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What We're Reading: Top State Stories 11/3

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What We're Reading: Top State Stories 11/3

TX: Texas drive-thru votes safe after judge rejects GOP lawsuit

texastribune.org

The federal judge's ruling follows two related decisions by the Texas Supreme Court rejecting efforts to have Harris County's drive-thru voting process deemed illegal. It appears to clear the way for all drive-thru votes to be counted on Election Day; Republican plaintiffs plan to appeal.

FL: Lawyers ready to fight for every Florida vote

miamiherald.com

On the final day of voting in this divisive election year, one word is sending shivers through Florida’s political class like a creepy incantation: recount. The ghost of 2000 hovers over Election Day and people shudder at another razor-thin presidential election.

NV: Judge rejects attempt to slow Nevada county’s ballot count

thenevadaindependent.com

A judge has again blocked efforts by President Donald Trump’s reelection campaign and the Nevada Republican Party to delay the counting of mail ballots in populous Clark County over signature verification and observation. The judge said their claims largely lacked evidence for last-minute judicial intervention in the election process.

WI: Wisconsin tops 30% average positivity rate for COVID-19 tests

jsonline.com

Wisconsin's average COVID-19 test positivity rate topped 30% for the first time as the state continued to contend with one of the country's worst coronavirus outbreaks. The state also reported 3,433 new cases.

IA: Iowa hospitals in ‘danger zone’ as pandemic worsens

desmoinesregister.com

Leaders of Iowa’s largest hospital systems say the COVID-19 surge is stretching their facilities and threatens to get worse.

NY: New York governor says Trump administration might use vaccination plan to find immigrants

timesunion.com

New York Democratic Gov. Andrew Cuomo said the “data sharing agreement” to be used to distribute an eventual COVID-19 vaccine might be used to identify immigrants living in the country illegally. To protect them, Cuomo said, New York would not provide passport numbers, driver's license numbers or Social Security numbers.

MN: Minnesota won’t let federal agents into polls without invitation

kare11.com

The U.S. Department of Justice plans to send staff to Minneapolis to monitor voting compliance, but Minnesota's secretary of state said those agents will not be allowed into polling places without an invitation. Even law enforcement officers cannot come within 50 feet unless by invitation, said Secretary of State Steve Simon.

MI: 2 poll challengers disrupt Michigan vote count

freep.com

On the first day of absentee ballot processing in Michigan, police removed two poll challengers in Detroit, including one man wearing a horror-movie mask. Secretary of State Jocelyn Benson said the state will not tolerate intimidation.

MA: Virus spike prompts stricter Massachusetts mask rules

bostonglobe.com

Republican Gov. Charlie Baker tightened Massachusetts’ mask mandate, requiring anyone over age 5 to wear a mask in public regardless of distance from others. He also urged people to stay home at night and clamped down on private holiday gatherings.

NM: New Mexico nears voter turnout record

abqjournal.com

New Mexico is on track to shoot past its all-time voter turnout record in an election that will decide control of the state legislature. Even light turnout on Election Day should send New Mexico’s turnout past 2008 vote totals and could reach the record, 70% of registered voters.

OR: Oregon puts National Guard on standby for election

oregonlive.com

Oregon State Police and the Multnomah County Sheriff’s Office will take over command of the police response in Portland during the election. Democratic Gov. Kate Brown said the plan is to keep the peace, protect free speech and prevent violence and intimidation on Election Day.

MS: Mississippi expects on-time election results

clarionledger.com

Despite an unusually high number of absentee voters and a change in rules that allows mail-in absentee ballots received after Election Day to be counted, Mississippians can expect unofficial election results after polls close.

HI: Perfect storm results in record voting in Hawaii

staradvertiser.com

A convergence of forces has turned chronic voter apathy in recent years in Hawaii into record ballots cast. The ease of mail-in voting, President Donald Trump’s reelection bid, concerns about the economy and fears about the COVID-19 pandemic are motivating factors.

NH: New Hampshire police departments prepare for poll presence on Election Day

nhpr.org

Police departments across New Hampshire are taking extra precautions for Election Day. The New Hampshire Attorney General's Office has advised communities to station one officer at every polling place and to deploy two officers at polling places known to be busy.

NY: Parents in New York City schools face agonizing choice on in-person instruction

nytimes.com

Only one in four New York City students have returned to classrooms. The remainder have two weeks left to decide if they’ll go back, too.

SD:  Report: South Dakota attorney general distracted before fatal crash

argusleader.com

South Dakota Republican Attorney General Jason Ravnsborg was distracted before he drove onto a highway shoulder where he struck and killed a pedestrian in September, state Secretary of Public Safety Craig Price said.

NE: Nebraska seeks support for long-term care facilities

journalstar.com

Nebraska Republican Gov. Pete Ricketts said the state is seeking federal approval for a temporary increase in Medicaid funding that would pump close to $40 million in additional assistance into Nebraska long-term care facilities that have been heavily affected by COVID-19.

AL: Alabama polling sites will have electricity despite storm

al.com

All 1,980 polling sites in Alabama will be operational and have some sort of power on Election Day, according to Secretary of State John Merrill. Many sites lost power after Hurricane Zeta.

DC: District of Columbia cancels plan to bring some students into classrooms

washingtonpost.com

The chancellor of Washington, D.C.’s public school system said he was canceling plans to bring some elementary students back to classrooms on Nov. 9. The announcement came after union negotiations failed to resolve questions about how to reopen schools safely.

CT: Connecticut governor scales back reopening 

courant.com 

As COVID-19 continues to spread across Connecticut, Democratic Gov. Ned Lamont is pulling the entire state from the third phase of reopening back to a modified version of the second phase. Restaurants will be required to reduce their maximum indoor capacity from 75% to 50%. 

IN: More than 1,300 new COVID-19 cases reported in Indiana schools last week

indystar.com

A total of 865 students, 204 teachers and 255 school staff members tested positive for COVID-19 last week, according to the Indiana State Department of Health. Since the start of the school year, there have been more than 6,300 cases.

RI: Rhode Island attorney general warns landlords on evictions

providencejournal.com

The Rhode Island Attorney General's Office has encountered increasing reports of landlords trying to evict tenants without a court order. Financial hardships brought on by the pandemic apparently have triggered the increase.

CO: Jury trials in Denver suspended until 2021

denverpost.com

Denver’s courts will not hold jury trials this year because of the escalating danger presented by the coronavirus in the Colorado city. The decision will exacerbate the already unprecedented jury trial backlog that’s grown across the state.

CO: Colorado governor presents optimistic new budget but expects dark days

denverpost.com

Colorado Gov. Jared Polis, a Democrat, presented an optimistic budget request for fiscal 2021-22, adding a $1.3 billion stimulus program and increasing the state’s reserves. The proposal comes at a time of profound economic uncertainty.

UT: Coronavirus exposure will slow vote counting in Utah county

sltrib.com

The Summit County elections office in Utah will be quarantining through the end of the week due to a coronavirus exposure. County Clerk Kent Jones said he doesn’t expect the quarantine will affect the ability of the clerk’s office to complete its ballot count on time, by Nov. 17.

NJ: New Jersey law enforcement prepares for the potential of election unrest

northjersey.com

In one New Jersey county alone, a 45-person team of county and municipal police officers has been training on how to control crowds and quell confrontations in case of civil unrest, which law enforcement officials warn could escalate on or after Election Day.

AR: Arkansas virus hospitalizations at all-time high

arkansasonline.com

The number of Arkansans currently hospitalized for the coronavirus reached a record high when 33 more patients were added to the tally, bringing the total to 688, according to the Arkansas Department of Health.

TN: COVID-19 is worse than ever in Tennessee

tennessean.com

The outbreak is much larger and more volatile than it was in March, when Tennessee shut down to slow the virus, and it has exceeded all the peaks of July, when the virus ran rampant in Nashville and Memphis.

MO: Inmate deaths from COVID-19 double in Missouri

stltoday.com

The number of Missouri prison inmates who have died from COVID-19 doubled over the weekend as some facilities continue to see high numbers of virus cases.

ME: Maine creates virtual ‘situation room’ to deal with election uncertainty

bangordailynews.com

Maine is launching a coordinated effort to give poll workers quicker access to state lawyers and public safety officials as fears of Election Day disruptions rise. The state is creating a virtual “situation room” that election clerks can call to have legal questions answered or route police to handle disruptions.

VA: Richmond, Virginia, police close traffic circle where clash occurred

richmond.com

Police in Richmond, Virginia, blocked traffic from entering historic Lee Circle, site of multiple demonstrations, and officers posted signs in the area warning that guns are prohibited, one day after a clash at the circle between a “Trump train” of cars and opposing protesters.

NC: North Carolina sees unprecedented levels of voting

newsobserver.com

More than 4.5 million North Carolinians already have voted heading into Election Day — that’s more than 95% of all the state voters who cast ballots in 2016.

SC: South Carolina officials push for more testing as cases rise

thestate.com

After a streak of higher coronavirus case numbers, South Carolina is urging more people to get tested. The state had a spike of more than 1,300 new cases, the largest increase in months.

Lots of States Start Ballot Counting Process Early This Year Wolf Vote
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