Author

Laura Olson

Laura Olson

Laura covers the nation's capital as a senior reporter for States Newsroom, a network of nonprofit outlets that includes Virginia Mercury. Her areas of coverage include politics and policy, lobbying, elections, and campaign finance.

Battleground states count mail ballots, with Biden just shy of votes to clinch presidency

By: - November 5, 2020

WASHINGTON — Two days after Election Day, the nation waited for vote-counting to finish in several critical states, where the tallying of mail ballots has left Democrat Joe Biden just short of the votes needed to become the next president. Thursday’s updated totals could push Biden beyond the 270 electoral votes needed to secure victory […]

The fight for the presidency comes down to millions of uncounted mail ballots in battleground states

By: - November 4, 2020

WASHINGTON — President Donald Trump prematurely declared victory early Wednesday morning, but the outcome of a razor-thin presidential contest actually depends on key battleground states that are trying to finish tallying millions of remaining mail ballots. Here are some questions—and answers—about what’s going on in those states: Why is the counting process slow? It’s taking […]

Democratic control of Senate in doubt

By: and - November 4, 2020

WASHINGTON — Democrats gained at least one Republican-held seat in the U.S. Senate, but also lost a seat of their own and were unable to defeat several GOP incumbents in the elections, ending up early Wednesday with an increasingly challenging path to wresting control of the chamber away from Republicans. The initial results showed a […]

U.S. Justice Department to send staff to monitor polling places in 18 states, including Virginia

By: - November 3, 2020

WASHINGTON—The U.S. Department of Justice will have staffers on the ground in 44 counties and cities across 18 states on Election Day, monitoring for violations of federal voting-rights laws — fewer states than in 2016. The localities this year are in battlegrounds like Michigan, Ohio, Florida, Georgia, Arizona, North Carolina, Wisconsin and Pennsylvania as well […]

Struggle for control of the U.S. Senate enters its final tense days

By: and - October 30, 2020

WASHINGTON — Democrats have a shot at winning the White House, capturing the Senate majority and keeping their hold on the House — an election result that could dramatically shift the policy agenda away from the gridlock that’s gripped the nation’s capital for years. In the Senate, the clearest route to that outcome is through […]

Barrett nomination advances to the U.S. Senate floor with a GOP-only vote

By: and - October 22, 2020

WASHINGTON — Republicans on the U.S. Senate Judiciary Committee on Thursday approved the nomination of Judge Amy Coney Barrett to the Supreme Court, as Democrats boycotted the markup in a show of protest. The 12 Republicans on the panel speedily voted on Barrett’s nomination and sent it to the Senate floor. The full Senate will […]

States struggle to draft COVID-19 vaccine plans while in the dark on details, funding

By: - October 22, 2020

WASHINGTON — Across the hundreds of pages of plans that state officials sent to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention on distributing and tracking the yet-to-be-approved COVID-19 vaccines, there are more questions so far than answers on how exactly vaccine programs will be carried out. Yet states will be on the front lines for […]

Supreme Court confirmation hearings to plow ahead amid COVID-19 infections

By: - October 12, 2020

Federal Judge Amy Coney Barrett will face the U.S. Senate Judiciary Committee starting today for what’s expected to be an unusual and contentious four days of hearings on her nomination for the Supreme Court. Democrats sought unsuccessfully to block those hearings, raising concerns about the short time frame before Election Day, the urgent need to […]

Trump returns to the White House, will continue COVID-19 treatment

By: - October 5, 2020

WASHINGTON—President Donald Trump on Monday night departed Walter Reed National Military Hospital, where he had been treated for COVID-19, and arrived at the White House via the Marine One helicopter a short time later. According to the press pool, Trump emerged from Walter Reed and briefly stopped at the top of the hospital steps before […]

Trump in ‘good spirits’ after testing positive for COVID-19; Biden tests negative

By: , and - October 2, 2020

WASHINGTON—President Donald Trump tweeted early Friday that he and first lady Melania Trump have tested positive for COVID-19, throwing the presidential campaign into a new uproar. “We will begin our quarantine and recovery process immediately. We will get through this TOGETHER!” Trump tweeted. White House chief of staff Mark Meadows told reporters Friday morning that the […]