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Photo: Paras Griffin/Getty Images for ESSENCE

Kamala Harris unveiled a $1 billion plan on Thursday to fully eliminate states' rape kit backlogs if elected president.

Why it matters: Hundreds of thousands of untested rape kits are estimated to be sitting around in police stations around the U.S.

By the numbers: The proposed $1 billion would not only aid states to analyze their backlogged rape kits within four years, but also help them implement a plan to prevent untested kits from accumulating en masse in the future.

  • Harris' program would cost approximately $100 million annually, though her team didn't share details on how she would pay for it.
  • One rape kit costs about $1,000 to $1,500 to test, per End The Backlog.

Between the lines: Under this plan, states can either ask for federal funding to process the rape kits on their own or work directly with the FBI to eliminate the backlog.

  • They'll also be required to do things like report the number of untested rape kits annually; implement a "short time frame" for submitting and testing new samples; make these kits available statewide, even in remote areas; track rape kits; and give patients the option to be updated on the status of their rape kit processing.

As California’s attorney general, Harris implemented a program to clear a backlog of 1,300 untested rape kits around the state. "We need the same focus at the national level to pursue justice and help hold predators accountable," she said in a statement.

The big picture: Don't expect this to become a dominant issue in the 2020 presidential election — unless candidates start addressing it themselves on the national debate stage.

  • Earlier this year, Joe Biden, who wrote the first rape kit backlog law, tweeted: "An untested rape kit means a survivor without justice. ... [T]esting kits can identify men who have committed multiple rapes — and might again. Test every kit. Every single one."
  • There have been zero questions asked about policies to address sexual harassment at presidential primary debates between 1996-2016, per a Time's Up study.

Go deeper: Kamala Harris on the issues, in under 500 words

Go deeper

Updated 41 mins ago - Politics & Policy

Coronavirus dashboard

Illustration: Sarah Grillo/Axios

  1. Health: Large coronavirus outbreaks leading to high death rates — Coronavirus cases are at an all-time high ahead of Election Day — U.S. tops 88,000 COVID-19 cases, setting new single-day record.
  2. Politics: States beg for Warp Speed billions.
  3. World: Taiwan reaches a record 200 days with no local coronavirus cases.
  4. 🎧Podcast: The vaccine race turns toward nationalism.

Technical glitch in Facebook's ad tools creates political firestorm

Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg. Photo: SOPA Images / Contributor

Facebook said late Thursday that a mix of "technical problems" and confusion among advertisers around its new political ad ban rules caused issues affecting ad campaigns of both parties.

Why it matters: A report out Thursday morning suggested the ad tools were causing campaign ads, even those that adhered to Facebook's new rules, to be paused. Very quickly, political campaigners began asserting the tech giant was enforcing policies in a way that was biased against their campaigns.

2 hours ago - Health

States beg for Warp Speed billions

A COVID-19 drive-thru testing center yesterday at Hard Rock Stadium in Miami Gardens. Photo: David Santiago/Miami Herald via AP

Operation Warp Speed has an Achilles' heel: States need billions to distribute vaccines — and many say they don't have the cash.

Why it matters: The first emergency use authorization could come as soon as next month, but vaccines require funding for workers, shipping and handling, and for reserving spaces for vaccination sites.