In Case You Missed It: Week of Sept. 27


Pennsylvania now required to use “secrecy” envelope for mail ballots  

This May 26, 2020 file photo shows an Official Democratic General Primary mail-in ballot and secrecy envelope, for the Pennsylvania primary in Pittsburgh. Philadelphia’s top elections official is warning of electoral chaos in the presidential battleground state if lawmakers there do not remove a provision in Pennsylvania law that, under a days-old court decision, requires counties to throw out mail-in ballots returned without secrecy envelopes. (AP Photo/Gene J. Puskar/File)

Pennsylvania will now abide by strict rules regarding the usage of a “secrecy” envelope for mail-in ballots for this year’s election.  

Last Friday, the Supreme Court of Pennsylvania ruled that ballots will be sent out with an extra secrecy envelope — second sleeves that prevent poll workers from seeing how someone voted — to help amp up security on mail-in ballots. 

This comes after the Trump reelection campaign sued both Pennsylvania state and county officials over concerns of the validity of mail ballot drop boxes.  

Pennsylvania has long had a 5% restriction on mail-in ballots, but a new law has since allowed all voters to request a mail ballot due to the coronavirus pandemic.  

The court has decided if voters forget to place their mail-in ballot in the envelope when returning their ballot, their vote will automatically be voided.  

Based on prior election error rates, that could mean over 100,000 mail-in ballots could be deemed invalid, according to Philadelphia city commissioner Lisa Deeley. 

Deeley argued that this requirement could cause the state to be “subject of significant post-election legal controversies.”  

Before the Supreme Court’s ruling, counties had the decision whether or not to include secrecy envelopes, with only 6.4% of absentee ballots naked in the 2019 General Election.  

Pennsylvania is still only one of 16 states to require a secrecy envelope.  

The CDC pushes back their “no sail” ban until Oct. 31 due to coronavirus 

The Symphony of the Seas cruise ship is shown docked at PortMiami, in a Wednesday, May 20, 2020, file photo, in Miami. Major cruise lines say they will test all passengers and crew for COVID-19 prior to boarding as part of their plan for resuming sailing in the Americas. The Cruise Lines International Association says its members will also require masks onboard and on shore excursions whenever physical distancing can’t be maintained. No date has been set for the resumption of cruising in the Americas. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention has a no-sail order for U.S. waters through October 31st. (AP Photo/Wilfredo Lee, File)

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) has extended their “no sail” ban on the use of cruises from U.S. ports until Oct. 31.  

The CDC first banned the use of cruise ships back in March after a number of coronavirus cases were found clustered aboard U.S. cruise ships.  

According to their website, the CDC is allowing crew members to disembark from all cruise ships in U.S. waters as long as they use non-commercial travel and follow the CDC’s requirements.  

These requirements include eliminating face-to-face employee meetings or events, closing all crew bars and gyms and relocating crew members to single-occupancy cabins. 

CDC Director Robert Redfield made a statement back in April on the no-sail order, assuring people the CDC is  working closely with the cruise line industry to instill good safety practices. 

“The measures we are taking today to stop the spread of COVID-19 are necessary to protect Americans, and we will continue to provide critical public health guidance to the industry to limit the impacts of COVID-19 on its workforce throughout the remainder of this pandemic,” said Redfield.  

The New York Times reported that Redfield wanted to extend the ban order until next February but was overruled by The White House.  

Cruise ships have resumed in Europe over the summer but not without complications.  

An outbreak of 71 passengers and crew members tested positive on a Norwegian Hurtigruten line ship, which then forced the government to cancel the cruise line until next year.  

In a statement, the Cruise Lines International Association said it is confident in instilling safety protocols when U.S. ports open again. 

Former campaign manager, Brad Parscale, to step down from his position in the Trump campaign  

In this Tuesday, Oct. 15, 2019, file photo, Brad Parscale, then-campaign manager to President Donald Trump, speaks to supporters during a panel discussion, in San Antonio. Parscale was hospitalized Sunday, Sept. 27, 2020, after he threatened to harm himself, according to Florida police and campaign officials. Parscale has stepped away from his role in the president’s re-election effort. (AP Photo/Eric Gay, File)

President Trump’s former campaign manager, Brad Parscale, has stepped away from his role in the president’s re-election effort Wednesday. 

In a statement with Politico on Wednesday, Parscale said he was stepping down from his position as senior advisor to seek help from the “overwhelming stress” both he and his family are experiencing.  

Parscale was recently involuntarily hospitalized after his wife, Candice Parscale, called the police over concern that Parscale was going to harm himself.  

According to the police report from the incident, Candice appeared to have bruises on both arms due to a physical altercation with Bradley which occurred a few days prior.  

Candice addressed the police reports, claiming the statements were misconstrued. 

Tim Murtaugh, Trump’s current campaign communications manager, gave a statement to CNN after Perscale’s hospitalization, expressing the campaign’s empathy for him and his family.  

“Brad Parscale is a member of our family and we all love him. We are ready to support him and his family in any way possible,” said Murtaugh.  

Parscale was demoted from campaign manager this summer after Trump’s rally in Tulsa, Oklahoma.   

Greenland ice sheet is predicted to melt at its fastest rate in 12,000 years  

FILE – In this Tuesday, Aug. 1, 2017, file photo, icebergs float in the Nuup Kangerlua Fjord after breaking off a glacier on Greenland’s ice sheet in southwestern Greenland. In a year of cataclysm, some world leaders at September 2020’s annual United Nations meeting are taking the long view, warning: If COVID-19 doesn’t kill us, climate change will. With Siberia seeing its warmest temperature on record this year and enormous chunks of ice caps in Greenland and Canada sliding into the sea, countries are acutely aware there’s no vaccine for global warming. (AP Photo/David Goldman, File)

Greenland’s ice sheet is predicted to lose its mass at about four times the fastest rate observed in 12,000 years according to a new study.  

Scientists concluded in the study published Wednesday in the journal Nature, shows that at its current trajectory, the ice sheet will release huge quantities of freshwater into the sea, resulting in global sea levels rising by 24 feet.  

Jason Briner, a professor of geology at the University at Buffalo and the lead author of the study, said the point of the study was to capture more meaningful trends over the recent decade as well as century.  

“When you do that, and think about the direction that Greenland is heading this century, it’s pretty clear we’re in quite anomalous times,” said Briner.  

According to the study, the melting seen today is mostly due to greenhouse gas emissions as opposed to natural climate variability.  

Researchers found that the current rate of mass loss of the ice sheet is already comparable to the early Holocene, a geological period that occurred during the last ice age.  

Briner explains that to decrease rising sea levels, a handful of countries will need to slash their emissions enough so that global warming peaks around 2050.  

“Humanity has the knobs, and we can turn those knobs to decide what the ice sheet is going to do,” said Briner.  


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