Trump and Biden held events earlier in the day in Tampa and Coconut Creek, respectively. Biden will also traveled to Tampa later in the day for remarks that were cut short due to rain.
This live coverage has ended. Continue reading election news for Friday, October 30, 2020.
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Biden campaign knocks Facebook for freezing political ads
The Biden campaign is knocking Facebook’s last-minute ban on political ads, noting that the freeze has cost them half a million in lost projected revenue and could possibly be helping President Donald Trump’s campaign.
Both the Biden and Trump campaign’s had until Oct. 27th to publish digital ads before the ban began, which would have allowed those ads to remain on the platform through the election. However, the Biden campaign is accusing the social media giant of keeping their ads completely away from users to interact with which they consider a broken promise.
They project that it has cost them a projected $500,000 in revenue loss in just the last several days and go as far to say that it has also impacted their entire digital operation, including persuasion and mobilization.
Facebook has, to this point, provided no clarity on the widespread issues that are plaguing all of our ad campaigns since the onset of their new ad restrictions. We have no sense of the scale of the problem, who it is affecting, and their plan to resolve it. We find ourselves 5 days out from Election Day unable to trust that our ads will run properly, or if our opponents are being given an unfair, partisan advantage.
Rob Flaherty, the Biden campaign’s digital director, said in a lengthy statement that they have consistently been pushing for more accountability by Facebook on manipulated ads by the Trump camp.
“Facebook has, to this point, provided no clarity on the widespread issues that are plaguing all of our ad campaigns since the onset of their new ad restrictions,” he writes. “It is currently unclear to us whether or not Facebook is giving Donald Trump an unfair electoral advantage in this particular instance, but it is abundantly clear that Facebook was wholly unprepared to handle this election despite having four years to prepare.”
Harris target of more misinformation than Pence, data shows
Long before Democratic presidential nominee Joe Biden announced her as his running mate, Kamala Harris was the target of widespread online misinformation.
Social media posts included racist claims that she was ineligible to serve in the White House or that she was lying about her Black and Indian heritage. Her mother is from India and her father from Jamaica.
Since being named to the presidential ticket, Harris has been at the center of online misinformation campaigns far more often — four times as much — than the white men who campaigned for the same job, according to a report from media intelligence firm Zignal Labs shared exclusively with The Associated Press.
“The narratives related to Kamala Harris zeroed in much more on her personal identity, especially as a woman of color,” said Jennifer Granston, head of insights at Zignal Labs.
The firm identified more than 1 million mentions since June on Twitter of Harris with hashtags or terms associated with misinformation about her. The mentions include fact checks that rebuffed the falsehoods, but those made up only a small portion of that conversation.
There's been a huge uptick in social media conversation around the vice presidential candidates this year, compared to the 2016 campaign. From July to October, Harris and Republican Vice President Mike Pence have been mentioned almost 48 million times combined on Twitter, compared to only 12 million total mentions of Pence or Virginia Sen. Tim Kaine, who was the Democratic vice presidential nominee four years ago.
Misinformation accounted for less than 1% of Twitter talk when Pence and Kaine were running in 2016. The same goes for Pence this year, with most of the misleading claims around him centered on the idea that he supports gay conversion therapy, which Pence has repeatedly denied.
But misinformation around Harris has been more prevalent, making up more than 4% of the conversation on Twitter, Zignal Labs found.
Spanish-language disinformation campaigns target Latino voters
Late Minnesota absentee ballots must be separated, appeals court rules
A three-judge panel of the 8th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals said Thursday that Minnesota absentee ballots that arrive after Election Day should be separated from other ballots in case they are later invalidated by a court.
The ruling doesn’t block Minnesota’s seven-day extension for counting absentee ballots outright — but it does order a lower court to issue a ruling to segregate the ballots so they can be “removed from vote totals in the event a final order is entered” that finds them unlawful.
The ruling orders Secretary of State Steve Simon to inform local election officials so they can comply, and sends the case back to the lower court for further proceedings. It also sets the stage for post-election litigation.
The decision is likely to create voter confusion, with people who haven’t returned their absentee ballots scrambling to make sure their votes count. People who are worried their absentee ballots may not arrive on time may drop off their ballots at a designated location, vote early at an early voting station, or vote in person on Election Day.
As of last Friday, more than 500,000 of some 2 million requested absentee ballots remained outstanding. The state was due to update totals on Friday.
“The consequences of this order are not lost on us. We acknowledge and understand the concerns over voter confusion, election administration issues, and public confidence in the election,” the majority wrote. But they said those problems were preferable to a post-election scenario where invalidated and valid votes are mixed.
Harris and Sanders get chummy in talk about $15 federal minimum wage
In a conversation centered around fighting for a $15 federal minimum wage, Bernie Sanders was joined by Kamala Harris to discuss how the Biden-Harris administration would tackle issues like paid family leave, student debt, affordable higher education and helping people decimated by the economic crisis.
A gaping hole in the conversation, was, unsurprisingly, health care, which he didn’t ask about. Sanders’ questions were almost in bullet point form, extremely blunt and short. It was less of a conversation and more of a pop quiz interview. Sanders ended their conversation essentially re-hashing the points Harris made, saying what kind of a difference it would make, calling their ideas a “big step” and “no small thing.”
“When we go to vote, I know we will be talking about Trump all the time. That's fine. It is another thing to talk about what we have to do to improve the lives of tens of millions of people today that are hurting,” he said.
Harris’ answers ran through her usual talking points and policy points on these topics, which was not new. But what was pretty interesting was her and Sanders’ compliments of each other at the top of the conversation.
“The thing about you, Bernie,” Harris said, “You decided to do it from inside the system. And to challenge everyone from inside. I do believe on that debate to stage you and I shared for almost a year in the primary, that the majority of those debates would not have been on the topic of health care in America if not for a discussion that you started and the way you challenged the status quo. And our thinking about what is possible and what the American people are prepared for and what they want.”
“I want to thank you for what you have done and continue to do. You really are a treasure,” Harris said.
Sanders’ response: “I don't want to make this a love fest.”
Biden rally in Tampa cut short due to downpour
Biden sped up his stump speech as fast as he could, but still got caught in a downpour. It was likely a good decision to run out of the rain in Tampa, which is considered the lightning capital of the world.
Kayleigh MacEnany on Trump campaign work: 'I have First Amendment rights'
How demographic change favors Biden
Four years ago, President Donald Trump rode strong support from non-college-educated whites to an upset Electoral College win. But changes in demographics suggest that might not be enough this year.
NBC News' Swing the Election analyzes how changes in turnout and candidate support could swing states. The tool, which accounts for demographic shifts since the 2016 election, finds that even if Blacks, whites, Latinos, Asians and other racial groups voted at the same rate they did four years, changes in the electorate since then would be enough to deliver the win to Joe Biden. To get past that, Trump would need non-college-educated whites to increase their turnout by 6 percentage points.
Final debate off between Georgia Senate candidates Purdue and Ossoff
The final debate between Georgia senate candidates Republican Sen. David Perdue and Democratic hopeful John Ossoff is off.
Ossoff tweeted that Perdue cancelled their final debate, adding that at last night’s debate Perdue had, “no answers when I called him out on his record of blatant corruption, widespread disease, and economic devastation.”
Perdue’s spokesman John Burke confirms that the incumbent senator did cancel the debate, but says it’s because President Donald Trump will be in the state campaigning and Perdue intends to be by his side.
While it may look as though Perdue is prioritizing joining Trump at his rally over speaking to Georgians who might have watched the debate, his spokesman points out that “Senator Perdue has over 20 campaign stops planned for the closing days of this race.”
The two faced off on Wednesday night in a fiery debate where Ossoff accused Purdue of being a "crook" in a video clip that's gone viral.
Heat at Trump rally sends a dozen attendees to the hospital
A crowded Trump rally in steamy Tampa, Florida, on Thursday resulted in 17 attendees needing medical attention, with a dozen being taken to the hospital, fire officials told NBC News.
Trump spoke for just under an hour in 87-degree heat at the event outside of Raymond James Stadium to a largely mask-less group of supporters.
A fire truck at the rear of the rally sprayed water in the air to rain down on some rallygoers, but the heat was too much for some attendees, many of whom had been waiting for hours. Tampa Fire Rescue said one of the attendees fainted and another had a seizure. The other 10 who were taken to the hospital were just listed as "sick" with no other details.
The incident came two days after 30 rallygoers in Omaha, Nebraska, needed medical attention after transportation issues resulted in hundreds of attendees being stuck for hours in the freezing cold. Officials said seven were taken to area hospitals with a variety of ailments.
Click here for the full story.
How a fake persona laid the groundwork for a Hunter Biden conspiracy deluge
One month before a purported leak of files from Hunter Biden's laptop, a fake "intelligence" report about him went viral on the right-wing internet, asserting an elaborate conspiracy theory involving former Vice President Joe Biden's son and business in China.
That report, a 64-page document that was later disseminated by close associates of President Donald Trump, appears to be the work of a fake "intelligence firm" called Typhoon Investigations, according to researchers and public documents.
The author of the report, a self-identified Swiss security analyst named Martin Aspen, is a fabricated identity, according to analysis by disinformation researchers, who also concluded that Aspen's profile picture was created with an artificial intelligence face generator. The intelligence firm that Aspen lists as his previous employer told NBC News that no one by that name had ever worked for their company, and no one by that name lives in Switzerland, according to public records and social media searches.
One of the original posters of the report, a blogger and professor named Christopher Balding, took credit for writing parts of the document when asked about it by NBC News, and said that Aspen does not exist.
Despite the report's questionable authorship and anonymous sourcing, its claims that Hunter Biden has a problematic connection to the Communist Party of China have been used by people who oppose the Chinese government, as well as by far-right influencers, to baselessly accuse candidate Joe Biden of being beholden to the Chinese government.
Read more here.
Sick of getting texts from the Biden or Trump campaigns? You're not alone
Voters’ phones have been vibrating and beeping for months with texts from political campaigns — mostly from volunteers they don’t know asking for money and votes — and many of them are about fed up.
Even before the coronavirus pandemic put a damper on in-person campaigning and volunteering, the text message was set to be a top political tool of the 2020 election season. New software allows one person to text many others without running afoul of federal rules against robotexting, and campaigns have been seizing on it since 2018 or even earlier.
But Covid-19 has supercharged texting as a campaign weapon, turning virtual text-banking — where volunteers coordinate their messages and share tips while sitting comfortably at home — into this year’s equivalent of knocking on doors or stuffing envelopes.
“I don’t think anyone really foresaw how important texting would be this cycle,” said Roddy Lindsay, cofounder of Hustle, a tech startup in San Francisco that offers texting software.
Read more here.
Trump officials end gray wolf protections across most of U.S.
BLOOMINGTON, Minn. — Trump administration officials on Thursday stripped Endangered Species Act protections for gray wolves in most of the U.S., ending longstanding federal safeguards and putting states and tribes in charge of overseeing the predators.
The U.S. Department of Interior announcement just days ahead of the Nov. 3 election could lead to resumption of wolf hunts in Michigan, Minnesota and Wisconsin — a crucial battleground in the campaign between President Donald Trump and former Vice President Joe Biden.
It's the latest in a series of administration actions on the environment that appeal to key blocs of rural voters in the race’s final days, including steps to allow more mining in Minnesota and logging in Alaska.
Michigan court rejects appeal on gun ban outside polling places
DETROIT — The Michigan appeals court on Thursday rejected an appeal from a Democratic state official who wants to ban the open carry of guns outside polling places. The court, in a 3-0 order, said voter intimidation already is illegal and declined to hear the case.
“Anyone who intimidates a voter in Michigan by brandishing a firearm or, for that matter, by threatening with a knife, baseball bat, fist, or otherwise menacing behavior, is committing a felony under existing law,” the court said.
The order came two days after a judge said Secretary of State Jocelyn Benson had exceeded her authority in prohibiting the open carry of guns within 100 feet of a polling place.
Court of Claims Judge Christopher Murray said the policy didn’t go through a formal rule-making process required under Michigan law.
Benson acted after federal authorities said they broke up a scheme to kidnap Gov. Gretchen Whitmer.
Michigan Attorney General Dana Nessel’s office said it would appeal the decision immediately to the state Supreme Court.
“We intend to immediately appeal the decision to the Michigan Supreme Court. Just today, a poll released by the Detroit News and WDIV-TV indicated that 73% of Michigan voters say openly carried guns should be banned near polling places,” he office said in a statement. “The merits of this issue — which impacts all Michiganders — deserves full and expedited consideration by our State’s highest court.”
Crew member on Doug Emhoff's support plane tests positive for Covid-19
A flight crew member who traveled on the support plane for Kamala Harris' husband, Doug Emhoff, tested positive for Covid-19, the Biden campaign announced Thursday.
Emhoff tested negative Thursday, as did Harris, the campaign said, and his travel to Ohio was delayed but not canceled.
Two members of Emhoff’s traveling staff and other flight crew members were in close contact with the infected person and are being asked to quarantine, but Emhoff was not near the person or on the plane, Biden's campaign manager, Jen O’Malley Dillon, said in a statement.
"He was not in close contact with this individual, and did not even have passing contact with them at any point," O’Malley Dillon said. "Therefore he is not required to quarantine. As part of his regular testing protocols, Mr. Emhoff underwent PCR testing for Covid-19 today and Covid-19 was not detected."
Early voters cast ballots at baseball parks, sports arenas
Some early voters are heading to theaters, stadiums, and ballparks to cast their ballots in iconic locations, as event centers have opened up as polling locations. Josh Lederman speaks to voters casting their ballots at Washington’s Nationals Park.
Joe Biden and Donald Trump held dueling rallies in Florida
Joe Biden and Donald Trump held dueling rallies in Florida on Thursday, painting a stark contrast for their visions of the U.S. and the Covid-19 pandemic in the key battleground state just five days before Election Day.
"I know it's hard. Over the past few months there’s been so much pain, so much suffering, so much loss," Biden said at an event in Coconut Creek. "Millions of people out there are out of work, on the edge, can’t see the light of the end of the tunnel, and Donald Trump has given up."
Trump, meanwhile, held a “Make America Great Again” rally in Tampa, where a large crowd of mostly unmasked fans sitting close to one another cheered loudly as Trump touted his own quick recovery from Covid-19 — a virus that has so far, in the U.S., sickened nearly 9 million people and killed more than 229,000 people.
"You know the bottom line, though?" Trump told the crowd. "You're gonna get better. You're gonna get better. If I can get better, anybody can get better. And I got better fast."
Bloomberg makes final push in Florida as he reaches $100 million pledge for Biden
WASHINGTON — With five days to go until Election Day, Michael Bloomberg is making a final push to mobilize Black voters in Florida as part of the culmination of his $100 million spending pledge to help former Vice President Joe Biden in the battleground state.
Bloomberg will donate an additional $600,000 to BlackPAC, helping expand the organization’s canvassing efforts in Duval and Leon counties, a Bloomberg aide told NBC News exclusively. The aide added that Bloomberg's own PAC, Independence USA, is expanding its radio buy by up to $500,000 in the final days with two new mobilization ads featuring former President Obama’s recent remarks in Miami and Orlando, targeting Black voters in those cities.
Bloomberg’s total Florida investment helped fund voter persuasion and mobilization efforts through canvassing programs, bilingual paid media, and direct mail campaigns targeting underrepresented voters, according to media reports, press releases and interviews with NBC.
"There is virtually no path to victory for Donald Trump without Florida, which is why Mike invested heavily in the state," Bloomberg senior adviser Kevin Sheeky told NBC.
Read more here.
Senate race in Montana closer than anticipated
The Senate race in Montana is closer than anticipated with Republican incumbent Steve Daines facing a challenge from Democratic Gov. Steve Bullock. Montana reporter Mike Dennison asks “The question is … how many voters are going to vote for Trump, then turn around and vote for Governor Bullock?”
On this day in 2004 George W. Bush's approval rating sat at 49 percent
The year was 2004 and an incumbent President George W. Bush faced then-Senator John Kerry in an election Bush would go on to win.
Bush's approval rating, which peaked in the aftermath of the Sept. 11 attacks, steadily declined for most the rest of his presidency. The approval poll from Oct. 29-31 2004 put Bush's approval rating at 49 percent.
By comparison, President Donald Trump's approval rating, currently at 44 percent, has hovered in the mid- to low-40s for his entire presidency.
Track the approval ratings for all the recent presidents at the NBC News presidential approval rating tracker.
Experts recommend voters hand-deliver ballots as Election Day nears
Some experts are encouraging voters to turn in their ballots at drop boxes and avoid sending them by mail with the election less than a week away.
With the U.S. Postal Service continuing to face scrutiny over mail slowdowns and Election Day coming up, voting experts said dropping off ballots by hand or voting in person is the best way to ensure ballots are counted at this point.
Bob Brandon, the president of Fair Elections Center, said his organization has generally been supportive of mail balloting, but sending ballots by mail gets dicier by the day.
"As is always the case people wait or, in some places, people have not gotten their requested ballot in time," he said. "The general advice now is really to think of an alternative to putting something in the mail. If your state has drop boxes or other places to drop off your ballot, then do that."
Otherwise, voters can drop ballots off at their local board of elections or should consider voting in person.
Trump has signaled he won't accept an election loss. Many of his voters agree.
PHOENIX — President Trump has refused to say he’d accept the results of the election in the event that he loses. In the closing days of the race, some of his supporters are taking his faulty or unsubstantiated claims about voter fraud to heart.
At a packed outdoor rally in this battleground state Wednesday, Trump said the polls that show him trailing Democratic nominee Joe Biden are “fake,” drawing boos from the crowd and raising their expectations of victory. He also said he feared voter fraud, which studies have repeatedly found to be extremely rare, and in most cases non-existent.
“The biggest problem we have is if they cheat with the ballots. That's my biggest problem,” he told supporters at Phoenix Goodyear Airport this week. “That's my only thing — that's the only thing I worry about.”
Followers are echoing his claims.
If the president loses, “I think it will be complete voter fraud,” said Tammy Byler, 54, an operations manager in Waddell, Arizona. “There’s so much voter fraud happening.”
Read more here.
Mail-in ballot issues in Pennsylvania could cause glut of provisional ballots
Election officials in some Pennsylvania counties might see a surge of provisional ballots at the polls because a number of voters have still not received mail-in ballots — which could stress the system on Election Day and cause further delays in reporting results from the battleground state.
In Butler County, which encompasses the northern Pittsburgh suburbs, Commissioner Leslie Osche said 40,000 mail-in ballots were sent out, but they are now getting thousands of calls from voters who didn’t receive them. Osche said the county’s been in contact with the U.S. Postal Service but have so far been unable to track down what went wrong or where the missing ballots went.
In the northeastern part of the state, voters who didn’t receive mail-in ballots in Lehigh County are able to go to the county election office to request a so-called “B ballot,” which serves as a backup ballot for those who haven’t received their mail-in ballot after the initial application period, which closed Oct. 19.
Across the commonwealth, voters who applied for and haven’t received mail-in ballots are now being advised to contact their local elections officials for replacements before Tuesday.
But voters will have the option to fill out a provisional ballot at the polls, which are among the last to be counted. Secretary of the Commonwealth Kathy Boockvar said Wednesday her office is working with counties to make sure they have adequate space for filling out provisional ballots.
“We expect it to be larger and already the counties did see that in the primary — there were far higher provisional ballots in the primary than, you know, usually expected — and presidential years provisional ballots are always higher than in other election years,” she said.
Trump postpones North Carolina rally due to severe winds
President Trump is postponing his Thursday night rally in North Carolina due to severe winds.
"Because of a wind advisory issued with gusts reaching 50 miles per hour and other weather conditions, the outdoor Fayetteville, NC rally has been postponed until Monday," the campaign said in a statement.
Two people who attended Trump rally in N.C. test positive for Covid-19
Two people who attended President Trump's campaign rally in Gastonia, N.C., last week have tested positive for Covid-19, the disease caused by the coronavirus, according to public health officials there.
“These cases are not thought to be an indication of spread from the rally at this time, but rather two independent cases among individuals who were in attendance,” the Gaston County health department said in a news release, referring to the rally Oct. 21.
The health department said contact tracing protocols were being followed and “close contacts to these individuals” were being notified by public health staffers.
Supreme Court rejects 2nd N.C. GOP effort to roll back mail deadline
The Supreme Court on Thursday denied an emergency effort by Republican leaders of the North Carolina Legislature to block lower court rulings that allow six extra days for accepting ballots sent by mail. The justices left the later deadline in place.
The outcome was expected because the court had turned away a similar request late Wednesday from the state and national Republican parties and the Trump campaign.
As in the earlier North Carolina case and in a similar one from Pennsylvania, Justice Amy Coney Barrett took no part in the consideration or disposition of the latest case. A court spokeswoman said that was "because of the need for a prompt resolution of it and because she has not had time to fully review the parties’ filings."
The earlier North Carolina and Pennsylvania cases were both filed before Barrett arrived at the court, while the latest one was filed several hours after she became a justice. However, the issues were largely the same as in the earlier cases, which had been thoroughly considered by the other justices before she arrived.
Biden edges Trump in North Carolina in NYT/Siena poll
Joe Biden holds a 3-point lead over President Trump in North Carolina, 48 percent to 45 percent, well within the margin of error, according to a New York Times/Siena College poll released Thursday.
The survey was conducted Oct. 23 to Oct. 27, after the final presidential debate was held last Thursday, Oct. 22.
Trump won North Carolina by roughly 3.6 percentage points in 2016, beating Democratic nominee Hillary Clinton, 49.8 percent to 46.2 percent. But there are signs that North Carolina — along with other Sun Belt states, such as Georgia and Florida — are moving in the Democrats' direction this year.
In the state's Senate contest, Democratic challenger Cal Cunningham leads Republican incumbent Thom Tillis by 3 percentage points: 46 percent to 43 percent, also within the margin of error, according to the Times/Siena poll. Cunningham's campaign has been roiled by a sexting scandal and allegations that he had an extramarital affair.
The poll of 1,034 likely voters has a margin of error of roughly plus or minus 4 percentage points.
Florida poll: Biden holds lead among likely voters
A new Monmouth University poll shows Biden maintaining his lead in Florida. Similar to the Georgia poll released by Monmouth on Wednesday, Biden leads with 50 percent, compared to Trump’s 45 percent among likely voters.
The former vice president’s lead is nearly identical to the September poll conducted by Monmouth. The lead can be accounted for by the increased Democratic support among younger voters and the widening gender gap.
The president recently made the state of Florida his home, casting his own ballot there earlier this month. However, he has a smaller lead with his key demographic of white voters than he did in 2016 against Hillary Clinton. The Democrats maintain a lead with voters of color.
According to Monmouth, more than half of registered voters in Florida have cast their ballots, with Biden maintaining his lead with this group. Trump leads among those who haven't voted yet.
Biden vows to pass LGBTQ rights legislation in first 100 days
Joe Biden has promised to make passing the LGBTQ rights legislation known as the Equality Act a top priority, hoping to sign what would be a landmark civil rights law within 100 days should he win Tuesday’s election.
Biden, a leading voice for lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender and queer rights as vice president under Barack Obama from 2009 to 2017, also pledged in an interview with the Philadelphia Gay News to expand queer rights internationally by making equality a centerpiece of U.S. diplomacy should he win the election and assume office in January.
Long, maskless lines for Trump's Tampa Rally
Poll: 58 percent of voters believe Trump's campaign has taken too many Covid-19 risks
Fifty-eight percent of voters believe Trump's presidential campaign has taken too many risks when it comes to precautions during the coronavirus outbreak, while 59 percent believe Biden's campaign has handled things about right, according to a new HuffPost/YouGov survey released Thursday.
In contrast, 22 percent think Biden's campaign has been too cautious — a criticism that Trump has frequently tried to level at the former vice president.
Trump has continued to hold large in-person campaign rallies where many of his supporters do not wear masks. Biden has done limited traveling and held only a handful of in-person events, including car rallies that keep people separated.
Five percent of Democratic voters who responded to the survey said Biden's campaign has been too cautious, whereas 43 percent of Republican voters hold that view.
The survey found that 88 percent of Democratic voters believe Trump's campaign has taken too many risks, while only 15 percent of Republican voters hold that view. Sixty-seven percent of Republican voters said Trump's campaign has handled things about right when it comes to coronavirus precautions.
The survey of 1,000 registered voters was conducted between Oct. 23 and Oct. 27 and has a margin of error of 5 percentage points.
Those who didn't vote in 2016 are showing up early in droves — and more are Democrats
With early voting totals smashing records on a daily basis, Democrats are leading with a key constituency — those who did not, or could not, vote in 2016.
So far, more than 20 percent of the early vote nationwide has come from these voters, according to data from NBC News Decision Desk/TargetSmart, a Democratic political data firm.
With 77 million having already cast early votes — a number that the Decision Desk projects could hit 100 million by Tuesday's election — more than 17.5 million of those votes have come from voters who passed on voting in 2016 or were not yet eligible to vote.
Four former secretaries of homeland security — Tom Ridge, Michael Chertoff, Janet Napolitano and Jeh Johnson — formed a nonpartisan organization to champion the integrity of U.S. elections. TODAY's Savannah Guthrie spoke with them in their only joint interview, in which they stressed that voter fraud is very rare, warned about Russian interference, and urged voters to be patient for results in the 2020 election.
Wisconsin GOP says hackers stole $2.3 million from Trump re-election effort
Hackers stole $2.3 million from the Wisconsin Republican Party's account that was being used to help re-elect President Donald Trump in the key battleground state, the party's chairman told The Associated Press on Thursday.
The party noticed the suspicious activity on Oct. 22 and contacted the FBI on Friday, said Republican Party Chairman Andrew Hitt.
Hitt said the FBI is investigating. FBI spokesman Leonard Peace did not immediately return a message seeking comment.
Biden campaign outlines Latino outreach in press call
Ahead of Joe Biden’s trip to Florida, his campaign’s Latino outreach team held a press briefing call with reporters to outline their efforts and last-minute push to win over a community that historically has had low turnout elections.
The team projected confidence that they had invested enough to target Latinos across the country and said internal polling shows that they are on track to meet or exceed President Barack Obama’s Latino vote numbers in 2012.
They touted a “strong, steady” and consistent lead among Latinos that they believe can help push Biden to the finish line, and poured cold water on “head-scratching” polls showing President Donald Trump leading among Latinos in Florida.
They noted that Biden’s visit to Florida is the best way for him to add credibility to his record. His visit to Fort Lauderdale and Tampa are strategic, Florida state director Christian Ulvert said, because they are seeing increased enthusiasm for Biden in pivotal Broward and Hillsborough Counties, respectively.
The campaign also outlined how it has reached voters throughout the past year, informing them on how to return their ballots and engaging them in Florida and Arizona as they head to the polls.
Pelosi expresses confidence Biden will win, calls Trump's Covid-19 response 'sinful'
House Speaker Nancy Pelosi, D-Calif., said Thursday that the U.S. is at a "fork in the road" as it faces a worsening pandemic and suggested that the Trump administration's response to Covid-19 has been "sinful."
At her weekly press conference, Pelosi said that she believes that Biden will be elected president.
"I feel very confident Joe Biden will be elected president on Tuesday,” Pelosi said. "While we don't want to be overconfident or assume anything, we have to be ready to go down a different path.”
Reacting to Trump's latest message to suburban women about getting husbands back to work, Pelosi said, "What decade is he living in — what century is he living in?”
On the possibility of a stimulus deal, the speaker said that she hopes to pass one in the lame-duck congressional session after the election so that if Biden is elected, he comes to office with a clean slate for his first 100 days.
The U.S. GDP spiked 33.1 percent in the third quarter, the fastest pace recorded, after the economy dropped around 31 percent due to Covid-19.
Kamala Harris set to appear on 'The Daily Show' tonight
Democratic vice presidential nominee Kamala Harris will appear on "The Daily Show with Trevor Noah" on Thursday night for a "virtual in-depth interview," Comedy Central announced in a news release.
Harris last appeared on the satirical news show in February 2019, around the time she formally launched her bid for the Democratic presidential nomination.
She returns to the show to reach its "young and political engaged audience," Comedy Central said.
USA TODAY/Suffolk poll: Dems hold 10-point lead over Republicans on generic congressional ballot
Democrats lead Republicans by 10 points on the generic congressional ballot, according to a new USA TODAY/Suffolk University released Thursday morning.
The survey respondents said they are more likely to vote for an unnamed Democratic House candidate than an unnamed Republican House candidate by a margin of 49 percent to 39 percent, according to a summary of poll findings.
The poll, taken after the final presidential debate last Thursday, found that former Vice President Joe Biden holds an 8-point lead over President Donald Trump nationwide, 52 percent to 44 percent.
The poll of 1,000 likely voters was conducted Oct. 23 to Oct. 27 and has a margin of error of 3.1 percentage points.
Economy grew at 33.1 percent rate in third quarter of 2020
The U.S. economy grew at an annual rate of 33.1 percent in the third quarter of 2020, the Bureau of Economic Analysis reported Thursday.
That's up from the second quarter of this year when real GDP decreased 31.4 percent — a drop fueled by a global pandemic that brought the economy to a halt.
Trump is likely to tout the growth as evidence of his administration's accomplishments, but Democrats will argue that recovery has been hampered by his handling of the ongoing pandemic.
Meanwhile, the Labor Department said Thursday that unemployment insurance weekly claims were 751,000 last week.
The economy is showing signs of recovery. Many Black Americans are not.
As Covid-19 began to prompt states to lock down and issue sweeping stay-at-home orders, Anastancia Cuna had to make one of the hardest decisions of her life.
She could either keep the nanny job she has had in the Boston area for the last 20 years or stay home and take care of her daughter, 12 at the time, while her husband worked as a social worker.
"It was a matter-of-life-and-death situation," Cuna, 39, a Black immigrant from Mozambique, said in a phone interview, explaining that she worried her job might expose her to the virus. "It was hard to have to resign, but I know that with life, I can find another job, but if I had gotten infected and died, then I wouldn't be able to ever support my child again."
She left her job and became one of the tens of millions of Americans whose economic livelihoods were upended this year. The financial impact of the pandemic has disproportionately affected Black workers, who represent a disproportionate share of front-line workers, according to a recent study, and they are also more at risk for Covid-19. They are also the group with the highest unemployment rate. Currently, 12 percent of Black Americans are jobless; that is down from a high of nearly 17 percent in May, but it is up from the pre-pandemic rate of 5.8 percent in February and from the all-time low of 5.5 percent in September 2019.
Supreme Court approves extending mail-in ballot deadlines in 2 battleground states
In the crucial battlegrounds of Pennsylvania and North Carolina, the Supreme Court is allowing election officials to accept ballots received after Nov. 3, decisions seen as victories for Democrats. NBC's Peter Alexander reports for "TODAY."
Harris highlights Democrats' broad coalition
In her second visit to Phoenix (her first was a joint event with Biden after the vice presidential debate), Harris entered the stage with artist Alicia Keys and spoke about the broad coalition of support that is backing Biden.
“We've got of course, Democrats. But we've got Republicans, Cindy McCain and Jeff Flake. Independents. People of all backgrounds coming together, understanding what is at stake,” Harris said.
She also repeated her line from earlier today in Tucson that there’s been talk about her values. Tonight in Phoenix, she specially mentioned it was coming from “the current occupant of the White House.”
First Read: Trump's job rating could tell us a lot about his ballot performance
WASHINGTON — President Trump’s ballot number in our new NBC News/Marist poll of Florida is 47 percent — versus 51 percent for Joe Biden (a result that’s within the poll’s margin of error).
Trump’s job-approval rating in the battleground is also 47 percent, per the poll.
And that brings up something important to watch on Election Night: There’s historically been a direct correlation between a sitting president’s job rating and his ballot position.
Perdue, Ossoff face off in Georgia Senate debate, attack goes viral
Republican Sen. David Perdue and Democratic challenger Jon Ossoff battered each other Wednesday night with what has become the familiar refrains of their bitter race: Perdue repeatedly accused Ossoff of backing radical, socialist policies while Ossoff slammed Perdue’s handling of the coronavirus pandemic and Republican efforts to overturn the Affordable Care Act.
Perdue and Ossoff met in Savannah for their second debate of the race, which polls indicate is extremely close. The outcome could have national implications over which party controls the Senate, with Democrats hoping Ossoff could give the party their first U.S. Senate win in Georgia since 2000.
Their attacks Wednesday mirrored their first debate as well as the ads from both sides that have blanketed television airwaves in recent months.
“We are in the middle of a grave public health crisis. It is spiraling out of control because Washington politicians downplayed the crisis, ignored the medical science, undermined the doctors and scientists who knew what they’re doing,” Ossoff said. “And senator David Perdue, in the middle of this health crisis, is still supporting efforts to repeal protections for Georgians with pre-existing conditions.”
“Right now we’ve got to get serious about beating Covid and then getting our economy going again. If you leave it to the Democrats, they want us locked down and continue to stay locked down,” Perdue responded, before falsely accusing Ossoff of backing the Green New Deal and socialized medicine, neither of which Ossoff supports.
Biden and Trump hit Florida with competing rallies
Biden to propose task force to reunite migrant children with their parents
Joe Biden is expected to announce Thursday that he will create a task force to try to reunite 545 children separated at the border from their parents through executive order on day one of his presidency, a campaign source familiar with the decision told NBC News.
The decision comes as he heads to Florida, where his campaign has been trying to chip away at support for Trump among Latino voters. Both men will be campaigning in Tampa on Thursday.
In response to the planned announcement, a government official involved in the reunification of thousands of children separated by the Trump administration said, “Those of us who worked to prevent the family separation policy from taking place, and then did whatever we could to reunify children, are eager for a chance to do more. That could be possible under an administration that shares our belief that family separation is immoral and cruel. If a Biden administration task force is created, there are experienced feds who’ll stand up immediately to volunteer.”
Biden has long pledged to protect thousands of undocumented immigrants in the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals program and send an immigration bill to Congress in his first 100 days.