Week in review: a rise in early voting, Amy Barrett’s confirmation and a presidential debate boost

A weekly recap of recent political news.

Early Voting

As of Tuesday, Americans have cast over 69 million early votes, surpassing the 53 million early votes seen in the 2016 election. In California, 6 million votes have been returned. That number represents more than 25% of the 22 million ballots mailed to registered voters.

Increases were consistent in other places where vote-by-mail was expanded to the entire state. New Jersey saw an increase of 9% over 2016 numbers. In Delaware, early voting was up by 7%, and in Virginia, by 6%.

Biden Bump After Debate

Joe Biden saw a boost in polling after last week’s presidential debate and maintains a small but significant lead in all major polls in the final week of the election. Independent forecasters predict Biden will win the presidency. Democrats are expected to retain the House majority.

Polls show the Senate race is prickly, with Democrats needing to pick up five seats to win a majority. There are twelve Republican seats up for a potential Democratic grab, including Colorado, Arizona, Maine, North Carolina and Iowa.

The Supreme Court Returns to Nine

The Senate confirmed Amy Coney Barrett to the Supreme Court in a 52-48 vote on Monday, cementing a 6-3 conservative majority within the Court. Filling the vacancy left by the late Ruth Bader Ginsburg, Justice Barrett is the first Supreme Court justice in 151 years to be confirmed without a vote from the minority party — all Democrats and only one Republican senator, Susan Collins, voted against the nomination.

Justice Clarence Thomas, one of the Supreme Court’s most right-leaning justices, swore in Justice Barrett after an accelerated Republican-led process led to her appointment beginning with one week left before the election.

Proposition 18

Endorsed by the California Democratic Party, Proposition 18, if approved, will allow 17-year-olds the right to vote in primary and special elections if they turn 18 before the next general election. At least 18 other states extend some voting rights to 17-year-olds.

Currently in California, 125,548 teenagers are already pre-registered to vote, making them automatically registered when they turn 18.

LA Homicides Peaking

Deaths by homicide in Los Angeles are climbing at an alarming rate, according to the LAPD. There have been 266 homicides as of last week, surpassing the total for 2019. Police Chief Michel Moore said these numbers, predicted to top 300 by years' end, represent a level not seen in the city since 2009, when there were 312 killings. The uptick in Los Angeles mirrors increased violence in other large cities, including Houston, Chicago and New York.

Lincoln Project Banner in Times Square

A Trump family lawyer threatened to sue the Lincoln Project over two billboards the group put up in Times Square. The signs show Jared Kushner and Ivanka Trump smiling, alongside statistics and information about coronavirus deaths.

The Lincoln Project, a collective of former Republican consultants seeking to stop Trump’s reelection, cited the first amendment’s protection of free speech.