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Morning Briefing: Happy Halloween. Vote.

Voters cast their ballots inside Staples Center. (Chava Sanchez/LAist)
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Good morning, L.A.

We’re 72 hours away from Election Day, but voters in Southern California are already smashing records for early turnout. As of last night, L.A. County officials reported receiving 2.1 million ballots so far, and Orange County officials have tallied 750,000.

My colleague Aaron Mendelson notes that while these numbers are promising, we won’t know until the last ballot is counted whether the high rates continue. In California, vote-by-mail ballots are counted up to 17 days after Nov. 3, provided they’re postmarked no later than Election Day. And L.A. County officials have up to 30 days to certify the results.

Nevertheless, experts are taking note.

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“We honestly were scratching our heads and double checking the data to make sure that we had what we thought we had,” Paul Mitchell, California voter data guru and vice president of Political Data Inc., said earlier in the week. “It was pretty astounding.”

Keep reading for more on what’s happening in L.A. today, and stay safe out there.

Jessica P. Ogilvie

The Past 24 Hours In LA

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Race In L.A.: LAist contributor Mark Moya reflects on life as a biracial Russian/Filipino man in Southern California.

Coronavirus Updates: A new $25 million lab in Valencia will double California’s capacity to test for COVID-19, and speed results to patients in less than two days. The pandemic has killed lunch, and nobody is mourning that death more than L.A. County's 2,700 food trucks.

L.A. Kids: LAUSD students with disabilities will be able to get some in-person services, under a new agreement with the union that represents teachers and service providers. We spoke with several Halloween haunts about how they addressed COVID-19 and made their events safe for families.

Election 2020: Do the sky-high early voting numbers mean we'll see record turnout in 2020? Across the country, people are watching L.A.’s District Attorney race as a bellwether of criminal justice reform. Dodger fans flocked to Chavez Ravine for the first day of early voting there. In this week’s episode of Our Body Politic, disability rights activist Alice Wong discusses the challenges that people with disabilities face when going to the polls.

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Weekend Reads

There's a lot going on in the world right now, and it’s hard enough to keep up with our day-to-day lives, let alone to stay current on the news. But if you have some time this weekend, these articles provide much-needed insight into the current moment in L.A., as well as some news you may have missed:

The Compton Cowboys took to the streets – on horseback, of course – to encourage voting. (NBC Los Angeles)

The Borderline club mass shooting was two years ago, and those affected are struggling with grief and idle time. (Ventura County Star)

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In Hollywood, 20% of women and 10% of men report being sexually assaulted or harassed on the job. (Deadline)

2020 could be the most violent year in modern Mexican history. (Univision)

Occidental senior Dalra Howell made a film to document the experience of being Black at the college. (The Occidental News)

Paranormal investigator Victor Huesca seeks out the haunted and inexplicable in L.A. (L.A. Taco)

A new boarding school at the corner of Vermont and Manchester will cater to underserved children in the area, and prepare them for careers in the transportation industry. (StreetsBlog LA)

L.A.’s museums are rethinking diversity. (KCRW)

Evictions due to COVID-19-related loss of income will hit Black and Brown communities hardest, many of which have already been disproportionately affected by the pandemic. (L.A. Sentinel)

Santa Monica will open up Ocean Ave. for more bikes and outdoor dining, beginning in November. (City of Santa Monica)

The new design for Echo Park’s beloved Taix restaurant has sparked a mixed response. (Los Feliz Ledger)

Photo of the Day

An altar honors Día de los Muertos in Grand Park, as part of a socially distant public art installation.

(Photo by VALERIE MACON/AFP via Getty Images)