For the latest headlines on voting across the U.S., check out Tuesday's news here.
Most experts predict scattered violence is the worst the United States could experience this Election Day, given isolated incidents that have already taken place this year, USA TODAY's Trevor Hughes reports. There are reports of some people even stocking up and preparing to hunker down to ride out a possible wave of sustained election-related chaos.
The angst follows months of widespread Black Lives Matter social justice protests, more than 90% of which were peaceful. But some conservative news outlets and GOP leaders have pointed to looting and destruction to argue that more federal law enforcement is needed.
Some context: President Donald Trump already has called votes into question and won't commit to a peaceful transfer of power after the results are in. Meanwhile, the Pentagon has repeatedly said the U.S. military has no role in the election.
More news to keep in mind: We're eight days away from Election Day. USA TODAY is keeping track of what's happening as voters around the country cast ballots. Keep refreshing this page for updates.
Unlike Michigan, an open-carry state that has moved to ban firearms at polling sites, New Hampshire won't try to keep armed voters away.
The FBI is investigating a "deliberate attack" on a ballot drop box outside a library in Massachusetts that was set on fire Sunday.
Native Americans have been disproportionally impacted by the coronavirus, and they face extra difficulties in choosing elected leaders who might help protect them. (Latest updates on COVID-19 can be found here.)
If you want a long read: We mailed 64 letters and packages in battleground states to check on mail delays. Here’s what we found.
Voters have been casting ballots in recent weeks: Numbers compiled by @electproject show 59.4 million people have voted. In other numbers, the Guardian and ProPublica report 13.8% of registered voters in swing states have had their mail-in ballots accepted.
Supreme Court declines to change Wisconsin's rules for mailed ballots
The U.S. Supreme Court upheld Wisconsin's voting laws Monday, rejecting an effort to require the counting of absentee ballots that are sent back to election officials on or just before Election Day.
The court's 5-3 ruling means that absentee ballots will be counted only if they are in the hands of municipal clerks by the time polls close on Nov. 3.
The justices determined the courts shouldn't be the ones to decide the election rules amid the coronavirus pandemic that is surging in Wisconsin and across the world.
– Patrick Marley, Milwaukee Journal Sentinel
AOC calls long NYC voting lines unacceptable, form of 'voter suppression'
Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez, D-N.Y., on Monday criticized the long wait times voters in New York were facing at early voting locations as unacceptable, while New York City Mayor Bill de Blasio called for more voting machines to be installed.
Some voters reported waiting in line for hours since early voting kicked off in New York on Saturday. Ocasio-Cortez said she was "thrilled" to see so many voters, but "there is no place in the United States of America where two-, three-, four-hour waits to vote is acceptable. ... Just because it's happening in a blue state doesn't mean that it's not voter suppression."
Long lines of voters stretched for blocks Monday around many of the 88 polling sites opened by the New York City Board of Elections for the city and state's first early voting in a presidential election. The polling sites were a fraction of the number open on Election Day.
In all, 193,915 people voted on Saturday and Sunday, according to the board, which has been plagued by other problems this year, as thousands of voters received absentee ballots with the wrong names on them.
– Kevin McCoy
Florida may approach record for highest voting rate in presidential election
More than 41% of eligible voters have already cast their ballots in Florida, which might come close to matching its record for highest rate of voter turnout in a presidential election.
The state Division of Elections said Monday that more than 6 million early ballots have been cast in Florida, the third largest total in the nation behind Texas and California. Florida has 14.4 million registered voters. The state's modern record for turnout rate was set in 1992 at 83%.
According to the Division of Elections, as of Monday morning registered Democrats outpaced registered Republicans in voting by mail, 1.79 million to 1.18 million, while Republicans held the edge in in-person early voting, 1.02 million to 767,000.
Concern about guns at polling places and other issues in Iowa
In Iowa, a swing state with tightly contested races for the presidency and a U.S. Senate seat, election officials are gearing up for possible disruptions and encouraging eligible residents to vote early partly to reduce the likelihood of Election Day trouble.
County auditors have expressed concern about voter intimidation or other issues, in some cases boosting security. Multiple auditors had said they're worried about people bringing guns into more polling places, as permitted under a new Iowa law; about disputes among voters over wearing masks — which aren’t required on Election Day despite the COVID-19 pandemic; and about the possibility that some Iowans may be inspired by recent national political rhetoric to challenge whether others are qualified to vote.
– Jason Clayworth, Des Moines Register
No more putting ‘I Voted’ stickers on Susan B. Anthony’s headstone in NY
What has become an Election Day ritual in Rochester, New York, will look different this year.
Despite the coronavirus pandemic, people are welcome to make the pilgrimage to Mount Hope Cemetery to pay tribute to Susan B. Anthony at her gravesite. But in a departure, visitors won’t be able to place their “I Voted” stickers directly on the famed suffragist’s headstone.
During a springtime restoration project, it became clear that the fragile marble marker had sustained damage from a combination of adhesive residue and the solvents and methods needed to remove it, Patricia Corcoran, president of nonprofit Friends of Mount Hope Cemetery, wrote in an email.
In an effort to protect the "iconic gravesite," the group had clear plastic sleeves made for Anthony’s headstone and that of her sister, Mary S. Anthony, for use during election season, and people can put their "I Voted" stickers on the sleeves.
– Marcia Greenwood, Rochester Democrat and Chronicle
FBI investigating fire set in Boston ballot drop box
A fire was set Sunday in a Boston ballot drop box holding more than 120 ballots in what Massachusetts election officials said appears to have been a "deliberate attack," now under investigation by the FBI.
The fire that was set around 4 a.m. in a ballot drop box outside the Boston Public Library downtown, Massachusetts Secretary of the Commonwealth William Galvin’s office said.
There were 122 ballots inside the box when it was emptied Sunday morning, and 87 of them were still legible and able to be processed, Galvin’s office said. Voters can go online to see whether their ballot was processed. Those who used that drop box between Saturday afternoon and 4 a.m. Sunday and can’t confirm the status of their ballot online should contact the Boston Elections Department immediately, officials said.
In Ohio, advocates work to protect nursing home vote during pandemic
As the leader of an outreach team with the Franklin County Board of Elections, Shirley Royer rolls her cart into county jails, nursing homes, psychiatric facilities and hospitals to make sure eligible voters get their chance to cast ballots.
"I'm the poll worker, and I'm here," Royer will say, reassuring the elderly and frail that she can assist with reading ballots, marking them properly and keeping them private and secure.
She and other elections officials across the state mask up and have continued to head out during the pandemic. But COVID-19 has complicated their field work. Senior communities that had long been polling sites cannot safely operate as voting locations this year. Many residents still can't come and go freely. And family members calling by phone sometimes find it difficult to ascertain whether a loved one has voted successfully.
"Never have we faced anything like this," Royer said.
– Rita Price, The Columbus Dispatch
Election problems: What to know
This cheat sheet from Columbia Journalism Review offers tips for media organizations reporting on Election 2020.
Voting problems aren't failures. They happen every year and, as CJR notes, hiccups such as voting machines not working or polling places opening late don't mean anything is "rigged."
Some problems, however, are significant. CJR recommends the media scrutinize areas that have a history of voter suppression or obstructing minority voters, calling out Georgia as a place to monitor.
Don't expect a winner on Election Night. This year is different because mail-in ballots could be as high as 30%. Previously, that number was 3%-5%. It will take a while to tally.
Seriously, expect to wait. State vote certification deadlines differ and don't have to be reported to the federal level until Dec. 8. Additionally, the Electoral College doesn’t meet until Dec. 14.
New Hampshire AG says state can't ban armed voters from polling places
As opposed to Michigan, a fellow open-carry state that has moved to ban voters from bringing firearms into polling sites, New Hampshire won't attempt to keep armed voters away. The Attorney General's office said it does not have that authority but will be on the lookout for voter intimidation in the upcoming election.
"We are not able to use any of our New Hampshire election laws to prohibit a voter from entering to vote if they have a firearm, and that includes if the polling place is a school,” said Assistant AG Nicholas Chong Yen, according to NHPR.org.
The website said some New Hampshire poll workers and voters have expressed concern about the presence of armed individuals at polling places.
– Jorge L. Ortiz
Worried about voter suppression? Lawyers set up national hotline to answer questions about election laws
Nearly 24,000 lawyers are volunteering to help voters across the country navigate changes in what has become an unprecedented election cycle. Organizers of Election Protection, a national coalition of civil rights and voting rights groups, said the number of volunteers has quadrupled since the 2016 presidential election and the 2018 midterm elections. They’re bracing for even more calls as Election Day nears and in the days and weeks following.
The Election Protection hotline (866-OUR-VOTE) is available all year, but calls have ramped up in recent weeks as millions started casting ballots early in some states. The hotline has received more than 100,000 calls since July, averaging about 7,000 a day, organizers said. At this point in 2016, the group had fielded 21,000 calls since January of that year.
– Deborah Barfield Berry
Headlines from elsewhere and resources on voting
From ProPublica: Their Electionland project goes deep on issues that can affect eligible voters' ability to cast a ballot.
From Pew/Stateline: The Barriers to the Ballot Box project takes on how changes to polling places impact communities.
Ballotopedia: Resources and guides to not just the election, but also voting.
Associated Press: More voting headlines that should be on your radar.
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Contributing: Associated Press
This article originally appeared on USA TODAY: Voting 2020 news, updates: AOC rips long lines; Boston drop box fire