10/22 Daily Update: Responding to Armed Individuals at the Polls; Preparing for the Final Presidential Debate

Key Dates & Deadlines

Voter Registration Deadlines

Early Voting

For detailed information on voting-related deadlines, visit vote.org.

National Updates

Election Interference: Director of National Intelligence John Ratcliffe said Wednesday that both Iran and Russia have obtained U.S. voter registration information in an effort to interfere in the election, including Iran posing as the far-right group, Proud Boys, to send intimidating emails to voters. Ratcliffe, a former Republican congressman tapped to lead the intelligence community this year, has been accused by former intelligence officials of selectively declassifying intelligence in the run-up to the election to help Donald Trump’s campaign  Read more from CNN here.

Election Litigation: USA Today covers the extensive election litigation already underway, highlighting that analysts expect more to come in November, potentially leaving the country in suspense awaiting the final election outcome. TIME Magazine similarly reports that, with the “arms race of litigation” underway, the election results may come down to the courts. Read more of TIME’s election litigation landscape here. As always, you can track significant election-related litigation on the VPP website, here.

State Updates

Alabama: Late Wednesday, the U.S. Supreme Court blocked a lower court order allowing Alabama counties to set up curbside polling places, an option intended to make voting safer and easier during the coronavirus pandemic. The ban on curbside voting levied by the State of Alabama was challenged in May 2020 by at-risk voters in the state. A federal district court and federal court of appeals both agreed that the state’s ban violated the Americans with Disabilities Act. More from NPR here.

Florida: Yesterday, in downtown St. Petersburg, two armed individuals appeared at a polling location, claiming to be private security hired by the Trump campaign. A spokesperson for the campaign denied the connection. In interviews, the Pinellas County Supervisor of Elections Julie Marcus stated her office takes voter intimidation very seriously, while Sheriff Bob Gualtieri said the armed individuals’ presence alone did not constitute intimidation. Read more from the WFLA 8 On Your Side.

Iowa: On Wednesday, the Iowa Supreme Court upheld a Republican-backed law barring auditors from fixing errors in absentee ballot applications on behalf of voters. In the 4-3 ruling, the court barred county auditors from correcting incomplete applications based on state voter databases, according to The Associated Press. While auditors were permitted to make the changes before the new law, they will now be required to send incomplete applications back to applicants to correct.

Minnesota: On Tuesday, Minnesota Attorney General Keith Ellison announced his office was opening an investigation into a Tennessee-based company that has been accused of recruiting armed guards as poll watchers. AG Ellison said he was looking into Atlas Aegis, which allegedly posted advertisements seeking to hire armed security personnel for Election Day and a “post election support mission,” according to a lawsuit filed by the Council on American-Islamic Relations (CAIR) Minnesota and League of Women Voters of Minnesota. Read more from ABC here.

 Pennsylvania: With 3 million votes cast in Pennsylvania as of Wednesday, Attorney General Josh Shapiro told partisan poll watchers that they better be “damn sure” not to intimidate voters or they will face criminal charges. Watch the full clip from MSNBC here.

Latest from VPP