Weekly Roundup: October 11—17
The Weekly Roundup by GWCD is a collaboration between members of the news & blog committee to compile three main headlines from the week. As one of the goals of the committee is to keep our GWCD community updated on current events, the Weekly Roundup is intended as an easy way for members to read up on the highlights from each week in addition to the articles published regularly by our members.
The Surge in Early Voting Across the U.S.
By Jane Cameron
The United States has seen a surge in early voting since the beginning of the 2020 Presidential election. Almost 15 million people have already cast their ballots, which equates to about 10 percent of the citizens who voted in the 2016 election. Additionally, the amount of votes cast in swing states such as Florida, Michigan, and Wisconsin have already exceeded 20 percent of the turnout they experienced in the previous presidential election. These all time highs suggest the possibility of the highest voter turnout in a Presidential election yet, surpassing the 130 million voters in 2016.
This turnout illustrates that voters have not been deterred by the obstacles presented before them. Long lines, technical glitches, and changes to laws have repeatedly posed problems for voters. However, research suggests the electorate is more fired up than ever before. A survey conducted by Gallup revealed 71 percent of people expressed enthusiasm about voting in this election, compared to only 38 percent in 2000. The increase in early voter turnout may indicate the results of the election will be known before originally predicted. Still, Democrats outpace Republicans in early voting by a two to one ratio. Republicans have a higher tendency to report they plan to vote in person on election day. This means the early results will not reflect the final election turnout, and the electorate must be weary of early predictions. Maintaining this high voter turnout will be imperative in the outcome of the 2020 Presidential election.
CA Republicans Admit to Installing Illegal Ballot Boxes and Refuse to Remove Them
By Ned Heyman
On Tuesday, California Attorney General Xavier Beccera (D) sent cease and desist letters to the state’s Republican party after a party official tweeted a since-deleted picture of himself next to a ballot box erroneously labeled as “official.”
The GOP claims to be taking advantage of a 2016 state law that allows third parties to submit another person’s ballot for them. The bill, passed with only one Republican vote, may have contributed to a Democratic sweep of competitive California house races in 2018.
The purpose of the Republican boxes is disputed. While some see them as an effort to increase turnout among conservative voters in swing districts, others see them as a way of turning California’s voting law into a national issue. Democrats hold every statewide office, supermajorities in both houses of the legislature, and the majority of state supreme court justices are democratic appointees. It is possible that the ballot boxes are meant to anger democrats, forcing them to either condemn their own law or appear to be against increasing voter turnout. This theory speculates that the boxes are meant to make the Democrats appear hypocritical after years of pushing for expanding voting access.
The California Secretary of State and the Attorney General, both Democrats, have expressed the view that the ballot boxes are illegal because they are misleading to voters and lack the safety measures official ballot boxes have.
All California voters will receive a mail-in ballot with a list of nearby official drop boxes enclosed. Other locations can be found by visiting sos.ca.gov.
Quiz Time with Amy Coney Barrett
By Izzy Vallance
This marked the final week of confirmation hearings for Trump’s recent SCOTUS nominee, Amy Coney Barrett. Many of her responses have been alarming to Democrats, who fear her confirmation will lead to critical civil rights cases being overturned.
When asked if she agreed with Judge Antonin Scalia’s criticism of same-sex marriage in the Obergefell v. Hodges case, Barrett said, “I have never discriminated on the basis of sexual preference and would never discriminate on the basis of sexual preference.” This response sparked considerable criticism from LGBTQ+ activists on social media who said that “sexual preference” implies that sexuality is a choice. The more accurate term is “sexual orientation.”
In response to Senator Durbin (D-IL) asking about George Floyd, Barrett said that she cried with her Black daughter when she heard the news. Durbin later asked Barrett if she believes that there is racism in America and whether or not she thinks that it is systemic. Barrett replied by saying “racism persists in our country,” but she could not say if it was systemic or whether there was a solution.
When Senator Feinstein asked Barrett about the legality of Trump’s threatening remark to postpone the election, Barrett would not give a clear answer.
These Senate hearings have confirmed that Amy Coney Barrett’s lack of concern for the civil rights that RBG fought for make her an unfit replacement for one of the most well-known liberal justices in U.S. history.