Tag: Election

DC Guard ready for election violence, but no specific training underway

U.S. Army leadership responsible for any National Guard deployment in the capital region denied any special preparations were underway ahead of the Nov. 3 presidential election but asserted the Guard would be ready if needed.

“If we’re called upon, we will act in support of that, to protect federal property and support law enforcement,” Army Secretary Ryan McCarthy said when asked about D.C. National Guard deployment if civil unrest occurs surrounding the Nov. 3 presidential election.

“We support law enforcement,” he added at a Pentagon briefing Tuesday. “We don’t police American streets.”

Army chief Gen. James McConville clarified that no specific direction has been made to prepare Army military police ahead of the November election.

“There’s been no planning guidance given out from the Department of the Army directing any military police units to begin training for any situation,” he said.

The D.C. National Guard was criticized after it was called to assist law enforcement clearing Lafayette Square of protesters near the White House prior to a curfew on June 1 so that President Trump could walk through the park for a photo opportunity.

Two National Guard helicopters also flew low over protesters during the incident in an effort to disperse them.

McCarthy said the Army completed its portion of an investigation of the incident and turned it over to the Pentagon’s Inspector General. The Army Secretary declined to predict if the report would be released before the election.

“It’s my understanding that it’s imminent, and it’ll be released when it’s completed,” he said.

McCarthy also defended the use of the National Guard during the civil unrest in Washington, D.C. following the death of George Floyd.

“I wouldn’t characterize us being dragged onto the scene,” he said. “The protests became very violent on Sunday evening, in particular, of that week, and it was necessary to bring in the support to help local law enforcement and federal law enforcement officials, due to the tremendous damage, police officers, and Guardsmen being injured.”

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Amy Coney Barrett dodges abortion, healthcare and election law questions

On the second day of hearings before the Senate judiciary committee, Democrats pressed supreme court nominee Amy Coney Barrett on healthcare, election law and abortion rights – and met with little success.



a person standing in front of a counter: Photograph: Demetrius Freeman/EPA


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Photograph: Demetrius Freeman/EPA

Related: ‘Slayer Pete’: Buttigieg emerges as Biden’s unlikely Fox News fighter

Donald Trump’s third nominee for the highest court dodged questions on how she might rule on a challenge to the Affordable Care Act (ACA); if she would recuse herself from any lawsuit about the presidential election; and whether she would vote to overturn the landmark 1973 ruling Roe v Wade, which made abortion legal.



a man standing in front of a counter: Supreme court nominee Judge Amy Coney Barrett testifies during the Senate judiciary committee hearing on Tuesday.


© Photograph: Demetrius Freeman/EPA
Supreme court nominee Judge Amy Coney Barrett testifies during the Senate judiciary committee hearing on Tuesday.

Barrett argued that she was not a pundit, citing remarks by Justice Elena Kagan and the late Ruth Bader Ginsburg in saying that outside of reviewing a specific case, it was not her place to offer a position.

“No hints, no previews, no forecasts,” Barrett quoted Ginsburg as saying, after the California senator Dianne Feinstein questioned her about how she might rule in any case challenging the legality of abortion.

Barrett is a devout Catholic whose previous statements and affiliations have been closely examined by Democrats and the media. Trump has said overturning Roe v Wade would be “possible” with Barrett on the court.

At another point in Tuesday’s hearing, Barrett cited Kagan in saying she would not give “a thumbs up or thumbs down” on any hypothetical ruling.

Most of the questioning from Democrats centered on the ACA, known popularly as Obamacare, and how a ruling by the high court overturning the law would take away healthcare from millions of Americans. A hearing is due a week after election day. Democrats see protecting the ACA as a productive electoral tactic, having focused on it in the 2018 midterms, when they took back the House.

Barrett said she was not hostile to the ACA, or indeed abortion or gay rights, another area worrying progressives as the court seems set to tilt to a 6-3 conservative majority. Barrett said she was simply focused on upholding the law.

“I am not hostile to the ACA,” Barrett said. “I apply the law, I follow the law. You make the policy.”

Video: Barrett refuses to address whether Roe v. Wade should be overturned, despite prodding from Sen. Feinstein (CNBC)

Barrett refuses to address whether Roe v. Wade should be overturned, despite prodding from Sen. Feinstein

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Asked about gay rights, Barrett said: “I would not discriminate on the basis of sexual preference.”

Her choice of words conspicuously suggested that to her, sexuality is a choice. Amid scrutiny of Barrett’s past, meanwhile, it has been reported that she was a trustee at a school whose handbook included stated opposition to same-sex marriage

Republican senators also questioned Barrett on healthcare, the Iowa senator Chuck Grassley asking if she had been asked during the nomination process if

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Yes, the Barrett Hearings Are About the Election, Not the Law

(Bloomberg Opinion) — The Amy Coney Barrett nomination hearings have started and guess what? They’re just as much of an election-year circus as everyone expected them to be.

Back in 2016, when Republicans claimed that nominating and confirming a Supreme Court justice during an election year was a violation of the electorate’s right to choose, they were fond of citing something they called the “Biden rule.” In fact, what Joe Biden said when he was Judiciary Committee chair in the summer of 1992 was that if a vacancy were to arise after his June 25 speech, he would urge President George H.W. Bush to wait to nominate a new justice until after the election, and at any rate he would not hold hearings until afterward.

Why? Because “where the nation should be treated to a consideration of constitutional philosophy, all it will get in such circumstances is a partisan bickering and political posturing from both parties and from both ends of Pennsylvania Avenue.”

Well, judging from the opening statements in these confirmation hearings, Biden knew what he was talking about.

Indeed, several Democrats have barely mentioned the nomination. They’re talking about the pandemic and how Donald Trump has handled it, and most of all they’re talking about the Affordable Care Act.

There’s a hook to link the nomination to the ACA. The Supreme Court is about to hear a case that could knock out that law, and Democrats have repeatedly invoked Trump’s own claims that a new justice would help overturn Obamacare. But what Democrats seem mostly interested in is using their high-profile time to give campaign speeches about health care — the single policy question that helps Democrats the most with swing voters.

As for the Republicans? They’re going with a campaign talking point accusing Democrats of attacking Judge Barrett for her religion and of being anti-Catholic bigots. That the Democrats are not actually doing so isn’t slowing them down (nor is the fact that Joe Biden and the Democratic House speaker are Catholics).

After all, some Democrats somewhere and some journalists have mentioned her religious beliefs, so the Republicans act as if all Democrats are running an anti-Catholic campaign.(1) Indeed, Missouri Republican Josh Hawley was particularly creative; he came up with the preposterous claim that a mention of Griswold v. Connecticut, a key case in establishing the right to privacy, was an attack on Catholics.

Beyond that, Republicans trotted out their old talking points about judicial activism, and how judges should interpret the law, not make the law. Whatever the merits of these claims decades ago when they were first used, they’re badly dated now.

After all, it is Republicans and conservatives who are seeking to overturn the ACA and many other laws; it is conservative justices who took apart the Voting Rights Act in the Shelby County case. But parties don’t necessarily change their talking points, which their voters recognize and have come to embrace, and Republican voters have traditionally been motivated by arguments about

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Barr Violated Election Law, Ethics Groups Say in Call to Impeach

(Bloomberg) — Two groups promoting ethics in government called for the impeachment of U.S. Attorney General William Barr, accusing him of violating laws and undermining public confidence in the Justice Department.

Barr has used the department to further President Donald Trump’s re-election campaign, a bipartisan group of lawyers from the Center for Ethics and the Rule of Law at the University of Pennsylvania and Citizens for Responsibility and Ethics in Washington wrote in a report released Monday, three weeks ahead of U.S. elections.



a man in glasses looking at the camera: NYC Bar Association Asks Congress to Investigate AG Barr for Bias


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NYC Bar Association Asks Congress to Investigate AG Barr for Bias

William Barr

Photographer: Andrew Harrer/Bloomberg

The authors warned that Barr’s appointment of U.S. Attorney John Durham to review the origins of the Russia investigation, and Barr’s willingness to discuss the investigation in news interviews, point to efforts to create a politically orchestrated “October surprise.” Such actions could violate the Hatch Act, which forbids government officials from using their offices to support a particular candidate in an election, they wrote.

The authors, some of whom held top legal and ethics posts in previous Republican and Democratic administrations, are the latest to raise concerns that Barr is pursuing an agenda of partisan politics and selective law enforcement. Earlier this month, 1,600 former Justice Department officials signed an open letter criticizing what they called Barr’s willingness to use the department to support Trump’s re-election effort. Although the Justice Department has traditionally kept live investigations under wraps, it recently advised prosecutors they could publicize investigations into election issues, including alleged ballot fraud.

“The working group came to the reluctant conclusion that Attorney General Barr is using the powers of the Department as a vehicle for supporting the political objectives of President Donald Trump,” they wrote. “It appears that the Department has transitioned from one that is subject to law, to become one that instead views the application of law as politically discretionary; moving from rule of law to rule by law.”

The Justice Department didn’t immediately respond to a request for comment.

Barr has defended the propriety of the department’s work. Although he has echoed some of Trump’s election-related allegations, he has also come under fire from the president because Durham hasn’t produced bombshell prosecutions. Durham isn’t expected to issue charges or release a report before the election, a Justice Department official has said.

The Durham investigation is one of eight areas in which Barr’s conduct appeared to contradict the presumption that the Justice Department enforces the nation’s laws fairly and without political influence, the group said. In nearly 300 pages, they spelled out actions they said violated not only the Hatch Act but also obstruction of justice laws.

They focused on areas in which Barr’s conduct sparked widespread criticism, including the way in which they said he “intentionally mischaracterized” Special Counsel Robert Mueller’s Russia report when he presented it to the American public. They looked at Barr’s assignment of several U.S. attorneys, including Durham, to conduct counter-investigations that the report says are “designed to discredit” the

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Congressman asks British government to strip Prince Harry and Meghan Markle of titles if they don’t stop commenting on U.S. election

A Missouri congressman has formally asked the British government to stop the Duke and Duchess of Sussex from interfering in the presidential election.



Meghan Markle, Prince Harry are posing for a picture


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Rep. Jason Smith, a Missouri Republican, sent a letter Friday to the British government arguing that the couple’s comments urging Americans to vote and to “reject hate speech, misinformation, and online negativity” constitute a “serious breach of the British Royal Family’s policy of political neutrality and an inappropriate act of domestic interference by one of our closest allies.”

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“It is my view, the titles and privileges they retain by permission of Her Majesty the Queen, given with the advice and consent of her government, prevent the Duke and Duchess from separating comments made in a personal capacity from their official position within the British Royal Family,” Smith wrote in a letter addressed to Karen Pierce, the British Ambassador to the United States. “By allowing the Duke and Duchess of Sussex to retain their titles, and these political comments to continue, the British Government is effectively condoning interference in the 2020 United States Presidential Election from officials at the highest level of the British establishment.”

Smith closed his letter by requesting that the British government ensure Prince Harry and Meghan Markle “no longer attempt to interfere” in the 2020 election or be “stripped of all titles, styles, and privileges which they currently retain.”

The couple released a video marking the release of the Time 100 list, in which Prince Harry urged Americans to “reject hate speech, misinformation, and online negativity” as the election approaches. Markle called the 2020 election the “most important election of our lifetime.”

The president was asked about the comments at a press briefing in September. He said he was “no fan” of Markle and added, “I wish a lot of luck to Harry because he’s going to need it.”

Piers Morgan, an English broadcaster, called the video “completely unacceptable” and said the comments were “ effectively telling Americans to vote against President Trump.”

Morgan wrote that the royals had “crossed a massive line which should now have serious consequences for the couple who specialize in wanting their royal cake and the freedom to eat it.”

Corey Lewandowski, a senior adviser to the Trump campaign, said that the couple had “made Britain great again by leaving” and hopes “they do the same for” the U.S.

The former actress has been heavily involved in “get-out-the vote” campaigns since returning to the U.S. She cold-called voters with activist Gloria Steinem and revealed in a discussion with Steinem that Joe Biden’s selection of Kamala Harris as his running mate made her “so excited.”

In August, she participated in an event with When All Women Vote, an

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Third-Quarter 2020 Market Commentary: Despite Uncertainty Around U.S. Election And Hard Brexit, Hope Springs Eternal For COVID-19 Vaccine And Government Relief

Data Source: Bloomberg

Source: PxHere

3D Note: As part of our ongoing commentary concerning the coronavirus global contagion and its impact on human and global markets, we remind readers that the situation remains fluid as evidenced by volatile market reactions to most new developments, although the pace of these reactions seems to have slowed down from March/April. In addition to our bi-monthly articles and periodic podcasts, 3D has started publishing mid-month updates to our advisor partners as we navigate through the coronavirus pandemic. Please contact us if you would like to be added to the distribution list.

Market action during the third quarter was largely uneventful despite a moderate pickup in volatility and a “pause” in the global reflation trade. The first two months saw rallies in the global reflation trade, broadly represented by growth technology stocks, emerging markets, commodities/non-U.S. currencies, and corporate credit, only to see investors back away from this trade in September due to technical reasons (e.g. over-exposed long positioning in large-cap technology stocks via call option purchases and speculative non-commercial long positioning in EUR/USD) and diminishing prospects over a second U.S. pandemic relief spending program as well as rising prospects over Hard Brexit. The end of the quarter saw elevated (i.e. buy-the-dip) risk sentiment after having peaked in mid-August, prior to the early September sell-off (we wrote about this in peak in investor sentiment in mid-August titled “Market is Euphoric”).

The furious global technology growth rally that characterized the early quarter advance spilled over into the first week of September before the “trade” unwound itself following reports of a large options “whale” (later to be revealed Softbank – Japan’s publicly-traded venture capital fund) having bid up single stock call options on key technology stocks, forcing options market-makers to buy the underlying stocks in order to hedge their positions. We mentioned this activity in our August 2020 Market Commentary, prior to media reports confirming the options trading activity.

The final two weeks of September saw a reversal of the growth technology stock sell-off amidst reports of renewed call option buying by retail investors regardless of prospects for another U.S. spending program (U.S. Treasury yields and the dollar whipsawed between diminishing prospects versus renewed prospects). Markets are being tested in the first week of October as U.S. President Donald Trump tested positive for the coronavirus.

As of the writing of this commentary, prospects for a second pandemic relief plan diminished despite reports of active negotiations between the White House (Treasury Secretary Steve Mnuchin) and Congress (House Speaker Nancy Pelosi). The Republican-led U.S. Senate is still resisting a negotiated plan, but the spending gap between the White House plan and House plan has narrowed with remaining differences over the level of unemployment benefits and state/local aid. The House passed a $2.2 trillion version of the plan, but the prospects for Senate passage are dim as Republican leaders claim the House version is full of “poison pills.” An estimated $2 trillion aid package could serve as a shot in

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New Michigan law lets ballot processing start early, but don’t expect results until Friday of election week

Michigan officials expect record-breaking turnout for the Nov. 3 election and Gov. Gretchen Whitmer has signed a few last-minute bills into law to speed the process and ensure every ballot is counted.

On Tuesday, Whitmer signed Senate Bill 757, passed by the House and Senate in September, to allow clerks in cities and townships with at least 25,000 people to start processing absentee ballots Nov. 2. The ballots can’t be tabulated until 7 a.m. on election day, however.

While the move is a “step in the right direction” per Secretary of State Jocelyn Benson, it’s not enough, she said. States like Kentucky, Ohio, North Carolina and Florida allow more time for processing – sometime weeks more, Benson said.

The change won’t significantly alter when the results will be ready, Benson said.

“We still expect that it will be the Friday of election week that we expect every ballot will be tabulated,” Benson said, noting it could be sooner.

This is the first presidential election in Michigan since voters passed a proposal allowing absentee voting without needing a specific reason.

The law also requires clerks to notify absentee voters if their ballot won’t be counted within 48 hours of receiving it – like for a missing signature, for example. This helps make sure every vote is counted, Whitmer said.

Senate Bill 117 was also supposed to be signed Tuesday, but Whitmer said Republican leadership didn’t send her the bill yet – despite it passing through both chambers of the Legislature.

The bill allows military members and their spouses to return ballots electronically through a secure portal if they can’t be returned in person. Benson’s husband served with the military in Afghanistan in 2004 and attempted to vote, she said, but couldn’t because a law like this wasn’t on the books.

“For some reason, the Republican leaders in the Legislature chose not to send me this bill yet,” Whitmer said. “I’m not sure what’s going on there, but this is crucial for our brave folks and their families who serve in the military. Elections are no time to play partisan games.”

More than 2.7 million ballots have been requested in Michigan so far, and 2.6 million of them have been issued to voters. Nearly 400,000 have been filled out and received back.

Here’s a look at which cities have the most requests for ballots, along with how many have been issued and how many have been submitted:

  1. Detroit: 124,400 (108,065 issued, 12,426 received)
  2. Grand Rapids: 51,711 (51,124 issued, 11,633 received)
  3. Ann Arbor: 47,645 (43,827 issued, 3,108 received)
  4. Livonia: 35,722 (35,457 issued, 8,071 received)
  5. Sterling Heights: 34,815 (33,670 issued, 3,836 received)

More than 450 communities have had at least 1,000 people request an absentee ballot so far.

Michigan residents can check their voter registration, register to vote and track the status of their absentee ballot at Michigan.gov/vote.

The state is also launching an advertising effort this week to put ads on social media, the internet, TV and the back of ATM receipts to

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Courts Shouldn’t Change Election Law Now

Poll workers inspect absentee mail-in ballots in Racine, Wisconsin, Aug. 11.



Photo:

Sue Dorfman/Zuma Press

Your editorial “Will a ‘Blue Shift’ Swing Wisconsin?” (Sept. 23) notes that state laws are contravened by court decisions in Pennsylvania, Michigan and Wisconsin that extend deadlines for counting mail-in ballots. “This increases the chances of post-election litigation.” Indeed. They apparently go against Bush v. Gore, which closed out the 2000 election. This controversial case was preceded by Bush v. Palm Beach, which unanimously vacated a recount decision by Florida’s Supreme Court because its constitutional basis was unclear.

In Bush v. Gore, there were two rulings. First, the Supreme Court stopped the recount. “There are constitutional problems with the recount ordered by the Florida Supreme Court that demand a remedy.” Specifically, counting in different counties used different standards, violating the Equal Protection Clause. This ruling was 7-2, Justices David Souter and Stephen Breyer dissenting. This decision is regularly and mistakenly reported as 5-4.

The Supreme Court did indeed rule 5-4—against Justice Breyer’s proposed remedy: an extension of the counting deadline from Dec. 12 to Dec. 18, to allow a constitutionally proper recount (dissenting: Justices Souter and Breyer, John Paul Stevens, Ruth Bader Ginsburg). Dec. 18 was the date for the Electoral College to meet. The recount limit set by law was Dec. 12; it was also the date of the court’s decision. It would be senseless to allow a proper recount without extending the deadline. The court ruled that an extension of the deadline would be a “violation of the Florida Election Code.”

To the Supreme Court: Please rule on the Pennsylvania legislature’s appeal. The rules are much less important than for people to know what they are before the election.

Paul Wonnacott

Potomac, Md.

Mr. Wonnacott was a member of the Council of Economic Advisers 1991-93.

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Under new law, even death can’t stop some Massachusetts voters this election

Of course, how many will have their ballots counted from beyond the veil this November is unclear, as is the number of those who legally voted by mail but died before the state’s Sept. 1 primary, when the new rules also applied.

“There’s a lot of things we haven’t seen before,” Ilene Simons, Salem’s city clerk, said of this year’s unprecedented election season. “I understand the theory behind it: They were alive when they cast their ballot and they really wanted to vote. If I was in that situation and I was able to, I would want to vote in my last election. I get it.”

State lawmakers in July expanded the options amid the novel coronavirus pandemic, passing a bill that allows every registered voter in Massachusetts this fall to cast a ballot by mail, green-lighting early voting for the state primary, and expanding the in-person early voting period for the Nov. 3 general election.

The law also included language, though it received little attention at the time, that barred election officials this year from rejecting an absentee or early ballot “solely because the voter became ineligible to vote by reason by death after casting the ballot.”

Senator Barry R. Finegold, cochairman of the Committee on Election Laws, said lawmakers made the change to provide consistency with the different ways people could vote.

“Let’s say you vote [in person] at 9 a.m. and you drop dead of a heart attack at 10 a.m.,” Finegold said. In that scenario, the vote would still count, he said. “We felt that with [voting by] mail you needed to be consistent, as long as you put your ballot in the mail.”

As many as 11 states have similar laws, including Florida, where every ballot must be counted “even if the elector dies on or before election day,” and Hawaii, which last year changed its law, according to the National Conference of State Legislatures.

Many states don’t have statutes addressing the issue, and as of two years ago, at least 17 explicitly rejected such ballots, including Massachusetts, according to the NCSL, which tracks state legislation nationwide.

But while nearly two dozen states have modified their rules to expand mail-in voting during the health crisis, Massachusetts appears to be the only one that amended its law this year to count ballots of those who vote early or absentee but die before Election Day, according to NCSL researchers.

“The fact that in 2020 so much about absentee voting has been brought to the forefront, people are looking at things in detail that they never had reason to look at before,” said Wendy Underhill, director of elections for the NCSL.

Amid the expansion of voting options, election security has consumed national attention as President Trump has spent months railing against mail-in voting, claiming that it’s a magnet for widespread fraud. There has been no evidence that is the case.

Trump in 2016 also wrongly claimed that “people that have died 10 years ago are still voting,” giving

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EU Representatives Discussed Possible Election Delay With Venezuelan Government: Statement | World News

CARACAS (Reuters) – A European Union mission that visited Venezuela last week discussed with authorities the possibility of delaying a parliamentary vote scheduled for Dec. 6, in the hopes of improving electoral conditions, the bloc said on Wednesday.

Dozens of opposition parties say they will boycott the election, arguing it will be rigged in favor of President Nicolas Maduro’s ruling socialist party, though one group within the opposition has said it is seeking better conditions for possible participation.

“The EU’s policy vis-à-vis Venezuela remains unchanged: the conditions are not currently there for a free, fair and democratic electoral process to take place,” the EU said in a statement, adding that it would not be able to send an electoral observer mission in the current conditions without a delay.

“The possibility of postponing the legislative elections in order to open a space for dialogue and change those conditions was discussed.”

One person with knowledge of the matter, who spoke on the condition of anonymity, said the EU representatives requested the government delay the vote by at least six months, and that there was no immediate response from the government.

Maduro, who had previously requested the EU send observers for the vote, argues the opposition does not want to participate because it does not value democracy. Venezuela’s information ministry did not immediately respond to a request for comment.

Maduro’s government has ignored laws passed by the National Assembly since an opposition coalition won control in a late 2015 vote. Legislative elections are due every five years under Venezuela’s constitution.

During their visit to Caracas, two representatives of the EU’s top diplomat Josep Borrel met with two top socialist party officials as well as opposition leader Juan Guaido, civil society representatives and religious leaders.

(Reporting by Vivian Sequera in Caracas; Writing by Luc Cohen; editing by Grant McCool)

Copyright 2020 Thomson Reuters.

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