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A person with a dog putting their ballot in a ballot drop box
Vote! Vote! Vote! Motoya Nakamura / Multnomah County

Good morning, Portland! Here’s what’s happening this morning.

In local news:

• Today is the LAST DAY to vote in the primary election, which has some majorly important races! You can drop your ballot in a ballot box by 8pm or put it in a mail box before the final collection time (the ballot has to postmarked TODAY in order to count). And if you need any help making your final decisions, the Mercury has you covered with our endorsement guide.

• One in four elementary and middle school classrooms in Portland do not meet the minimum recommendations for ventilation, increasing the risk of spreading COVID-19. Additionally, about 60 percent of classrooms don’t meet the higher ventilation levels recommended by air quality experts. Those findings, discovered by an Oregonian investigation, were known by the Portland Public Schools district since last August (before the return to in-person learning), but the district opted not to share the information with students, parents, teachers, or school board. Instead, the district quietly posted airflow test results on a risk management webpage.

• Four Oregonians are suing the state for failing to provide them with a defense attorney to represent them in their criminal cases. The lawsuit alleges that the four individuals, who are facing criminal charges and can’t afford attorneys, have not been assigned a public defender by the state within a reasonable amount of time, as required by the constitution. The lawsuit comes after months of lawyers and advocates warning of Oregon’s public defender shortage.

• About two-thirds of ballots in Clackamas County were misprinted with blurry barcodes, which are used by machines to verify the ballot before it is counted. Because the blurred barcodes are making the machine spit out ballots, election workers are duplicating each affected ballot by hand so that they can be properly counted. The process is expected to slow down the counting process in Clackamas County significantly.

In national news:

• The US government is offering another round of free COVID-19 at-home tests mailed straight to your door! The federal site reopened Monday with minimal fanfare, allowing any household to order eight free antigen tests. COVID cases in the US have risen 60 percent in the last two weeks.

• The federal government announced plans to ease the US’s unprecedented baby formula shortage Monday, starting with reopening the largest domestic manufacturing plant and increasing overseas imports of the product. Unfortunately, neither step will have an immediate affect—it will take at least 10 weeks before newly manufactured formula will be available in stores and imports are expected to take “several weeks.”

• The Supreme Court (boo) sided with Senator Ted Cruz (boooooooo!!!!!) Monday, ruling that political candidates can raise money following an election to repay personal loans the candidate contributed to their own campaign without limit. The ruling overrides a 20 year-old federal law that banned candidates from raising more than $250,000 in donations after an election to repay loans that the candidate made to their own campaign. The court determined that putting a limit on the money raised to repay a personal loan would “burden a candidates core political speech.” Campaign reform advocates are not pleased with the ruling.

• The FDA authorized a COVID vaccine booster shot for kids ages 5 to 11 Tuesday. The recommendation now goes to the CDC, which is expected to make its recommendation later today. Booster shots for kids who received their initial vaccine series at least five months ago could start as early as Friday.

• Don’t let this be you at 8 pm tonight when you realize you forgot to drop off your ballot in time for it to count! Here’s where you drop off your ballot.

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