Could the U.S. Senate runoff elections in Georgia be decided by voters who weren’t registered on Election Day in November, but will be for the runoff?
USA TODAY’s coverage of the 2020 election and President-elect Joe Biden’s transition continues this week as he rolls out more of his picks for top jobs in his administration and the final states certify their vote counts before the Electoral College ballots are officially cast on Dec. 14.
President Donald Trump has cleared the way for Biden’s team to use federal resources and get briefings during the transition, although Trump has yet to formally concede the race.
Be sure to refresh this page often to get the latest information on the election and the transition.
Dr. Birx expresses worry over Americans ‘parroting’ Trump misinformation
Dr. Deborah Birx said she was concerned about the large numbers of Americans who “parrot” incorrect public health claims they have heard from President Donald Trump during an interview on NBC News’ “Meet the Press.”
In response to a question about Trump and other administration officials flouting rules and downplaying the threat posed by the virus, Birx, the coordinator of the White House Coronavirus Task Force, noted that in her travels around the country she hears “community members parroting back” similar talking points, “parroting back that masks don’t work, parroting back we should work towards herd immunity, parroting back that gatherings don’t result in super-spreading events.”
The top infectious disease expert said it is “our job is to constantly say, ‘those are myths.'”
Birx also expressed frustration with Sun Belt leaders for inaction, arguing that “not only do we know what works” but that “governors and mayors used those tools to stem the tide in the spring and the summer,” actions they are now avoiding amid a worse surge of the virus.
Birx’s comments come as the USA enters another brutal wave of the pandemic. While governments and pharmaceutical companies prepare to deploy coronavirus vaccines across the country, more than 2,000 Americans on average are dying each day.
“This is not just the worst public health event, this is the worst event that this country will face,” Birx, a career public health bureaucrat who worked as U.S. global AIDS coordinator under President Barack Obama, warned.
Birx also expressed optimism, noting “we know what behaviors will change the spread and we know how to change those behaviors,” contending that it is a matter of public resolve in the face of the disease.
“Only we can save us from this current surge. And we know precisely what to do.”
– Matthew Brown
Trump ally’s Georgia election appeal rejected by federal court
A federal appeals court rejected attorney L. Lin Wood’s request to block the certification of President-elect Joe Biden’s win in Georgia. The judges found Wood “lacks standing to sue because he fails to allege a particularized injury,” upholding a lower court ruling.
Wood sued Georgia election officials seeking “extraordinary relief” to block Georgia officials from certifying election results and establish new rules for the two Senate runoff elections that will occur Jan. 5. In his lawsuit, Wood claimed that the absentee ballot and recount procedures violated state laws and his constitutional rights.
The U.S. Court of Appeals for the 11th Circuit agreed with the district county’s decision to deny Wood’s motion, stating the attorney fails to explain how the absentee ballot and recount procedure personally affected him.
The court also said that Wood’s requests are “moot” because Georgia already certified its election results.
U.S. District Judge Steven Grimberg, a Trump nominated judge, previously said that there was no evidence of irregularities in the election process that would have affected a substantial number of votes.
“It harms the public interest in countless ways, particularly in the environment in which this election occurred. To halt the certification at literally the 11th hour would breed confusion and potentially disenfranchisement that I find has no basis in fact or in law,” Grimberg said during the case’s hearing.
In addition to his failed lawsuit, Wood made news last week when he encouraged Georgia Republicans not to vote in the Jan. 5 runoff as a form of protest in response to state GOP officials’s refusal to change the election results based on unsubstantiated fraud claims.
– Sarah Elbeshbishi
Trump legal team’s Michigan hearing gets ‘SNL’ treatment
“Saturday Night Live” wasted no time spoofing the hearing that took place before the Michigan State Senate on Tuesday.
During the episode’s cold open, a farting Rudy Giuliani (played by Kate McKinnon) called on his star witness, Melissa Carone (Cecily Strong), to discuss baseless voter fraud allegations.
Carone went viral shortly after her appearance for her eyebrow-raising testimony.
“I personally saw hundreds if not thousands of dead people vote,” she said. “I remember because I was walking out and they were walking out and they gave their votes to Democrats.”
Strong’s Carone maintained she wasn’t lying, saying she “signed an after-David” as opposed to an affidavit.
“David signed and then I signed right after David,” she explained.
– Sara M Moniuszko
Sen. Loeffler campaign staffer killed in car wreck
A University of Georgia student who was working as a field staffer on Sen. Kelly Loeffler’s election campaign was killed in a car wreck Friday.
Harrison Deal, 20, who expected to graduate from UGA in 2022, worked in the Athens office for the Loeffler campaign.
Deal was killed about 10 a.m. in a fiery three-vehicle crash in the eastbound lane of Interstate 16 in Chatham County near Pooler Parkway, according to police. Three other people sustained minor injuries.
Georgia Gov. Brian Kemp, whose daughter Lucy Kemp called Deal her “best friend,” canceled his plans to attend a rally in Savannah Friday with Vice President Mike Pence.
The Kemp family said in a statement: “Today we lost a member of our ‘Kemp Strong’ family and words cannot express how much Harrison Deal’s life, love and support meant to us. He was a person of deep faith, unmatched in integrity and incredible kindness. Harris was the Kemp son and brother we never had.”
President Donald Trump offered his condolences to Deal’s family during his rally for Loeffler and Sen. Perdue Saturday in Valdosta, Georgia, calling him “an incredible, magnificent young man.
“I just want to say our prayers are with his friends and loved ones, and we will keep his memory in our hearts,” Trump said.
– Wayne Ford and Will Peebles, Athens Banner-Herald
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