Categories
Travel News

Julia Letlow, whose husband died of Covid-19 before being sworn in to Congress, will be running for the seat.

Julia Letlow, the wife of elected representative Luke Letlow, a Republican from Louisiana who died of complications from Covid-19 days before he was sworn in, will seek the open seat in an upcoming special election.

Ms. Letlow will run as a Republican to represent Louisiana’s Fifth District, which covers the conservative northeastern part of the state. Her husband died on December 29 at the age of 41 after suffering from “heart disease” while hospitalized with the virus. His death came just weeks after winning the seat vacated by his former boss, Representative Ralph Abraham.

“Everything in my life and in my marriage has prepared me for this moment,” Ms. Letlow wrote in a statement Thursday. “My motivation is the passion that Luke and I both shared: to improve this region we have called home and to leave it a better place for our children and future generations.

Mr Letlow, a longtime Republican aide, supported social distancing measures and the wearing of masks during his campaign, though photos from his social media accounts also showed him campaigning indoors without sometimes mask. He also advocated for the relaxation of some coronavirus restrictions when infections declined over the summer.

Ms. Letlow, who lives in Richland Parish, is currently Director of External Relations and Strategic Communications at the University of Louisiana at Monroe.

His entry into the non-partisan election on March 20 was widely anticipated and could discourage other Republicans who had considered a race from entering the race.

She is likely to face Allen Guillory Sr., a Republican from Opelousas, who scored less than 10 percent in the November 3 election, and Sandra “Candy” Christophe, a Democrat from Alexandria who announced last week. that she would present herself.

Ms. Letlow has been active in Louisiana Republican politics for years and was selected for her academic work, in part, to provide “insight into strategies and alliances” that would be useful to the school in its interactions with elected officials. , according to his biography online. .

“I am running to continue the mission that Luke began – defending our Christian values, fighting for our rural farming communities and delivering real results to move our state forward,” she said in her statement.

Categories
Travel News

Time is running out for an American-Canadian pipeline

An Enbridge spokesperson said the move could have “devastating” economic consequences.

“Enbridge remains convinced that Line 5 continues to operate safely and that there is no credible basis for ending the 1953 easement allowing Dual Line 5 pipelines to cross the Straits of Mackinac,” said the spokesperson, Michael Barnes. “Line 5 is a vital energy source not only for Michigan, but for the entire region, including Wisconsin, Indiana, Ohio, Pennsylvania, Ontario and Quebec.”

Opponents of the move also said they feared a sudden shutdown could disrupt oil supplies, forcing neighboring refineries out of business and disrupting propane supplies to Michigan’s upper peninsula, where many residents rural people depend on propane to heat their homes.

“The closure of Line 5 would kill thousands of jobs in Michigan, have a huge impact on the manufacturing sector and cost our economy hundreds of millions of dollars when the state is already reeling from a pandemic” said Mike Johnson, vice president of government affairs at Michigan Manufacturers. Association.

A study commissioned by the National Wildlife Federation, however, found that the economic impact to Michigan oil producers of closing Line 5 would be minimal and that other shipping methods such as trucking would allow refineries to continue to operate.

“There are alternatives to transporting this oil,” said Margrethe Kearney, senior lawyer at the Center for Environmental Law and Policy. “I think we should be very careful and really skeptical of Enbridge’s arguments that closing this pipeline will lead to dire circumstances and the skies will fall.”

The decision came after nearly a decade of political pressure. According to Ms Kearney, a 2010 oil spill on another Enbridge, Michigan line that dumped nearly 850,000 gallons of oil sand into the Kalamazoo River has sparked public interest in Line 5 and other pipelines.

“It’s a very iconic part of Michigan culture,” Ms. Kearney said of the area. “So when people realized there was this pipeline over there, it was really a big deal.”

Categories
Travel News

Time is running out, Trump and Biden return to northern battlefields

DES MOINES – President Trump stunned the political world in 2016 with a sweep of critical northern swing states, winning Michigan, Pennsylvania and Wisconsin by less than a percentage point and forcing Democrats to four research into what went wrong in their geographic history. based.

Four years later, the cold Midwest once again emerges as the primary election battleground, and on Friday Mr. Trump and former Vice President Joseph R. Biden Jr. crisscrossed the region campaigning in States which are not only essential for the president, but also at the heart of the identity of the two parties.

For the Democrats, their Blue Wall in the Midwest was for years their only defense against the Republican Party stronghold in the south, a demonstration that they were still the party of workers, working-class families and predominantly black urban centers. . For Republicans, these states are a key part of their rural base, and Mr. Trump has delivered his speech to farmers and white working-class voters here.

While the country reported a record number of coronavirus cases last week, Mr Trump continued to insist on Friday that the illness caused by the virus was not serious. At a rally in Michigan, a state that reported a 91% increase in new cases over the average two weeks earlier, he made an extraordinary and unfounded accusation that U.S. doctors were taking advantage of coronavirus deaths , claiming they were paid more if the patients died. He also mocked Fox News host Laura Ingraham, who attended the rally, for wearing a mask. “I’ve never seen her masked,” he says. “She is very politically correct.”

Mr Biden, in Iowa, took the opposite approach, pointing to the state’s record number of new cases and noting that the Iowa State Fair was canceled this year for the first time since Second World War. “And Donald Trump gave up,” Biden said.

Later in Minnesota, Mr. Biden flogged Mr. Trump for his comments about doctors taking advantage of deaths from the virus. “Doctors and nurses are going to work every day to save lives,” he said. “They are doing their job. Donald Trump should stop attacking them and do his job.

While the first round of election night will be in the Sun Belt – in southeastern states like Florida, North Carolina, and Georgia – the second round will be in Pennsylvania and the Midwest. Late in most polls and with an increasingly narrow path to victory, Mr Trump has been forced to stage a series of large rallies in states he cannot afford to lose.

That pressure was reflected in the latest dash of the Trump campaign, starting with stops in Michigan, Wisconsin and Minnesota on Friday. Just before Mr Trump took the stage at his first rally in Waterford Township, Mich., Dressed in a black overcoat and black leather gloves, his campaign announced he would be back in the state for two more rallies on Monday, with additional stops. in Wisconsin and Pennsylvania on the same day.

“He’s kind of trying to repeat the 2016 textbook,” said Charles Franklin, survey director for Marquette Law School. “He’s coming back to these three states. He did it effectively, surprised us all and won with this strategy.

Keep up with Election 2020

But this time the scenery is more difficult. Mr Biden led Mr Trump by eight percentage points to Michigan in a recent New York Times and Siena College poll, highlighting his troubled position in the battlefield states of the Midwest where his base of white voters without a degree academic seems to be moving away from him. . In Wisconsin, a poll average shows Mr. Biden has a 10-point lead.

Overall, in the four states the candidates visited on Friday, the Biden campaign has overtaken Mr. Trump on air by $ 2.2 million to $ 1.4 million in the past 24 hours, according to Advertising Analytics . The message most spread by the cash-strapped Trump campaign seemed to come from his run for the White House in 2016: a promise to “bring jobs home.”

Mr. Biden, full of money, runs a much more complex ad campaign with 27 different ads running in the four states; its most frequent advertisement was about controlling the virus.

Neither campaign made any major changes to its pay media strategy on Friday, although the Trump campaign added $ 1.8 million to its national cable purchase, which airs on channels with a conservative audience like Fox News and History Channel.

Trump’s campaign advisers, while expressing confidence in the president’s prospects, have pointed to a number of outside factors that are making this year more difficult on the northern battlefields. The governorates of Michigan, Pennsylvania and Wisconsin are now all held by elected officials they call “anti-Trump Democrats.” Early voting, they concede, is a major “X factor” whose impact is not yet fully understood.

And the pandemic remains a major concern for voters, to some extent dampening the economic gains Mr. Trump hoped to achieve.

Campaign officials point to the Milwaukee suburb as one of the few suburbs in the country to have moved in Mr. Trump’s direction since the summer. Unlike other areas, where law and order has become a top priority, they said it has remained a top priority there, since the shooting of Jacob Blake in Kenosha, Wisconsin.

But Mr Franklin, who leads Wisconsin’s most respected political inquiry, said his polls did not show the president winning new voters with his law and order speech. After the president’s visit to Kenosha in September, Franklin said, Republican approval of his response to the protests increased by 21 points. But the independents only progressed by about three points.

“He preaches to the choir, and he gets a strong amen, but that doesn’t add more people to the pews,” Franklin said.

On the campaign trail this week, the president focused more on personal feuds than political contrasts, and insisted the country was turning the corner on the virus while disregarding public health precautions. At his first of three rallies on Friday, Mr. Trump slammed one of his favorite foils, Michigan Democrat Governor Gretchen Whitmer, and the crowd chanted in response, “Lock her up.”

“Not me, not me,” Mr. Trump said of the vocals, doing nothing to dissuade him. “They blame me every time this happens.”

On his final stop of the day in Rochester, Minnesota, the president left the stage after less than 30 minutes, visibly angry at state restrictions that denied him the large crowd of supporters he prefers. Governor Tim Walz of Minnesota, a Democrat, has limited gatherings in his state to no more than 250 people.

Mr Trump claimed there were “at least 25,000 people who wanted to be here tonight” and accused Democratic leaders like Keith Ellison, the state attorney general, of preventing his supporters from rallying. . Mr. Trump claimed his supporters were “barred from entry by radical Democrats.”

He left the stage without his usual finish, where he talks about “winning, winning, winning” and dancing at the Village People’s “YMCA”.

Mr Biden’s swing in the Midwest on Friday included stops in Iowa, Minnesota and Wisconsin, a route that showed both the promise and the peril of the electoral map for his campaign, the former vice president playing both offense and defense within hours.

Iowa gave Mr Biden a ‘punch’ earlier this year, as he later said after finishing fourth in state caucuses, and it’s not among the states of the battlefield on which his campaign focused most. Although Iowa voted twice for Barack Obama, it swung sharply to the right in 2016, when Mr. Trump won by nine percentage points.

But polls have shown a close race between Mr Trump and Mr Biden this time around, with Mr Trump expected to travel to the state on Sunday for a rally in Dubuque. Mr Biden’s visit also had the potential to boost Democratic Senate candidate Theresa Greenfield, who challenges incumbent Joni Ernst in a close race.

On a beautiful fall day, Mr Biden hosted a car rally at the Iowa State Fairgrounds in Des Moines, where supporters decorated their cars with Biden signs and honked their horns to show him their support. Others stood beside their cars waving American flags.

Standing in front of her van, Linda Garlinghouse, 69, hoped for a big win from Mr. Biden – an outcome that would be more likely if Mr. Biden won a state like Iowa. “I’m just hoping for a landslide,” she said, so that there is “no doubt about the election.”

Iowa is in the midst of an outbreak of coronavirus cases, and Mr Biden was introduced by a man from Iowa whose 92-year-old father has died from the virus, highlighting the personal pain the pandemic has inflicted on so many families. In a heavily agricultural state, Mr. Biden also criticized Mr. Trump on trade, blaming the president’s “weak and chaotic trade policy” for hurting farmers and manufacturers.

During his swing in the Midwest on Friday, Mr. Biden also devoted precious time to a layover in Minnesota, a state that has not voted for a Republican presidential candidate since 1972. But Mr. Trump has turned down. long set on Minnesota as the one that escaped in 2016, when it lost by just 1.5 percentage points.

Polls have shown Mr. Biden a bigger lead this year, despite Mr. Trump’s efforts to overthrow the state, and Mr. Biden told reporters on Friday morning he was not worried. “I don’t take anything for granted,” he said before leaving Delaware. “We will work for every vote until the last minute.”

Thomas Kaplan reported from Des Moines and Annie Karni from Washington. Nick Corasaniti has contributed reporting from Philadelphia and Sydney Ember from Connecticut.

Categories
Travel News

Time is running out, the mail is slow and the courts keep changing the rules. What should voters do?

Just over a week into the election campaign, the Supreme Court ruled on Monday that Wisconsin election officials could not accept any ballots arriving after the polls closed on November 3.

While the decision was widely expected, it only added to confusion among voters in an electoral process made particularly difficult by the pandemic. Michigan voters faced a similar problem when an appeals court ruled that the state could not accept ballots after election day. And Pennsylvania voters remain concerned as a new challenge to extending their voting deadline has been filed in federal court.

Then there are the uncertainties as to whether the Postal Service can be counted to deliver the ballots by next Tuesday in many other states. Here are the options for those who want to make sure their vote counts.

The Postal Service sent a letter to states in August, recommending that they tell voters to send their ballots out by Tuesday, a week before election day, if they wanted to make sure they arrived at time.

The Postal Service reported that on-time delivery rates for first-class mail are well below its target in October.

According to a press release on Friday, during the week of October 10, the most recent for which data is available, the Postal Service saw on-time first-class mail delivery drop to 85.6%, or nearly from a low of 83%. during the summer peak of the pandemic in July.

Normally, the agency reports on-time delivery, defined as within two days, at rates above 95%.

Data compiled by the New York Times that tracks on-time delivery rates reveals stubbornly persistent multi-day delays throughout October, with major battlefield states including Wisconsin, Michigan, Ohio, Pennsylvania, and North Carolina face continuing problems.

Anticipating the pressure to send ballots to election commissions as quickly and efficiently as possible, the Postal Service has implemented measures to sort and expedite election-specific mail, which is often labeled and barcoded, making it easier monitoring and prioritization.

According to court filing data the agency provided during a lawsuit over operational changes that led to delays in September, the Postal Service said on-time delivery of election mail reached 97.2% to the era, even though the overall on-time delivery for first-class mail was only 84.2% then.

“It’s treated differently,” said Michael Plunkett, president of the Postal Trade Association. “They are doing things to identify it and isolate it in the network and devote resources to making sure factories are cleared of election mail on a daily basis.”

To be on the safe side, some experts recommend voters who have the option of delivering ballots directly to election officials or to collection points themselves.

“I would not be mailing a ballot under this circumstance, and I think for anyone who can, vote in person or drop it in a box,” said Paul F. Steidler, a senior researcher who studies the operations and policies of the postal service at the Lexington Institute, a research group.

If a voter has already received a ballot and can’t send it in time to make sure it arrives on polling day, a drop box is the best bet. Pennsylvania, Michigan, and Wisconsin, among others, have set up drop boxes in counties or municipalities where a voter can cast a ballot. These secure drop boxes will receive ballots until polling day and will not be subject to any mail delay. County electoral offices also accept postal ballots.

If a voter does not feel comfortable voting by mail ballot now, there are still other options.

In Wisconsin, people who have already requested a ballot but have not yet returned it can show up and vote early until November 1, or vote in person on election day. They can also vote in person if they have received their ballot but have not yet returned it by mail and do not need to present it themselves at the polls.

In Pennsylvania, voters must bring their package of mail-in ballots, including the two envelopes, to a polling station on election day and return it to be voided by election officials. After signing an affidavit guaranteeing that they have not voted by mail, voters can vote in person on the machines. Without an absent ballot, a voter will have to vote provisionally on polling day.

Voters in Michigan have a similar option to Pennsylvania, where they can take a postal ballot on election day to overturn it and then vote in person. Voters who do not have their ballot can sign an affidavit at their polling station and then vote normally.

Experts also warned voters on Monday not to turn to private carriers like UPS or FedEx to handle ballots after a photo circulated on social media showing singer Lady Gaga holding her ballot and a FedEx envelope. Some states do not accept ballots if they are delivered by a private carrier. And states generally require that voting envelopes bear a postmark, which only the Postal Service can apply.

Categories
Travel News

A week before the elections, time is running out to vote by mail

WASHINGTON – With just one week before the Nov. 3 election, the window is quickly closing for many people still planning to vote by mail by mail.

The Postal Service reported that on-time delivery rates for first-class mail are well below its target throughout October, and a growing number of election experts and officials are warning many voters parts of the country not to rely on mail. their ballots and instead hand them over directly to election officials or to the collection points themselves.

According to a press release on Friday, during the week of October 10, the most recent for which data is available, the Postal Service saw on-time first-class mail delivery drop to 85.6%, or nearly from a low of 83%. during the summer peak of the pandemic in July.

Normally, the agency reports on-time delivery, defined as within two days, at rates above 95%.

Data compiled by the New York Times that tracks on-time delivery rates reveals stubbornly persistent multi-day delays throughout October, with major battlefield states including Wisconsin, Michigan, Ohio, Pennsylvania, and North Carolina face continuing problems.

“I would not be mailing a ballot under this circumstance, and I think for anyone who can, vote in person or drop it in a box,” said Paul F. Steidler, a senior researcher who studies the operations and policies of the postal service at the Lexington Institute, a research group.

Anticipating the pressure to get ballots to election commissions as quickly and efficiently as possible, the postal service has put in place measures to sort and expedite election-specific mail, which is often labeled and bar-coded, which facilitates monitoring and prioritization.

According to court filing data the agency provided during a lawsuit over operational changes that led to delays in September, the Postal Service said on-time delivery of election mail reached 97.2% to the era, even though the overall on-time delivery for first-class mail was only 84.2% then.

“It’s treated differently,” said Michael Plunkett, president of the Postal Trade Association. “They are doing things to identify it and isolate it in the network and devote resources to making sure factories are cleared of election mail on a daily basis.”

Kristin Seaver, Retail and Delivery Manager for the Postal Service, said the agency was “taking the necessary steps to devote additional resources to mail advancement to increase the speed of delivery of all mail. other mail ”.

“This will remain our number one priority during the elections,” she said.

But experts have warned that not all ballots from local election authorities and voters in different parts of the country are identified, and a significant portion is likely still bundled with first-class mail.

Critics add that the lack of real-time data on the worst downturns is also preventing voters from knowing how the area in which they live may be affected.

In an Oct.20 investigative update on the agency, Senator Gary Peters, Democrat of Michigan, released information showing that mail to several major areas, including Philadelphia, Baltimore and Detroit, was further delayed. 20% of the time in early October, and Michigan as a whole had experienced delays.

On the same day, two weeks before the election, Michigan’s top election official urged voters to skip the mail altogether and turn the ballots over to a collection box or local secretary.

Adding to the uncertainty, the timelines for receiving ballots vary from state to state and have changed amid a flood of lawsuits.

Earlier this month, a federal appeals court ruled that all Michigan mail-in ballots must be received before election day, rejecting an extension that would allow late ballot counting. On Monday, the Supreme Court issued a similar ruling for Wisconsin, requiring ballots for absentees in the state to be received by 8 p.m. on November 3.

In August, the Postal Service recommended that all voters send in their ballots by Tuesday, October 27 to ensure they arrive on time.

This first-class mail being delayed in parts of the country doesn’t necessarily mean that voters who have recently sent out ballots should be concerned about their ballots arriving on time. Throughout the pandemic, the vast majority of late mail still arrived within three days, with only a small fraction arriving two or more days late.

“The fact that once you add one day to the service levels, you’re back nationwide and delivery goes over 95%, what’s the problem?” said Mark M. Fallon, chairman of The Berkshire Company, a consulting firm that advises on mail handling strategies. “However, when you have these local hot spots and the lack of transparency, you basically create an atmosphere where people don’t trust the postal service, and that’s what worries me.”

Experts also warned voters on Monday not to turn to private carriers like UPS or FedEx to handle ballots after a photo circulated on social media showing singer Lady Gaga holding her ballot and a FedEx envelope. . Voters who have not yet returned the ballots should take them to a drop box or polling station, the experts said.