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    A county commission in central New Mexico is seeking to remove its top local elections regulator from office just five weeks before Election Day, citing allegations that she improperly certified vote-counting equipment. Torrance County is among a handful of New Mexico counties grappling with simmering mistrust and conspiracy theories about voting systems after former President Donald Trump lost re-election in 2020. State and local authorities say Otero County Clerk Yvonne Otero pre-signed certification papers for ballot-counting machines before the equipment was tested, without ever attending the inspection of machines. Otero could not be reached immediately. The county is repeating its inspection of voting equipment.

      Mississippi’s top law enforcement official said officers of a special police unit in the capital city of Jackson will not change the way they pursue suspects. Department of Public Safety Commissioner Sean Tindell met with community members following a spate of recent shootings involving the Capitol Police. The unit patrols areas around state government buildings and other neighborhoods near downtown Jackson. A man was shot and killed in an encounter with the police Sunday night. Capitol Police officers have also been involved in two other nonfatal shootings since August. Tindell said there is a “criminal element” in Jackson “that is not used to being policed.”

        Supporters of abortion rights are suing to keep an old Arizona law that criminalizes nearly all abortions from being enforced. They argue in the lawsuit filed Tuesday that laws passed by the state Legislature after 1973′s Roe v. Wade decision should take precedence and abortions should be allowed until 15 weeks into a pregnancy. The 15-week law was passed this year and took effect a day after a Tucson judge said a pre-statehood law banning all abortions can be enforced. The lawsuit filed by a Phoenix abortion doctor and the Arizona Medical Association repeats many of the arguments made by abortion rights groups in their failed effort to get a judge to continue a 50-year-old injunction against enforcing the pre-statehood law.

          Lawyers for former President Donald Trump have asked the U.S. Supreme Court to step into the legal fight over the classified documents seized during an FBI search of his Florida estate. The Trump team asked the court Tuesday to overturn a lower court ruling and permit an independent arbiter, or special master, to review the roughly 100 documents with classified markings that were taken in the Aug. 8 search. A three-judge panel last month limited the review to the much larger tranche of non-classified documents. A veteran Brooklyn judge, Raymond Dearie, is serving as special master.

            In Georgia’s pivotal U.S. Senate race, Democratic Sen. Raphael Warnock and his Republican challenger, Herschel Walker, have each sought to cast the other as an abortion extremist. At the same time, they deflect questions about the details of their own positions on the issue. The sidestepping reflects the sensitivity of abortion politics in a post-Roe v. Wade America, where the procedure is open to regulation by state governments and, potentially, by Congress. But Walker’s strategy may not work much longer after The Daily Beast reported Monday that he paid for a girlfriend’s 2009 abortion — a blatant contradiction of his claims that there’s “no excuse” for a procedure he characterizes as “killing.” Walker called the report a lie.

              The nation’s gross national debt has surpassed $31 trillion, according to a U.S. Treasury report released Tuesday. It is edging closer to the statutory ceiling of roughly $31.4 trillion, an artificial cap Congress placed on the U.S. government’s ability to borrow. The debt numbers hit an already tenuous economy facing high inflation, rising interest rates and a strong U.S. dollar. President Joe Biden has touted his administration’s deficit reduction efforts this year and has recently signed the so-called Inflation Reduction Act, which attempts to tame 40-year high price increases caused by a variety of economic factors. But economists say the latest debt numbers are a cause for concern.

                A federal judge has ruled prosecutors cannot present evidence to a jury about the most salacious parts of a flawed dossier alleging ties between former President Donald Trump and Russia at an analyst's upcoming trial. Igor Danchenko is scheduled for trial next week in Alexandria on charges of lying to the FBI. Special Counsel John Durham says Danchenko was a primary source of information for the Trump dossier. The judge ruled Tuesday it would be prejudicial to delve into the most salacious accusation in the dossier _ that Trump engaged in sexual activity with prostitutes at a Moscow hotel. Trump had called the dossier fake news and evidence of a political witch hunt against him.

                Wisconsin Democrats up for election in five weeks are putting abortion in the spotlight, with the Republican-controlled Legislature taking less than a minute to reject Gov. Tony Evers' call to create a way for voters to get a chance to repeal the state’s 1849 abortion ban. Evers and other Democrats on the ballot Nov. 8 are trying to turn the election into a referendum on abortion. But Evers’ opponent Tim Michels, Republican U.S. Sen. Ron Johnson and other Republicans are focusing instead on crime and public safety in arguing that Democrats have failed to keep the state safe.

                A judge has dismissed charges against seven people in the Flint water scandal, including two former state health officials blamed for deaths from Legionnaires’ disease. Judge Elizabeth Kelly took action Tuesday, three months after the Michigan Supreme Court said a one-judge grand jury had no authority to issue indictments. Kelly rejected efforts by the attorney general’s office to just send the cases to Flint District Court and turn them into criminal complaints. That's the typical path to filing felony charges in Michigan. In 2014, Flint managers took the city out of a regional water system and began using the Flint River to save money. The water wasn't treated to reduce corrosion of old pipes, resulting in lead contamination.

                Oklahoma Gov. Kevin Stitt has signed a bill prohibiting federal funding for transgender medical treatment for young people and urged the Legislature to adopt a statewide ban when it returns next year. The first-term Republican is up for reelection next month and signed the bill Tuesday. It authorizes more than $108 million in federal funds from the American Rescue Plan Act for health services at the University of Oklahoma Medical Center. Oklahoma's Republican-controlled Legislature passed several bills this year targeting transgender youth. They include measures that restrict transgender girls' participation in sports and require schoolchildren to use bathrooms that correspond with their assigned sex at birth.

                Former President Donald Trump and his allies have whipped up a relentless campaign of attacks against voting equipment since his loss in the 2020 election. After nearly two years, no evidence has emerged that voting machines were manipulated to steal the election or that there was any widespread fraud. Conspiracy theories spread online and in forums across the country nevertheless have undermined public confidence in voting machines and election results. The Associated Press explains how we got to this point, the efforts to increase security of the vote and the fallout from the false claims surrounding the 2020 presidential election.

                Another union has approved the deal it made with the major freight railroads last month that helped prevent a strike to secure 24% raises and $5,000 in bonuses for the workers it represents. The American Train Dispatchers Association said Tuesday that 64% of its members approved the deal with Union Pacific, BNSF, Kansas City Southern, CSX, Norfolk Southern and other railroads. Four smaller railroad unions have now approved their deals with the railroads, but the two biggest unions that represent engineers and conductors won’t vote on their tentative agreements until mid-November. All 12 unions that represent some 115,000 workers have to approve these deals to prevent a strike.

                An attorney for the House committee investigating the Jan. 6 insurrection at the U.S. Capitol told a federal judge in Phoenix on Tuesday that Arizona Republican Party Chair Kelli Ward refused to answer the committee’s questions at a deposition. The comment from attorney Eric Columbus came during a Tuesday hearing where Ward’s lawyers urged a federal judge to block the committee from getting her phone records while she appeals. U.S. District Judge Diane Humetewa ruled on Sept. 23 that Ward's records should be released. Ward attorney Laurin Mills cast the phone records fight as one with major implications for democracy, on par if not bigger than the insurrection. The judge is considering the request.

                President Joe Biden is highlighting administration efforts to protect access to abortion as he marks 100 days since the Supreme Court overturned a national right to the procedure. Democrats hope the issue will galvanize their voters in the midterm elections. Biden attended a meeting of the Cabinet-level task force he stood up to coordinate the government’s response to the ruling. He also announced two new steps meant to protect access to reproductive health care. At the same time, he reminded Americans that only Congress can restore access to abortion nationally, part of his pitch to vote Democratic.

                The Missouri Legislature has passed $40 million in annual tax breaks for farmers. The GOP-led Senate on Tuesday voted 26-3 to send the tax incentive package to Gov. Mike Parson. Lawmakers had passed a similar bill in May. But the Republican governor vetoed it, in part citing the short two-year sunset on many of the tax credits. He called a special legislative session to extend the agricultural tax credits for a longer period of time. He also asked lawmakers to spend some of the state's surplus revenue on an individual income tax cut, which they approved last week.


                Russian troops abandoned a key Ukrainian city so rapidly that they left the bodies of their comrades in the streets. The scene offered more evidence Tuesday of Moscow’s latest military defeat as it struggles to hang on to four regions of Ukraine that it illegally annexed last week. Russia’s upper house of parliament rubber-stamped the annexations Tuesday after “referendums” that Ukraine and its Western allies dismissed as fraudulent. Responding to the move, Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy formally ruled out talks with Russia. Meanwhile, the U.S. announced it would provide an additional $625 million in military aid to Ukraine, including more of the advanced rocket systems credited with helping Ukraine's military momentum.

                North Korea has conducted its longest-ever weapons test, a nuclear-capable ballistic missile that flew over Japan and could reach the U.S. Pacific territory of Guam and beyond. The launch early Tuesday forced the Japanese government to issue evacuation alerts and halt trains. It was the most provocative weapons demonstration by North Korea this year. The country seeks to develop a fully fledged nuclear arsenal capable of threatening U.S. allies and the American homeland and earn the country recognition as a nuclear state. The United States strongly condemned what it described as North Korea’s “dangerous and reckless decision” to launch the missile over Japan.

                Messages show that hours after Joe Biden was declared the winner of the 2020 presidential election, the leader of the Oath Keepers extremist group was discussing how to push President Donald Trump to go further in his fight to cling to power. The messages were shown to jurors Tuesday in the trial of Stewart Rhodes and four others charged with seditious conspiracy in the Jan. 6, 2021 Capitol attack. They are accused of a detailed, drawn-out plot to stop the transfer of power. An attorney for Rhodes said that all the government has shown is “bombastic language.” Tuesday is the first full day of testimony in the trial that's expected to last several weeks.

                The Supreme Court’s conservative majority appears open to making it harder to create majority Black electoral districts. That's what came across during arguments Tuesday in an Alabama case that could have far-reaching effects on minority voting power across the United States. At issue are lawsuits to create a second Black majority congressional district, in what's the latest showdown over the landmark Voting Rights Act. Some of the conservative justices seemed sympathetic to Alabama’s arguments that the court should insist on a “race-neutral” approach to redistricting and should make it harder for people claiming racial discrimination in voting to clear an early legal hurdle.

                Top allies of jailed Kremlin critic Alexei Navalny said Tuesday they would reestablish a network of groups across Russia. Ivan Zhdanov and Leonid Volkov said in a video posted online that the time was right because the government has been weakened by questions about the war in Ukraine. Zhdanov and Volkov said the new network would operate like a partisan underground and participants would remain anonymous for their safety. Navalny has been jailed in Russia since January 2021 on charges widely seen as politically motivated. Many of his close associates have left Russia. His group’s political infrastructure was destroyed in 2021 after being labeled extremist.

                Russian state-owned energy giant Gazprom says it may halt gas deliveries to Moldova, Europe’s poorest country, if it fails to pay its latest bill by Oct. 20 as its contract stipulates. Gazprom said Tuesday it had repeatedly allowed Moldovan national gas supplier Moldovagaz this year to pay its monthly bills with delay, but may not continue that practice. Gazprom further said it reserved the right to annul completely its 5-year supply contract with the tiny country over its failure to settle old debts. The director of Moldovan natural gas supplier Moldovagaz said his company “will make every effort to fulfil its contractual obligation.” Moldovagaz has struggled this year to meet its payments to Gazprom after prices rose sharply.

                A new report says Georgia Republican Senate nominee Herschel Walker paid for an abortion for his girlfriend in 2009. Walker has vehemently opposed abortion rights and calls the accusation in The Daily Beast a “flat-out lie." The Daily Beast spoke to a woman who said Walker paid for her abortion when they were dating. The news outlet also reviewed a receipt showing her $575 payment for the procedure, along with a get-well card from Walker and her bank deposit records showing the image of a $700 personal check from Walker. Asked Monday night by Fox News Channel's Sean Hannity whether he remembered sending a $700 check, Walker says he sent people money all the time.

                Republican Sen. Rand Paul was the victim of a 2017 attack when his neighbor slammed into him outside his Kentucky home. Earlier that year, Paul took cover when a gunman opened fire while GOP members of Congress practiced for a charity baseball game. Now, Paul has falsely conflated those events with his opponent in his reelection bid. The social media video attacks Democrat Charles Booker. The video was released Monday, before a campaign forum Paul declined to take part in. It says Booker associated with “radical left” people who condone and perpetrate violence. Booker calls it “dangerous and dishonest rhetoric."

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