Every weekday through Nov. 3, we’ll be posting live updates on candidates, voting and other political news in Washington and across the U.S.

What to know in Washington:

Jay Inslee, left, and Loren Culp, right.
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What to know across the U.S.:

  • Senate Republicans voted overwhelmingly Sunday to advance Supreme Court nominee Amy Coney Barrett toward final confirmation despite Democratic objections, just over a week before the presidential election. Barrett’s confirmation is hardly in doubt, with majority Republicans mostly united in support behind President Donald Trump’s pick.
  • This election will determine the makeup of Congress. Democrats seem to have a good chance at winning a Senate majority, and their control of the House is not in serious doubt.
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Wyman urges voters to report misinformationSenate set to confirm Barrett — King County charter amendments — Officer suspended for blaring ‘Trump 2020’ — Election resources — 2020 Election Guide

Live Updates:

Low expectations in Mexico as US election approaches

MEXICO CITY — A week before U.S. elections, expectations and attention are unusually low in a foreign country that may have more at stake than any other. Many Mexicans would be glad to see a more neighborly president who hasn’t called Mexicans rapists or threatened to build a wall against them, but the relationship has survived a Donald Trump presidency, so there’s a feeling it can handle any outcome.

In the streets, few can name Democratic candidate Joe Biden, but there’s a general sense that Mexicans are ready to take their chances with someone other than Trump.

“No Mexican, no human being likes to be called a rapist, a thief, told that you’re not liked,” said Ana Vanessa Cárdenas Zanatta, a political science professor at Monterrey Technological and Anahuac universities in Mexico City. “The least that any human being, and the Mexicans in this bilateral relationship, can hope for is respect.”

Respect can be especially important when roughly three-quarters of a country’s exports go to the United States and hundreds of millions of people cross the border in both directions yearly for work, shopping, family visits or vacations.

—Associated Press
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Missing from Supreme Court’s election cases: reasons for its rulings

WASHINGTON — At least nine times since April, the Supreme Court has issued rulings in election disputes. Or perhaps “rulings” is too generous a word for those unsigned orders, which addressed matters as consequential as absentee voting during the pandemic in Alabama, South Carolina and Texas; and the potential disenfranchisement of hundreds of thousands of people with felony convictions in Florida.

Most of the orders, issued on what scholars call the court’s “shadow docket,” did not bother to supply even a whisper of reasoning. The orders were responses to emergency applications, and they were issued quickly, without full briefing or oral arguments (hence the “shadow docket”).

If the court is going to treat emergency applications with something like equal care, it might consider explaining what it is doing. Explaining, Judge Frank H. Easterbrook wrote in 2000, is what distinguishes judges from politicians.

“The political branches of government claim legitimacy by election, judges by reason,” he wrote. “Any step that withdraws an element of the judicial process from public view makes the ensuing decision look more like fiat, which requires compelling justification.”

Terse rulings on emergency applications are not new. But “the shadow docket has truly exploded in the last few years,” Stephen I. Vladeck, a law professor at the University of Texas, wrote on Scotusblog last week.

—The New York Times

Counting the vote: Will we know who won on election night?

Millions of Americans have already voted, but each state has different rules on when it’s allowed to actually start counting those ballots. That is going to produce results coming in at very different times — perhaps days or even weeks after Election Day.

In some places, election officials can begin processing ballots weeks before Election Day. That means workers can start verifying voter information while also removing ballots from their envelopes to physically get them ready for tabulation. Doing so readies ballots for counting on Election Day and will speed up the release of results.

But it’s not that simple.

In some of the most critical battleground states, laws prevent the early processing of ballots. So on Nov. 3, Election Day, officials will have to run an in-person election while also working through the unprecedented number of mail-in votes. This dynamic is likely to delay results and heighten the potential for big shifts if in-person vote tallies are upended by the counting of mail-in ballots.

Read more on the ballot-counting process here.

—Associated Press

Trump eyes hosting election night party at his DC hotel

WASHINGTON — President Donald Trump has his eye on hosting an election night party at his own hotel in the nation’s capital.

Over the past several days, the campaign has pushed out fundraising emails in the president’s name offering donors the chance to enter a drawing “to join Team Trump at the Election Night Party in my favorite hotel,” in Washington, suggesting he will use his luxury hotel as the backdrop for reacting to election results. The campaign has also spotlighted plans for the party in fundraising blasts from the president’s son Donald Trump. Jr.

“November 3rd will go down in history as the night we won FOUR MORE YEARS. It will be absolutely EPIC, and the only thing that could make it better is having YOU there,” Trump said in a fundraising solicitation.

For Trump, an election night party at his own hotel is symbolic for a businessman who leveraged his celebrity as a reality star and New York real estate magnate to win the nation’s highest office.

Critics see it as one more reminder of how the president has used his office to personally profit as foreign leaders, conservative supporters and administration officials use the lobby of Washington’s Trump International Hotel as an unofficial clubhouse for the Trump presidency.

—Associated Press
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Guns at voting sites emerge as flash point in Michigan amid nationwide election tension

As tensions mount ahead of Election Day, a legal battle in Michigan is highlighting fears some officials and civil rights groups have about what will happen when people show up at polling sites with guns – which is legal in numerous jurisdictions across the United States.

Michigan, already the site of election-year unease, was thrust into the center of the armed-voter debate after state officials announced a ban on openly carried weapons at polling sites, saying guns could intimidate voters or election workers. Gun rights groups challenged the move in court and have argued it forces Michigan residents to choose between their right to vote and their right to bear arms.

Many Americans will be able to show up at their polling locations with guns, something that has unnerved law enforcement officials and experts nationwide at a time of pitched anxiety over whether clashes or violence could break out before, on or after Election Day. Gun rights supporters argue that law-abiding gun owners should be able to continue carrying their weapons where doing so is allowed.

Exactly where that is allowed varies widely, echoing the way the country’s election processes vary from state to state.

“There are no national rules on guns in polling places,” said Adam Winkler, a law professor at the University of California, Los Angeles and an expert on the Second Amendment. “As with so much about our election system, these things are decided by the states. And because there are 50 different states, there is a wide variety of rules regulating guns at polling places.”

—The Washington Post

Washington State Supreme Court explains its ruling in schools chief voter guide case

Chris Reykdal, left, and Maia Espinoza, right. (Courtesy of the campaigns)
Chris Reykdal, left, and Maia Espinoza, right. (Courtesy of the campaigns)

Washington Superintendent of Public Instruction Chris Reykdal failed to prove as “demonstrably false” his election opponent’s statement that Reykdal championed a policy that teaches “sexual positions to fourth graders,” the state Supreme Court says.

The full opinion in the 6-3 ruling, issued late last week, came in a defamation case brought by Reykdal against challenger Maia Espinoza for a statement she made in the state voter guide mailed to all registered voters.

With Election Day just a week away, arguments over the veracity of the statement have become a rallying cry for both candidates.

The court initially ruled in August that Reykdal didn’t have the legal grounds to succeed in the defamation case. That meant Espinoza’s statement, which was based on the incumbent’s support for a comprehensive sex education law also on the ballot this November, could stay in the voter guide.

But the August ruling provided scant details on the court’s reasoning. Last week’s written order expounded on the case.

The majority opinion, written by Chief Justice Debra L. Stephens, said Espinoza’s statement is inflammatory but not false, and that Reykdal failed to meet the high legal bar set for public officials to prove defamation, which requires “actual malice” — speech made with the knowledge that it was false, or with “reckless disregard” about its accuracy.

“Whether Espinoza’s critique is fair — and whether Reykdal’s policy is sound — is for voters to decide,” the opinion said.

Read the full story here.

—Dahlia Bazzaz

‘I’m not interested.’ Why some people didn’t vote in 2016, and won’t this year either

As the presidential campaign reaches its final week, early-voting turnout in a number of states has been higher than last time, mail-in ballot requests are surging and some are predicting the highest turnout in many decades.

But if history is any indication, a significant portion of Americans will not participate, a signal of distrust and disillusionment with the political system that spans the partisan divide.

Voting is fundamentally an act of hope. But since the 1960s, between a third and a half of eligible voters have stayed home during presidential elections, one of the lowest rates among America’s developed peers. Since the early 1900s, the high point for presidential turnout was in 1960, when 63.8% of eligible adults voted, according to the United States Elections Project that tracks voting data back to 1789. Most recently, the highest peak was in 2008, when 61.6% turned out.

An analysis of Census Bureau survey data from the 2016 election shows a deep class divide: Americans who did not vote were more likely to be poor, less likely to have a college degree, and more likely to be a single parent than the people who voted. They were also less likely to be in the labor force.

In interviews in Monroe County, Pennsylvania this month, some of the people who did not vote in 2016 said they planned to vote this year. The stakes were too high to miss it, they said.

But many others said they would not. They expressed a profound distrust of politics and doubted their vote would have an effect. They felt a sense of foreboding about the country and saw politics as one of the main forces doing the threatening. Many were not particularly partisan and said they shrank from people who were.

Read more here.

—The New York Times
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Jayapal denounces Republican Senate after Barrett's confirmation vote

Amy Coney Barrett's "rushed" confirmation to the U.S. Supreme Court late Monday was "absolutely unacceptable," U.S. Rep. Pramila Jayapal said in a statement after the Senate vote.

“The injustice this country witnessed over the last 30 days will be remembered in history as exactly what it was: a disgraceful Republican power grab to use an illegitimate, rushed, hypocritical process to confirm a nominee whose dangerous views have not been thoroughly or fairly vetted to the highest court in our land just days before a Presidential election in which more than 60 million Americans have already voted," Jayapal wrote in the statement.

She said the vote was especially absurd "after Republicans outright refused to allow even a vote for Merrick Garland when he was nominated more than seven months before an election."

Despite her response, she promised to continue fighting to expand voter, health care, worker and immigrant rights, and assured Washingtonians that she'd still work to protect LGTBQ+ and indigenous communities "as Republicans try to undermine them at every single turn."

“If Donald Trump and his Republicans think that breaking with precedent and ramming through a right-wing nominee will silence our voices, slow our movement for justice and stop our march for equality, they are mistaken," Jayapal wrote. "They could not be more wrong. We are only going to grow stronger and redouble our efforts to protect and expand our rights."

She ended the statement by saying she would never forget the "illegitimate confirmation process and shameless power grab by Republicans."

—Elise Takahama

Barrett confirmed as Supreme Court justice in partisan vote

WASHINGTON — Amy Coney Barrett was confirmed to the Supreme Court late Monday by a deeply divided Senate, Republicans overpowering Democrats to install President Donald Trump’s nominee days before the election and secure a likely conservative court majority for years to come.

Trump’s choice to fill the vacancy of the late liberal icon Ruth Bader Ginsburg potentially opens a new era of rulings on abortion, the Affordable Care Act and even his own election. Democrats were unable to stop the outcome, Trump’s third justice on the court, as Republicans race to reshape the judiciary.

Barrett is 48, and her lifetime appointment as the 115th justice will solidify the court’s rightward tilt.

Monday’s 52-48 vote was the closest high court confirmation ever to a presidential election, and the first in modern times with no support from the minority party. The spiking COVID-19 crisis has hung over the proceedings. Vice President Mike Pence’s office said Monday he would not preside at the Senate session unless his tie-breaking vote was needed after Democrats asked him to stay away when his aides tested positive for COVID-19. His vote was not necessary. 

With Barrett’s confirmation assured, Trump was expected to celebrate with a primetime swearing-in event at the White House. Justice Clarence Thomas was set to administer the Constitutional Oath, a senior White House official said.

—Associated Press

U.S. Supreme Court won’t extend Wisconsin’s absentee ballot deadline

WASHINGTON — The Supreme Court is siding with Republicans to prevent Wisconsin from counting mailed ballots that are received after Election Day

The justices on Monday refused to reinstate a lower court order that called for mailed ballots to be counted if they are received up to six days after the Nov. 3 election. A federal appeals court had already put that order on hold.

Democrats argued that the flood of absentee ballots and other challenges posed by the coronavirus pandemic makes it necessary to extend the period in which ballots can be counted. Wisconsin is one of the nation’s hot spots for COVID-19, with hospitals treating a record high number of patients with the disease.

Republicans opposed the extension, saying that voters have plenty of opportunities to cast their ballots by the close of polls on Election Day and that the rules should not be changed so close to the election.

—Associated Press
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State lands commissioner race

Left to right: Hilary Franz and Sue Kuehl Pederson, candidates for Washington lands commissioner.
Left to right: Hilary Franz and Sue Kuehl Pederson, candidates for Washington lands commissioner.

The race for the state’s top lands’ chief is centered on wildfire prevention, as Washington emerges from a brutal fire season.

The state commissioner of public lands heads the Department of Natural Resources (DNR), which is responsible for managing 5.6 million acres of Washington’s forest, range, agricultural, aquatic and commercial lands. The commissioner serves a four-year term.

DNR also is the state’s biggest fire fighter, responsible for fighting wildfires on 13 million acres of private, state and tribal forestland. Both candidates say wildfire is the biggest issue in their race.

Candidates’ finances and political experience in the race are lopsided, with an incumbent who is vastly better funded facing a challenger who has never held elected office.

Hilary Franz, the commissioner of public lands, had raised $980,115 for her reelection campaign as of Monday against challenger Sue Kuehl Pederson, who has raised $73,674.

Read more about the race here.

—Lynda V. Mapes

Seattle voter turnout at 54%

With eight days to go until Election Day, more than half of Seattle’s registered voters have turned in their ballots, according to King County Elections.

Among King County’s 1.4 million voters, 48% have had their ballots received as of noon Monday, according to King County Elections, which provides updated voter numbers twice a day. In Seattle, the turnout is even higher, at 54%.

In Snohomish County, 39% of voters have turned in their ballots as of Monday afternoon, and 37% of Pierce County voters have, as of Friday.

—Paige Cornwell

Counting the vote: Will we know who won on election night?

Graphic shows when states may count advance votes and where mail-in ballots are accepted after Election Day.
Graphic shows when states may count advance votes and where mail-in ballots are accepted after Election Day.

Millions of Americans have already voted, but each state has different rules on when it’s allowed to actually start counting those ballots. That is going to produce results coming in at very different times — perhaps days or even weeks after Election Day.

In some places, election officials can begin processing ballots weeks before Election Day. That means workers can start verifying voter information while also removing ballots from their envelopes to physically get them ready for tabulation. Doing so readies ballots for counting on Election Day and will speed up the release of results.

But it’s not that simple.

In some of the most critical battleground states, laws prevent the early processing of ballots. So on Nov. 3, Election Day, officials will have to run an in-person election while also working through the unprecedented number of mail-in votes. This dynamic is likely to delay results and heighten the potential for big shifts if in-person vote tallies are upended by the counting of mail-in ballots.

Read the full explanation here.

—Associated Press
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Paris train attack hero makes bid for Congress from Oregon

FILE – In this May 15, 2018 file photo, Alek Skarlatos, right, speaks at the Douglas County Republican Party headquarters in Roseburg, Ore. Skarlatos, who in 2015 helped thwart an attack by a gunman on a Paris-bound train, faces longtime Democratic U.S. Rep. Peter DeFazio in the November election. (Michael Sullivan/The News-Review via AP, File)
FILE – In this May 15, 2018 file photo, Alek Skarlatos, right, speaks at the Douglas County Republican Party headquarters in Roseburg, Ore. Skarlatos, who in 2015 helped thwart an attack by a gunman on a Paris-bound train, faces longtime Democratic U.S. Rep. Peter DeFazio in the November election. (Michael Sullivan/The News-Review via AP, File)

SALEM, Ore. — In 2015, Alek Skarlatos and two friends thwarted an attack by a gunman on a Paris-bound train, a dramatic and heroic action that was made into a movie by Clint Eastwood in which the trio starred as themselves.

Now, Skarlatos, 28, is hoping to ride his moment of fame to get a seat in Congress, representing Oregon’s 4th congressional district in the House of Representatives. To do that, the Republican candidate will need to unseat Democratic incumbent Peter DeFazio, the longest serving House member in Oregon’s history, in the Nov. 3 election.

This summer, the worst wildfires on record burned in Oregon, with climate change and overgrown forests worsening fire conditions. As smoke smothered Skarlatos’ hometown of Roseburg, he took interest.

“It was really the lack of forest management that got me interested (in running), because it is a federal issue. And our forest policy is made 3,000 miles away, in D.C.,” Skarlatos said in an interview.

Winning the election seems like a long shot, but Skarlatos has raised more than $3.7 million in campaign contributions, compared to DeFazio’s nearly $3.3 million, according to the Federal Election Commission.

Read the full story here.

—Associated Press

Senators Patty Murray, Maria Cantwell criticize GOP vote to confirm Amy Coney Barrett to Supreme Court

Washington's U.S. Sens. Maria Cantwell and Patty Murray joined fellow Democrats in opposing Amy Coney Barrett's confirmation to the Supreme Court, ripping Republicans for holding the vote just days ahead of the 2020 election.

Speaking on the Senate floor Monday morning, Murray slammed the Senate GOP majority for pushing the Barrett vote after blockading President Obama's 2016 nominee, Merrick Garland, for eight months.

Murray warned a new conservative court majority will threaten the Affordable Care Act, LGBTQ rights and legal abortion, citing messages from fearful Washington constituents.

"For Republican Senators to stand here and tell families not to worry is kind of like the captain of the Titanic passing out umbrellas, and telling passengers that’s all they need," Murray said. "With one key difference: Republicans have been clear from the start that hitting the iceberg isn’t an accident, it’s the plan."

Cantwell, in remarks Sunday, said Barrett's views on abortion are out of step with a majority of Americans and criticized the Senate for "adding insult to injury" by jamming through her nomination while failing to take up a new COVID-19 relief package.

"We know that one in five small businesses could be closed by 2021, a devastating impact to our economy… And so we should have sat down and fixed this," Cantwell said. "But no, true to form to the other side of the aisle, it's way more important to go after a woman's right to choose."

Both Murray and Cantwell previously opposed Barrett's confirmation in 2017 to the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Seventh Circuit.

Read the full story here.

—Jim Brunner

Trump charges into battleground states despite rising virus

President Donald Trump speaks to the media on arrival, Monday, Oct. 26, 2020, in Allentown, Pa. (AP Photo/Alex Brandon)
President Donald Trump speaks to the media on arrival, Monday, Oct. 26, 2020, in Allentown, Pa. (AP Photo/Alex Brandon)

ALLENTOWN, Pa. — President Donald Trump embarked Monday on a final-week charge through nearly a dozen states ahead of the election, overlooking a surge of coronavirus cases in the U.S. and a fresh outbreak in his own White House. His Democratic rival, Joe Biden, is holding far fewer events in an effort to demonstrate that he’s taking the worsening pandemic seriously.

The final days of the campaign are crystalizing the starkly different approaches Trump and Biden have taken to address the worst public health crisis in a century — with risks for each candidate.

“It’s a choice between a Trump boom or a Biden lockdown,” Trump claimed Monday in Pennsylvania.

For Trump, the full-speed-ahead strategy could spread the virus in places that are already setting new records and leave him appearing aloof to the consequences. And if Biden comes up short in the election, his lower-key travel schedule will surely come under scrutiny as a bad choice.

Read the full story here.

—Associated Press
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Wyman urges Washington state voters to report emails or posts of election misinformation

OLYMPIA — Washington voters should be on the lookout for fake information intended to confuse people in the days leading up to and after the Nov. 3 election, state Secretary of State Kim Wyman said Monday.

“We are anticipating in the coming days … misinformation and disinformation campaigns shared not only on social media, but across the internet,” said Wyman in a news conference with several county auditors.

Wyman’s news conference comes after the FBI announced last week that Iran was sending fake, threatening emails to American voters.

She urged voters to share suspected emails or social media posts with the secretary of state’s office “to really help us combat these efforts.”

The FBI said Russia and Iran had obtained voter registration information — which is often publicly available — in an effort to influence the final weeks of the presidential election.

Washington and other states have been on high alert for election breaches since it was revealed that Russia meddled in the 2016 presidential election.

Read the full story here.

—Joseph O'Sullivan

Early vote total exceeds 2016; GOP chips at Dems’ advantage

Voters line up in front of the Yonkers Public Library in Yonkers, N.Y., on Saturday, Oct. 24, 2020 as the first day of early voting in the presidential election begins across New York state. (Mark Vergari/The Journal News via AP)
Voters line up in front of the Yonkers Public Library in Yonkers, N.Y., on Saturday, Oct. 24, 2020 as the first day of early voting in the presidential election begins across New York state. (Mark Vergari/The Journal News via AP)

With eight days before Election Day, more people already have cast ballots in this year’s presidential election than voted early or absentee in the 2016 race as the start of in-person early voting in big states led to a surge in turnout in recent days.

The opening of early voting locations in Florida, Texas and elsewhere has piled millions of new votes on top of the mail ballots arriving at election offices as voters try to avoid crowded places on Nov. 3 during the coronavirus pandemic.

The result is a total of 58.6 million ballots cast so far, more than the 58 million that The Associated Press logged as being cast through the mail or at in-person early voting sites in 2016.

Read the full story here.

Related: King County Elections challenges voters to reach 90% turnout

—Associated Press

Washington Democrats’ 2020 goal: eliminating the Republican Party

Washington Democrats already control both houses of the state Legislature, the governor’s mansion and most statewide elected offices. But they’d like to go further – crushing the Republican Party altogether.

At least that was the message of a fervid fundraising appeal sent over the weekend by the state party, which argued half measures and narrow wins won’t suffice in 2020.“If we succeed, it won’t be the pandemic, Trump, or the economic collapse that defines this year. If we hit our goal, 2020 will be the year the Republican Party came to an end,” the email declared.

The Democratic email lashed out at GOP gubernatorial candidate Loren Culp, saying he “facilitated the spread of both COVID and ignorance” at his mask-less political rallies and noting his comments comparing enforcement of gun laws with Nazi Germany. It also criticized the GOP for failing to repudiate President Trump’s attacks on mail voting. The email expressed confidence Washington will go for Joe Biden and reelect Jay Inslee, but fretted Republican wins in down-ballot races could keep the party alive “to fight another day.”

State House GOP Leader J.T. Wilcox tweeted that Democrats are openly demanding single-party rule. “That’s not my interpretation. It’s what they say to funders,” he wrote.

The hyperbole comes as Democrats are, in fact, at risk of losing some legislative races in more conservative parts of the state turned off by the party’s Seattle-dominated leftward lurch.

And in the ostensibly nonpartisan race for Superintendent of Public Instruction, Democrat Chris Reykdal is trying to fend off a strong Republican-aligned challenger in Maia Espinoza.

—Jim Brunner
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Officer suspended for blaring ‘Trump 2020’ from NYPD vehicle

NEW YORK — The New York Police Department said Sunday it has suspended an officer without pay a day after he was seen on video saying “Trump 2020” over a patrol vehicle’s loudspeaker, a violation of department rules.

The suspension is effective immediately and the incident remains under investigation, the police department said.

Commissioner Dermot Shea tweeted that the behavior of the officer, whose name was not immediately made public, was “One hundred percent unacceptable. Period.” Officers must remain apolitical, he said.

Mayor Bill de Blasio promised swift action, tweeting: “ANY NYPD Officer pushing ANY political agenda while on duty will face consequences.

The department, in its Patrol Guide, prohibits officers from “endorsing political candidates or publicly expressing personal views and opinions” about candidates while on duty or in uniform.

Read the full story here.

—Associated Press

Why are so many people voting early this year? Here’s one Kent woman’s answer

A voter places her ballot in the ballot box in front of the Covington Library in downtown Covington. It is the same box where Shukri Olow, center, of Kent dropped hers off the day she received it.  As a Somali refugee and Muslim, she is fearful about the political climate and wanted to vote early to protect her vote and her community.  She is sitting with her children Khalid Ahmed, 8, left, and Amani Ahmed, 10.
(Ellen M. Banner / The Seattle Times)
A voter places her ballot in the ballot box in front of the Covington Library in downtown Covington. It is the same box where Shukri Olow, center, of Kent dropped hers off the day she received it. As a Somali refugee and Muslim, she is fearful about the political climate and wanted to vote early to protect her vote and her community. She is sitting with her children Khalid Ahmed, 8, left, and Amani Ahmed, 10. (Ellen M. Banner / The Seattle Times)

Shukri Olow was not going to leave anything to chance.

After anxiously waiting for her ballot, when she finally received it on Oct. 17 she didn’t hesitate. “I just had this rush of energy and momentum to turn it in as soon as possible — on the same day … because this energy that I feel now to change the trajectory of our country starts with a vote,” she said.

Olow, 33, is a Kent mom, a Somali refugee and a Black Muslim woman. All those identities fuel her passion for civic engagement, but she is not alone in her enthusiasm for voting early this year.

Read Naomi Ishisaka's column here.

—Naomi Ishisaka

US to get 9th justice with Democrats powerless to block Barrett

A jogger takes a early morning run at the Capitol, Monday, Oct. 26, 2020 in Washington, as Senate Republicans work toward the confirmation of Judge Amy Coney Barrett to the Supreme Court. (AP Photo/J. Scott Applewhite)
A jogger takes a early morning run at the Capitol, Monday, Oct. 26, 2020 in Washington, as Senate Republicans work toward the confirmation of Judge Amy Coney Barrett to the Supreme Court. (AP Photo/J. Scott Applewhite)

WASHINGTON — A divided Senate is set to confirm Amy Coney Barrett to the Supreme Court, giving the country a ninth justice Monday as Republicans overpower Democratic opposition to secure President Donald Trump’s nominee the week before Election Day.

Democratic leaders asked Vice President Mike Pence to stay away from presiding over her Senate confirmation due to potential health risks after his aides tested positive for COVID-19. But although Pence isn’t needed to break a tie, the vote would present a dramatic opportunity for him to preside over confirmation of Trump’s third Supreme Court justice.

Senate Democratic leader Chuck Schumer and his leadership team wrote that not only would Pence’s presence violate Centers for Disease Control and Prevention guidelines, “it would also be a violation of common decency and courtesy.”

But Senate Republicans control the chamber and Barrett’s confirmation isn’t in doubt.

Read the full story here.

—Associated Press
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King County charter amendments 5 and 6

Flags flank a sign for the King County Sheriff’s Office before a January 2016 press conference in Seattle about a large-scale human-trafficking investigation.   (Ken Lambert / The Seattle Times, file)
Flags flank a sign for the King County Sheriff’s Office before a January 2016 press conference in Seattle about a large-scale human-trafficking investigation. (Ken Lambert / The Seattle Times, file)

King County voters are getting two chances to strip power from the county sheriff.

Here's a look at charter amendments 5 and 6, and what will happen if voters pass one, neither — or both.

43rd Legislative District

State Rep. Frank Chopp, D-Seattle, left, led challenger Sherae Lascelles of the Seattle People’s Party in the 43rd Legislative District House race. (Courtesy of the campaigns)
State Rep. Frank Chopp, D-Seattle, left, led challenger Sherae Lascelles of the Seattle People’s Party in the 43rd Legislative District House race. (Courtesy of the campaigns)

Washington Rep. Frank Chopp, the longest-serving House speaker in state history, hasn't had a real race on his hands since 1994. But that changed this season when Sherae Lascelles came along in Seattle’s 43rd District.

Read about the race and the candidates here.

—Kris Higginson

Catch up on the past 24 hours

Washington National Guard members stand outside the former Macy’s building near Westlake Park on June 1 as protesters gather before marching in downtown Seattle.   (Steve Ringman / The Seattle Times)
Washington National Guard members stand outside the former Macy’s building near Westlake Park on June 1 as protesters gather before marching in downtown Seattle. (Steve Ringman / The Seattle Times)

The military and police in Washington state are preparing for possible civil unrest after the election, regardless of who wins the presidency. Officials say they have no specific, credible threats at this time, but have participated in “tabletop” exercises outlining possible scenarios for post-election violence and mayhem.

A fresh White House coronavirus outbreak is roiling the presidential campaign. At least five aides to Vice President Mike Pence are infected, but he's still traveling, and the president's chief of staff made the extraordinary admission yesterday that the administration has effectively given up on trying to slow the virus' spread nationwide. Democrats are begging Pence to stay away as the Senate turns Amy Coney Barrett into a Supreme Court justice today.

A young man wearing a pro-President Donald Trump baseball cap pulled out a handgun during a confrontation with political opponents Saturday afternoon in Woodinville, and police say they’re still investigating to learn the full picture. Video footage shows two groups of demonstrators. One held a Trump sign and an American flag, while the opposing group included a sign-holder backing the president’s opponent, former Vice President Joe Biden.

How the presidential race is looking in your ZIP code: Our map breaks down the historic hoovering-up of cash as Washington doubles its giving to presidential candidates from four years ago. There are essentially two Americas financing the Trump and Biden campaigns.

—Seattle Times staff
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2020 Election Resources

For more information about voting, ballot drop boxes, accessible voting and online ballots, contact your county elections office. Ballots are due by 8 p.m. on Nov. 3.

For more information on your ballot, in any county, go to: myvote.wa.gov