Newsletter: Mail-In Ballots May Not Arrive On Time In Illinois

postal service
Letter carriers load mail trucks for deliveries at a U.S. Postal Service facility in McLean, Va., Friday, July 31, 2020. The U.S. Postal Service warned 46 states that mail-in ballots may not be delivered in time to be counted in the November election. J. Scott Applewhite / AP Photo
postal service
Letter carriers load mail trucks for deliveries at a U.S. Postal Service facility in McLean, Va., Friday, July 31, 2020. The U.S. Postal Service warned 46 states that mail-in ballots may not be delivered in time to be counted in the November election. J. Scott Applewhite / AP Photo

Newsletter: Mail-In Ballots May Not Arrive On Time In Illinois

Hey there, it’s Friday! And I remember working some dumb office job as a teen where some bros would play this song literally every Friday. Here’s what you need to know today.

1. Mail-in ballots may not arrive on time in 46 states and D.C., the Postal Service warns

The U.S Postal Service recently sent letters to 46 states, saying that it can’t guarantee all mail-in ballots will arrive on time to be counted for the November election, reports The Washington Post.

“The letters sketch a grim possibility for the tens of millions of Americans eligible for a mail-in ballot this fall: Even if people follow all of their state’s election rules, the pace of Postal Service delivery may disqualify their votes,” reports the Post. [WaPo]

The Illinois Board of Elections received the letter. You can read it here, courtesy of WTTW’s Paris Schutz. [Twitter]

The news comes as concerns grow over the integrity of the upcoming election. Former President Barack Obama today accused Trump of suppressing votes by sabotaging USPS. [Washington Post]

Meanwhile, nearly half of all registered voters say they expect to have problems casting ballots, according to a poll from the Pew Research Center. That’s a huge increase from the 2018 midterm elections, when 15% of registered voters said they expected problems. [USA Today]

2. Lightfoot announces new measures aimed at preventing more looting in Chicago

Mayor Lori Lightfoot today said Chicago police will increase their monitoring of social media through a 20-person task force and rapidly deploy teams to respond to looting. The mayor also said city officials will use “new and enhanced tactics” to shut down areas of the city when looting occurs. Those tactics include “blocking and disabling vehicles,” reports the Chicago Tribune.

Those measures are likely not enough for some activists, who say Lightfoot needs to address the looting’s root causes of racial injustice if she wants to end unrest that has plagued the city this summer. [Trib]

The news comes as 42 felony charges have been filed so far in connection to this week’s looting, according to Cook County state’s Attorney Kim Foxx’s office. WBEZ’s Patrick Smith reports that several people charged had no felony convictions on their records. [WBEZ]

Meanwhile, some Black Chicagoans say they are upset with how media coverage focused more on the lootings than a police shooting in Englewood that helped spark the unrest. [Chicago Tribune]

3. A third of Americans say they won’t get vaccinated

That’s one of the major findings in a new NPR/PBS NewsHour/Marist poll. The survey found that 71% of Americans say the coronavirus is a real threat, but 35% say they won’t get vaccinated when a vaccine is available.

The poll also found that just 31% trust what President Donald Trump says about the pandemic, and 46% say they trust what they hear from the news media on it.

When it comes to the election, the poll found that presumptive Democratic nominee Joe Biden has expanded his lead by double digits. [NPR]

Meanwhile, if you got COVID-19 and recovered, you’re protected for up to three months, according to updated guidance from the Centers of Disease Control and Prevention. [New York Times]

In Illinois, new cases of COVID-19 surpassed 2,000 for the second time this month. Officials reported 2,264 new cases and 25 additional deaths. That’s the largest number of cases reported in a single day since late May. [WBEZ]

4. Former FBI lawyer expected to plead guilty in criminal investigation of Russia inquiry

Kevin Clinesmith, a lawyer who worked on the Russia investigation, is expected to “admit that he altered an email from the C.I.A. that investigators relied on to seek renewed court permission in 2017 for a secret wiretap on the former Trump campaign adviser Carter Page, who had at times provided information to the spy agency,” reports The New York Times.

President Trump has long accused the 2016 Russia investigation of being politically motivated. Today’s case is the first one to emerge from U.S. Attorney John Durham, who was tapped by Attorney General William Barr to investigate the Russia probe.

But prosecutors are not expected to show that Clinesmith’s actions were part of a broad effort to undermine Trump, the Times reports. [NYT]

5. A majority of Chicago’s public schools will keep police officers

Only 14 of the city’s 72 public schools voted to remove officers, reports WBEZ’s Sarah Karp. The news comes after a citywide debate over whether cops in schools help ensure the safety of students or negatively impact minority students. That debate at times sparked tense protests over the summer.

Of the 14 schools that will remove officers, only one has a student body that is mostly Black. The other schools are mostly Latino or have a diverse student body. That means about 77% of Black students will continue seeing police in their schools.

The Chicago Board of Education is expected to vote on a new, less expensive police contract on Aug. 26. [WBEZ]

Here’s what else is happening

  • Questions emerge over the $66 million price tag for taxpayers on transforming Chicago’s McCormick Place into an emergency coronavirus hospital. [Chicago Sun-Times]
  • Sen. Kamala Harris was born in Oakland, Calif., facts say. [AP]
  • U.S. retail sales rose, but economists expect a slowdown now that federal relief measures have expired. [AP]
  • Dolly Parton expressed her support for Black Lives Matter. [NPR]

Oh, and one more thing …

A YouTube video of twin brothers Fred and Tim Williams listening to Phil Collins’ “In the Air Tonight” for the first time is pure gold. Their video exploded on social media last week, and the Chicago Tribune caught up with the 22-year-old brothers, who live in Gary, Ind.

“Yeah, I still can’t believe Phil dropped that beat so late in his song,” Tim told the Trib.

Tim said he always wanted to become a YouTube star, but he didn’t think it would happen so soon.

“With everything going on these days — the pandemic, the protests, the anger — my boys’ YouTube channel is a good way to connect people again,” Tiffany King, the twins’ mother, told the Trib. “As Tim always says, there’s no color lines in music.” [Chicago Tribune]

Tell me something good …

I have to do a self-evaluation for my performance review at work. And that has me thinking: What do you miss about working from the office?

Melanie Wilson writes:

“Seeing the many moods of Lake Michigan from our Streeterville office windows and the Friday ritual of a restaurant lunch and decompression session with my office mates.”

Barbara Kanady tweets:

“I miss Beer Fridays in the office. Yeah, I know … now everyday is Beer Friday, but it’s just not the same.”

And Kathleen Torquato writes:

“I’m a teacher and what I really miss about being at work is the separation of work and home. While I’m engaged in remote teaching, everything is jumbled together — I work at the same table where I eat and I try to help my own kids while teaching others’. I miss being able to decompress during my commute home and have work be ‘there’ and I am ‘here.’ Now it’s never-ending chaos and trying to keep things organized!”

Thank you, everyone, for all the responses this week. I’m sorry I couldn’t share them all, but it was nice hearing from y’all.

Thanks for reading and have a nice night! I’ll see you on Monday.