Most experts predict scattered violence is the worst the United States could experience this Election Day, given isolated incidents that have already taken place this year, USA TODAY’s Trevor Hughes reports. There are reports of some people even stocking up and preparing to hunker down to ride out a possible wave of sustained election-related chaos.
The angst follows months of widespread Black Lives Matter social justice protests, more than 90% of which were peaceful. But some conservative news outlets and GOP leaders have pointed to looting and destruction to argue that more federal law enforcement is needed.
Some context: President Donald Trump already has called votes into question and won’t commit to a peaceful transfer of power after the results are in. Meanwhile, the Pentagon has repeatedly said the U.S. military has no role in the election.
More news to keep in mind: We’re eight days away from Election Day. USA TODAY is keeping track of what’s happening as voters around the country cast ballots. Keep refreshing this page for updates.
If you want a long read: We mailed 64 letters and packages in battleground states to check on mail delays. Here’s what we found.
Voters have been casting ballots in recent weeks: Numbers compiled by @electproject show 59.4 million people have voted. In other numbers, the Guardian and ProPublica report 13.8% of registered voters in swing states have had their mail-in ballots accepted.
Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez, D-N.Y., on Monday criticized the long wait times voters in New York were facing at early voting location as unacceptable, while New York City Mayor Bill de Blasio called for more voting machines to be installed.
Some voters reported waiting in line for hours since early voting kicked off in New York on Saturday. Ocasio-Cortez said she was “thrilled” to see so many voters, but “there is no place in the United States of America where two-, three-, four-hour waits to vote is acceptable.
“Just because it’s happening in a blue state doesn’t mean that it’s not voter suppression,” Ocasio-Cortez said.
Other problems have plagued New York City’s Board of Elections already this year, as thousands of voters received absentee ballots with the wrong names on them.
De Blasio also praised the high turnout so far during early voting but said the city’s Board of Elections was not prepared. He called on it to increase voting machines and staff at the voting sites.
“Long lines tell people to go home,” he said, adding “We cannot at this crucial moment see people discouraged (to vote).”
As the leader of an outreach team with the Franklin County Board of Elections, Shirley Royer rolls her cart into county jails, nursing homes, psychiatric facilities and hospitals to make sure eligible voters get their chance to cast ballots.
“I’m the poll worker, and I’m here,” Royer will say, reassuring the elderly and frail that she can assist with reading ballots, marking them properly and keeping them private and secure.
She and other elections officials across the state mask up and have continued to head out during the pandemic. But COVID-19 has complicated their field work. Senior communities that had long been polling sites cannot safely operate as voting locations this year. Many residents still can’t come and go freely. And family members calling by phone sometimes find it difficult to ascertain whether a loved one has voted successfully.
“Never have we faced anything like this,” Royer said.
– Rita Price, The Columbus Dispatch
What has become an Election Day ritual in Rochester, New York will look different this year.
Despite the coronavirus pandemic, people are welcome to make the pilgrimage to Mount Hope Cemetery to pay tribute to Susan B. Anthony at her gravesite. But in a departure, visitors won’t be able to place their “I Voted” stickers directly on the famed suffragist’s headstone.
During a springtime restoration project, it became clear that the fragile marble marker had sustained damage from a combination of adhesive residue and the solvents and methods needed to remove it, Patricia Corcoran, president of nonprofit Friends of Mount Hope Cemetery, wrote in an email.
In an effort to protect the “iconic gravesite,” the group had clear plastic sleeves made for Anthony’s headstone and that of her sister, Mary S. Anthony, for use during election season, and people can put their “I Voted” stickers on the sleeves.
– Marcia Greenwood, Rochester Democrat and Chronicle
A New York City police officer was suspended without pay after he was filmed saying “Trump 2020” over a patrol vehicle’s loudspeaker, violating the department’s rules.
New York Police Department Commissioner…
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