- The Senate is set to confirm Supreme Court nominee Amy Coney Barrett on Monday. President Donald Trump will hold several events in Pennsylvania, one of the most important states for an Electoral College victory. Presidential candidate Joe Biden has no scheduled events, while running mate Kamala Harris will take part in the Senate vote. Vice President Mike Pence will also be present for the vote, he has said, despite several aides recently testing positive for the coronavirus. Over 59 million Americans have already cast their votes, according to the US Elections Project, with just eight days until the November 3 election.
Hello and welcome to Al Jazeera’s continuing coverage of the United States elections. This is Joseph Stepansky.
Over 59 million Americans have already cast ballots
At least 59,477,414 United States citizens have already cast ballots in either in-person early voting or by mail, according to the US Elections Project, outpacing the total number of early and mail voters in 2016.
Four years ago, about 57.2 million US citizens had cast ballots early or by mail by election day.
So far in 2020, the number of early ballots cast equals 41.3 percent of all votes counted in 2016.
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Democrats ask Pence to skip Barrett vote over COVID-19 risk
A deeply torn Senate is set to confirm Amy Coney Barrett to the Supreme Court on Monday, but Democratic leaders are asking Vice President Mike Pence to stay away from presiding over the session due to potential health risks after his aides tested positive for COVID-19.
Barrett’s confirmation is not in doubt, as Senate Republicans are overpowering Democratic opposition to secure President Donald Trump’s nominee the week before Election Day. Pence said at a Florida rally Saturday, “As vice president, I’m president of the Senate,” and indicated he will attend the vote, as is customary for landmark votes. “I wouldn’t miss that vote for the world,” he added.
But Democrats said in a letter to Pence, who serves in the largely ceremonial role of Senate president and can break a tie vote, that it’s “not a risk worth taking,” according to a copy of the letter obtained by The Associated Press news agency.
Senate Democratic leader Chuck Schumer and his leadership team wrote that not only would Pence’s presence violate Centers for Disease Control and Prevention guidelines, “it [would] also be a violation of common decency and courtesy.”
“Nothing about your presence in the Senate tomorrow can be considered essential,” the Democrats wrote. They warned of the risk not just to senators but to the police, restaurant workers and others who keep the US Capitol running.
Vice President Mike Pence’s chief of staff and other top aides have tested positive for the coronavirus [Steve Cannon/The Associated Press]