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Wisconsin voter roll purge causes primary kinks for some

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A purge of voters from Wisconsin voting rolls caused problems at the polls for some during this week’s primary.

Some voters’ information was removed, even though they hadn’t moved and it was current. But voters who were not on the poll list could re-register on the spot and still vote. State elections officials say there is no evidence that anyone was prevented from voting.

But the Wisconsin State Journal reports the issue could resurface in future elections that draw bigger turnout. Tuesday’s election, which included a Wisconsin Supreme Court primary, drew about 12 percent turnout.

In a statement, the Wisconsin Elections Commission said it is investigating “isolated” reports that some voters had to re-register at the polls before they could vote.

Wisconsin’s chief election official, Michael Haas, said the agency is trying to figure out what happened to make sure there are no problems at upcoming elections.

A state initiative last year removed from voting rolls anyone who had moved recently. Such voters either needed to update their voter registration information or — if they moved out of state — are no longer eligible to vote in Wisconsin.

However, some voters learned Tuesday they had been removed from registration rolls despite not having moved.

Dane County Clerk Scott McDonnell said Wednesday some voters complained about being incorrectly removed from voter rolls.

State Elections Commission spokesman Reid Magney said Wednesday that the agency also had heard some of those complaints. He apologized for any inconvenience.

As part of last year’s initiative, about 343,000 postcards were mailed in November to Wisconsin voters flagged by the Electronic Registration Information Center, a multi-state group that uses state and federal data to identify voters who may need to update their registration.

Those who didn’t respond to the postcards were removed from the voting rolls, Magney said. He said it’s not yet known how many voters were removed from voting rolls despite not having moved.

Magney said the commission has not heard from anyone who was not able to vote Tuesday. Wisconsin law permits same-day voter registration, so anyone whose registration information was purged could update it at their polling place, provided they could supply a proof-of-residence document.

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Macron accused of letting 'anti-British jealousy' get in the way of saving French lives

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A LEADING Brexiteer and former MEP has ripped into the EU over its latest crisis involving the AstraZeneca vaccine, as he singled out Emmanuel Macron and Angela Merkel.

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White House says Detroit mayor’s J&J vaccine comments a ‘misunderstanding’

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WASHINGTON — The White House Covid-19 task force said Friday that Detroit Mayor Mike Duggan was misunderstood when he said the day before that he would turn down his city’s allotment of the Johnson & Johnson vaccine because he did not believe it to be as effective as Moderna and Pfizer.

Andy Slavitt, the White House senior adviser for Covid-19 response, said that the mayor’s office had been in touch with the White House and had indicated that Duggan’s comments were a “misunderstanding.”

“That was not actually the mayor’s intent and that was not the mayor’s comment. We’ve been in constant dialogue with Mayor Duggan who said, in fact, that was not what he said — or however it was reported,” Slavitt told reporters Friday.

“In fact, he is very eager for the Johnson & Johnson vaccine.”

Duggan, a Democrat who was first elected mayor in 2013, said at a press conference Thursday that the city was able to meet vaccine demands with just the Pfizer and Moderna vaccines.

“So, Johnson & Johnson is a very good vaccine. Moderna and Pfizer are the best. And I am going to do everything I can to make sure the residents of the City of Detroit get the best,” Duggan said.

“The day may come in March or April when every single Moderna and Pfizer is committed, and we still have people who need a vaccine. And at that point we will set up a Johnson & Johnson center. I don’t see that in the next couple of weeks.”

Duggan said that, as of Thursday, 100,307 doses of the Covid-19 vaccine had been administered to Detroit residents.

Asked about Duggan’s comments at the daily press conference, White House press secretary Jen Psaki confirmed that the White House had been in touch with Duggan and described his remarks as “a bit of a misunderstanding.” Psaki said she expected Duggan to publicly clarify his comments sometime Friday.

Duggan’s comments come as the White House is working to counter hesitancy from some Americans to take the newly-approved, single-shot Johnson & Johnson vaccine out of fear that it is less effective or in some ways inferior to the other two vaccines.

Health officials have stressed that people should get the first vaccine available to them and that the vaccines were not compared to each other in a clinical trial.

“We’ve got to get away from this issue of comparing one with the other, except to say that we have a highly efficacious group of three vaccines,” said Dr. Anthony Fauci, director of the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases.

“The most important thing to do is to get vaccinated and not to try and figure out which one may or may not be better than the other.”

President Joe Biden announced earlier this week that, with the mass production of the Johnson & Johnson vaccine, there will be enough vaccines for every adult by the end of May, two months earlier than the administration had previously estimated.

Duggan has been a vocal supporter of Biden’s Covid-19 relief bill, and he met with the president at the White House in February to discuss the response to the pandemic.

Duggan said he had raised the issue of getting more vaccines with the president during their meeting, and told reporters that “I just have complete confidence in this administration.”

The White House Covid-19 task force also announced Friday that they would would open two new federally-supported mass vaccination sites at the Atlanta Falcon’s Stadium in Georgia and Wolstein Center at Cleveland State University in Ohio.



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Matt Hancock fights back against union bullies as NHS pay rise spat risks strike action

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MATT HANCOCK has called on NHS nurses to continue to “pull together” to protect Brits against coronavirus after union bosses threatened strike action.

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