Mississippi Edition

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10/13/20 - Rapid Tests & Rising Cases | Absentee Voting & Enthusiasm | Political Stakes in SCOTUS Hearings

Health officials say rapid point of care tests will soon be available in Mississippi as the state experiences an upward swing in coronavirus transmission.

Then, the Secretary of State’s office releases data on absentee voting.  

Plus, Senate Judiciary hearings for Amy Coney Barrett continue today under a cloud of controversy. We examine the political stakes of her confirmation.

Segment 1:

The number of Mississippians testing positive for the coronavirus is up, and so is the number of COVID-19 hospitalizations. To help in identifying cases quickly, State Health Officer Dr. Thomas Dobbs says new rapid coronavirus test kits are now being used at several drive thru testing sites around the state. Dobbs is concerned about the state's healthcare system being strained once more. He says data points indicate the state is reversing course in it's fight against the coronavirus.

Segment 2:

A report on the number of Mississippians voting by mail-in absentee ballot is coming out as election day nears. According to the Mississippi Secretary of State’s Office some 91,000 people have requested absentee ballots statewide. Of that number, more than 58,000 have voted and mailed the ballots back to their county circuit clerk's office. Adams County Circuit Clerk Eva Givens tells our Desare Frazier she suspects the number of absentee votes will increase.

The number of absentee ballots could be an indication of the stakes of this year's election - with a pandemic causing concerns over safety at the polls. Voters are also focused on major issues like health care and economic recovery and security. Nathan Shrader, chair of the Government and Politics Department at Millsaps College, says voter enthusiasm is usually higher during a Presidential election year.

Segment 3:

Today the Senate Judiciary Committee continues the confirmation hearings for Judge Amy Coney Barrett - President Trump's nominee to fill the vacant Supreme Court seat following the death of Ruth Bader Ginsburg. It is a process clouded in controversy after Senate Republicans refused President Obama's nomination a hearing in 2016 - citing the election year and the will of the voters. Matt Steffey, Professor at the Mississippi College School of Law, breaks down the political stakes of the hearing and confirmation.