The COVID-19 crisis has changed the dynamics of many policies and operations on a global scale. Many businesses have had to make extremely tough emergency decisions with normal operations and employment. Since the outbreak, companies have had to act quickly to combat business in affected communities. Here are a few major business policy and election updates:
- White House Chief of Staff Mark Meadows and Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin called on congressional leaders to vote on legislation allowing the federal government to spend unused Paycheck Protection Program (PPP) funds.
- The push comes as stimulus negotiations—thrown into chaos last week after being canceled and then revived again by President Trump—have taken on new urgency ahead of the election on November 3.
- $134 billion. That’s how much money remains in the Paycheck Protection Program, according to the Small Business Administration.
- The PPP was designed to provide forgivable loans to cover payroll and overhead costs to keep small businesses afloat during the coronavirus recession as part of the $2.2 trillion CARES Act. The program ran out of its original $350 billion in funding just two weeks after it launched, and was extended by Congress with another $310 billion shortly thereafter. It closed on August 8.
- This isn’t the first time the idea of repurposing unspent PPP money has been floated in Washington. Mnuchin suggested the idea in September, saying at the time that the remaining $134 billion could be redirected towards restaurants, hotels, and other hard-hit businesses. (Source: Forbes)
- Early voting in the 2020 U.S. election is already smashing the 2016 election
- More than 10.6 million voters across the U.S. have cast their ballots in the November election as of Tuesday morning, according to data from the U.S. Elections Project.
- With exactly three weeks until Election Day, early voting turnout in 2020 far exceeds the election in 2016. By Oct. 16 of the last presidential election, only about 1.4 million voters had cast a ballot.
- Due to the coronavirus pandemic, the soaring level of early voting has created a demand for safer alternatives to casting ballots. Meanwhile, President Donald Trump has repeatedly claimed without evidence that expanded mail-in voting will lead to widespread voter fraud.
- Out of 4.6 million mail ballots received, Democrats have cast around 2.6 million. As of right now, Democrats are leading the historic surge of early voting, though the project’s director emphasizes that high levels of blue turnout thus far should not be interpreted as an indicator of final election results.
- Over 46 million mail ballots requested across the country have yet to be returned.
- In-person early voting began Monday morning in Georgia and Tuesday morning in Texas, bringing high turnout and long lines.
- NBC News reported on Monday that waits at Georgia voting sites lasted as long as 9 hours and 39 minutes. Counties in the state with large non-White populations, in particular, reported long lines, supporting research that shows race is a key indicator in how long a voter waits in line at a polling station.
- The U.S. Elections Project data shows several states have already exceeded 20% of their total votes from 2016, including Wisconsin, Minnesota, Virginia and Vermont. (source: CNBC)