Saturday News: Let them eat cake?


ONLY 7% OF POOR NC FAMILIES WILL RECEIVE $335 RELIEF CHECKS: Under program guidelines, the checks automatically will be sent to more than 1 million of the state’s middle- and upper-income families, with household incomes as high as half a million dollars annually. The state hopes to disperse some $440 million by Dec. 15. But low-income families — annual incomes of between $10,000 and $20,000 — who did not file a 2019 state tax return had to apply by Oct. 15 to receive a check. Since Parker did not know that Extra Credit money was out there, according to the lawsuit, she missed the filing deadline. Tens of thousands of other needy families did the same. According to the lawsuit, only 1 in 14 low-income households in North Carolina are now in line to receive a check.

TO AVOID HACKERS AND OTHER JERKS, ELECTION OFFICIALS WILL USE EMERGENCY OPERATIONS CENTER ON NOV 3: State officials say securing the vote in this year's elections means moving to a more secure building on election night. An Elon University Poll released Thursday shows that only two-thirds of North Carolina voters are ready to accept the outcome of the presidential election and that about three-fourths are concerned about violence breaking out after the election. President Donald Trump has only added to doubts over the election by repeatedly suggesting without any evidence that it would be rife with fraud and that he might not accept the results if he loses to Democrat Joe Biden. The plan to activate the EOC has been in the works for months, officials said, and they had a test run in June during a primary for a congressional race in western North Carolina.

JUDGE ORDERS ROCKINGHAM COUNTY TO REOPEN EARLY VOTING SITE THAT CLOSED DUE TO (ONE) COVID CASE: A judge issued a temporary restraining order Friday which reopens a rural North Carolina voting site that was closed due to a coronavirus case reported at the location. North Carolina’s Democratic Party had sought the move after filing a lawsuit Thursday which said one of Rockingham County’s four early voting locations was closed Wednesday after a positive COVID-19 test at the location. The lawsuit did not make clear if the positive case was a voter or a poll worker. In the order, the judge said the plaintiffs and their members “are likely to sustain irreparable harm to the fundamental right to vote unless a temporary restraining order is issued.” The order also said reopening the early voting site “outweighs any possible harm in preserving the status quo.” Early in-person voting in North Carolina is scheduled to end Saturday. Voters can currently cast ballots at any of the other three early voting sites in the county, but the lawsuit argues that the one that closed disproportionately affects registered Democrats who live in the area.

REPUBLICANS GEAR UP TO CHALLENGE INDIVIDUAL (DEM) BALLOTS ON ELECTION DAY: “It’s not just the rules anymore,” said Myrna Pérez, director of the Voting Rights and Elections Program at the nonpartisan Brennan Center for Justice. “It’s individual voters.” More than 85 million people have already voted, many using mail-in ballots. But President Trump has spent months trying to undermine confidence in mail ballots, and polls have consistently shown that more Republicans plan to vote in person on Election Day while many Democrats have chosen to vote absentee. A senior Trump campaign official said they are most closely watching Nevada’s Clark County, Philadelphia and Milwaukee — all Democratic strongholds in swing states — as well as the entire state of North Carolina. The campaign has 8,500 lawyers prepared to help, as well as local lawyers lined up around the country, he said, adding: “We are prepared to sue if we need to.” In Pennsylvania and Minnesota, the Trump campaign this week cheered decisions that will result in election officials segregating absentee ballots received after Election Day, a process that would make them easier to challenge should the race prove to be close. The directive in Pennsylvania came by order of the secretary of state, even though the Supreme Court this week affirmed that ballots can be counted if they arrive within three days after polls close. In Minnesota, where Democrats and Republicans had agreed to a seven-day grace period for late ballots, a three-judge federal appeals court panel on Thursday ordered all ballots arriving after Election Day to be kept separate, suggesting that a challenge to their validity would be successful.

OBAMA JOINS BIDEN TODAY IN MICHIGAN, WHICH TRUMP ONLY WON BY 10,704 VOTES IN 2016: Mr. Trump scored an upset victory in Michigan four years ago, barreling through the so-called blue wall of Northern industrial states that had favored Democrats in presidential elections since the 1990s. In Detroit, which leans heavily to the left, 41,625 fewer voters cast ballots in 2016 than in 2012, helping Mr. Trump win the state by a razor-thin margin of 10,704 votes. But the president has struggled to maintain support in the Midwest during this campaign. Mr. Biden, the Democratic nominee, leads Mr. Trump by eight percentage points in Michigan, according to a poll this week from The New York Times and Siena College, and his cash-rich campaign has been targeting the state’s Black voters with television ads. Mr. Obama, who adopted a posture of neutrality during the Democratic primaries, was initially reluctant to take on Mr. Trump personally because he did not want to become an easy foil that could motivate the president’s base. But in his address to the Democratic convention in August, Mr. Obama painted a dire picture of the country under Mr. Trump, calling the incumbent lazy, uncaring and self-interested. He grew so emotional at turns that he appeared on the edge of tears. “This administration has shown it will tear our democracy down if that’s what it takes to win,” he said.