Editor’s note: This is a live account of Election 2020 updates from Monday, Oct. 19, as the day unfolded. It is no longer being updated. Click here for full coverage of the 2020 Election.

Ballots were mailed to Washington voters this past Wednesday, and they’re already being returned to King County drop boxes, piling up at an unprecedented rate. King County Elections workers received reports over the weekend about full drop boxes in several locations, such as West Seattle Junction, Seattle Central College, Broadview, Sammamish City Hall and Issaquah City Hall.

Here’s how King, Snohomish and Thurston counties plan to keep voting secure in the November election.

What to know in Washington:

  • Your ballot is due Nov. 3. The last day to register to vote or update your information online or by mail is Oct. 26. You can register in person during business hours at your county elections office up to 8 p.m. on Election Day.
Jay Inslee, left, and Loren Culp, right.
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What to know across the U.S.:

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

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Senate 2020 landscapeHeck vs. LiiasHarborview Medical CenterElection resources2020 Election Guide

Register to vote, get free pizza

Pagliacci Pizza is offering a free slice of pizza to registered voters in Washington.

Take a screenshot of your voter registration information at vote.wa.gov, and email it to the Seattle-area chain at vote@pagliacci.com, and they'll send you a coupon for a free slice.

"The vote is the most powerful nonviolent change agent you have in a democratic society," Pagliacci wrote in a blog post, quoting the late congressman and civil rights icon John Lewis. "You must use it because it is not guaranteed. You can lose it."


Inside the ‘Malarkey Factory,’ Biden’s online war room to fight misinformation

Democratic presidential candidate Joe Biden and his granddaughter Finnegan order at the window at Cook Out in Durham, N.C., on Sunday, Oct. 18, 2020. (Carolyn Kaster / The Associated Press)
Democratic presidential candidate Joe Biden and his granddaughter Finnegan order at the window at Cook Out in Durham, N.C., on Sunday, Oct. 18, 2020. (Carolyn Kaster / The Associated Press)

Joe Biden’s campaign has quietly built a multimillion-dollar operation over the past two months that’s largely designed to combat misinformation online, aiming to rebut President Donald Trump while bracing for any information warfare that could take place in the aftermath of the election.

The effort, internally called the “Malarkey Factory,” consists of dozens of people around the country monitoring what information is gaining traction digitally, whether it’s resonating with swing voters and, if so, how to fight back. The three most salient attacks the Malarkey Factory has confronted so far are claims that Biden is a socialist, that he is “creepy” and that he is “sleepy” or senile.

In preparation for misinformation spreading as voters head to the polls, especially a stretch around Election Day when Facebook will not let campaigns buy new ads, the campaign has partnered with dozens of Facebook pages associated with liberal individuals or groups that have large followings. The campaign has also enlisted 5,000 surrogates with big social media platforms who can pump out campaign messages.

Read the full story here.

—The Washington Post

As local news dies, a pay-for-play network rises in its place

The instructions were clear: Write an article calling out Sara Gideon, a Democrat running for a hotly contested U.S. Senate seat in Maine, as a hypocrite.

Angela Underwood, a freelance reporter in upstate New York, took the $22 assignment over email. She contacted the spokesperson for Sen. Susan Collins, the Republican opponent, and wrote an article on his accusations that Gideon was two-faced for criticizing shadowy political groups and then accepting their help.

The short article was published on Maine Business Daily, a seemingly run-of-the-mill news website, under the headline “Sen. Collins Camp Says House Speaker Gideon’s Actions Are Hypocritical.” It extensively quoted Collins’ spokesperson but had no comment from Gideon’s campaign.

Then Underwood received another email: The “client” who had ordered up the article, her editor said, wanted it to add more detail.

The client, according to emails and the editing history reviewed by The New York Times, was a Republican operative.

Maine Business Daily is part of a fast-growing network of nearly 1,300 websites that aim to fill a void left by vanishing local newspapers across the country. Yet the network, now in all 50 states, is built not on traditional journalism but on propaganda ordered up by dozens of conservative think tanks, political operatives, corporate executives and public relations professionals, a Times investigation found.

Read the full story here.

—The New York Times

Washington Attorney General Bob Ferguson touts legal wins as he faces GOP challenger Matt Larkin

President Donald Trump had been in office all of 10 days when Washington Attorney General Bob Ferguson filed the first of his 80 lawsuits against the administration.

The January 2017 challenge to Trump’s executive order barring travel from seven predominantly Muslim nations dealt a jarring setback to Trump a few days later, when a federal judge sided with Ferguson and halted enforcement of the order.

It’s a scene that Ferguson, a Democrat, wants voters to remember as they decide whether to hand him a third term in the Nov. 3 election. His campaign is airing TV ads emphasizing numerous legal wins over the Trump administration.

“If he interferes with this election, we will be ready,” Ferguson vows in the ad, referring to Trump’s efforts to sow doubts about the upcoming election results.

Matt Larkin, Ferguson’s Republican challenger, would like voters to focus on other images — of crime, drug use and violent clashes between protesters and police in Seattle.

Read the full story here.

—Jim Brunner

Trump campaign urges change in debate topics but not rules

Donald Trump’s re-election campaign lashed out at the Commission on Presidential Debates about the topics and potential rule changes for the president’s final face-off against Democratic candidate Joe Biden.

In a two-page letter to the commission, Trump campaign manager Bill Stepien stopped short of threatening to withdraw from the Oct. 22 debate but said the non-partisan commission’s “pro-Biden antics have turned the entire debate season into a fiasco.”

“For the good of campaign integrity and for the benefit of the American people, we urge you to rethink and reissue a set of topics for the October 22 debate, with an emphasis on foreign policy,” Stepien wrote in the letter, which was dated Oct. 19 and posted on his Twitter account.

The campaign chief said the topic list would “insulate Biden from his own history,” referring to unfounded allegations related to the foreign business dealings of the former vice president’s son, Hunter. Stepien said the final debate was “always billed” as a foreign policy debate but that was never announced by the commission or the moderator, NBC’s Kristen Welker.

The Biden campaign said the commission should stick to the plan the candidates’ teams agreed to earlier this year.

Read the full story here.

Related: ‘Horrible,’ ‘A disaster’: Seattle area, conservative and liberal, watches debate through gritted teeth


Heard any Biden jokes? Study of late-night comics finds few

NEW YORK — From the perspective of late-night joke writers, there’s really only one person running for president.

A staggering 97% of the jokes Stephen Colbert and Jimmy Fallon told about the candidates in September targeted President Donald Trump, a study released Monday found.

That’s 455 jokes about Trump and 14 about Democrat Joe Biden, according to the Center for Media and Public Affairs at George Mason University. That doesn’t even count 64 jokes made about Trump’s family or administration, the study said.

“When Trump’s onstage, everyone else is blacked out,” said Robert Lichter, communication professor at George Mason.

He’s been studying late-night humor and politics since 1992. Republicans are usually targeted more than Democrats by the comedy writers, but the difference has never been this stark. The closest was the 2016 campaign, when Trump was the punchline for 78% of the jokes to Hillary Clinton’s 22%, the center said.

Read the full story here.

—Associated Press

Ballot box fire in Los Angeles County may be arson, officials say

LOS ANGELES — An official ballot drop box at the Baldwin Park, California, library ignited Sunday night, potentially destroying election ballots inside, authorities said.

The fire started around 8 p.m. Sunday at the ballot box near Ramona and Baldwin Park boulevards, according to Los Angeles County Fire Department spokeswoman Leslie Lua.

It was not immediately clear how the fire began, but Lua said that arson was being investigated as a possible cause.

Read the full story here.

—Los Angeles Times

Trump goes after Fauci, tries to buck up his campaign team

President Donald Trump talks to reporters at Phoenix Sky Harbor International Airport, Monday, Oct. 19, 2020, in Phoenix. Second from right is Sen. Martha McSally, R-Ariz. (AP Photo/Alex Brandon)
President Donald Trump talks to reporters at Phoenix Sky Harbor International Airport, Monday, Oct. 19, 2020, in Phoenix. Second from right is Sen. Martha McSally, R-Ariz. (AP Photo/Alex Brandon)

PRESCOTT, Ariz. — President Donald Trump came out swinging Monday against Dr. Anthony Fauci and polls that show Trump trailing Democrat Joe Biden in key battleground states, as he tried to buck up his campaign team two weeks out from Election Day.

Back on the trail after his COVID-19 infection, Trump was facing intense pressure to turn around his campaign, hoping for the type of last-minute surge that revived his candidacy four years ago and plunging into an aggressive travel schedule despite the pandemic. But his lack of a consistent message, newly surging virus cases and his attacks on experts like Fauci could undermine his final efforts to appeal to voters outside his most loyal base.

Trump insisted to supporters that he believes he will still win another term, though allowing that he didn’t have that same sense of confidence two weeks ago when he was hospitalized for treatment for the virus. Seeking to shore up the morale of his staff, Trump blasted his government’s own scientific experts as too negative, even as his handling of the pandemic that has killed nearly 220,000 Americans remains a central issue to voters.

Read the full story here.

—Associated Press

How the 2020 election could affect control of Congress

The status of races for U.S. Senate in 2020.
The status of races for U.S. Senate in 2020.

Read more about the Senate 2020 landscape here.

—Associated Press

Bags of mail, including ballots, found in Sammamish

Mail including election ballots was stolen from Sammamish mailboxes late last week and discovered by package carriers on Friday, and more ballots that were unopened or incomplete were taken and put in other mailboxes in the Eastside city, police said.

The Sammamish Police Department said there was no evidence to suggest that the thefts were politically motivated or that ballots were specifically targeted. Mail and package thefts are frequent in Sammamish, the police department added.

The U.S. Postal Service delivered 90% of election ballots to Sammamish residents on Thursday. Carriers delivering Amazon packages found bags of stolen mail on the side of a Sammamish road and in ditches a day later, according to the police department. The Redmond Post Office also alerted Sammamish city and police officials that some ballots had been placed in the wrong spots.

The police department recommends keeping mailboxes emptied often and locked.

Ballots that were found in bags or in wrong mailboxes will be delivered to the recipient, but anyone who does not receive a ballot today should contact King County Elections: 206-296-VOTE. Voters can also print a replacement online at the elections department site.

—Paige Cornwell

Where's my ballot? How to track your ballot status

King County Elections is scanning ballots that were turned in to a drop box this weekend. Those ballots will be marked today as "received," and will show up on the ballot tracker later today or tomorrow.

Ballots that were mailed will take a few extra days to arrive, according to King County Elections.

Check your ballot status here.

—Paige Cornwell

Black officers break from unions over Trump endorsements

PHILADELPHIA — Police unions nationwide have largely supported President Donald Trump’s reelection, amid mass demonstrations over police brutality and accusations of systemic racism — but a number of Black law enforcement officers are speaking out against these endorsements, saying their concerns over entering the 2020 political fray were ignored.

Trump has touted his support from the law enforcement community, which includes endorsements from national, city and state officers’ unions — some of which publicly endorsed a political candidate for the first time. He’s running on what he calls a “law and order” platform and tapping into a strain of anger and frustration felt by law enforcement who believe they are being unfairly accused of racial discrimination.

There are more than 8,000 law enforcement agencies in the U.S., with large departments holding sway nationally. The number of minority officers in policing has more than doubled in the last three decades, but many departments still have a smaller percentage of Black and Hispanic officers compared to the percentage of the general population those communities make up.

Read the full story here.

Related: What Seattle-area cops say about the future of policing
Black Americans rush to polls in surge of emotion

—Associated Press

Heck vs. Liias: Longtime Democratic lawmakers vying for Washington lieutenant governor

The race for lieutenant governor in Washington features a Democratic congressman who’s at the end of an eight-year legislative stint against a Democratic state senator who’s in the middle of an eight-year legislative stint.

Both candidates have previously served in lower legislative bodies — both were first elected at age 24 — and both have worked in the private sector in between stints of government service.

While there are certainly differences between U.S. Rep. Denny Heck and state Sen. Marko Liias, they’re not huge. And they’re a little bit like the duties of lieutenant governor, the office they both seek: kind of esoteric and not well understood.

Read the full story here.

—David Gutman

Climate change policy a stark divide as Biden and Trump battle for the White House

Democratic presidential candidate Joe Biden in July released a clean-energy plan that sketches the outlines of one of the biggest policy divides of the 2020 election: How to respond to climate change — a complex, high-stakes challenge that will remain long after the coronavirus crisis subsides.

Biden seeks to put the United States on a kind of wartime footing to launch a massive effort — backed by $2 trillion in spending — to reach net-zero greenhouse gas emissions by midcentury, which means whatever carbon pollution is emitted into the atmosphere is offset by other measures.

The Biden plan has an even more ambitious target for the elimination of carbon emissions from the generation of the nation’s electricity. That target is 2035, a breakneck pace that is a full decade earlier than the current Washington state deadline.

“Science tells us how we act — or fail to act — in the next 12 years will determine the very livability of our planet,” Biden said in a campaign video.

President Donald Trump has often scoffed at, questioned or downplayed climate science that forecasts average global temperatures by the end of the 21st century will rise from 2.5 degrees to more than 9 degrees Fahrenheit as greenhouse gases build up in the Earth’s atmosphere. During a September visit to a California stricken by massive wildfires, he predicted that, “It will start getting cooler, you just watch.”

Read the full story here.

—Hal Bernton

Ballot measure would authorize property taxes for $1.74 billion Harborview Medical Center expansion

King County voters will decide in the Nov. 3 election whether to spend $1.74 billion on renovation and expansion projects at Harborview Medical Center in Seattle. Proposition No. 1 would approve bonds to fund the projects at the hospital on First Hill and would authorize property-tax increases to repay the bonds over 20 years.

Owned by the county and operated by UW Medicine as a teaching hospital, Harborview is the only Level 1 trauma and burn center for Washington, Alaska, Idaho and Montana.

Its mission includes serving vulnerable populations, and the hospital has played a crucial role in the Seattle area’s response to the COVID-19 pandemic — accepting patients from the initial outbreak at a Kirkland nursing home, converting an intensive care unit into a COVID-19 unit and converting a homeless shelter into a COVID-19 recovery center.

“We’re talking about COVID today, but who knows what’s next,” Paul Hayes, Harborview’s executive director, said in an interview last week.

Read the full story here.

—Daniel Beekman

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