Oct 24, 2018

Judge blocks Georgia officials from rejecting certain absentee ballots

Georgia Secretary of State Brian Kemp. Photo: Jessica McGowan/Getty Images

A federal judge issued a temporary restraining order on Wednesday to block Georgia election officials from tossing out absentee ballots with mismatched signatures, in response to two suits brought by voting rights advocates that argued hundreds were improperly rejected.

Why it matters: Georgia's highly-contested gubernatorial race is clouded by concerns of voter suppression following a report that said tens of thousands of voters, predominantly African Americans, were placed on hold.

The details: U.S. District Judge Leigh May ordered Secretary of State Brian Kemp's office, who is also the Republican nominee for governor, to end the practice for the midterm elections. Her ruling also included a procedure to allow voters to resolve the alleged discrepancies which disproportionately affected Asian Americans and African American voters.

Voting rights advocates said election officials have violated voters' constitutional rights for failing to give voters a chance to fix the problem.

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Hong Kong police fire pepper pellets at demonstrators

Hong Kong riot policeissue a warning as they aim to clear away people gathered downtownon Wednesday. Photo: Anthony Wallace/AFP via Getty Images

Hong Kong riot police fired pepper pellets at protesters and surrounded the Legislative Council during demonstrations against a bill proposing to criminalize "disrespect of the Chinese anthem" on Wednesday, per Reuters.

Why it matters: The bill is the latest concern pro-democracy protesters have that Chinese authorities are encroaching on the high degree of autonomy the former British colony has retained since it was returned to China in 1997.

Minneapolis unrest as hundreds protest death of George Floyd

Tear gas is fired as police clash with protesters demonstrating against the death of George Floyd outside the 3rd Precinct Police Precinct in Minneapolis, Minnesota, on Tuesday. Photo: Stephen Maturen/Getty Images

Minneapolis police used tear gas during clashes with protesters demanding justice Tuesday night for George Floyd, an African American who died in police custody, according to multiple news reports.

Driving the news: The FBI is investigating Floyd's death after video emerged of a Minneapolis police officer kneeling on his neck for several minutes, ignoring protests that he couldn't breathe. Hundreds of protesters attended the demonstration at the intersection where Floyd died, per the Guardian.

U.S. coronavirus updates

Data: The Center for Systems Science and Engineering at Johns Hopkins; Map: Andrew Witherspoon/Axios. This graphic includes "probable deaths" that New York City began reporting on April 14.

Virginia Gov. Ralph Northam announced plans Tuesday to make wearing face coverings mandatory statewide for most people over the age of 10 when inside public places like retailers, on public transportation and government buildings. He announced the measure, effective Friday, as coronavirus case numbers increased to 39,342.

By the numbers: More than 98,900 people have died from COVID-19 and over 1.6 million have tested positive in the U.S. Over 384,900 Americans have recovered and more than 14.9 million tests have been conducted.