community.” Bovo then went on to say that the results of the presidential election between President Donald Trump and former Vice President Joe Biden wouldn’t “really impact him,” saying that Joe Biden or Donald Trump weren’t going to take out your garbage if it needs to be taken out, and they’re not going to fix any other roads in Miami Dade County.”
“Soto Vows to Reunite Families With new Legislation” by The Floridian’s Daniel Molina – In the weeks leading up to the first presidential debate, a contentious matter was the Trump administration’s immigration policy, and Florida Democrats were leading the conversation considering that the sunshine state is a state that is home to many immigrants. With the election taking place tomorrow, Florida rep. Darren Soto (D) has joined forces with a bipartisan group of lawmakers to introduces the American Families United Act, which is designed to preserve and promote family unity by amending the Immigration and Nationality Act. In turn, this would help millions of U.S. citizens to be reunited with their loved ones. In a statement, rep. Soto expressed why he supports this legislation, explaining that he “was at the Orlando International Airport when my constituent, Alejandra Juárez, a mother and wife, boarded a plane and headed for Mexico, a country to which she was born but did not call home.” Moreover, Soto detailed that Juárez “left behind her two American-born daughters, Pamela and Estela, and her husband, Temo, a veteran of both the U.S. Marines and Army.” Since hearing of the news, Rep. Soto assured that he was going to never “give up fighting to reunite them,” so “the American Families United Act is key to fixing the broken immigration system that tears families apart and threatens the social fabric of thousands of communities across the country.” In short, Soto vowed that “we will reunite the families impacted by the Administration’s cruel immigration policies!”
“OPINION: VENEZUELA AND THE LATINO VOTE” by Pedro Paúl Betancourt via The Floridian – Every four years, the U.S. media, political analysts, and even the presidential candidates themselves, recognize the importance of the Latino vote in selecting a new president. This year, however, it is even more relevant. For the first time, Latinos are the largest minority in the country, with 13.3% of registered voters, making them a decisive electoral factor. However, the Latino vote, unlike other minorities in the United States, is not monolithic. On a national scale, the Latino vote seems to favor Joe Biden, thanks to the support of key demographic groups such as Mexicans and Puerto Ricans, who have traditionally supported the Democratic Party. But in Florida, the battle for the Latino vote is much narrower. According to a Pew Research Center poll, unlike the rest of Hispanics in the country, 58% of Cuban registered voters identify with the Republican Party, while only 38% identify with the Democrats; 65% of non-Cuban Hispanics identify with the Democratic Party and 32% with Republicans. Sixty-five percent of the 1.4 million Cuban registered voters live in Florida and these, along with other Hispanic groups such as Venezuelans and Nicaraguans residing in the same state, prefer Donald Trump. According to a study by El Diario, 66% of them intend to vote for Trump on November 3. The reason? According to the Pew Research study, 75% of Cuban-American voters say that foreign policy and violence are their electoral priorities, versus 45% for Puerto Ricans and Mexicans. For this reason, the candidates’ position toward Cuba and Venezuela is decisive for these voters. Venezuela has always been crucial to the United States’ interests in the region, but now it has become a powerful threat to the security of the entire Hemisphere due to its organized-crime activities and the growing and strengthened alliance of Nicolás Maduro’s regime with Iran, China and Russia.
“Bernie To ‘The Squad’: We Need To Push Biden To Be ‘The Most Progressive President Ever’” by The Floridian’s Mona Salama – Sen. Bernie Sanders (I-VT) told “The Squad” that their work is not over once Democratic presidential nominee Joe Biden is elected, vowing to make sure the former Vice President becomes “the most progressive president since FDR.” In a video zoom fundraiser event organized by progressive group MoveOn, Sanders joined the four liberal congresswomen of the “Squad” — Reps. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez (D-NY), Rashida Tlaib (D-MI), Ilhan Omar (D-MN), and Ayanna Pressley (D-MA) to discuss his progressive vision that he wants to occur under a Biden presidency. During the discussion, Omar asked Sanders what will make him “energized to continue the fight” for progressive after Nov.4. “Our first fight is to defeat Trump and that has to happen and I know all of us are working very hard to make that happen. But we understand that electing Biden is not the end-all, it is the beginning,” Sanders responded “Okay. And I think is the result of the work that all of you have done. Biden’s proposals in this campaign are a lot longer than they were in the primary.” Sanders added. “Biden, unlike Trump does not conceive of himself as a dictator that means you have your job in the house. I’ve got my job with others in the Senate, and we’re not giving up on our agenda.” Sanders went on detailing progressive agendas including “Medicare for All,” Green New Deal, criminal justice reform, and immigration. He emphasized his signature health care reform as an example to show how such efforts in attempting to make this agenda a reality has led to Biden to changing parts of his health care plan.
“Election officials prepare for record turnout ahead of Election Day in Florida” by Fox 13’s Aaron Mesmer – Election officials throughout Florida put some of the final touches on what they hope will be a smooth and potentially record-breaking Election Day. Hillsborough County Supervisor of Elections Craig Latimer explained what was left to do before polls open Tuesday morning. "We sent out five U-Haul trucks with equipment for Election Day polling sites that were the last deliveries we needed to make," Latimer said. "This evening a lot of the clerks will start setting up their polling site for tomorrow." Latimer said he's hopeful Florida can be the gold standard and have election results in for the state without the issues of previous elections. A major reason is a massive turnout for early and mail-in voting; using Hillsborough and Pinellas as examples, more than 60% of registered voters in both counties have already cast their ballots. "Traditionally, we've done 72, 73% in a presidential election. It wouldn't surprise me for it to go higher," Latimer said. Law enforcement, meanwhile, is putting out a warning about voter intimidation. "It's fine for anyone to go and express their First Amendment right, to talk, to wave a sign, to cheer for a candidate. But where it crosses the line is when you are harassing, intimidating, confronting, threatening and making someone feel uncomfortable," said Hillsborough County State Attorney Andrew Warren, adding if anyone sees anything unusual, a poll worker should be notified. "Poll workers are deputized. They are empowered to enforce the law. They understand the law really well." "We're going in here with a positive attitude and we've seen 14 days of early voting where people have been standing in lines," added Latimer. "There's been no heckling. They've been talking -- different parties talking to each other."
“How Will Election Day in Florida Play Out? Top Political Strategists Break Out Their Crystal Balls” by Spectrum’s Mitch Perry – According to figures posted Monday on the Florida Division of Elections website, Democrats had an advantage of 108,143 ballots cast in the state over Republican heading into Election Day. But as to how that will determine who wins the presidential race in the Sunshine State depends on who you speak to. Registered Democrats do have a slight lead in turnout (66.2% over 65.8%) going into Election Day. “Democrats are in a little better place,” says Steve Schale, a Democratic Party strategist who’s aligned with a super PAC backing Joe Biden this year. “Republicans frankly don’t have the same kind of an Election Day advantage of outstanding ballots that they had four years ago.” Schale predicts that the final turnout will be around 75%-80%. Blaise Ingoglia, the former Republican Party of Florida Chairman and a state Rep. from Hernando County, says turnout will be around 82%, which, he says augurs well for Donald Trump. “I think that the ‘Red Wave’, the ‘Red Tsunami’ that we’ve all been hearing about, is going to continue on Election Day,” Ingoglia said. “And I think that we’re going to have so many voters coming out on Election Day it’s going to dwarf that of the Democrats, and we’re going to overtake the lead in raw ballots that they have now.” That’s the scenario that did play out on Election Day in 2016 in Florida. Barry Edwards, a political strategist who has worked for both Democrats and Republicans, also believes that there are more Republican “super voters” ready to vote on Election Day – meaning those voters who never take an election off.
“‘A really tough state’: Florida enters Election Day too close to call” by Politico’s Matt Dixon and Gary Fineout – Florida is entering Election Day with roughly 9 million votes already cast, A-list surrogates zigzagging the peninsula and a flood of TV ads still in rotation. The Sunshine State, yet again, is in for another nail-biter. “Florida is a really tough state,” Kevin Sheekey, an adviser to former New York Mayor Michael Bloomberg, told reporters Monday. “It’s clearly a state that’s too tough to call.” On Monday, in an 11th-hour messaging campaign, Democrats and Republicans were dissecting Florida‘s diverse electorate from nearly every angle to write a victory narrative in a state President Donald Trump won by fewer than 113,000 votes in 2016. A record wave of early voting has provided troves of data that both Trump and former Vice President Joe Biden are using to claim the upper hand as final votes are cast. For Democrats, the good news looks like this: Broward County, a party stronghold, is turning out voters at a rate 3 percentage points higher than statewide turnout. The electorate has grown more diverse, some 100,000 more registered Democrats than Republicans will have voted by Election Day, and the party has roughly 200,000 more “sporadic voters” — people who don’t always cast ballots — than Republicans, giving Democrats greater potential to expand their base. “There are definitely places I feel good about,” Steve Schale, who runs pro-Joe Biden super PAC Unite the Country, told reporters Monday. “Most of the I-4 corridor I feel good about. Broward and Palm Beach County, turnout looks good.”
“Early votes have been counted. Who has the Florida advantage going into Election Day?” by Miami Herald’s David Smiley and Howard Cohen – Assuming everyone voted according to their party, the two-week early voting period that ended Sunday could be good news for the challenger in the presidential race in a state many call a must-win to take the White House. For the first time in two weeks, Florida Democrats cast more ballots than Republicans on Sunday, helping Democratic nominee Joe Biden pad his advantage over President Donald Trump in the nation’s biggest battleground heading into Election Day. According to figures posted Monday morning by the Florida Division of Elections, just over 100,000 Democratic votes were processed Sunday, the final day of early voting in Florida. Florida Republicans, meanwhile, cast about 88,000 ballots. That disparity helped Democrats build their advantage in ballots cast in the state up to 108,143 heading into Election Day, although those numbers will fluctuate as elections officials continue to receive and process mail ballots on Monday. Through Sunday evening, 8.974 million ballots had been cast early and by mail in Florida, nearly matching the entire 9.5 million votes cast in the 2016 presidential election. Of those votes, 39% were cast by Democrats, 38% by Republicans, and 21.5% by independent voters unaffiliated with either party. The remainder were cast by voters affiliated with minor political parties.
“Florida unemployment payments top $18 billion” by News Service of Florida – Florida has topped $18 billion paid out in its unemployment system since the COVID-19 pandemic began causing major economic damage in March. From March 15 to Sunday, the system had paid $18,003,063,834 to claimants, with much of the money coming from the federal government, according to information posted Monday on the Florida Department of Economic Opportunity website. In all, the state had received 4,508,856 claims during the period, with 2,078,413 claimants paid.
“Florida National Guard to be deployed across Florida on Election Day” by Tampa Bay Times’ Ileana Najarro – The Florida National Guard is activating soldiers in several locations across the state on Election Day, according to a Guard spokesperson. Additional details, such as the number of soldiers and locations, were unavailable Monday evening due to operational security, said spokeswoman Lt. Col. Caitlin Brown. But she added the move came from the direction of Gov. Ron DeSantis. Guard units across the country have mobilized to assist with traffic control at polling sites and prepared to respond to any civil unrest following Election Day. Five Florida National Guard members are also assisting the Florida Department of State with a cybersecurity mission to support election officials with network security, Brown said. In the 2018 mid-term elections, 27 states, including Florida, activated National Guard cybersecurity cells to keep network infrastructure unobstructed, as reported last year by the trade publication Stars and Stripes and confirmed by Brown. This year, cybersecurity missions also were activated across the country. In Texas, the National Guard plans to activate up to 1,000 troops in preparation for possible post-election civil disturbances, as reported by the San Antonio Express-News. This summer, the Florida National Guard was activated to assist local law enforcement agencies, including in Tampa, after peaceful protests tied to the death of George Floyd turned violent. This year, Florida Guard members have also been active in COVID-19-related missions, including offering support at testing sites.
“Biden campaign goes all-out in Florida to convince Hispanics he's not a 'socialist'” by Yahoo News’ Caitlin Dickson – In a campaign ad currently airing on Spanish-language television in Florida, a young woman identified as “Cecilia” of Kissimmee, Fla., is shown driving around and reflecting on the things she misses about Venezuela — her grandmother, the house she grew up in, her friends — and the reasons why she and her family fled. “Socialism, for me as a Venezuelan, was one of the keys that destroyed my country,” Cecilia says in Spanish, a pink plastic crucifix dangling from the rearview mirror in front of her. A wide shot of the outside of her car reveals “Biden-Harris” painted on one of the windows. “It might sound wild to compare Donald Trump with Nicolás Maduro,” she continues, “but the reality is that they are very similar.” She lists some of what Trump has in common with Maduro: “His authoritarianism, his violations of freedom of speech, his fear of opposition.” “People need to understand that what’s happening in the United States is not the same as what happened in Venezuela, but it’s very similar,” she says. The minute-long television spot, “Son Muy Similares,” or “They’re Very Similar,” was released last week as part of a final push by the Biden-Harris campaign to counter an onslaught of disinformation from pro-Trump sources aimed at Florida’s large and diverse population of Hispanic voters — in particular, the idea that the former vice president is a socialist who wants to make the United States like Venezuela. Trump has repeatedly promoted this idea on Twitter and at campaign rallies in Florida, calling Biden “weak on socialism” and a “proven Castro puppet.” Last month, when left-wing Colombian senator and former presidential candidate Gustavo Petro tweeted his support for Biden — an endorsement that was quickly rejected by Biden campaign officials — the Trump campaign quickly put out a Spanish-language ad using the tweet to connect the former vice president to Cuba’s Fidel Castro and the late Venezuelan President Hugo Chávez. Vice President Mike Pence has used similar talking points while rallying Hispanic supporters in Florida, including at an event last month at the Cuban Memorial in Miami’s Tamiami Park, where Pence criticized Biden for the Obama administration’s normalization of relations with Cuba.
“Florida principal who declined to say Holocaust was real fired again” by Associated Press – A Florida high school principal was fired again on Monday over a comment he made to a student’s parent last year regarding the Holocaust. The Palm Beach County School Board’s vote on Monday morning reversed an earlier decision to reinstate Spanish River High School Principal William Latson. Latson was fired in October 2019 after sparking outrage when he told a parent he “can’t say the Holocaust is a factual, historical event” because he wasn’t in a position to do so “as a school district employee.” He appealed his firing and an administrative law judge ruled in August that the school board had gone too far in firing him. That prompted the school board’s 4-3 vote to reinstate him last month. On Monday, the board reversed course and voted 7-0 to fire Latson following outrage in the Jewish community, the Palm Beach Post reported. A formal rejection of the recommendation to rehire Latson is expected to come via a “final order” in a separate vote Nov. 10, the newspaper reported. “I am so at peace that I am going to rescind my vote from the Oct. 7 meeting,” board member Barbara McQuinn said as the meeting began. “What Dr. Latson did was open the door for the students whose parents are Holocaust deniers for generations to come to deny the atrocity of the Holocaust.” The Germans under Nazi rule killed 6 million Jews during the Holocaust. The Nazis also exterminated another 5 million people during World War II, including Slavs; Roma, also known as Gypsies; gays and people with disabilities. The board initially agreed to fire last year Latson on ground of ethical misconduct and failure to carry out his job responsibilities. The official justification for his termination was failure to return messages from school district officials in the days after his comments made international news.
“Sen. Rick Scott says Hispanics will help Trump win Florida” by Fox News’ Joshua Q. Nelson – Hispanic voters are going to help President Trump win Florida in the 2020 presidential election, Sen. Rick Scott, R-Fla., said on Monday. “I think Miami-Dade is going to be interesting because I think the Democrats are going to have a hard time winning the Hispanic vote,” the former Florida governor Scott told “America’s Newsroom.” “I won the Hispanic vote in all three of my elections which was the deciding factor in how I won because these elections are close in Florida,” Scott said. President Donald Trump held a late-night rally in Florida on Sunday night, which appeared to last until about 1 a.m., despite a midnight curfew in place for the area. Thousands descended upon Miami-Opa Locka Executive Airport, located about 14 miles north of downtown Miami, in support of the president, who ended a busy day of campaigning by making a final pitch to Florida voters. "We're going to have an even bigger victory. Get out there and vote," Trump told the crowd. "We're going to have a bigger victory. And I don't know if you found out you've been here a long time. I hope the music was good. I hope life was good. Everything was good. That's a good-looking crowd. Good-looking people, I will say." The packed "Make America Great Again Victory Rally" took place in Miami-Dade County, which has been described as the coronavirus epicenter in the state. Some wore masks, while others disregarded the face coverings. In his speech, Trump criticized Democratic presidential candidate Joe Biden, lockdowns, and insisted the pandemic was "rounding" the turn.
“Trump rallies supporters in North Carolina amid final sprint before Election Day” by Fox News’ Adam Shaw – President Trump on Monday again hit the campaign trail, speaking to supporters in North Carolina amid a final push through swing states ahead of Election Day. Trump began with remarks at a “Make America Great Again Victory Rally” at Fayetteville Regional Airport in North Carolina -- a state he won in 2016 and will be seeking to keep in his column on Tuesday. "Tomorrow we are going to win this state and we are going to win four more years in our great White House," he told the crowd. "With your vote, we will continue to cut your taxes, cut regulation, support our great police, support our fantastic military, care for our veterans, protect your Second Amendment, defend religious liberty and ensure more products are proudly stamped with that wonderful phrase 'Made in the USA,'” he said. Trump touched on everything from what he called the “fake” polls showing him behind, the Hunter Biden laptop scandal and alleged bias in Big Tech companies like Twitter. He described Hunter Biden as a “vacuum cleaner, going all over the world, following his father, picking up the scraps.” He also played a video showing a number of gaffes and verbal stumbles by Joe Biden. "Don't do it to yourself," he said of voting for Biden. The rally comes after a number of events in key swing states by Trump, and hours after a rally in Florida that lasted until 1 a.m. Thousands of his supporters descended upon Miami-Opa Locka Executive airport, located about 14 miles north of downtown Miami, in support of the president who ended a busy day of campaigning by making a final pitch to Florida voters.
“Supreme Court rules in favor of Black Lives Matter organizer” by CNN’s Ariane de Vogue – The Supreme Court wiped away a lower court opinion related to Black Lives Matter protests that critics argued would chill the speech rights of demonstrators and dismantle civil rights era precedent that safeguards the First Amendments' right to protest. The lower court allowed a Louisiana police officer to move forward with lawsuit to hold the organizer of a Black Lives Matter protest, DeRay McKesson, accountable for injuries the officer sustained in 2016 when he was hit by a heavy object. McKesson himself did not hurl the object; the person who did is still unidentified. In an unsigned order, the justices sent the case back down to the lower courts to further review Louisiana law holding that before getting to important constitutional questions, more guidance from state courts is necessary. Justice Amy Coney Barrett did not participate in the decision, the Supreme Court's public information officer said, because she was busy preparing for oral arguments. Justice Clarence Thomas dissented. The officer from the Baton Rouge Police Department, who is using a pseudonym, did not attempt to sue the still unidentified rock thrower for damages, but instead, Mckesson, the organizer of the event. The officer suffered from a brain injury, loss of teeth, and a head injury. The case explores the reach of the First Amendment when it comes to civil rights protests and it comes as the country is reeling from renewed demonstrations after the death of George Floyd in Minnesota.
“Control of U.S. Senate Centers Around a Handful of GOP-Held Seats” by WSJ’s Siobhan Hughes and Lindsay Wise – Republicans and Democrats enter Election Day in a fight for control of the Senate, with key races tightening during a final push to turn out voters at the close of the chamber’s most expensive contests in history. Republicans are fighting to hang on to their majority, which now is a narrow 53-47 advantage. Democrats need to gain four seats to take control if President Trump is re-elected, or three if former Vice President Joe Biden wins the presidency. A total of 14 seats are now considered competitive, as record small-dollar donations have enabled Democrats to expand the map of close races from just 11 during the summer. Of the total, strategists have zeroed in on a handful of GOP-held seats in Maine, Iowa, North Carolina and Georgia as most likely to determine control of the Senate. Republicans concede that Sen. Cory Gardner will likely lose his seat in Colorado and are worried about Sen. Martha McSally’s seat in Arizona. Democrats expect to lose the Alabama seat held by Sen. Doug Jones. With Democrats likely to keep their majority in the House, the Senate’s Democratic leader, Chuck Schumer of New York, says he needs a Senate majority in order to take action on such issues as climate change and economic and social inequality. Democrats also say they need control to pass a big coronavirus-aid package and an overhaul of the criminal justice system. “I am feeling good about the Senate,” Sen. Amy Klobuchar (D., Minn.) said on Fox News Sunday, citing a list of polls that Democrats were leading in. “We are ahead in Arizona, we are ahead in Colorado, we are ahead in a number of polls in Maine.”
“Barrett speaks in first Supreme Court oral arguments since joining court” by Fox News’ Tyler Olson – Supreme Court Justice Amy Coney Barrett asked her first questions during oral arguments on Monday, in a remote hearing on a Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) case. Barrett was the last of the justices to speak Monday as they grill lawyers in descending order of seniority to preserve order in the teleconference hearings during the pandemic. Before the arguments began, Chief Justice John Roberts said that it was his "great pleasure" to welcome his new colleague and wished her "a long and happy career in our common calling." The first case Barrett and the rest of the justices heard Monday morning was U.S. Fish and Wildlife Services v. Sierra Club. That case centers around granular administrative law on what exactly the government is required to disclose in response to Freedom of Information Act requests. "You said that if a government official simply stamps 'draft' on it and sent it over, and as Justice Kavanaugh is positing did so in order to avoid FOIA disclosure requirements, you said that a court might look at other factors to determine whether it's still final," Barrett said in her first question as a justice. "What other factors would a court consider?" In the FOIA-related case the court heard Monday, the government disputes that it must turn over some draft documents that it claims fall under the "deliberative process privilege" exemption of the Freedom of Information Act. The Sierra Club, an environmental organization, argues that those documents should be available to the public. "[The government's] view of Exemption 5 suggests that materials FOIA explicitly makes public—interpretations, staff instructions, and policies with operative effect on later agency decisions—should, contrary to the statute, largely be secret," Sierra Club said in a brief. In response to Barrett's first question, the government's counsel argued that a court could investigate whether the label of "draft" was "pretextual." He added that in such an examination he believed the government would succeed in this particular case.
“More than 96 million Americans have voted with one day to go until Election Day” by CNN’s Adam Levy, Ethan Cohen, and Liz Stark – More than 96 million Americans have voted nationwide with one day left until Election Day, according to a survey of election officials by CNN, Edison Research and Catalist. These votes represent more than 45% of registered voters nationwide. Eighteen states and Washington, DC, have seen more than half of their registered voters cast ballots already. Nationwide, the more than 96 million ballots already cast represents 70% of the more than 136.5 million ballots cast in the 2016 presidential election. As pre-Election Day voting surges nationwide amid the ongoing coronavirus pandemic, many states are reporting record turnout compared to the last cycle. It's unclear if the outpouring foreshadows a massive turnout wave or is a redistribution of voters who otherwise would've voted on Election Day. Voting rates have varied over the years. The highest turnout in a presidential election since 1972, the first presidential election 18-year-olds could vote, came in 2008, when slightly more than 57% of the voting age population voted. The second highest was in 2004, when turnout was almost 56%, followed by 1972 at about 55%. Almost 55% of the voting age population cast ballots for the presidential election in 2016. The 1996 presidential election had the lowest turnout, reaching just 48% that cycle. So far, almost 38% of the voting age population has voted. To reach 2008 levels, the nation would need to see an additional 49 million votes -- or 145.7 million votes total -- cast this year. Texas and Hawaii have already surpassed their total turnout from the 2016 general election. In eight more states, the pre-election vote represents at least 90% of their 2016 total vote -- Montana, Washington, North Carolina, Georgia, Nevada, Florida, New Mexico and Tennessee.
“Judge Strikes Down ‘Public Charge’ Rule Restricting Immigrants” by WSJ’s Michelle Hackman – A federal court in Chicago struck down a Trump administration policy that makes it easier for the government to deny green cards to low-income applicants. The policy, known as the public-charge rule, is one of the administration’s signature immigration accomplishments. If it remained in effect, it would move the country toward a system of admitting fewer and higher-income immigrants. Announced in August 2019 by the Department of Homeland Security, the rule effectively expanded the pool of people considered likely to become a “public charge” under U.S. immigration law. If an immigrant makes use of a public-assistance program, such as housing assistance, food stamps or Medicaid—or an immigration officer judges that he or she might in the future—the person could be denied a green card or barred from the U.S. altogether. The case stemmed from a challenge by Cook County, which includes Chicago, and the Illinois Coalition for Immigrant and Refugee Rights, and is one of at least three challenging the rule’s legality. The plaintiffs had argued that the rule’s interpretation of who was considered to be a public charge was arbitrary and capricious and at odds with the Immigration and Nationality Act. Judge Gary Feinerman of the U.S. District Court for the Northern District of Illinois said the rule must be set aside because DHS violated the Administrative Procedure Act, which governs how the administration can promulgate executive orders and other policies. The Trump administration has seen several other rules struck down because of the Act. Judge Feinerman wrote that the Trump administration stretched the meaning of a public charge further than the immigration laws allow. “Even assuming that the term ‘public charge’ is ambiguous and thus might encompass more than institutionalization or primary, long-term dependence on cash benefits, it does violence to the English language and the statutory context to say that it covers a person who receives only de minimis benefits,” he wrote.
“Trump, Biden campaign lawyers ready to pounce for election legal battle” by Fox News’ Ronn Blitzer – Less than 24 hours until Election Day, the Trump and Biden campaigns are winding down their rigorous battles fought via ad campaigns, debates and rallies, while digging in for a whole new war, this one to be waged in courtrooms. Both sides have amassed their battalions of attorneys, and it appears that they will not wait long to engage. “We're going to go in [the] night of, as soon as that election is over, we're going in with our lawyers,” President Trump told reporters Sunday, referring to litigation over whether ballots in swing states such as Pennsylvania and North Carolina should be counted if they arrive in the mail after Election Day. "I don't think it's fair that we have to wait a long period of time after the election. Should've gotten their ballots in a long time before that. Could've gotten their ballots in a month ago. I think it's a ridiculous decision,” the president said, referring to the Supreme Court’s decision not to block state court orders that allowed extensions. Pennsylvania Secretary of State Kathy Boockvar said Sunday that she expects the “overwhelming majority” of ballots to be tallied in a few days’ time, but whether all of those votes will ultimately count will depend on how the ongoing court case plays out. She confirmed that ballots received after Election Day will be segregated from the rest, just in case they are ruled invalid. To handle this and other legal matters, Trump’s campaign has formed what it has called “Lawyers for Trump,” a coalition to “protect the integrity” of the election. The coalition is being led by Texas Attorney General Ken Paxton and Arkansas Attorney General Leslie Rutledge, as well as California Committeewoman Harmeet Dhillon and former Deputy White House Counsel Stefan Passantino. The group includes prominent Trump-allied attorneys like former Florida Attorney General Pam Bondi, former Attorney General Ed Meese and the president's personal attorney Rudy Giuliani.
“Trump supporters seen blocking traffic on a New Jersey highway and a New York bridge” by CNN’s Fernando Alfonso III – Hundreds of vehicles flying Trump, MAGA and American flags caused delays around the New York metropolitan area on Sunday after they were seen stopping traffic to cheer and chant. At around 10 a.m. ET Sunday, Maddy Pryor was driving north on the Garden State Parkway when she spotted numerous vehicles with MAGA flags driving near one another. At first, she thought it was just a coincidence, "but when we passed the Toms River service area, it became clear that it was something much more organized," she told CNN over Twitter. "People were getting out of their cars both in the service area and on both sides of the parkway," Pryor said. "They would just get out and hold up their Trump flags (some were in Trump costumes) and shout and film things on their phone. They were causing traffic for miles and miles." Tom Feeney, a spokesman for the New Jersey Turnpike Authority, which includes the Garden State Parkway, said that "several hundred vehicles" were involved in the demonstration on the parkway. "As I understand, they met at the Monmouth service area (which is around milepost 100)," he told CNN over email. "They traveled North. I saw a video of them stopping on the roadway and blocking the northbound express lanes. Traffic backed up behind them for about five miles." The vehicles left the highway at exit 135 near Clark Township at about 2 p.m. ET, Feeney said. When contacted, the New Jersey State Police only said that police were aware of the demonstration on the parkway.
“Air Force Purchase of Chinese Drones Spurs Security Concerns” by WSJ’s Brett Forrest and Gordon Lubold – The U.S. Air Force recently bought dozens of Chinese-made drones to use for testing and training, according to officials and records of the purchase, fueling concerns about continued Defense Department use of technology that lawmakers consider a threat to national security. The Air Force Special Operations Command, the service’s highly trained commando division, bought 57 drones in September from Da-Jiang Innovations, or DJI, the world’s largest maker of unmanned aerial systems, based in Shenzhen, China. They will be used to train airmen on how they could be used against the U.S. or its allies and how to defeat them, officials said. Air Force officials said the drones are cost-effective and useful, and a DJI spokesman said they don’t pose a risk of data loss or theft. But critics have said the drones could be used to gather information about the U.S. military and critical infrastructure, or in other instances of espionage and data collection, sending the information back to China. “Why would we allow the U.S. government to purchase drones from China?” Sen. Chris Murphy (D., Conn.) said. “Doing so allows Beijing to gather sensitive data from us and rewards an adversary at the expense of our own American manufacturers.” Legislation included last year in a defense-policy bill prohibited federal agencies from purchasing Chinese drones. However, the bill provided the Pentagon with an exemption to use such aircraft for training and intelligence purposes in the U.S. and overseas. The Air Force operates U.S. unmanned fleets world-wide and trains pilots to control drones used for surveillance and combat purposes. Some of those drones consist of small aircraft such as Reapers or Global Hawks—which can range in weight up to several tons—compared with the hand-held DJI Mavic 2 drones.
Donald J. Trump @realDonaldTrump- To all of our supporters: thank you from the bottom of my heart. You have been there from the beginning, and I will never let you down. Your hopes are my hopes, your dreams are my dreams, and your future is what I am fighting for every single day!
Joe Biden @JoeBiden-It’s Election Day. Go vote, America!