The White House is planning to ask Congress for around $50 billion to aid states ravaged by Superstorm Sandy. Although a partisan battle could ensue over the request, it falls short of the combined $82 billion sought for rebuilding efforts in New York, New Jersey and Connecticut.
A new federal study has found the drilling practice known as fracking can trigger earthquakes. The U.S. Geological Survey found that oil and gas operations caused the majority, if not all, earthquakes in certain areas of New Mexico and Colorado between 2001 and 2011. The report’s co-author, U.S. Geological Survey scientist Justin Rubinstein, called fracking “a societal risk [we] need to be considering.”
Washington state has put into effect two news laws today with major national significance. As of midnight today, possession of up to one ounce of marijuana is now legal in Washington following the approval of a state ballot initiative last month. In enacting the measure, Washington is the first U.S. state to decriminalize recreational marijuana use and the first to do so anywhere by popular vote. Meanwhile, same-sex marriage is also now legal in Washington as of midnight, after also having been approved by voters on Election Day one month ago.
Voting is underway across the country as Americans head to the polls to decide the 2012 election between President Obama and Republican challenger Mitt Romney. The outcome will again hinge on the results in a handful of battleground states, namely Ohio, Florida, Colorado, Iowa and Virginia.
Addressing supporters in Wisconsin, President Obama said his initial campaign vow of “change” is still underway.
President Obama: “So when I say, Wisconsin, that I know what real change looks like, you’ve got cause to believe me because you’ve seen me fight for it. And you’ve seen me deliver it. You’ve seen the scars on me to prove it. You’ve seen the gray hair on my head to show you what it means to fight for change. And you’ve been there with me. And after all we’ve been through together, we can’t give up now, because we’ve got more change to do.”
President Obama finished a packed day of campaigning in Iowa, the state that effectively launched his White House run with a Democratic primary win in 2008. Speaking meanwhile in Ohio, Mitt Romney told supporters that Obama has failed to live up to his promise of change.
Mitt Romney: “I know the president wants you to think about all sorts of diversionary issues to decide what’s key in this election, but I think that the election comes down to this question: Do you want four more years like the last four years, or do you want real change? President Obama promised change, but he couldn’t deliver it. I promise change, and I have a record of achieving it.”
Widespread concerns have been raised over how residents in areas hit hard by Superstorm Sandy will be able to vote today as some areas remain without power. New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo has signed an executive order allowing residents to cast a provisional ballot or “affidavit” in any polling place in the state, an ability New Jersey has also extended. Gov. Chris Christie of New Jersey has announced displaced New Jersey residents can vote through email and fax, but state officials now say those voters will also need to submit a paper ballot. In one coastal county in New Jersey, officials reportedly hired a converted camper to deliver mail-in ballots to storm shelters.
Barbara Netchert, Hudson County clerk: “Because the devastation across the state, all of the county clerks throughout the state of New Jersey have extended hours so that people can actually physically walk into our office and vote by mail, which is — they call it vote by mail, but it’s really like a paper ballot, so that they fill out their application, they get a ballot today, they vote that ballot, and they can actually walk to the Hudson County Board of Elections office, which is right down the hall.”
New York City, meanwhile, plans to run shuttle buses today to bring coastal residents to the polls.