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What We're Reading: Top State Stories 10/28

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What We're Reading: Top State Stories 10/28

SC: South Carolina counties ordered to stop tossing ballots over mismatched signatures

thestate.com

A federal judge has ordered South Carolina counties to stop rejecting absentee ballots on the basis of voter signatures appearing not to match signatures on file and ordered a review of any ballots thrown out so far for that reason.

VA: Judge sides with Virginia governor on taking down Lee monument; appeal expected

richmond.com

A Richmond Circuit Court judge ruled in favor of Virginia Democratic Gov. Ralph Northam's order to take down the Robert E. Lee Monument, holding that arguments to keep it in place were contrary to current public policy. The order dissolved an earlier injunction pending an appeal.

FL: Florida eclipses 2016 early vote

miamiherald.com

A week before Nov. 3, Florida already has surpassed its pre-Election Day voting total of 6.6 million from 2016. Almost half of all registered voters in Florida had cast ballots, including 42% of Democrats, 37% of Republicans and 20% of independents.

UT: Both newspapers in Utah’s capital to cease daily publication

apnews.com

The capital of Utah will go from two daily printed newspapers to none after both of Salt Lake City’s major publications — the Deseret News and the Salt Lake Tribune — announced moves to weekly print schedules in the past two days. The two publications have a joint-operating agreement that will end later this year.

WI: 'It's a nightmare scenario:' Wisconsin reports worst day of pandemic yet

jsonline.com

Wisconsin reported its most dismal coronavirus numbers yet as state health officials urged residents to leave home only when absolutely necessary and warned the crisis would continue escalating.

ID: Idaho Republicans, including lieutenant governor, decry governor's pandemic orders

idahostatesman.com

Several Idaho lawmakers, including Republican Lt. Gov. Janice McGeachin, appeared in a video in which they question the existence of the coronavirus pandemic and say that they will ignore any state or local emergency orders that they claim violate their rights.

WA: Washington campaign staff protest working conditions

crosscut.com

Campaign workers in Washington have delivered a list of demands to several of the state’s major Democratic groups, including guaranteed health care coverage, a minimum salary of $30 per hour for campaign managers, guaranteed days off and no-contact hours between 9 p.m. and 8 a.m. The organizers behind the Washington State Campaign Workers’ Bill of Rights called their field a “system of extractive, low-paid, high pressure campaign work.”

MI: Michigan could see statehouse tie

freep.com

There is a realistic chance the November election could result in a 55-55 tie for Michigan's state House for the first time since 1992. With Election Day a few days away, it's a major test for Democratic Gov. Gretchen Whitmer, whose agenda faces major obstacles in a GOP-controlled Legislature.

NM: New Mexico court denies GOP ballot challenge

abqjournal.com

New Mexico's Supreme Court rejected an emergency petition filed by the Republican Party seeking to guarantee that poll watchers could observe the initial processing of absentee ballots. Secretary of State Maggie Toulouse Oliver, a Democrat, said the decision affirms "legally sound processes" already in place.

OR: COVID-19 is 10 times higher in Oregon prisons than the rest of the state

oregonlive.com

Prisoners and their public defenders say a sense of pessimism and dismissiveness seems to have settled upon parts of the Oregon’s prison system, where inmates have been infected at nearly 10 times the rate as Oregonians as a whole. So far more than 1,200 inmates have tested positive and 16 have died.

HI: Hawaii unemployment benefits get 13-week extension

staradvertiser.com

As Hawaii’s unemployment plight nears the nine-month mark, state officials are activating a second extension of jobless benefits for out-of-work residents. The state Department of Labor and Industrial Relations announced a new extension to state unemployment benefits that adds 13 weeks to the state’s normal 26-week coverage limit and a previous 13-week extension.

MS: Mississippi sees record number of absentee voters

sunherald.com

Mississippi Secretary of State Michael Watson, a Republican, said more than 190,000 absentee ballots already have been requested in the state, which he called a record and “an incredible number.” The state's deadline for in-person absentee voting is Saturday.

 

TX: Texas reaches 87% of total 2016 vote

texastribune.org

The total of early votes in Texas so far is 7.8 million, which surpasses 2016's early vote and is 87% of the total number of votes cast in the state in 2016.

MA: Massachusetts governor calls out those under 30 for large part of coronavirus spike

bostonglobe.com

Massachusetts officials said hockey games accounted for as many as 110 cases. In addition, there have been at least 300 recent cases among people under age 30.

CO: Denver implements more coronavirus restrictions as cases climb

coloradosun.com

Denver, Colorado, will force businesses and offices to reduce their capacity because of rising coronavirus cases and hospitalizations in the city. Gyms could also be forced to shut down. The state Department of Public Health and Environment announced it is also moving four other counties to more restrictive statuses: Adams, Arapahoe, Otero and Crowley.

PA: National Guard mobilized in response to unrest in Philadelphia

inquirer.com

At the request of city officials, Pennsylvania Gov. Tom Wolf, a Democrat, has mobilized the National Guard to Philadelphia in response to protests that have erupted since police shot and killed Walter Wallace Jr.

NH: New Hampshire secretary of state says 2020 is ‘a once-in-a-hundred-years type of an election’

nhpr.org

Democratic Secretary of State Bill Gardner has overseen New Hampshire elections for more than four decades and worked on voting policy in the legislature several years before that — but even he’s never seen anything like 2020.

CA: As fires sweep through California, 100K forced to flee

latimes.com

Orange County, California, remained on high alert as a pair of wind-driven wildfires continued their race toward populated areas, forcing 100,000 residents to evacuate and choking much of the region with smoke.

AR: Judge denies request on ballot signatures in Arkansas

arkansasonline.com

A federal judge in Arkansas denied the League of Women Voters' request for an injunction forcing the state Election Commission to allow voters to correct signature discrepancies on ballots.

ME: Maine school principals delay start of winter sports season

pressherald.com

Practices were scheduled to start Nov. 16, but they have been delayed indefinitely while the Maine Principals' Association continues to talk with state agencies about COVID-19 safety protocols.

VT: Federal pandemic funds help Vermont budget exceed September estimates

vtdigger.org

Despite strain from the COVID-19 pandemic, Vermont’s tax revenues came in tens of millions of dollars above expectations in September. Gov. Phil Scott, a Republican, credited the stimulus money the state received from the federal government this year.

CT: Many Connecticut homes don’t have a computer or reliable internet 

courant.com 

One in five Connecticut households do not have a working computer, and almost a quarter of homes lack reliable internet service, a new report has found, challenges that have made it difficult for some students and families to learn and work from home during the pandemic. 

IN: Quarantined Indiana residents can vote by traveling board 

indystar.com 

Indiana voters who are positive for COVID-19 or who have symptoms of the virus still have an option to vote. Voting by traveling board involves having a bipartisan team of election workers come to a voter's home to record their vote, which has some county officials worried.

SD: South Dakota medical groups promote masks, countering governor

apnews.com

South Dakota’s largest medical organizations launched a joint effort to promote mask-wearing to prevent the spread of the coronavirus as the state suffers through one of the nation’s worst outbreaks, a move that countered Republican Gov. Kristi Noem’s position of casting doubt on the efficacy of masks.

MD: Maryland governor seeks to retain budget control

baltimoresun.com

One of Republican Gov. Larry Hogan’s political groups, the Change Maryland Action Fund, launched a campaign this week against the Maryland ballot measure known as Question 1, which would give lawmakers the ability to shuffle money around within the budget, so long as it doesn’t exceed the total set by the governor. 

WV: Dark money floods into West Virginia elections

wvgazettemail.com

For the second election in a row, a dark-money political group flooded West Virginia mailboxes with campaign mailers opposing Democratic candidates without registering with the state.

LA: Louisiana governor vetoes bill on virus controls

apnews.com

Democratic Gov. John Bel Edwards’ decision to veto a bill granting more power to Louisiana’s Republican legislature was expected. But it confirmed that lawmakers had held a nearly four-week special session, costing taxpayers an estimated $1 million, with little to show.

Virginia Governor Signs Ban on No-Knock Warrants Voters with Disabilities
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