The idea of a basic income was, for decades, something of a policy fantasy. But the last few years have seen it become less outlandish, to the point where we now have many limited basic income programs up and running around the world — perhaps a dry run for a broader embrace of the policy in the coming years.
The general idea — that the government should give every citizen a regular infusion of free money with no strings attached — has been around since the 16th century. But it’s recently experienced a remarkable resurgence: Advocates ranging from tech billionaire Mark Zuckerberg to libertarian economist Milton Friedman to former Democratic presidential candidate Andrew Yang have endorsed it.
The Covid-19 pandemic has given the idea fresh momentum. With the crisis generating so much financial loss and uncertainty, and with federal stimulus packages failing to meet the needs of millions, advocates are arguing that citizens desperately need some sort of guaranteed income.
And around the world, countries are running pilot programs to test it.
With a few exceptions — Kenya, where a big experiment in universal basic income (UBI) is underway; Iran, which has a nationwide unconditional cash transfer program; and Alaska, which gives an annual dividend to everyone in the state — basic income programs are offering money to small groups of a few hundred or a few thousand people, not an entire polity. In other words, they offer a basic income, but not a universal basic income.
These small-scale trials are necessary because governments want to have a good sense of what the effects will be before they start shelling out many billions or trillions of dollars. Proponents of basic income argue it’s the best way to end poverty: Just give everyone money! Some also say it’ll help society cope with a coming era of automation-induced joblessness. And the evidence so far suggests that getting a basic income tends to boost happiness, health, school attendance, and trust in social institutions, while reducing crime.
But critics worry that it will disincentivize work, cheating economies out of productivity and cheating individuals out of the sense of meaning that work can bring. Plus, they say, it’s just plain unaffordable for the government to pay every citizen enough to live on regardless of whether they work. The evidence so far does not support these critiques, as you’ll see.
Below are all the places that are trying or have tried some version of basic income. You’ll find that only unconditional cash transfers are included here. Some 130 countries, from Mexico to Italy to Uganda, have instituted conditional cash transfers, which may require recipients to send their kids to school or go for health checkups. Although these programs have proven beneficial in some cases, they’re not the subject of this piece.
Note that most of the basic income projects here are funded by governments, but a few are funded by private donors. Scroll down for details on how each place gave out or is giving out free money — and what behavioral effects it seems to have on the recipients.
The US has tried a few basic income experiments, but most have been short-lived small-scale trials.
Alaska is an exception. Since 1982, the state has given each citizen an annual check just for being alive, effectively wiping out extreme poverty. The money — which can range from around $2,000 per person when oil prices are high to $1,000 in cheaper gas years — comes from the Alaska Permanent Fund, a state-owned investment fund financed by oil revenues.
Economists investigated whether the payment was leading people to work less and found that “the dividend had no effect on employment” overall. (It has, apparently, had an effect on fertility, encouraging families to have more kids. It’s also had some unexpected effects on the state’s politics.)
Another long-running program is the Eastern Band of Cherokee Indians Casino Dividend in North Carolina. Since 1997, revenue from a casino on tribal land has been given to every tribal member, no strings attached. Each person gets on average somewhere between $4,000 and $6,000 per year. Economists found that it doesn’t make them work less. It does lead to improved education and mental health, and decreased addiction and crime.
Between 1968 and 1974, the US experimented with giving cash to around 7,500 people in New Jersey, Pennsylvania, Iowa, North Carolina, Seattle, Denver, and Gary, Indiana. The money proved beneficial to recipients but did modestly reduce the hours they worked; Dylan Matthews has explained for Vox why we shouldn’t make too much of that slight reduction.
In 2019, Andrew Yang tried out a sensationalistic yet effective method of promoting basic income: giving it out himself. First, he promised to give $1,000 per month, for 12 months, to someone who retweets and follows him on Twitter. Then, on the presidential debate stage, he announced that he’d give away $1,000 per month to 10 randomly selected families. We don’t know exactly what effects the cash may have had on the recipients, because the giveaways weren’t formal research studies, but they’re worth mentioning because they drew a lot of attention to the concept of a basic income.
What about current projects? Stockton, California, is in the midst of an 18-month experiment: It’s giving $500 per month to 125 people. The money comes from individual and foundation philanthropy, with the initial $1 million in funding coming from the Economic Security Project. The first batch of data shows the recipients are mostly spending the money on food, clothes, and utility bills. Y Combinator, which previously ran a small trial in Oakland, California, is now planning to start a new trial elsewhere in the US.
Between 1974 and 1979, Canada ran a randomized controlled trial in the province of Manitoba, choosing one farming town, Dauphin, as a “saturation site” where every family was eligible to participate in a basic income experiment. The basic income seemed to benefit residents’ physical and mental health — there was a decline in doctor visits and an 8.5 percent reduction in the rate of hospitalization — and high school graduation rates improved, too. Nevertheless, the project, known as “Mincome” and funded jointly by the provincial and federal governments, was canceled after four years when a more conservative party came into power.
Four decades later, another Canadian province, Ontario, was willing to try again. In 2017, the Liberal government launched a basic income pilot project in three cities: Hamilton, Lindsay, and Thunder Bay. It was supposed to help 4,000 low-income people and last for three years.
But then a new Progressive Conservative government came into power, led by Ontario Premier Doug Ford. In 2018, they canceled the project after hearing from staff that it disincentivized participants from finding work. However, the pilot had only been active a short time, not long enough to gather the data required to support that claim. A handful of participants have since filed a class action lawsuit against the government.
Brazil has been experimenting with cash transfers to poor families since the 1990s, and it now runs the massive Bolsa Familia program, which gives millions of people cash transfers. This isn’t a UBI since the transfers are conditional — recipients are expected to keep their children in school and visit health clinics. But the massive program has formed the backdrop for Brazilian experiments in unconditional cash transfers.
From 2008 to 2014, a Brazilian nonprofit called the ReCivitas Institute administered a basic income — funded by private donors — in the village of Quatinga Velho. One hundred residents received 30 reais (about $8) per month.
This year, around 52,000 people in the Brazilian city of Maricá are receiving a basic income under a new program called the Renda Basica de Cidadania (Citizens’ Basic Income). Each will receive 130 reais per month (around $35), which is expected to lift many above the poverty line. Because the money is coming out of the city budget, mostly from oil royalties, this program has the potential to stick around for a long time; it currently has no end date.
In 2017, the Finnish government decided to see what would happen if it chose 2,000 unemployed citizens at random and gave them a check of 560 euros ($635) every month for two years. Participants were assured they’d keep receiving the money if they got a job. As it turned out, the income didn’t help them get jobs, but it did make them feel happier and less stressed. The recipients also reported that they felt more trust toward other people and social institutions — from political parties to the police to the courts — than they did before getting a basic income. Finland ended the trial in 2018.
In 2014, the nonprofit Mein Grundeinkommen (My Basic Income) used crowdfunding to set up a basic income raffle. By the end of 2019, it had awarded almost 500 basic incomes to people all over the world who’d submitted their names. Each got about $1,100 per month for a year. According to Fast Company, 80 percent of recipients said the income made them less anxious, more than half said it enabled them to continue their education, and 35 percent said they now feel more motivated at work.
In 2019, the nonprofit Sanktionsfrei kicked off another basic income project funded entirely by private donors. For three years, 250 randomly chosen people in Germany will receive unconditional transfers of up to $466 per month, while 250 others act as a control group.
Against the backdrop of the Covid-19 pandemic, Germany started a new basic income experiment in August: 120 Germans are receiving 1,200 euros ($1,430) every month for three years. They’ll fill out questionnaires about how the cash benefit is affecting their emotional well-being, home life, and work life. Their responses will then be compared with the responses of a control group of 1,380 people who are not receiving a basic income. The German Institute for Economic Research is conducting the study, and it’s funded by 140,000 private donations collected by Mein Grundeinkommen.
In 2017, Spain’s “B-MINCOME” experiment started offering a minimum guaranteed income to 1,000 households randomly selected from some of Barcelona’s poorest districts. Under the two-year randomized controlled trial, households could receive up to 1,675 euros ($1,968) per month. There was also a control group of 383 households.
The experiment split up the households into four “modalities” of participation: conditional (you get the cash, but you have to participate in certain social programs), unconditional (you get the cash with no strings attached), limited (if you earn extra income through work, that reduces the amount of cash you get), and non-limited (extra income does not reduce the amount of cash).
Preliminary results showed that the effects varied a bit depending on the different modalities. But across the board, the basic income boosted life satisfaction and mental health while making participants neither more likely nor less likely to find employment.
With the arrival of Covid-19, the Spanish government launched a website in June offering payments of up to 1,015 euros ($1,145) to the poorest families in the country — some 850,000 households. The government isn’t running this initiative as a research study per se (there’s no control group), but it will continue to monitor the results and says it aims to keep the initiative going even after the pandemic-induced recession ends.
In 2017, Utrecht and a few surrounding cities kicked off a basic income experiment with 250 recipients as part of a randomized controlled trial. Some recipients got the money (around $1,050 per month) unconditionally, while others had to do volunteer work. The researchers’ aim is to figure out which way of delivering the financial assistance works best.
In 2011, Iran rolled out a nationwide unconditional cash transfer program to compensate for the phase-out of subsidies on bread, water, electricity, heating, and fuel. The government gave out sizable monthly payments to each family: 29 percent of the median household income on average.
The program was later dialed back as some Iranians came to believe it was disincentivizing people to work. Yet economists found that “the program did not affect labor supply in any appreciable way.” The program is still running, and it’s the only such program in the world to run nationwide.
The largest and longest UBI experiment in the world is taking place in Kenya, where the charity GiveDirectly is making payments to more than 20,000 people spread out across 245 rural villages. As part of this randomized controlled trial, which started in 2016, recipients receive roughly 75 cents per adult per day, delivered monthly for 12 years.
Some preliminary results will be available soon. In the meantime, we’ve already seen that in another GiveDirectly program in Kenya, cash transfers have stimulated the economy and benefited not only the recipients themselves but also people in nearby villages.
Between 2008 and 2009, all residents below the age of 60 living in the Otjivero-Omitara region of Namibia received a basic income: 100 Namibian dollars ($6.75) per person per month, no strings attached, regardless of their socioeconomic status. Funding came from private donors in Namibia and around the world.
As a result, child malnutrition dropped and school enrollment rates went up, while poverty-related crime (like theft) fell, according to reports from BIEN and the Center for Public Impact. However, a lack of alignment with the national government meant that the pilot project was never rolled out nationwide.
Between 2011 and 2012, a pilot project in the state of Madhya Pradesh gave a basic income to some 6,000 Indians. The project, coordinated by the Self-Employed Women’s Association and funded by Unicef, included two studies.
In the first study, every man, woman, and child in eight villages received a monthly payment: 200 rupees ($2.80) for adults and 100 rupees for each child (paid to the guardian). After one year, the payments increased to 300 and 150 rupees, respectively. Meanwhile, 12 similar villages received no basic income, acting as a control group.
In the second study, one tribal village received an income of 300 rupees per adult and 150 rupees per child for the entire trial. Another tribal village acted as a control.
The results: Receiving a basic income led to improved sanitation, nutrition, and school attendance.
In 2011, following years of budget surpluses and under pressure to help poor and elderly people, Hong Kong tried out a program called Scheme $6,000. All adults with a valid Hong Kong permanent identity card — some 6 million people — were eligible to receive a one-time giveaway of HK$6,000 ($772) each. The public had a host of complaints about the program — for example, that administrative costs were eating up too much of the money that could go to citizens — and it only lasted one year. However, it was briefly revived in 2018 thanks to another budget surplus and round of pressure to help the needy.
Macao, an autonomous region on the south coast of China, has been experimenting with basic income since 2008, when it began giving small but unconditional transfers to all residents — around 700,000 people — as part of a Wealth Partaking Scheme. Each year, local residents get around 9,000 patacas ($1,128) and nonpermanent residents get around 5,400 patacas ($672). Unfortunately, critics say these sums are too paltry to make a real dent in poverty.
Japanese billionaire Yusaku Maezawa announced in a January 1 tweet that he would give away 1 billion Japanese yen — about $9 million — to 1,000 random Twitter followers. His stated goal was to test the premise of a basic income. “It’s a serious social experiment,” he said.
Since the money was distributed in April, each recipient has had to fill out follow-up surveys asking what impact the cash has had on their lives. The initial survey results show that recipients of the cash benefit are now 3.9 times more interested in launching a new business. Recipients saw a decrease in divorce rates, from 1.5 percent to 0.6 percent. And more than 70 percent of recipients said they experienced a significant increase in happiness.
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All the products we found to be the best during our testing this year
Throughout the year, CNN Underscored is constantly testing products — be it coffee makers or headphones — to find the absolute best in each respective category.
Our testing process is rigorous, consisting of hours of research (consulting experts, reading editorial reviews and perusing user ratings) to find the top products in each category. Once we settle on a testing pool, we spend weeks — if not months — testing and retesting each product multiple times in real-world settings. All this in an effort to settle on the absolute best products.
So, as we enter peak gifting season, if you’re on the hunt for the perfect gift, we know you’ll find something on this list that they (or you!) will absolutely love.
Beginner baristas and coffee connoisseurs alike will be pleased with the Baratza Virtuoso+, a conical burr grinder with 40 settings for grind size, from super fine (espresso) to super coarse (French press). The best coffee grinder we tested, this sleek look and simple, intuitive controls, including a digital timer, allow for a consistent grind every time — as well as optimal convenience.
Best drip coffee maker: Braun KF6050WH BrewSense Drip Coffee Maker ($79.95; amazon.com)
During our testing of drip coffee makers, we found the Braun KF6050WH BrewSense Drip Coffee Maker made a consistently delicious, hot cup of coffee, brewed efficiently and cleanly, from sleek, relatively compact hardware that is turnkey to operate, and all for a reasonable price.
Best single-serve coffee maker: Breville-Nespresso VertuoPlus ($165; originally $179.95; amazon.com)
Among all single-serve coffee makers we tested, the Breville-Nespresso VertuoPlus, which uses pods that deliver both espresso and “regular” coffee, could simply not be beat for its convenience. Intuitive and a snap to use right out of the box, it looks sleek on the counter, contains a detached 60-ounce water reservoir so you don’t have to refill it with each use and delivers perfectly hot, delicious coffee with a simple tap of a lever and press of a button.
Best coffee subscription: Blue Bottle (starting at $11 per shipment; bluebottlecoffee.com)
Blue Bottle’s coffee subscription won us over with its balance of variety, customizability and, most importantly, taste. We sampled both the single-origin and blend assortments and loved the flavor of nearly every single cup we made. The flavors are complex and bold but unmistakably delicious. Beyond its coffee, Blue Bottle’s subscription is simple and easy to use, with tons of options to tailor to your caffeine needs.
Best cold brewer coffee maker: Hario Mizudashi Cold Brew Coffeepot ($25; amazon.com)
This sleek, sophisticated and streamlined carafe produces 1 liter (about 4 1/4 cups) of rich, robust brew in just eight hours. It was among the simplest to assemble, it executed an exemplary brew in about the shortest time span, and it looked snazzy doing it. Plus, it rang up as the second-most affordable of our inventory.
Best nonstick pan: T-fal E76597 Ultimate Hard Anodized Nonstick Fry Pan With Lid ($39.97; amazon.com)
If you’re a minimalist and prefer to have just a single pan in your kitchen, you’d be set with the T-fal E76597. This pan’s depth gives it multipurpose functionality: It cooks standard frying-pan foods like eggs and meats, and its 2 1/2-inch sides are tall enough to prepare recipes you’d usually reserve for pots, like rices and stews. It’s a high-quality and affordable pan that outperformed some of the more expensive ones in our testing field.
Best blender: Breville Super Q ($499.95; breville.com)
With 1,800 watts of motor power, the Breville Super Q features a slew of preset buttons, comes in multiple colors, includes key accessories and is touted for being quieter than other models. At $500, it does carry a steep price tag, but for those who can’t imagine a smoothie-less morning, what breaks down to about $1.30 a day over a year seems like a bargain.
Best knife set: Chicago Cutlery Fusion 17-Piece Knife Block Set ($119.74; amazon.com)
The Chicago Cutlery Fusion 17-Piece Knife Block Set sets you up to easily take on almost any cutting job and is a heck of a steal at just $119.97. Not only did the core knives included (chef’s, paring, utility and serrated) perform admirably, but the set included a bevy of extras, including a full set of steak knives. We were blown away by their solid construction and reliable execution for such an incredible value. The knives stayed sharp through our multitude of tests, and we were big fans of the cushion-grip handles that kept them from slipping, as well as the classic look of the chestnut-stained wood block. If you’re looking for a complete knife set you’ll be proud of at a price that won’t put a dent in your savings account, this is the clear winner.
Best true wireless earbuds: AirPods Pro ($199, originally $249; amazon.com)
Apple’s AirPods Pro hit all the marks. They deliver a wide soundstage, thanks to on-the-fly equalizing tech that produces playback that seemingly brings you inside the studio with the artist. They have the best noise-canceling ability of all the earbuds we tested, which, aside from stiff-arming distractions, creates a truly immersive experience. To sum it up, you’re getting a comfortable design, a wide soundstage, easy connectivity and long battery life.
Best noise-canceling headphones: Sony WH-1000XM4 ($278, originally $349.99; amazon.com)
Not only do the WH-1000XM4s boast class-leading sound, but phenomenal noise-canceling ability. So much so that they ousted our former top overall pick, the Beats Solo Pros, in terms of ANC quality, as the over-ear XM4s better seal the ear from outside noise. Whether it was a noise from a dryer, loud neighbors down the hall or high-pitched sirens, the XM4s proved impenetrable. This is a feat that other headphones, notably the Solo Pros, could not compete with — which is to be expected considering their $348 price tag.
Best on-ear headphones: Beats Solo 3 ($119.95, originally $199.95; amazon.com)
The Beats Solo 3s are a phenomenal pair of on-ear headphones. Their sound quality was among the top of those we tested, pumping out particularly clear vocals and instrumentals alike. We enjoyed the control scheme too, taking the form of buttons in a circular configuration that blend seamlessly into the left ear cup design. They are also light, comfortable and are no slouch in the looks department — more than you’d expect given their reasonable $199.95 price tag.
The Stila Stay All Day Liquid Lipstick has thousands of 5-star ratings across the internet, and it’s easy to see why. True to its name, this product clings to your lips for hours upon hours, burritos and messy breakfast sandwiches be damned. It’s also surprisingly moisturizing for such a superior stay-put formula, a combo that’s rare to come by.
The Stila Stay All Day Waterproof Liquid Eyeliner is a longtime customer favorite — hence its nearly 7,500 5-star reviews on Sephora — and for good reason. We found it requires little to no effort to create a precise wing, the liner has superior staying power and it didn’t irritate those of us with sensitive skin after full days of wear. As an added bonus, it’s available in a whopping 12 shades.
The Steelcase Series 1 scored among the highest overall, standing out as one of the most customizable, high-quality, comfortable office chairs on the market. At $415, the Steelcase Series 1 beat out most of its pricier competitors across testing categories, scoring less than a single point lower than our highest-rated chair, the $1,036 Steelcase Leap, easily making it the best bang for the buck and a clear winner for our best office chair overall.
Best ergonomic keyboard: Logitech Ergo K860 ($129.99; logitech.com)
We found the Logitech Ergo K860 to be a phenomenally comfortable keyboard. Its build, featuring a split keyboard (meaning there’s a triangular gap down the middle) coupled with a wave-like curvature across the body, allows both your shoulders and hands to rest in a more natural position that eases the tension that can often accompany hours spent in front of a regular keyboard. Add the cozy palm rest along the bottom edge and you’ll find yourself sitting pretty comfortably.
Best ergonomic mouse: Logitech MX Master 3 ($99.99; logitech.com)
The Logitech MX Master 3 is an unequivocally comfortable mouse. It’s shaped to perfection, with special attention to the fingers that do the clicking. Using it felt like our fingers were lounging — with a sculpted ergonomic groove for nearly every finger.
Best ring light: Emart 10-Inch Selfie Ring Light ($25.99; amazon.com)
The Emart 10-Inch Standing Ring Light comes with a tripod that’s fully adjustable — from 19 inches to 50 inches — making it a great option whether you’re setting it atop your desk for video calls or need some overhead lighting so no weird shadows creep into your photos. Its three light modes (warm, cool and a nice mix of the two), along with 11 brightness levels (among the most settings on any of the lights we tested), ensure you’re always framed in the right light. And at a relatively cheap $35.40, this light combines usability and affordability better than any of the other options we tested.
Best linen sheets: Parachute Linen Sheet Set (starting at $149; parachute.com)
Well made, luxurious to the touch and with the most versatile shopping options (six sizes, nine colors and the ability to order individual sheets), the linen sheets from Parachute were, by a narrow margin, our favorite set. From the satisfying unboxing to a sumptuous sleep, with a la carte availability, Parachute set the gold standard in linen luxury.
Best shower head: Kohler Forte Shower Head (starting at $74.44; amazon.com)
Hands down, the Kohler Forte Shower Head provides the best overall shower experience, offering three distinct settings. Backstory: Lots of shower heads out there feature myriad “settings” that, when tested, are pretty much indecipherable. The Forte’s three sprays, however, are each incredibly different and equally successful. There’s the drenching, full-coverage rain shower, the pulsating massage and the “silk spray” setting that is basically a super-dense mist. The Forte manages to achieve all of this while using only 1.75 gallons per minute (GPM), making it a great option for those looking to conserve water.
Best humidifier: TaoTronics Cool Mist Humidifier (starting at $49.99; amazon.com)
The TaoTronics Cool Mist Humidifier ramped up the humidity in a room in about an hour, which was quicker than most of the options we tested. More importantly, though, it sustained those humidity levels over the longest period of time — 24 hours, to be exact. The levels were easy to check with the built-in reader (and we cross-checked that reading with an external reader to confirm accuracy). We also loved how easy this humidifier was to clean, and the nighttime mode for the LED reader eliminated any bright lights in the bedroom.
Best TV: TCL 6-Series (starting at $579.99; bestbuy.com)
With models starting at $599.99 for a 55-inch, the TCL 6-Series might give you reverse sticker shock considering everything you get for that relatively small price tag. But can a 4K smart TV with so many specification standards really deliver a good picture for $500? The short answer: a resounding yes. The TCL 6-Series produces a vibrant picture with flexible customization options and handles both HDR and Dolby Vision, optimization standards that improve the content you’re watching by adding depth to details and expanding the color spectrum.
Best streaming device: Roku Ultra ($99.99; amazon.com)
Roku recently updated its Ultra streaming box and the 2020 version is faster, thanks to a new quad-core processor. The newest Ultra retains all of the features we loved and enjoyed about the 2019 model, like almost zero lag time between waking it up and streaming content, leading to a hiccup-free streaming experience. On top of that, the Roku Ultra can upscale content to deliver the best picture possible on your TV — even on older-model TVs that don’t offer the latest and greatest picture quality — and supports everything from HD to 4K.
Best carry-on luggage: Away Carry-On ($225; away.com)
The Away Carry-On scored high marks across all our tests and has the best combination of features for the average traveler. Compared with higher-end brands like Rimowa, which retail for hundreds more, you’re getting the same durable materials, an excellent internal compression system and eye-catching style. Add in smart charging capabilities and a lifetime warranty, and this was the bag to beat.
Best portable charger: Anker PowerCore 13000 (starting at $31.99; amazon.com)
The Anker PowerCore 13000 shone most was in terms of charging capacity. It boasts 13,000 mAh (maH is a measure of how much power a device puts out over time), which is enough to fully charge an iPhone 11 two and a half times. Plus, it has two fast-charging USB Type-A ports so you can juice a pair of devices simultaneously. While not at the peak in terms of charging capacity, at just $31.99, it’s a serious bargain for so many mAhs.
Trump’s misleading tweet about changing your vote, briefly explained
Searches for changing one’s vote did not trend following the recent presidential debate, and just a few states appear to have processes for changing an early vote. But that didn’t stop President Trump from wrongly saying otherwise on Tuesday.
In early morning posts, the president falsely claimed on Twitter and Facebook that many people had Googled “Can I change my vote?” after the second presidential debate and said those searching wanted to change their vote over to him. Trump also wrongly claimed that most states have a mechanism for changing one’s vote. Actually, just a few states appear to have the ability, and it’s rarely used.
Trump’s claim about what was trending on Google after the debate doesn’t hold up. Searches for changing one’s vote were not among Google’s top trending searches for the day of the debate (October 22) or the day after. Searches for “Can I change my vote?” did increase slightly around the time of the debate, but there is no way to know whether the bump was related to the debate or whether the people searching were doing so in support of Trump.
It was only after Trump’s posts that searches about changing your vote spiked significantly. It’s worth noting that people were also searching for “Can I change my vote?” during a similar period before the 2016 presidential election.
Google declined to comment on the accuracy of Trump’s post.
Trump also claimed that these results indicate that most of the people who were searching for how to change their vote support him. But the Google Trends tool for the searches he mentioned does not provide that specific information.
Perhaps the most egregiously false claim in Trump’s recent posts is about “most states” having processes for changing your early vote. In fact, only a few states have such processes, and they can come with certain conditions. For instance, in Michigan, voters who vote absentee can ask for a new ballot by mail or in person until the day before the election.
The Center for Election Innovation’s David Becker told the Associated Press that changing one’s vote is “extremely rare.” Becker explained, “It’s hard enough to get people to vote once — it’s highly unlikely anybody will go through this process twice.”
At the time of publication, Trump’s false claims had drawn about 84,000 and 187,000 “Likes” on Twitter and Facebook, respectively. Trump’s posts accelerated searches about changing your vote in places like the swing state of Florida, where changing one’s vote after casting it is not possible. Those numbers are a reminder of the president’s capacity to spread misinformation quickly.
On Facebook, the president’s post came with a label directing people to Facebook’s Voting Information Center, but no fact-checking label. Twitter had no annotation on the president’s post. Neither company responded to a request for comment.
That Trump is willing to spread misinformation to benefit himself and his campaign isn’t a surprise. He does that a lot. Still, just days before a presidential election in which millions have already voted, this latest episode demonstrates that the president has no qualms about using false claims about voting to cause confusion and sow doubt in the electoral process.
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Nearly 6,000 civilian casualties in Afghanistan so far this year
From January to September, 5,939 civilians – 2,117 people killed and 3,822 wounded – were casualties of the fighting, the UN says.
Nearly 6,000 Afghan civilians were killed or wounded in the first nine months of the year as heavy fighting between government forces and Taliban fighters rages on despite efforts to find peace, the United Nations has said.
From January to September, there were 5,939 civilian casualties in the fighting – 2,117 people killed and 3,822 wounded, the UN Assistance Mission in Afghanistan (UNAMA) said in a quarterly report on Tuesday.
“High levels of violence continue with a devastating impact on civilians, with Afghanistan remaining among the deadliest places in the world to be a civilian,” the report said.
Civilian casualties were 30 percent lower than in the same period last year but UNAMA said violence has failed to slow since the beginning of talks between government negotiators and the Taliban that began in Qatar’s capital, Doha, last month.
The Taliban was responsible for 45 percent of civilian casualties while government troops caused 23 percent, it said. United States-led international forces were responsible for two percent.
Most of the remainder occurred in crossfire, or were caused by ISIL (ISIS) or “undetermined” anti-government or pro-government elements, according to the report.
Ground fighting caused the most casualties followed by suicide and roadside bomb attacks, targeted killings by the Taliban and air raids by Afghan troops, the UN mission said.
Fighting has sharply increased in several parts of the country in recent weeks as government negotiators and the Taliban have failed to make progress in the peace talks.
The Taliban has been fighting the Afghan government since it was toppled from power in a US-led invasion in 2001.
Washington blamed the then-Taliban rulers for harbouring al-Qaeda leaders, including Osama bin Laden. Al-Qaeda was accused of plotting the 9/11 attacks.
Calls for urgent reduction of violence
Meanwhile, the US envoy for Afghanistan, Zalmay Khalilzad, said on Tuesday that the level of violence in the country was still too high and the Kabul government and Taliban fighters must work harder towards forging a ceasefire at the Doha talks.
Khalilzad made the comments before heading to the Qatari capital to hold meetings with the two sides.
“I return to the region disappointed that despite commitments to lower violence, it has not happened. The window to achieve a political settlement will not stay open forever,” he said in a tweet.
There needs to be “an agreement on a reduction of violence leading to a permanent and comprehensive ceasefire”, added Khalilzad.
1/4 I return to the region disappointed that despite commitments to lower violence, it has not happened. The window to achieve a political settlement will not stay open forever. https://t.co/hVl4b032W6
— U.S. Special Representative Zalmay Khalilzad (@US4AfghanPeace) October 27, 2020
A deal in February between the US and the Taliban paved the way for foreign forces to leave Afghanistan by May 2021 in exchange for counterterrorism guarantees from the Taliban, which agreed to sit with the Afghan government to negotiate a permanent ceasefire and a power-sharing formula.
But progress at the intra-Afghan talks has been slow since their start in mid-September and diplomats and officials have warned that rising violence back home is sapping trust.
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