Pluribus AM: Election previews, turnout reports, and La. GOP endorses a gubernatorial favorite

Good morning, it’s Election Day, Tuesday, Nov. 8, 2022. In today’s edition, voters are voting; La. GOP endorses for governor; and turnout reports from across the nation:

Top Stories

MIDTERM ELECTIONS: Don’t forget to vote today! And while you wait for results, check out our preview of top governor’s races, attorneys general races and the state legislatures to watch when polls close tonight.

VOTING RIGHTS: The Justice Department is sending monitors to 24 states to ensure compliance with federal voting rights laws today. The monitors, typically lawyers with the civil rights division and U.S. attorney’s offices, will go to 64 jurisdictions, including five counties in Arizona, three in Georgia, two in Nevada and three in Florida. Full list at the Associated Press link.

ELECTION LAWSUITS: More than 100 lawsuits relating to the midterm elections have already been filed across the country, and more are likely after polls close. Voting rights advocates say they expect new suits over the legitimacy of ballots, while others are worried that election deniers will declare victory before votes are counted. (Los Angeles Times)

NEW JERSEY: Gov. Phil Murphy (D) has released a series of bills to combat a surge in car thefts, including new penalties for serial thieves, penalties for possessing certain auto theft tools and cracking down on catalytic converter sales. Auto thefts in the first half of this year are up 37% over last year. (NJ Advance Media)

ARKANSAS: The state Department of Human Services is preparing for an end to federal COVID health emergency rules as early as this week. If that happens, hundreds of thousands of potentially ineligible Medicaid recipients would be removed from the program for the first time in three years. (Talk Business & Politics)

MAINE: The state Housing Authority has already spent a third of the year’s home heating assistance fund, and winter hasn’t even started yet. Maine has spent the LIHEAP money a month faster than anticipated. Higher fuel prices and a smaller allocation of federal funds are to blame, housing officials said. (Portland Press Herald)

NEVADA: Gov. Steve Sisolak (D) says state tax dollars will not be used for construction of a new stadium for the Oakland Athletics if they move to Las Vegas. Athletics officials have hinted that if they do not receive public funding, they will open new talks with other markets. Nevada imposed a 0.88% tax on hotel rooms in Clark County to help fund the Raiders’s new stadium a few years ago. (Las Vegas Review-Journal)

GEORGIA: State House Speaker Pro Tem Jan Jones (R) will run to succeed outgoing Speaker David Ralston (R), she said in a letter to colleagues last night. (Greg Bluestein) State Rep. Barry Fleming (R) has already said he will run, and House Majority Leader Jon Burns (R) is expected to run as well.

OREGON: Attorney General Ellen Rosenblum (D) says she plans a full investigation into the proposed merger between grocery chains Kroger and Albertsons. The companies make up a majority of grocery stores in Oregon. Washington Attorney General Bob Ferguson (D) last week secured an injunction against Albertsons’s proposed $4 billion dividend to shareholders. (OPB)

VIRGINIA: A new report from the Joint Legislative Audit and Review Commission found a 12% increase in the number of teachers leaving the state workforce and a 15% decrease in the number of teachers entering the workforce, a gap of about 2,500 teachers across the Commonwealth. The report confirmed NAEP findings that showed a steep decline in math and reading achievements. (Richmond Times-Dispatch) 

In Politics

LOUISIANA: The state Republican Party has officially backed Attorney General Jeff Landry (R) in his race to succeed term-limited Gov. John Bel Edwards (D). Lt. Gov. Billy Nungesser (R) and state Treasurer John Schroder (R), two other likely candidates, objected to the early endorsement. (Baton Rouge Advocate) No big-name Democrat has entered the race.

WISCONSIN: The state Republican Party is investigating alleged illegal donations from former President Donald Trump’s super PAC to Adam Steen, the conservative challenging Assembly Speaker Robin Vos (R). Trump’s Save America PAC donated to the Langlade County Republican Party, which then spent money backing Steen’s campaign, an alleged earmark that would violate state law. (Wisconsin State Journal)

PENNSYLVANIA: Elections officials in Philadelphia and Allegheny counties are scrambling to help voters fix mail-in ballots that are missing dates or signatures on envelopes after the state Supreme Court ruled those flaws could make ballots ineligible. Officials in Pittsburgh said about 1,000 ballots were affected, while Philadelphia officials said they had found more than 2,000 improperly dated or undated ballots. (Associated Press)

ARIZONA: Superior Court Judge Casey McGinley ruled Monday that Cochise County cannot hand-count all of its ballots after Election Day, siding with state officials and the Cochise County elections director who said the planned count violated state law. The county is likely to appeal. (Arizona Republic)

NEVADA: Nye County officials will not continue hand-counting thousands of ballots until after the polls close, they said Sunday after Secretary of State Barbara Cegavske (R) ordered a halt. The county will have about 10 days to conduct their count before submitting official canvass results to the state on Nov. 18. (Nevada Independent)

TURNOUT: Early voting in Indiana ended Monday with 684,000 ballots cast, down from the 756,000 cast ahead of the 2018 midterm elections. (Indianapolis Star) More than 1.5 million Ohioans requested an absentee ballot or cast early votes, up 3.9% from the 2018 record, Secretary of State Frank LaRose (R) said Monday. (Cleveland Plain Dealer) 

MORE TURNOUT: Just 36% of Oregon voters had returned their ballots by Monday, down from nearly 50% who had done so at that point in 2018. (OPB) About 57% of Montana’s absentee ballots had been returned by Sunday night, down from 71% at the same time in 2018. Snow is forecast in parts of the state today. (Daily Montanan) Massachusetts officials expect 2.2 million voters to cast ballots, the lowest turnout rate in decades. (Boston Globe)

By The Numbers

$48 million: The amount of unexpected tax revenue Idaho collected in October, most of which came from rising individual income taxes, a sign of higher employment and wages. That figure almost made up for tax revenue from the previous three months, which came in $50 million below projections. (Idaho Press)

Off The Wall

Are you feeling stressed about Election Day? You’re not alone: Medical experts say Election Stress Disorder is a real thing. A 2020 study by the American Psychological Association found 68% felt stressed by the presidential contest, up from 52% four years earlier. (WYPR)

Quote of the Day

“I love it here. Sometimes you care about the wind direction a little bit.”

Steve Celeste, operations manager at the Willow Lake Cogeneration Facility, a wastewater treatment plant that produces power from human waste. (KGW)