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Americans are Googling these 5 questions as election looms

Julia Musto
·4 mins read

With the presidential election now just 23 days away, Americans are increasingly looking for answers.

But while the outcome of the Nov. 3 contest isn't something voters can discover through Google, the answers to other queries pop up within seconds on the world's largest search engine.

To evaluate what's on Americans' minds, Mashable.com asked Google what the most pressing questions were during the week of Oct. 1-8, a period full of news.

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President Trump tested positive for coronavirus and was flown to Walter Reed National Military Medical Center on Friday, Oct. 2.

On Wednesday, Oct. 7, Vice President Mike Pence and Democratic challenger Sen. Kamala Harris squared off during a vice presidential debate in Salt Lake City.

In addition, Democratic House Speaker Nancy Pelosi announced legislation Friday to create a commission that would allow Congress to oust a president from office, using the 25th Amendment.

All three events occurred amid the still-devastating impact of the coronavirus pandemic and the continuation of nationwide protests for social justice and against racial inequality.

According to a statement from Google, the topics most commonly searched varied -- though there were common themes, Mashable reported.

25th Amendment

With the president contracting the deadly virus, the 25th Amendment has been a hot topic of discussion.

The first query on the list asked that the 25th Amendment be described in "simple terms." The amendment to the U.S. Constitution lays out how the government continues to function when a sitting president dies, resigns, can't perform the duties of the office, or is removed.

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If Congress approved doing so by a two-thirds majority in both the Senate and House of Representatives, the powers of the presidency could be passed to the vice president.

President's helicopter

The second question involved the day President Trump was airlifted from White House grounds to the hospital. TV live shots focused on the helicopter used to transport the chief executive, whose call sign is Marine One.

"What kind of helicopter is Marine One?" curious Googlers asked.

According to Popular Mechanics, Marine One can be any one of a fleet of VH-3D and VH-60N helicopters from Sikorsky. They will eventually be replaced by the company's VH-92A helicopters.

Any Marine helicopter carrying the president is designated "Marine One."

Line of succession

Furthermore, Americans wanted to know what happens if a president dies in office.

In 2002, former President George W. Bush invoked the 25th Amendment himself when he underwent a colonoscopy, though fatalities in that procedure are extremely rare.

Regardless, the Constitution lays out the first four people in the line of succession: the vice president, speaker of the House of Representatives, president pro tempore of the Senate, and secretary of state.

That said, in an election year, it gets a little more complicated.

If the president were to die before the election, the Republican Party could name a new candidate. If he were to die after he won reelection but before his second term, the 20th Amendment dictates that the vice president-elect is sworn in at the start of the new term.

A candidate doesn’t become president-elect, however, unless Congress confirms the Electoral College votes, a process scheduled by law for Jan. 6. If the winning candidate died before that, electors would have to decide how to vote.

The Supreme Court has previously ruled that states have the right to require their electors to vote in line with the candidate picked by the majority of the state's voters, but did not explore what happens if that candidate dies.

Coronavirus symptoms, women police

All things considered, it makes sense that Google users would also want to know: "What are mild COVID symptoms?"

Beyond the gates of the White House, the virus has now taken the lives of almost 214,000 Americans.

While the president and White House physicians claimed that Trump's symptoms were mild, knowing what to look out for is critical to addressing infection. Unfortunately, symptoms of COVID-19 are varied, ranging from a bad cough and difficulty breathing to headaches.

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Lastly, following increased scrutiny over the deaths of Black men and women at the hands of law enforcement, Americans wanted to know the percentage of women police officers in the country.

According to a 2018 FBI report, only 12.6% of police officers in the United States are women.

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