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New report: Vote-by-mail fraud is rare and it doesn’t benefit Democrats

Despite President Donald Trump's criticisms and some Republicans suggesting the vote-by-mail method is likely to result in fraud and benefit Democrats more, a new report by Integrity Florida says otherwise.The report titled “VBM: A Safe Option for Florida Voters” says voting-by-mail doesn’t help the Democratic Party, but it does result “in higher ballot rejection rates by minorities, young people and first-time voters.”“Mail balloting may be slightly more susceptible to fraud than in-person voting, but in any case, existing research shows voting fraud in general is exceedingly rare,” said Ben Wilcox, research director of Integrity Florida. “We found little evidence...

Are any FL officials responding? Faculty union awaits decision on online-learning-only this semester

The United Faculty of Florida, a statewide union representing full-time faculty, has doubled down on its call for state officials to shift all Florida college classes to online courses for fall semester.But so far, officials including Gov. Ron DeSantis, have not responded.“The only one to respond was the governor with the form message, ‘Due to the volume of emails…,’” Marshall Ogletree, UFF’s executive director, said in an email to the Florida Phoenix.Meanwhile, COVID-19 infections continue to rise, with a total of 500,000 infections across Florida expected within a day or two.After state officials didn’t respond to the first letter,...

One Goal, One Voice? DeSantis and Fried go their separate ways with separate COVID...

Commissioner of Agriculture Nikki Fried announced a series of consumer awareness campaigns intending to unite Floridians in response to COVID-19 in a press conference Monday.In a "nonpartisan, bilingual, multi-channel awareness campaign," Be SMART Florida is a campaign that stands for "Social distance, Mask up, Avoid crowds, Remember to wash or sanitize hands, and Throw away disposable items like masks, gloves, and wipes," a press release on the campaign said.Although Fried said that the campaign has been planned for weeks, the announcement comes days after Gov. Ron DeSantis released his own call-to-action video called "One Goal, One Florida."His initiative asks Floridians to protect vulnerable...

More than 7,000 residents have died from COVID-19, spanning every county in FL

For the first time, Florida has reached the 7,000 mark for COVID-19 deaths by residents.The Florida Department of Health reported the 7,022 death cases on Saturday, spanning all 67 counties in Florida.That wasn't always the case. In the past days, several North Florida counties still had zero COVID-19 deaths, according to a Florida Phoenix analysis of data from the state heath department.But the state reported Saturday that every single county has at least one resident death from COVID-19. Lafayette County in north Florida is the only county with just one death. All other counties have more than one death.Miami-Dade...

Confirmation in doubt for controversial Pentagon nominee Tata after Senate cancels hearing

WASHINGTON — Bipartisan backlash against Anthony Tata, the former North Carolina government official who was President Donald Trump’s controversial pick for a senior Pentagon position, has thrown his nomination into doubt.Thursday evening CNN reported that Senate sources expect the White House to withdraw his name. And Tata’s nomination was already in doubt after Republicans cancelled plans for his nomination hearing earlier in the day.Tata, a 61-year-old retired Army brigadier general, novelist and Fox News commentator, was scheduled for a vetting Thursday in the Senate Committee on Armed Services for the No. 3 position at the Pentagon. But Chairman James...

DeSantis extends foreclosure, eviction moratoriums for another month

Gov. Ron DeSantis has extended his moratorium on rental evictions and mortgage foreclosures for a fourth time, extending its protection until Sept. 1, with language specifying that debtors must start paying as soon as their COVID-19-related income losses end.“All payments, including tolled payments, are due when an individual is no longer adversely affected by the COVID-19 emergency,” DeSantis said in an executive order.Previously in extending the moratoriums originally enacted in April, the governor signed terse executive orders merely extending the hold he’d placed on court judgments regarding foreclosures and evictions.The new order also specifies that its protections apply only...

Mason-Dixon poll gives Biden a narrow lead in FL over President Trump

Democrat Joe Biden has only a four-point lead over President Donald Trump in Florida, according to a Mason-Dixon poll released Thursday morning, though he enjoys a substantial lead among younger voters.The overall preference among likely general election voters was 50 percent for Biden and 46 percent for Trump, with 4 percent undecided, suggesting that Florida will be a tough race.The result differed markedly from a recent Quinnipiac poll that gave Biden a 13-point lead over Trump, 51 percent to 38 percent.Voters aged 18 to 34 went 66-29 percent for Biden; those between 35 and 49 split 53-44 percent for...

Federal prisons: Two inmates dead in FL as death toll hits 105 around the...

The death toll from COVID-19 in federal prisons reached 105 this week when two inmates at a Texas prison died in nearby hospitals, according to the U.S. Bureau of Prisons.Two of the dead were inmates in federal prisons in Florida: one at Coleman Federal Correctional Institution in Sumter County, where 320 inmates are diagnosed with the disease, and one at the Miami Federal Detention Center, where 81 of the inmates tested were positive for COVID-19, according to the Bureau of Prisons.Federal prisons in Florida incarcerate 9,047 inmates, according to bureau data through Wednesday.Nationwide, the Bureau of Prisons reports it...

DBPR Secretary is moving to help FL’s breweries and bars to reopen

Following lawsuits and pushback from breweries and bars, Department of Business and Professional Regulation Secretary Halsey Beshears said he would set up meetings with the industry to help reopen those businesses -- starting later this week.Beshears shared in a tweet on Saturday his intent of working with breweries and bars."Next week starting Friday," the Tweet reads, "I’m going to set meetings throughout Florida with breweries and bars to discuss ideas on how to reopen. We will come up with a Safe, Smart and Step-by-Step plan based on input, science and relative facts on how to reopen as soon as...

FL hospital hires more nurses amid complaints about staff shortages

As registered nurses at Fawcett Memorial Hospital protested Thursday against severe staffing shortages during the pandemic, a hospital spokesperson said more nurses will be hired to “provide relief for our hardworking caregivers.”Alexandria Benjamin of Fawcett Memorial in Port Charlotte said Friday in an email to the Phoenix that the hospital “has been focused on keeping our caregivers, our patients and our community safe.”“We are excited to have a number of nurses joining our team over the next several weeks,” she said.“Our leaders are working around the clock to ensure we have the resources here, including additional nurses, to support...

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