Alabama authorities say a home burglary suspect has died after police used a stun gun on the man.  Birmingham police say he resisted officers who found him in a house wrapped in what looked like material from the air conditioner duct work.  The Lewisburg Road homeowner called police Tuesday about glass breaking and someone yelling and growling in his basement.  Police reportedly entered the dwelling and used a stun gun several times on a white suspect before handcuffing him.  Investigators say the man was "extremely irritated" throughout and didn't obey verbal commands.

Montgomery Education Foundation's Brain Forest Summer Learning Academy was spotlighted Wednesday at Carver High School.  The academic-enrichment program is for rising 4th, 5th, and 6th graders in the Montgomery Public School system.  Community Program Director Dillion Nettles, says the program aims to prevent learning loss during summer months.  To find out how your child can participate in next summer's program visit

A police officer is free on bond after being arrested following a rash of road-sign thefts in southeast Alabama.  Brantley Police Chief Titus Averett says officer Jeremy Ray Walker of Glenwood is on paid leave following his arrest in Pike County.  The 30-year-old Walker is charged with receiving stolen property.  Lt. Troy Johnson of the Pike County Sheriff's Office says an investigation began after someone reported that Walker was selling road signs from Crenshaw County.  Investigators contacted the county engineer and learned signs had been reported stolen from several roads.

NPR Politics presents the Lunchbox List: our favorite campaign news and stories curated from NPR and around the Web in digestible bites (100 words or less!). Look for it every weekday afternoon from now until the conventions.

Convention Countdown

The Republican National Convention is in 4 days in Cleveland.

The Democratic National Convention is in 11 days in Philadelphia.

NASA has released the first picture of Jupiter taken since the Juno spacecraft went into orbit around the planet on July 4.

The picture was taken on July 10. Juno was 2.7 million miles from Jupiter at the time. The color image shows some of the atmospheric features of the planet, including the giant red spot. You can also see three of Jupiter's moons in the picture: Io, Europa and Ganymede.

The Senate is set to approve a bill intended to change the way police and health care workers treat people struggling with opioid addictions.

My husband and I once took great pleasure in preparing meals from scratch. We made pizza dough and sauce. We baked bread. We churned ice cream.

Then we became parents.

Now there are some weeks when pre-chopped vegetables and a rotisserie chicken are the only things between us and five nights of Chipotle.

Parents are busy. For some of us, figuring out how to get dinner on the table is a daily struggle. So I reached out to food experts, parents and nutritionists for help. Here is some of their (and my) best advice for making weeknight meals happen.

"O Canada," the national anthem of our neighbors up north, comes in two official versions — English and French. They share a melody, but differ in meaning.

Let the record show: neither version of those lyrics contains the phrase "all lives matter."

But at the 2016 All-Star Game, the song got an unexpected edit.

At Petco Park in San Diego, one member of the Canadian singing group The Tenors — by himself, according to the other members of the group — revised the anthem.

School's out, and a lot of parents are getting through the long summer days with extra helpings of digital devices.

How should we feel about that?

Police in Baton Rouge say they have arrested three people who stole guns with the goal of killing police officers. They are still looking for a fourth suspect in the alleged plot, NPR's Greg Allen reports.

"Police say the thefts were at a Baton Rouge pawn shop early Saturday morning," Greg says. "One person was arrested at the scene. Since then, two others have been arrested and six of the eight stolen handguns have been recovered. Police are still looking for one other man."

A 13-year-old boy is among those arrested, Greg says.


Once Again, Florida's Voting Doesn't Add Up

Nov 8, 2012
Originally published on November 8, 2012 6:43 pm

Florida is again having problems determining the winner of its presidential vote. But its difficulties are entirely different from the ones that kept the nation in suspense for more than a month back in 2000.

"It was just a convergence of things that were an embarrassment to Florida," says Susan MacManus, a political scientist at the University of South Florida in Tampa.

Some of the snafus stem from changes in election law that were passed last year — but which were the subject of lawsuits until just weeks before the election. "We'd been in court for months," MacManus says.

From there the problems cascaded down on Florida, with its immense and highly diverse voting population, to the point that some voters didn't cast their ballots until 1 a.m. Polls had officially closed at 7, but those who were in line at the time were allowed to stay and vote.

The legal fights over early voting in particular made it difficult for local election officials to plan properly for heavy turnout. The number of early voting hours stayed constant at 96, but the number of days on which early voting could be held was reduced to eight.

Longer voting days meant paying overtime to poll workers, so some counties opened up fewer locations, which resulted in long lines.

"Souls to the polls" turnout efforts, which involve African-American churches busing parishioners to cast ballots on the Sunday before Election Day, had to be curtailed as early voting was no longer available on that day.

In response to such changes, Democrats encouraged supporters to take advantage of in-person absentee voting. Voters could show up at election offices as late as Monday to ask for an absentee ballot, which they would fill out on the spot.

"The Obama team shifted to get people to do in-person absentee ballots, which take a lot longer to process than early voting," says Daniel Smith, a political scientist at the University of Florida. "You have to open and verify and process the ballot, rather than immediately scanning it."

Absentee ballots have to be certified individually before going into the machines to be tallied, notes NPR's Greg Allen. Miami-Dade County, for instance, had to cope with a late influx of 54,000 absentee ballots, and the county just finished counting votes on Thursday.

Smith accuses Republicans, who dominate the state's Legislature and hold the governorship, of deliberately making voting more difficult and making it impossible for local officials to conduct elections in a timely and efficient manner.

"When our voting laws are being used for partisan manipulation, that is unacceptable and un-American," says Deirdre Macnab, president of the League of Women Voters of Florida.

Republicans deny that they attempted in any way to suppress the vote. Gov. Rick Scott noted that more than 4 million people took advantage of early voting this year.

"We had a huge early turnout," Will Weatherford, the incoming Republican House speaker, told the Tampa Bay Times. "We have made voting as easy as it's ever been in the state of Florida."

There were other factors that contributed to the long lines and consequent slow count. For one thing, Florida had an exceptionally long ballot, with 11 complicated constitutional amendments. One question was 700 words long. And in some voter precincts, the ballots had to be presented in multiple languages.

Flipping through 10 or 12 pages made navigating the ballot more time consuming for voters. But first they had to find the correct place to vote; that was difficult for some.

Redistricting and changes in polling locations meant many voters showed up at the wrong place. Thanks to last year's election law changes, some had to cast provisional ballots if they had moved to a new county, which had not previously been the case.

Given the state's large and highly mobile population, it was difficult for election officials in some locations to plan properly to provide adequate polling places or voting machines.

"The housing bust hurt Florida badly," says David Kimball, an expert on elections at the University of Missouri, St. Louis. "There are places in Florida that were booming that have half the population they did four years ago. That makes it difficult for election officials to plan."

For all that, Kimball says, Florida's voting problems might not be notably worse than those in other states. That was the case, despite Florida's notoriety, 12 years ago. Election officials in other states back then noted happily that the focus on Florida diverted attention from their own problems.

"In many other states, if we took a close look at their system and put it under stress with a highly competitive presidential election, they would look as bad," Kimball says.

Following the 2000 recount, Florida, like other states, made numerous changes to its election law and procedures. Poor ballot layout and antiquated voting machines that brought the phrase "hanging chad" into the national lexicon are no longer factors.

But the influx of federal funds that helped resolve many voting issues around the country may not be repeated, despite President Obama's call during his victory speech to "fix" the latest set of problems.

State and local governments, which have made underfunding election mechanisms a tradition, have left them more strapped than usual, due to their ongoing budget problems.

Concerns about voting problems tend to go into hibernation for two to four years. "There are natural constituencies that defend teacher pensions and health care, but there's no natural constituency for democracy," says Kimball, of the University of Missouri, St. Louis.

Even if money is found, there's no off-the-shelf solution that would make voting and counting run smoother — and has universal support.

A decade ago, Florida and other states were able to enact election changes on a bipartisan basis.

That dynamic no longer holds — certainly not in Florida, where Republicans have pushed changes through firm control of Tallahassee, and Democrats have turned to the courts to challenge their every move.

"Each side is suspicious of the other," says MacManus, the University of South Florida professor. "The battles are all partisan-oriented."

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