October 11, 2018

Georgia Secretary of State Brian Kemp is both the state's top election official and the Republican nominee for governor, and his aggressive "voter roll maintenance" has become an issue in his race against Democrat Stacey Abrams. Abrams, who is black, says Kemp is suppressing minority votes. Kemp has canceled more than 1.4 million voter registrations since 2012, including about 670,000 in 2017 alone, The Associated Press reports, and his office is sitting on more than 53,000 voter registration forms that ran afoul of the "exact match" system he put in place.

The "exact match" system, codified by the state's Republican legislature last year, sidelines a voter application if it doesn't exactly match the information on an applicant's driver's license or Social Security data. "If even an accent or a hyphen is missing from a name, the application gets blocked," reports Cameron Joseph at Talking Points Memo. Voters don't always know that their registration is blocked, AP says, and an analysis of records obtained through a public records request "reveals racial disparity in the process. Georgia's population is approximately 32 percent black, according to the U.S. Census, but the list of voter registrations on hold with Kemp's office is nearly 70 percent black."

Kemp says he is fighting voter fraud and has made voting easier for all Georgians, pointing to an online registration system and expanded mail-in voting. He blames the "exact match" racial disparity on the voter-registration organization Abrams founded in 2014.

On MSNBC Wednesday night, Rachel Maddow noted that 53,000 votes could decide a neck-and-neck race like the Abrams-Kemp one. "Honestly, this is outrageous enough that it seems almost impossible that the courts will allow this to stand," she said.

Kemp and Abrams have been sparring for years over voting rights, and you can read more about their history — and the 214 polling places shuttered with Kemp's encouragement, disproportionately in rural and blacker counties, since the Supreme Court gutted the Voting Rights Act in 2013 — at Talking Points Memo. Peter Weber

2:02 a.m.

Thousands of protesters took to the streets of Minneapolis on Tuesday night to express their outrage over the death of George Floyd.

Floyd, a 46-year-old black man, died Monday night after a white police officer kneeled on his neck for several minutes. The incident was recorded, and Floyd can be heard in the video saying, "I can't breathe." The four police officers involved were fired on Tuesday, a move applauded by Minneapolis Mayor Jacob Frey, and the FBI will investigate the incident for possible civil rights violations.

Several community activists addressed Tuesday night's crowd. One of them, Al Flowers, warned that "this will happen again if we don't get in front of this." The protesters chanted "Prosecute the police," and a smaller group continued to march to a precinct near where Floyd died. Once there, clashes broke out, with some demonstrators spray painting squad cars and throwing water bottles and rocks at police officers; the officers fired tear gas and stun grenades at the crowd in response. Catherine Garcia

1:59 a.m.

"This was a weird Memorial Day," Jimmy Kimmel said on Tuesday's Kimmel Live. "I think we can all agree: Zoom barbecues suck. This weekend Donald Trump, by unauthorized presidential order, made a sweeping declaration to open all churches, temples, and places of worship, in an effort to make sure that the most devout Americans can get a chance to contract the coronavirus, too." And Trump, "a man of great faith," he deadpanned, spent Sunday morning golfing.

"You know, people say he's unfit to be president — they forget, he's barely even fit to play golf," Kimmel said. "It looks bad for the president to be golfing with 100,000 Americans dead and a stay-at-home order in place, but try explaining optics to a guy who stared directly into an eclipse," he added, showing the "the brazen hypocrisy" of both Trump and Fox & Friends when it comes to presidential golfing.

Along with his golfing, Trump spent Memorial Day weekend "tweeting nut-job conspiracy theories and mocking Joe Biden for wearing a mask to a Memorial Day event," Kimmel said. He showed some scenes of mask-less crowds on beaches, more beaches, and at a "Zero Ducks Given" pool party at Lake of the Ozarks in Missouri, plus one Staten Island standoff where grocery shoppers yelled a mask-less woman out of the store.

"I have to say, of all the fights we've had over the last few years, this one makes the least sense," Kimmel said. "This is the dumbest standoff ever. We all want to go back to work, we all want to go out to eat, we all want to hang out, none of us want to see people die. So if wearing a mask can help slow the virus and get us back to normal sooner, why not wear a mask? It's so selfish. Are these people also refusing to wash their hands? Or is that for wussies, too?"

The Daily Show's Michael Kosta spoke last week with Florida beach "grim reaper" Daniel Uhlfelder, whose macabre protests in favor of social distancing are, he hopes, giving succor to the mask-wearing majority disheartened by the anti-mitigation protesters. Watch below. Peter Weber

12:48 a.m.

Tom Jordan is several steps closer to living his dream of being a math professor.

The 15-year-old was awarded his associate's degree in general science from Stark State College in North Canton, Ohio, on Sunday, graduating with a 3.93 GPA. On Friday, he will receive his diploma from GlenOak High School, where he finished with a GPA of 4.625.

"What really feels good for me is that it's not really about the fact that I'm here, it's about all the experience and hard work it took to get here," Jordan, the youngest student in Stark State history, told Good Morning America. "If I were to go in and I just easily breezed through, this wouldn't really mean anything to me."

Jordan first enrolled at Stark State four years ago, signing up for a pre-algebra class. Last year, he enrolled full-time for independent study classes, and was able to receive high school credit as well. When he's not studying, Jordan enjoys playing chess, and he was singing in a choir and volunteering with Toys for Tots. This fall, he will attend the College of Wooster in Wooster, Ohio, to study math, and hopes to earn his doctorate from either Harvard or the Massachusetts Institute of Technology. Catherine Garcia

12:15 a.m.

When your criticism-sensitive boss falsely accuses a prominent critic of murder, then doubles down after the dead woman's husband publicly pleads for him to stop spreading these "horrifying lies" and "filth," you may not have great options when asked to respond. And White House Press Secretary Kayleigh McEnany chose some bad responses at Tuesday's press briefing.

There is no "cold case" involving the 2001 death of Lori Klausutis, a constituent services staffer in a Florida congressional office of MSNBC host Joe Scarborough, then a Republican congressman. The authorities never had any doubt her death was an accident. "The President of the United States has taken something that does not belong him — the memory of my dead wife — and perverted it for perceived political gain," her widower, Timothy Klausutis, wrote in an open letter to Twitter on Tuesday. "My wife deserves better."

Most of the Scarborough-related questions McEnany fielded Tuesday were some variation on why Trump continues to falsely accuse him of murder, causing additional pain to Timothy Klausutis. McEnany's response was that Trump did not originate this false conspiracy theory and that Scarborough laughed when radio shock jock Don Imus apparently joked about those conspiracy theories in 2003.

"Joe Scarborough should be held to account for saying people will die by taking hydroxychloroquine," McEnany said. "Does that justify the president spreading a false conspiracy theory that suggests he's responsible for murder?" a reporter asked. "I would point you back to Joe Scarborough, who laughed and joked about this item on Don Imus' show," McEnany replied. "It's Joe Scarborough that has to answer these questions."

Pressed again later on why the president is falsely accusing Scarborough of murder despite the pain these lies cause the widower, McEnany replied: "Our hearts are with Lori, and I think the onus is on Joe Scarborough to explain his interaction with Don Imus." (It isn't.) Peter Weber

May 26, 2020

Singer Andrea Bocelli shared on his Facebook page Tuesday that he and some members of his family tested positive for coronavirus in March, but were "fortunate enough to have a swift and full recovery recovery" by the end of the month.

Bocelli shared that he had a mild case, and waited to tell fans because he did not want to "unnecessarily alarm" them. Bocelli also said he has donated blood to help researchers find a cure. Last week, Bocelli told The Wall Street Journal he had been infected and had a "fever" and "a little bit of a cough."

For Easter on April 12, Bocelli sang alone inside the Duomo in Milan, with his performance livestreamed on YouTube. He set a record for biggest audience to watch a classical livestream, with more than 2.8 million concurrent viewers at one point. Catherine Garcia

May 26, 2020

Health officials in Missouri and Kansas are calling on people who packed the Lake of the Ozarks over Memorial Day weekend to go into self-quarantine for 14 days.

Lake of the Ozarks is a popular reservoir in central Missouri, and video posted online showed revelers standing shoulder to shoulder in pools by the lake, with most not wearing masks. On Monday night, the St. Louis County Department of Health issued an advisory saying anyone who was there and ignored social distancing guidelines should self-isolate for 14 days or until they test negative for coronavirus. On Tuesday, the Kansas Department of Health and Environment made the same recommendation.

"This reckless behavior endangers countless people and risks setting us back substantially from the progress we have made in slowing the spread of COVID-19," St. Louis County Executive Sam Page said in a statement. Missouri Gov. Mike Parson (R) said during a press conference on Tuesday that "poor decisions were made and the social distancing was not followed," which is "potentially dangerous for everyone, especially our most at-risk individuals."

As of Tuesday evening, there are 12,291 confirmed coronavirus cases in Missouri, a 1.3 percent rise over the last 24 hours and an 8.3 percent increase over the last week, ABC News reports. Catherine Garcia

May 26, 2020

Former Vice President Joe Biden said on Tuesday that President Trump is "supposed to lead by example" when it comes to wearing a mask and social distancing during the coronavirus pandemic, but has failed at that and also keeping the death toll down.

The U.S. is close to reaching the grim milestone of 100,000 confirmed coronavirus deaths. In an interview with CNN's Dana Bash, Biden said it is as important as ever to stay safe by social distancing and wearing a face covering, as the COVID-19 threat is "not over."

Biden then appeared to reference a recent report by Columbia University researchers who found that enacting federal social distancing measures nationwide just one week earlier in March would have prevented about 36,000 coronavirus deaths, with thousands more deaths averted under earlier closures. The first imported case of COVID-19 in the U.S. was reported on Jan. 20, with community transmission following a few weeks later.

"One hundred thousand deaths and at least 35,000 to 50,000 were avoidable, but for a lack of attention and ego," Biden said. Catherine Garcia

See More Speed Reads