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Organizers say more than 500,000 Hong Kong residents have voted in primary elections held by pro-democracy opposition groups on Saturday and Sunday, despite fears of a government crackdown under Beijing's draconian new national security law, Reuters reports.

Why it matters: The primaries, which aren't part of the city's official political process, are intended to whittle down the field of pro-democracy candidates in order to avoid splitting the vote against pro-China ruling politicians in September's legislative elections.

  • One government official said the vote may violate the national security law's ban on secession, subversion and collusion, leading to fears that candidates could be disqualified from the general election.
  • But the larger-than-expected turnout suggests that support for the pro-democracy movement, which has drawn hundreds of thousands of protesters and led to a sweeping victory in district council elections last year, remains strong.

What they're saying: "One day more for our last free election, our new target will be 500,000, which amounts to 30% of votes in pro-democracy camp and 10% of the total registered voter in #Hongkong," tweeted activist Joshua Wong.

  • "With 500,000 HKers casting their ballots amid #Beijing’s threats and sweeping #nationalsecuritylaw, our determination would send a strong message to the world: #Hongkongers will not surrender. No matter how repressive the regime goes against us, we will not bow to tyranny."

Go deeper: What to know about Hong Kong's new security law

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FBI Director Christopher Wray and other intelligence community officials warned about China’s increased capability to interfere in U.S. elections in separate classified hearings with the Senate Intelligence Committee this week, two sources familiar with the hearings tell Axios.

What we're hearing: Wray and other officials cited concerns that China is developing the ability to interfere with local election systems and target members of Congress to influence China policy, the sources said.

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Schumer and Pelosi. Photo: Alex Wong/Getty Images

House Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.) and Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer sent a letter to Postmaster General Louis DeJoy on Thursday calling for the recent Trump appointee to reverse operational changes to the U.S. Postal Service that "threaten the timely delivery of mail" ahead of the 2020 election.

Why it matters: U.S. mail and election infrastructure are facing a test like no other this November, with a record-breaking number of mail-in ballots expected as Americans attempt to vote in the midst of a pandemic.

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Photo illustration: Aïda Amer/Axios. Photos: Brian Ach/Getty Images for Wired and BSIP/UIG via Getty Images

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Why it matters: Testing shortages and backlogs underscore a need for improved mass testing for COVID-19. Diagnostic tests based on CRISPR — which Doudna and colleagues identified in 2012, ushering in the "CRISPR revolution" in genome editing — are being developed for dengue, Zika and other diseases, but a global pandemic is a proving ground for these tools that hold promise for speed and lower costs.