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Voting signs direct voters to the Minneapolis Elections and Voter Services center on Friday, Sept. 23, 2022, in Minneapolis. (AP) Voting signs direct voters to the Minneapolis Elections and Voter Services center on Friday, Sept. 23, 2022, in Minneapolis. (AP)

Voting signs direct voters to the Minneapolis Elections and Voter Services center on Friday, Sept. 23, 2022, in Minneapolis. (AP)

Jeff Cercone
By Jeff Cercone October 19, 2022
Sara Swann
By Sara Swann October 19, 2022

With the midterm elections quickly approaching, we asked readers to send us any lingering questions they had before heading to the ballot box. Our reporters investigated queries about specific candidates in key states such as Georgia, Florida and Wisconsin, as well as what changes have been made to the voting process since the 2020 presidential contest.

Do you have a question for us? Email us at [email protected], and we’ll try to answer it in our next batch of reader responses. Put "Ask PolitiFact" in the subject line.


Q: Is U.S. Sen. Raphael Warnock really evicting his low-income tenants despite his high housing allowance?

This claim stems from Warnock’s role as senior pastor of Ebenezer Baptist Church in Atlanta, but it glosses over many details.

Warnock, a Democrat elected in 2021, is defending his seat against Republican Herschel Walker. In 2021, Warnock was compensated almost $121,000 for his role overseeing the church, according to his financial disclosures, including a monthly housing stipend of $7,417, Warnock’s campaign told the Atlanta Journal Constitution. His home in Atlanta is valued at about $1 million, Fulton County property records show. The Senate Ethics Committee has signed off on Warnock’s benefits from the church.

Ebenezer Baptist Church is the 99% owner of Columbia Tower at MLK Village, a property of 96 affordable housing units that has served chronically homeless individuals with mental disabilities since 2007, according to a 2022 grant application from the church’s charity arm. Columbia Residential, the other 1% owner and manager of the building’s daily operations, sent at least eight eviction notices to residents of Columbia Tower from February 2020 to September 2022.

The Atlanta Journal-Constitution reported, and Warnock’s campaign confirmed, that the senator is not involved in the building’s day-to-day operations. A Columbia Residential spokesperson also told the newspaper that no tenants have been evicted for nonpayment since June 2020, several months before the federal eviction moratorium took effect.


Q: Which candidates for the U.S. House and Senate in Florida are opposing 2020 election deniers? What about in other critical states?

There are 291 Republican nominees on the ballot in November for the House, Senate and key statewide offices who have denied or questioned the 2020 election’s outcome, according to an analysis by The Washington Post. In Florida, there are 23 election denier candidates running for House seats. There are no election denier candidates running for Senate in Florida.

Here is a list of the Florida candidates running against the Republicans who have denied or questioned the 2020 election results.

If election denier candidates for secretary of state or governor win their respective races, they will have some oversight powers for future elections. Their platforms include ending and restricting voting by mail, even in places such as Arizona, where most voters cast their ballots that way. But voting rights are set in state laws, which means officials would need buy-in from state lawmakers to make several sweeping changes to longstanding voting practices.


Q: Could you please give a list by state showing which voting restrictions were enacted in Georgia, Texas, Arizona and other states by their state legislatures?

After the 2020 election, state lawmakers across the country passed numerous laws changing electoral processes. Here are some of the key changes made in Georgia, Texas and Arizona, according to the Voting Rights Lab, which has been tracking these bills:


  • Voters must provide proof of identification when voting by mail. (Previously, voters could provide sufficient identifying information or sign an affidavit.)

  • Counties must provide at least one ballot drop box that is accessible only inside early voting sites and government offices during business hours.

  • Election officials are prohibited from sending voters an absentee ballot without a request to do so.

  • Absentee ballot applications must have a wet ink signature; in other words, online applications cannot be sent.

  • The absentee ballot application period was shortened from about six months before an election to less than three months. Applications must be received by the 11th day before an election.

  • The time election officials have to send absentee ballots to voters was reduced from between 49 and 45 days before Election Day to between 29 and 25 days before Election Day.

  • Early in-person voting must be available on at least two Saturdays before an election. (Sunday availability is optional and at the discretion of counties.)

  • Election officials are prohibited from accepting private funding for election administration.


  • Mail ballot applications must be returned 11 days before an election. (Previously, it was 18 days.)

  • The following excuses no longer qualify a voter to cast a mail ballot: lack of transportation, a sickness that does not otherwise prevent a voter from appearing at a polling place on Election Day and a requirement to go to work on Election Day.

  • Voters must provide proof of identification when voting by mail.

  • Absentee ballot applications must have a wet ink signature; in other words, online applications cannot be sent.

  • Election officials are prohibited from sending voters an absentee ballot without a request to do so.

  • Outdoor and drive-thru polling locations are prohibited, even during states of emergency.

  • Early in-person voting on weekdays and weekends is limited to certain hours, depending on county population.

  • Partisan poll watchers were given greater authority in polling locations.

  • Election officials must get the secretary of state’s approval before accepting a donation of $1,000 or more for election administration.


  • Election officials are prohibited from sending voters absentee ballots without a request to do so, unless the voter is on the active early voting list or an election is already authorized to occur by mail.

  • Voters who fail to cast an early ballot in all elections for two consecutive election cycles will be removed from the permanent early voting list, which was renamed to the "active early voting list."

  • State and local officials are prohibited from using private money to conduct or administer elections or register voters.

  • Election officials must carry out certain procedures to identify and cancel the voter registrations of noncitizens, among other voter roll maintenance rules.

  • Automatic voter registration is prohibited; a person must affirmatively request to register to vote.

  • Same-day voter registration is barred, meaning a person cannot register to vote on Election Day and cast a ballot in that election.

  • To register to vote, individuals must provide documentation, such as a driver’s license or state ID, that proves their location of residence.


Q: I've been getting flyers in the mail about the candidates for state representative in Illinois District 91, Republican Scott Preston and Democrat Sharon Chung. On the flyers, the candidates accuse each other of "raising taxes." It's very confusing. Could you please enlighten me?

Democrat Sharon Chung and Republican Scott Preston have each accused the other of raising taxes in their race for an Illinois general assembly seat, but NPR affiliate WGLT reports that each of their claims lack context.

Preston accused Chung of supporting Gov. J.B. Pritzker’s graduated income tax rate amendment, saying she wanted to raise taxes on middle and lower-income residents. Chung did support the plan, which would have changed the state’s 5% flat tax rate to a progressive model. Supporters said it would lower taxes for most Illinoisans, while raising them only on the highest earners. The amendment failed resoundingly with voters, and Chung said she is not proposing reviving the plan.

Meanwhile, a Democratic mailer accused Preston of raising taxes for votes he took on the Normal Town Council. WGLT said some of the mailer’s claims are true but missing context, while others are not true.


Q: Did Sen. Ron Johnson once promise that he would run for only two terms and then leave?

Yes, when Johnson, R-Wis., was running for a second term in 2016 against Democrat Russ Feingold, he said that he would not seek a third term. He changed his mind this past January, however, citing "the Democrats' complete takeover of government and the disastrous policies they have inflicted on America and the world" in an op-ed he wrote for The Wall Street Journal announcing his bid for a third term.

RELATED: Wisconsin Sen. Ron Johnson flips position on seeking a third term


Q: I keep hearing that Republicans are going to take away our Social Security. Have any of them really said so and can they? Also, is it true that Social Security is untouchable by Congress?

Republicans have not explicitly called for ending Social Security. Florida Sen. Rick Scott, the Republican Senatorial Campaign Committee chair, pitched an 11-point plan for the party's platform that proposed sunsetting all federal legislation within five years. Although his plan did not specifically call for ending Social Security, it could leave it up to Congress’ discretion whether to renew the program. But the point is moot as Republican Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell quickly rejected parts of Scott's proposal, saying, "We will not have as part of our agenda a bill that raises taxes on half the American people and sunsets Social Security and Medicare within five years."

Congress is able to change programs such as Social Security. South Carolina Republican Sen. Lindsey Graham, for instance, proposed making changes to Social Security, such as raising the retirement age or lowering benefits for wealthier Americans to keep the program solvent. Similarly, a plan proposed by the Republican Study Committee, which has more than 150 members in the U.S. House, would gradually raise the retirement age, as well as lessen benefits for wealthier people.

Sens. Bernie Sanders, I-Vt., and Elizabeth Warren, D-Mass., this past summer proposed a plan to tax wealthier Americans to boost Social Security.

Social Security is a separate, self-funded program that is not part of the federal government, so Congress can’t spend that money. However, it can borrow money from it. Social Security’s funds are invested entirely in Treasury securities. According to AARP, the government can spend bond proceeds on other programs, but the money must be paid back with interest. The government has always paid it back and the interest benefits Social Security.

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Our Sources

Politico, "Republicans try a pocketbook play to vilify Warnock," Sept. 19, 2022

Washington Free Beacon, "‘They Treat Me Like a Piece of S—’: Raphael Warnock’s Church Pays for His Home. It’s Also Trying To Evict the Poor From Theirs.," Oct. 11, 2022

U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission, Raphael Warnock U.S. Senate Financial Disclosure Filings, accessed Oct. 14, 2022

The Atlanta Journal-Constitution, "Complaint seeks IRS audit of Warnock, church foundation," Oct. 13, 2022

The Atlanta Journal-Constitution, "Warnock receives housing allowance from Ebenezer, offsets Senate cap on salary," Aug. 18, 2022

Search of Fulton County records for property owned by Raphael Warnock, accessed Oct. 17, 2022

Ebenezer Building Foundation, Georgia Investments in Housing Grant Program application, Aug. 4, 2022

Statement, Quentin Fulks, campaign manager for Sen. Raphael Warnock, Oct. 17, 2022

The Washington Post, "A majority of GOP nominees deny or question the 2020 election results," Oct. 12, 2022

The Washington Post, "Where Republican election deniers are on the ballot near you," Oct. 12, 2022

PolitiFact, "How could U.S. voting be affected if election deniers win?," Sept. 21, 2022

Ballotpedia, "United States House of Representatives elections in Florida, 2022," accessed Oct. 17, 2022

Voting Rights Lab, "State Voting Rights Tracker," accessed Oct. 17, 2022

The Fulcrum, "How the 5 most populous states have overhauled their election systems," July 28, 2021

The Fulcrum, "How 5 swing states have overhauled their election systems," Sept. 16, 2021

WGLT, "91st District state representative campaigns call each other tax hike lovers," Oct. 3, 2022

Sen. Ron Johnson, Wall Street Journal, "Why I’m Seeking a Third Senate Term," Jan. 9, 2022

The Baraboo News Republic, "Sen. Ron Johnson says he won't seek 3rd term if reelected in November, Oct. 16, 2016

Sen. Rick Scott, "An 11-point plan to rescue America," February 2022

PolitiFact, "Democratic ad exaggerates GOP embrace and scope of Scott's proposal on Social Security, Medicare," April 6, 2022

C-Span Classroom, "Video Clip: Senator Lindsey Graham (R-SC) on Reforming Social Security," June 9, 2022 

Republican Study Committee, "​​Blueprint to Save America: Fiscal Year 2023 Budget," June 9, 2022 

CNBC, "Sanders, Warren propose bill to extend Social Security’s solvency for 75 years, increase benefits by $2,400 per year," June 9, 2022

AARP, "10 Social Security Myths That Refuse to Die," June 3, 2022

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