TIME 2014 Election

Early Vote Totals in North Carolina, Iowa Favor Democrats

Early Voting North Carolina Supporters of Sen. Kay Hagan (D-N.C.) outside of a polling place in Asheville.
Supporters of Sen. Kay Hagan (D-N.C.) outside of a polling place in Asheville, N.C., Oct. 28, 2014. Mike Belleme—The New York Times/Redux

Early vote totals show Democrats in some key states hitting the polls early at higher rates than Republicans

For more than 13 million Americans, Election Day has already come and gone. And that means control of the Senate may already have been partially decided, as a little more than three million of those voters were from key swing states, according to data from the United States Election Project.

So who’s winning? Early vote returns won’t tell us who is ahead in some of the country’s most closely-watched races, but they can give us an idea of where things stand heading into Election Day. And for now, both sides have evidence they can point to that shows they’re doing well.

For Democrats, North Carolina looks particularly promising. So far in the Tar Heel state, where voting rights advocates worried a shortened early voting period would have an adverse impact on the election, over 800,000 votes have been cast so far in the election and 47% were cast by registered Democrats. Registered Republicans account for about 32% of North Carolina’s early votes.

According to North Carolina political science professor Michael Bitzer who runs a blog tracking voting and politics, at least 130,000 more votes have been cast in 2014 compared to the same period in 2010, even though there were seven additional days of early voting that year. Also, more unaffiliated voters and black voters who did not participate in 2010 are hitting the polls this election.

Early vote totals in North Carolina could signal good news for incumbent Democrat Sen. Kay Hagan, who is facing a tough challenge from Republican state Rep. Thom Tillis, but Election Day will show whether the flood of early votes from registered Democrats will surpass the expected Republican turnout at the polls.

For Republicans, the best evidence comes from Colorado, which is hosting its first election using all mail-in ballots. Out of the 1,149,745 votes that were cast as of Friday, about 41.3% were from registered Republicans. About 32.2% of votes thus far are from Democrats in the state. A recent report by Colorado Public Radio, however, suggests both parties are working the ground in the final days of the election to ensure voters get their ballots in the mail. The last-ditch effort could help in the state, where the latest round of polling has incumbent Sen. Mark Udall and his Republican challenger Cory Cardner tied.

It must be noted, too, that a couple days out from the election, the most telling results are coming from two states that took two very different approaches to altering the voting process. In an attempt at expanding the voting pool, Colorado sent ballots to voters instead of waiting for them to show up at the polls, while North Carolina enacted what has been called the most restrictive voting law changes in recent history.

And then, there’s Iowa where a recent Reuters poll has Senate hopefuls Democrat Bruce Braley and Republican Joni Ernst neck-in-neck. There, Democratic voters have returned more absentee ballots than Republicans—but just barely. Out of the 391, 772 votes returned, 39% are from registered Republicans and about 41% are from registered Democrats.

TIME 2014 Election

These 6 States Could Expand Medicaid After the Elections

Governor Rick Scott And Challenger Charlie Crist Hold Second Debate
Former Florida governor and Democratic candidate for governor Charlie Crist speaks during a televised debate at Broward College in Davie, Fla., on Oct. 15, 2014 in Davie Joe Raedle—Getty Images

New governors in Maine, Florida, Wisconsin, Kansas, Alaska and Georgia could give new life to the Medicaid expansion

The 2014 midterms have been called the “Seinfeld election” and the “meh midterms” — because they’re supposedly about nothing and nobody cares. But while congressional races have failed to capture voters’ imaginations, the campaigns for governor may have a major effect on at least one group of Americans.

Depending on who wins next Tuesday, hundreds of thousands of low-income Americans could get access to health insurance under the Medicaid expansion in the Affordable Care Act.

When the Supreme Court made the Medicaid expansion optional in 2012, many Republican governors and legislators opted out. Today, 27 states and D.C. have accepted the federal money, including a handful led by Republicans, but 21 states are not currently making an effort to do so.

That could change after next week’s elections. There are more than a dozen gubernatorial races considered toss-ups going into the final days of the campaign, and in at least half a switch from Republican control of the governor’s mansion could give new life to the debate over taking the Medicaid money.

In Florida, Alaska, Maine, Wisconsin, Kansas and Georgia—all of which have previously rejected an expansion of Medicaid—Republican incumbents are facing Democratic (and in Alaska’s case, Independent) challengers whose prospects look promising just five days out from Election Day.

In each of those six states, the challengers have openly mulled passing an expansion of Medicaid if they were to win. And the move would generally be popular with voters. According to a recent poll by the Morning Consult, more than 6 in 10 voters—and 62% of all voters in states that have not expanded Medicaid—think that all states should expand coverage to low-income people who are currently ineligible.

Still, roadblocks remain.

“The problem is that there are states where it’s not just a question of what the governor wants,” says Stan Dorn, a senior fellow at the Urban Institute. “Even if the governor’s office changes hands in Georgia the legislature has to agree.”

Apart from the turnover due to elections, governors in a number of states, including Utah and Tennessee, are considering expanding Medicaid over the next year as well.

Here’s a look at the six states where the issue is in question next week.

Florida

The background: Republican Gov. Rick Scott initially opposed the Affordable Care Act flat out, but he later changed his tune slightly and came out in support of the Medicaid expansion “if it did not cost Florida taxpayers.” The state legislature, however, remains staunchly against it.

What could happen: Democrat Charlie Crist has said he’ll go over lawmakers’ heads and approve it with an executive order.

Where does the race stand: A recent Quinnipiac University poll has Crist leading Scott by 3 points.

How many people would be eligible: An estimated 800,000 to 1 million Floridians would gain coverage.

Alaska

The background: Republican Gov. Sean Parnell opted against expanding Medicaid in his state in 2013 and he remains opposed to it today.

What could happen: Independent candidate Bill Walker said in a recent interview with KTUU, “why would we not when it helps up to 40,000 Alaskans, creates up to 4,000 new jobs in Alaska, brings down overall health care. I just can’t say no.”

Where does the race stand: Walker has a slight lead over Parnell, according to Real Clear Politics.

How many people would be eligible: An estimated 43,000 Alaskans.

Maine

The background: Republican Gov. Paul LePage has said expanding Medicaid coverage in Maine could be “ruinous” and vetoed five previous expansion attempts. His challenger, Democratic Rep. Mike Michaud, has vowed to accept the expansion.

What could happen: Because the legislature remains on board with the idea, it’s likely that Maine would accept the federal money if Michaud wins.

Where does the race stand: LePage is up by nearly 2 percentage points, according to a Real Clear Politics analysis of recent polls.

How many people would be eligible: An estimated 70,000 Maine residents.

Wisconsin

The background: Republican Gov. Scott Walker also turned down the Medicaid expansion, opting instead to push more low-income residents into the insurance marketplaces.

What could happen: Democrat Mary Burke has made a forceful push for the state to expand.

Where does the race stand: The final Marquette University Law School poll has Walker leading Burke among both registered and likely voters.

How many people would be eligible: FamiliesUSA estimates about 274,000 people would benefit from expansion.

Kansas

The background: Republican Gov. Sam Brownback didn’t just reject the expansion, he also signed a law revoking any future governor’s authority to act alone on the Medicaid question.

What could happen: Even if Democrat Paul Davis were to unseat Brownback, though, he’d still have to persuade the Republican-controlled legislature to change its mind.

Where does the race stand: A Real Clear Politics average of polls has Davis ahead by one percentage point.

How many people would be eligible: About 170,000 people, according to the Center on Budget Policies and Priorities.

Georgia

The background: Republican Gov. Nathan Deal also rejected the expansion and signed a law making it harder for his successor to accept it.

What could happen: Even if Democratic challenger Jason Carter were to win, he’d have to win over a Republican-controlled legislature.

Where does the race stand: Deal currently leads Carter by over 2 percentage points, according to an average of polls.

How many people would be eligible: Over 600,000 lower-income Georgians would be eligible.

TIME Music

T-Pain Singing Without Auto-Tune Is the Most Confusing Thing You’ll Hear Today

T-Pain backstage before performing during the 'Drankin Patna Tour' with support from Bando Jonez and Snootie Wild at Revolution on Aug. 12, 2014 in Fort Lauderdale, Florida.
T-Pain backstage before performing during the 'Drankin Patna Tour' with support from Bando Jonez and Snootie Wild at Revolution on Aug. 12, 2014 in Fort Lauderdale, Florida. Johnny Louis—FilmMagic/Getty Images

"This is weird as hell for me," T-Pain says. Us, too

Remember T-Pain? In the mid-2000s, he was one of the biggest names in popular culture. His hit songs included the use of auto-tune, which synthesized and distorted his voice for a futuristic sound that led him to the top of the charts. But some time around 2010, he fell off. Looking back, he blames the exact thing that made him popular for the masses souring on his music—“People felt like I was using it to sound good,” he says in an upcoming interview on All Things Considered. “But I was just using it to sound different.”

Yet to the average listener, a “different” T-Pain would be more like his recent Tiny Desk Concert for NPR. In the 13-minute video, the now 30-year-old singer performs some of his greatest and latest hits—get this—without auto-tune. His actual voice will surprise you. Before starting up, the singer says, “this is weird as hell for me.” That pretty much sums up how you’ll feel once the 13-minutes are up. If this isn’t your ideal T-Pain, NPR says he’s got a greatest hits coming out soon.

[NPR]

Read next: We Love This Beyoncé/Taylor Swift Mashup Like XO

TIME relationships

Jennifer Lopez Says She ‘Felt Abused’ in Past Relationships

Jennifer Lopez attends the Versace show as part of Paris Fashion Week - Haute Couture Fall/Winter 2014-2015 on July 6, 2014 in Paris.
Jennifer Lopez attends the Versace show as part of Paris Fashion Week - Haute Couture Fall/Winter 2014-2015 on July 6, 2014 in Paris. Pascal Le Segretain—Getty Images

"I've never gotten a black eye or a busted lip”

Jennifer Lopez says in a new book that she has “felt abused” in past relationships, even if she’s never been physically harmed like other women.

“I’ve never gotten a black eye or a busted lip,” the singer writes in her upcoming book True Love, which is previewed in People magazine. “But I’ve felt abused in one way or another: mentally, emotionally, verbally.”

“I would never go into specifics about my relationships, and I don’t,” Lopez tells People of the book. “But the idea was that I learned something.”

The 45-year-old opens up about her past trials in love, including her three marriages and several high-profile courtships.

“You have to take control and you have to set up your own boundaries,” Lopez tells People of what she’s learned in relationships. ” You have the power to change it.”

Read more at People

TIME Television

Neil Patrick Harris and David Burtka Will Be on Freak Show

Neil Patrick Harris, David Burtka
Neil Patrick Harris, right, and David Burtka attend the Elton John AIDS Foundation’s 13th Annual "An Enduring Vision" benefit at Cipriani's Wall Street on Tuesday, Oct. 28, 2014, in New York. Charles Sykes—Charles Sykes/Invision/AP

The two will appear on the hit FX series toward the end of the season

Hollywood can’t get enough of Neil Patrick Harris. On top of all the other appearances and host spots NPH has snagged this year, the actor and his husband David Burtka will both appear in episodes of American Horror Story: Freak Show later this season.

Harris will join the cast of Freak Show for the 11th and 12th episodes, TV Line reports, in which the How I Met Your Mother star will play a chameleon salesman. Burtka, on the other hand, will appear in the season finale during a “sexy storyline” with Jessica Lange’s character.

Harris is also hosting the Oscars in 2015.

[TV Line]

TIME Television

There’s a TV Version of American Gigolo Coming

Richard Gere and Lauren Hutton in American Gigolo, 1980.
Richard Gere and Lauren Hutton in American Gigolo, 1980. Paramount

Paramount TV will produce it

The 1980s classic American Gigolo is set to become the latest film adapted for television by Paramount TV. The thriller’s original producer Jerry Bruckheimer will be involved in the project as an executive producer, according to the Hollywood Reporter.

Bruckheimer produced the 1980s film starring Richard Gere as a male escort in Los Angeles who falls for Lauren Hutton’s character amid scandal. “With its signature noir aesthetic, American Gigolo has remained a deeply entertaining, psychological thriller and I’m thrilled to partner with [Paramount’s] Brad [Grey] and Amy [Powell] on remaking it into a television series,” Bruckheimer said in a statement.

Gigolo is one of many films getting a small screen reboot by Paramount TV. A television version of the 2002 film Minority Report is also in the works. Paramount TV is also producing Grease live for Fox, Yahoo reports.

[The Hollywood Reporter]

TIME Crime

Child Rape Suspect Caught in New York

Gregory Lewis had been spotted in a handful of states since he fled Massachusetts in August

A Massachusetts man accused of raping a child who had been on the run since September was arrested late Tuesday in New York, authorities said.

Gregory Lewis, 26, was also wanted in several states in connection with a series of sexual assaults, kidnappings, and armed robberies, CNN reports. He’s accused of robbing, assaulting, and handcuffing several victims who he met online.

Lewis was arrested Tuesday after fleeing New York state troopers attempting to pull him over for driving with a missing license plate, authorities said. Lewis later crashed his car into a river. The suspect, who had been charged with four counts of felony child rape in August, fled Massachusets after cutting off his GPS-monitoring bracelet. Lewis had been seen in Charlotte, Denver, Portland, Boise, and Salt Lake City since he fled.

[CNN]

TIME Television

You’ll Never Guess What Jon Stewart and Stephen Colbert Are Calling Their Election Night Coverage

Hillary Rodham Clinton
Former U.S. Secretary of State Hillary Rodham Clinton reacts to host Jon Stewart during a taping of "The Daily Show with Jon Stewart," Tuesday, July 15, 2014, in New York. Frank Franklin II—ASSOCIATED PRESS

Both of their shows will broadcast and livestream on Election Night

Jon Stewart and Stephen Colbert are not only broadcasting live episodes of their shows on Election Day, but the specials have—hands down—the best names.

CNN’s “Election Night in America” sounds downright boring when compared to The Daily Show’s “Democalypse 2014: America Remembers It Forgot to Vote” and The Colbert Report’s “Midterms ‘014: Detour to Gridlock: An Exciting Thing That I Am Totally Interested In—Wait! Don’t Change the Channel. Look at this Video of a Duckling Following a Cat Dressed Like a Shark Riding a Roomba! ‘014!”

No, seriously. That’s what it’s called.

The coverage will air back-to-back on election night on Comedy Central. Viewers can also stream coverage on Comedy Central’s website and mobile app. Republican National Committee Chairman Reince Priebus is scheduled to appear on The Daily Show.

TIME harassment

The Woman in That Viral Street Harassment Video Got Death and Rape Threats

Hollaback!

The video has more than 8.1 million views on YouTube and over 42,000 comments

A woman featured in a video that showed her being harassed as walked the streets of New York City has received at least 10 death and rape threats since the video went viral.

Some of the threats have gone directly to Shoshanna Roberts’ personal email accounts, the Wall Street Journal reports.

The video, “10 Hours of Walking in NYC as a Woman,” had over 8.1 million views on YouTube as of late Wednesday afternoon, and many derogatory comments—including one that says “this is exactly why women aren’t supposed to leave the kitchen.”

Despite the backlash, the video, which was created by the anti-street harassment organization “Hollaback!”, has become the latest fodder in an ongoing conversation about street harassment. You can see the video below.

TIME 2014 Election

Iowa Senate Hopeful Accused of Plagiarism

Joni Ernst
State Sen. Joni Ernst waves to supporters at a primary election night rally after winning the Republican nomination for the U.S. Senate, Tuesday, June 3, 2014, in Des Moines, Iowa. The 43-year-old Ernst won the nomination over five candidates. Charlie Neibergall—ASSOCIATED PRESS

Campaign says "there is no scandal here”

The Republican Senate candidate in Iowa copied-and-pasted large portions of her op-eds in local newspapers from other sources, according to a new report.

BuzzFeed, citing side-by-side comparisons of the offending articles and source material, reports that many of the op-eds Joni Ernst wrote for local papers as a state Senator contained large swaths of text from summaries sent to many state legislators. Some of Ernst’s work also reportedly contains lines from speeches and news releases by Gov. Terry Brandstand. BuzzFeed presents several of the passages containing nearly identical text for comparison.

The Ernst campaign told BuzzFeed these instances are taken from pieces created “for the express purpose of reproduction” and they are “no different than what virtually every state lawmaker in the nation does, including Iowa Democrats.”

“Despite BuzzFeed’s every effort, there is no scandal here,” the campaign said.

Ernst, who’s facing Democratic Rep. Bruce Braley in a tight Senate race in the state, is just the latest politician to be caught up in allegations of plagiarism. In recent years at least three politicians have been accused of lifting other people’s words and calling them their own, including Republican Sen. Rand Paul. Earlier in October, Democratic Sen. John Walsh had his master’s degree revoked after the U.S. Army War College found he plagiarized an important academic paper.

[BuzzFeed]

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