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In Breonna Taylor’s Louisville, anger fuels demand for change



Louisville, Kentucky – It had only been a day since Louisville, Kentucky, learned there would be no murder charges in the police killing of Breonna Taylor, a 26-year-old unarmed Black woman, and more than 200 demonstrators were back in the square that has been the centre of 120 consecutive days of protests.

Many talked among themselves. Every few minutes, someone led a chant, “Say her name.”

“Breonna Taylor,” the crowd shouted back.

At 8pm, long high-pitched alerts echoed from phones throughout the square: a one-hour warning before the mayor-issued curfew would take effect. A few minutes later, a woman on a megaphone told protesters to get ready to march. The night before, different groups got split up, according to one protester, resulting in the arrests of several dozen after the curfew began. On last Thursday night, they were not taking any chances.

“We’re going down a new route,” the woman on the megaphone announced. “Stay together,” she said. The group then headed out.

Breonna Taylor, 26, was shot dead by police on March 13 [Laurin-Whitney Gottbrath/Al Jazeera]

Protests have rocked the city since late May when demonstrations erupted across the country over the police killing of George Floyd in Minneapolis, Minnesota. In Louisville, it is the name of Taylor, who was shot dead by police on March 13, at the forefront.

A grand jury on Wednesday declined to indict the three Louisville Metro Police Department (LMPD) officers who fired into Taylor’s apartment on charges directly related to her death. Instead, it indicted former officer Brett Hankison, who was fired in June, on three counts of wanton endangerment for “blindly” shooting into a neighbouring apartment.

Kentucky Attorney General Daniel Cameron said in a news conference the other officers who fired their weapons were justified in their actions because Kenneth Walker, Taylor’s boyfriend, fired the first shot. Walker has said he mistook police, who barged through the door while serving a “no-knock” warrant, for intruders.

The highly-anticipated decision left protesters angry and in tears. But the feeling of dejection quickly turned to motivation as they charted a path forward.

In 24 hours following the grand jury’s decision, those next steps began to take shape: protesters and leaders pledged to stay in the streets, called on local legislators to change policies that they say led to Taylor’s death, demanded increased investment in impoverished neighbourhoods, and urged residents to vote.

New strategies

As demonstrators marched in Louisville on Thursday night, organisers were already adapting and changing their strategies.

“Whose streets? Our streets,” the group chanted as it weaved through the city’s downtown core. At one point, those in the lead pack who knew the march plan spotted police, dressed in riot gear, running along the city block where the group was headed.

The organisers quickly switched course. They appeared to do the same on several occasions, including cutting through a McDonald’s parking lot to avoid an intersection blocked by police. Just before 9pm, they headed towards First Unitarian Church.

This is a “sanctuary space”, pastors and others told the marchers, welcoming them to the place of worship where the curfew did not apply. As what appeared to be the last of the marchers made their way onto the church grounds, phones buzzed again with an emergency notification: “Louisville Metro is now under curfew until 6:30am. Please be heading home.”

A police line stands behind a sign outlining the history of the First Unitarian Church, where protesters sought refuge in downtown Louisville [Chris Kenning/Al Jazeera]

Protesters used the restrooms and grabbed food and water. A loud commotion then ensued. “Oh s***,” one protester said. Police marched down an alleyway towards the church where dozens stood crammed together. It was quickly apparent that the church was more or less surrounded, and protesters would be in for a long night.

Soon, whispers of “they got Attica” could be heard in the crowd. Nearby, police had arrested Attica Scott, Kentucky’s only Black female state legislator.

“I did not understand what was happening,” Scott later told Al Jazeera. “It wasn’t even nine o’clock yet,” she said. “They literally rushed us, ‘yelled, circle them, circle them’ so that we couldn’t even get to our cars or across the street to the church for sanctuary.”

There seems to be two justices in America: one for Black America and one for white America

Benjamin Crump, US civil rights lawyer representing the Taylor family

Scott, who did not march with the protesters, said she was walking near the church with her 19-year-old daughter and others when police encircled them. They were taken into custody and charged with first-degree rioting – a felony – along with failure to disperse and unlawful assembly, both misdemeanours, according to a police spokesman.

Police claim Scott and others “caused extreme damage at multiple locations including setting fire to the Louisville Public Library”, according to the arrest citation shared by local media – an allegation Scott dismissed as “frivolous”.

“It was clear that [police] were targeting leaders,” she said, pointing to Shameka Parrish-Wright, the site manager of the Louisville Bail Project, and Donny Greene, the co-founder of Feed Louisville, who were arrested alongside Scott.

New legislation, more investment

Scott has been at the forefront of the recent protest movement since it began. Authoring a bill called “Breonna’s Law”, she is now leading an effort at the state level to ban “no-knock” warrants like the one used the night Taylor was killed.

Pushing through this kind of legislation is one way Scott and other city and state leaders see a way forward for the movement. Scott said in addition to Breonna’s Law, she and her colleagues are working on other initiatives, including legislation that would require independent investigations for police killings.

Activists have already seen some victories at the hyper-local level with a city-wide ban on “no-knock” warrants and other promised police reforms. But politicians, including Jecorey Arthur, who grew up and continues to live in one of Louisville’s predominantly Black neighbourhoods, say measures must go beyond police reforms.

The 28-year-old Democrat says when he takes his Metro Council seat in January, he will focus on economic development in the city’s mostly-Black areas, including the West End. “The policies that I’m thinking about are wealth-building policies, so that we don’t have to resort or don’t feel like we need to resort to a life of crime, which of course attracts police to our neighbourhoods,” he told Al Jazeera. He also wants the city to allocate more funds to neighbourhoods such as the West End that experience higher levels of poverty.

Back at the church on Thursday night, protesters agreed: without investment in the city’s predominantly Black neighbourhoods – which are the product of a long history of codified and informal segregation – true change would be impossible. “Come clean up the West End,” Jomikha McGee said as she and other protesters remained holed up at the church.

“Clean this s*** up. We need to do something,” the 28-year-old told Al Jazeera, comparing the city’s West End and downtown area to predominantly white areas of town. “This ain’t right.”

Protesting for 120 consecutive days, McGee says she is even more enraged now that she knows no police officers will face murder charges in Taylor’s killing. McGee, like many activists, dismissed the idea that the officers were justified in firing back after one was hit. “I’m angry. I’m so mad because you know, it could have been me,” she said. “It could have been my mama.”

That rage pulsated throughout the church grounds as protesters shouted at police who stared on, helmet shields down, batons in hand. “How do you spell racist? L-M-P-D,” the crowd chanted.

Protesters gasped as they watched officers tackled a man who crossed the perimeter and load him into the back of a police transport truck. Organisers and church staff, meanwhile, negotiated with police to allow protesters to go without being arrested. “How can we believe them?” one protester asked, referring to the police.

As time went on, small groups of officers slowly left the area. At 10:57pm, what appeared to be the last of the officers climbed onto truck beds and headed out – ending the two-hour standoff.

Turning anger into votes

At a news conference back in the sun-filled square the next morning, the tone shifted to one of demands and calls for action beyond protests and legislation.

Benjamin Crump, a prominent US civil rights lawyer representing the Taylor family, demanded that Cameron, the attorney general, release the full transcripts of the grand jury proceedings. “So we can know if anybody was giving a voice to Breonna Taylor,” Crump said as he spoke in front of a large mural of Taylor.

The lawyer said the three wanton endangerment charges stemmed from bullets that entered white neighbour’s apartments, not Taylor’s or other Black residents. “No wanton murder charges for the bullets that mutilated Breonna Taylor’s body?” Crump asked, standing next to Taylor’s mother, Tamika Palmer. “There seems to be two justices in America: one for Black America and one for white America.”

In a statement read by Bianca Austin, Taylor’s aunt, Palmer said: “I knew Cameron would never do his job. But what I do know is that him and countless others will go to bed sleeping with Breonna’s face, still hearing her say her name.”

Other speakers called for all the officers involved to be fired. “We will make this city as uncomfortable as it can be,” said activist Tamika Mallory. Crump urged people to turn their anger into votes. “If you were protesting for Breonna Taylor, if you signed a petition for Breonna Taylor, we need you to go sign a ballot and vote” in November, Crump said.

Following the more than one-hour news conference, just a small group of protesters along with some media remained. Among them was Bail Fund’s Parrish-Wright, who had only gotten out of jail hours before.

Walking towards the Metro Corrections jail to check on a fellow activist who was also arrested on Thursday night, the 43-year-old said she is hopeful for the movement’s future. “Even through all the trauma, and the continued aggressiveness from LMPD, I feel like I see a light in our youth being more activated,” Parrish-Wright told Al Jazeera, her voice full of energy, but eyes heavy from lack of sleep.

She said the youth will lead the movement as it moves forward. “We have to be led by our young people because even history tells us all of the major gains in the fight started with young people being bold, so we have to get behind it,” she said. “That’s hope. This is hope in action.”

That action was again on display on Friday evening – Day 121 of the protests – as the sun began to set.

A memorial for Breonna Taylor has been set up in Louisville [File: Bryan Woolston/Reuters]

Protesters again marched in downtown Louisville, at one point stopping at businesses they believed had not heeded demands to hire more Black workers. Police declared the march an “unlawful assembly” because people were walking in the street. They then set off two thunderous flashbang rounds to “get the crowd’s attention”, a police spokesman said, and made two arrests before protesters eventually headed back to the square.

With less than an hour to go before curfew, a lull took over the park. One man said things would soon get “real different”, encouraging some to find a safe place. By 8:20pm, 40 minutes before curfew, about two dozen of the remaining protesters marched towards the church they had sought refuge at the night before – this time with little police presence.

Within sight of the church, phones buzzed with an alert: “A curfew is beginning at 9pm … Please begin heading home.”

“Hello and welcome,” a former minister said, as the group reached the yard. There, a familiar call-and-response broke out between small groups. “Say her name … Breonna Taylor.” How long they would be saying that name in Louisville’s streets to win change, no one was certain.


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All the products we found to be the best during our testing this year



(CNN) —  

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.


Best burr coffee grinder: Baratza Virtuoso+ Conical Burr Grinder With Digital Timer Display ($249; amazon.com or walmart.com)

Baratza Virtuoso+ Conical Burr Grinder
Baratza Virtuoso+ Conical Burr Grinder

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.

Read more from our testing of coffee grinders here.

Best drip coffee maker: Braun KF6050WH BrewSense Drip Coffee Maker ($79.95; amazon.com)

Braun KF6050WH BrewSense Drip Coffee Maker
Braun KF6050WH BrewSense Drip Coffee Maker

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.

Read more from our testing of drip coffee makers here.

Best single-serve coffee maker: Breville-Nespresso VertuoPlus ($165; originally $179.95; amazon.com)

Breville-Nespresso VertuoPlus
Breville-Nespresso VertuoPlus

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.

Read more from our testing of single-serve coffee makers here.

Best coffee subscription: Blue Bottle (starting at $11 per shipment; bluebottlecoffee.com)

Blue Bottle coffee subscription
Blue Bottle coffee subscription

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.

Read more from our testing of coffee subscriptions here.

Best cold brewer coffee maker: Hario Mizudashi Cold Brew Coffeepot ($25; amazon.com)

Hario Mizudashi Cold Brew Coffeepot
Hario Mizudashi Cold Brew Coffeepot

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.

Read more from our testing of cold brew makers here.

Kitchen essentials

Best nonstick pan: T-fal E76597 Ultimate Hard Anodized Nonstick Fry Pan With Lid ($39.97; amazon.com)

T-fal E76597 Ultimate Hard Anodized Nonstick Fry Pan With Lid
T-fal E76597 Ultimate Hard Anodized Nonstick Fry Pan With Lid

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.

Read more from our testing of nonstick pans here.

Best blender: Breville Super Q ($499.95; breville.com)

Breville Super Q
Breville Super Q

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.

Read more from our testing of blenders here.

Best knife set: Chicago Cutlery Fusion 17-Piece Knife Block Set ($119.74; amazon.com)

Chicago Cutlery Fusion 17-Piece Knife Block Set
Chicago Cutlery Fusion 17-Piece Knife Block Set

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.

Read more from our testing of knife sets here.


Best true wireless earbuds: AirPods Pro ($199, originally $249; amazon.com)

Apple AirPods Pro
Apple AirPods Pro

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.

Read more from our testing of true wireless earbuds here.

Best noise-canceling headphones: Sony WH-1000XM4 ($278, originally $349.99; amazon.com)

Sony WH-1000XM4
Sony WH-1000XM4

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.

Read more from our testing of noise-canceling headphones here.

Best on-ear headphones: Beats Solo 3 ($119.95, originally $199.95; amazon.com)

Beats Solo 3
Beats Solo 3

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.

Read more from our testing of on-ear headphones here.


Best matte lipstick: Stila Stay All Day Liquid Lipstick ($11, originally $22; amazon.com or $22; nordstrom.com and stilacosmetics.com)

Stila Stay All Day Liquid Lipstick
Stila Stay All Day Liquid Lipstick

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.

Read more from our testing of matte lipsticks here.

Best everyday liquid liner: Stila Stay All Day Waterproof Liquid Eyeliner ($22; stilacosmetics.com or macys.com)

Stila Stay All Day Waterproof Liquid Eyeliner
Stila Stay All Day Waterproof Liquid Eyeliner

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.

Read more from our testing of liquid eyeliners here.

Work-from-home essentials

Best office chair: Steelcase Series 1 (starting at $381.60; amazon.com or $415, wayfair.com)

Steelcase Series 1
Steelcase Series 1

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.

Read more from our testing of office chairs here.

Best ergonomic keyboard: Logitech Ergo K860 ($129.99; logitech.com)

Logitech Ergo K860
Logitech Ergo K860

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.

Read more from our testing of ergonomic keyboards here.

Best ergonomic mouse: Logitech MX Master 3 ($99.99; logitech.com)

Logitech MX Master 3
Logitech MX Master 3

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.

Read more from our testing of ergonomic mice here.

Best ring light: Emart 10-Inch Selfie Ring Light ($25.99; amazon.com)

Emart 10-Inch Selfie Ring Light
Emart 10-Inch Selfie Ring Light

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.

Read more from our testing of ring lights here.


Best linen sheets: Parachute Linen Sheet Set (starting at $149; parachute.com)

Parachute Linen Sheets
Parachute Linen Sheets

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.

Read more from our testing of linen sheets here.

Best shower head: Kohler Forte Shower Head (starting at $74.44; amazon.com)

Kohler Forte Shower Head
Kohler Forte Shower Head

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.

Read more from our testing of shower heads here.

Best humidifier: TaoTronics Cool Mist Humidifier (starting at $49.99; amazon.com)

TaoTronics Cool Mist Humidifier
TaoTronics Cool Mist Humidifier

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.

Read more from our testing of humidifiers here.


Best TV: TCL 6-Series (starting at $579.99; bestbuy.com)

TCL 6-Series
TCL 6-Series

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.

Read more from our testing of TVs here.

Best streaming device: Roku Ultra ($99.99; amazon.com)

Roku Ultra
Roku Ultra

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.

Read more from our testing of streaming devices here.


Best carry-on luggage: Away Carry-On ($225; away.com)

Away Carry-On
Away Carry-On

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.

Read more from our testing of carry-on luggage here.

Best portable charger: Anker PowerCore 13000 (starting at $31.99; amazon.com)

Anker PowerCore 13000
Anker PowerCore 13000

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.

Read more from our testing of portable chargers here.


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Trump’s misleading tweet about changing your vote, briefly explained



Open Sourced logo

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.

Twitter did not attach a label to Trump’s recent tweet.

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.”

Trump’s post on Facebook was accompanied by a link to Facebook’s Voting Information Center.

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.

Open Sourced is made possible by Omidyar Network. All Open Sourced content is editorially independent and produced by our journalists.

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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.

An injured girl receives treatment at a hospital after an attack in Khost province [Anwarullah/Reuters]

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.

At least 24 people , mostly teens, were killed in a suicide bomb attack at an education centre in Kabul [Mohammad Ismail/Reuters]

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.

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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