ELECTION 2020-MAIL VOTING BEGINS
North Carolina kicks off mail voting as requests spike
RALEIGH (AP) — Mail voting is starting in the presidential election as North Carolina begins to send out about 600,000 ballots to voters who have requested them. Those voters are overwhelmingly Democrats and independents, reflecting a partisan split in voting methods that’s developed since President Donald Trump started attacking mail voting in March. Democrats are well ahead of Republicans in requesting mail ballots in several states. That may give them a slight edge in the campaign but doesn’t reflect any inevitable success election night.
BC-NC-MARINE HELICOPTER-EMERGENCY LANDING
Marine helicopter makes emergency landing in North Carolina
SNEADS RIVER, N.C. (AP) — A U.S. Marines helicopter was forced to make a precautionary emergency landing and caught fire in eastern North Carolina. The Daily News in Jacksonville reports that the incident occurred on Thursday afternoon. Officials with Marine Corps Air Station New River told the newspaper that no injuries were reported. The reason for the landing of the CH-53E remains under investigation. The helicopter landed in a field in Sneads Ferry, which is about 50 minutes north of Wilmington. The Marine Corps said in a press release that it was thankful for the quick response to the scene by the North Carolina Highway Patrol, Onslow County Sheriff’s Office and Onslow County Emergency Medical Service.
Indictment: Ex-officer offered ‘free passes’ for sex, photos
WRIGHTSVILLE BEACH, N.C. (AP) — A former North Carolina police officer accused of soliciting nude photos and sex in exchange for “free passes” during possible law enforcement encounters has been indicted on felony bribery charges. News outlets report that former Wrightsville Beach officer Shaun Patrick Appler surrendered to New Hanover County authorities Wednesday on two counts of bribery by a public official. WECT-TV reports that state agents began investigating after a woman told prosecutors he approached her with the proposal in 2019. An attorney for Appler declined to comment on the allegations. Wrightsville Beach’s police chief said the department would work to hold itself accountable “in all regards to the highest standards.”
Trump suggests polling place double-check for mail-in voters
WASHINGTON (AP) — Election experts are taking issue with President Donald Trump’s suggestion that people who vote early by mail should vote again at their polling place if their ballot hasn’t been counted. Experts and state voting officials say the president’s idea would lead to chaos, long lines and more work for election officials. Information on whether a ballot has been counted isn’t even typically available right away. What can be checked is whether an absentee ballot has been received, and in some cases, whether it’s passed a security review and will be submitted for counting. Most states offer ways for voters to verify the status of their ballot online.
NC virus relief aid heads to Cooper as General Assembly ends
RALEIGH, N.C. (AP) — The North Carolina legislature has finalized a plan to spend $1.1 billion of the state’s remaining COVID-19 relief funds from Washington. The House voted overwhelmingly on Thursday for the package, which includes direct cash payments of $335 to families with school-age children. The Senate already approved on Wednesday the measure, which now heads to Democratic Gov. Roy Cooper’s desk. The package also provides a $50 uptick in weekly unemployment benefits and more funds for testing, tracing and personal protective equipment. The bill was finalized as lawmakers wrapped up two days of work and likely ended their two-year session.
Court won’t halt witness requirement for NC absentee ballots
RALEIGH, N.C. (AP) — North Carolina judges have refused to block a witness requirement for mail-in absentee ballots this fall. The three judges rejected unanimously on Thursday a request for an injunction by registered voters in a lawsuit filed in July that challenged the state law that one witness sign a person’s ballot return envelope. The voters had preexisting conditions and said the requirement demanded close contact that would force them to choose between their health and the right to vote. The judges wrote that altering the rules now would lead to additional costs and likely confusion for all voters who cast by absentee ballot.
Abortion-rights groups sue to overturn several NC laws
RALEIGH, N.C. (AP) — Abortion-rights groups and abortion providers have sued to overturn several restrictions for the procedure in North Carolina. The five portions of state laws challenged Thursday in Wake County court were approved by the Republican-controlled legislature during the past decade. They include a 72-hour waiting period for a woman to receive an abortion and a ban on virtual medical appointments to get a medication-induced abortion. The lawsuit was filed on the same day that Vice President Mike Pence participated in a rally for abortion opponents at a Raleigh church. Other legal challenges to recent abortion regulations in North Carolina have been successful.
Bodies of 2 children found after floodwaters recede
SMITHFIELD, N.C. (AP) — Authorities have recovered the body of a 4-year-old boy who had been swept away in floodwaters in North Carolina. The Raleigh News & Observer reported Thursday that the boy’s body was found about 30 yards from where the body of his 5-year-old sister was found on Wednesday. The children were swept away late Monday after their mother’s car slid into fast-moving water in a creek near the Neuse River. The children’s mother, Vanessa Castro, survived. The car left the road in Smithfield in Johnston County, which is southeast of Raleigh.
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