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Want to register to vote? Today’s a good day to do it.

Tuesday is National Voter Registration Day, a day created in 2012 and dedicated to enabling “broad awareness of voter registration opportunities” for thousands of Americans with the help of an online campaign and volunteers who “hit the streets” in a coordinated event, according to the National Voter Registration Day site. The day is a massive effort to register voters before the upcoming elections in the fall. Facebook, which pledged to register 4 million voters ahead of the November election, says it’s more than halfway to its goal, logging 2.5 million registrations from Facebook, Instagram and Messenger users. Also, Twitter users should be aware that the social media company is rolling out its biggest push yet to encourage more Americans to cast their ballots in the November election Tuesday as well. 

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People have been voting by mail in the U.S. for close to a hundred years, but it’s never been as big an issue as it is in the 2020 election. This is the start of a five-part animation series by The Associated Press, Election 2020 Facts (Sept. 21)

AP Domestic

Trump’s UN address to be released before he leaves for Pennsylvania rally

President Donald Trump is set to give a prerecorded address to the U.N. General Assembly Tuesday as he grapples with various issues while running for reelection. The White House has not previewed his speech, but Trump was expected to highlight agreements the U.S. brokered between Israel and the United Arab Emirates and Bahrain. Trump also told reporters Monday that he’d have a “strong message” for China, where the first cases of COVID-19 were reported. Trump is not popular at the U.N. and his speech comes at a time when U.N. members are pushing back against Washington. Later Tuesday, Trump will go where he is popular: a rally. The president will speak at an event in Pittsburgh, according to his official schedule. While in Ohio Monday, Trump told supporters he welcomes the threat of a second impeachment by Democrats if he successfully fills the Supreme Court seat vacated by the late Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg.

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President Donald Trump says five women are being vetted to become his nominee for the Supreme Court, replacing the late Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg. He says senators have “plenty of time” to evaluate the nominee and vote before the election. (Sept. 21)

AP Domestic

Woman suspected of sending ricin to White House to appear in court 

A woman suspected of mailing a package containing the poison ricin to the White House is now expected to appear in a New York court Tuesday, following her arrest at the U.S.-Canada border. The suspect was taken into custody by U.S. Customs and Border Protection officers at the Peace Bridge border crossing near Buffalo on Sunday and is expected to face federal charges in connection with the package, which was intercepted in the past week. Ricin, a poison drawn from the husks of castor beans, has surfaced in other plots targeting President Donald Trump, President Barack Obama and other officials. According to the Centers for Disease Control, exposure to ricin through inhalation, ingestion or injection can lead to death.  

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The FBI is investigating suspicious letters sent to the Pentagon containing substances suspected to be ricin. But what is ricin and why is it dangerous?

USA TODAY

Tropical Storm Beta makes landfall, drenches storm-weary Gulf Coast

Tropical Storm Beta, the 23rd storm of the relentless 2020 hurricane season, is expected to bring flooding downpours to Texas and Louisiana this week, along with “life-threatening storm surge near times of high tide” through Tuesday, according to the National Hurricane Center. The first rain bands from Beta reached the Texas coast on Sunday, but the storm, with maximum sustained winds of 45 mph, made landfall Monday night on the Texas coast, according to a Hurricane Center update. Forecasters said up to 15 inches of rain could fall in some areas. Rough surf and high tide have already caused structural damage to a fishing pier in Galveston, Texas, and a state of emergency has been declared for Louisiana and parts of Texas. “Be weather aware because things can change. This is 2020 and so we have to expect the unexpected,” advised Houston Mayor Sylvester Turner. 

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As Tropical Storm Beta batters the Texas coast, the biggest unknown is how much rainfall it could produce in areas that have already seen their share of damaging weather during a busy hurricane season. (Sept. 21)

AP Domestic

Hello, pumpkin spice: It’s the first day of fall

Our long, hot summer is finally coming to an end on Tuesday with the autumnal equinox, which marks the beginning of fall in the Northern Hemisphere. At a precise moment each September, the sun is directly above the equator, marking the exact time of the autumnal equinox (this year that moment is Tuesday at 9:30 a.m. ET). Below the equator in the Southern Hemisphere, it’s known as the vernal or spring equinox and marks the beginning of spring. Although some people claim the autumnal equinox is the “official” start of fall, there is no administrative or political organization that actually designates that. Indeed, though astronomers say summer ends Tuesday, meteorologists and climatologists said summer ended Aug. 31, the final day of the three hottest months of the year (June, July and August).  

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Contributing: Associated Press

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