Our biweekly lists lay out notable issues in the news and tell you what you can do about them.
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Hello everyone! Let's just get straight to the point.
THERE IS ONE WEEK UNTIL THE ELECTION.
We have the chance to get Donald Trump out of power forever and get Democrats elected across the country- something that is important for all these reasons and more, especially after the shameful confirmation of Amy Coney Barrett to the Supreme Court tonight. It’s hard to wrap our minds around this because of how long it’s been, how numb we are, and the sheer number of things going on. But we have been waiting for November 3, 2020 since November 9, 2016. So it’s all hands on deck.
Here are things to commit to doing in the next week:
THE BOTTOM LINE: We are in the home stretch. Especially, if you can’t yet vote, these are important & great ways to help out.
Some extra info...
EARLY VOTING STATS:
As of 12:42pm on October 26, ~61.3 million people have voted early — that figure includes ~40.8 million mail-in ballots and ~20.5 million in-person votes. In other words, voters have already cast 44.4% of the total votes counted in 2016, a number that has entirely shattered early voting records. (And the election is still a week away!!) In addition, in the states reporting, ~87 million voters have requested mail-in ballots, meaning over half of the ballots requested have yet to be returned.
According to that same analysis — by Michael McDonald, a professor at the University of Florida — 49% of ballots cast have been by Democrats, while 28% have been by Republicans (in states that report party registration). Republicans maintain a few-point lead in in-person early voting, while Democrats are winning both in mail-in ballots returned and in outstanding mail-in ballots (ballots that were requested but haven’t yet been sent back in with a vote).
Last month, an ABC News/Washington Post poll found that Trump led by 19 percentage points among people who intended to vote on Election Day, while Joe Biden had more than a 2-to-1 advantage (67 to 31 percent) among those who planned to vote before then. This year’s unprecedented early voting numbers likely reflect both the circumstances of the pandemic and that people are so eager to get out and get their voices heard. According to the Washington Post, in states where early ballots can be matched against a voter file, roughly 1 in 5 votes have come from someone who did not cast a ballot four years ago in the same state.
Understanding Swing States
What are swing states?
Swing states are the most competitive aspects of national elections. In swing states, both major parties have a roughly even chance of winning valuable Electoral College votes or seats in Congress, which can change the nation’s balance of power dramatically.
In 2016, Donald Trump was able to take important states like Florida, Pennsylvania, Ohio, and many others to secure his victory. Swing states are key to winning a presidential election, so major candidates will often focus on them the most.
What are some important swing states in the presidential race?
Florida – 29 electoral votes
Florida is the biggest swing state and one of the most competitive every election. In 2016, Trump won the state by 1.2% with strong support from older people and groups like Cuban-Americans. Joe Biden, who’s leading in the polls, will have to draw votes from urban centers to win.
Pennsylvania – 20 electoral votes
Whoever takes Pennsylvania usually takes the whole election; Trump won the state by just 0.7% in 2016. Like Florida, Biden leads the polls, but Trump’s support in the conservative central regions can still help him. It may come down to swing counties like Luzerne and Northampton to decide the victor.
Arizona – 11 electoral votes
Arizona, which usually goes Republican, went for Trump last year by 3.5%. But Biden polls well with the state’s big Latino population, and if he can keep that lead up, it’ll be vital to a victory.
Also look for Ohio, Michigan, and Wisconsin as states expected to tip the balance.
What are some swing states in the senatorial races?
The Democrats need to gain only four seats (or three if Biden wins, because Kamala Harris will be the tiebreaker as the VP instead of Pence) to restore their Senate majority. Not every state is holding an election for Senator, but that doesn’t stop the ones this year from getting competitive. (SEE OUR TEENS ELECT LIST OF FEATURED CANDIDATES FOR MORE INFO ON KEY RACES!!)
Here are a few updates on states to watch:
Iowa isn’t the biggest state, but a Senate win is still important to both parties. Republican Senator Joni Ernst is racing against Democrat Theresa Greenfield for this seat.
North Carolina is an important state to win. Democrat Cal Cunningham is challenging incumbent Republican Thom Tillis. It’s going to be close, but whoever wins will help his party regain—or keep—their power in Congress.
Georgia is a traditionally red state, but it’s become more competitive in the modern age. Republican Senator Kelly Loeffler is defending her seat against three other major candidates: Democrat Raphael Warnock, Republican Doug Collins, and Democrat Matt Lieberman. The other Senate election has Republican incumbent David Perdue against Democratic challenger Jon Ossoff. Georgia could potentially have two Democratic senators in office, something unheard of for a state in the Deep South.
WHAT YOU CAN DO: The actions we mention at the beginning of this list all correspond to swing states! Let's get cracking!
OTHER IMPORTANT INFO:
WILDFIRE RELIEF: The effects of climate change are seemingly endless, but wildfires plaguing the West Coast at unprecedented rates are perhaps its most prominent impact at the moment. The National Interagency Fire Center reported on October 23 that “unprecedented conditions in Colorado caused the East Troublesome Fire to burn more than 130,000 acres” the day prior. In all, the Center reports that 11 million acres nation-wide have been burned by 54 large fires so far this year. CNN reports that authorities are concerned that high winds and dry conditions will worsen the fires. President Trump, who has taken concrete action that will further the damaging impacts of climate change, has chalked up the wildfires to “poor forest management,” and refuses to acknowledge that global warming is the real motivator behind the fires (although, Politico reported on October 24 that Trump privately admitted there may have been a “50-50” causation).
The impacts of these fires have been devastating. Almost 500,000 Californians may lose power and residents are being told to plan for evacuation (NBC News). Thousands of Westerners have been forced to evacuate their homes due to the wildfires, leaving behind their lives and not knowing when they will return or what they will return to.
HOW YOU CAN HELP:
END SARS: The movement to end police brutality in Nigeria has gained important traction in the United States in the past couple weeks. Usually, we like to give our own summaries of topics, but we think this one does a really good job.
HOW YOU CAN HELP:
We'll see you soon. Good luck in your campaigning!
Peace & Power,
This list was written by Christopher Giang, Betty Kubovy-Weiss, Sonia Chajet Wides, and Kate Griem.
These lists include featured organizations, scripts, numbers, news updates and inspirational activists.