Judge blocks Texas governor’s order limiting number of ballot drop-off sites

first_imgMarilyn Nieves/iStockBy MEREDITH DELISO, ABC News(AUSTIN, Texas) — A federal judge blocked an order by Texas Gov. Greg Abbott that restricted the number of locations where voters can hand-deliver mail-in ballots in each county a month before the election.U.S. District Court Judge Robert Pitman ordered on Friday that the state is barred from implementing or enforcing the Republican governor’s order, arguing that it would put vulnerable voters at risk. Those eligible to vote early by mail in Texas must be 65 years or older, be sick or disabled, be out of their county on voting days or be confined in jail but otherwise eligible.“By limiting ballot return centers to one per county, older and disabled voters living in Texas’s largest and most populous counties must travel further distances to more crowded ballot return centers where they would be at an increased risk of being infected by the coronavirus in order to exercise their right to vote and have it counted,” Pitman wrote.The judge also wrote that voters run the risk of disenfranchisement “if the USPS is unable to deliver their ballots in time.”Pitman issued the injunction against Abbott’s Oct. 1 proclamation, which limited the number of locations where eligible voters could deliver their mail-in ballots to a single early voting clerk’s office, regardless of county size, effective the following day. For Harris County — which is larger than the state of Rhode Island — that meant 11 such locations had to close. In Travis County, three closed, and so on for the state’s 254 counties.Abbott said the move would bolster security and “help stop attempts at illegal voting,” while Democrats, election officials and voting rights advocates charged it would result in confusion and voter suppression, with voting already underway in Texas. The state also argued that concerns about USPS delays were based on “subjective fear.”On Saturday, Texas Attorney General Ken Paxton filed an emergency appeal in an attempt to halt the judge’s order.“The district court’s order undermines our election security, disrupts the democratic process, and will only lead to voter confusion. It cannot stand,” Paxton said in a statement. “Mail-in ballots are particularly vulnerable to fraud. Protections that ensure their security must be upheld and my office will continue to fight for safe, free and fair elections.”The League of United Latin American Citizens (LULAC), a civil rights group that sued the state, called the governor’s proclamation a “blatant act of discrimination.”“Governor Greg Abbott is trying to prey on the fear of the pandemic which will keep Hispanics from wanting to risk their lives by going to the polls in person,” LULAC president Domingo Garcia said in a statement issued Friday. “Instead, they and many other qualified, legal voters prefer to safeguard their well-being by dropping off their ballot at authorized locations near them and today’s injunction guarantees they will be able to do so.”Texas Democratic Party Chair Gilberto Hinojosa championed the judge’s order as “common sense,” saying in a statement that it “stopped the governor from making up election rules after the election started.”Harris County Clerk Chris Hollins called the injunction a “victory for voting rights.”“Seniors and voters with disabilities across Harris County need these drop-off locations to deliver their mail ballots safely and conveniently during the global pandemic,” Hollins said in a statement. “We shouldn’t be playing politics with voters’ lives.”Abbott’s Oct. 1 proclamation modified a July 27 order — which waived a state law limiting hand-delivery of mail-in ballots on Election Day — and added six more days of early in-person voting.President Donald Trump has frequently attacked voting by mail, repeating unsubstantiated claims that there will be widespread voter fraud in the 2020 election due to mail-in ballots, which are expected to increase due to the coronavirus pandemic.The Federal Bureau of Investigation said it has not seen a “coordinated national voter fraud effort during a major election.”Hand-delivering mail-in ballots has also been an issue in the battleground state of Ohio, where a move to add ballot drop boxes is tied up in court.ABC News’ Matt Foster contributed to this report.Copyright © 2020, ABC Audio. All rights reserved.,Marilyn Nieves/iStockBy MEREDITH DELISO, ABC News(AUSTIN, Texas) — A federal judge blocked an order by Texas Gov. Greg Abbott that restricted the number of locations where voters can hand-deliver mail-in ballots in each county a month before the election.U.S. District Court Judge Robert Pitman ordered on Friday that the state is barred from implementing or enforcing the Republican governor’s order, arguing that it would put vulnerable voters at risk. Those eligible to vote early by mail in Texas must be 65 years or older, be sick or disabled, be out of their county on voting days or be confined in jail but otherwise eligible.“By limiting ballot return centers to one per county, older and disabled voters living in Texas’s largest and most populous counties must travel further distances to more crowded ballot return centers where they would be at an increased risk of being infected by the coronavirus in order to exercise their right to vote and have it counted,” Pitman wrote.The judge also wrote that voters run the risk of disenfranchisement “if the USPS is unable to deliver their ballots in time.”Pitman issued the injunction against Abbott’s Oct. 1 proclamation, which limited the number of locations where eligible voters could deliver their mail-in ballots to a single early voting clerk’s office, regardless of county size, effective the following day. For Harris County — which is larger than the state of Rhode Island — that meant 11 such locations had to close. In Travis County, three closed, and so on for the state’s 254 counties.Abbott said the move would bolster security and “help stop attempts at illegal voting,” while Democrats, election officials and voting rights advocates charged it would result in confusion and voter suppression, with voting already underway in Texas. The state also argued that concerns about USPS delays were based on “subjective fear.”On Saturday, Texas Attorney General Ken Paxton filed an emergency appeal in an attempt to halt the judge’s order.“The district court’s order undermines our election security, disrupts the democratic process, and will only lead to voter confusion. It cannot stand,” Paxton said in a statement. “Mail-in ballots are particularly vulnerable to fraud. Protections that ensure their security must be upheld and my office will continue to fight for safe, free and fair elections.”The League of United Latin American Citizens (LULAC), a civil rights group that sued the state, called the governor’s proclamation a “blatant act of discrimination.”“Governor Greg Abbott is trying to prey on the fear of the pandemic which will keep Hispanics from wanting to risk their lives by going to the polls in person,” LULAC president Domingo Garcia said in a statement issued Friday. “Instead, they and many other qualified, legal voters prefer to safeguard their well-being by dropping off their ballot at authorized locations near them and today’s injunction guarantees they will be able to do so.”Texas Democratic Party Chair Gilberto Hinojosa championed the judge’s order as “common sense,” saying in a statement that it “stopped the governor from making up election rules after the election started.”Harris County Clerk Chris Hollins called the injunction a “victory for voting rights.”“Seniors and voters with disabilities across Harris County need these drop-off locations to deliver their mail ballots safely and conveniently during the global pandemic,” Hollins said in a statement. “We shouldn’t be playing politics with voters’ lives.”Abbott’s Oct. 1 proclamation modified a July 27 order — which waived a state law limiting hand-delivery of mail-in ballots on Election Day — and added six more days of early in-person voting.President Donald Trump has frequently attacked voting by mail, repeating unsubstantiated claims that there will be widespread voter fraud in the 2020 election due to mail-in ballots, which are expected to increase due to the coronavirus pandemic.The Federal Bureau of Investigation said it has not seen a “coordinated national voter fraud effort during a major election.”Hand-delivering mail-in ballots has also been an issue in the battleground state of Ohio, where a move to add ballot drop boxes is tied up in court.ABC News’ Matt Foster contributed to this report.Copyright © 2020, ABC Audio. 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Revealed: Disney’s plans for a 19-story complex in Hudson Square

first_img304 Hudson Street and Walt Disney Company CEO Robert Iger (Credit: Google Maps)There’s no need to imagine it any longer: the details for the Walt Disney Company’s new Hudson Square headquarters are in.The media giant plans to construct a 19-story, nearly 1.3 million-square-foot building at 4 Hudson Square that would have “East” and “West” towers, according to an application pre-filed with the city’s Buildings Department on Friday. Retail will occupy the first floor, with offices starting on the third level.Disney and Skidmore Owings & Merrill LLP, the architecture firm of record, did not immediately return requests for comment.The new HQ is expected to house Disney’s New York operations, including production space for “The View” and ABC News.Disney acquired the development site, which is comprised of five parcels, including an eight-story building that stands at 304 Hudson Street, from Trinity Church for $650 million in 2018.ADVERTISEMENTThe purchase came as Disney subsidiary ABC sold its longtime headquarters in the Upper West Side to Silverstein Properties for over $1 billion. Deutsche Bank provided $800 million in financing for the deal.Disney is not the only large corporation moving to the Manhattan neighborhood. Google’s parent company Alphabet announced last year that it plans to invest $1 billion in a new Hudson Square campus. Some in the industry believe the new projects will spur office and residential development in the region. This content is for subscribers only.Subscribe Nowlast_img read more

Is the ministerial balance right?

first_imgCongratulations to Martin Dean on his appointment as the new President of the Confederation of Passenger Transport (CPT).I thought his speech at last week CPT annual dinner was thoughtful, and we can safely say that the presidency is in very safe hands.Former transport minister Stephen Hammond addressing the dinnerIt was a shame that the new minister, Nusrat Ghani, did not attend having apparently initially said she would. I was initially told she pulled out citing “personal reasons”, but Martin Dean told us she had other government business.Oh dear. I can’t help feeling that she pulled out because she got stage fright, and didn’t fancy making her maiden ministerial speech to the massed ranks of the bus industry. To be fair, she has only been a minister for a couple of weeks so maybe she just felt she needed more time to get fully briefed on bus policy issues.We did have a short video from her. She came across quite well and I’m told that so far she has made a good impression within the Department for Transport, is informal and easy to deal with. Either way, it’s poor show that she didn’t make more of an effort to attend the bus industry’s main set piece event of the year. I hope she really did have a genuine excuse.Still, we were lucky enough to have Stephen Hammond MP step into the breach and give a speech in her place. Stephen is well known to the industry. As I listened it struck me what a waste it is to have somebody of his ability sitting on the backbenches.His experience, knowledge of and interest in the transport sector should be put to better use.It reminded me that the other day I read a report which highlighted the sheer inexperience of the government’s junior ministerial team across all departments – 71% of ministers of state and parliamentary under secretaries of state have only been in post since June 2017. It’s quite alarming that so many junior ministers are so inexperienced.Of course we need to have new and bright talent brought into the government. But with such a large proportion of ministers who are so inexperienced, it strikes me that the balance between experience and bringing in new MPs from the backbenches – and bear in mind Nusrat Ghani has only been an MP since the May 2015 general election – is not right.That’s no disrespect to Nusrat Ghani at all. Good luck to her on her appointment, and I’m sure that she will turn out to be a good, hard-working minister.But when you see the waste of talent with people like Stephen Hammond you do have to wonder what criteria Prime Ministers and their advisers on these matters use when deciding who to appoint as ministers when reshuffles take place.last_img read more

Black Lives Matter to hold rally in South Bend in mid-July

first_img Facebook By Jon Zimney – June 24, 2019 1 473 Twitter IndianaLocalNews Facebook Previous articleIndiana jobless rate remains steady at 3.6% in MayNext articleSyracuse man killed, 6 others injured in crash in Elkhart County Jon ZimneyJon Zimney is the News and Programming Director for News/Talk 95.3 Michiana’s News Channel and host of the Fries With That podcast. Follow him on Twitter @jzimney. Black Lives Matter to hold rally in South Bend in mid-July WhatsApp Pinterest Pinterest WhatsApp Twitter Photo supplied/South Bend Police Department) Black Lives Matter Indiana plans to host a rally from 2 p.m. – 4 p.m. on Saturday, July 13, at the Jon R. Hunt Plaza.The group states that several speakers will talk about the shooting of Eric Logan, which happened on Sunday, June 16, as well as the actions police Sgt. Ryan O’Neill who shot Logan who was allegedly armed with a knife that was raised at O’Neill, as well as Officer Aaron Knepper, who drove O’Neill to the hospital for treatment after the shooting.In a news release sent to 95.3 MNC, the group stated: “It is patently clear that black lives do not matter to Mayor Pete Buttigieg, nor the South Bend Police Department.”The group’s news release also stated:“Councilwoman Regina Williams-Preston will be a featured guest speaker. She will speak to her efforts with sitting Councilman Oliver Davis in calling for the US Department of Justice investigation to conduct an independent investigation into the South Bend Police Department and for a civilian review board, equipped with the power to hire, fire, and prosecute officers and to help select the Chief of Police. While Mayor of South Bend and presidential hopeful Pete Buttigieg claims that he has not found a working model for a review board, public records show that Black council members have pushed for a board since 2014.”In light of Regina Williams-Preston being names as a featured guest speaker at the rally, the South Bend Common Council issued the following statement:The South Bend Common Council is aware of a press release from an organization regarding a rally to be held in July 2019. Because the names of some Council Members are mentioned in the press pelease and there is a Common Council meeting scheduled for Monday June 24 at 7 p.m.The Common Council wants to clarify that although some Council Members have expressed the desire for appointment of a Special Prosecutor, no official action regarding the recent events involving the police shooting will take place at Monday night’s Council meeting.However, Council Members will be free to express their individual views, including a request to send individual letters on behalf of their constituents to the County Prosecutor for the appointment of Special Prosecutor at Monday’s meeting.During the council meeting, there will be time granted for up to 30 minutes to respond to the Council Members regarding their views and proposed actions related to this matter. Google+ Google+last_img read more

Belarusian opposition leader arrives in Lithuania in wake of contested election

first_imgLinkevičius told Lithuanian TV that Tikhanovskaya had been “detained for a long time” — up to seven hours. “Neither the circumstances nor the location were known,” the minister said. “When I had tried to contact her for a few hours, unsuccessfully, the search began. There was a lot of communication all night, everyone cared.”Tikhanovskaya posted a video to her official YouTube channel on Tuesday in which she appeared near tears, saying she had independently decided to leave Belarus, but did not explain why or talk about her reported detention on Monday.“I thought that this whole campaign hardened me a lot and gave me so much strength that I could withstand everything. But, probably, I remained the same weak woman I was originally,” Tikhanovskaya said. “I made a very difficult decision for myself. I made this decision absolutely independently … I know that many will understand me, many will judge me and many will hate me. But, you know, God forbid having to face such a choice, which I faced. Therefore, people, take care of yourselves, please. No life is worth what is happening now.”She added: “Children are the most important in our lives.”Reuters reported Tikhanovskaya has reunited with her children in Lithuania, having sent them abroad during the election campaign over fears for their safety.Tikhanovskaya emerged as a strong challenger to President Alexander Lukashenko after entering the race as a surprise replacement for her blogger husband Sergei, who was arrested when he tried to launch his presidential campaign. On Monday she refused to accept the legitimacy of the official election results and claimed victory herself. According to the CEC’s preliminary results, Lukashenko won 80.23 percent of the vote to Tikhanovskaya’s 9.9 percent. Protesters took to the streets as soon as polls closed Sunday evening, after a government-controlled exit survey predicted an overwhelming Lukashenko win. Governments around Europe and beyond denounced the vote and the regime’s violent crackdown on protesters.This story has been updated. Also On POLITICO Lukashenko wins Belarus election as protests sweep the country By Sergei Kuznetsov and Laurenz Gehrke Belarus election hopeful calls on voters to ‘conquer their fear’ By Sergei Kuznetsov Belarusian opposition leader Svetlana Tikhanovskaya arrived in Lithuania overnight and “is safe,” Lithuanian Foreign Minister Linas Linkevičius said Tuesday.“Svetlana Tikhanovskaya is safe. She is in Lithuania,” the minister tweeted.Linkevičius had earlier said he was concerned about Tikhanovskaya’s safety after she went to the Central Election Commission (CEC) building in Minsk on Monday to formally file a complaint about Sunday’s presidential election, then seemed to disappear.last_img read more