Record early voting


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The Pittsfield, Mass., City Hall is packed with voters on the last day of early voting in Massachusetts, Friday, Nov. 2, 2018. (Ben Garver/The Berkshire Eagle via AP)

The Pittsfield, Mass., City Hall is packed with voters on the last day of early voting in Massachusetts, Friday, Nov. 2, 2018. (Ben Garver/The Berkshire Eagle via AP)


Voters wait in line at Boise City Hall in Boise, Idaho, to cast ballots in early voting Friday, Nov. 2, 2018. An unusually high number of Idahoans have voted early, and two high-profile ballot initiatives appear to be driving some of the turnout. (AP Photo/Keith Ridler)


States’ early turnout setting records ahead of Election Day

By BILL BARROW and GLADYS NEGRETE

Associated Press

Saturday, November 3

ATLANTA (AP) — More than 30 million Americans have cast early ballots ahead of Tuesday’s midterm elections, eclipsing the 2014 early totals nationally and suggesting a high overall turnout for contests that could define the final two years of President Donald Trump’s term.

At least 28 states have surpassed their 2014 early votes. And perhaps even more indicative of the unusual enthusiasm this midterm cycle, some states are approaching their early turnout from the 2016 presidential election.

Here’s a look at some highlights:

MASSIVE TURNOUT

The 30.6 million ballots includes data from 48 states, with several of those still collecting absentee ballots and welcoming in-person early voters. The total early vote in 2014 was 28.3 million in an election where more than 83 million Americans voted. That was a low turnout (about 36 percent) even by usual standards of a midterm, when there’s an expected drop off from presidential elections.

Forecasters aren’t predicting that overall turnout this year will hit 2016 levels (137.5 million; more than 60 percent of the electorate), but Democratic and Republican analysts, along with independent political scientists, say turnout could approach 50 percent, levels not seen for a midterm since the turbulent 1960s.

BOOMS IN STATES NOT USED TO EXCITING MIDTERMS

It’s one thing to see Virginia more than doubling its 2014 early turnout. Voters there showed their intensity last year in their governor’s race, with record absentee ballot requests and returns and a solid turnout for both parties.

But then there’s Tennessee. The state has settled firmly into Republican-dominated territory. In 2014, there wasn’t a single statewide race that received national attention or a truly competitive House election.

But with an open Senate seat thanks to the retirement of Republican Bob Corker, voters are more than eager this year. Through Thursday, early turnout was 217 percent of what it was in 2014. It’s even approaching early turnout from 2016, at 80 percent of that presidential-year mark.

Several other states with competitive Senate or governor’s races — Texas, Nevada, Georgia, among others — are nearing double the 2014 early totals.

DEMOCRATS EDGING REPUBLICANS NATIONALLY

In states that require party registration, Democrats have cast 41 percent of the early ballots, compared to 36 percent for Republicans. Party strategists on both sides say they are far exceeding their usual numbers in key locales — urban strongholds for Democrats and more rural counties for Republicans.

A word of caution from prognosticators: The party analysis isn’t always an indicator of final outcomes. There are crossover voters, even in this hyperpartisan era. And there are independents and third-party voters, as well. For the record, those latter groups account for about 23 percent of the ballots in party registration states.

For the scorekeepers, though, Virginia, among the states that doesn’t have party registration, is replicating its 2017 voting boom — and Democrats swept the top offices last year even amid strong GOP turnout.

YOUNG VOTERS IN FLORIDA

Trends in Florida’s early voting suggest a surge in young voters, a group that historically has low turnout in midterm cycles.

Of the 124,000 Floridians aged 18 to 29 who had voted in person at early polling stations as of Thursday, nearly a third did not vote in the presidential election in 2016, according to analysis by University of Florida political science professor Daniel Smith. About half of those new voters were newly registered.

“There are newly energized voters who sat out in 2016, or have registered since then, who are turning out. There’s no question about that,” Smith said.

In contrast, for people 65 and older who had voted early and in person, about 7 percent didn’t vote in 2016.

NEW VOTERS IN GEORGIA

It cannot be said enough: It’s the voters who don’t often participate in midterms who can make the big difference. There’s plenty of evidence that both major parties’ bases are enthusiastic, but a frequent Election Day voter being so excited that they vote early doesn’t change the math.

So candidates like Democrat Stacey Abrams and Republican Brian Kemp in the Georgia governor’s race are keeping their eye on how many non-2014 voters have cast ballots.

An analysis by Georgia-based data analyst Ryan Anderson finds that 36 percent of the 1.8 million early votes in Georgia are new voters. If that held through Election Day, it would be a huge number. Abrams’ campaign believes it would benefit them, though Republicans nationally note that President Donald Trump brought many new voters to the polls in 2016 — and those voters are still “new” midterm voters.

That said, at least in Georgia, the racial and gender breakdown of the new voters bodes well for Abrams, who is trying to spike turnout among nonwhites, women and millennials.

Anderson’s analysis finds that barely more than half of the new voters are white in a state where the GOP wants the white share of the electorate to be push toward the mid-60s. Among the other findings: new female voters outnumber men by more than 70,000.

The bright spot for Kemp: More than half of early votes come from voters over 65 (though that total includes all races), and there is intense turnout in many of the state’s most conservative areas beyond metro Atlanta.

Negrete reported from New York. Gary Fineout, Jonathan Mattise, Ryan Dubicki, J.J. Gallagher, Alyssa Maurice, Atticus O’Brien-Pappalardo, and Logan Ulrich contributed to this report.

For AP’s complete coverage of the U.S. midterm elections: http://apne.ws/APPolitics

Voting Rights Advocates Urge Cuyahoga County Residents to Check Their Polling Locations

November 2, 2018

Changes to polling locations highlight need to make a plan to vote on Election Day

CLEVELAND—With significant changes to polling places in historically disenfranchised communities since the 2016 election, All Voting is Local and the Cleveland Branch NAACP are urging Cuyahoga County voters to verify their polling locations before they prepare to cast ballots on Tuesday, Nov. 6.

Advocates urge voters to make a plan to vote and check their polling location using the Cuyahoga County Board of Elections online lookup tool. If voters need assistance voting or encounter any problems, they can call the nonpartisan Election Protection hotline at 866.OUR-VOTE.

“Many voters have cast their ballots in the same polling place for years, so when there is a change to where they must go, it can cause confusion,” said Angela Woodson, Political Action Chair for the Cleveland Branch NAACP. “We are asking all voters to ‘Check Yourself’ and be sure you go to the correct polling place on Election Day, so you can be confident you will cast your ballot.”

“With Election Day fast approaching, it’s vital that voters make a plan to vote and an important first step is verifying the location of their assigned polling place,” said Mike Brickner, Ohio State Director for All Voting is Local. “We are working in communities in Cleveland that have faced historic barriers to the ballot. We know polling assignments have changed in many of these communities since the last major election and we want to ensure voters in every community can make their voices heard on Election Day.”

The Cleveland Branch NAACP and All Voting is Local are working with to coordinate nonpartisan election protection. Advocates are dispatching poll monitors to dozens of polling places that have had issues in past election and serve communities that are more likely to experience problems, such as first-time voters, people of color, and low-income voters.

All Voting is Local fights for the right to vote through a unique combination of data-driven organizing, advocacy and communications. It is a collaborative campaign housed at The Leadership Conference Education Fund, in conjunction with Access Democracy; the American Civil Liberties Union Foundation; the American Constitution Society; the Campaign Legal Center; and the Lawyers’ Committee for Civil Rights Under Law.

The Cleveland Branch NAACP was established in 1912 with the goal of improving the political, educational, social, and economic status of minority groups; to eliminate racial prejudice; to keep the public aware of the adverse effects of racial discrimination; and to take lawful action to secure its elimination, consistent with the efforts of the national organization and in conformity with the Articles of Incorporation of the Association, its Constitution and ByLaws and as directed by the National Board of Directors. Over the years, the Cleveland Branch of the NAACP has helped those in the community who are without any other means of assistance through a variety of programs and services.

If you would rather not receive future communications from Access Democracy/All Voting Is Local, let us know by clicking here.

Why You Need to Vote (Democrat)

By Matthew Johnson

While nonpartisan get-out-the-vote efforts are admirable and necessary for democracy as it is practiced in the United States, I am not going to tell you to simply vote on Tuesday — but to vote Democrat.

I implore you to vote Democrat, even as someone who voted against Obama in 2008 because he was not progressive enough (I voted for the Green Party ticket). I implore you to vote Democrat because it is the best use of your time on Election Day to protect what’s left of our democracy. This is not just about putting the other party in power.

If you have even glanced at the news lately, you know what is at stake. We have a president that is threatening to eliminate birthright citizenship in clear violation of the 14thAmendment. We have a Republican Congress that brazenly and cynically pursues an unpopular legislative agenda, which to date has handed billions of dollars in tax breaks to the wealthy, curbed Obama-era health care coverage expansion, and recently threatened to cut Medicare and Social Security. With the deplorable confirmation of Justice Kavanaugh, far-right ideologues now control the highest court in the land, and there is no hope that they will provide a much-needed check to the other two branches. This is not to mention the violent, racist rhetoric that Trump spews or tweets almost daily — rhetoric that emboldens our society’s worst elements, who have recently claimed innocent lives in Pittsburgh and Jeffersontown. This is also not to mention the mobilization of soldiers on the southern border of the United States. This move is not only a distraction meant to scare xenophobic Republican voters to the polls but also a calculated show of force meant to terrorize immigrants and their supporters.

These are just a handful of legitimate reasons to vote for the Democrats whether you’re Libertarian, Green, patriotic Republican, or unaffiliated.

Renowned journalist Alan Nairn, speaking on Democracy Now, made a similar case for voting Democrat when he said, “You have to, at this moment, vote in the warmongers who will preserve democracy to block the warmongers who would abolish it.” We are in full agreement that achieving lasting progressive and egalitarian social change, saving our children’s environment, and preserving or even strengthening our fraying social safety net are all far more likely once the Republicans are voted out of office.

This is not about blind allegiance to the Democrats but about damage control. When a vein is severed, the first order of business is to stop the bleeding. We are nowhere near finding a cure to our ailing democracy, but we can nurse it slowly back to health. Short of miracle cure in the form of a sweeping nonviolent democratic revolution, the Democrats are the best option we have.

Matt Johnson, syndicated by PeaceVoice, is co-author of Trumpism.

VETERAN HOMELESSNESS IN OHIO DECLINES MORE THAN 13 PERCENT

U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development – Ben Carson, Secretary

Number of homeless vets in Ohio drops 13.1% since last year and by 50% since 2010

COLUMBUS – Veteran homelessness in the U.S. continues to decline according to a new national estimate announced by U.S. Housing and Urban Development (HUD) Secretary Ben Carson. HUD’s Annual Homeless Assessment Report finds the total number of reported veterans experiencing homelessness in 2018 decreased 5.4 percent since last year, falling to nearly half of the number of homeless veterans reported in 2010.

In announcing the latest annual estimate, HUD Secretary Ben Carson and U.S. Department of Veteran Affairs (VA) Secretary Robert Wilkie noted that local communities are reporting reductions in the number of veterans in their shelter systems and on their streets. View local estimates of veteran homelessness.

“We owe it to our veterans to make certain they have a place to call home,” said HUD Secretary Carson. “We’ve made great strides in our efforts to end veteran homelessness, but we still have a lot of work to do to ensure those who wore our nation’s uniform have access to stable housing.”

“The reduction in homelessness among veterans announced today shows that the strategies we are using to help the most vulnerable veterans become stably housed are working,” said VA Secretary Robert Wilkie. “This is good news for all Veterans.”

“In Home, Together, the new federal strategic plan to prevent and end homelessness, we redouble our commitment to ending homelessness among Veterans and among all Americans,” said Matthew Doherty, executive director of the U.S. Interagency Council on Homelessness. “Working together at the federal, state and local level, we can and will continue to make progress until all Americans have a stable home from which they can pursue opportunity.”

Each year, thousands of local communities around the country conduct one-night ‘Point-in-Time’ estimates of the number of persons experiencing homelessness—in emergency shelters, transitional housing programs and in unsheltered locations. This year’s estimate finds 37,878 veterans experienced homelessness in January 2018, compared to 40,020 reported in January 2017. HUD estimates among the total number of reported veterans experiencing homelessness in 2018, 23,312 veterans were found in sheltered settings while volunteers counted 14,566 veterans living in places not meant for human habitation.

HUD also reports a nearly 10 percent decline among female veterans experiencing homelessness. In January 2018, local communities reported 3,219 homeless female veterans compared to 3,571 one year earlier.

The decrease in veteran homelessness can largely be attributed to the effectiveness of the HUD-VA Supportive Housing (HUD-VASH) Program, which combines permanent HUD rental assistance with case management and clinical services provided by the VA. HUD-VASH is complemented by a continuum of VA programs that use modern tools and technology to identify the most vulnerable Veterans and rapidly connect them to the appropriate interventions to become and remain stably housed. Last year alone, more than 4,000 veterans, many experiencing chronic forms of homelessness, found permanent housing and critically needed support services through the HUD-VASH program. An additional 50,000 veterans found permanent housing and supportive services through VA’s continuum of homeless programs.

To date, 64 local communities and three states have declared an effective end to veteran homelessness, creating systems to ensure that a veteran’s homelessness is rare, brief, and one-time. Rockford, Illinois was the first community in the nation to effectively end veteran homelessness, they also attained a functional zero designation last year ending chronic homelessness. The Dayton/Montgomery County and Akron/Barberton/Summit County Continuums of Care in Ohio have also effectively ended veteran homelessness.

HUD and VA have a wide range of programs that prevent and end homelessness among veterans, including health care, housing solutions, job training and education. More information about VA’s homeless programs is available at VA.gov/homeless. More information about HUD’s program is available here. Veterans who are homeless or at imminent risk of becoming homeless should contact their local VA Medical Center and ask to speak to a homeless coordinator or call the National Call Center for Homeless Veterans at 1-877-4AID-VET.

HUD’s mission is to create strong, sustainable, inclusive communities and quality affordable homes for all. More information about HUD is available at www.hud.gov and https://espanol.hud.gov. You can also connect with HUD on social media and follow Secretary Carson on Twitter and Facebook or sign up for news alerts on HUD’s Email List.

Trump’s Road Show: In Florida, says Democrats too extreme

By The Associated Press

Monday, November 5

Six days, eight states, 11 rallies. Scenes from the road as President Donald Trump sprints to Election Day (all times local):

SATURDAY, 6:30 p.m.

WHERE: Pensacola International Airport, Pensacola, Florida

RUNNING TIME: 87 minutes.

SIGN OF THE TIMES: Lots of pink “Women for Trump” signs in the crowd.

BIG LINE: “A vote for any Democrat this November is a vote to really put extreme far-left politicians in charge of Congress and to destroy your jobs, slash your incomes, undermine your safety and put illegal aliens before American citizens. Not good.” — President Donald Trump on the stakes of the midterm elections.

PLAYING TO THE CROWD: In just about every campaign speech, Trump reminds audiences that he kept his campaign promise to replace the “horrible, horrible” North American Free Trade Agreement, which he said had contributed to the loss of thousands of jobs in the U.S. Trump has replaced NAFTA with a new trilateral agreement, one he calls the US-Mexico-Canada agreement, or U-S-M-C-A, for short.

Even he acknowledges the acronym is a mouthful, but he told the Florida audience to just think of the one-time hit song “YMCA” by the Village People. “USMCA right? Like YMCA,” Trump said, as he proceeded to sing a little bit of “YMCA” before he moved on to his next talking point.

NEEDLING THE MEDIA: Trump said during his rally, “Could the cameras please pan out and show this crowd … would really be nice … you know they never like to do that, folks.”

— By Darlene Superville

___

SATURDAY, 12:30 p.m.

WHERE: Bozeman Yellowstone International Airport, Belgrade, Montana.

RUNNING TIME: 1 hour, 10 minutes

BIG LINE: “The choice in this election could not be more simple. A Republican Congress means more jobs and less crime. A Democratic Congress means more crime and less jobs.” —Trump

SIGN OF THE TIMES: Before Trump began speaking, a white-bearded man with a cane held up a white cloth with “Trump Lies” written on it only to have a person standing next to him knock it to the ground. The protester held up his sign twice more before a man in a suit and an earpiece snatched it from him, balled it up and walked away.

PLAYING TO THE CROWD: Speaking about border security, Trump said: “Barbed wire, used properly, can be a beautiful sight.”

TODDLER TRUMP: Jackie Poulsen of Billings dressed her 15-month-old daughter, Finley, as Trump for the rally, drawing a crowd of people with cellphones taking photos of the toddler with the tie and slicked-back hair.

SPEAKING TRUTH: Joyce Murray, 70, of Ronan, Montana, says she wants to curb immigration. “I worked the oil fields. The Hispanics are great workers. I understand that. But the immigration, we have to stop somewhere.”

She said she supports Trump because “he speaks the truth.”

—By Darlene Superville and Matt Volz

___

FRIDAY, 7 p.m.

WHERE: Southport High School, Indianapolis.

RUNNING TIME: 57 minutes.

SIGN OF THE TIMES: “Jobs vs. Mobs.”

BIG LINE: “I need you to vote for a Republican House and a Republican Senate so we can continue this incredible movement, the greatest political movement in the history of our country. It is.” — Trump on what’s at stake Tuesday.

PLAYING TO THE CROWD: There didn’t appear to be an empty seat in the gymnasium at Southport High, where the crowd appeared thrilled that Trump had returned to Indiana with Hall of Fame basketball coach Bob Knight, a state legend, and Vice President Mike Pence, who was formerly the state’s governor. Trump recalled in great detail how Knight had reached out to him before he launched his campaign to encourage a run and how he’d magically found Knight’s number buried in a stack of papers on his desk months later. “That was from God,” Trump said. Knight led the crowd in a “Go get ‘em, Donald” chant, adding that Trump has been “a great defender of the United States of America.”

— By Darlene Superville and Jill Colvin

___

FRIDAY, 4 p.m.

WHERE: Huntington Tri-State Airport, Huntington, West Virginia.

RUNNING TIME: 52 minutes.

SIGN OF THE TIMES: “Trump Digs Coal.”

CRY BABY CRY: Trump suggested talk of Democrats pulling off a “blue wave” on Tuesday may peter out. “It’s going to be an interesting day at the office. You remember an election two years ago? There were a lot of really happy people that night but there were some that were slightly not too happy — cry, baby, cry.”

PLAYING TO THE CROWD: Trump was at times jovial, joking at one point that it’s not easy being married to him, and later saying that Vietnam’s leaders told him West Virginia has the best coal. He confessed to be out of his element on that point: “Somebody like me, coming from 5th Avenue, what the hell do I know about that?”

— By Darlene Superville and Zeke Miller

___

THURSDAY, 7 p.m.

WHERE: Columbia Regional Airport, Columbia, Missouri.

RUNNING TIME: 1 hour, 17 minutes.

VIBE: Bundled up in warm jackets and winter hats, the crowd spilled out of an airline hangar into the crisp, dark night. Trump basked in the cheers from a stage positioned in front of the open doorway, surrounded by American flags and with Air Force One parked just behind him.

LOCAL SIGN OF THE TIMES: Trump noted a “Tigers for Trump” sign, a reference to the University of Missouri mascot. Said Trump, “I like that.”

BIG LINE: “The Republican agenda is the mainstream agenda of the American people — it’s how we all got here.” — Trump.

VERBATIM: “We are human beings that do exist, and no matter what he says we are still here and we’re still going to fight against people who try to take away our rights.” — Oakley Peterson, 21, a film student at Stephens College in Columbia, holding a sign with the transgender flag and protesting the Trump administration’s proposal to narrowly define gender.

CANDIDATE CORNER: “Claire McCaskill wanted us to call Hillary Clinton Madam President. On Nov. 6, we’re going to call Claire McCaskill fired.” — Republican Josh Hawley, seeking to unseat Democratic Sen. McCaskill.

OF NOTE: As proof of the tight race, Trump isn’t done with Missouri just yet. As he said, “I’m actually coming back on Monday.”

— By Catherine Lucey and Summer Ballentine.

___

WEDNESDAY, 7 p.m.

WHERE: Hertz Arena, Estero, Florida.

RUNNING TIME: 54 minutes.

SIGN OF THE TIMES: An Elvis impersonator! After all, it was Halloween. And at least one supporter dressed as Trump.

BIG LINE: “The far left media used tragedy to sow anger and division.” — Trump, complaining about “fake” reporting on demonstrations during his visit to the Pittsburgh synagogue where 11 people were killed. (Trump’s visit Tuesday did attract large numbers of protesters.)

VERBATIM: “I’m gay. None of my friends are for this. So I’m here alone. I voted for Obama twice. I think he was a big lie. In the midterms, I’m going to vote the way Trump sees it.” — Allison Chiddo, 56, co-owner of a drug and alcohol rehab center in West Palm Beach.

OF NOTE: Most rally-goers shot up their hands when asked if they’d already voted. Trump’s response: “Then what the hell am I doing here tonight?”

— By Jill Colvin and Tamara Lush

___

For AP’s complete coverage of the U.S. midterm elections: http://apne.ws/APPolitics

President Donald Trump is making a final midterm campaign dash featuring 11 rallies in six days. AP reporters and photographersr are capturing the scene at each stop.

The Pittsfield, Mass., City Hall is packed with voters on the last day of early voting in Massachusetts, Friday, Nov. 2, 2018. (Ben Garver/The Berkshire Eagle via AP)
https://www.sunburynews.com/wp-content/uploads/sites/48/2018/11/web1_121707624-72586dd091ce40d7aab027f2c593e139.jpgThe Pittsfield, Mass., City Hall is packed with voters on the last day of early voting in Massachusetts, Friday, Nov. 2, 2018. (Ben Garver/The Berkshire Eagle via AP)

Voters wait in line at Boise City Hall in Boise, Idaho, to cast ballots in early voting Friday, Nov. 2, 2018. An unusually high number of Idahoans have voted early, and two high-profile ballot initiatives appear to be driving some of the turnout. (AP Photo/Keith Ridler)
https://www.sunburynews.com/wp-content/uploads/sites/48/2018/11/web1_121707624-7d20b9d5daf24006ab03d3661730a828.jpgVoters wait in line at Boise City Hall in Boise, Idaho, to cast ballots in early voting Friday, Nov. 2, 2018. An unusually high number of Idahoans have voted early, and two high-profile ballot initiatives appear to be driving some of the turnout. (AP Photo/Keith Ridler)
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