News you might have missed: New Yorkers can now say 'I do' online


Also: Local governments work to ensure everyone can vote by mail, and Texas Democrats innovate to make voter registration easier.

Also this week, a Supreme Court ruling protected criminal defendants, and an online program lets students learn about Alexander Hamilton and the hit musical based on his life.

Read on to see what else you might have missed this week in the news.

New Yorkers can now marry online

New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo made it easier for people to get married in a time of social distancing. On Saturday, he announced an executive order "allowing New Yorkers to obtain a marriage license remotely and allowing clerks to perform ceremonies via video conference."

With marriage bureaus closed at the moment, the order temporarily suspends a state law requiring in-person visits for marriages.

"There is now no excuse when the question comes up for marriage. No excuse," Cuomo quipped. "You can do it by Zoom. Yes or no."

The District of Columbia is also letting people obtain marriage licenses online, with the Superior Court issuing a notice last week that online applications would be accepted "effective immediately."

The Supreme Court requires unanimous criminal verdicts

The U.S. Supreme Court ruled Monday that criminal defendants cannot be convicted without a unanimous jury verdict.

"Every judge must learn to live with the fact he or she will make some mistakes; it comes with the territory. But it is something else entirely to perpetuate something we all know to be wrong only because we fear the consequences of being right," Justice Neil Gorsuch wrote for the majority.

The Ramos v. Louisiana decision applies to all 50 states, but only one state — Oregon — was still allowing non-unanimous criminal verdicts by the time the case was decided.

Texas Democrats expand voting rights for all

The Republican-controlled Texas state government does not allow online voter registration. So the Texas Democratic Party devised a workaround.

The party announced Tuesday that it is launching, a site on which voters can safely register to vote from home.

The party will mail any Texan who provides their information a pre-filled registration application and a postage-paid envelope addressed to their registrar's office.

"All the voter has to do is sign the pre-filled application and then put it in the mail," the party press release explained.

Local governments move to make voting by mail easier

Wisconsin made national news earlier this month after Republicans refused to postpone or replace in-person voting in the state's primary election. On Tuesday, Milwaukee's Common Council unanimously voted to establish a "SafeVote" program to send all of the city's registered voters a mail-in ballot application.

"Under these circumstances, voting by mail must be seen as the best way to ensure the best possible participation in a vital election," the council stated in its resolution.

Each of the city's roughly 300,000 registered voters will automatically be sent an absentee ballot application and a pre-stamped envelope in which to return it.

Elections officials in Allegheny County, Pennsylvania, also announced they would send every eligible voter an absentee application for the upcoming June 2 primary.

#EduHam at Home

A history nonprofit and the creators of the Pulitzer Prize-winning musical "Hamilton" on Tuesday launched #EduHam at Home, a free digital American history curriculum.

"Our friends at the Gilder Lehrman Institute have come up with a way for you to participate in the Hamilton education program from your very own creative Batcave," the show's author, Lin-Manuel Miranda, announced in a YouTube video.

Students can access primary historical documents, watch clips of the show, and create and perform their own song, rap, spoken word performance, or scene. Each week, 10 performances will be selected to be shared online.

Watch Michelle Obama read on PBS Kids

Michelle Obama announced in a video on Monday that has already received more than 3 million views that she will host a weekly series of "Read-Along" videos in collaboration with the PBS Kids educational network and publisher Penguin Random House.

"I can't wait to share the magic of storytelling with kids everywhere by reading a beloved children's book every Monday," she tweeted.

The videos, beginning with Obama's reading of Julia Donaldson and Axel Scheffler's "The Gruffalo," will be available on the PBS Kids Facebook and YouTube pages.