Feb 26, 2019

Reality check: McConnell falsely blames Democrats for N.C. electoral fraud

Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell. Photo: Chip Somodevilla/Getty Images

Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.) argued Tuesday on the Senate floor that Democrats are responsible for the absentee ballot fraud that benefited Republican candidate Mark Harris in a disputed congressional district race last year, because they haven’t supported measures such as voter ID laws.

Reality check: McConnell is incorrect when he states that measures like voter IDs would have prevented the absentee ballot fraud scandal in North Carolina. In fact, the workers Harris hired violated North Carolina election law by collecting absentee ballots from voters, forging signatures, opening unsealed ballots and filling out down-ballot races in favor of Republicans.

  • McConnell also conflated voter fraud with election fraud. The former happens when a voter casts a vote illegally. Election fraud, like what occurred in North Carolina, is when a legitimate voter's ballot has been manipulated.

The big picture: Democrats have fought back against restrictive voting laws pushed by Republicans, who claim that the measures will help curb what they're calling widespread voter fraud. But Democrats and election experts, citing numerous studies, argue that rampant voter fraud does not exist and the measures will disenfranchise minority voters.

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Trump announces 30-day extension of coronavirus guidelines

President Trump announced on Sunday that his administration will extend its "15 Days to Slow the Spread" guidelines until April 30 in an effort to stop the spread of coronavirus, which has now infected more than 130,000 Americans and killed nearly 2,500.

Why it matters: Top advisers to the president have been seeking to steer him away from Easter as an arbitrary deadline for the U.S. to open parts of its economy, amid warnings from health officials that loosening restrictions could cause the number of coronavirus cases to skyrocket.

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Coronavirus dashboard

Illustration: Sarah Grillo/Axios

  1. Global: Total confirmed cases as of 5 p.m. ET: 716,101 — Total deaths: 33,854 — Total recoveries: 148,900.
  2. U.S.: Leads the world in cases. Total confirmed cases as of 5 p.m. ET: 136,880 — Total deaths: 2,409 — Total recoveries: 2,612.
  3. Federal government latest: The first federal prisoner to die from coronavirus was reported from a correctional facility in Louisiana on Sunday.
  4. Public health updates: Fauci says 100,000 to 200,000 Americans could die from virus.
  5. State updates: Louisiana governor says state is on track to exceed ventilator capacity by end of this week — Cuomo says Trump's mandatory quarantine comments "panicked" some people into fleeing New York
  6. World updates: Italy on Sunday reports 756 new deaths, bringing its total 10,779. Spain reports almost 840 dead, another new daily record that bring its total to over 6,500.
  7. What should I do? Answers about the virus from Axios expertsWhat to know about social distancingQ&A: Minimizing your coronavirus risk
  8. Other resources: CDC on how to avoid the virus, what to do if you get it.

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Trump touts press briefing "ratings" as U.S. coronavirus case surge

Photo: Drew Angerer/Getty Images

President Trump sent about a half-dozen tweets on Sunday touting the high television ratings that his coronavirus press briefings have received, selectively citing a New York Times article that compared them to "The Bachelor" and "Monday Night Football."

Why it matters: The president has been holding daily press briefings in the weeks since the coronavirus pandemic was declared, but news outlets have struggled with how to cover them live — as Trump has repeatedly been found to spread misinformation and contradict public health officials.