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New Jersey governor defends decision to move to universal mail-in voting

New Jersey Gov. Phil Murphy (D) defended his decision to send ballots to all active registered voters, telling "Fox News Sunday" that mail-in voting during the state's July primary was "overwhelmingly successful."

Why it matters: President Trump and his campaign have sought to undermine universal mail-in voting, claiming it will lead to a "rigged election" and a delay in results.

  • The president has repeatedly pointed to a local election in Paterson, N.J., where four men were charged with voter fraud for tampering with mail-in ballots, as evidence of widespread issues with the system.
  • But Murphy argued that the Paterson case should be viewed as a "positive data point," saying: "People tried to screw with the system and failed. The primary in July — I'm not suggesting you always bat a thousand, you don't do that in in-person elections either. ... Our hope is to expand democracy and we believe this is the right way to do it."

The state of play: New Jersey is now one of four states, plus the District of Columbia, that have moved to universal mail-in voting due to the pandemic.

  • Five states already proactively mail ballots to registered voters: Colorado, Hawaii, Oregon, Utah and Washington.

What he's saying: "We've actually had a pretty deep history with vote by mail and we just had a primary which was a little bit different, only because it was a primary, but we learned a lot from it and we liked what we saw," Murphy said.

  • "Ensuring voter security is completely understandable. I've spoken to the president about it. ... But we've got enough experience to believe between the option of vote-by-mail, to drop your ballot into secure boxes that we will have all around the state, to show up actually on Election Day and hand your ballot over — or failing all that, to actually vote in person. It's a hybrid model, actually."
  • "Again, folks including the president who have concerns about voter security, we all want to make sure that every vote counts, that every person gets to vote once. We've got checks and balances for all of that, Chris. Again, this is an iterative reality."

Philly official warns of "electoral chaos" in Pennsylvania due to "naked" mail-in ballots

Pennsylvania's Supreme Court ordered state officials last week to throw out mail-in ballots submitted without a required inner "secrecy" envelope in November's election, the Philadelphia Inquirer reports.

The state of play: The decision went under the radar alongside the simultaneous decision to extend the time that mail-in ballots could be counted, but Philadelphia's top elections official warned state legislators this week that throwing out so-called "naked ballots" could bring "electoral chaos" to the state and cause "tens of thousands of votes" to be thrown out — potentially tipping the presidential election.

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Commission releases topics for first presidential debate

Fox News anchor Chris Wallace has selected what topics he'll cover while moderating the first presidential debate between President Trump and former Vice President Joe Biden next week.

What to watch: Topics for the Sept. 29 debate will include Trump and Biden's records, the Supreme Court, COVID-19, economic policy, racism and the integrity of the election, the Commission for Presidential Debates announced on Tuesday. Each topic will receive 15 minutes of conversation and will be presented in no particular order.

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"A long way to go": Fed chair warns economy will feel the weight of expired stimulus

Federal Reserve Chairman Jerome Powell told the House Financial Services Committee on Tuesday that the expiration of Congress' coronavirus stimulus will weigh on the U.S. economy.

Why it matters: Powell warned that the effects of dried-up benefits are a looming risk to the economy, even if the consequences aren't yet visible.

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Beijing draws Chinese companies even closer

Chinese Communist Party Secretary Xi Jinping announced last week that the party must strengthen its leadership over private companies, and that entrepreneurs must meet the party's needs. 

Why it matters: Xi's new announcement will increase fears that Chinese businesses may serve as a Trojan horse for the CCP.

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Trump to meet with Supreme Court candidate Barbara Lagoa in Florida on Friday

President Trump has arranged to meet with shortlisted Supreme Court candidate Barbara Lagoa during a campaign visit to Florida on Friday, according to two sources familiar with his plans.

What we're hearing: Sources who know both Trump and Lagoa say they still expect the president to pick Judge Amy Coney Barrett, but they view the Lagoa meeting as a wild card because they say she has a charismatic personality that would appeal to Trump.

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The U.S. now has more then 200,000 coronavirus deaths

Data: The Center for Systems Science and Engineering at Johns Hopkins; Chart: Axios Visuals

The coronavirus has now killed 200,000 Americans, according to Johns Hopkins data.

The big picture: Whatever contextyou try to put this in, it is a catastrophe of historic proportions — and is yet another reminder of America's horrific failure to contain the virus.

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In UN address, Trump says China "unleashed this plague onto the world"

President Trump used a virtual address to the UN General Assembly on Tuesday to defend his response to the coronavirus and call on other countries to “hold accountable the nation which unleashed this plague onto the world: China.”

Setting the scene: Trump ticked through four years of major decisions and accomplishments in what could be his last address to the UN. But first, he launched into a fierce attack on China as Beijing’s representative looked on in the assembly hall.

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