The Pew Charitable Trusts

10/27/2020 | News release | Distributed by Public on 10/27/2020 08:55

Top State Stories 10/27

The U.S. Supreme Court upheld Wisconsin's voting laws, rejecting an effort to require the counting of absentee ballots that are sent back to election officials on or just before Election Day. The court's 5-3 ruling means that absentee ballots will be counted only if they are in the hands of municipal clerks by the time polls close on Nov. 3.

Some sheriffs have said they won't enforce a ban by Michigan's top election official on openly carrying guns near polling places on Election Day. Concern about violence at the polls is on the rise since a kidnap plot on Democratic Gov. Gretchen Whitmer.

A federal judge denied a conservative legal group's request for an injunction preventing two South Carolina counties from accepting and using private grant money they've received to help conduct the 2020 general election. U.S. District Judge Richard Gergel denied a temporary restraining order, stating that an injunction would likely disrupt the counties' ability to administer the Nov. 3 election.

The Director of National Intelligence turned down the Florida congressional delegation's request to hear more about the claim that foreign governments sent hundreds of intimidating emails to Florida voters last week. The director cited 'lack of bandwidth' before the election.

Virginia Military Institute's top official resigned a week after Gov. Ralph Northam, a Democrat, announced an investigation into the school's culture and policies following reports of racism that received national attention.

Nevada's Division of Industrial Relations has fined Douglas County and the company that manages the Minden-Tahoe Airport $5,500 after President Donald Trump rallied thousands of his supporters there last month in violation of state coronavirus health and safety directives.

With the death toll from the coronavirus continuing to tick up at Missouri's state-run nursing homes for veterans, officials painted a grim financial picture of the agency that runs the facilities.

Arkansas state Sen. Cecile Bledsoe, a Republican, is the seventh state lawmaker to test positive for the coronavirus during the past several days.

Joe Biden is not faring as well among Latino voters in the polls as Hillary Clinton did in 2016, but Democrats in Texas are working to shore up Latino support.

Republicans in the Louisiana House filed a petition under an obscure law that allows either chamber of the legislature to end a public health emergency, in this case ending virus rules. Democratic Gov. John Bel Edwards asked a state judge to declare the law unconstitutional.

OH: Ohio governor says private gatherings more to blame for recent COVID-19 spike than bars and restaurants

Ohio Republican Gov. Mike DeWine has largely given businesses a pass as a cause for the recent surge in COVID-19 cases. Instead, the governor has for weeks said the spike is the result of people being less careful at casual private gatherings, weddings and funerals.

More than one million New York City residents are out of work, and the unemployment rate is nearly double the national average. As the virus surges again in the region, tourists are still staying away and any hope that workers would refill the city's office towers and support its businesses before the end of the year is fading.

By 5 p.m., with the polls open for three more hours, 125,387 Marylanders had voted in person, breaking the record of 123,623 on the first day of early voting in the 2016 presidential election. Including the mail-in ballots cast so far, 1.1 million Marylanders have voted.

Republican Gov. Jim Justice said a letter, on official gubernatorial letterhead and featuring his signature, encouraging about 133,000 West Virginia households to apply for CARES Act funds to help defray delinquent utility bills has nothing to do with his reelection campaign.

It's possible the outcomes of close races won't be known on election night in Arizona, and that's not unusual for the state nor an indication that the system has failed. During the 2018 election cycle, the winner of the state's U.S. Senate race wasn't known until six days later.

A week after insisting she had enough signatures, the woman organizing a recall campaign against Wisconsin Democratic Gov. Tony Evers announced her effort had failed. She would have needed 670,000 to force a recall election early next year.

Maine economic development officials have amended the application for the second phase of an emergency grant program shortly before the deadline for applications, after struggling small businesses and nonprofits questioned confusing language that may have cost them a chance at aid in the program's first phase.

Vermont school districts are trying to bring students back for more in-person instruction, particularly in the younger grades. But superintendents say staffing shortages aggravated by the pandemic are getting in the way - and could even take them backward.

North Carolina is among the key states leading the country in voter turnout among young people. Across the state, 204,986 people ages 18-29 cast their early ballots as of Oct. 21, according to a nonpartisan research group tracking young voter participation.

Washington voters should be on the lookout for fake information intended to confuse people in the days leading up to and after the Nov. 3 election, said Washington Secretary of State Kim Wyman, a Republican. 'We are anticipating in the coming days … misinformation and disinformation campaigns shared not only on social media, but across the internet,' she said.

More than 1.17 million Oregonians have had their ballots logged at their county elections office. In 2016, it took another full week - until the Friday immediately before Election Day - for turnout to reach that mark.

With the coronavirus pandemic rapidly worsening in Idaho, Gov. Brad Little, a Republican, announced that the state will go backward and re-enter Stage 3 of its Idaho Rebounds plan. The main repercussion of this move is that the limit on indoor gatherings reverts to 50 people or less, and outdoor gatherings will be limited to 25% capacity.

With Hawaii public schools still doing distance learning due to virus spread concerns, the state's private schools are becoming increasingly attractive to families looking for some sense of normalcy for their children - and repose from their own harried schedules. Most of the 100 member schools that are part of the Hawaii Association of Independent Schools are now offering on-campus, in-person instruction.

Mississippi Gov. Tate Reeves, a Republican, announced the addition of seven counties that will be added to the mask mandate. The counties will be added to the nine already under the order.

Two years after Oklahoma educators walked out of their classrooms and stormed the state Capitol, fewer teachers are running for state legislative seats. This year, more than 50 education candidates launched campaigns for legislative seats, down from 112 candidates who ran in 2018, according to figures from the Oklahoma Education Association.

To reach that lofty goal, about 81,000 of New Jersey's nine million residents would have to be vaccinated each day for five days a week, state Health Commissioner Judith Persichilli said during a virtual coronavirus briefing in which officials laid out the first draft of New Jersey's vaccination plan.

Record numbers of people are being treated in Iowa hospitals for the coronavirus as the illness spreads across the state. The number of people hospitalized with the virus increased to 561, and a 14-county area of southeast Iowa reported record hospital admissions, patients in hospitals and patients in intensive care units.

Familiar with the seasonal nature of farm work, most California field laborers conserve earnings from earlier months to plan for the cold season when fewer people are needed for tasks such as pruning. But this year, there has not been enough work and many are dreading a winter of scarcity.

About 190,000 District of Columbia residents have activated the contact-tracing option on their smartphones since the city joined a new program last week. The city's health director said the pace of residents joining the program, operated by Apple and Google, places the district among a group of cities that have most quickly embraced the technology.

Democratic Gov. Ned Lamont said he would consider stricter enforcement of COVID-19 rules and guidelines after several incidents at Connecticut bars over the weekend.

Indiana residents will not be able to request that their polling places stay open longer on Nov. 3 after a federal appeals court upheld an Indiana election law that gives county election officials the sole power to make those requests.

The Rhode Island Board of Elections voted unanimously to break with its recent practice and start releasing unofficial mail ballot counts at 11 p.m. on election night. That means residents will not have to wait until every mail ballot has been counted to find out the likely winners of many, if not most, contests.

Once a COVID-19 vaccine becomes available, Nebraska will target the initial vaccinations as expected to health care professionals in hospitals and long-term care facilities, followed closely by Nebraskans 65 or older and people with underlying medical conditions.

Hospitalizations for COVID-19 have exceeded 100 in Wyoming. As the state continues to report records for new coronavirus cases, more hospitalizations are likely to follow.