Democrats Smash Fundraising Records After Ginsburg Death

Democratic donors smashed fundraising records after the death on Friday of U.S. Supreme Court Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg, funneling more than $90 million to candidates and progressive groups in just over 24 hours. As Democrats and Republicans braced for a nomination fight that has upended the November presidential election, the online fundraising organization ActBlue said grassroots donors gave $91.4 million to Democratic candidates and causes in the 28 hours after 8 p.m. Friday, around the time the news of Ginsburg’s death broke. That figure, coming from 1.5 million donations, broke the all-time ActBlue records for dollars raised in one day and dollars raised in one hour, said Erin Hill, the non-profit’s executive director. Donors gave $70.6 million on Saturday alone, and $6.3 million in one hour on Friday night, Hill said, beating the group’s previous records of $41.6 million in one day and $4.3 million in one hour. The death of Ginsburg so close to the Nov. 3 election has energized both the Democratic base and Republican President Donald Trump’s core supporters. If Trump is able to install a conservative replacement for the liberal Ginsburg, the move would cement a 6-3 conservative majority on the court. Much of the Democratic money will be poured into key Senate races, as the party seeks to retake control of the chamber in November, and also to pressure vulnerable Republican incumbents into opposing a move by Trump to install a new justice before the election. (Reporting by Tim Reid; Editing by Steve Orlofsky)

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Twitter Will Make Key US Political Accounts Adopt Tighter Account Security

Twitter Inc, which was recently targeted in a hacking campaign that compromised the accounts of prominent political figures and celebrities, said on Thursday it was implementing more security measures for certain election-related accounts in the United States. Accounts belonging to the U.S. executive branch, Congress, presidential campaigns and political parties are among those which Twitter said in a blog post it would require to take security measures “given the unique sensitivities of the election period.” The accounts will be required to use a strong password, Twitter will enable by default a setting that helps prevent unauthorized password changes and the users will be strongly encouraged to enable two-factor authentication. In July, hackers were able to access Twitter’s internal systems and seize control of accounts, including Democratic presidential candidate Joe Biden and former U.S. President Barack Obama, and solicit digital currency. Twitter has said its employees were duped into sharing account credentials. Lawmakers have expressed concerns over what would happen if a similar breach occurred a day before the U.S. presidential election on Nov. 3. After the hack, the White House said it had been in constant contact with Twitter to ensure the security of President Donald Trump’s Twitter account, which was not jeopardized in the hack. Other types of accounts for which Twitter is requiring or recommending these security measures include those belonging to members of the U.S. Congress, U.S. governors and secretaries of state, political candidates that have Twitter’s “Election Labels” and some major U.S. news outlets and political journalists. Twitter said that in the coming weeks it would put in place other internal security safeguards for the accounts, including better detections to help the company and account holders respond quickly to suspicious activity and increased login defenses to prevent malicious account takeover attempts. (Reporting by Elizabeth Culliford; Editing by Chris Reese)

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Ohio To Keep Ballot-Box Limits for Now After Judge Calls Them ‘Unreasonable’

Ohio’s top election official declined to loosen restrictions on absentee-ballot drop boxes on Tuesday after a state judge ruled they were “arbitrary and unreasonable” and said local officials should be able to install more if they wish. The ruling initially appeared to be a victory for Democrats who have pressed for more drop boxes to accommodate voters who don’t want to return absentee ballots by mail in the Nov. 3 presidential election. But Ohio Secretary of State Frank LaRose, a Republican, will not change rules that only allow one drop box for each of the state’s 88 counties, spokeswoman Maggie Sheehan said. “Today’s ruling didn’t change anything, and the secretary’s directive remains in place,” she said. Drop boxes have become a partisan flash point in the presidential election. Democrats have promoted them as a reasonable and reliable option for voters unnerved by the COVID-19 pandemic and U.S. Postal Service delivery problems. Republican officials and President Donald Trump’s campaign have sought to limit them in many states, arguing without evidence that the receptacles could enable voting fraud. In Ohio, LaRose’s restrictions leave the 864,000 registered voters of Cuyahoga County, a Democratic stronghold, with the same number of drop boxes as the 8,400 registered voters of Republican-leaning Vinton County. Opinion polls show Trump holding a narrow lead over Democratic rival Joe Biden in Ohio. Ohio Judge Richard Frye ruled that local authorities can set up more drop boxes. “Wholly arbitrary rules are entitled to no deference,” he wrote. Democrats said that should allow local officials to set up more drop boxes if they wish. But the judge’s decision did not strike down the rule outright, and Sheehan indicated LaRose may appeal. “Ohioans are fortunate that the judicial branch offers the opportunity to appeal a single trial judge’s opinion,” she said. Ohio Representative Paula Hicks-Hudson, a Democrat, said LaRose had told her he would follow any court ruling, rather than pursue an appeal. “I’m calling on the secretary of state to keep his word,” she said on a conference call. Democrats and Republicans have waged a state-by-state battle over absentee voting procedures ahead of the election, which could see up to half of all ballots sent through the mail. In Pennsylvania, the state’s top election official said on Monday that local officials can’t discard returned mail ballots if the signature does not resemble one kept on file. In Arizona, a federal judge ruled last week that state officials must give voters a chance to fix ballots that are returned without a signature, rather than rejecting them outright. (Reporting by Andy Sullivan; Editing by Scott Malone, Dan Grebler and Jonathan Oatis)

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Sen. Susan Collins Ducks Endorsement When Pressed by Opponent on Who She Supports in 2020 Election

When it comes to an endorsement of President Donald Trump, Sen. Susan Collins (R-Maine) is declining to do so. When challenged by Maine House Speaker Sara Gideon, her Democratic opponent in the 2020 Senate race, if she will endorse Trump in the 2020 presidential election, the senator sidestepped any such endorsement. Gideon asked Collins during Friday night’s Senate election debate “who she thinks should be leading this country.” “She has neglected to answer that question, and I’d like to give her the opportunity tonight,” Gideon continued. “I think Joe Biden should be our leader.” However, Collins declined to answer, instead, saying it should be up to those in Maine to decide themselves who they support in the upcoming presidential election. “Let me say this, I don’t think that the people of Maine need my advice on whom to support for president,” Collins responded, adding that “not a single person” during her bus tour asked her who should be the next president. She then said that people in Maine instead told her “how grateful they were for the Paycheck Protection Program” to help their small businesses amid the coronavirus pandemic. In another attempt during the debate to get Collins to say whether she supports Trump, Gideon said, “I think Joe Biden should be our leader to help us through with public health and rebuilding the economy.” However, Collins refused to answer. Watch the exchange below: When pressed by @SaraGideon to announce publicly who she will support for President of the United States in tonight’s US Senate debate in Maine, @SenatorCollins chickened out and declined to endorse Donald Trump. — Alex Mohajer (@AlexMohajer) September 12, 2020 [embedded content] Collins wrote an op-ed in The Washington Post in August of 2016 expressing why she could not support Trump in the 2016 presidential election. She wrote at the time: “I will not be voting for Donald Trump for president. This is not a decision I make lightly, for I am a lifelong Republican. But Donald Trump does not reflect historical Republican values nor the inclusive approach to governing that is critical to healing the divisions in our country. […] My conclusion about Mr. Trump’s unsuitability for office is based on his disregard for the precept of treating others with respect, an idea that should transcend politics.” During the first debate of the Senate election, Collins also touched on Trump’s comments that surfaced recently where he previously told Bob Woodward during an interview that he downplayed the coronavirus so that he would not create panic. Touching on that admission, Collins said, “The American people can take hard facts. And he had an obligation as President to be straightforward with them and to tell all that he has known.” She added, “I have said since the beginning that the President’s performance has been uneven and that he should follow the advice of his excellent medical advisers.”

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