7 common mistakes to avoid when voting

  • Slug: BC-CNS Common Voting Mistakes, 1,150 words.
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By Alicia Moser
Cronkite News

PHOENIX – As Election Day looms, the biggest worry for many Arizona voters is whether their votes will be counted.

Ballot rejection is a possibility. Voters may forget to sign mail-in ballots, use the wrong color ink to mark the ballot and mail an early ballot too late for delivery by Nov. 3.

Thousands of Arizona residents have already voted, but it’s not too late for those who haven’t yet turned in early ballots or plan to vote in person Nov. 3. Data Orbital shows that nearly two million early ballots have been returned so far.

Sophia Solis, spokesperson for the Arizona Secretary of State’s Office, Pam Fessler, a voting issues correspondent with NPR, and Diana Solorio, spokesperson for the Maricopa County Recorder’s Office, said common mistakes can be avoided. Continue reading “7 common mistakes to avoid when voting”

Cronkite News Digest for Thursday, Oct. 29

Here is your Cronkite News lineup for Thursday, Oct. 29. If you have questions on news stories from the Phoenix bureau, please contact Executive Editor Christina Leonard at 602-361-5893 or christina.leonard@asu.edu, while questions about stories from our Washington bureau should go to Steve Crane at 202-684-2398 or steve.crane@asu.edu. Sports story questions can be directed to Paola Boivin at paola.boivin@asu.edu. Clients who want to use Cronkite videos can find clean versions, and scripts, for download in a Dropbox – if interested, contact Executive Editor Christina Leonard at christina.leonard@asu.edu for access. Stories promised for today, along with photos and links to multimedia elements, will post to our client site at cronkitenews.jmc.asu.edu/clients. Continue reading “Cronkite News Digest for Thursday, Oct. 29”

Los Angeles just won NBA, MLB crowns, but COVID-19 has parades on hold

  • Slug: BC-CNS LA Fans React, 840 words.
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By Johnny Messiha
Cronkite News

LOS ANGELES – The Dodgers won their first World Series since 1988 Tuesday night against the Tampa Bay Rays, leaving Los Angeles sports fans eager for an official celebration despite the rising cases of COVID-19 in the county.

Thousands of fans gathered downtown, at Dodger Stadium and in other parts of LA to watch Mookie Betts and the Dodgers clinch the World Series with a 3-1 Game 6 win over the Rays. Scottsdale native Cody Bellinger was an important piece of the championship run, with four home runs and 13 RBIs in the postseason.

The tense win sent fans into a frenzy before police intervened, arresting eight people suspected of looting and vandalism. Three officers were injured, according to ABC7 in Los Angeles.

The celebration – and a similar one Oct. 11 after the Los Angeles Lakers won their first NBA championship since 2010 – has health experts concerned. Continue reading “Los Angeles just won NBA, MLB crowns, but COVID-19 has parades on hold”

As COVID-19 cases surge anew, some towns lift mask mandates

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By Josh Ortega
Cronkite News

WASHINGTON – Payson Mayor Tom Morrisey thinks mask-wearing is one of the best ways to stop the spread of COVID-19 in his town – but he doesn’t want to force residents to do it.

Payson is one of a number of local governments that have lifted facemask ordinances in recent weeks, even as infections in the state have started to surge again, adding almost 4,500 new cases just since Sunday.

One health expert said relaxing mask mandates now is “foolish” for local officials that want to reopen their communities because it could lead to a surge that might bring on new, harsher shutdowns. Continue reading “As COVID-19 cases surge anew, some towns lift mask mandates”

Arizona’s status as a toss-up gives voters clout, draws Trump, Harris

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By Rob Winder
Cronkite News

WASHINGTON – President Donald Trump and Democratic vice presidential nominee Kamala Harris were back stumping in Arizona Wednesday, evidence of what one report calls the high “voter power” of residents of the swing state.

The WalletHub report, “2020’s States with the Most and Least Powerful Voters,” rated Arizona the state with the fifth-most powerful voters, based largely on Arizona’s relatively newfound status as a toss-up state. Continue reading “Arizona’s status as a toss-up gives voters clout, draws Trump, Harris”

#ChalkTheVote: Arizona families hit the sidewalks to encourage voting

  • Slug: BC-CNS Chalk the Vote, 610 words.
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By Mitchell Zimmermann
Cronkite News

PHOENIX – Divya Yoder and her family were out on the sidewalk in front of their home one recent Sunday, writing chalk messages to encourage their neighbors to vote.

“Vote early,” one read. “United we stand,” read another.

The Yoders weren’t the only family taking chalk to concrete with similar messages in recent days. Hundreds of Arizonans were doing the same, along with thousands of families across the country as part of #ChalkTheVote, which was created by the non-profit organization ParentsTogether to urge families to vote Nov. 3.

Yoder, who’s of East Indian descent and the mother of two young boys, wanted them to understand the importance of voting – a right that isn’t available to everyone.

“You know, we live in a community with our loved ones, friends, neighbors, and children, and some of them don’t have the privilege and we make the decisions to vote for ourselves and for the ones around us,” said Yoder, who became a U.S. citizen six years ago and voted for the first time in 2016. Continue reading “#ChalkTheVote: Arizona families hit the sidewalks to encourage voting”

Air Trump: Cost of trips to campaign events still hard to pin down

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By Josh Ortega
Cronkite News

WASHINGTON – When Air Force One touches down in Arizona for President Donald Trump’s campaign visits to Bullhead City and Goodyear on Wednesday, it will be at least the 20th campaign stop for the jet in the past eight days.

Who pays for those trips? You do. Maybe. Or maybe the Trump campaign does. Or a little bit of both. Government watchdog groups say they have not been able to get a full accounting of the expenses related to the president’s use of Air Force One, despite years of trying. Continue reading “Air Trump: Cost of trips to campaign events still hard to pin down”

The problem with plastics: Production outpacing efforts to keep it out of rivers and oceans

  • Slug: BC-CNS Plastic Pollution Study, 1,265 words.
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By Alison Cutler
Cronkite News

PHOENIX – The ugly truth was laid bare when an international team of researchers ran their final model on plastic pollution in the Pacific. The results would reveal just how much the world would have to reduce plastic waste to prevent more than 8 million metric tons from entering the oceans, lakes and rivers every year – and whether that was even possible.

Three words came to mind for Arizona State University graduate student Erin Murphy, who was part of the team.

“Not even close,” Murphy said.

No matter what hypothetical the researchers punched into the module to reduce plastic production and increase global waste management, the conclusion was the same: The production of plastic worldwide continues to drastically outpace efforts to reduce it.

Even with ambitious and rigorous global standards of recycling, managing and reducing waste, the amount of plastic produced around the world could grow to six times the current amount by 2030, the researchers found. Continue reading “The problem with plastics: Production outpacing efforts to keep it out of rivers and oceans”

As COVID adds hours and challenges, teachers look to Proposition 208 for more school funding

  • Slug: BC-CNS Prop 208, 1,040 words.
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By Anthony J. Wallace
Cronkite News

PHOENIX – Amid a pandemic that has prompted some teachers to leave their profession, Arizonans are considering a proposal to raise taxes for high earners to help schools pay for salary increases and hire more staff.

Proposition 208 would add a 3.5% surcharge to taxable income above $250,000 for individuals or $500,000 for couples, increasing the overall tax rate on any income over those thresholds to 8%. The move would potentially raise $830 million a year dedicated to the state’s Student Support and Safety Fund.

With Election Day next week, debate over the proposal has intensified, with supporters saying education funding is more important than ever, given Arizona’s dismal spending on public schools and a pandemic that’s increased hours and brought new challenges teaching virtually. Critics agree that funding is needed but argue the surtax would derail the economy. Continue reading “As COVID adds hours and challenges, teachers look to Proposition 208 for more school funding”

Arizona senators split as divided Senate puts Barrett on Supreme Court

  • Slug: BC-CNS-Border Deaths,870
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By Claire Chandler
Cronkite News

WASHINGTON – Arizona conservative groups hailed the confirmation of “capable, brilliant” Judge Amy Coney Barrett to the Supreme Court, after a rushed vote Monday that split the Senate along party lines.

Barrett’s confirmation comes less than six weeks after the death of Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg and cements a conservative majority on the high court for years to come – what Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer called a “decades-long effort to tilt the judiciary to the far right.”

No Democrats voted for Barrett, who was sworn in Monday night at the White House by Supreme Court Justice Clarence Thomas within hours of the 52-48 Senate vote. Maine Sen. Susan Collins was the only Republican to vote no on the nomination. Continue reading “Arizona senators split as divided Senate puts Barrett on Supreme Court”

Judicial Performance Review is a tool for Arizona voters, but it’s not often used

  • Slug: BC-CNS Judicial Retention Elections, 630 words.

By Kenechi Anigbogu
Special for Cronkite News

With the election just days away, Cronkite News is profiling issues on the Nov. 3 ballot.

Voters in Arizona’s four largest counties have the right to decide whether to retain Superior Court judges, but how can they know whether a judge is fit to remain on the bench?

In Maricopa, Coconino, Pima and Pinal counties, which each have populations of more than 250,000 people, judges are chosen for the bench through merit selection rather than direct election, as they are in Arizona’s 11 smaller counties. After being appointed, judges must go through periodical retention elections to continue serving. Supreme Court justices and appellate court judges also are subject to retention elections statewide.

In Maricopa County, there are 40 Superior Court judges, 11 Court of Appeals judges and three Supreme Court justices on the Nov. 3 ballot. Continue reading “Judicial Performance Review is a tool for Arizona voters, but it’s not often used”

Separate and unequal: Pay gap affects women, minorities, families

  • Slug: BC-CNS Women’s Pay Gap, 1,700 words.

By Ayanna Muhammad
Cronkite News

PHOENIX – The pay gap is confoundingly stubborn: On average across the United States, women make 81 cents for every dollar a man makes, with the size of the gap varying based on a woman’s job, family status and race.

In Arizona, women fare slightly better than the national data, making 84 cents for every dollar a man is paid. That places the state at No. 11 for the smallest gender wage gap, according to a 2020 study by business.org. When the wage gap is broken down by race, many women are making even less.

Asian women overall are paid the most, matching the Arizona average of 84 cents. The gap grows for Black women, who make 65 cents on the dollar, and Hispanic women, who make 55 cents. Continue reading “Separate and unequal: Pay gap affects women, minorities, families”

‘She couldn’t get her head above water’: Pandemic adds to challenges for family caregivers

  • Slug: BC-CNS Caregivers and COVID, 1,685 words.
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By Lauren Serrato
Cronkite News

PHOENIX – Before the pandemic, Toni Clayton’s days were sprinkled with lunch dates and card games with friends – welcome distractions from the day-to-day management of the debilitating disease that’s ravaging her 93-year-old husband, Royal.

Then COVID-19 shut down the program Royal attended to help manage his dementia. And at 79, Toni has become his 24/7 caregiver.

“That socialization was what was good for him. So by not being able to do that, it has affected him in a lot of ways,” she said. “Being housebound because of COVID, lifestyle has certainly changed for us.”

It helps, she said, “knowing that I’m not alone and other people are going through this.”

“As my husband always used to say: I think I’m in pretty good shape for the shape I’m in.”

Even before the pandemic, the number of caregivers in the U.S. was on the rise. A May report by the National Alliance for Caregiving and AARP found that an estimated 53 million people serve as caregivers, up from 43.5 million in 2015.

Most – 89% – are caring for relatives, and the most common problems in those who need help include general aging issues, mobility and Alzheimer’s or other forms of dementia.

The job is at once time-consuming and life-altering. Add a pandemic to the mix, with program closures and quarantines limiting interaction, and caregiving has grown even more grueling. People like Toni face increased hours and fewer breaks as they struggle to meet the physical and emotional needs of their loved ones. Continue reading “‘She couldn’t get her head above water’: Pandemic adds to challenges for family caregivers”

Report: Migrant deaths in the desert have reached seven-year high

  • Slug: BC-CNS-Border Deaths,880
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By Chase Hunter
Cronkite News

WASHINGTON – Remains of 181 migrants were found in the Arizona desert through the end of September, 37 more than in all of last year and the most since 2013, according to the group Humane Borders.

The rise in migrant deaths comes during a year of intense heat and little precipitation for Arizona – but also at a time when the number of people caught crossing the border has fallen sharply. Continue reading “Report: Migrant deaths in the desert have reached seven-year high”

Trump cites Arizona’s success fighting COVID-19, as cases resume rise

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By Joycelyn Cabrera
Cronkite News

WASHINGTON – President Donald Trump name-dropped Arizona early in Thursday’s presidential debate, claiming the “very big spike” in COVID-19 cases in the state is “now gone.”

Except that it’s not.

New cases are up – twice in the past week they topped 1,000 – the rate of positive tests rose as did hospitalizations – although currently well within the current capacity of hospitals. That led Arizona Department of Health Services director, Dr. Cara Christ, to caution Arizonans on Thursday, “Don’t let down your guard.” Continue reading “Trump cites Arizona’s success fighting COVID-19, as cases resume rise”

Judge denies early Pascua Yaqui voting site, ending years-long feud

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By Calah Schlabach
Cronkite News

WASHINGTON – The Pascua Yaqui Tribe will not get the early voting location it has been asking for since 2018, after a federal judge flatly denied the request he said would overburden an elections office “already stretched to its breaking point.”

The ruling by U.S. District Judge James Soto Thursday night was the second blow to Native voting rights advocates in as many weeks. A federal appellate court last week rejected a request to allow extra time for mail-in ballots from the Navajo Nation. Continue reading “Judge denies early Pascua Yaqui voting site, ending years-long feud”

U.S. House, District 9: Dave Giles emphasizes individual freedom in bid for Congress

  • Slug: BC-CNS Arizona CD9 Giles, 1,130 words.
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By Catie Cheshire
Special for Cronkite News

With the election just days away, Cronkite News is profiling candidates on the Nov. 3 ballot.

How would you rate Arizona’s response to the COVID-19 pandemic?

Giles is pleased the state’s death rate has fallen since summer, but he described Gov. Doug Ducey as “extremely cautious” on COVID-19 restrictions, such as mask requirements and social distancing. Decisions related to the coronavirus that causes the disease should be up to individuals.

“You should look at your own individual circumstances, and if you feel it’s safer for you to wear a mask, then by all means: mask. If it’s safer for you to not go to the movie theater, then by all means, don’t go to the movie theater or the restaurant, but if you feel you’re comfortable with it out in public or at an event without it then you have your free choice.” Continue reading “U.S. House, District 9: Dave Giles emphasizes individual freedom in bid for Congress”

U.S. House, District 9: COVID-19 relief package, climate change are top priorities for Greg Stanton

  • Slug: BC-CNS Arizona CD9 Stanton, 1,670 words.
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By Miles Green
Special for Cronkite News

With the election just days away, Cronkite News is profiling candidates on the Nov. 3 ballot.

How would you rate Arizona’s response to the COVID-19 pandemic?

“We’ve had almost close to 6,000 people die in the state of Arizona – that’s unacceptable. … I’m pretty angry about it because it didn’t have to happen.”

Arizona’s response to the COVID-19 pandemic has been poor, and it was mishandled from the start, he said.

“We fell weeks behind at the very beginning.”

Arizona’s first COVID-19 case was reported in late January, involving an Arizona State University student who had returned from China. That was earlier than other states, Stanton said, and Arizona’s poor handling of the pandemic is a failure at the top levels of state government. Continue reading “U.S. House, District 9: COVID-19 relief package, climate change are top priorities for Greg Stanton”

Black advocates spotlight uneven rates of food allergies in children

  • Slug: BC-CNS Black Food Allergies, 1,045 words.
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By Luke Simmons
Cronkite News

PHOENIX – Thomas Silvera and Dina Hawthorne-Silvera lost their son, Elijah, when he was just 3. He had a severe anaphylactic reaction to a grilled cheese sandwich he was given at a day care center in New York City in 2017.

Since then, the couple have run the nonprofit Elijah-Alavi Foundation to advocate for and provide resources to families living with food allergies.

They are part of a small but powerful nationwide community of Black advocates working to help those coping with severe food allergies, especially families of color.

“We are part of the pioneers who are going to really usher in the conversations and the way that people talk about food allergies and asthma,” Hawthorne-Silvera said.

Black children across the U.S. face disproportionate rates of food allergies – a fact the medical community has recognized just within the past 10 years. Continue reading “Black advocates spotlight uneven rates of food allergies in children”

September jobless rate rose, as more workers got back in labor force

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By MacKenzie Belley
Cronkite News

WASHINGTON – Arizona’s unemployment rate bounced back up to 6.7% in September, but economists say there may actually be some positives behind what look like negative numbers at first glance.

At least one of the reasons for the increased jobless rate is that more than 150,000 people returned to the labor force, which suggests that they are increasingly optimistic about their chances of finding a job. Continue reading “September jobless rate rose, as more workers got back in labor force”