Category Archives: News & Photo Features

Senate Democrats: Do Not Allow Trump To Undermine Nov. 3 Election Results

Senate Democrats released a report summarizing what to expect on Election Day, which may well mean not to expect a result Election Night (c) Karen Rubin/news-photos-features.com

WASHINGTON, October  18 – Senate Democrats today released a report summarizing for the American people what to expect on Election Day, which may well mean in this unprecedented Election Year, not to expect a result on Election Night, They reinforced the Democrats’ call to encourage everyone to vote and to insure that every vote is counted, and is aimed at countering the months-long effort by President Trump to undermine the election and his repeated refusal to commit to a peaceful transfer of power. With the general election already well underway in every state across the country, Senate Democrats have a clear message for the American people: Vote and cast your ballot as early as possible.

While expressing optimism that Election Day will go smoothly around the country, the report, jointly authored by Budget Committee Ranking Member Bernie Sanders (I-Vt.), Senate Democratic Leader Chuck Schumer (D-N.Y.), Senate Rules Committee Ranking Member Amy Klobuchar (D-Minn.), Senator Chris Murphy (D-Conn.), Senator Martin Heinrich (D-N.M.), and Senator Tammy Duckworth (D-Ill.), outlines the possibility that in some states, the outcome might not be known on November 3. 

The last message from the report is to make absolutely clear that voter intimidation is illegal and that federal law prohibits coercing or threatening anyone in order to interfere with their right to vote.

“The American people must be prepared for an election that is unprecedented in our history due to the enormous increase in mail-in ballots that have been, and will be, cast as a result of the pandemic,” said Senator Sanders. No one should have to risk their health or their lives in order to vote, and that is why many millions are voting through mail-in ballots. One of the worst lies that Donald Trump is spreading is that there is a massive amount of voter fraud in this country. That is a total lie which no election official, Republican or Democrat, can support. What we are doing with this effort is ensuring that the American people understand that if American democracy means anything, it means that every vote must be counted—no matter how long it takes.”

“President Trump has for months now been laying the foundation to undermine the election and he has repeatedly refused to commit to a peaceful transfer of power if he loses. Senate Democrats want to be clear to the American people that the most powerful defense against this type of autocratic behavior in our country is the will of the American people and that is why we are encouraging every American to vote and vote early,” said Leader Schumer.

“The election is well underway, and Americans are voting in droves because they know what is at stake. We must do everything we can to protect the right to vote, and uphold the integrity of the election process. That means pushing back on President Trump’s lies about mail-in ballots and his efforts to sow chaos. It also means making sure that Americans know that a record number of people are voting by mail this year, which could slow the reporting in some states. We should be prepared to reject misinformation and be patient about results in places where counting ballots may take longer. Americans should keep making their voices heard at the ballot box, the earlier the better,” said Senator Klobuchar.

“Despite what Donald Trump wants you to believe, the integrity of our election system is strong,” said Senator Murphy. Every American must vote—and vote early—in  the upcoming presidential election, so we can make it clear to Trump and the world that America remains a democracy, the will of the people will always win out, and that any form of voter intimidation is illegal and will not be tolerated.”

“President Trump’s dangerous rhetoric threatens to further divide our country and sow real potential for violence.  The most important thing each of us can do to combat disinformation and fear is to vote and vote early. There is little doubt that this is the most important election we will participate in in our lives. Our elections are the foundation of American democracy. Protecting them should be the top priority for everyone who cares about the future of our country. Election officials, courts, and elected leaders must be accountable for upholding that principle,” said Senator Heinrich.

“Despite Donald Trump’s lies and misinformation about nonexistent widespread voter fraud, the integrity of the American election system—our entire election process from voting by mail to voting in person—is strong. If voting by mail is safe and effective for our troops overseas and good enough for Trump and his family to use, then it’s safe, effective and good enough for the rest of America too,” said Senator Duckworth. No matter what Trump says—or even what he might prefer—Senate Democrats will never allow the greatest democracy the world has ever known to descend into authoritarianism. We will always be a government of, by and for the people.”

A copy of the report can be found here .

Evoking Lincoln’s Gettysburg Address, Biden Declares 2020 Election ‘A Battle for the Soul of the Nation’

Vice President Joe Biden, in a speech declaring the 2020 Election to be a “Battle for the Soul of the Nation,” evoked Lincoln’s Gettysburg Address during the Civil War, in calling for unity to preserve the nation: “It cannot be that after all this country has been through. After all that America has accomplished, after all the years we have stood as a beacon of light to the world, it cannot be that here and now, in 2020, we will allow government of the people, by the people, and for the people to perish from this earth.” © Karen Rubin/news-photos-features.com

Vice President Joe Biden took to the sacred ground of the Civil War battlefield at Gettysburg to lay out his vision for the soul of America, why Charlottesville was the impetus for his run for the presidency, and set the stage for the final four weeks of the 2020 election campaign.

In stark contrast to the scowling Mussolini-esque “Covita” video stunt Trump pulled on arriving back at the White House from Walter Reed Hospital, when he immediately pulled off his face mask and summoned a photographer to come behind him for a better shot, Biden spoke to the concerns of Americans, in high anxiety over the coronavirus pandemic, economic hardship, civil unrest and climate crisis. Evoking Lincoln’s famous speech, he called for unity around the shared values of America, saying he was a proud Democrat but if elected President, he would be a President for all Americans, calling it, “Battle for the Soul of the Nation.”

Biden outlined the ways in which the nation, riven by partisan and tribal conflict, can heal, come together as Americans – indeed, after 244 years of upholding the revolutionary idea of government of, by, for the people, he declared, we must.

“It cannot be that after all this country has been through. After all that America has accomplished, after all the years we have stood as a beacon of light to the world, it cannot be that here and now, in 2020, we will allow government of the people, by the people, and for the people to perish from this earth,” Biden declared.
 
“No. It cannot. It must not.
 
“We have in our hands the ultimate power: the power of the vote. It is the noblest instrument ever devised to register our will in a peaceable and productive fashion.
 
“And so we must.
 
“We must vote.
 
“And we will vote no matter how many obstacles are thrown in our way. Because once America votes, America will be heard.”

Biden declared, “Together, as one nation, under God, indivisible, let us join forces to fight the common foes of injustice and inequality, of hate and fear…

“You and I are part of a great covenant, a common story of divisions overcome and of hope renewed.
 
“If we do our part. If we stand together. If we keep faith with the past and with each other, then the divisions of our time can give way to the dreams of a brighter, better, future.”

And Biden, acting and sounding like the president this country needs and deserves, pledged, “As president, I will embrace hope, not fear. Peace, not violence. Generosity, not greed. Light, not darkness.
 
“I will be a president who appeals to the best in us. Not the worst.
 
“I will be a president who pushes towards the future. Not one who clings to the past.
 
“I am ready to fight for you and for our nation. Every day. Without exception, without reservation. And with a full and devoted heart….

“Now we have our work to reunite America, to bind up the nation’s wounds, to move past shadow and suspicion.”

Here are Vice President Biden’s highlighted remarks, as prepared for delivery — Karen Rubin/news-photos-features.com


On July 4, 1863, America woke to the remains of perhaps the most consequential battle ever fought on American soil. It took place here on this ground in Gettysburg.
 
Three days of violence, three days of carnage. 50,000 casualties wounded, captured, missing or dead. Over three days of fighting.
 
When the sun rose on that Independence Day, Lee would retreat.
 
The war would go on for nearly two more years, but the back of the Confederacy had been broken.
 
The Union would be saved, slavery would be abolished. Government of, by, and for the people would not perish from the earth, and freedom would be born anew in our land.
 
There is no more fitting place than here today in Gettysburg to talk about the cost of division — about how much it has cost America in the past, about how much it is costing us now, and about why I believe in this moment we must come together as a nation.
 
For President Lincoln, the Civil War was about the greatest of causes: the end of slavery, the widening of equality, the pursuit of justice, the creation of opportunity, and the sanctity of freedom.
 
His words here would live ever after.
 
We hear them in our heads, we know them in our hearts, we draw on them when we seek hope in the hours of darkness.
 
“Fourscore and seven years ago our fathers brought forth upon this continent a new nation conceived in Liberty, and dedicated to the proposition that all men are created equal.”
 
Here, on this sacred ground Abraham Lincoln reimagined America itself. Here, a president of the United States spoke of the price of division and the meaning of sacrifice. 
He believed in the rescue, the redemption, and the rededication of the Union, all this in a time not just of ferocious division, but also widespread death, structural inequality, and fear of the future.
 
And he taught us this: A house divided could not stand. That is a great and timeless truth.
 
Today, once again, we are a house divided. But that, my friends, can no longer be.
 
We are facing too many crises. We have too much work to do. We have too bright a future to leave it shipwrecked on the shoals of anger and hate and division.
 
As we stand here today, a century and a half after Gettysburg, we should consider again what can happen when equal justice is denied and when anger and violence and division are left unchecked.
 
As I look across America today, I’m concerned. The country is in a dangerous place. Our trust in each other is ebbing. Hope is elusive.
 
Too many Americans see our public life not as an arena for the mediation of our differences. Rather, they see it as an occasion for total, unrelenting partisan warfare.
 
Instead of treating the other party as the opposition, we treat them as the enemy.
 
This must end.
 
We need to revive a spirit of bipartisanship in this country, a spirit of being able to work with one another.
 
When I say that, I’m accused of being naïve.
 
I’m told maybe that’s the way things used to work, but they can’t any more.
 
Well, I’m here to say they can. And they must if we’re going to get anything done.
 
I’m running as a proud Democrat, but I will govern as an American president.
 
I will work with Democrats and Republicans and I will work as hard for those who don’t support me as for those who do.
 
That’s the job of a president.
 
It’s a duty of care for everyone.
 
The refusal of Democrats and Republicans to cooperate with one another is not due to some mysterious force beyond our control. It’s a decision. A choice we make.
 
And if we can decide not to cooperate, we can decide to cooperate as well.
 
That’s the choice I’ll make as president.
 
But there is something bigger going on in the nation than just our broken politics, something darker, something more dangerous.
 
I’m not talking about ordinary differences of opinion. Competing viewpoints give life and vibrancy to our democracy.
 
No, I’m talking about something different, something deeper.
 
Too many Americans seek not to overcome our divisions, but to deepen them.
 
We must seek not to build walls, but bridges. We must seek not to clench our fists, but to open our arms. We must seek not to tear each other apart, but to come together.
 
You don’t have to agree with me on everything — or even on most things — to see that what we’re experiencing today is neither good nor normal.
 
I made the decision to run for president after Charlottesville.
 
Close your eyes. Remember what you saw.
 
Neo-Nazis, white supremacists and the KKK coming out of the fields with torches lit. Veins bulging. Chanting the same anti-Semitic bile heard across Europe in the 1930s.
 
It was hate on the march, in the open. In America.
 
Hate never goes away. It only hides.
 
And when it is given oxygen, when it is given the opportunity to spread, when it is treated as normal and acceptable behavior we have opened a door in this country we must move quickly to close. 
 
As President, I will do that.
 
I will send a clear, unequivocal message to the nation. There is no place for hate in America.
 
It will be given no license. It will be given no oxygen. It will be given no safe harbor.
 
In recent weeks and months, the country has been roiled by instances of excessive police force, by heart wrenching cases of racial injustice and lives needlessly and senselessly lost, by peaceful protests giving voice to the calls for justice, and by examples of violence and looting and burning that cannot be tolerated.
 
I believe in law and order. I have never supported defunding the police.
 
But I also believe injustice is real.

 
It’s the product of a history that goes back 400 years, to the moment when black men, women, and children were first brought here in chains.
 
I do not believe we have to choose between law and order and racial justice in America.
 
We can have both.

 
This nation is strong enough to both honestly face systemic racism, and strong enough to provide safe streets for our families and small businesses that too often bear the brunt of this looting and burning.
 
We have no need for armed militias roaming America’s streets, and we should have no tolerance for extremist white supremacist groups menacing our communities.
 
If you say we should trust America’s law enforcement authorities to do their jobs as I do, then let them do their job without extremist groups acting as vigilantes.
 
And if you say we have no need to face racial injustice in this country, you haven’t opened your eyes to the truth in America.
 
There have been powerful voices for justice in recent weeks and months.
 
George Floyd’s 6-year old daughter Gianna, who I met with, was one such voice when she said, “Daddy changed the world.”
 
Also, Jacob Blake’s mother was another when she said violence didn’t reflect her son and that this nation needed healing.
 
And Doc Rivers, the basketball coach choking back tears when he said, “We’re the ones getting killed. We’re the ones getting shot … We’ve been hung. It’s amazing why we keep loving this country, and this country does not love us back.”
 
Think about that. Think about what it takes for a Black person to love America. That is a deep love for this country that for far too long we have never fully recognized.
 
What we need in America is leadership that seeks to deescalate tensions, to open lines of communication, and to bring us together.
 
To heal. And to hope.
 
As President, that is precisely what I will do.
 
We have paid a high price for allowing the deep divisions in this country to impact how we have dealt with the coronavirus. 210,000 Americans dead and the numbers climbing. It’s estimated that nearly another 210,000 Americans could lose their lives by the end of the year.
 
Enough. No more.
 
Let’s set the partisanship aside. Let’s end the politics. Let’s follow the science.
 
Wearing a mask isn’t a political statement. It’s a scientific recommendation.
 
Social distancing isn’t a political statement. It’s a scientific recommendation.
 
Testing. Tracing. The development, ultimately approval and distribution of a vaccine isn’t a political statement. These are scientific-based decisions.
 
We can’t undo what has been done. We can’t go back. But we can do better. We can do better starting today.
 
We can have a national strategy that puts the politics aside and saves lives.
 
We can have a national strategy that will make it possible for our schools and businesses to open safely.
 
We can have a national strategy that reflects the true values of this nation.
 
The pandemic is not a red state versus blue state issue. The virus doesn’t care where you live or what political party you belong to.
 
It infects us all. It will take anyone’s life. It is a virus — not a political weapon.
 
There’s another enduring division in America that we must end: The divisions in our economic life that give opportunity only to the privileged few.
 
America has to be about mobility. It has to be the kind of country where an Abraham Lincoln – a child of the distant frontier, can rise to our highest office.
 
America has to be about the possibilities. The possibilities of prosperity.
 
Not just for the privileged few. But for the many — for all of us.
 
Working people and their kids deserve an opportunity.
 
Lincoln knew this. He said that the country had to give people “an open field and a fair chance.”
 
And that’s what we’re going to do in the America we’re going to build — together.
 
We fought a Civil War that would secure a Union that would seek to fulfill the promise of equality for all.
 
And by fits and starts — our better angels have prevailed just enough against our worst impulses to make a new and better nation.
 
And those better angels can prevail again — now. They must prevail again — now. A hundred years after Lincoln spoke here at Gettysburg then Vice President Lyndon B. Johnson also came here and said: “Our nation found its soul in honor on these fields of Gettysburg … We must not lose that soul in dishonor now on the fields of hate.”
 
Today we are engaged once again in a battle for the soul of the nation.
 
The forces of darkness, the forces of division, the forces of yesterday are pulling us apart, holding us down, and holding us back.
 
We must free ourselves of all of them.
 
As president, I will embrace hope, not fear. Peace, not violence. Generosity, not greed. Light, not darkness.
 
I will be a president who appeals to the best in us. Not the worst.
 
I will be a president who pushes towards the future. Not one who clings to the past.
 
I am ready to fight for you and for our nation. Every day. Without exception, without reservation. And with a full and devoted heart.
 
We cannot — and will not — allow extremists and white supremacists to overturn the America of Lincoln and Harriet Tubman and Frederick Douglass.
 
To overturn the America that has welcomed immigrants from distant shores.
 
To overturn the America that’s been a haven and a home for everyone no matter their background.
 
From Seneca Falls to Selma to Stonewall, we’re at our best when the promise of America is available to all.
 
We cannot and will not allow violence in the streets to threaten the people of this nation.
 
We cannot and will not walk away from our obligation to, at long last, face the reckoning on race and racial justice in the country.
 
We cannot and will not continue to be stuck in a partisan politics that lets this virus thrive while the public health of this nation suffers.
 
We cannot and will not accept an economic equation that only favors those who’ve already got it made.
 
Everybody deserves a shot at prosperity.
 
Duty and history call presidents to provide for the common good. And I will.
 
It won’t be easy. Our divisions today are of long standing. Economic and racial inequities have shaped us for generations.
 
But I give you my word: If I am elected President, I will marshal the ingenuity and good will of this nation to turn division into unity and bring us together.
 
We can disagree about how to move forward, but we must take the first step.
 
And it starts with how we treat one another, how we talk to one another, how we respect one another.
 
In his Second Inaugural, Lincoln said, “With malice toward none, with charity for all, with firmness in the right as God gives us to see the right, let us strive on to finish the work we are in, to bind up the nation’s wounds.”
 
Now we have our work to reunite America, to bind up the nation’s wounds, to move past shadow and suspicion.
 
And so we — you and I, together — press on, even now.
 
After hearing the Second Inaugural Address, Frederick Douglass told the president:
 
“Mr. Lincoln, that was a sacred effort.”
 
We must be dedicated now to our own sacred effort.
 
The promise of Gettysburg, that a new birth of freedom was at hand, is at risk.
 
Every generation that has followed Gettysburg has been faced with a moment — when it must answer this question — whether it will allow the sacrifices made here to be in vain.
 
This is our moment to answer this essential American question for ourselves and for our time.
 
And my answer is this:
 
It cannot be that after all this country has been through. After all that America has accomplished, after all the years we have stood as a beacon of light to the world, it cannot be that here and now, in 2020, we will allow government of the people, by the people, and for the people to perish from this earth.
 
No. It cannot. It must not.
 
We have in our hands the ultimate power: the power of the vote. It is the noblest instrument ever devised to register our will in a peaceable and productive fashion.
 
And so we must.
 
We must vote.
 
And we will vote no matter how many obstacles are thrown in our way. Because once America votes, America will be heard.
 
Lincoln said: “The nation is worth fighting for.”
 
So it was. So it is.
 
Together, as one nation, under God, indivisible, let us join forces to fight the common foes of injustice and inequality, of hate and fear.
 
Let us conduct ourselves as Americans who love each other — who love our country and who will not destroy, but will build.
 
We owe that to the dead who are buried here at Gettysburg.
 
And we owe that to the living and to future generations yet to be born.
 
You and I are part of a great covenant, a common story of divisions overcome and of hope renewed.
 
If we do our part. If we stand together. If we keep faith with the past and with each other, then the divisions of our time can give way to the dreams of a brighter, better, future.
 
This is our work. This is our pledge. This is our mission.
 
We can end this era of division.
 
We can end the hate and the fear.
 
We can be what we are at our best:
 
The United States of America.
 
God bless you. And may God protect our troops.

NYS Gets $18 Million Federal Grant to Train Workers, Support Entrepreneurs During, After COVID-19 Pandemic

Announcing an $18 million federal grant for to train workers for in-demand jobs and support entrepreneurs during and after the COVID-19 pandemic, New York State Governor Andrew Cuomo said, “Our workforce is the bedrock of our economy, and I know that this funding will help bridge the gap between education and industry, allowing us to build back better by uplifting both individuals looking for jobs and small businesses across the state.”  © Karen Rubin/news-photos-features.com

New York State has been awarded an $18 million federal grant to fund educational opportunities that train New Yorkers for in-demand jobs, support entrepreneurs, and help small businesses recover from the coronavirus pandemic. New York was one of just eight states to receive the funding – made available through the CARES Act – and received the most of any state that was awarded a grant. Governor Andrew M. Cuomo made the announcement during Workforce Development Awareness Week.

“The coronavirus pandemic is far from over, and as we continue to fight against this deadly virus, we must also respond to the economic devastation it has caused. With millions of Americans out of work, we must use every resource available to train New Yorkers to compete – and succeed – in this difficult economic situation,” Governor Cuomo said. “Our workforce is the bedrock of our economy, and I know that this funding will help bridge the gap between education and industry, allowing us to build back better by uplifting both individuals looking for jobs and small businesses across the state.”  

“We are making success accessible ensuring New Yorkers have the training and skills they need to seek new jobs and opportunities as we continue to battle this pandemic,” said Lieutenant Governor Kathy Hochul.”Our ongoing workforce development initiative is supporting efforts to improve the economic security of women, youth and other groups that face significant barriers by making job placement more inclusive and leaving no New Yorker behind. We are sending a clear message to New Yorkers that they will have the training and skills they need to succeed as we build back better, smarter and stronger for the future.”

The New York State Department of Labor will partner with the Office of Workforce Development, Empire State Development, New York’s ten Regional Economic Development Councils, the State University of New York, and the City University of New York to allocate the federal grant funding on programs that support New York’s continued economic recovery. 

Educational programs will focus on developing the skills needed to succeed in emerging growth industries like tech, logistics, and advanced manufacturing, and supporting entrepreneurs. New York’s multi-pronged approach will include four elements:

1) Education for Hard-Hit NYC: In New York City, which was among the worst-hit COVID-19 communities, the CUNY system will assist in training residents with the digital skills needed for in-demand sectors such as data analytics, cybersecurity, advanced logistics/supply chain, digital marketing and communications, and software development.  

2) “Stay Near, Go Far” at SUNY: At 30 community colleges across the State, SUNY will leverage its existing “Stay Near, Go Far” initiative to train New Yorkers in high growth industries, including technology, healthcare, and advanced manufacturing, and provide them with the entrepreneurial skills needed to open their own businesses. 

3) Entrepreneurship Boot Camps: Building on its existing resources, Empire State Development will host a series of intensive workshops and boot camps to train entrepreneurs and small business owners on how to run their own business during – and after – the pandemic.  

4) Industry Focus, Regional Results: The Department of Labor will issue a competitive Request for Proposals and work with New York State’s ten Regional Economic Development Councils to identify industry-driven programs that either train job seekers to meet current local employment needs or are designed to address future economic and workforce development needs. 

New York State Department of Labor Commissioner Roberta Reardon said,”The COVID-19 public health emergency has changed nearly every facet of our lives – including our workplaces and workforce. We have a responsibility to prepare New Yorkers to succeed in, during, and after the pandemic, and these new training opportunities will give them the skills needed to get back to work and help small businesses thrive.”

“Workforce training has long been a fundamental part of ESD’s mission and will be a key towards helping our State’s businesses build back better,” Empire State Development Acting Commissioner and President & CEO-designate Eric Gertler said. “This funding allows us to develop, in partnership with and supported by the strength of New York’s top-tier public universities, workshops and boot camps that will connect entrepreneurs with the skilled talent needed to meet the challenges of this new economic environment.”

State University of New York Chancellor Jim Malatras said, “The Pandemic has challenged us to identify and pursue bold, creative, outside-the-box strategies for stimulating the economy and getting people back to work. Connecting people with the specific skills needed for in-demand jobs right in their own communities is crucial to rebuilding the economy and ensuring that New Yorkers who have fallen on hard times can find new, meaningful opportunities that support themselves and their families. The Reimagine Workforce Preparation Grant will provide a major boost to that important effort.”

“CUNY is committed to helping all New Yorkers navigate and access high quality upskilling opportunities that are connected to jobs that are growing, as our City and State continue to recover economically,” CUNY Chancellor Félix V. Matos Rodríguez said. “This grant will enable CUNY to serve thousands of New Yorkers in important areas like digital marketing, data analytics, software and web app development.”

Congressman José Serrano said, “We have to make sure New York’s labor force has the skills necessary to access opportunities as we recover from COVID-19.  This initiative will expand access to free or low-cost support, education and training in the state of New York – one of only eight states selected for this investment. Made possible thanks to the CARES Act approved in Congress, this timely effort will ultimately help local workers, entrepreneurs and small businesses find opportunities, remain in business,  and emerge stronger during and after COVID-19.”

Congressman Joseph Morelle said, “COVID-19 has left more than a million New Yorkers out of work and businesses across every sector struggling, profoundly altering the future of our economy. We need bold investments in workforce development to rebuild and recover from this pandemic, and I’m proud to have helped secure critical funding through the CARES Act to make this initiative a reality and give workers and businesses the support they need. I’m grateful to Governor Cuomo for his steadfast leadership throughout this crisis and his commitment to ensuring New York emerges safe and stronger than ever.”

This federal grant comes as New York State recognizes its second-annual Workforce Development Awareness Week, which runs September 28 to October 4. During this week, New York State spotlights job training and higher education strategies that will help meet business and industry workforce needs, improve regional talent pipelines, enhance the flexibility and adaptability of local workforce entities, and expand workplace learning opportunities for the diverse cross-section of people who remain the bedrock of the state and nation’s workforce. These efforts take on even more importance as the state continues to battle the COVID-19 pandemic, continues the state’s economic reopening, and begins the process of building back better. 

Nearly 500 Retired Top Military, National Security Officials Endorse Joe Biden

Memorial Day Commemoration, North Hempstead, Long Island, NY nearly 500 retired top military and national security officials endorsed Joe Biden for President of the United States. The generals, admirals, ambassadors, and other former national security leaders pointed to Joe Biden’s empathy, honesty, experience and leadership as necessary traits required to navigate America through a painful time. The leaders, including Democrats, Republicans and Independents, also cited Donald Trump’s failure to address the COVID-19 pandemic, climate change, and other monumental crises facing the nation. (c) Karen Rubin/news-photos-features.com

“Those who have served know empathy is a vital leadership quality – you cannot do what is best for those you lead if you do not know their challenges. Joe Biden has empathy born of his humble roots, family tragedies and personal loss. When Americans are struggling, Joe Biden understands their pain and takes it upon himself to help.”

Today, nearly 500 retired top military and national security officials endorsed Joe Biden for President of the United States. In an open letter, the generals, admirals, ambassadors, and other former national security leaders pointed to Joe Biden’s empathy, honesty, experience and leadership as necessary traits required to navigate America through a painful time. The leaders, including Democrats, Republicans and Independents, also cited Donald Trump’s failure to address the COVID-19 pandemic, climate change, and other monumental crises facing the nation.
 
Read the full letter below and see the full list of signatures here:

National Security Leaders for Biden: An Open Letter To America

To Our Fellow Citizens:
 
We are former public servants who have devoted our careers, and in many cases risked our lives, for the United States. We are generals, admirals, senior noncommissioned officers, ambassadors, and senior civilian national security leaders. We are Republicans, Democrats, and Independents. We love our country. Unfortunately, we also fear for it. The COVID-19 pandemic has proven America needs principled, wise, and responsible leadership. America needs a President who understands, as President Harry S. Truman said, that “the buck stops here.”
 
We the undersigned endorse Joe Biden to be the next President of the United States. He is the leader our nation needs.

We believe that Joe Biden is, above all, a good man with a strong sense of right and wrong. He is guided by the principles that have long made America great: democracy is a hard-won right we must defend and support at home and abroad; America’s power and influence stem as much from her moral authority as it does from her economic and military power; America’s free press is invaluable, not an enemy of the people; those who sacrifice or give their lives in service of our nation deserve our respect and eternal gratitude; and America’s citizens benefit most when the United States engages with the world. Joe Biden will always put the nation’s needs before his own.
 
Those who have served know empathy is a vital leadership quality – you cannot do what is best for those you lead if you do not know their challenges. Joe Biden has empathy born of his humble roots, family tragedies and personal loss. When Americans are struggling, Joe Biden understands their pain and takes it upon himself to help.
 
We believe America’s president must be honest, and we find Joe Biden’s honesty and integrity indisputable. He believes a nation’s word is her bond. He believes we must stand by the allies who have stood by us. He remembers how America’s NATO allies rushed to her side after 9/11; how the Kurds fought by our side to defeat ISIS; and how Japan and South Korea have been steadfast partners in countering North Korean and Chinese provocations. Joe Biden would never sell out our allies to placate despots or because he dislikes an allied leader.
 
While some of us may have different opinions on particular policy matters, we trust Joe Biden’s positions are rooted in sound judgment, thorough understanding, and fundamental values.
 
We know Joe Biden has the experience and wisdom necessary to navigate America through a painful time. He has grappled with America’s most difficult foreign policy challenges for decades, learning what works – and what does not – in a dangerous world. He is knowledgeable, but he also knows that listening to diverse and dissenting views is essential, particularly when making tough decisions concerning our national security. Many of us have briefed Joe Biden on matters of national security, and we know he demands a thorough understanding of any issue before making a decision – as any American president should.
 
Finally, Joe Biden believes in personal responsibility. Over his long career, he has learned hard lessons and grown as a leader who can take positive action to unite and heal our country. It is unthinkable that he would ever utter the phrase “I don’t take responsibility at all.”
 
The next president will inherit a nation – and a world – in turmoil. The current President has demonstrated he is not equal to the enormous responsibilities of his office; he cannot rise to meet challenges large or small. Thanks to his disdainful attitude and his failures, our allies no longer trust or respect us, and our enemies no longer fear us. Climate change continues unabated, as does North Korea’s nuclear program. The president has ceded influence to a Russian adversary who puts bounties on the heads of American military personnel, and his trade war against China has only harmed America’s farmers and manufacturers. The next president will have to address those challenges while struggling with an economy in a deep recession and a pandemic that has already claimed more than 200,000 of our fellow citizens. America, with 4% of the world’s population suffers with 25% of the world’s COVID-19 cases. Only FDR and Abraham Lincoln came into office facing more monumental crises than the next president.
 
Joe Biden has the character, principles, wisdom, and leadership necessary to address a world on fire. That is why Joe Biden must be the next President of the United States; why we vigorously support his election; and why we urge our fellow citizens to do the same.

Cuomo, Whitmer Call for Congressional Investigation into Trump Administration’s Politicization of Response to COVID-19 Pandemic

New York Governor Andrew M. Cuomo and Michigan Governor Gretchen Whitmer are calling for a Congressional oversight investigation into the Trump administration’s politicization of government functions that have impeded the country’s response to the COVID-19 pandemic © Karen Rubin/news-photos-features.com

New York Governor Andrew M. Cuomo and Michigan Governor Gretchen Whitmer are  calling for a Congressional oversight investigation into the Trump administration’s politicization of government functions that have impeded the country’s response to the COVID-19 pandemic, releasing this joint statement:

“It is an inarguable fact that the United States has had the worst response to the COVID-19 virus of any nation in the world. Nearly 7 million Americans have tested positive for the virus, and more than 200,000 Americans have been killed by it — both more than any other country. The unprecedented and unacceptable scale of this tragedy is the direct result of President Trump and the federal government’s deceit, political self-dealing, and incompetence. 

“Rather than turning to the advice and direction of public health experts and career public servants, President Trump instead put the health and security of the American people in the hands of political appointees whose first priority was securing the reelection of their benefactor, with predictably tragic results. 

“Last week’s revelation that the White House blocked a Department of Health and Human Services plan to utilize the U.S. Postal Service to ship five life-saving masks to every household in the country, free of charge, in April was heartbreaking. Imagine the lives that could have been saved if every household were provided masks at such a crucial time. 

“Even more dangerous, the nation learned last week that political appointees at the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services — over the strong objection of CDC scientists — published the indefensible guidance that said people without symptoms did not need to get tested for COVID. Coupled with the agency’s abrupt reversal earlier this week on guidance related to the airborne transmission of the virus, it’s increasingly clear that the President and his advisers are trying to undermine the credibility of experts whose facts run counter to the administration’s political agenda.

“As a country, we cannot allow this type of politically-motivated decision making to take root. Logic dictates that COVID won’t be the last public health challenge we will face, and we can’t afford to again respond by playing politics, instead of listening to the science and facts. Congress must immediately conduct an oversight investigation into the Trump administration’s response to this pandemic, including the actions at HHS and the USPS the public learned about over the past week. Especially in light of Bob Woodward’s reporting, the question of, “What did they know and when did they know it?” cannot be left to the history books to answer. Our future health and economic security depends on holding the Trump administration accountable today.”

Cuomo commented, “Governor Whitmer and I today called on Congress to immediately conduct an oversight investigation into the Trump administration’s response on this pandemic. How can you not tell the American people what you knew and when you knew it? Just ask Peter Navarro. You had a memo that said millions of Americans would be infected. Did you tell anyone? Who did you send it to? Did anyone send you back the memo with a question mark? You met with the President 180 times since that memo – did you ever mention to the President, ‘By the way, I had a concern here that millions of Americans might be infected.’ It just doesn’t pass the smell test. It can’t be true.”

Sanders Calling for Largest Voter Turnout in History, Declares ‘Imperative to Counter Trump’s Unique Threats to Democracy’

Senator Bernie Sanders (I-Vt), at a rally in Queens during the 2020 campaign. In remarks at George Washington University regarding the “unprecedented and dangerous moment we are in because of Trump’s unique threats to our democracy” called for unprecedented voter turnout, warning that Trump may well declare victory in Election Night, before the millions of mail-in-ballots are counted, confiscate the ballots to prevent them from being counted, and even instruct Republican legislators to disregard the popular vote and select Trump electors to vote in the Electoral College. If all that, including impeding delivery of mail-in-ballots, calling out thugs to intimidate voters who come to the polls, Trump says he is counting on the Supreme Court, with his third pick already on the court, to hand him the election. Only then, he says, will there be a “peaceful transfer” because there won’t be a transfer at all, but a continuation of power. © Karen Rubin/news-photos-features.com

Senator Bernie Sanders (I-Vt), in remarks at George Washington University regarding the “unprecedented and dangerous moment we are in because of Trump’s unique threats to our democracy” called for unprecedented voter turnout, warning that Trump may well declare victory in Election Night, before the millions of mail-in-ballots are counted, confiscate the ballots to prevent them from being counted, and even instruct Republican legislators to disregard the popular vote and select Trump electors to vote in the Electoral College. If all that, including impeding delivery of mail-in-ballots, calling out thugs to intimidate voters who come to the polls, Trump says he is counting on the Supreme Court, with his third pick already on the court, to hand him the election. Only then, he says, will there be a “peaceful transfer” because there won’t be a transfer at all, but a continuation of power. – Karen Rubin/news-photos-features.com

Here are Senator Sanders’ remarks, highlighted, as prepared for delivery:

Saving American Democracy 

This country faces an unprecedented set of crises. We are struggling with a pandemic that has already cost us over 200,000 lives. 

We have an economy in which we have a grotesque level of income and wealth inequality, where the middle class is being decimated, where millions of workers have lost their jobs and half of our people continue to work paycheck to paycheck — many for starvation wages.  

We are living in the moment when climate change is ravaging this planet, leading to massive fires on the West Coast, drought and unprecedented levels of extreme weather disturbances all across the globe. 

We are the only major country on earth not to guarantee healthcare to all people as a right, over 90 million Americans are uninsured or under-insured, and we pay by far the highest prices in the world for prescription drugs.

All of these issues, and others, are enormously important and should be the issues that are being debated in this campaign. But, today, I’m not going to talk about any of them.

What I am going to talk about is something that, in my wildest dreams, I never thought I would be discussing.  And that is the need to make certain that the President of the United States, if he loses this election, will abide by the will of the voters and leave office peacefully.

What I will be discussing today is the danger that this country faces from a president who is a pathological liar, who has strong authoritarian tendencies, who neither understands nor respects our constitution and who is prepared to undermine American democracy in order to stay in power. 

With less than 6 weeks left to go in this campaign it is my fervent hope that all Americans — Democrats, Republicans, independents, progressives, moderates, conservatives — come together to defend American democracy, our constitution and the rule of law. We must ensure, in this unprecedented moment in American history that this is an election that is free and fair, an election in which voters are not intimidated, an election in which all votes are counted and an election in which the loser accepts the results.

This is not just an election between Donald Trump and Joe Biden.  This is an election between Donald Trump and democracy – and democracy must win. 

The United States is the oldest continuous democracy in the modern world. We held elections in the middle of a Civil War in 1864. We held free and fair elections during World War I, during the Great Depression, and during World War II. After all of those elections, held in extremely difficult circumstances, the loser acknowledged defeat and the winner was inaugurated and took office.  That is what America is all about.  That’s what democracy is all about.

But today, under Donald Trump, we have a president who has little respect for our constitution or the rule of law. Today, that peaceful transition of power, the bedrock of American democracy, is being threatened like never before.

I am not in the habit of quoting former President Ronald Reagan, but I think something that he said in his first inaugural address makes the point about how important — how precious — is this part of our heritage. I quote: “The orderly transfer of authority as called for in the Constitution routinely takes place as it has for almost two centuries and few of us stop to think how unique we really are. In the eyes of many in the world, this every 4-year ceremony we accept as normal is nothing less than a miracle.” Unquote. 

Protecting this “orderly transfer of authority” as President Reagan characterized it, this miracle, is absolutely essential if we together — all of us, Republicans, Democrats, Independents — want to keep faith with the American ideals we hold so dear and with the sacrifices that so many made in order to protect our democracy.

And in that regard I think it is terribly important that we actually listen to, and take seriously, what Donald Trump is saying.  

Several weeks ago, speaking at the Republican National Convention, Trump said, and I quote, “The only way they can take this election away from us is if this is a rigged election.” What is remarkable about that statement is that he made it at a time when almost every national poll had him behind and when he was trailing in polls in most battleground states.

Think about what that statement means. What he is saying is that if he wins the election, that’s great. But if he loses, it’s rigged, because the only way, the only way, he can lose is if it’s rigged. And if it’s rigged, then he is not leaving office.  Heads I win. Tails you lose. In other words, in Trump’s mind, there is no conceivable way that he should leave office.

And just last night Donald Trump went even further down the path of authoritarianism by being the first president in the history of this country to refuse to commit to a peaceful transition of power if he loses the election. 

When asked by a reporter in the White House briefing room: “Win, lose or draw in this election, will you commit here today for a peaceful transferal of power after the election?” Trump responded:

“We’re going to have to see what happens.  You know that I’ve been complaining very strongly about the ballots, and the ballots are a disaster.  We want to get rid of the ballots and you’ll have a very peaceful — there won’t be a transfer, frankly. There will be a continuation.”

That’s not his choice.  That’s for the American people to determine.  Let us be very clear.  There is nothing in our constitution or in our laws that give Donald Trump the privilege of deciding whether or not he will step aside if he loses.  In the United States the president does not determine who can or cannot vote and what ballots will be counted.  That may be what his friend Putin does in Russia.  It may be what is done in other authoritarian countries.  But it is not and will not be done in America.  This is a democracy.

I do understand that Donald Trump is a billionaire, or so he says.  I do understand that he was born to a very wealthy family and, from his earliest days, was able to get anything he wanted because his family was rich and his family was powerful.  I do understand that when you’re rich and you’re powerful you don’t  have to pay taxes like ordinary people and that it’s easy for you to avoid the military draft.  I do understand that when you’re rich and you’re powerful you can buy politicians and get hundreds of millions of dollars in corporate welfare for your real estate empire.  

But this I also understand.  No matter how rich and powerful you may be, no matter how arrogant and narcissistic you may be, no matter how much you think you can get anything you want, let me make this clear to Donald Trump: Too many people have fought and died to defend American democracy.  You are not going to destroy it.  The American people will not allow that to happen.

Despite all of the evidence, Trump continues to be obsessed with the belief that there is massive voter fraud in this country. 

In 2017, after he won the presidency, Trump insisted that he would have won the popular vote, which he lost by 3 million votes, if, quote “millions of illegal votes had not been cast.” There is absolutely no evidence of that being true. In fact, it is totally preposterous to believe that millions of votes, or any significant number of votes at all, were cast illegally. This is an assertion supported by no one. Not Democratic officials.  Not Republican officials. No one.  And yet that is what Trump said after he won. 

There have been numerous studies done on the issue of voter fraud in our country. They have all concluded essentially the same thing.  Voter fraud in the United States of America is extremely rare. 

study by Dartmouth University found no evidence of widespread voter fraud in the 2016 election.  

An article in the New York Times from December 18, 2016 stated: “In an election in which more than 137.7 million Americans cast ballots, election and law enforcement officials in 26 states and the District of Columbia — Democratic-leaning, Republican-leaning and in-between — said that so far they knew of no credible allegations of fraudulent voting. Officials in another eight states said they knew of only one allegation … In Georgia, where more than 4.1 million ballots were cast, officials said they had opened 25 inquiries into “suspicious voting or election-related activity.”  But inquiries to all 50 states (every one but Kansas responded) found no states that reported indications of widespread fraud.”

A report by the Brennan Center for Justice reviewed elections that had been meticulously studied for voter fraud, and found incident rates between 0.0003 percent and 0.0025 percent. The report concluded that it is more likely that an American, quote, “will be struck by lightning than that he will impersonate another voter at the polls,” unquote.

Even the conservative Heritage Foundation, which maintains a database on election fraud, could only find 143 criminal convictions of mail in voter fraud out of 250 million mail-in votes cast over the past 20 years, a rate of 0.00006%.

But you don’t have to trust me on this issue.  Benjamin Ginsburg, one of the leading Republican experts on elections, a man who served as national counsel to the Bush-Cheney presidential campaign, a man who played a major role for the Republican Party in the 2000 Florida recount, and who co-chaired the bipartisan 2013 Presidential Commission on Election Administration, recently wrote in the Washington Post, and I quote, “The truth is that after decades of looking for illegal voting, there’s no proof of widespread fraud. At most, there are isolated incidents — by both Democrats and Republicans. Elections are not rigged,” unquote. 

Let me repeat from one of the Republican Party’s leading experts on elections: “The truth is that after decades of looking for illegal voting, there’s no proof of widespread fraud. At most, there are isolated incidents — by both Democrats and Republicans. Elections are not rigged.”

And if even the statement of Mr. Ginsburg is not good enough for you, here is what the Trump administration’s own voting integrity commission reported.  According to an analysis of administration documents by the Associated Press, Trump’s commission uncovered, quote “no evidence to support claims of widespread voter fraud,” unquote, and disbanded in 2018. 

Even Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell tamped down concerns about mail-in ballots last month, saying, and I quote, “Many parts of our country vote by mail. Oregon, Washington and Colorado have voted by mail for years.”

And yet we have a president who calls mail in ballots “a hoax” and “a scam.”

Trump’s strategy to delegitimize this election and to stay in office if he loses is not complicated. Finding himself behind in many polls, he is attempting massive voter suppression. He and his Republican colleagues are doing everything they can to make it harder and harder for people to vote. In addition, he is sowing the seeds of chaos, confusion and conspiracy theories by casting doubt on the integrity of this election and, if he loses, justifying why he should remain in office. 

In an interview with Chris Wallace on Fox News, Trump refused to say that he would leave office if he lost. Asked to give a direct answer on whether he would accept the election results, Trump refused. He said, quote, “I have to see. No, I’m not going to just say yes. I’m not going to say no, and I didn’t last time either.” Pretty much what he said yesterday.

In the middle of a pandemic Trump made clear that he wants to defund the Postal Service in order to limit the use of mail in ballots. In an interview on August 13, discussing a possible deal for a relief package that would have funded the post office, Trump let the cat out of the bag by admitting that, quote “If we don’t make a deal, that means they don’t get the money. That means they can’t have universal mail-in voting; they just can’t have it.”  

In other words, what Trump is saying to tens of millions of Americans is that at a time when over 200,000 people have already died from the coronavirus, you have a choice: You can either risk your health or even your life by walking into a voting booth or you can’t vote.  How disgusting is that?

Amazingly, at the very same time Trump is making completely baseless allegations about voter fraud, last month he urged his supporters in North Carolina to try voting twice, which is a felony. 

In order to advance his plan for mass voter suppression, the Trump campaign filed a lawsuit in Nevada, which fortunately was dismissed, challenging the state’s mail-in voting laws. 

In July, Trump used false claims of voter fraud to propose delaying this year’s election, which he does not have the power to do. This was so outrageous that Steven Calabresi, the co-founder of the conservative Federalist Society, wrote that it was, quote “grounds for the president’s immediate impeachment again by the House of Representatives and his removal from office by the Senate,” unquote.

Last week, Trump told his supporters at a rally in Nevada that he, quote, “was entitled” to serve a third term, which is obviously a violation of the Constitution’s 22nd Amendment. 

On Saturday, Trump suggested to his supporters in North Carolina that he might sign an executive order to prevent Joe Biden from becoming president. 

Trump has also urged his supporters to become, quote, “poll watchers,” but what he is really saying is he wants his supporters, some of whom are members of armed militias, to intimidate voters. We’re already seeing this in Virginia, where early voters were confronted by Trump supporters, and election officials in Fairfax County said that some voters and polling staff felt intimidated.

On and on it goes.  Every day, over and over again, Trump is making it harder for the American people to participate in the political process and is attempting to delegitimize the outcome of this election so that if he loses he can remain in office.

The concerns that I am raising today are not just mine alone, and are not just concerns shared by progressives and Democrats.

Miles Taylor, a lifelong Republican who previously served as chief of staff inside the Trump administration’s Department of Homeland Security, warned that there is nothing that Trump will not do or say to defeat Biden. 

“Put nothing past Donald Trump,” Taylor told The Associated Press. “He will do anything to win. If that means climbing over other people, climbing over his own people, or climbing over U.S. law, he will do it. People are right to be concerned.” 

Well, I agree with Mr. Taylor. I am concerned. I am very concerned.

Last week, my former Senate colleague Dan Coats, Trump’s own former Director of National Intelligence, published a piece in the New York Times calling for a high-level bipartisan and nonpartisan commission to oversee the election to reassure all Americans that it has been carried out fairly. Coats wrote, quote, “The most urgent task American leaders face is to ensure that the election’s results are accepted as legitimate. Electoral legitimacy is the essential linchpin of our entire political culture. We should see the challenge clearly in advance and take immediate action to respond.”

I couldn’t agree more. I strongly second Director Coats’ call for this election commission.

Last week as well, Democratic Minority Leader Chuck Schumer and I sent a letter to Senator McConnell urging him to hold hearings on the issue of election and post-election security. Senator Schumer and I stated, “We would like to hear from the most knowledgeable people in the country as to how we can do everything possible to make sure that the election and the period afterward is secure and peaceful.”

Majority Leader McConnell: Please respond to that letter.  Please establish that bi-partisan committee.  

And today I call on every elected official in America whether they be Republican, Democrat or Independent to vigorously oppose voter suppression and voter intimidation, to make sure that every vote is counted, and that no one is declared the winner until those votes are counted.  

And to my Republican colleagues in the Congress please do not continue to tell the American people how much you love America if, at this critical moment, you are not prepared to stand up to defend American democracy and our way of life.  Stop the hypocrisy.

With or without Donald Trump this election is unique in American history because it’s taking place during a pandemic and a public health crisis.   

As a result, states all over America are taking the appropriate steps to ensure more Americans can safely vote by mail in their own homes instead of risking their health or their lives to vote in person.  

The result is that this election will see, by far, the largest number of mail in ballots ever. 

And let’s be clear.  Despite what Donald Trump says, voting by mail is not a new or dangerous idea.  Colorado, Hawaii, Oregon, Washington and Utah conduct their elections almost entirely by mail.  California, Nevada, New Jersey, the District of Columbia and my state of Vermont have pledged to mail ballots to all registered voters for the upcoming election.  And many other states are making it easier to vote by mail. Trump himself, as well as members of his administration, have repeatedly voted by mail.  Members of the U.S. military have regularly voted by mail since the 1800s.

Given the significant increase in mail in ballots why, you might ask, are Trump and his allies trying to attack the integrity of our vote by mail system? 

The answer is simple.  A number of studies have shown that for, whatever reasons, Republicans are more likely to vote in person while Democrats are more likely to use mail in ballots.  

In fact, one poll found that only about a quarter of Biden supporters would vote in person on Election Day while some two thirds of Trump voters planned to vote in person.

In other words, if Trump can undermine people’s confidence in the validity of votes cast by mail, he will be calling into question the validity of votes that may overwhelmingly support Joe Biden.  

Let us consider the following scenario:  

On election night, Trump is ahead in many battleground states based on the votes of those who voted in person on election day.  All across the television screens people see Trump ahead before they turn in for the night.  But as more and more mail in ballots are counted, Trump’s lead falls.  Trump then announces, with no proof, that there has been massive mail in ballot fraud and that these votes should not be counted – and that he has won the election.

In other words, Trump may well announce that he has won the election before all of the votes are counted and that large numbers of mail in ballots should be discarded.

Furthermore, in states where Republicans control the legislature, it is possible that the election results will be ignored because of false accusations of voter fraud and that the legislature itself will use its power to appoint electors pledged to vote for Trump, overriding the will of the people. 

And, in the midst of all of this, with the death of Justice Ginsburg, Trump is attempting to push through a Supreme Court Justice who may very well cast a vote in a case that will determine the outcome of this election.  He is doing that at a time when early voting has already begun and millions of ballots will have already been cast.

In this unprecedented moment what can we as a people do in the struggle to preserve American democracy?  

First, it is absolutely imperative that we have, by far, the largest voter turnout in American history and that people vote as early as possible

As someone who is strongly supporting Joe Biden, let’s be clear: A landslide victory for Biden will make it virtually impossible for Trump to deny the results and is our best means for defending democracy.  

Second, with the pandemic and a massive increase in mail in voting, state legislatures must take immediate action now to allow mail in votes to be counted before Election Day – as they come in.  

In fact, 32 states allow for the counting or processing of absentee ballots – verifying signatures for example – before Election Day.  All states should do the same.  The faster all ballots are counted, the less window there is for chaos and conspiracy theories.  

Third, the news media needs to prepare the American people to understand there is no longer a single election day and that it is very possible that we may not know the results on November 3rd.  

Fourth, social media companies must finally get their act together and stop people from using their tools to spread disinformation and to threaten and harass election officials.

Fifth, in the Congress and in state legislatures hearings must be held as soon as possible to explain to the public how the election day process and the days that follow will be handled.  As we count every vote, and prevent voter intimidation everything possible must be done to prevent chaos, disinformation, and even violence.

Lastly, and most importantly, the American people, no matter what their political persuasion, must make it clear that  American democracy will not be destroyed.  Our country from its inception and through the sacrifices of millions has been a model to the world with regard to representative government.  In 1863, in the midst of the terrible Civil War, Abraham Lincoln at Gettysburg stated that this government “of the people, by the people, for the people shall not perish from the earth.”

That was true then. That is true today.  Regardless of what Donald Trump wants the American people will preserve democracy in our country.

Biden Pays Homage to Ruth Bader Ginsburg, Warns Republicans of Lasting Damage to Ram SCOTUS Replacement Through

Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg was the subject of the “Notorious RBG” exhibit at the Museum of American Jewish History in Philadelphia. In a speech in Philadelphia, Vice President Joe Biden paid homage to Justice Ginsburg, “She was a trailblazer, a role model, a source of hope, and a powerful voice for justice. She was proof that courage and conviction and moral clarity can change not just the law, but also the world” and warned Republicans, ”This appointment isn’t about the past. It’s about the future. And the people of this nation are choosing the future right now. To jam this nomination through the Senate is just an exercise in raw political power.” © Karen Rubin/news-photos-features.com

The hypocrisy and shamelessness of Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell and Senate Republicans to now move forward to fill the seat vacated by Ruth Bader Ginsburg with someone who would completely undo all the progress she made toward equality and social justice in the midst of actual voting to replace the president and Congress is only matched by the hypocrisy and shamelessness of the self-professed conservative “originalist” Supreme Court justices who have the audacity to suggest they can fathom what the Founding Fathers meant and disregard all the changes since then, to actually make law. Five justices contradicting the 435 elected members of the House and 100 elected members of the Senate and the president, going further, reaching back into settled law and precedent to overturn women’s rights, civil rights, voting rights, workers rights, environmental protection, to re-form this nation as a Catholic theocracy, not much different than Islamic theocracy.

Just a reminder: McConnell invented this “rule” of not confirming – not even giving President Obama’s nominee a hearing – even though the election was 10 months away (and Scalia’s seat was vacant for 400 days) because it was an election year, and that Obama purposely looked for a moderate, not a progressive, and not someone who could conceivably serve for 50 years on the bench, in choosing Merrick Garland to replace Antonin Scalia. It really was a further demonstration of the disrespect he had for Obama, America’s first Black president, and, when Obama took office in the midst of the worst financial crisis since the Great Depression,  McConnell said his first priority was not to help Americans seeing their lives come apart but to make Obama a “one-term president.” He stalled hundreds of judicial appointments so that he could fill them all – and hand Trump his only  achievement Trump can crow about. B

McConnell’s does not necessarily see the swift filling of Ruth Bader Ginsburg’s seat as energizing Republican turnout but because he expects to lose the White House and very possibly the Senate. Also, he wants a Supreme Court in Trump’s pocket to decide the dozens of outrageous court suits designed to suppress voting (the only way Trump can eke out a win in the Electoral College).

Vice President Joe Biden, the Democratic candidate for president, spoke out in Philadelphia, paying homage to Justice Ginsburg’s life and legacy and outrage over yet another theft of a Supreme Court seat that, despite the conservative minority in the country and majority’s rejection of their positions, will control the lives of every American for generations. Presidents may come and go, but these justices serve for life.

”This appointment isn’t about the past. It’s about the future. And the people of this nation are choosing the future right now,” Biden declared. “To jam this nomination through the Senate is just an exercise in raw political power.”

Here are Vice President’s remarks, highlighted, as prepared for delivery on September 20, 2020 in Philadelphia:

 –Karen Rubin/news-photos-features.com

Good afternoon.
 
I attended mass earlier today and prayed for Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg and her family.
 
The nation lost an icon, but they lost a mother, a grandmother, and a matriarch.
 
We know how hard that is to watch a piece of your soul absorb the cruelty and pain of that dreadful disease of cancer.
 
But as I spoke with her daughter and granddaughter last night, they made clear that until the very end she displayed the character and courage we would expect of her. She held their hand and gave them strength and purpose to carry on.
 
It’s been noted that she passed away on Rosh Hashanah.
 
By tradition, a person who dies during the Jewish New Year is considered a soul of great righteousness.
 
That was Ruth Bader Ginsgburg. A righteous soul.
 
It was my honor to preside over her confirmation hearings
, and to strongly support her accession to the Supreme Court.
 
Justice Ginsburg achieved a standing few justices do. She became a presence in the lives of so many Americans, a part of the culture.
 
Yes there was humor in the mentions of the “Notorious RBG” and her impressive exercise routines. But it was so much more.
She was a trailblazer, a role model, a source of hope, and a powerful voice for justice.
 
She was proof that courage and conviction and moral clarity can change not just the law, but also the world.
 
And I believe in the days and months and years to follow, she will continue to inspire millions of Americans all across this country. And together, we can — and we will — continue to be voices for justice in her name.
 
Her granddaughter said her dying words were My most fervent wish is that I will not be replaced until a new president is installed.”
 
As a nation, we should heed her final call to us — not as a personal service to her, but as a service to the country at a crossroads.
 
There is so much at stake — the right to health care, clean air and water, and equal pay for equal work. The rights of voters, immigrants, women, and workers.
 
And right now, our country faces a choice. A choice about whether we can come back from the brink.
 
That’s what I’d like to talk about today.
 
Within an hour of news of her passing, Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell said President Trump’s nominee to replace Justice Ginsburg will receive a vote in the Senate.
 
The exact opposite of what he said when President Obama nominated Merrick Garland to replace Justice Scalia in 2016.
 
At that time, Majority Leader McConnell made up a rule based on the fiction that I somehow believed that there should be no nomination to the Court in an election year.
 
It’s ridiculous.
The only rule I ever followed related to Supreme Court nominations was the Constitution’s obligation for Senators to provide advice and consent to the president on judicial nominees.
 
But he created a new one — the McConnell Rule: absolutely no hearing and no vote for a nominee in an election year.
 
Period. No caveats.
 
And many Republican Senators agreed. Including then-Chairman of the Senate Judiciary Committee, Chuck Grassley of Iowa. Including the current Chairman of the Senate Judiciary Committee, Lindsay Graham of South Carolina. Who at the time said, and I quote verbatim:
 
I want you to use my words against me. If there’s a Republican president in 2016 and a vacancy occurs in the last year of the first term, you can say Lindsay Graham said let’s let the next president, whoever it might be, make that nomination. And you could use my words against me and you’d be absolutely right.”
 
That is what Republicans said when Justice Scalia passed away — about nine months before Election Day that year. Now, having lost Justice Ginsburg less than seven weeks before Election Day this year — after Americans have already begun to cast their votes — they cannot unring the bell.
 
Having made this their standard when it served their interest, they cannot, just four years later, change course when it doesn’t serve their ends. And I’m not being naive.
 
I’m not speaking to President Trump, who will do whatever he wants.
 
I’m not speaking to Mitch McConnell, who will do what he does.
 
I’m speaking to those Senate Republicans out there who know deep down what is right for the country — not just for their party.
 
I’m speaking for the millions of Americans out there, who are already voting in this election. Millions of Americans who are voting because they know their health care hangs in the balance.
 
In the middle of the worst global health crisis in living memory, Donald Trump is at the Supreme Court trying to strip health coverage away from tens of millions of families and to strip away the peace of mind from more than 100 million people with pre-existing conditions.
 
If he succeeds, insurers could once again discriminate or drop coverage completely for people
living with preexisting conditions like asthma, diabetes, and cancer.
 
And perhaps, most cruelly of all, if Donald Trump has his way, complications from COVID-19, like lung scarring and heart damage, could become the next deniable pre-existing condition.
 
Millions of Americans who are also voting because they don’t want nearly a half century of legal precedent to be overturned and lose their right to choose.
 
Millions of Americans who are at risk of losing their right to vote.
 
Millions of Dreamers who are at risk of being expelled from the only country they have ever known.
 
Millions of workers who are at risk of losing their collective bargaining rights.

Millions of Americans who are demanding that their voices be heard and that equal justice be guaranteed for all.
 
They know — we all know — what should happen now.
 
The voters of this country should be heard. Voting has already begun in some states.
 
And in just a few weeks, all the voters of this nation will be heard. They are the ones who should decide who has the power to make this appointment.
 
This appointment isn’t about the past. It’s about the future. And the people of this nation are choosing the future right now.
 
To jam this nomination through the Senate is just an exercise in raw political power.
 
I don’t believe the people of this nation will stand for it.
 
President Trump has already made it clear this is about power. Pure and simple.
 
Well, the voters should make it clear on this issue and so many others: the power in this nation resides with them — the people.
 
And even if President Trump wants to put forward a name now, the Senate should not act on it until after the American people select their next president and the next Congress.
 
If Donald Trump wins the election — then the Senate should move on his selection — and weigh that nominee fairly.
 
But if I win the election, President Trump’s nomination should be withdrawn.
 
As the new President, I should be the one who nominates Justice Ginsburg’s successor, a nominee who should get a fair hearing in the Senate before a confirmation vote.
 
We’re in the middle of a pandemic. We’re passing 200,000 American deaths lost to this virus. Tens of millions of Americans are on unemployment.
 
Health care in this country hangs in the balance before the Court.
 
And now, in a raw political move – this president and the Republican leader have decided to jam a lifetime appointment to the Supreme Court through the United States Senate.
 
It’s the last thing we need in this moment.
 
Voters have already begun casting ballots in this country.
 
In just a few weeks, we are going to know who the voters of this nation have chosen to be their next president.
 
The United States Constitution was designed to give the voters one chance – to have their voice heard on who serves on the Court.
 
That moment is now — and their voice should be heard. And I believe voters are going to make it clear – they will not stand for this abuse of power.
 
There’s also discussion about what happens if the Senate confirms — on election eve – or in a lame duck after Donald Trump loses — a successor to Justice Ginsburg.
 
But that discussion assumes that we lose this effort to prevent the grave wrong that Trump and McConnell are pursuing here.
 
And I’m not going to assume failure at this point. I believe the voices of the American people should be heard.
 
This fight won’t be over until the Senate votes, if it does vote.
 
Winning that vote — if it happens — is everything.
 
Action and reaction. Anger and more anger. Sorrow and frustration at the way things are.
 
That’s the cycle that Republican Senators will continue to perpetuate if they go down this dangerous path they have put us on.
 
We need to de-escalate — not escalate.
 
So I appeal to those few Senate Republicans — the handful who will really decide what happens.
 
Don’t vote to confirm anyone nominated under the circumstances President Trump and Senator McConnell have created.
 
Don’t go there.
 
Uphold your Constitutional duty — your conscience.
 
Cool the flames that have been engulfing our country.
 
We can’t keep rewriting history, scrambling norms, and ignoring our cherished system of checks and balances.
 
That includes this whole business of releasing a list of potential nominees that I would put forward.
 
It’s no wonder the Trump campaign asked that I release a list only hours after Justice Ginsburg passed away.
 
It’s a game to them, a play to gin up emotions and anger.
 
There’s a reason why no Presidential candidate other than Donald Trump has ever done such a thing.
 
First, putting a judge’s name on a list like that -could influence that person’s decision-making as a judge — and that’s wrong.
 
Second, anyone put on a list like that under these circumstances – will be the subject of unrelenting political attacks.
 
And because any nominee I would select would not get a hearing until 2021 at the earliest – she would endure those attacks for months on end without being able to defend herself.
 
Third, and finally, and perhaps most importantly, if I win, I will make my choice for the Supreme Court — not as part of a partisan election campaign — but as prior Presidents did.
 
Only after consulting Democrats and Republicans in the U.S. Senate – and seeking their advice before I ask for their consent.
 
As everyone knows – I have made it clear that my first choice for the Supreme Court will make history as the first African American woman Justice.
 
I will consult with Senators in both parties about that pick, as well as with legal and civic leaders. In the end, the choice will be mine and mine alone.
 
But it will be the product of a process that restores our finest traditions – not the extension of one that has torn this country apart.
 
I’ll conclude with this.
 
As I’ve said in this campaign, we are in the battle for the soul of this country.
 
We face four historic crises. A once-in-a-generation pandemic. A devastating economic recession. The rise of white supremacy unseen since the 1960’s, and a reckoning on race long overdue. And a changing climate that is ravaging our nation as we speak.
 
Supreme Court decisions touch every part of these crises — every part of our lives and our future.
 
The last thing we need is to add a constitutional crisis that plunges us deeper into the abyss – deeper into the darkness.
 
If we go down this path, it would cause irreversible damage.
 
The infection this president has unleashed on our democracy can be fatal.
Enough.
 
We must come together as a nation. Democrat, Republican, Independent, liberal, conservative. Everybody.
 
I’m not saying that we have to agree on everything. But we have to reason our way through to what ails us – as citizens, voters, and public servants. We have to act in good faith and mutual good will. In a spirit of conciliation, not confrontation.
 
This nation will continue to be inspired by Ruth Bader Ginsburg, but we should be guided by her as well.
 
By her willingness to listen, to hear those she disagreed with, to respect other points of view.
 
Famously, Justice Ginsburg got along well with some of the most conservative justices on the Court.
 
And she did it without compromising her principles – or clouding her moral clarity – or losing her core principles.
 
If she could do this, so can we.
 
How we talk to one another matters. How we treat one another matters. Respecting others matters.
 
Justice Ginsburg proved it’s important to have a spine of steel, but it’s also important to offer an open hand — and not a closed fist — to those you disagree with.
 
This nation needs to come together.
 
I have said it many times in this election. We are the United States of America.
 
There’s nothing we cannot do if we do it together. Maybe Donald Trump wants to divide this nation between Red States and Blue States.
 
Between representing those states that vote for him and ignoring those that don’t.
 
I do not.
 
I cannot — and I will not — be that president.
 
I will be a president for the whole country.
 
For those who vote for me and those who don’t.
 
We need to rise to this moment, for the sake of our country we love.
 
Indeed, for its very soul.
 
May God bless the United States of America.
 
May God protect our troops.
 
May God bless Ruth Bader Ginsburg.

Biden Presents Plan to Combat COVID19: ‘I trust vaccines. I trust the scientists. But I don’t trust Donald Trump and the American people can’t either’

Vice President Joe Biden, Democratic candidate for president, presents his detailed plan to combat COVID-19 and save lives, that includes nationwide protocols for testing, tracing, wearing masks and social distancing, and the logistics for vaccinating everyone, free, when a vaccine becomes available:I trust vaccines. I trust the scientists. But I don’t trust Donald Trump and the American people can’t either’© Karen Rubin/news-photos-features.com

It’s ridiculous, almost humorous – if not so tragic – to hear Trump complaining that Biden hasn’t been able to issue a nationwide mandate to wear masks, when he is ostensibly the president (he says so, “I’m president. Can you believe it?” and “I can do anything I want. I’m president.”) but has failed to serve in the function while abusing the power. Trump could have used his power to require Domestic Production of protective equipment like masks, gowns, gloves, and the all-important ventilators, rather than give out massive no-bid contracts to companies like Kodak that had no experience, or have his son-in-law Jared Kushner use political operatives to take calls from grifters who claimed to be able to procure PPE, while dismissing the need to set up testing or send out equipment to Blue States, because, well, they vote Democratic and have Democratic leadership. Trump (an anti-vaxxer) has contradicted his own medical advisers, politicized the once vaunted CDC, FDA, NIH, thrown out nearly $1 trillion in Operation War Speed, all the while sowing such doubt in the efficacy or safety of any vaccine that would be rushed through testing. And yet, Trump, who disbanded the Obama-era pandemic office, pulled out of the World Health Organization and international efforts to produce a vaccine, has actually blamed Biden for failing to have stockpiled testing and vaccines against a virus that didn’t exist until more than three years into his reign. The Trump Campaign is now chiding and misrepresenting and frankly lying about Biden’s proposals and position on coronavirus and vaccines.

Trump, who is now listening only to those health “experts” like radiologist Scott Atlas who confirm his own conveniences, now is embracing the “herd immunity” (he called it “herd mentality in the ABC Town Hall) approach – essentially doing nothing, telling people not to wear masks or socially distance, so that as many as possible will become infected until so many are infected or dead, the virus has no place to go. Problem with that is you would need 225 million out of the 330 million population to get the infection, out of which as many as 6 million would die. But there is actually no proof that there is immunity from COVID-19, or that immunity after infection does not last more than a few months, or whether the virus mutates (like flu viruses) so that it becomes a new disease all over again.

Actual medical experts, including CDC Director Dr. Robert R. Redfield:  “We are not defenseless against COVID-19,” he said. “Cloth face coverings are one of the most powerful weapons we have to slow and stop the spread of the virus – particularly when used universally within a community setting. All Americans have a responsibility to protect themselves, their families, and their communities.” Dr. Redfield said as recently as this week, after Trump chided the use of masks, “I might even go so far as to say that this face mask is more guaranteed to protect me against COVID than when I take a COVID vaccine.” Trump’s reaction? He rebuked Redfield, saying he had “made a mistake,” “misunderstood the question,” and had taken back his statement.

Estimates put the number of lives that could be saved between now and December- now forecast to be as high as 215,000 MORE deaths- at 100,000 and it is likely that had a nationwide mask order been imposed, 100,000 of the 200,000 who have already died could have been saved. About 1,000 Americans are dying each day.

And let’s be clear, New York State and the surrounding states became a hotspot because Trump’s intelligence network did not want to mention that the coronavirus was coming in from Europe. While everyone watched for the spread to come from the West Coast from China, 3 million people who came from infected areas of Europe had already come through New York’s airports. New York State Governor Andrew Cuomo was left to figure out on his own how to contain the virus before it completely overwhelmed the health care system. Now, Trump wants to dismiss the numbers of COVID-19 dead in Blue States – apparently, dead people in Blue States don’t matter – to make the absurd argument that the rates of death in the United States are somehow on par with the rest of the world (not).

Here are Vice President Joe Biden’s remarks, as prepared for delivery, after a vaccine briefing in Wilmington, Delaware, in which he outlined his own plan to get control of the coronavirus, save lives and restore the economy: testing and tracing, national protocols for mask-wearing and social distancing, an actual plan to distribute the vaccine free.

“So let me be clear, I trust vaccines. I trust the scientists. But I don’t trust Donald Trump — and the American people can’t either,” Biden said. 

“If I am elected president, I will begin implementing an effective distribution plan from the minute I take office. That is what I discussed with the experts in the briefing today.
 
“It will include: a detailed timeline for when people will get the vaccine, a clear delineation of priority populations, the specific means and mechanisms of shipping and storage at appropriate temperatures, the division of responsibility at every level of government.
 
“And I will provide the leadership necessary to carry this plan out. I will level with the American people. I will take responsibility. I will support rather than tear down the experts responsible for day-to-day execution. I will follow the science.”

 – Karen Rubin/news-photos-features.com.

I just concluded an hour and a half long briefing with seven of our nation’s top public health experts on the state of the pandemic, the steps needed to curb the spread of the virus, and the challenge of distributing a safe and effective vaccine once we have identified one.
 
Before I turn to those issues, let me say a few words about the president’s comments last night.
 
Even after acknowledging to Bob Woodward on tape that he was fully informed on the gravity of the danger related to COVID-19. He refused to warn the American people. And again, last night, in a televised town hall, the President revealed in no uncertain terms the lack of seriousness with which he continues to take this pandemic.
 
Nearly eight months after this crisis on the doorstep of 200,000 American deaths, President Trump refused once again to take responsibility or to take action. 

By his own admission he continued to lie about COVID-19. He doubled down on his catastrophic mistakes.
 
And, perhaps worst of all — he made clear that he still doesn’t have a plan to bring us out of this crisis.
 
He even said that quote — “a lot of people think that masks are not good” — undercutting the easiest and most effective means we have for reducing the spread of this disease. [Asked “who thought that?” Trump said “waiters.”]
 
This virus is still taking nearly a thousand lives each day.
 
And forecasts show that the numbers are likely to climb this winter.
 
But, incredibly, President Trump insists that he wouldn’t have done anything differently.
 
Not one thing.
 
Last Friday, we learned that another one thousand Americans died due to this virus.
 
On the very same day, Canada reported that not one person died of COVID-19.
 
And Trump wouldn’t have done anything differently?
 
If you’re a parent in America, preparing for another day that you can’t send your child to school, if you’re grieving the loss of a loved one, if your small business can’t open or you can’t go back to work because the virus is still spreading in your community, how does it make you feel to hear the President say he wouldn’t have done anything differently?
 
And if he gets four more years, why should we expect anything to change?
 
All President Trump had to offer last night was the same weak and feckless inaction — the same lies and empty promises — that we’ve seen from the very beginning.
 
He still won’t accept responsibility. He still won’t offer a plan.
 
Last night, he repeated what he has said so many times before: That even if he continues to offer only failing indifference some day, the virus will go away like a miracle.
 
It won’t go away like a miracle. The fact is, even if we get a vaccine, it will not be available to most of the population until well into next year. 
 
And we are heading into a dangerous autumn.
 
In fact, the University of Washington model — which the White House has previously touted — projects that cases and deaths are going to spike in November – and an additional 215,000 Americans will die by the end of the year. 
 
That’s more than have already died.
 
We need leadership right now to prevent that from happening. That same University of Washington model shows that if there is universal masking, we could cut those deaths by more than half. We could save more than 100,000 lives.
 
Even Donald Trump’s own director of the CDC told us that wearing a mask is the single most important step we can take to curb this virus. He said “I might even go so far as to say that this face mask is more guaranteed to protect me against COVID than when I take a COVID vaccine.”


I spoke with the experts today about additional steps we can take to prevent needless deaths and suffering.
 
Uniform national guidance – and standards on social distancing – that can be applied to the particular circumstances of states and communities.
 
More effective approaches on testing and tracing.
 
If we do these things between now and January – we could save even more lives.
 
Last night, Donald Trump indicated he has no interest in doing these things. 
 
A president’s first responsibility is to protect the American people. 
 
And he won’t.
 
That is utterly disqualifying.
 
I also spoke with the experts about the paramount importance of preparing now for the swift, organized, and free distribution of a safe and effective COVID-19 vaccine.
 
I am profoundly grateful to the scientists and researchers working tirelessly to ensure that
a safe and effective vaccine becomes a reality as soon as possible.
 
They carry the hopes of our entire nation and the entire world.
 
And when their work comes to fruition – and it will — they will no doubt save countless lives.
 
But scientific breakthroughs don’t care about calendars any more than the virus does.
 
They certainly don’t adhere to election cycles.
 
And their timing, their approval, and their distribution should never, ever be distorted by political considerations. They should be determined by science and safety alone.
 
A vaccine would offer a way back to normalcy and a path forward to better days for all of us.
 
It won’t happen overnight. It will take months to distribute it to the entire population.
 

But I’m more hopeful than ever in the power of science to get us there.
 
One thing is certain, we cannot allow politics to interfere with a vaccine in any way.
 
Americans have had to endure President Trump’s incompetence and dishonesty when it came to testing and personal protective equipment.
 
We cannot afford a repeat of those fiascos when it comes to a vaccine. The stakes are too high American families have already suffered and sacrificed far too much.
 
So let me be clear, I trust vaccines. I trust the scientists. But I don’t trust Donald Trump — and the American people can’t either.
 
Last week, Senator Harris and I laid out three questions this Administration must answer —  to assure the American people that politics will play no role whatsoever in the vaccine process.
 
If Donald Trump can give honest answers to these questions — the American people should have the confidence and transparency they need to trust a vaccine and adopt it in numbers that make a difference.
 
First, what criteria will be used to ensure that a vaccine meets the scientific standard of safety and effectiveness?
 
Second, if the Administration greenlights a vaccine — who will validate that the decision was driven by science rather than politics?
 
Third, how can we be sure that the distribution of the vaccine will take place — safely, cost-free, and without a hint of favoritism?
 
The fact of the matter is developing a vaccine is only part of the battle.
 
Distributing a vaccine to the entire population is as complex and challenging as the most sensitive military operation.
 
I’ve been calling for an effective distribution plan for months.
 
If I am elected president, I will begin implementing an effective distribution plan from the minute I take office. That is what I discussed with the experts in the briefing today.
 
It will include: a detailed timeline for when people will get the vaccine, a clear delineation of priority populations, the specific means and mechanisms of shipping and storage at appropriate temperatures, the division of responsibility at every level of government.
 
And I will provide the leadership necessary to carry this plan out. I will level with the American people. I will take responsibility. I will support rather than tear down the experts responsible for day-to-day execution. I will follow the science.
 
With satisfactory answers to the three questions I laid out — every American— including me and my family — can have confidence in a safe and effective COVID-19 vaccine.
 
This isn’t about politics. It’s about saving lives.
 
It’s about getting back to our loved ones and our friends.
 
It’s about getting our economy back on its feet.
 
Getting back to the movie theater, to the restaurant, to the ballpark.
 
It’s about getting back to our lives — and getting America up off the mat.
 
We can, and we must, be united in that pursuit.
 
No matter when that breakthrough emerges — no matter when that hope bears fruit.
 
That’s America at our best.
 
Thank you.
 
God bless our scientists and researchers — and frontline workers.
 
And God protect our troops.
 
I’ll stop and take your questions.

Biden: ‘If you give a climate arsonist 4 more years, why be surprised if more of America is ablaze?’

Vice President Joe Biden delivers an address in Wilmington, Delaware, on Climate Change: “If you give a climate arsonist four more years in the White House, why would anyone be surprised if more of America is ablaze? ..“And from the pandemic, the economic freefall, the racial unrest, and the ravages of climate change, it’s clear that we are not safe in Donald Trump’s America… Like the pandemic, dealing with climate change is a global crisis that requires American leadership. It requires a president for all Americans.” © Karen Rubin/news-photos-features.com

While Trump continues to deny climate change as a “hoax” (one perpetrated by China to hurt US business), minimize the destruction to life and livehood of the wildfires setting the West ablaze that he blamed on California’s “failure” to adequately rake the forest floor, actively denigrate public health experts while promoting conditions for the super-spread of coronavirus, and call for Obama to be jailed for treason, former Vice President Joe Biden, the Democratic candidate for president, spoke out on the urgency to address the existential climate crisis and how he would address it.  

“The unrelenting impact of climate change affects every single one of us…It requires action, not denial. It requires leadership, not scapegoating…

 “Our response should be grounded in science. Acting together. All of us. But like with our federal response to COVID-19, the lack of a national strategy on climate change leaves us with patchwork solutions…

But if Trump gets a second term, these hellish events will become more common, more devastating, and more deadly.

“If we have four more years of Trump’s climate denial, how many suburbs will be burned in wildfires? How many suburbs will have been flooded out? How many suburbs will have been blown away in superstorms?
 
“If you give a climate arsonist four more years in the White House, why would anyone be surprised if more of America is ablaze? ..

“And from the pandemic, the economic freefall, the racial unrest, and the ravages of climate change, it’s clear that we are not safe in Donald Trump’s America.

“Like the pandemic, dealing with climate change is a global crisis that requires American leadership.
 
“It requires a president to meet the threshold duty of the office — to care for everyone. To defend us from every attack – seen and unseen. Always and without exception. Every time.”

Here is a highlighted transcript of Vice President Joe Biden’s remarks as prepared for delivery in Delaware:

Good afternoon.
 
As a nation, we face one of the most difficult moments in our history. Four historic crises. All at the same time.
 
The worst pandemic in over 100 years, that’s killed nearly 200,000 Americans and counting.
 
The worst economic crisis since the Great Depression, that’s cost tens of millions of American jobs and counting.
 
Emboldened white supremacy unseen since the 1960s and a reckoning on race long overdue.
 
And the undeniable, accelerating, and punishing reality of climate change and its impact on our planet and our people — on lives and livelihoods
— which I’d like to talk about today.
 
Jill and I continue to pray for everyone in California, Oregon, Washington, and across the West as the devastating wildfires rage on — just as we’ve held in our hearts those who’ve faced hurricanes and tropical storms on our coasts, in Florida, in North Carolina, or like in parts of New Orleans where they just issued an emergency evacuation for Hurricane Sally, that’s approaching and intensifying; Floods and droughts across the Midwest, the fury of climate change everywhere — all this year, all right now.
 
We stand with our families who have lost everything, the firefighters and first responders risking everything to save others, and the millions of Americans caught between relocating during a pandemic or staying put as ash and smoke pollute the air they breathe.
 
Think about that.
 
People are not just worried about raging fires. They are worried about breathing air. About damage to their lungs.
 
Parents, already worried about Covid-19 for their kids when they’re indoors, are now worried about asthma attacks for their kids when they’re outside.
 
Over the past two years, the total damage from wildfires has reached nearly $50 Billion in California alone.
 
This year alone, nearly 5 million acres have burned across 10 states — more acres than the entire state of Connecticut.
 
And it’s only September. California’s wildfire season typically runs through October.
 
Fires are blazing so bright and smoke reaching so far, NASA satellites can see them a million miles away in space.
 
The cost of this year’s damage will again be astronomically high.
 
But think of the view from the ground, in the smoldering ashes.
 
Loved ones lost, along with the photos and keepsakes of their memory. Spouses and kids praying each night that their firefighting husband, wife, father, and mother will come home. Entire communities destroyed.
 
We have to act as a nation. It shouldn’t be so bad that millions of Americans live in the shadow of an orange sky and are left asking if doomsday is here.
 
I know this feeling of dread and anxiety extends beyond just the fires. We’ve seen a record hurricane season costing billions of dollars. Last month, Hurricane Laura intensified at a near-record rate just before its landfall along Louisiana and the Gulf Coast.
 
It’s a troubling marker not just for an increased frequency of hurricanes, but more powerful and destructive storms. They’re causing record damage after record damage to people’s homes and livelihoods.
 
And before it intensified and hit the Gulf Coast, Laura ravaged Puerto Rico — where, three years after Hurricane Maria — our fellow Americans are still recovering from its damage and devastation.
 
Think about that reality.
 
Our fellow Americans are still putting things back together from the last big storm as they face the next one.
 
We’ve also seen historic flooding in the Midwest — often compounding the damages delivered by last year’s floods that cost billions dollars in damage.
 
This past spring Midland, Michigan experienced a flood so devastating — with deadly flash flooding, overrunning dams and roadways, and the displacement of 10,000 residents — that it was considered a once-in-500-year weather event.
 
But those once-in-many-generations events? They happen every year now.
 
The past ten years were the hottest decade ever recorded
. The Arctic is literally melting. Parts are on fire.
 
What we’re seeing in America — in our communities — is connected to that.
 
With every bout with nature’s fury, caused by our own inaction on climate change, more Americans see and feel the devastation in big cities, small towns, on coastlines and farmlands.
 
It is happening everywhere. It is happening now. It affects us all.
 
Nearly two hundred cities are experiencing the longest stretches of deadly heat waves in fifty years. It requires them to help their poor and elderly residents adapt to extreme heat to simply stay alive, especially in homes without air conditioning.
 
Our family farmers in the Midwest are facing historic droughts.
 

These follow record floods and hurricane-speed windstorms all this year. 
 
It’s ravaged millions of acres of corn, soybeans, and other crops. Their very livelihood which sustained their families and our economy for generations is now in jeopardy. 
 
How will they pay their bills this year? What will be left to pass on to their kids?
 
And none of this happens in a vacuum.
 
A recent study showed air pollution is linked with an increased risk of death from COVID-19.
 
Our economy can’t recover if we don’t build back with more resiliency to withstand extreme weather — extreme weather that will only come with more frequency.
 
The unrelenting impact of climate change affects every single one of us. But too often the brunt falls disproportionately on communities of color, exacerbating the need for environmental justice.
 
These are the interlocking crises of our time.
 
It requires action, not denial.
 
It requires leadership, not scapegoating.
 
It requires a president to meet the threshold duty of the office — to care for everyone. To defend us from every attack – seen and unseen. Always and without exception. Every time.
 
Because here’s the deal.
 
Hurricanes don’t swerve to avoid “blue states.” Wildfires don’t skip towns that voted a certain way.
 
The impacts of climate change don’t pick and choose. That’s because it’s not a partisan phenomenon.
 
It’s science.
 
And our response should be the same. Grounded in science. Acting together. All of us.
 
But like with our federal response to COVID-19, the lack of a national strategy on climate change leaves us with patchwork solutions.
 
I’m speaking from Delaware, the lowest-lying state in the nation, where just last week the state’s Attorney General sued 31 big fossil fuel companies alleging that they knowingly wreaked damage on the climate. 
 
Damage that is plain to everyone but the president.
 
As he flies to California today, we know he has no interest in meeting this moment.
 
We know he won’t listen to the experts or treat this disaster with the urgency it demands,
as any president should do during a national emergency.
 
He’s already said he wanted to withhold aid to California — to punish the people of California — because they didn’t vote for him.
 
This is yet another crisis he won’t take responsibility for.
 
The West is literally on fire and he blames the people whose homes and communities are burning.
 
He says, “You gotta clean your floors, you gotta clean your forests.”
 
This is the same president who threw paper towels to the people of Puerto Rico instead of truly helping them recover and rebuild.
 
We know his disdain for his own military leaders and our veterans.
 
Just last year, the Defense Department reported that climate change is a direct threat to more than two-thirds of our military’s operationally critical installations. And this could well be a conservative estimate.
 
Donald Trump’s climate denial may not have caused the record fires, record floods, and record hurricanes.
 
But if he gets a second term, these hellish events will become more common, more devastating, and more deadly.
 
Meanwhile, Donald Trump warns that integration is threatening our suburbs. That’s ridiculous. 
 
But you know what’s actually threatening our suburbs?
 
Wildfires are burning the suburbs in the West. Floods are wiping out suburban neighborhoods in the Midwest. And hurricanes are imperiling suburban life along our coasts. 
 
If we have four more years of Trump’s climate denial, how many suburbs will be burned in wildfires? How many suburbs will have been flooded out? How many suburbs will have been blown away in superstorms?
 
If you give a climate arsonist four more years in the White House, why would anyone be surprised if more of America is ablaze? 
 
If you give a climate denier four more years in the White House, why would anyone be surprised when more of America is under water?
 
We need a president who respects science, who understands that the damage from climate change is already here, and, unless we take urgent action, will soon be more catastrophic.
 
A president who recognizes, understands, and cares that Americans are dying.
 
Which makes President Trump’s climate denialism — his disdain of science and facts — all the more unconscionable.
 
Once again, he fails the most basic duty to this nation.
 
He fails to protect us.
 
And from the pandemic, the economic freefall, the racial unrest, and the ravages of climate change, it’s clear that we are not safe in Donald Trump’s America.
 
What he doesn’t get is that even in crisis, there is nothing beyond our capacity as a country.
 
And while so many of you are hurting right now, I want you to know that if you give me the honor of serving as your President, we can, and we will, meet this moment with urgency and purpose.
 
We can and we will solve the climate crisis, and build back better than we were before.
 
When Donald Trump thinks about climate change he thinks: “hoax.”
 
I think: “jobs.”
 
Good-paying, union jobs that put Americans to work building a stronger, more climate resilient nation.
 
A nation with modernized water, transportation and energy infrastructure to withstand the impacts of extreme weather and a changing climate.
 
When Donald Trump thinks about renewable energy, he sees windmills somehow causing cancer.
 
I see American manufacturing — and American workers — racing to lead the global market. I also see farmers making American agriculture first in the world to achieve net-zero emissions, and gaining new sources of income in the process.
 
When Donald Trump thinks about LED bulbs, he says he doesn’t like them because: “the light’s no good. I always look orange.”
 
I see the small businesses and master electricians designing and installing award-winning energy conservation measures.
 
This will reduce the electricity consumption and save businesses hundreds of thousands of dollars a year in energy costs.
 
While he turns us against our allies, I will bring us back into the Paris Agreement. I will put us back in the business of leading the world on climate change. And I will challenge everyone to up the ante on their climate commitments.
 
Where he reverses the Obama-Biden fuel-efficiency standards, he picks Big Oil companies over the American workers.
 
I will not only bring the standards back, I will set new, ambitious ones — that our workers are ready to meet.
 
And I also see American workers building and installing 500,000 electric vehicle charging stations across the country and American consumers switching to electric vehicles through rebates and incentives.
 
Not only that, the United States owns and maintains an enormous fleet of vehicles — and we’re going to harness the purchasing power of our federal government to make sure we are buying electric vehicles that are made and sourced by union workers right here in the United States of America.
 
All together, this will mean one million new jobs in the American auto industry.
 
And we’ll do another big thing: put us on a path of achieving a carbon-pollution free electricity sector by 2035 that no future president can turn back.
 
Transforming the American electricity sector to produce power without carbon pollution will be the greatest spur to job creation and economic competitiveness in the 21st Century. Not to mention the positive benefits to our health and our environment.
 
We need to get to work right away.
 
We’ll need scientists at national labs and land-grant universities and Historically Black Colleges and Universities to improve and innovate the technologies needed to generate, store, and transmit this clean electricity.
 
We’ll need engineers to design them and workers to manufacture them. We’ll need iron workers and welders to install them.
 
And we’ll become the world’s largest exporter of these technologies, creating even more jobs.
 
We know how to do this.
 
The Obama-Biden Administration rescued the auto industry and helped them retool.
 
We made solar energy cost-competitive with traditional energy, and weatherized more than a million homes.
 
We will do it again — bigger and faster and better than before.
 
We’ll also build 1.5 million new energy-efficient homes and public housing units that will benefit our communities three-times over — by alleviating the affordable housing crisis, by increasing energy efficiency, and by reducing the racial wealth gap linked to home ownership.
 
There are thousands of oil and natural gas wells that the oil and gas companies have just abandoned, many of which are leaking toxins.
 
We can create 250,000 jobs plugging those wells right away — good union jobs for energy workers. This will help sustain communities and protect the environment as well.
 
We’ll also create new markets for our family farmers and ranchers.
 
We’ll launch a new, modern day Civilian Climate Corps to heal our public lands and make us less vulnerable to wildfires and floods.
 
I believe that every American has a fundamental right to breathe clean air and drink clean water. But I know that we haven’t fulfilled that right. 
 
That’s true of the millions of families struggling with the smoke created by these devastating wildfires right now. 
 
But it’s also been true for a generation or more in places — like Cancer Alley in Louisiana or along the Route 9 corridor right here in Delaware. 
 
Fulfilling this basic obligation to all Americans —  especially Black, Brown, and Native American communities, who too often don’t have clean air and clean water — is not going to be easy.
 
But it is necessary. And I am committed to doing it. 
 
These aren’t pie-in-the-sky dreams. These are concrete, actionable policies that create jobs,  mitigate climate change, and put our nation on the road to net-zero emissions by no later than 2050.
 
Some say that we can’t afford to fix this.
 
But here’s the thing. 
 
Look around at the crushing consequences of the extreme weather events I’ve been describing. We’ve already been paying for it. So we have a choice. 
 
We can invest in our infrastructure to make it stronger and more resilient, while at the same time tackling the root causes of climate change. 
 
Or, we can continue down the path of Donald Trump’s indifference, costing tens of billions of dollars to rebuild, and where the human costs — the lives and livelihoods and homes and communities destroyed — are immeasurable. 
 
We have a choice.
 
We can commit to doing this together because we know that climate change is the existential challenge that will define our future as a country, for our children, grandchildren, and great-children.
 
Or, there’s Donald Trump’s way — to ignore the facts, to deny reality that amounts to full surrender and a failure to lead.
 
It’s backward-looking politics that will harm the environment, make communities less healthy, and hold back economic progress while other countries race ahead. 
 
And it’s a mindset that doesn’t have any faith in the capacity of the American people to compete, to innovate, and to win.
 
Like the pandemic, dealing with climate change is a global crisis that requires American leadership.
 
It requires a president for all Americans.
 
So as the fires rage out West on this day, our prayers remain with everyone under the ash.
 
I know it’s hard to see the sun rise and believe today will be better than yesterday when America faces this historic inflection point.
 
A time of real peril, but also a time of extraordinary possibilities.
 
I want you to know that we can do this.
 
We will do this.
 
We are America.
 
We see the light through the dark smoke.
 
We never give up.
 
Always.
 
Without exception.

Every time.
 
May God bless our firefighters and first responders.
 
May God protect our troops.

NYS Takes Dramatic Steps to Expand Absentee and Early Voting; Launches Public Awareness Campaign

Voting will have a very different look in 2020. New York State is taking dramatic steps to expand absentee and early voting to address concerns over the coronavirus pandemic. “To say this election is the most critical in recent history is understating its importance. We want to make sure every vote in New York is counted and every voice is heard,” Governor Cuomo said. © Karen Rubin/news-photos-features.com

Voters Can Learn More About Absentee Voting And Early Voting In New York By Visiting ny.gov/earlyvote

New York State had  long been criticized for having some of the most restrictive rules for voting, resulting in some of the lowest turnout rates in the country. But that has changed with a series of reforms aimed at making it easier to vote, including making absentee voting (vote-by-mail) an option available to all, new early voting, to meet the coronavirus crisis so that casting a vote does not have to be a life-and-death choice between exercising a citizen’s most cherished right, and their health.

In addition, Cuomo issued executive orders allowing registered voters to drop off their completed absentee ballot at a Board of Elections office, early voting location or Election Day voting location without requiring them to wait in line with in-person voters. Boards of elections are required to develop and submit a plan to the State Board of Elections by September 21 and make it publicly available.

Meanwhile, the state is launching a public awareness campaign to ensure New Yorkers know all the ways they can vote in November’s election, including voting early, voting absentee, or voting in person on Election Day. 

“Because of COVID, this year New Yorkers have several options when it comes to casting their ballot. You can vote early, vote absentee, or vote in person on Election Day, and I am issuing an executive order to ensure boards of elections have plans in place to safely receive the anticipated additional volume of absentee ballots through in person return,” Governor Cuomo said.”To say this election is the most critical in recent history is understating its importance. We want to make sure every vote in New York is counted and every voice is heard.”

Absentee ballots can be dropped to county boards of elections offices as soon as voters receive their ballot; any early voting location between October 24th and November 1st; and at polling locations on Election Day. By dropping off an absentee ballot at a county board of elections office, early voting site or polling location, New Yorkers can avoid Post Office delays and the need for a stamp.

Most New Yorkers can now request an absentee ballot for the first time under a new law the Governor signed expanding eligibility to all voters who have concerns regarding COVID-19. They should check the “temporary illness” box on their absentee ballot application. To learn more about absentee voting and early voting in New York, visit ny.gov/earlyvote.

The state has launched an absentee ballot portal where voters can directly request an absentee ballot for the upcoming November 3rd election.

Given an expected unprecedented increase in the use of absentee ballots and concerns about the reliability of the United States Postal Service, today’s executive order ensures an expedited, dedicated line for returning absentee ballots in-person, or a contactless drop box in every county.

The state made several sweeping election reform steps in advance of the November 3rd election. 

On August 20, Governor Cuomo signed into law a three-part election reform package to make it easier for New Yorkers to vote and be counted in November, including: allowing absentee ballot applications to be submitted to a board of elections immediately; expanding the necessary protections to allow a voter to get an absentee ballot due to risk or fear of illness including COVID-19 and; ensuring all absentee ballots postmarked on or before Election Day or received by a board of elections without a postmark on the day after the election will be counted. Ballots with a postmark demonstrating that they were mailed on or before Election Day will be counted if received by November 10. 

On August 24, Governor Cuomo issued an Executive Order to further bolster and support New Yorker’s right to vote by requiring county boards of elections to take the following actions:

  1. Send a mailing outlining all deadlines for voters by Tuesday, September 8.
  2. Send staffing plans and needs to the New York State Board of Elections by September 20 so BOE can assist in ensuring adequate coverage.
  3. Adopt a uniform clarified envelope for absentee ballots and require counties to use it.
  4. Count votes faster: require all objections to be made by the county board in real time, make sure that boards are ready to count votes and reconcile affidavit and absentee ballots by 48 hours after elections. 
  5. Provide an option for New Yorkers to vote absentee in village, town and special district elections.

“All board of elections make sure they have everything in place, the staff in place, to count the ballots as soon as possible,” Cuomo said. “And the board of elections have to report staffing plans and any needs for additional staff. If they don’t have the staff. Tell us tell us before. So you can get the staff because you have to be able to count the ballots. You have to be able to tabulate the vote. We want it done and we want it done right, but we want it done timely. We don’t want to hear after-the-fact excuses for why you couldn’t do it. Tell us how you’re going to do it before-the-fact, and your staffing plan from the board of elections that will actually do that.

“This election is going to be one of the most critical in modern history. It will be controversial. You already hear the statements questioning the vote, and the accuracy of the vote, and mail-in ballots. We want to make sure that every vote is counted; every voice is heard and that it’s fair and right and accurate.”

“The federal administration has ordered an unprecedented attack on the U.S. Postal Service and with COVID-19 threatening our ability to have safe, in-person voting, these measures are critical to ensuring a successful and fair election at one of the most important moments in our nation’s history,” Governor Cuomo said. “These actions will further break down barriers to democracy and will make it easier for all New Yorkers to exercise their right to vote this November.” 

New Laws Will Make It Easier for New Yorkers to Vote and Be Counted in November

S.8015-D/A.10833 Authorizes Voters to Request an Absentee Ballot Due to Risk of Illness, Including COVID

S.8783A/A.10807 Authorizes Voters to Request Absentee Ballots Starting Today

S.8799A/A.10808-A Allows Ballots to Be Postmarked On the Day of the Election, November 3

Senate Majority Leader Andrea Stewart-Cousins said, “Voting access is one of the core foundations of our democracy. With the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic, we must ensure that no New Yorkers feel pressured to put their health and well-being at risk to exercise their Constitutional right to vote. I thank the bill sponsors for advancing this legislation, and my Senate Democratic Majority colleagues for their ongoing

commitment to empower New York voters and Governor Cuomo for signing these bills.”

Assembly Speaker Carl Heastie said, “The Assembly Majority knows that democracy is best served when it is easier, not harder for Americans to vote. But the administration in Washington is once again proving that they do not value these critical democratic institutions, going as far as attacking the U.S. Postal Service to limit access to voting by mail. Here in New York, we will not stand for that. Earlier this year, we passed legislation to expand voters access to mail in voting, and we will continue to fight to make it easier and safer for New Yorkers to exercise their constitutional right to vote, and protect the integrity of our elections.”

Relating to Absentee Ballot Requests Due to Risk of Illness (S.8015-D/A.10833)

This legislation gives voters the right to request an absentee ballot due to risk of illness to themselves or others.

Senator Alessandra Biaggi said, “COVID has upended every aspect of our lives — but we cannot allow it to undermine our democracy and New Yorkers’ sacred right to vote. I introduced S8015D to ensure that no New Yorker will have to choose between their health and fulfilling their civic responsibility. Unfortunately, during the June election too many New Yorkers had to make that very choice because they did not receive their ballots on time. I want to thank Governor Cuomo for signing my bill to provide every New Yorker with the assurance that they can vote via absentee ballot come November and to give the Board of Elections the time they need to prepare. I also want to extend my gratitude to Senate Majority Leader Andrea Stewart-Cousins and my colleagues in the Legislature for their partnership and commitment to protecting our democracy.”

Assemblymember Jeffrey Dinowitz said, “Today is a great day for our democracy in New York State. As we continue to work on ways to increase voter efficacy in the absentee ballot process, I thank Governor Cuomo for signing this bill into law so that New Yorkers do not have to choose between risking public health and fulfilling our civic duty to vote. I am proud that New York State can stand in contrast to our White House administration by taking steps to make it easier and safer to vote, instead of casting political dispersions that erode our core democratic institutions.”

Relating to Absentee Ballot Requests (S.8783A/A.10807)

This legislation authorizes voters to request absentee ballots immediately, 30 days before Election Day, adding almost 7 weeks to the amount of time a voter has to vote by absentee ballot. This legislation eliminates an outdated statutory provision that prevents voters from requesting absentee ballots until 30 days before Election Day. The legislation gives voters reassurance that they will receive and can cast their vote in a timely manner.

Senator Zellnor Myrie said, “With an increasing number of voters planning to vote by absentee ballot this year, it is important to give local boards of election sufficient time to process applications and send out ballots, and maximize the time voters have to complete and return them. This legislation is part of our continued effort to expand access to voting, during the pandemic and beyond. Voters should have full confidence that, whether they use a mailbox or a ballot box, they can exercise their rights safely, securely and without obstacles.”

Assemblymember Al Taylor said, “The COVID-19 health crisis has transformed life as we know it, including how we vote. This year we saw a tenfold increase in absentee ballot requests, with more people than ever choosing to vote by mail to protect the health of their families and community. With this new reality, we must ensure voters can exercise their rights in future elections both safely and efficiently, and that includes receiving absentee ballots in a timely fashion. I am honored to continue the fight to expand and protect voting rights in New York alongside my colleagues as we build upon the progress that’s already been made while helping our neighbors stay safe.  Thank you Governor Cuomo for signing this bill into law.”

Relating to Ballots Postmarked on Day of Election (S.8799A/A.10808-A)

This legislation allows ballots to be postmarked on the day of the election, November 3. The legislation also amends election law to allow the Board of Elections to count all absentee ballots that have a time stamp showing it was delivered to the Board of Elections the day after the election but does not have a dated postmark. The Board of Elections shall deem those ballots mailed in a timely fashion.

Senator Michael Gianaris said, “It’s critical we learn the lessons of the primary election and ensure every valid vote counts in November. The bill being signed today will help insulate voters from problems caused by difficulties with the US Postal Service. I’m grateful the Governor is enacting it.”

Assemblymember Rodneyse Bichotte said, “The legislation the governor is signing today will ensure that New Yorkers’ right to participate in the electoral process is protected. We saw unprecedented absentee voter turnout during the primary, but because of financial challenges at the United States Postal Service, many ballots did not receive timely postmarks. We must rise to the occasion and make sure that voters across the state can safely and effectively cast their votes. This legislation will help to address problems with the Post Office, by ensuring that absentee ballots that do not receive a postmark are considered timely if they are received by the Board of Elections the day after an election. This protects the integrity of votes and enfranchises the voter. I thank Gov. Cuomo for signing this bill and my colleagues in the Legislature for supporting New Yorkers by ensuring that their constitutional right to vote is protected.”