Biden, Trump meet in first presidential debate

The Daily Brew
Welcome to the Wednesday, September 30, Brew. Here’s what’s in store for you as you start your day:

  1. First presidential debate held Tuesday in Cleveland
  2. Explore North Carolina elections
  3. Explore Mississippi elections

First presidential debate held Tuesday in Cleveland

President Donald Trump (R) and Joe Biden (D) met Tuesday in the first of three presidential election debates at the Sheila and Eric Samson Pavilion in Cleveland, Ohio. Fox News’ Chris Wallace hosted the debate, and he selected the questions and topics.

The University of Notre Dame in South Bend, Indiana, was originally scheduled to host the event but withdrew on July 27, 2020, in response to the coronavirus pandemic.

Click here to subscribe to our Daily Presidential Briefing for a full debate summary. We’ll provide an overview of what was covered, how much each candidate spoke, and debate highlights for each candidate. And click here to see a full schedule of the remaining presidential debates.

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Explore North Carolina elections

This week we launched our 50 States in 25 Days series, where we feature what to know about two states in each Brew issue leading up to Nov. 3. Here are the states we’ve highlighted so far:

We’re going in order of when states held their primaries, so up next is North Carolina and Mississippi.

On the ballot in North Carolina

At the federal level, North Carolina voters will elect 15 presidential electors, one U.S. senator, and 13 U.S. representatives. The offices of governor, lieutenant governor, attorney general, secretary of state, treasurer, superintendent of public instruction, auditor, agriculture commissioner, labor commissioner, and insurance commissioner are up for election. Both chambers of the state legislature are on the ballot, with all 50 seats up in the state Senate and all 120 seats up in the state House. Three seats on the state supreme court and five seats on the state court of appeals are on the ballot. Ballotpedia is tracking local elections taking place in the city of Winston-Salem, five counties, and five school districts.

Partisan balance in North Carolina

  • In 2016, Donald Trump (R) defeated Hillary Clinton (D) 50% to 46% in North Carolina. Barack Obama was the last Democrat to win the state in a presidential election in 2008.
  • Six of North Carolina’s 100 counties are Pivot Counties, accounting for 3.18% of the state’s population. Pivot Counties voted for Barack Obama (D) in 2008 and 2012 and Trump in 2016.
  • Both of North Carolina’s Senators—Richard Burr and Thom Tillis—are Republicans.
  • Republicans represent nine of the state’s 13 U.S. House districts. Democrats represent three districts. One seat is vacant following Mark Meadows’ (R) resignation. He is currently White House Chief of Staff.
  • North Carolina’s governor, attorney general, and secretary of state are all Democrats, meaning it is one of 17 states with a Democratic triplex. It has held this status since Democrat Roy Cooper was elected governor in 2016.
  • Republicans have a 29-21 majority in the state Senate and a 65-55 majority in the state House. Because the governor is a Democrat, North Carolina is one of 14 states with divided government. It has held this status since Cooper (D) was elected governor in 2016.

Battleground races in North Carolina

Here are two battleground races in North Carolina this year:

  • U.S. Senate: Incumbent Thom Tillis (R), Cal Cunningham (D), Kevin Hayes (C), and Shannon Bray (L) are running for North Carolina’s Class II Senate seat. The last Democrat elected to the U.S. Senate from North Carolina was Kay Hagan (D) in 2008.
  • Governor: Incumbent Roy Cooper (D), Dan Forest (R), Steven DiFiore II (L), and Al Pisano (C) are running for governor. Cooper defeated then-Gov. Pat McCrory (R), 49.0% to 48.8%—a margin of 10,263 votes out of more than 4.7 million cast.

Ballot measures in North Carolina

  • There are no statewide ballot measures on the Nov. 3 ballot in North Carolina.

Voting in North Carolina

Information in this section is current as of Sept. 23, 2020.

  • The deadline to request an absentee/mail-in ballot by mail, in person, or online is Oct. 27.
  • One person is required to witness a completed absentee/mail-in ballot.
  • Absentee/mail-in ballots can be returned in person or by mail. A ballot must be submitted in person by 5 p.m. on Nov. 3. A mail-in ballot must be postmarked no later than Nov. 3 and received no later than Nov. 6. You can check the status of your ballot here.
  • North Carolina’s early voting period opens on Oct. 15 and runs through Oct. 31.
  • In 2018, mail-in ballots were 2.4% of the total votes cast.
  • Polls in North Carolina will be open from 6:30 a.m. to 7:30 p.m. local time on Election Day. North Carolina is in the Eastern time zone.
  • Federal and state courts have suspended North Carolina’s voter ID law. Voters will not be required to present ID at the polls in 2020.

Explore Mississippi elections

On the ballot in Mississippi

At the federal level, Mississippi voters will elect six presidential electors, one U.S. senator, and four U.S. representatives. One state legislative special election is on the ballot. Four of the nine seats on the state supreme court are also on the ballot. Voters will also decide on three statewide ballot measures. Ballotpedia is tracking local elections taking place in the DeSoto County School District.

Partisan balance in Mississippi

  • In 2016, Donald Trump (R) defeated Hillary Clinton (D) 58% to 40% in Mississippi. Jimmy Carter was the last Democrat to win the state in a presidential election in 1976.
  • Two of Mississippi’s 82 counties are Pivot Counties, accounting for 3.09% of the state’s population. Pivot Counties voted for Barack Obama (D) in 2008 and 2012 and Trump in 2016.
  • Both of Mississippi’s Senators—Roger Wicker and Cindy Hyde-Smith—are Republicans.
  • Republicans represent three of the state’s four U.S. House districts. A Democrat represents the fourth.
  • Mississippi’s governor, attorney general, and secretary of state are all Republicans, meaning it is one of 19 states with a Republican triplex. It has held this status since Republican Lynn Fitch won election as attorney general in 2019.
  • Republicans have a 34-16 majority in the state Senate and a 73-45 majority in the state House. Because the governor is also a Republican, Mississippi is one of 21 states with a Republican trifecta. Republicans gained a trifecta when they won a majority in the state House in 2011.

Ballot measures in Mississippi

  • Mississippi voters will decide three statewide ballot measures on Nov. 3: one citizen initiative and two legislative referrals.
  • Mississippians for Compassionate Care collected signatures to qualify Initiative 65 for the ballot. It would legalize medical marijuana. Through a process unique to Mississippi, the Legislature passed a more restrictive alternative to the initiative—Alternative 65A—to appear alongside Initiative 65. Voters will first say whether they want to pass “either” measure or “neither” measure. Then voters must choose between Initiative 65 and Alternative 65A.
  • The legislature passed a bill to remove the official status of the state’s flag, which contains the Confederate battle flag, and created a commission to draft a new state flag. On Nov. 3, Mississippi voters will be shown a colored picture of the new proposed state flag (shown on the right), named the In God We Trust Flag. Voters may vote either yes to adopt the new flag or no to oppose it.
  • The legislature also referred an amendment to the ballot that would establish runoffs and remove the state’s electoral vote requirement, which is based on state House districts, for gubernatorial and state office elections.

Voting in Mississippi

Information in this section is current as of Sept. 23, 2020.

  • In response to the coronavirus pandemic, Mississippi has extended absentee/mail-in voting eligibility to individuals under physician-ordered quarantine and individuals caring for dependents under quarantine.
  • An official authorized to administer oaths (e.g., a notary public) must witness or sign an absentee or mail-in ballot. If the voter casting the absentee/mail-in ballot is temporarily or permanently disabled, any individual 18 years or older can serve as a witness.
  • Absentee/mail-in ballots can be returned by mail. Ballots must be postmarked on or before Nov. 3 and received by Nov. 10. For more information about absentee/mail-in voting in Mississippi, click here.
  • Polls in Mississippi will be open from 7 a.m. to 7 p.m. local time on Election Day. Mississippi is in the Central time zone.
  • Mississippi requires a valid form of photo ID in order to vote in person.



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