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Texas officials shoot down Trump’s claims about ‘vote flipping’ at the polls

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Republican Donald Trump tweeted early Thursday morning that he is getting “a lot of call-ins about vote flipping at the voting booths in Texas.”

“What is going on?” Trump asked in his tweet.

The Republican nominee and real estate mogul was likely referring to debunked reports that voting machines in Texas are changing votes for president on straight-ticket ballots from Trump to Hillary Clinton.

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Those reports — which originated in Tarrant County, according to Snopes — have since been debunked. Election officials have said repeatedly that any “vote flipping” is caused not by broken machines, but user error.

“Reports are not flooding in from across Texas about vote switching, and most anecdotes are identical with localities changed,” Snopes, a website that fact checks Internet and urban rumors, wrote in a post on Wednesday.

Frank Phillips, the election administrator for Tarrant County, said on Monday that the claims of vote flipping didn’t check out. When reports have come in of this nature in the past, Phillips said it has been user error.

“Typically, we’ve found it’s voter error with the equipment,” Phillips told WFAA. “Sometimes they vote straight party and then click on other candidates … or do something with the wheel. There is not an issue with the equipment.”

According to The Dallas Morning News, election officials encourage voters to double-check their ballot before voting. Texas Gov. Greg Abbott made a similar urge on Facebook earlier this week.

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“Make sure all of your selections are correct before hitting the button to cast a ballot,” Abbott wrote in his Facebook post.

Early voting continues through Nov. 4. Election Day is Nov. 8.

By Bobby Blanchard, The Texas Tribune

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Elections 2016

Vietnamese women strive to clear war-era mines

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Inching across a field littered with Vietnam war-era bombs, Ngoc leads an all-women demining team clearing unexploded ordnance that has killed tens of thousands of people -- including her uncle.

"He died in an explosion. I was haunted by memories of him," Le Thi Bich Ngoc tells AFP as she oversees the controlled detonation of a cluster bomb found in a sealed-off site in central Quang Tri province.

More than 6.1 million hectares of land in Vietnam remain blanketed by unexploded munitions -- mainly dropped by US bombers -- decades after the war ended in 1975.

At least 40,000 Vietnamese have since died in related accidents. Victims are often farmers who accidentally trigger explosions, people salvaging scrap metal, or children who mistake bomblets for toys.

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Elections 2016

Chief Justice John Roberts issues New Year’s Eve warning to stand up for democracy

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In a progressive welcoming move, Chief Justice John Roberts issued his New Year's Eve annual report urging his fellow federal judges to stand up for democracy.

"In our age, when social media can instantly spread rumor and false information on a grand scale, the public's need to understand our government, and the protections it provides, is ever more vital," he wrote. "We should celebrate our strong and independent judiciary, a key source of national unity and stability."

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Trump’s next 100 days will dictate whether he can be re-elected or not — here’s why

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According to CNN pollster-in-residence Harry Enten, Donald Trump's next 100 days -- which could include an impeachment trial in the Senate -- will hold the key to whether he will remain president in 2020.

As Eten explains in a column for CNN, "His [Trump's] approval rating has been consistently low during his first term. Yet his supporters could always point out that approval ratings before an election year have not historically been correlated with reelection success. But by mid-March of an election year, approval ratings, though, become more predictive. Presidents with low approval ratings in mid-March of an election year tend to lose, while those with strong approval ratings tend to win in blowouts and those with middling approval ratings usually win by small margins."

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