More Haitian migrants were halted at sea in the fiscal year that ended Thursday than the previous two years combined, the U.S. Coast Guard said. The 199 migrants returned to Haitian law enforcement in Cap-Haitien, Haiti, Saturday put the total for the fiscal year that ran from Oct. 1, 2020, through Sept. 30 at 1,527. After Coast Guard Air Station Miami HC-144 Ocean Sentry spotted them, the Coast Guard Cutter Bernard C. Webber stopped the 199 migrants on what the USCG described as an “grossly overloaded” 50-foot freighter around 2:30 p.m. Thursday afternoon southeast of Pointe de la Plateforme....
Former President Donald Trump repeatedly derided mail-in voting — which saw widespread adoption as governments looked to stem the spread of COVID-19 — and a cohort of GOP state lawmakers raised alarms over the practice, alternatively arguing residents did not trust it or urging in-person machine voting be allowed.
Once their efforts to head off Gov. Phil Murphy's order met with little success, the party eventually began urging its members to cast the mail-in ballots sent to every registered voter in the state.
This year's races haven't seen similar GOP pushes against mail-in voting. State Sen. Joe Pennacchio (R-Morris), who railed against last year's mostly mail elections, explained that conditions are different this year.
“The polls are open. Not only are they open, but there's early voting, so I think that took a big egg out of it," said Pennacchio.
Republican gubernatorial hopeful Jack Ciattarelli isn't exactly driving constituents toward mail-in voting, but he's not urging them to abandon the practice either.
Ciattarelli campaign manager Eric Arpert said it's “really the voters' choice" this year, with three options: mail-in voting, early in-person voting, and traditional Election Day voting. Urging voters who are on a list to get a mail-in ballot to vote in person instead means they would have to vote by provisional ballot, he noted.
“And certainly that's not as effective as just voting by mail or delivering their ballot to one of their local drop boxes," he said.
The data bears that out. Republicans have, so far, cast vote-by-mail ballots at slightly higher rates than Democrats.
According to vote-by-mail data maintained by Micah Rasmussen, director of Rider University's Rebovich Institute for New Jersey Politics, 31.8% of GOP voters who received a mail-in ballot this year have already voted as of Thursday afternoon, compared to 30.9% of Democrats.
“More significant to me than whether or not they've got an edge is that they're in the game at all," Rasmussen said. “These are Republican voters who do trust vote-by-mail, or they wouldn't have asked for those ballots. We couldn't have said that last year, because everybody got them."
Though Murphy has allowed in-person voting for this year's races, other voting changes enacted over recent years are still in effect, including a six-day grace period to count mail-in ballots election officials receive after Election Day and a law that requires voters who request such ballots receive them for future elections.
Studies have shown mail-in voting does not benefit either party disproportionately and instead boosts turnout across the board, but the reality is more complicated. Like all get-out-the-vote operations, mail strategies take time to build. Democratic county organizations, particularly in South Jersey, have for years emphasized mail-in voting. Republicans have not undertaken similar efforts.
While GOP voters have mailed in their ballots at a slightly higher rate so far this year, Democrats account for the vast majority of requested and returned ballots. As of Thursday, 512,234 New Jersey Democrats, just under 20% of the party's membership, had requested vote-by-mail ballots, and 158,741 had returned them. By contrast, the 164,404 Republicans that requested mail-in ballots accounted for a little less than 11% of the New Jersey GOP, and 52,218 of them had cast their ballots as of Thursday.
“It doesn't surprise me, but again, I think if you're a Republican, you have to say, 'This is great that we're at least in the game,'" Rasmussen said.
Even among Democrats, vote-by-mail uptake has been far from universal. At 62%, turnout rates in the 2020 general election were lower in Essex and Hudson counties, both Democratic strongholds, than anywhere else in the state.
Hudson has seen some increases in mail-in voting, Hudson County Democratic Chairwoman Amy DeGise said, but much of that has been limited to young voters, especially young white women.
Skepticism over mail-in voting among elderly voters and voters of color — just 28.5% of Hudson County residents are white, according to census data — has largely persisted.
“Our older voters, to them voting is an experience. They go to their polling location, they see friends from the neighborhood that they don't see as regularly as they want, they sit and talk, and they linger," DeGise said. “Voting by mail for them, that keeps them in the house, and they don't want to be in the house. They want to get out."
The story's similar in Essex County, where 42% of residents are black and 24% are Latino.
“People in Essex County are more confident and more trusting of the machines," said Essex County Democratic Chairman LeRoy Jones, who also chairs the Democratic State Committee. “People look forward to marching to the polling sites, much like their own personal crusade for change."
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An investigation by Forbes magazine has revealed the billionaires spending money to help Republicans win control of Congress in the 2022 midterms.
"A political action committee backing Republicans running for the House of Representatives in 2022 raised $8.4 million in the third quarter, about 15% of which came from billionaires and their spouses, according to an analysis of data filed with the Federal Election Commission on Friday," Forbes reported.
For 35 years, the magazine has been tracking the world's billionaires by estimated net worth.
"The committee, called Take Back The House 2022, raised $8.4 million between July and September. Forbes identified 8 billionaires and 6 spouses of billionaires who contributed about $1.3 million. Among the donors: Cleveland Browns owner Jimmy Haslam, Blackstone cofounder Stephen Schwarzman and Omni Hotels owner Robert Rowling. The largest contribution among the group came from Rowling and his wife Terry, who donated $446,800," the magazine reported.
Ken and Sherrilyn Fisher also contributed, as did Julianne Argyros, A. Jayson Adair, Kenny and Lisa Troutt, David Steward, and Jeremy and Margaret Jacobs.
Former Treasury secretary Steven Mnuchin also donated $50,000.
Read the full report.
An associate of Jared Kushner is seeking a plea agreement after as prosecutors seek to hold him account for alleged misconduct that resulted him a president pardon.
"Former New York Observer editor-in-chief Ken Kurson, who was pardoned by Donald Trump over federal cyberstalking allegations, is now in plea discussions over state charges springing from the same conduct, a prosecutor said. Assistant District Attorney Alex Wynne disclosed the talks at a hearing Friday in New York Criminal Court in Manhattan," Business Insider reported Friday.
Kurson also worked for Rudy Giuliani's consulting firm and 2008 presidential campaign.
"Kurson was charged by Manhattan District Attorney Cyrus Vance Jr. in August with eavesdropping and computer trespass, both felonies that carry a maximum of four years in prison," Business Insider reported. "The New York prosecutors allege that from September 2015 to March 2016 Kurson installed spyware on a computer belonging to his ex-wife to get passwords to her accounts and then accessed and anonymously distributed private Facebook messages."
In July, The New York Times reported the alleged misconduct was uncovered during a FBI background check after Trump considered him for a seat on the board of the National Endowment for the Humanities.
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