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Published October 13, 2020

With Election Day nearing and disputes over voting methods only getting worse, New Jersey and the nation are also wrestling with the ongoing pandemic, complexities in law enforcement, and many other concerns. The resulting media landscape is difficult to navigate, but Rutgers experts appear in the news every day, providing helpful perspective on health care, politics, ecological issues, and more.

The New Jersey Herald reports that increases in voter registration through a new online government portal bring the total count of Garden State voters to 6.3 million. The portal “is bound to facilitate an increase in voter registration rates,” says Elizabeth Matto, director of the Center for Youth Political Participation at the Eagleton Institute of Politics. “It’s an excellent way to boost voter registration rates among all voters, but I would say particularly among young voters.” The story also spotlights Rutgers students working to expand voter registration among their peers.

New Jersey Herald | NJ online portal fuels rush of voter registrations, brings total voters to 6.3 million

“The way we treat people who are mentally ill…is fundamentally broken,” says professor Daniel Semenza of the Department of Sociology, Anthropology, and Criminal Justice at Rutgers University–Camden. Semenza is quoted in a Press of Atlantic City story recounting a police standoff with a mentally ill man earlier this year in Pleasantville, New Jersey. Semenza warns that law enforcement is “being asked to do too much” and that warehousing inmates “on a large scale…through our prison system” is the wrong approach.

Press of Atlantic City | Pleasantville standoff shows how better policing requires more than better police

A proposal for returning the nation to normal life amid the pandemic, called the Great Barrington Declaration, may seem appealing to many who are tired of isolation and social distancing. But Perry Halkitis, dean of Rutgers’ School of Public Health, tells Mother Jones that the plan’s herd immunity approach will sacrifice the very lives it claims to protect. The plan “doesn’t account for the fact that the more you engage people in auditoriums or stadiums—they’re working class people, and those people are vulnerable,” Halkitis says.

Mother Jones | The “Great Barrington” Plan for Reopening Is Championed as Good for the Poor. It’s Not.

CBS Sunday Morning talks with Erica Armstrong Dunbar, a Distinguished Professor of History at Rutgers University–New Brunswick, about President George Washington’s slave-holding past and her research on Ona Judge, whom Washington sought for years after she escaped his plantation. “The Washingtons were very adamant that they wanted Ona Judge to return,” Dunbar says. “We have to reckon that there was that side of Washington alongside of his contributions to the creation of the nation.”

CBS Sunday Morning | A monumental reckoning

Early identification is crucial for children on the autism spectrum, but screening and diagnosis present numerous challenges, says U.S. News & World Report. The story quotes Walter Zahorodny, a psychologist and associate professor of pediatrics at Rutgers New Jersey Medical School. While citing the benefits of early interventions that “stimulate language, interaction, imitation, and play,” Zahorodny points out that many parts of the country lack qualified professionals to diagnose children, which can mean long waits for appointments.

U.S. News & World Report | Autism: A Renewed Call for Early Action

It’s deer mating season in New Jersey, so watch out for deer who are more in the mood for love than for avoiding traffic. Kathleen Kerwin SEBS’12, GSNB’14, a program associate at Rutgers’ Wildlife Conservation and Management Program, tells The Star-Ledger that collisions of deer and cars are most common during October and November. Deer, she says, are “only focused on mating, they’ll dart in the road due to the hormones.”

nj.com | It’s the most dangerous time of year for deer-car crashes in N.J.