Five national stories of the week

Demonstrators stand across the street from the federal courthouse in Houston, Monday, Nov. 2, 2020, before a hearing in federal court involving drive-thru ballots cast in Harris County. The lawsuit was brought by conservative Texas activists, who have railed against expanded voting access in Harris County, in an effort to invalidate nearly 127,000 votes in Houston because the ballots were cast at drive-thru polling centers established during the pandemic. (AP Photo/David J. Phillip)
Demonstrators stand across the street from the federal courthouse in Houston, Monday, Nov. 2, 2020, before a hearing in federal court involving drive-thru ballots cast in Harris County. The lawsuit was brought by conservative Texas activists, who have railed against expanded voting access in Harris County, in an effort to invalidate nearly 127,000 votes in Houston because the ballots were cast at drive-thru polling centers established during the pandemic. (AP Photo/David J. Phillip)

Editor’s Note: This listicle is part of a weekly series by The Ball State Daily News summarizing five stories from around the world. All summaries are based on stories published by The Associated Press.

A large voter turnout is expected across the U.S. on Election Day, a judge rejected the effort to throw out drive-thru ballots cast in Houston, hospitals hire short-term travel nurses to combat rising coronavirus cases, Kyle Rittenhouse's bail is set at $2 million and a federal judge in Chicago blocks the effort to deny green cards to immigrants who use food stamps make up this week's five national stories.

Election worker Robin Smith helps a voter with his ballot Tuesday, Nov. 3, 2020, at Willow School in Lansing, Mich. [Matthew Dae Smith/Lansing State Journal via AP)

Huge voter turnout expected despite virus, political rancor

The scourge of a global pandemic produced an election season like no other in the U.S., persuading record numbers of Americans to cast their ballots early, forcing states to make changes to long-established election procedures and leading to hundreds of lawsuits over how votes will be cast and which ballots will be counted. Polls began opening Tuesday as election officials warned that millions of absentee ballots could slow the tallies, perhaps for days, in some key battleground states and as President Donald Trump threatened legal action to prevent ballots from being counted after Election Day.

Demonstrator Gina Dusterhoft holds up a sign as she walks to join others standing across the street from the federal courthouse in Houston, Monday, Nov. 2, 2020, before a hearing in federal court involving drive-thru ballots cast in Harris County. (AP Photo/David J. Phillip)

Judge rejects GOP effort to throw out 127,000 Houston votes

A federal judge on Monday rejected another last-ditch Republican effort to invalidate nearly 127,000 votes in Houston because the ballots were cast at drive-thru polling centers established during the pandemic. The lawsuit was brought by conservative Texas activists who have railed against expanded voting access in Harris County, where a record 1.4 million early votes have already been cast. The county is the nation’s third-most populous and a crucial battleground in Texas, where President Donald Trump and Republicans are bracing for the closest election in decades on Tuesday.

FILE - In this May 29, 2020, file photo, letters of thanks from students adorn the walls of a break room that was set up for workers to decompress from the stresses of caring for COVID-19 patients at Elmhurst Hospital, in New York. As the coronavirus pandemic surges across the nation and infections and hospitalizations rise, medical administrators are scrambling to find enough nursing help. (AP Photo/Robert Bumsted, File)

Hospitals competing for nurses as US coronavirus cases surge

As the coronavirus pandemic surges across the nation and infections and hospitalizations rise, medical administrators are scrambling to find enough nursing help — especially in rural areas and at small hospitals. Nurses are being trained to provide care in fields where they have limited experience. Hospitals are scaling back services to ensure enough staff to handle critically ill patients. And health systems are turning to short-term travel nurses to help fill the gaps. Some experienced nurses are quitting due to burnout from the pandemic, resulting in shortages in emergency room care.

In this screen grab from video Kyle Rittenhouse appears during his initial court appearance in Kenosha, Wis., on Monday Nov. 2, 2020. Court Commissioner Loren Keating has set cash bail for Rittenhouse, accused of killing two people in August during a protest in Wisconsin at $2 million. (Kenosha County Court via AP)

Bail set at $2M for teen accused in Wisconsin shootings

Bail was set at $2 million on Monday for a 17-year-old from Illinois accused of killing two men during an August protest in Kenosha, Wisconsin, after the father of one victim told the court the teen “thinks he’s above the law” and would disappear if freed before the trial. Kyle Rittenhouse, of Antioch, Illinois, is charged with fatally shooting Joseph Rosenbaum and Anthony Huber during a protest over a police shooting in August. He is also charged with wounding a third man, Gaige Grosskreutz. Rittenhouse turned himself in to police in Antioch the morning after the Aug. 25 shootings. 

President Donald Trump gestures while addressing a campaign rally at the Wilkes-Barre Scranton International Airport in Avoca, Pa, Monday, Nov. 2, 2020. (AP Photo/Gene J. Puskar)

US judge blocks Trump immigration rule on public benefits

A federal judge in Chicago struck down a key immigration rule Monday that would deny green cards to immigrants who use food stamps or other public benefits, a blow to the Trump administration on the eve of the election. In a decision that applies nationwide, U.S. District Judge Gary Feinerman rejected the rule that had taken effect recently after the U.S. Supreme Court reversed a hold on the policy following lawsuits. Among other things, Feinerman said the rule violates the Administrative Procedure Act, which makes federal agencies accountable to the public by outlining a detailed process for enacting regulations.

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