More than 22 million Americans have already cast ballots in the 2020 election, a record-shattering avalanche of early votes driven both by Democratic enthusiasm and a pandemic that has transformed the way the nation votes.
The 22.2 million ballots submitted as of Friday night represent 16% of all the votes cast in the 2016 presidential election, even as eight states are not yet reporting their totals and voters still have more than two weeks to cast ballots. A record 150 million votes may be cast and turnout rates could be higher than in any presidential election since 1908, election experts to predict.
“It's crazy,” said Michael McDonald, a University of Florida political scientist who has long tracked voting for his site ElectProject.org. McDonald's analysis shows roughly 10 times as many people have voted compared with this point in 2016.
Michigan bars guns near polling sites
Michigan will not allow people to openly carry guns at or near polling places on Election Day in an effort to limit voter intimidation, the state's top election official said Friday.
Secretary of State Jocelyn Benson sent the guidance to clerks just over a week after members of two anti-government paramilitary groups were charged with taking part in plotting the kidnapping of Democratic Gov. Gretchen Whitmer. Some of the men were charged under federal law and others under state law.
Benson said people would not be allowed to openly carry firearms within 100 feet of polling places on Nov. 3. That rule does not apply to in-person early voting, which is already underway, and concealed guns will still be allowed, except if the polling place is at a church or school, where firearms are banned.
Mich. ballots due by Election Day
Absentee ballots must arrive by Election Day to be counted, the Michigan Court of Appeals said Friday, blocking a 14-day extension that had been ordered by a lower court and embraced by key Democratic officials in a battleground state.
Any changes must rest with the Legislature, not the judiciary, the Republican-appointed appeals court judges said in a 3-0 opinion. Absentee ballot extensions in Wisconsin and Indiana have also been overturned by higher courts.
Twitter admits blocking URLs wrong
Twitter was wrong to block weblinks to an unverified political story, CEO Jack Dorsey said on Friday, as the company responded to criticism over its handling of the story that had prompted cries of censorship from the right.
“Straight blocking of URLs was wrong, and we updated our policy and enforcement to fix,” he tweeted. “Our goal is to attempt to add context, and now we have capabilities to do that.”
After initially blocking people from sharing links to the story Wednesday, on Friday Twitter was letting its users to post the link. It served as demonstration of how quickly things can change when it comes to social media, misinformation and the coming U.S. election as companies try to navigate unprecedented times.
QAnon backers give Trump $1 million
President Donald Trump recently accepted $1 million in campaign contributions from a couple whose vocal support for the QAnon conspiracy theory led to the cancellation of a fundraiser they were supposed to host for Vice President Mike Pence last month.
The couple, Caryn and Michael Borland, have shared QAnon memes and retweeted posts from QAnon accounts, The Associated Press reported in September, which led to the cancellation of a Montana fundraiser. The conspiracy theory includes baseless, farfetched allegations about liberals and satanism and child sex trafficking as well as claims that Trump is fighting entrenched enemies in the government.
Trump coordination with PAC alleged
New documents from a former Cambridge Analytica insider reveal what a watchdog group claims was illegal coordination between Donald Trump's 2016 presidential campaign and a billionaire-funded pro-Trump super PAC.
The now-defunct British data analytics firm violated election law by ignoring its own written firewall policy, blurring the lines between work created for Trump's 2016 campaign and the Make America Number 1 super PAC, according to an updated complaint the nonpartisan Campaign Legal Center filed Friday with the Federal Election Commission.
The complaint alleges that Cambridge Analytica used information it gained from working with Trump's campaign to develop and target ads for the super PAC supporting his candidacy, “constituting unreported in-kind contributions to Donald J. Trump for President, Inc. in the form of coordinated communications.”
Georgia senator mocks Harris' name
Republican Sen. David Perdue mocked Kamala Harris, his Senate colleague and the Democratic vice presidential nominee, on Friday by repeatedly mispronouncing her name at a Georgia rally for President Donald Trump.
Perdue was wrapping up his remarks at an event in Macon when he referred to Harris as “KAH'-mah-lah? Kah-MAH'-lah? Kamala-mala-mala? I don't know. Whatever.” The audience laughed. A spokesperson for Perdue said the first-term senator “didn't mean anything by it.”