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Post office defends on claims that cuts threaten election
PHILADELPHIA (AP) – Officials from six states and the District of Columbia have asked a federal judge to halt what they say are slowdowns at the U.S. Postal Service that threaten the upcoming presidential election. They argued Thursday in U.S. District Court in Philadelphia that on-time delivery dropped sharply in July and has not fully rebounded as the nation battles a pandemic and prepares for an election that could hinge on mail-in ballots. Judges in Washington state and New York issued emergency orders this month in similar cases. The states involved in Thursday’s hearing are Pennsylvania, California, Delaware, Maine, Massachusetts and North Carolina.
GOP elections board members in NC resign over absentee deal
RALEIGH, N.C. (AP) – The two Republican members of North Carolina’s state elections board have resigned after signing off on a settlement to help voters fix absentee ballot problems. The settlement has been criticized by Republican leaders. Ken Raymond and David Black announced their resignations late Wednesday from the State Board of Elections over the tentative agreement to let voters correct problems with witness information on their absentee ballots without filling out an entirely new ballot. Raymond and Black had joined the three Democratic state board members in unanimously approving the settlement, which was announced Tuesday.
Records: Mail delivery lags behind targets as election nears
Data obtained by The Associated Press shows Postal Service districts across the nation are missing the agency’s own standards for on-time delivery as millions of Americans prepare to vote by mail. The lag times are especially pronounced in key regions of some battleground states, where delivery times are below the national average. That raises the possibility that scores of mailed ballots could miss deadlines for reaching local election offices if voters wait too long. Missing a deadline is one of the key reasons mail-in ballots get rejected. Postal service leaders have said the agency will prioritize election mail.
Trump promotes health care ‘vision’ but gaps remain
CHARLOTTE, N.C. (AP) – More than three-and-a-half years into his presidency and 40 days from an election, President Donald Trump is launching what aides term a “vision” for health care heavy on unfulfilled aspirations. Trump spoke Thursday at an airport hangar in swing-state North Carolina to a crowd that included white-coated, mask-wearing health care workers. He signed an executive order covering a range of issues, including protecting people with preexisting medical conditions from insurance discrimination. But that right is already guaranteed in the Obama-era health law his administration is asking the Supreme Court to overturn. House Speaker Nancy Pelosi called Trump’s order “bogus.”
Trump infuses politics into his choice for the Supreme Court
WASHINGTON (AP) – President Donald Trump aims to maximize the benefit of his Supreme Court choice before Nov. 3 and even secure an electoral backstop should the results be contested. He is closing in on his pick to fill the vacancy just weeks before Election Day. The selection of his third justice to the high court is infused with politics. Even before Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg’s death last week, the president had tried to use the likelihood of more Supreme Court vacancies to his political advantage. Now, as he nears a decision on her likely replacement, Trump has used the vacancy to appeal to battleground-state voters and as a rallying cry for his conservative base.
Man dies after trying to save daughter in rough N.C. surf
COROLLA, N.C. (AP) – A man has died after trying to save his daughter from what officials say was life-threatening surf on the North Carolina coast. The Virginian-Pilot reports that the incident occurred Tuesday afternoon in Currituck County on the Outer Banks. Currituck County spokesman Randall Edwards said the man was overcome by waves when he entered the water. Lifeguards from Corolla Beach Rescue responded within three minutes. The unidentified man was pulled from the water in cardiac arrest. The man regained a pulse after emergency personnel performed CPR. But he died at a hospital several hours later. The man’s daughter was rescued by lifeguards and was not injured.
AP-NC-VIRUS OUTBREAK-NORTH CAROLINA-COLLEGES
N.C. State students can take in-person classes in spring
RALEIGH, N.C. (AP) – N.C. State University says its students can take in-person classes for the spring semester and live in campus housing. The school said on its website on Wednesday that classes will start Jan. 11 and finish April 29. The university also said it will have spring break March 15-19, and áwill conduct final exams May 3-7. N.C. State reported more than 30 clusters of COVID-19 since classes began in August. According to the school, students contracted COVID-19 in residence halls, fraternity and sorority houses and in off-campus apartments. Chancellor Randy Woodson said he was cautiously optimistic.
‘Rock star’ appeals judge Allison Rushing in high court mix
RALEIGH, N.C. (AP) – Allison Jones Rushing already has landed what most lawyers would consider a career-defining judicial position before turning 40. But her time as a 4th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals judge could be brief should President Donald Trump pick her as his nominee to succeed Ruth Bader Ginsburg on the U.S. Supreme Court. She began at the 4th Circuit just 18 months ago after a party-line Senate confirmation vote. She faced questions about her relatively short legal experience and link to a conservative legal group. The North Carolina native would be the first millennial on the Supreme Court. She’s clerked for two current justices.