Election 2020 Today: Town hall duel; mail changes reversed
Here’s what’s happening Thursday in Election 2020, 19 days until Election Day:
ON THE TRAIL: President Donald Trump will be in North Carolina and Florida; Democratic challenger Joe Biden will be in Pennsylvania.
TODAY’S TOP STORIES:
DUELING TOWN HALLS: Trump and Biden will compete for TV audiences in dueling town halls instead of meeting face-to-face for their second debate as originally planned. The two will take questions in different cities on different networks: Trump on NBC from Miami, Biden on ABC from Philadelphia. Trump backed out of plans for the presidential faceoff originally scheduled for the evening after debate organizers shifted the format to a virtual event following Trump’s coronavirus diagnosis.
BARRETT’S FATE: The Senate Judiciary Committee is poised to take the first steps toward approving Supreme Court nominee Amy Coney Barrett. After the two days of questioning, the committee is scheduled to start considering the nomination. The meeting is a procedural formality and will be conducted ahead of a panel of law experts and advocates who will testify for and against Barrett’s nomination. A vote by the committee isn’t expected until next week.
MAIL REVERSAL: The U.S. Postal Service is resuming full operations after changes that slowed mail service nationwide. The Postal Service agreed to reverse all changes, which included reduced retail hours, removal of collection boxes and mail sorting machines, closure or consolidation of mail processing facilities, restriction of late or extra trips for timely mail delivery, and banning or restricting overtime. The agreement also requires the service to prioritize election mail.
BIDEN EXPLAINER: Looking to undermine rival Joe Biden just weeks before the election, Trump’s campaign has seized on a tabloid story offering bizarre twists to a familiar line of attack: Biden’s relationship with Ukraine. But the story in the New York Post raises more questions than answers, including about the authenticity of an email at the center of the story. The origins of the story also trace back to Trump lawyer Rudy Giuliani, who has repeatedly pushed unfounded claims about Biden and his son, Hunter Biden. Even if the emails in the Post are legitimate, they don’t validate Trump and Giuliani’s claims that Biden’s actions were influenced by his son’s business dealings in Ukraine.
IOWA RULING: Iowa’s highest court upheld a state directive that was used to invalidate tens of thousands of absentee ballot requests mailed to voters pre-filled with their personal information. The court rejected a Democratic challenge that argued the directive issued by Republican Secretary of State Paul Pate was unconstitutional. Pate instructed county elections commissioners in July that all absentee ballot request forms they mailed to voters must be blank in order to ensure uniformity statewide.
VISION 2020: Can you trust the U.S. Postal Service to deliver your ballot on time? If you plan on voting by mail, election officials say it’s best to do it as early as possible so your ballot gets to its destination well before Election Day. On top of that, each state has different rules on whether it accepts mail ballots that arrive after Nov. 3. Read more in Vision 2020, a new series of stories answering questions from our audience about the election.