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Illustration: Sara Grillo/Axios

Americans should vote in the 2020 general election by mail if physically going to the polls remains unsafe due to the novel coronavirus outbreak, Ellen Weintraub, commissioner of the Federal Election Commission (FEC), said in a statement on Thursday.

What she's saying: "No one knows what the coronavirus situation will be when America votes this November. The U.S. government has the duty to prepare for the worst. And it can. But only if it acts now."

  • "Voting by mail offers the best path. Making vote-by-mail broadly available will not solve every election-related challenge this year, but it is a necessary and urgent beginning," Weintraub wrote.
  • "No one should have to risk their life — or the lives of their loved ones — to cast their vote."

Where it stands: Seven states have delayed primaries or caucuses in response to the COVID-19 outbreak. Connecticut Gov. Ned Lamont announced on Thursday that the state is rescheduling its 2020 primary to June 2.

The other side: The FEC "has no jurisdiction over the administration of elections, including whether states decide to offer mail-in ballots," Republican FEC chair Caroline Hunter told Axios.

  • "I hope my colleague will cease misleading the American people about the role of the FEC in American elections, particularly during this unprecedented crisis," Hunter said, referring to Weintraub.

Go deeper: Census Bureau halts field operations for 2 weeks

Editor's note: This story has been updated to reflect that Ellen Weintraub is the commissioner of the Federal Election Commission, not the chairperson, and Hunter is an FEC chair.

Go deeper

Dion Rabouin, author of Markets
37 mins ago - Economy & Business

How GameStop exposed the market

Illustration: Eniola Odetunde/Axios

Retail traders have found a cheat code for the stock market, and barring some major action from regulatory authorities or a massive turn in their favored companies, they're going to keep using it to score "tendies" and turn Wall Street on its head.

What's happening: The share prices of companies like GameStop are rocketing higher, based largely on the social media organizing of a 3-million strong group of Redditors who are eagerly piling into companies that big hedge funds are short selling, or betting will fall in price.

Caitlin Owens, author of Vitals
1 hour ago - Health

Who benefits from Biden's move to reopen ACA enrollment

Photo: Chip Somodevilla/Getty Images

Nearly 15 million Americans who are currently uninsured are eligible for coverage on the Affordable Care Act marketplaces, and more than half of them would qualify for subsidies, according to a new Kaiser Family Foundation brief.

Why it matters: President Biden is expected to announce today that he'll be reopening the marketplaces for a special enrollment period from Feb. 15 to May 15, but getting a significant number of people to sign up for coverage will likely require targeted outreach.

2 hours ago - Technology

Big Tech bolts politics

Illustration: Eniola Odetunde/Axios

Big Tech fed politics. Then it bled politics. Now it wants to be dead to politics. 

Why it matters: The social platforms that profited massively on politics and free speech suddenly want a way out — or at least a way to hide until the heat cools. 

You’ve caught up. Now what?

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