10/25 Weekend Update: Vote Early Day Brings Voters to the Polls Nationwide

Key Dates & Deadlines

Voter Registration Deadlines

Early Voting Begins

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

National Updates

Law Enforcement Guidance: Local law enforcement plays a critical role in protecting fair elections and ensuring that every eligible voter can exercise the right to vote. In the 2020 election, police leaders and their personnel must know the rules, understand the appropriate responses to potential disruptions, and promote safe participation in the democratic process. Today, the VPP posted law enforcement guidance, including a memo written together with policing experts from 21CP Solutions, detailing what police need to know at the polls. 

Mail-In Voting: Voting by mail has grown much more popular this year, due to the coronavirus pandemic. Recent mail delays and misinformation attempts have contributed to unease among voters about whether ballots will arrive on time and be counted, leading to an uptick in fearful calls to election officials. Read more from the Washington Post here. State attorneys general have pushed back against misinformation with clear messaging to voters: Our election system is safe and secure, and voters need to do their part by carefully following directions and voting as early as possible. Check out Michigan Attorney General Dana Nessel’s instructions to voters this weekend.

Voter Suppression: The Los Angeles Times argues that the “American tradition” of  threatening voting access, often for Black people and Latinos, has dramatically resurfaced in 2020, this time buttressed by a record-setting wave of litigation aimed at restricting voting access. Read more here. At the same time, voting rights advocates — including many state attorneys general — are fighting back with litigation aimed at protecting and expanding the right to vote. Just this weekend, for instance, a multistate coalition led by Washington D.C. Attorney General Karl Racine filed a U.S. Supreme Court amicus brief in support of extending the mail-in ballot receipt deadline in North Carolina.

State Legal Updates

Minnesota: A private security company that tried to recruit former U.S. military Special Operations personnel to “guard” polling sites in Minnesota on Election Day agreed Friday to cancel its plans following an investigation by Minnesota Attorney General Keith Ellison, who warned that the effort would amount to voter intimidation. Read more from the Washington Post here. Check out the company’s assurance of discontinuance — a legally-binding promise not to intimidate Minnesota voters — here.

Nevada: On Friday afternoon, Nevada Attorney General Aaron Ford tweeted in support of a Clark County judge’s decision to deny a Republican Party request for a temporary restraining order to stop mail-in ballot counting across the county — the state’s largest by population. Litigation will continue with merits hearings this week. 

North Carolina: Republican state legislators have asked the U.S. Supreme Court to block North Carolina from implementing rules protecting voting rights. On Saturday, North Carolina Attorney General Josh Stein fought back with a brief explaining why the state should be allowed to go forward with its mail-in ballot receipt extension, among other voting rights protections. 

Pennsylvania: On Friday, a unanimous Pennsylvania Supreme Court ordered election officials not to reject mail-in ballots if a voter’s signature on the ballot does not look like the signature on the voter’s registration form. In a statement, Pennsylvania Attorney General Josh Shapiro supported the court’s decision not to meddle in Pennsylvania’s election system. Read more from CBS News here. Meanwhile, Pennsylvania Republican legislators are back at the United States Supreme Court, seeking to overturn voting rights expansions that have been approved by the state supreme court. Last week, by a 4-4 vote, the shorthanded U.S. Supreme Court refused to immediately block the state from extending its ballot receipt deadline until November 6 and establishing a presumption that unpostmarked ballots were mailed on or before Election Day. On Friday, October 23, with the likely confirmation of Judge Amy Coney Barrett set for early this week, the same plaintiffs asked the Court to accept the case on the merits and expedite consideration.

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