Documenting America’s Path to Recovery: November 10, 2020


A daily summary of major changes in the world of politics, government, and elections happening each day  

Ballotpedia, The Encyclopedia of American Politics

Welcome to Documenting America’s Path to Recovery, where we track the status of reopening in all 50 states and summarize major changes due to the coronavirus pandemic in politics, government, and elections.

Beginning today, we are merging our Documenting America’s Path to Recovery and Coronavirus Weekly Updates newsletters. This new, consolidated newsletter will be published every week on Tuesdays and Thursdays. Documenting America’s Path to Recovery focuses on news related to America’s reopening, and the Coronavirus Weekly Updates newsletter provided context regarding major changes in politics, government, and elections.

Today we look at:

  • New restrictions in Nebraska
  • A statewide mask mandate in Utah
  • Lawsuits about state actions and policies 
  • Travel restrictions
  • 1918 pandemic story
  • Diagnosed or quarantined public officials

In our next newsletter (on Thursday, Nov. 12), we’ll look at school closures and reopenings, stay-at-home orders, eviction and foreclosure policies, federal responses, state legislation, and much more. Want to know what happened Friday, Nov. 6? Click here.

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What is changing in the next 72 hours?

  • Illinois (Democratic trifecta): Gov. J.B. Pritzker (D) announced additional mitigation measures for regions 5, 7, and 8, effective Nov. 11. Indoor and outdoor social events and gatherings will be limited to 10 people. Party size limits at bars and restaurants will be reduced from 10 people to six.
  • Nebraska (Republican trifecta): On Monday, Nov. 9, Gov. Pete Ricketts (R) announced that new coronavirus restrictions would take effect Nov. 11. The new measures include a requirement that people in bars, gyms, and churches be kept 6 feet apart and establish a 25% indoor capacity limit.
  • Oregon (Democratic trifecta): On Nov. 6, Gov. Kate Brown (D) announced a two-week pause on social activity for five counties, effective Nov. 11-25. On Nov. 9, Brown added four additional counties to the pause with the same effective dates. Under the restrictions, no indoor nursing home or long-term care facility visits will be permitted. Restaurants and other indoor facilities (like gyms, bowling alleys, and museums) will be limited to a maximum capacity of 50 people. Social gatherings outside of households will be limited to six people.

Since our last edition

What is open in each state? For a continually updated article on reopening status in all 50 states, click here.

  • Alaska (Republican trifecta): Gov. Mike Dunleavy (R) extended the state’s coronavirus emergency order through Dec. 15.
  • Connecticut (Democratic trifecta): Gov. Ned Lamont (D) issued new restrictions limiting private indoor and outdoor gatherings to no more than 10 people, effective Nov. 6. The order also prohibited state-defined high-risk school sports activities (like wrestling and football) through the end of the year.
  • New Jersey (Democratic trifecta): Gov. Phil Murphy (D) announced restaurants and bars will have to end indoor service at 10 p.m. every night, starting Nov. 12.
  • New York (Democratic trifecta): Gov. Andrew Cuomo (D) announced Brooklyn’s red zone is transitioning to an orange zone, which will allow social gatherings of up to 10 people, religious gatherings of up to 25 people, and limited outdoor dining. Schools are still closed to in-person instruction. Cuomo also announced yellow zone restrictions in parts of Erie, Monroe, and Onondaga counties, limiting social gatherings to 25 people and religious gatherings to 50% capacity.
  • Utah (Republican trifecta): On Sunday, Nov. 8, Gov. Gary Herbert (R) announced a series of new coronavirus restrictions, including a statewide mask mandate and a pause on public school extracurricular activities, including athletic events. The new order also limits casual social gatherings to those within the same household through Nov. 23. The order took effect Monday, Nov. 9.

Lawsuits about state actions and policies

Read more: Lawsuits about state actions and policies in response to the coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic, 2020


  • To date, Ballotpedia has tracked 1,213 lawsuits in 50 states, dealing in some way with the COVID-19 outbreak. Court orders have been issued, or settlements have been reached, in 381 of those lawsuits. 
    • Since Nov. 5, we have added no lawsuits to our database. We tracked one additional court order and/or settlement. 

Noteworthy lawsuit

Alaska – On Nov. 2, a group of Anchorage residents sued the municipal assembly, alleging its restrictions on public access to meetings violates state law, as well as the state and federal constitutions. Following an uptick in COVID-19 cases, the assembly suspended in-person testimony, instead streaming meetings online and allowing for real-time telephone and written testimony. Citing the Alaska Open Meetings Act, the plaintiffs assert that “[w]hen the government breaks the law, the statute provides a remedy: voiding government action transacted in violation of open meetings laws.” The plaintiffs asked the court to invalidate several measures enacted during the period in question, including the purchase of buildings for housing the homeless and disbursement of CARES Act funds. The plaintiffs have also asked the court to prevent the assembly from further suspending in-person participation in meetings. Anchorage Municipal Attorney Kate Vogel said the assembly had followed the open meetings law, “which explicitly allows for telephonic participation.” The case has been assigned to Anchorage Superior Court Judge Una Sonia Gandbhir.

Travel restrictions

    Read more: Travel restrictions issued by states in response to the coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic, 2020


  • Governors or state agencies in 25 states issued executive orders placing restrictions on out-of-state visitors. At least 14 of those orders have been rescinded.

Since Nov. 5, no states have implemented or modified travel restrictions.

1918 influenza pandemic (Spanish Flu) and the 1918 midterm election cycle

Read more: 1918 influenza pandemic (Spanish Flu) and the 1918 midterm election cycle

The United States held midterm elections as scheduled during the 1918-1919 influenza pandemic. More than 50 million people perished from the disease worldwide, including about 675,000 in the U.S., making it one of the deadliest pandemics in recorded history. Each week, we’ll look back at a story from the 1918 elections to see how America met the challenges of holding elections during a national health emergency.

On Dec. 14, 1918, the Grand Rapids News reported on new measures to combat the spread of influenza.

“Tonight at midnight all the orders which I issued yesterday to meet the influenza epidemic in Grand Rapids will go in effect,” said Health Officer Slemons. “This notice is sufficient. On Monday, citizens must conform to the order or arrests will be made of all offenders.”

Another order was issued by Dr. Slemons today, by which he hopes to prevent children from spreading the contagion or getting it.

“No person under 16 years of age will be permitted to attend any theater in Grand Rapids,” he said. “The means all theaters, the movies included. If we close schools to help fight this epidemic, the children under 16 cannot go to the theaters. They should be kept home.”

Click here to read the original article, courtesy of the University of Michigan Center for the History of Medicine and Michigan Publishing’s Influenza Encyclopedia.


Diagnosed or quarantined politicians identified by Ballotpedia

Read more: Politicians, candidates, and government officials diagnosed with or quarantined due to the coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic, 2020

  • Federal
    • One federal official has died of COVID-19.
    • Twenty-six members of Congress have been diagnosed with COVID-19.
    • Forty-one federal officials quarantined after possible exposure to COVID-19.
  • State
    • Four state-level incumbents or candidates have died of COVID-19.
    • One hundred fourteen state-level incumbents or candidates have been diagnosed with COVID-19
    • Eighty-three state-level incumbents or candidates quarantined after possible exposure to COVID-19.
  • Local
    • At least two local incumbents or candidates have died of COVID-19.
    • At least 25 local incumbents or candidates have been diagnosed with COVID-19.
    • At least 26 local incumbents or candidates quarantined after possible exposure to COVID-19.

Since Nov. 5, the White House chief of staff, the Secretary of Housing and Urban Development, one U.S. House member, three state legislators, and one local official announced positive test results. One mayor announced a self-quarantine.


  • On Nov. 3, Washington state Rep. Jenny Graham (R), who represents District 6-Position 2, announced she had tested positive for COVID-19 after being exposed to the virus at a hair salon. 
  • On Nov. 4, White House Chief of Staff Mark Meadows (R) announced to advisors he had tested positive for COVID-19.
  • On Nov. 6, Michigan state Sen. Jim Ananich (D), who represents District 27, announced he had tested positive for COVID-19.
  • On Nov. 6, Rep. Michael Waltz (R-FL.) announced he had tested positive for COVID-19.
  • On Nov. 9, U.S. Secretary of Housing and Urban Development Ben Carson’s deputy chief of staff announced Carson had tested positive for COVID-19.
  • On Nov. 9, Scott Wilson (R), a member of the Jacksonville, FL, City Council who represents District 4, announced he had tested positive for COVID-19. 
  • On Nov. 9, Richmond, VA, Mayor Levar Stoney (D) announced that he was self-quarantining after coming into contact with someone who later tested positive for the virus.
  • On Nov. 9, Florida state Rep. Ray Rodrigues (R), who represents District 27, announced he had tested positive for COVID-19.

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