voting

How the Kamala Harris pick is playing with Indian Americans, a fast-growing and influential voting bloc

WASHINGTON — Rep. Pramila Jayapal got a one-word text from her mother Maya Jayapal when Sen. Kamala Harris was announced as the Democratic vice-presidential nominee. 

“KAMALA.” 

An uncle texted her about the connection between her great aunt P.K. Devi, and Harris’ aunt Sarala Gopalan, who studied under Devi in medical school. 

The flood of texts from her family has not let up. 

The California senator’s first name, which means “lotus” in Sanskrit, has cascaded across social media and spilled into Indian family WhatsApp message groups since Joe Biden, the presumptive Democratic nominee, announced her as his running mate Tuesday. An emotional video of a tear-filled Harini Krishnan, an Indian American on the Biden campaign, percolated online while a 2019 video of Harris making dosas, a south Indian dish, with comedian Mindy Kaling again went viral on Twitter.

Sen. Harris’ aunt, Sarala Gopalan, wrote this acknowledgment to Rep. Jayapal's aunt, P.K. Devi in a medical textbook.
Sen. Harris’ aunt, Sarala Gopalan, wrote this acknowledgment to Rep. Jayapal’s aunt,
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Is In-Person Voting Really Unsafe?

DEREK R. HENKLE
DEREK R. HENKLE

The fear in Wisconsin was clear. 

The coronavirus pandemic was still relatively new in early April as the Wisconsin governor’s late attempt to delay the fast-approaching primary election was thwarted by a GOP court challenge. And even with a crucial state supreme court seat on the line, along with the presidential primary, some Democrats worried that asking people to head to the polls on election day could be a major health risk.  

Four months later, as other states have also taken a similar blended election approach with an emphasis on mail-in voting along with in-person options, those concerns may have not been as far-reaching as some had first feared. But as the country hurtles towards holding a contentious presidential election during the pandemic, both health and voting rights experts remain alarmed as political battles rage over elections during the pandemic. 

“We were lucky in April here, I

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Wealthy donors pour millions into fight over mail-in voting

WASHINGTON (AP) — Deep-pocketed and often anonymous donors are pouring over $100 million into an intensifying dispute about whether it should be easier to vote by mail, a fight that could determine President Donald Trump’s fate in the November election.

In the battleground of Wisconsin, cash-strapped cities have received $6.3 million from an organization with ties to left-wing philanthropy to help expand vote by mail. Meanwhile, a well-funded conservative group best known for its focus on judicial appointments is spending heavily to fight cases related to mail-in balloting procedures in court.

And that’s just a small slice of the overall spending, which is likely to swell far higher as the election nears.

The massive effort by political parties, super PACs and other organizations to fight over whether Americans can vote by mail is remarkable considering the practice has long been noncontroversial. But the coronavirus is forcing changes to the way

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In Era of Sickness, Doctors Prescribe Unusual Cure: Voting

Dr. Alister Martin starts his commute to Massachusetts General Hospital in Boston, where he has created a kiosk to register patients to vote. (Tony Luong/The New York Times)
Dr. Alister Martin starts his commute to Massachusetts General Hospital in Boston, where he has created a kiosk to register patients to vote. (Tony Luong/The New York Times)

BOSTON — The sign is easy to miss in the waiting room of the emergency department at Massachusetts General Hospital, next to the reception desk and a hand sanitizer pump. “Register to vote here,” it says, above an iPad attached to a podium.

The kiosk has stood there since November, before the pandemic began, and stayed there through the worst weeks of April, when 12 gasping patients were put on ventilators during a single grueling 12-hour shift.

Now, as the number of coronavirus patients has slowed to a trickle, Dr. Alister Martin, the 31-year-old emergency room doctor who built the kiosk, is determined to keep trying to register voters.

“There will be a time where, above the din of suffering, we ask,

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Cost, hassle of stamps questioned as mail-in voting surges

COLUMBUS, Ohio (AP) — Even if it weren’t for her disability and fear of catching COVID-19, Delinda Bryant said getting the necessary postage to cast a ballot this year will be a struggle.

Bryant, 63, doesn’t have $10 for a book of stamps, a printer to make them at home or a working car.

“My car needs its transmission fixed, but my utilities are so high I can’t afford it,” the south Georgia woman said in testimony for a federal voting rights lawsuit. “Ten dollars for a book of stamps is a hardship.”

As more states embrace mail-in voting amid the coronavirus pandemic, the often overlooked detail of postage has emerged as a partisan dividing line.

Questions over whether postage will be required for absentee ballot applications and the actual ballots, who pays for it and what happens to envelopes without stamps are the subject of lawsuits and statehouse political

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