How the COVID-19 housing crisis could affect voter participation

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Where do you register to vote if you just got evicted? With temporary eviction moratoriums timing out and rent relief programs falling short of the need , tens of millions of Americans are facing a future of housing instability. The threat of being evicted or the stress of having to move doesn’t only affect someone’s health —it could also affect how likely they are to vote in an upcoming election. Read Full Story

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Cities are starting to ban evictions to help workers affected by the coronavirus response

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“This is a public health crisis, and we need to make sure that it doesn’t create a whole new housing crisis in the upcoming weeks.” Someone trying to survive in the Bay Area with a minimum-wage job probably can’t pay rent if they miss one paycheck. But as people increasingly avoid public places because of the new coronavirus, workers (especially those who work for tips) are losing money quickly. And if anyone becomes sick, they’ll be forced to miss work for 14 days of quarantine. If schools close, parents will also miss work. The entire environment is making it more likely that some people may not have enough money to pay essential bills. So in San Jose, the city council voted today to begin work on a plan to temporarily ban evictions due to the epidemic. Read Full Story

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The housing crisis that is hitting Black women the hardest

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Black women are disproportionately prevented from finding stable housing because of eviction proceedings or incarceration or both. A group of Louisiana activists is fighting back. Your past can haunt you. For people who have been evicted or faced eviction proceedings, damaged credit scores can make it nearly impossible to get past the first steps of applying for housing with most landlords. For people who’ve been incarcerated, the field of housing options is even narrower. Read Full Story

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How to watch Congress count the electoral votes live on CNN, MSNBC, elsewhere without cable

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A procedural affair that typically garners little attention. A joint session of Congress is meeting today to formally count the electoral votes and certify Joe Biden as the winner of the 2020 presidential election. This procedural affair typically garners little attention in an election cycle, but the vote count this year will be marred by partisan politics as a number of Republicans are expected to object to the counts. Those objections will not change the results of the election—the states have already certified it—but it could hold up the process by forcing the House and Senate to debate the objections. Meanwhile, pro-Trump protesters are expected to gather in Washington, D.C., to protest the results and Biden’s victory. Read Full Story

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A small businesses eviction crisis is coming, too

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As millions of renters seem poised to lose their homes, small businesses are also being pushed to the brink by rent checks that keep coming even as they remain shut down by the pandemic. But without them, recovery will be vastly more difficult. Since the economic fallout of the COVID-19 pandemic first became clear, housing experts have been warning of a forthcoming eviction crisis, which could skyrocket homelessness across the country. But another kind of eviction crisis is coming, too: small business evictions, which will put even more strain on apartment renters and the cities that rely on that property tax income. Read Full Story

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How to watch the Trump impeachment vote on CNN, PBS, and elsewhere live without cable

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The House of Representatives will debate and vote on a historic second impeachment. Here’s where you can watch the proceedings online. The House of Representatives will vote today on a historic second impeachment of President Donald Trump, one week after the deadly riot and failed insurrection on the Capitol Building and one week before the president is due to leave office. Read Full Story

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How ranked choice voting could restore the concept of majority rule

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Already being used in New York City and a number of states, RCV offers the added benefit of forcing candidates to appeal to a broader constituency, reducing negative campaigning. Two of the last five presidential elections were won by candidates who did not win majority support. Meanwhile, congressional candidates have been winning primaries with as little as 21% of the popular vote. For a democracy founded on the principle of majority rule, this is a problem. The Ranked Choice Voting Act, sponsored by Maryland congressman Jamie Raskin (and cosponsored by 13 representatives, thus far all Democrats), seeks to implement a fairer process for U.S. House and Senate elections, beginning in 2022. In an RCV election, voters rank as many candidates as they like in order of preference. (Voters are not obligated to rank—they can make a single selection if they choose.) If no candidate wins a majority of votes, a …

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Paycheck Protection Program rules could get easier under House bill: Here’s what it would do

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Lawmakers are hoping to resolve some of the biggest complaints about the PPP loan program, which is supposed to help small businesses affected by COVID-19. With companies and employees still suffering across the country as a result of the coronavirus pandemic, the U.S. House of Representatives yesterday passed a new bill meant to address one of the biggest complaints about the federal loan program for small businesses—how they can spend the money. Under the bill, which passed the House almost unanimously and will head to the Senate next week, some restrictions for the Paycheck Protection Program, or PPP, would be relaxed. Here’s a breakdown of what would change: Read Full Story

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Your phone already tracks your location. Now that data could fight voter suppression

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A new initiative will aggregate smartphone location data so that researchers can understand the impact of long lines and limited polling places on Election Day. Smartphone location data is a dream for marketers who want to know where you go and how long you spend there—and a privacy nightmare . But this kind of geolocation data could also be used to protect people’s voting rights on Election Day. Read Full Story

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IRS stimulus check calculator: How much will you get from the American Rescue Plan?

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Here’s an easy way to get a little piece of mind as you wait for Capitol Hill lawmakers to do their jobs. With the Senate expected to vote this week on the latest stimulus package for coronavirus relief, a new round of stimulus checks could be authorized very soon. The $1.9 trillion package, dubbed the American Rescue plan , contains a huge wish list of much-needed aid, including additional unemployment, child tax credits, housing assistance, small business grants, and more. Read Full Story

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A simple solution to safe pandemic voting: Close streets to let people vote outside

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A new guide helps cities understand how to best use space to maximize distance and speed on Election Day. A record number of people have already voted in the U.S. presidential election—more than 8 million Americans had voted by October 9, more than 50 times above the number that had voted by the same point in 2016. But even as many states push for voting by mail as a safe alternative in a pandemic, it’s possible that in-person voting could surge on Election Day, with many voters questioning mismanagement of the Postal Service or if their ballots will get thrown out on a technicality. If it looks anything like what happened in some state primaries , people might have to wait in line for hours. Read Full Story

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