The inside of the Leon County Supervisor of Elections office with a vote sign
Leon County Supervisor of Elections twitter

Early voting can start this coming Monday in eight Panhandle Counties hit by Hurricane Michael. Governor Rick Scott’s executive order provides a few extra days for voters to get to the polls.

 A wastewater treatment facility in North Florida.
John S. Quarterman via Flickr

Multiple wastewater spills have been confirmed in Northwest Florida in the aftermath of Hurricane Michael. The latest one is in Gulf County where sewage spilled into the Apalachicola River.

National guard membes smile near a canopy with ice. A University of Miami flag is hanging near them.
Regan McCarthy

Throughout the Panhandle members of the National Guard are hosting what are called “PODS” or points of distribution where those affected by Hurricane Michael can get food, water and ice. WFSU stopped by one location at the Possum Palace in Chipley, Florida.

In the days leading up to Hurricane Michael’s landfall, Gov. Rick Scott did what any Florida governor would do: warn people. After the storm passed, Scott shifted from warnings to gravitas.

But his appearances were more significant than previous storm responses (Michael is the fourth hurricane Scott has had to respond to in his eight years as governor). 

With elections just under three weeks away in Florida, candidates – especially those for governor and U.S. Senate – know that voters could cast their ballots based on how candidates responded to the storm.

Though one justice wrote that voters should “beware,” the Florida Supreme Court on Wednesday rejected a challenge to three proposed constitutional amendments on the November ballot --- including a measure that seeks to ban offshore oil drilling and vaping in workplaces.

Justices overturned a ruling by Leon County Circuit Judge Karen Gievers that would have blocked the constitutional amendments in a case focused on whether the proposals improperly “bundled” unrelated issues into single ballot measures.

Poll workers in training at the Leon County Supervisor of Elections office, 2016.
Tori Whitley / WFSU News

Election supervisors in the panhandle are scrambling to get back up and running ahead of election Day. In some places, that means having only a handful of so-called “super-voting” sites available. 

A damaged building in downtown Marianna, Florida.
Regan McCarthy / WFSU

Now a week after Hurricane Michael made landfall, many communities in Florida’s panhandle are reeling from the damage. FEMA officials continue to conduct search and rescue missions throughout the Florida Panhandle. The storm’s one hundred and fifty mile per hour winds devastated parts of the Southeast. 

Ryan Dailey / WFSU-FM

U.S. Senator Bill Nelson is calling out the Florida Legislature for passing a 2017 bill he says allows builders to strip international building standards from Florida codes.

State Farm drone
Shawn Mulcahy / WFSU

Insurance companies say they’re being flooded with claims after Hurricane Michael hit Florida’s panhandle. A new technology is taking off to survey the damage.

Trees down at Crossroad Academy in Quincy, Florida
Jade Jacobs / WFSU

In the wake of Hurricane Michael, one Gadsden County town is banding together. 

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From NPR News

With new enforcement priorities under the Trump administration, Immigration and Customs Enforcement agents are taking aim at employers that knowingly hire unauthorized immigrants. The most recent — and largest — bust happened at a trailer manufacturing plant in northeast Texas.

Copyright 2018 NPR. To see more, visit http://www.npr.org/.

President Trump says he believes missing Saudi journalist Jamal Khashoggi is dead, telling The New York Times that his judgement is based on intelligence reports "coming from every side."

If Saudi Arabia is responsible, the consequences will be "very severe," he told the Times.

Vice President Mike Pence also used strong language on Thursday while speaking with reporters in Colorado.

Copyright 2018 NPR. To see more, visit http://www.npr.org/.

Copyright 2018 NPR. To see more, visit http://www.npr.org/.

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