Live Blog: So, Let’s Talk Voting Numbers

The entire Belshan family turned out to vote at Floyd County High School around 10 a.m. Pictured are Sarah (18) and Abi (20) with their parents. Both girls were voting in a Presidential election for the first time

By Brian Carlton, Ashley Spinks Dugan, Julia Raimondi, Amie Knowles

October 22, 2020

November 3, 2020//06:01 PM EDT

How Long Do I Have To Vote?

DINWIDDIE- Polls in Virginia may close at 7 p.m., but for voters that might still be in line there’s no cause for worry. As long as they got in line before 7 p.m. they are guaranteed the right to vote and should stay in line.

Voters that try to get in line after 7 p.m. might find themselves out of luck. In Dinwiddie County, registrar Linda Brandon said an officer of elections will get in line at 7 p.m. and turn away anyone that tries to get in line behind them. Everyone in front of them will still get to vote, no matter what time it is.

Brandon said that in usual election years, it doesn’t take long after 7 for the Dinwiddie precincts to begin reporting. But this year, she’s anticipating longer reporting waits.

“That is the billion dollar question, we have no clue,” Brandon said. “Personally, if I am a voter or citizen I would not expect results reported until at least 9:30 or 10. Just because we close at 7, we may have 50 voters still in line, so we have to accommodate everyone first.”

Julia Raimondi

November 3, 2020//05:41 PM EDT

‘I’ve Been Really Nervous’

BLACKSBURG-Emily Emerson, a second year Master’s of Public Health graduate student at Virginia Tech, voted absentee in this year’s election, but she saved her “I Voted” sticker for today. She wore it on her jacket as she volunteered to distribute fabric masks at Squires Student Center this afternoon.

“It hasn’t really been that busy,” Emerson said of the polling location.

Anecdotally, she had the impression that many students voted early or absentee in their home districts. The Montgomery County Clerk’s Office meanwhile paid Maya Patel to work the polls today. She emerged from the building for her “lunch break” around 2 p.m. She’d been at the polls since 4:30 a.m., Patel said. She too said voting was slow.

“It’s been pretty steady, but it hasn’t come to a point where we can’t social distance,” she said. Patel herself is a first-time voter, but unlike some others we’ve interviewed in Floyd, she wasn’t excited.

“I wouldn’t use the word excited,” she said. “I’ve been really nervous, but I’m trying to be optimistic.”This lack of student turnout is surprising.”

Last Tuesday, a week before Election Day, only 131 students had voted. Montgomery County Registrar Connie Viar said students like to vote at the last minute, and predicted a surge on the afternoon of Nov. 3. So far, one has not materialized. 

Live Blog: So, Let's Talk Voting Numbers

Makayla Lopez did vote this afternoon, though. She said she felt compelled, and blamed young people for President Trump’s victory in 2016.

“Young people don’t really vote,” Lopez said. “Trump won because young people…don’t care.” 

According to the U.S. Census, Lopez is right about turnout. In 2016, voters aged 18-29 reported the lowest turnout (46.1%) of any age group. Lopez was passionate about the vote she cast, saying of the President: “It’s time to kick him out.”

Her number one issue? Immigration.

“That’s cruel what he’s doing. He can’t get away with that,” she said. 

Elizabeth White, another Tech student, was also at the student center Tuesday afternoon. But she had mailed her ballot back to her home district weeks ago. Response (or lack thereof) to the COVID-19 pandemic motivated her to vote, she said.

Who to vote for “was not the easiest decision,” she said, but ultimately, she wants “everyone to feel included and taken care of.”

She said she voted for president with that value in mind. 

Ashley Spinks Dugan

November 3, 2020//04:31 PM EDT

‘No News is Good News’

RICHMOND-Virginia Election Commissioner Chris Piper summed it up perfectly in his 4 p.m. briefing. “No news is good news,” he told the assembled group of reporters. As of 4 p.m., there had been no issues from voter intimidation and no long lines. Instead, Virginia’s voting system had operated the way it should.

Piper said that:

  • Registrars and their staff members have until 11 p.m. tonight to process ballots.
  • Any absentee ballots not processed by then will be worked on Wednesday morning.
  • As for how many might report before 11? Piper said “I think we’re in good shape here in Virginia, but we won’t know for sure until we get through the night.”

So how about Kanye?

And now, let’s talk about Kanye. But wait, you say. Didn’t he already get disqualified as a presidential candidate in Virginia? Why yes, yes he did. And the rest of you are wondering what we’re talking about, so let’s give a short explainer. Kanye decided this summer that he wanted to run for president.

In order to get on Virginia’s ballot as an independent, candidates like West have to provide multiple documents. First, they need a petition from at least 5,000 registered voters, including 200 signatures from each congressional district. Second, they need signed and notarized “oaths” from 13 electors, residents who promise to cast votes in the Electoral College for the candidate, should they win the state. 

In this case, several of his electors claimed they were deceived and signed under false pretense. They filed a lawsuit, which resulted in Kanye being removed from most Virginia ballots. He appealed, but the Virginia Supreme Court refused to hear his case.

And so that brings us back to the ballots. In Virginia, in-person voting started on Sept. 18. That means all cities and counties needed to have absentee and in-person ballots printed by then. Even before the lawsuit, some places like Virginia Beach questioned if they would have enough time to get ballots printed, so by the time the lawsuit happened, they had already shipped materials to the vendor. That means some places like Caroline County still had Kanye West’s name listed as a presidential candidate for today’s ballots.

“[For those] ballots already printed, Mr. West’s name is still appearing,” Piper said in the press conference. “He has been disqualified as a candidate.”

Piper explained that local registrars had been given instructions to let people know West was not a legitimate candidate.

  -Brian Carlton

November 3, 2020//01:22 PM EDT

No Signs of Voter Intimidation So Far

RICHMOND-Other than catching COVID-19, concerns have been raised about another potential threat to the voting process: voter intimidation. While incidents of voter intimidation in Virginia were overall scarce during the early voting period, there were several issues in the days leading up to the election. The most notable of those happened Sunday, as a ‘Trump Train’ came into Richmond.

But so far on Election Day, that’s not been the case. During his 11 a.m. briefing, Virginia Election Commissioner Chris Piper said there had been no reports of any issues in the Commonwealth.

In Dinwiddie County, registrar Linda Brandon reassured voters worried they might encounter self-professed “poll watchers” or someone deliberately trying to intimidate them at the polls. All polling precincts in Dinwiddie have police protection on Election Day, she said. Not all precincts have police officers on the premises, but they are alert and waiting nearby if needed. 

“The commonwealth has permitted state police at every locality,” Brandon said. “There will be a number of law enforcement. Not all will be visible, but they will be there.”

Polling precincts are also monitored today by the deputy and board of elections, she said. They circle within five minutes of each precinct. If any poll worker or voter sees something unusual, they are the first ones notified to handle the issue.

“Most of our [election] officers are pretty seasoned and this certainly isn’t our first unusual election,” Brandon said. “They will be able to see what is happening before a voter could even see it and contain the problem. They are not shy and will pick up the phone and call me even if it’s just someone who is lost or whatever.”

If you see any type of voter intimidation, the Virginia Voter Protection Hotline is 844-482-8683.

-Julia Raimondi

November 3, 2020//11:47 AM EDT

So, Let’s Talk Voting Numbers

RICHMOND-Hey everyone, it’s been a busy couple of hours for the Dogwood staff. Dogwood’s editor Brian Carlton sat in on the state’s first press conference of the day and then grabbed an interview afterward with Attorney General Mark Herring. Some data and takeaways from that press conference:

  • Out of the 2.7 million people who voted early, 1.8 million voted in person.
  • So far, 46% of registered voters in Virginia have cast a ballot
  • 68% of the 2016 overall total.
  • Only 300,000 absentee ballots still need to be pre-processed.

And if you’re wondering what that term “pre-processed” means, Dogwood’s Amie’s Knowles has a piece from Monday that can help explain.

11am takeaways

  • Less than 1/2 of Virginia’s registered voters are left at this point.
  • We could see some historic voting totals, when this is over.
  • It might be late, but local and possibly statewide elections could be called tonight.
  • Piper also said it’s a possibility even the absentee count could wrap up tonight or a majority.
  • So far, zero report of voter intimidation at the polls
  • Next state update will be at 4 pm.

-Brian Carlton

November 3, 2020//10:33 AM EDT

‘We’ve Got to Get Donald Trump Out of Office’

WILLIS-The elementary school precinct in Willis, in a slightly more rural area of the county about 10 miles outside town, was surprisingly a little busier than the high school. Again, curbside voting was being offered and Floyd County Democrats were there to observe the process. No other electioneering was occurring at either location. 

Democratic greeter Kelly Weeks said the drive-through option had been especially popular with voters. Unlike the slightly more taciturn voters in town, Donna Cole and Carrie Gault were quick to offer their take on the election. They emerged from the school with their “I Voted” stickers proudly displayed on the front of their masks.

Asked what brought them out today, Cole said Election Day was a “ceremonial thing.”

“We decided to vote in person because I like engaging with this,” she said, and added that the pair wanted the extra assurance that their votes would be properly counted.Cole said the polling place was “very organized” and the process “super fast.”

Her partner Gault said ultimately, “We’re here to get Donald Trump out of office.” 

-Ashley Spinks Dugan

November 3, 2020//10:02 AM EDT

Are There Still People Left to Vote?

AXTON-Some crazy numbers being mentioned here during the early voting hours. From 6 a.m. to 9 a.m., 5% of the remaining voters in Arlington came in to cast a ballot. Also by 9 a.m., more than 2/3 of the eligible voters in James City County had cast a ballot.

Meanwhile in Falls Church, registrar David Bjerke said by 9 a.m., the area had already exceeded its 2016 turnout of 7,860 voters. By 10 a.m., they were at 8,089 ballots or 76% of the total eligible.

Things have gone quiet in most of the southern parts of the state. Dogwood reporters are out in multiple counties and reporting little action there. It appears as if we’ve hit a bit of a lull here in the morning hours.

Just in case it spikes up again, even if there are lines and you arrive near closing time, you will get to vote. Polls in Virginia may close at 7 p.m., but for voters that might still be in line there’s no cause for worry. As long as they got in line before 7 p.m. they are guaranteed the right to vote and should stay in line.

Voters that try to get in line after 7 p.m. might find themselves out of luck. In Dinwiddie County, Brandon said an officer of elections will get in line at 7 p.m. and turn away anyone that tries to get in line behind them. Everyone in front of them will still get to vote, no matter what time it is.

Brandon said that in usual election years, it doesn’t take long after 7 for the Dinwiddie precincts to begin reporting. But this year, she’s anticipating longer reporting waits.

“That is the billion dollar question, we have no clue,” Brandon said. “Personally, if I am a voter or citizen I would not expect results reported until at least 9:30 or 10. Just because we close at 7, we may have 50 voters still in line, so we have to accommodate everyone first.”

-Brian Carlton & Julia Raimondi

RELATED: Expect Election Week, Not Election Night

November 3, 2020//09:30 AM EDT

‘It’s Our Civic Duty to Vote’

FLOYD-The driveway leading up to Floyd County High School, one of five voting locations in the rural Southwest Virginian county, is lined with dozens of campaign signs, but the precinct seems quiet. A few volunteers from the Floyd County Democratic Party are on site to act as “greeters” and legal observers.

Graham Mitchell said he was asked to look out for any form of voter intimidation, spreading of misinformation, or folks being belligerent this morning. But so far, “everything’s been going quietly,” he said, which is what he expects from the “good, kind folks” of Floyd.

Mitchell, a professor of psychology and religion at New River Community College, said he was motivated to volunteer with Democrats at the polls because “I really do believe that we need to make sure everyone has the opportunity and freedom to vote with no obstacles.”

“If anyone’s restricted from voting, all our freedoms are at stake,” he added.

Voters were fairly unanimous in their summation of the election: they felt it was critically important, but also felt relatively ambivalent about their choices on the ballot.Tracey Miller brought her young daughter with her to the polls “so that she learns how important it is,” she said. But overall, “this was the hardest year of all for me to vote. I didn’t like either choice.”

Jason Underwood, who was likewise accompanied by his daughters Annikah and Willah, expressed a similar sentiment.

“It’s our civic duty to vote and make our voice heard,” Underwood said.

But his enthusiasm was muted with respect to the actual ballot.

“To be blunt: You’ve got to make the best of the choices in front of you. Most of us wish there were other choices,” he said.

The young Underwoods were certainly decked out for Election Day- one was even wearing a dress with a sparkly American flag on it, and both had masks. Around 10 a.m., Floyd County Electoral Board Secretary Bob Smith made an appearance at the polling location. He said some precincts had already reported running out of cleaning supplies, and he was there to assess poll workers’ needs. 

Live Blog: So, Let's Talk Voting Numbers

The entire Belshan family turned out to vote at Floyd County High School around 10 a.m. Pictured are Sarah (18) and Abi (20) with their parents. Both girls were voting in a Presidential election for the first time. 

The entire Belshan family headed to the polls together in Floyd–and three of the five were voting in their first Presidential election.

Abi, 20, said she would have showed up even without her parents’ encouragement. “I know how important it is,” she said. “I’m kind of in-between both parties, but overall, I leaned more to one side.”

Her sister Sarah is 18, and brother Matt is 21. He said he missed eligibility for the last Presidential election by less than a week.The eldest Belshan, their father, got choked up talking about the importance of voting.

“This is a great country,” he said, and added that he raised his children to “be mindful of the world around them.” The privilege of voting, he said, can’t be taken for granted.

Ashley Spinks Dugan

November 3, 2020//08:13 AM EDT

Waiting in Line Is for Your Own Health

DINWIDDIE COUNTY-Dogwood’s Julia Raimondi is covering Dinwiddie County this morning, where turnout is pretty normal. Dinwiddie Registrar Linda Brandon does caution voters that there will be lines and you may have to wait a bit. But it’s for your own good.

Voting lines are socially distanced, which can make them appear longer. Most, if not all, poll workers are wearing face masks, shields or both. Hand sanitizer and other PPE are also available for those in line, including spare face masks.

However, Brandon wanted to make it clear that despite the CDC recommendations, she cannot enforce mask-wearing for voters. Neither can any other poll worker or election official. This may worry some voters who do not wish for potential COVID exposure while voting or waiting in line. But Brandon said they already have a plan for that.

“We cannot require masks,” Brandon said. “We heavily suggest masks, but it’s the voters’ personal freedom. For voters that choose to not wear a mask, we will keep them separate by bringing them to a specific side away from the other voters in line to cast the ballot as they choose.”

Otherwise, Brandon says the key parts of Election Day are no different this year than any other year. The polls opened at 6 a.m. and they will close at 7 p.m. like any other year.

“It is pretty much the same as any other election,” Brandon said. “There’s nothing really that different than in past elections. Voters may experience some long lines, but they will need to be patient and keep social distancing.”

-Julia Raimondi

RELATED: Medical Volunteers Are Preparing to Keep Voters Safe

November 3, 2020//07:07 AM EDT

Some Confusion Pops Up in Appomattox County

APPOMATTOX COUNTY-Because it’s Election Day in Virginia, naturally there’s a bit of confusion to start things off. For our Appomattox County readers, the local registrar’s office made a change earlier in regards to one polling place. The Stonewall Precinct, and ONLY the Stonewall precinct, will switch today and vote at Gleaning for the World. That’s at 7539 Stage Rd. in Concord.

I know some of you are scratching your head, because this isn’t a sudden change. However, over the last few days some confusion popped up, with people thinking everyone in the county was supposed to vote at Gleaning today. That’s JUST for Stonewall Precinct. Everyone else votes at their regular location.

And if you’re not quite sure where that is, just click that link below and it’ll take you straight to the state Board of Elections. You type in your address and it’ll pull up the correct spot.

-Brian Carlton

Confused About Your Polling Place? Click Here

November 3, 2020//06:01 AM EDT

Polling Places Are Open Across Virginia

AXTON-Don’t let someone else take your voice away. That’s what an election is, a chance for your voice to be heard. We can post on Facebook, send memes on Instagram or argue in public all day long, but none of that matters if we don’t cast a ballot. 

Here in Virginia, we have plenty of questions to answer. Beyond the federal races, some communities will decide what to do with Confederate monuments. Others will vote on casino gambling and a few will put redistricting or reversion up for discussion. In many ways, the choices we make this year will shape the commonwealth for decades to come. 

Polling places just opened their doors one minute ago. They will be open until 7 p.m. tonight. Now, if you don’t know where your polling place is, that’s ok. You can click this link and it’ll take you to the Virginia Department of Elections website. You just type in your address and it’ll pull up your specific site.

Now just a reminder: even if you get there at 6:59 p.m., your poll workers still have to give you a ballot. As we explain here, everyone in line at 7 p.m. must be allowed to vote. That’s Virginia law.

And if you’re curious about how things are going through the day, just bookmark this page and check back in. We’ll do our best to offer up a snapshot of Election 2020 here in the Commonwealth.

-Brian Carlton

October 30, 2020//12:27 PM EDT

Expect Election Week, Not Election Night

Virginia’s final election results likely won’t be known until next Friday, state officials say. What people might not realize is that this is normal. The totals announced each year on Election Night are “unofficial”, since absentee ballots still have to be counted. The official results aren’t certified until sometimes weeks later.

The only difference is that in a normal year, there aren’t enough absentee votes to change the result of any statewide or national races. That’s why news organizations announce winners on Election Night. But this is 2020 and things are different.

After the General Assembly changed the rules for absentee voting in this state, thousands of people requested that option, concerned about COVID-19. As of Oct. 29, that number included more than 817,000 residents. Counting that many ballots takes time, state officials say, so it’s possible they won’t even be able to declare “unofficial” winners next Tuesday.

Speaking at a Wednesday press conference, Virginia Secretary of Administration Keyanna Conner said results would still roll in throughout the evening after polling precincts closed. READ MORE

October 29, 2020//11:03 AM EDT

VCU Study Examines if Biden or Trump Will Reduce Poverty Rate

Based on three of his proposals, Joe Biden could cut Virginia’s and the country’s poverty rate in half. That was the analysis from Virginia Commonwealth University this week, as the school’s College of Humanities studied Biden and President Donald Trump’s economic plans. 

Eight million people have slipped into poverty over the last six months. And while the stock market continues to improve, the job numbers don’t, at least not for everyone. Employment rates are currently one fifth of what they were last year for low wage earners. The next president, VCU researchers wrote in the study, will have the opportunity to either widen the gap between rich and poor or narrow it. 

But when it comes to economics, Biden and Trump take very different routes. The Trump plan, VCU researchers wrote, is based on maintaining the 2017 tax cuts his administration pushed through. Biden meanwhile wants to roll back tax cuts for those making more than $400,000.  READ MORE

October 28, 2020//11:58 PM EDT

Southwest Virginia Sees Record Early Voting Turnout

BLACKSBURG – A week before Election Day, nearly 4,500 people have already voted in Floyd County. Those are big numbers for the Southwest Virginia hamlet, which houses less than 16,000 residents.

Floyd County General Registrar Amy Ingram said the county is “blowing records out of the water” this year—even for a locality with historically high voter turnout. In 2016, 72% of registered voters in Floyd made their voice heard. That same year, a total of 735 people voted early in-person, and only 371 by mail. 

Likewise, in neighboring Montgomery County, voters flocked to early-voting locations in huge numbers. Asked how this year’s early vote turnout compares with 2016, Registrar Connie Viar said, “Oh gosh, this has crushed it.” 

Viar said the availability of no-excuse early voting in Virginia likely contributed to increased turnout. Prior to this year, Virginia residents could vote absentee, but only after filling out an application and providing an excuse. This year, those who show up to an early-voting location—there are two in the county of around 100,000 residents—will act “just like Election Day,” she said. READ MORE

October 27, 2020//02:34 PM EDT

Know Your Rights: Everyone in Line Must Vote

Even though all registered Virginia voters had 45 days prior to the election to cast their ballot, some couldn’t make it. Others preferred voting on Election Day. No matter the reason, those voting next Tuesday have until 7 p.m. to arrive at the polls.

If a voter arrives at 7 p.m. when the polls close, they may wait in line – if there is one – but they won’t be turned away. Simply put, if you’re in line, the poll workers won’t leave until you cast your ballot.

Polling precincts remain active until the last person in line at 7 p.m. casts their vote.

But this isn’t like you get a ballot on the honor system.

“Oh no, oh no, oh no,” Waynesboro registrar Lisa Jeffers said. “An election official comes out and gets everybody in the building and the doors are locked.”

Historically, most Waynesboro voters arrive back home by early evening.

“At 7 o’clock they close, but as far as processing everyone, I think about a quarter of 8 is the latest,” Jeffers said. READ MORE

October 25, 2020//11:15 AM EDT

Vying for Votes: Virginia Marks 100 Years of Women’s Suffrage

We’re taking a break from answering questions to highlight a piece of voting history this year. Americans gathered around the radio on Nov. 2, 1920. They weren’t listening to music or a baseball game. Instead, they wanted to know who the president would be. While Ohio newspaper editor Warren G. Harding won the election, there was a bigger victory to cheer. For the first time in American history, women in every state had a say in the result.

“For centuries, women in America had been classified as a dependent class under the responsibility of their fathers or husbands,” said Mari Julienne, an employee at the Library of Virginia. “In Virginia, for example, married women had no right to manage property that they owned until 1877. Virginia was one of the last states to enact such legislation,” Julienne said. “As dependents, women were not considered citizens with the right to vote. Because states controlled who could and couldn’t vote in elections, some western states allowed women to vote later in the 19th century.”

That wasn’t the case in Virginia, Julienne explained. The General Assembly rejected suffrage amendments to the state constitution in 1912, 1914, and 1916. The assembly also rejected the Nineteenth Amendment.  READ MORE

October 24, 2020//9:15 AM EDT

Will Masks Be Required to Vote in Virginia?

Even though presidential candidates are the same on each ballot in Virginia, every polling precinct has its differences. One fluctuation between precincts revolves around wearing masks. Is it against state law to vote without a mask? Certainly not. Is it a recommendation? Absolutely.

 In an attempt to corral the coronavirus, many election officials across the state are taking precautions at their polling places. However, not all precincts have the same precautions in place. In Wise County, population 37,383 in 2019, people may visit the polls without the newest 2020 accessory. In the Town of Norton, population 3,968 in 2018, things are different. Even though Wise County surrounds Norton, the pandemic precautions aren’t the same.

When Virginia changed the law, allowing no-excuse absentee voting for the 2020 election, it altered things throughout the state. In a Tuesday briefing, Elections Commissioner Chris Piper said nobody would be turned away from the polls. But at the same time, masks will be encouraged. READ MORE HERE.

October 22, 2020//11:15 PM EDT

FACT CHECK: Falsehoods and Fumbles in Trump-Biden Debate

Wow. There’s a lot to unpack after that one. It was an interesting night. President Donald Trump and Democratic challenger Joe Biden held more of a traditional debate this time, but there were still plenty of head scratching moments. Here’s look at how some of the statements on the stage in Nashville, Tennessee, compared with the facts:


TRUMP: “We’re rounding the turn. We’re rounding the corner. It’s going away.”

THE FACTS: No, the coronavirus isn’t going away. It’s coming back. New cases are on the rise toward their summer peak. Deaths have also been increasing.

According to data through Oct. 21 from Johns Hopkins University, the seven-day rolling average for daily new cases in the U.S. rose over the past two weeks from over 42,300 on Oct. 7 to nearly 60,000 on Oct. 21. In that time, the seven-day rolling average for daily new deaths in the US rose from 695 to 757. READ MORE HERE.

October 22, 2020//7:15 PM EDT

FDA Approves Remdesivir as the First COVID-19 Drug

If you’re wondering why a post about FDA approval makes it into the election blog, it’s because this is a first. This is the first drug officially approved to treat COVID-19. We’re willing to bet it at least comes up once in tonight’s debate and could change the way some candidates approach the conversation.

Now, to be clear, this is NOT a vaccine. The drug, which California-based Gilead Sciences Inc. is calling Veklury, cut the time to recovery by five days — from 15 days to 10 on average — in a large study led by the U.S. National Institutes of Health.

It had been authorized for use on an emergency basis since spring, and President Donald Trump received it when he was sickened earlier this month. READ MORE HERE.

October 22, 2020//4:15 AM EDT

What to Watch for as Biden, Trump Try for Another Debate

Well, that ended badly. It’s hard for anyone to come out of that last debate with any other observation. Hands down, it was the most chaotic debate in recent memory. Granted, it’s good to be remembered, but we’re not sure that’s what you want to be remembered for. This time, everyone says it’ll be different. But what does that mean? Well, there were several changes made after Round One. Let’s take a look at a few.

Muted Microphones

After viewers of the last presidential debate bemoaned the moderator’s inability to cut off the candidates’ microphones, the nonpartisan Commission on Presidential Debates responded with an announcement this week that each candidate’s microphone will be turned off while his opponent gives a two-minute answer to an initial question on each debate topic.

After those initial replies, the microphones will stay on during open discussion, leaving it likely there will still be lots of crosstalk during rebuttals.

Moderator and Format

The debate will be moderated by NBC News White House correspondent Kristen Welker. Welker will be the first Black woman to serve as the moderator of a presidential debate since Carole Simpson in 1992.

The debate be divided into six 15-minute segments, each on a topic selected by Welker: “Fighting COVID-19,” “American Families,” “Race in America,” “Climate Change,” “National Security” and “Leadership.” READ MORE HERE.

October 21, 2020//5:15 PM EDT

What Does Absentee Mean? Clearing up Confusion Over Virginia’s Ballot Terms

Absentee, early voting, mail-in. They mean different things but it’s easy to get them all confused. That’s especially true in 2020, where it seems there’s a voting curve ball every couple of days.

Requirements changed a lot over the last three months. Now, absentee ballots don’t require a witness signature. People may place their votes 45 days prior to Election Day. Absentee ballot holders may tear up the document and vote in person. With all of the changes, twists and turns, you’ll hear politicians and reporters throw out a lot of unfamiliar vocabulary terms. Some have been around for years, while others are unique to the 2020 election season.

For example, we talk a lot about absentee, mail-in and early voting. While sometimes used interchangeably, they all possess unique characteristics that differentiate them from one another. READ MORE HERE.

October 21, 2020//2:27 PM EDT

Will Biden’s Free College Plan Pay for Itself? Georgetown Report Says Yes

As both parties prep for Thursday’s debate, groups continue to analyse proposals being put out. That’s the case here, as Georgetown University weighed in on a piece of Biden’s platform.

Biden’s Free College proposal pays for itself within a decade. That’s what professors from Georgetown University’s Center on Education and the Workforce say. Center officials released their analysis this past week, examining the plan and comparing it to multiple other free college proposals. 

Biden’s version can be summed up in one sentence. If your family makes less than $125,000 a year, you’ll be able to go to any public college without paying tuition. The same goes for any community college. The government fully covers tuition and fees. Students just have to pay for housing, books and any transportation. 

“Such a plan with no restrictions on student eligibility would cost $58.2 billion in the first year and $799.7 billion over an additional 10 years,” the center’s analysis said. 

That’s where Biden’s plan is different. Since it only covers students with a yearly family income under $125,000, that drops the price a bit.  READ MORE HERE.

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