Barbara Sprunt | WAMC

Barbara Sprunt

Barbara Sprunt is a producer on NPR's Washington desk, where she reports and produces breaking news and feature political content. She formerly produced the NPR Politics Podcast and got her start in radio at as an intern on NPR's Weekend All Things Considered and Tell Me More with Michel Martin. She is an alumnus of the Paul Miller Reporting Fellowship at the National Press Foundation. She is a graduate of American University in Washington, D.C., and a Pennsylvania native.

Months ago, as the primary season was unfolding, election experts began to sound the alarm on what they saw as a glaring threat to a smooth voting process come fall: a shortage of poll workers.

Democratic presidential nominee Joe Biden and his wife, Jill Biden, joined the nearly 75 million voters who have cast their ballots early.

The former vice president voted at the Carvel State Office Building in his hometown of Wilmington, Del., after delivering remarks about protecting the Affordable Care Act.

After voting, Biden spoke to reporters about his plans on health care, saying he thinks he'll be able to work with Republicans.

The Senate has voted 52-48 to confirm Judge Amy Coney Barrett to the Supreme Court, just about a week before Election Day and 30 days after she was nominated by President Trump to fill the seat of the late Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg.

In a White House ceremony following the vote Monday evening, Supreme Court Justice Clarence Thomas administered the constitutional oath to Coney Barrett.

Updated at 10:35 a.m. ET Tuesday

With one week still remaining until Election Day, Americans have already cast a record-breaking 66 million early ballots, putting the 2020 election on track for historic levels of voter turnout.

That's some 19 million more pre-election votes than were cast in the 2016 election, according to the U.S. Elections Project, a turnout-tracking database run by University of Florida professor Michael McDonald.

The U.S. Senate voted Sunday afternoon to end debate on the nomination of Judge Amy Coney Barrett to the Supreme Court, setting the stage for a final confirmation vote Monday evening — just over a week before the general election.

In a floor vote mostly along party lines, 51 Republicans advanced Barrett, who's President Trump's nominee to fill the seat of the late Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg.

Following the cloture vote, Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell, R-Ky., proclaimed that "by tomorrow night, we'll have a new member of the United States Supreme Court."

Updated at 7:33 p.m. ET

Former President Barack Obama urged Philadelphians to make a voting plan and cast their ballots early for Democratic nominee Joe Biden during his first in-person campaign event of the 2020 contest in a state that may be crucial to a Biden victory.

Updated at 6:05 p.m. ET

With less than two weeks remaining in the presidential contest, Joe Biden's campaign enjoys a massive cash advantage over President Trump's.

The president's campaign committee finished September with $63.1 million in its coffers, compared with the Biden team's $177.3 million cash on hand, according to new filings with the Federal Election Commission late Tuesday evening.

With less than two weeks until voting concludes, President Trump and Democratic presidential nominee Joe Biden will face off for the final time in a debate on Thursday, likely marking Trump's last chance to reach a massive audience as he trails Biden in polls nationally and in key states.

Joe Biden's campaign is urging its supporters not to become complacent in the final weeks of the presidential race, even as polling suggests the former vice president remains ahead of President Trump in several key swing states.

"The very searing truth is that Donald Trump can still win this race, and every indication we have shows that this thing is going to come down to the wire," Biden campaign manager Jen O'Malley Dillon wrote in a memo to supporters on Saturday.

Michigan Gov. Gretchen Whitmer, who the FBI says was targeted in a foiled kidnapping plot, on Sunday accused President Trump of fanning the flames of domestic terrorism when he didn't put a stop to chants of "lock her up!" that erupted the day before during a rally in her home state.

The state of California appears to be backing off legal threats against the California Republican Party over its use of unauthorized ballot drop boxes.

On Monday, California's secretary of state and attorney general sent a cease-and-desist order to the California GOP and several county party offices, ordering they remove unauthorized boxes to collect ballots, some of which were labeled "official."

Republican Sen. Ben Sasse of Nebraska excoriated President Trump in a telephone town-hall meeting with constituents on Wednesday, saying the president badly mishandled the coronavirus pandemic, mistreats women and cozies up to dictators.

"I'm not at all apologetic for having fought for my values against his in places where I think his are deficient, not just for a Republican but for an American," Sasse said.

Updated at 5:50 p.m. ET

The Biden campaign on Thursday canceled Democratic vice presidential nominee Kamala Harris' travel through Sunday after two people traveling with her tested positive for the coronavirus.

The campaign says it learned Wednesday night that Liz Allen — Harris' communications director — and a non-staff flight crew member tested positive for the virus. Both Allen and the crew member were on a flight with Harris on Oct. 8.

With just three weeks left in the presidential race, Democratic nominee Joe Biden and President Trump are heavily courting senior citizens, a crucial voting bloc that has been disproportionately affected by the coronavirus pandemic.

After weeks of deflecting on whether he would seek to increase the number of justices on the Supreme Court if elected president, Democratic nominee Joe Biden on Monday went the furthest he's gone on the issue as of late, saying he's "not a fan."

Democratic presidential nominee Joe Biden argues that taking a stance now on whether, as president, he would seek to increase the number of Supreme Court justices would play right into the hands of President Trump.

"[Trump] always wants [you to] take the eye off the ball, change the subject. I'm not going to play his game," Biden told a local Las Vegas news station over the weekend.

Updated at 8:31 p.m. ET

President Trump's campaign is calling for next week's presidential debate to be held in person in Miami, despite the organizing commission's decision to hold it virtually.

Campaign manager Bill Stepien said Thursday night there is "no medical reason" why the debate should be shifted virtually. He cited a memo from White House physician Sean Conley, who said Trump would be safe for public events by Saturday.

Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis has extended the state's deadline for Floridians to register to vote after the state's registration website crashed due to a heavy volume of traffic.

The new deadline to register is 7 p.m. Tuesday.

In a statement, Florida Secretary of State Laurel Lee said the state's online registration portal experienced "unprecedented volume and traffic" of 1.1 million requests an hour Monday evening.

President Trump, who is still receiving treatment for COVID-19, tweeted Tuesday morning that he is "feeling great" and plans to move forward with the second presidential debate slated for Oct. 15 in Miami.

Over the weekend, it seemed possible that Trump would take on a different tone when talking about the severity of COVID-19 now that he is a patient battling the disease.

Former first lady Michelle Obama excoriated President Trump during a video message aimed at delivering her closing argument for why voters should elect Joe Biden.

"We can no longer pretend that we don't know exactly who and what this president stands for. Search your hearts, and your conscience, and then vote for Joe Biden like your lives depend on it," Obama said in the video released by Biden's campaign.

She rebuked Trump for what she sees as "willful mismanagement of the COVID crisis."

Updated at 10:00 p.m. ET

Plexiglass will separate Vice President Pence and Sen. Kamala Harris of California, the Democratic nominee, during their vice presidential debate on Wednesday.

That's a precaution as a result of a cluster of coronavirus cases from the White House affecting President Trump and a number of aides and associates.

Updated at 8:18 p.m. ET

President Trump walked out of Walter Reed National Military Medical Center on Monday evening, planning on receiving the remainder of his treatment for COVID-19 at the White House.

He was seen pumping his fist in the air on the way out of the building and didn't respond to any questions from the press. Upon arriving back at the White House, Trump walked up the staircase of the South Portico entrance, removed his mask, gave reporters standing below a thumbs-up and saluted Marine One.

Updated at 1:20 p.m. ET

White House press secretary Kayleigh McEnany shared on Twitter on Monday morning that she has tested positive for the coronavirus, the latest White House official to test positive for the virus after President Trump himself was hospitalized after contracting the disease.

"After testing negative consistently, including every day since Thursday, I tested positive for COVID-19 on Monday morning while experiencing no symptoms," she wrote.

Updated at 7:53 a.m. ET Monday

Despite indications from doctors that he is still facing serious challenges from the coronavirus and could spread the disease to others, President Trump briefly left Walter Reed National Military Medical Center on Sunday evening to wave to supporters gathered outside.

Updated at 7:59 p.m. ET

President Trump's hospitalization for COVID-19 casts unprecedented uncertainty on the presidential campaign's final stretch.

There are 30 days until Election Day and millions of votes have already been cast.

Updated a 2:40 a.m. ET

President Trump sought to project an image of vigor in the face of COVID-19, with a surprise motorcade Sunday outside Walter Reed National Military Medical Center, where he is being treated, as his physicians suggested he could be discharged to return to the White House as early as Monday.

The president was admitted to Walter Reed on Friday, hours after announcing that he and the first lady had tested positive for the coronavirus.

With just a month remaining in the presidential campaign, former Vice President Joe Biden's team is launching in-person canvassing in key states.

The effort will start this weekend, the Democratic campaign said, with several hundred volunteers canvassing in Pennsylvania, New Hampshire, Michigan and Nevada.

The move is a reversal for the Biden campaign, which suspended face-to-face canvassing in the spring because of concerns over the coronavirus pandemic and, apart from distributing mailers, stuck to that stance in the following months.

President Trump's selection of Judge Amy Coney Barrett as his nominee to fill the Supreme Court seat left vacant by the death of Ruth Bader Ginsburg came just 38 days before the presidential election on Nov. 3.

The move to have her on the court by then has ignited a major partisan battle on Capitol Hill.

President Trump and Democratic presidential nominee Joe Biden will debate each other for the first time Tuesday evening, in the first of three presidential debates.

Here are the details:

When? Tuesday, Sept. 29, from 9 to 10:30 p.m. ET. (You can listen to the debate on NPR, and we'll have a livestream video online.)

Democratic presidential nominee Joe Biden on Sunday implored Senate Republicans not to act on President Trump's nomination of Amy Coney Barrett to the Supreme Court until after the American people finish selecting their next president.

"There are Senate Republicans out there who know in their hearts that if they shut out the voices of those during a voting period, during an election, they're closing the door on American democracy thereafter," Biden said during a speech in his hometown of Wilmington, Del.

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