• 😷 Dept. of “We Have It Totally Under Control.”

  • Global: Total confirmed cases: ~26,129,000; deaths: ~866,000

  • U.S.: Total confirmed cases: ~6,142,000; deaths: ~187,000

  • Source: Johns Hopkins University

  • 💻 COVID-19 Live Blogs: New York Times / Washington Post / CNN / The Guardian

  • 🗳 How To Vote In The 2020 Election In Every State. Everything you need to know about mail-in and early in-person voting in every state in the age of COVID-19, including the first day you can cast your ballot in the 2020 election. (FiveThirtyEight / NBC News / Wall Street Journal)

1/ Another 881,000 people applied for state unemployment benefits last week. In total, the number of continuing claims is about 13.3 million with roughly 29 million people receiving some form of unemployment assistance as of mid-August. (Wall Street Journal / NPR / CNBC / Politico / Washington Post / New York Times / The Guardian)

  • Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer called the Senate Republicans’ new coronavirus relief proposal “emaciated,” saying it lacked relief money for housing assistance, food stamps, and enhanced unemployment aid. Schumer also accused Mitch McConnell of “planning another round of partisan games” and said Republicans are “moving even further in the wrong direction.” (Washington Post / Politico / CNN)

  • [Last Month] Trump’s executive actions aimed at bypassing stalled negotiations with Congress only has one state paying new jobless benefits, with few evictions paused. (Washington Post)

  • [Last Month] Two states are paying out the $300 supplemental $300 jobless benefit. “Part of the reason for the slow start is that implementing the new program falls on overwhelmed state unemployment offices that have already struggled to process applications and deliver benefits during the pandemic. Another complication is that the program’s funding is coming from disaster money at the Federal Emergency Management Agency.” (Bloomberg)

  • [Last Month] Grocery shoppers cut back on spending after the $600 in weekly additional unemployment checks expired in July. (Wall Street Journal)

2/ The Trump campaign and the Republican National Committee sued Montana in an attempt to block an expansion of mail-in voting in the state. Last month, Gov. Steve Bullock issued a directive allowing counties to expand voting by mail and early voting “at their local discretion,” including mailing ballots to qualified voters. The lawsuit alleges that Bullock’s order is unconstitutional because the “directive creates a patchwork election code with no uniform procedures across the state.” Montana, however, already allows voters to request and submit absentee ballots. The Trump campaign also sued New Jersey and Nevada last month for planning to send mail-in ballots to all state voters. Bullock said in a statement that mail-in voting in Montana is “safe, secure, and was requested by a bipartisan coalition of Montana election officials seeking to reduce the risk of COVID-19 and keep Montanans safe and healthy.” (CNN / Axios)

  • Georgia likely removed nearly 200,000 people from the voter rolls in error after concluding that they had moved and not changed the address on their voter registration. The ACLU of Georgia reviewed 313,243 names that were removed from the state’s voter rolls in late 2019 and found that 63.3% of voters had not moved and were purged in error. (CNN)

  • A Baltimore mail facility allowed 68,000 pieces of political mail to sit untouched for five days ahead of the June 2 primary. According to an audit of the U.S. Postal Service’s performance during the primary election season, the delayed pieces were not ballots. (Baltimore Sun)

  • The U.S. Postal Service paid Postmaster General Louis DeJoy’s former company about $286 million since 2013. DeJoy still holds at least a $30 million stake in the company. (New York Times)

  • [Analysis] The Trump Administration Continues to Erode Election Security. “The DHS, the DOJ, and the Office of the Director of National Intelligence have all had recent controversies that bode poorly for electoral integrity.” (Wired)

3/ Trump encouraged North Carolina residents to illegally vote twice — once by mail and once in person — to test if “their system’s as good as they say it is.” Voting twice in the same election is illegal and in North Carolina it is a Class I felony. When asked whether he had confidence in the mail-in voting system, Trump suggested to “let them send it in and let them go vote, and if their system’s as good as they say it is, then obviously they won’t be able to vote. […] that’s what they should do.” Trump later tried to clarify his remarks, tweeting that “In order for you to MAKE SURE YOUR VOTE COUNTS & IS COUNTED,” people should “go to your Polling Place to see whether or not your Mail In Vote has been Tabulated (Counted). If it has you will not be able to Vote & the Mail In System worked properly. If it has not been Counted, VOTE (which is a citizen’s right to do).” Twitter added a “public interest notice” to Trump’s tweets that they “violated the Twitter Rules about civic and election integrity.” Attorney General William Barr, meanwhile, defended Trump’s statement, suggesting that he “was trying to make the point that the ability to monitor this system is not good.” When told that voting twice is illegal, Barr replied: “I don’t know what the law in the particular state says.” Barr then added that he’s not sure if it is illegal to vote twice in any state before baselessly claiming that state and local officials are “playing with fire” if they rely on mail-in ballots in the November election. (NBC News / New York Times / Washington Post / USA Today / The Guardian / ABC News / Axios / CNBC / Politico / New York Times / CNN / Bloomberg / The Week)

  • Among registered voters in North Carolina, Trump trails Biden 45% to 47%. The last three presidential elections were decided by fewer than four percentage points in North Carolina. (Monmouth University / The Hill)

4/ A Homeland Security intelligence bulletin warned that Russia is trying to undermine the integrity of the election by “amplifying” false claims that mail-in voting will result in widespread fraud. Analysts issued the warning to federal and state law enforcement after finding with “high confidence” that “Russian malign influence actors” have targeted the absentee voting process “by spreading disinformation” since at least March. “We assess that Russia is likely to continue amplifying criticisms of vote-by-mail and shifting voting processes amidst the COVID-19 pandemic to undermine public trust in the electoral process,” the bulletin reads. Separately, DHS officials withheld a July bulletin that warned of a Russian campaign to spread misinformation about Biden’s mental health. (ABC News / CNN)

5/ Democratic senators called on the Trump administration to impose sanctions on Russia for seeking to interfere in the 2020 U.S. election. In a letter to Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin, 11 senators cited the nation’s top counterintelligence official publicly stating that Russia is using several measures “to denigrate former Vice President [Joe] Biden” and other Democrats in advance of the election. While the Treasury Department declined to comment, Attorney General William Barr claimed that he viewed China as more of a threat than Russia. “I’ve seen intelligence. That’s what I’ve concluded,” he said, with no elaboration. (Politico / Washington Post)

6/ Health and Human Services Secretary Alex Azar rejected concerns that the Trump administration is rushing the approval of a coronavirus vaccine before Election Day. Three vaccine candidates have entered Phase 3 clinical trials, which take months to complete, and results are not expected until late October at the earliest. The CDC, however, recently directed states to prepare to begin vaccine distribution by Nov. 1 – two days before the election. When pressed about how the CDC selected its target date, Azar denied that the decision was politically motivated, saying “It has nothing to do with elections. This has to do with delivering safe, effective vaccines to the American people as quickly as possible and saving lives.” FDA Commissioner Stephen Hahn recently apologized for overstating the benefits of treating COVID-19 patients with convalescent plasma, which his agency approved an emergency use authorization for after coming under attack from Trump. (Politico / CBS News)

  • [Rumor mill] FDA Commissioner Stephen Hahn and HHS Secretary Alex Azar are locked in a “tit for tat” dispute over COVID-19 messaging. “Azar was furious when Hahn openly backtracked on claims about plasma’s effectiveness, at a time when President Donald Trump was preparing to tout the treatment at the Republican National Convention.” (Politico)

7/ Trump ordered officials to find ways to cut federal funding to cities that the Trump administration has deemed “lawless.” In a five-page memo, Trump directed the White House Office of Management and Budget to withdraw federal funds for any “anarchist jurisdiction” that “disempowers or defunds police departments.” The memo also directs Attorney General William Barr to publicly post a list of jurisdictions that have “permitted violence and the destruction of property” within the next 14 days. The memo specifically mentions Portland, Seattle, New York, and Washington, D.C. (New York Post / New York Times / The Guardian / Bloomberg / Politico / Washington Post / CNBC / Axios)

[Fox News] poll/ Biden is ahead in key states that Trump won in 2016. Biden leads Trump in Arizona (49-40%), North Carolina (50-46%), and in Wisconsin (50-42%). Trump, meanwhile, tweeted that Fox News should “get a new pollster” because the “Fake News Suppression Poll” is “Fake News.” (Fox News)

poll/ 52% of likely voters support Biden, while 42% support Trump. 50% of likely voters say having Trump as president makes them feel less safe, while 35% say it makes them feel more safe, and 14% say it doesn’t have any impact on how they feel. (Axios / Quinnipiac)