The death of Supreme Court Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg has dramatically changed the election as both candidates head to battleground states on Monday.
President Donald Trump says he will pick a replacement after Ginsburg’s funeral, likely by Friday or Saturday.
- Democratic candidate Joe Biden has appealed to Republican Senators to delay a vote on Trump’s pick.
Trump campaigns in Ohio on Monday, a state Biden’s campaign has been increasingly eyeing.
- Biden made his second trip to Wisconsin this month, underscoring the state’s electoral significance with 43 days until November 3.
Hello and welcome to Al Jazeera’s continuing coverage of the US elections. This is Joseph Stepansky.
Here are the latest updates:
Monday, September 21
17:00 ET – Federal judge extends deadline for Wisconsin ballots
A federal judge ruled Monday that absentee ballots in battleground Wisconsin can be counted up to six days after the November 3 presidential election as long as they are postmarked by Election Day.
The highly anticipated ruling, unless overturned, means that the outcome of the presidential race in Wisconsin likely will not be known for days after polls close. Under current law, the deadline for returning an absentee ballot in order to have it counted is 8pm on Election Day.
Democrats and their allies sued to extend the deadline in the key swing state.
US District Judge William Conley granted a large portion of their requests, issuing a preliminary injunction that was expected to be appealed all the way to the US Supreme Court.
16:45 ET – Poll: Biden leads Trump by five points in Wisconsin
Biden appears to be leading Trump among likely voters in Wisconsin, while the two are about even in Pennsylvania, according to Reuters/Ipsos opinion polls
Likely voters supported Biden 48 percent to Trump’s 43 percent support, the poll found.
16:30 ET – Biden focuses on 200,000 coronavirus deaths in US
Biden, speaking at an aluminum foundry in Manitowoc, Wisconsin, sought to highlight that the US had passed the grim milestone of 200,000 deaths from the coronavirus.
“What worries me now is we’ve been living with this pandemic for so long, or we’re risking becoming numb to the toll is taken on us, in our country in communities like this, can’t lose the ability to feel the sorrow and loss and the anger for so many lives lost,” Biden told workers in a speech that also focused on protecting union jobs and preventing companies from offshoring manufacturing.
“You can’t let the numbers become statistics and background noise. Just a blur we see in the nightly news,” he said.
“Due to Donald Trump’s lies and incompetence in the past six months I’ve seen one of the greatest losses of American life in history,” Biden said. “But sadly, it’s not over.”
Still confused by the coronavirus? | Start Here
16:00 ET – McConnell, Schumer lay out arguments over Supreme Court confirmation
Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell and Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer laid out arguments for and against confirming a Supreme Court justice before the election – positions that are likely to define the debate in coming weeks.
McConnell asserted there was enough time to confirm a new justice before the election, while contending precedent justified Republican’s actions. He sought to dispel charges of hypocrisy rooted in Republican opposition to confirming an Obama nominee in 2016, saying: “the American people are about to witness and astonishing parade of misrepresentations about the past, misstatements about the present, and more threats against our institutions”.
Meanwhile, Schumer, charged that Republican brass “have made a mockery of their previous position” and asserted that voters should be able to choose who will nominate the next Supreme Court justice.
He added: “They seem ready to show the world their word is simply no good. It’s enough to make your head explode.”
15:30 ET – Graham: Support of pre-election confirmation will help at the ballot box
Republican Senator Lindsey Graham says he believes his role in the confirmation process for a new Supreme Court justice will likely bolster his reelection bid.
At an event for a congressional candidate Monday, Graham said in North Charleston, South Carolina, that he feels his defense of Brett Kavanaugh during a contentious 2018 Supreme Court confirmation hearing has given him conservative bona fides that will help boost him to reelection in a tight race with Democrat Jaime Harrison.
“I don’t know what it is about me and moments and lightning, but lightning has struck again,” Graham said of the death of Ruth Bader Ginsburg and the pivotal role that he will play in the process to replace her.
As chair of the Senate Judiciary Committee, Graham will shepherd the confirmation process.In 2016, when Antonin Scalia died, Graham supported a move by Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell to refuse a confirmation hearing for President Barack Obama’s nominee.
Trump to nominate woman to fill Supreme Court seat after Ginsburg’s death
15:00 ET – Schiff slams Trump suggestion he fabricated RBG’s dying wish
Ranking House Democrat Adam Schiff has slammed a suggestion that he, or other Democrats, fabricated a report that Justice Ginsburg had said her dying wish was that her replacement was not named until after the election.
“I don’t know that she said that, or was that written out by Adam Schiff and Schumer and Pelosi,” Trump said on Monday on the Fox & Friends programme. “I would be more inclined to the second … But that sounds like a Schumer deal or maybe a Pelosi or Shifty Schiff.”
“Mr President, this is low. Even for you,” Schiff tweeted. “No, I didn’t write Ruth Bader Ginsburg’s dying wish to a nation she served so well, and spent her whole life making a more perfect union. But I am going to fight like hell to make it come true.”
Mr. President, this is low. Even for you.
No, I didn’t write Ruth Bader Ginsburg’s dying wish to a nation she served so well, and spent her whole life making a more perfect union.
But I am going to fight like hell to make it come true.
No confirmation before inauguration. https://t.co/QgwPCUK5n7
— Adam Schiff (@RepAdamSchiff) September 21, 2020
14:30 ET – Biden set to refocus attention on coronavirus
Biden, campaigning in Wisconsin, is set to refocus attention on the coronavirus as the US passes 200,000 deaths since the pandemic began.
Trump has repeatedly sought to turn public attention away from the virus, instead seeking to recast the election with “law and order” messaging and a focus on rebuilding the economy.
Biden will campaign in Manitowoc County, which Obama won by more than seven points in 2008. However, the county swung in 2016, with Trump winning more than 21 points against Hillary Clinton.
14:00 ET – Mitt Romney announcement on Supreme Court vote not imminent: Report
Senator Mitt Romney, one of a handful of Republican senators who are considered a possibility to break from party ranks, will not make an announcement on his plans until at least Tuesday, his spokeswoman told the Washington Post.
Romney was still conferring with members of his party, the spokeswoman said, and the earliest he would be willing to publicly discuss the issue would be after a Republican luncheon on Tuesday.
Romney was the only senator to break party ranks and vote to impeach Trump during the Senate trial in January. Two Republicans senators have so far publicly opposed moving forward with confirmation. At least four would need to break party ranks to stop a pre-election vote on a Trump nominee.
13:30 ET – Harvard poll projects highest level of youth turnout since 2008
A new poll by the Institute of Politics at Harvard Kennedy School indicates 18 to 29-year-old voter turnout in this election may be its highest since 2008, when President Barack Obama beat Senator John McCain.
According to the poll, 63 percent of respondents said they would “definitely be voting”, that’s compared to 47 percent who said the same in 2016.
The poll also found higher support for Biden than 2016 Democratic Candidate Hillary Clinton. Among likely voters, 60 percent support Biden and 27 percent support Trump. In 2016, 49 percent of likely voters in the age group supported Clinton.
13:00 ET – Ginsburg to receive rare honour of lying in state at US Capitol
Ruth Bader Ginsburg will lie in state at the US Capitol on Friday, becoming only the second Supreme Court Justice to receive the rare honour.
Prior to Ginsburg, only former President and Supreme Court Justice William Howard Taft laid in state at the Capitol, according to the House of Representatives. That was in 1930.
Most recently, Representatives John Lewis and Elijah Cummings, former President George HW Bush, and Senator John McCain were memorialised at the Capitol.
12:30 ET – Judge orders Postal Service to expedite election mail
A federal judge has ordered the US Postal Service to expedite all November election mail and to approve additional overtime for postal workers.
US District Judge Victor Marrero in Manhattan said the Postal Service must treat to the extent possible all election mail as first-class mail or priority mail express and “shall pre-approve all overtime that has been or will be requested” between October 26 and November 6.
Marrero’s opinion said that in prior elections, including 2018, the Postal Service typically treated election mail as first-class mail, even if it was sent at marketing mail rates.
“Multiple managerial failures have undermined the postal employees’ ability to fulfill their vital mission,” he wrote.
Why is Trump worried about mail-voting? | Start Here
12:00 ET – Justice Dept threatens to revoke federal funding from Dem lead cities
The Justice Department threatened to revoke federal funding from three Democrat-lead cities, New York City, Seattle and Portland, Oregon, saying they were allowing anarchy and violence on their streets following months of racial justice protests that have at times turned violent.
“We cannot allow federal tax dollars to be wasted when the safety of the citizenry hangs in the balance,” Attorney General William Barr said in a statement on Monday.
The federal government has mounted a campaign to disperse the racial justice protests, which have continued since the police-involved death of George Floyd in May. Federal efforts have included sending federal agents into Portland and Seattle and encouraging federal prosecutors to bring charges.
Last week, the Justice Department urged federal prosecutors to consider sedition charges against protesters who have burned buildings and engaged in other violent activity. The Trump campaign, meanwhile, has used the protests to suggest that cities and suburbs are under threat, as part of a larger “law and order” platform.
Barr presses for federal arrests of some George Floyd protesters
11:30 ET – Justice Ginsburg to lie in repose at US Supreme Court, Capitol
The body of late Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg, who died last week at 87, will lie in repose outside the US Supreme Court on Wednesday and Thursday of this week so members of the public can pay their respects, the court said in a statement.
A private ceremony will take place at the court on Wednesday morning attended by Ginsburg’s family, friends and other Supreme Court justices, the statement said. Ginsburg will be interned at Arlington National Cemetery in a private ceremony next week, the statement added.
House Speaker Nancy Pelosi also announced that Ginsburg will lie in state in the Capitol’s Statuary Hall on Friday. That ceremony will be open only to invited guests, Pelosi said.
Ginsburg will be buried next week at Arlington National Cemetery in a private service, the court said.
11:00 ET – Biden heads to Wisconsin for second time this month
Biden is headed to Wisconsin for the second time this month in a sign of the state’s importance to the upcoming election.
In his last visit, Biden went to Kenosha and spoke with Jacob Blake, the Black man whose shooting by police prompted widespread unrest.
This time, Biden will visit largely white Manitowoc County, which supported the former vice president and President Barack Obama when they ran as the Democratic ticket in 2008. The county backed Trump in 2016, helping deliver the state to a Republican presidential candidate for the first time since 1984.
Biden’s campaign has made targeting such “flip” voters a priority, and it also hopes Biden will deliver a larger share of white voters than Democrat Hillary Clinton did in 2016.
10:30 ET – Trump plans to emphasise jobs in Ohio
Trump will hold two events in Ohio on Monday, delivering remarks in Dayton before holding a rally at an airport in Swanton.
Trump is expected to speak about “fighting for the American worker,” with a focus on the economic themes that dominated his re-election pitch prior to Ginsburg’s death, according to his campaign.
However, the events have the potential to take on dimensions of the Supreme Court confirmation battle, with supporters during a rally in North Carolina on Saturday adding a new chant to the election season: “Fill that seat”.
10:00 ET – Biden campaign announces advertisement buys in Georgia and Iowa
The Biden campaign has expanded its advertising push in states seen as critical to winning the Electoral College to include Georgia and Iowa.
Advertisements in Georgia will target Black voters, as part of the “Shop Talk” series, which features roundtable discussions on issues affecting Black men.
In Iowa, the campaign will run previously released advertisements that highlight Biden’s message of unifying the country, his plan to respond to the coronavirus and rebuild the economy.
The advertisements come as Biden’s campaign has looked to several states initially considered out of reach and following an August fundraising haul that outpaced Trump by a $140m cash-on-hand advantage.
09:30 ET – Trump says Supreme Court pick could come on Friday or Saturday
Trump has said he expects to announce his pick for the Supreme Court on Friday or Saturday, after funeral services for Ruth Bader Ginsburg.
He told the Fox & Friends programme on Monday he had a list of five finalists, “probably four”, and that he is pushing for a confirmation vote before Election Day.
Trump also disparaged reports that Ginsburg had told her granddaughter it was her wish that a replacement justice not be confirmed until the inauguration of a new president, saying he thought his Democratic political foes were behind the report, including Representative Adam Schiff, who led the House impeachment probe, House Speaker Nancy Pelosi, and Senate Democratic Leader Chuck Schumer.
“I don’t know that she said that, or was that written out by Adam Schiff and Schumer and Pelosi,” Trump said. “I would be more inclined to the second … But that sounds like a Schumer deal or maybe a Pelosi or Shifty Schiff.”
09:00 ET – Weekend recap: Ginsburg vacancy shifts race dynamics
The death of Supreme Court Justice Ginsburg has dramatically shifted the dynamics of the presidential race, which will play out over the appointment of her successor.
Senate Republican leaders quickly promised to vote on a Trump nominee before the election as they jockey to get a 6-3 conservative majority in the court. Trump said they should act “without delay”.
Amid outrage from Democrats, Biden called on a “handful” of senators to break party ranks and wait until after the election to vote on a Trump nominee.
To date, Senators Lisa Murkowski and Susan Collins say they oppose moving forward with the nomination, while Senators Lyndsey Graham and Lamar Alexander, who were considered possible, if not likely, dissenters, have said they support moving ahead with the pre-election confirmation.
Read all the updates from Friday, September 18 here.
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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