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Highlights: Biden, Trump prep for final pitches to voters

Get the latest presidential election news and campaign updates.
Image: President Donald Trump and Joe Biden on a background of concentric circles made up of blue and red stars.
Chelsea Stahl / NBC News

With only two days to go before Election Day, both President Donald Trump and Democratic nominee Joe Biden are making their final pitches to voters in battleground states that will be keys to victory.

Trump is traveling to five states — Michigan, Iowa, North Carolina, Georgia, and Florida — while Biden is holding two events in Philadelphia.

This live coverage has ended. Continue reading election news for Monday, Nov. 2, 2020.

Stories we're following:

—Latest polls from battleground states and more

—The road to 270: How Biden or Trump could win

A voting rights win in Texas

—Trump begins rally blitz by playing the hits

—Biden bests Trump with Latino voters

701d ago / 5:33 AM UTC

Trump responds to 'Fire Fauci!' chants at Florida rally

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OPA LOCKA, Fla. — At President Donald Trump's fifth and final rally of the day Sunday, the crowd broke out in a chant of  “Fire Fauci!” and Trump responded, “Let me wait until a little bit after the election.”

His remark came hours after the White House strongly pushed back against an interview in which Dr. Anthony Fauci, the government's leading infectious disease expert, said the U.S. is in a terrible position to face the coming months of the coronavirus pandemic.

Fauci said the country needs to make an "abrupt change" in its public health practices and behaviors as the holiday season nears. 

In a lengthy statement, White House spokesman Judd Deere said it was "unacceptable and breaking with all norms for Dr. Fauci, a senior member of the President's Coronavirus Taskforce and someone who has praised President Trump's actions throughout this pandemic, to choose three days before an election to play politics."

701d ago / 2:34 AM UTC

Colombian music replaces Trump rally soundtrack in last minute push for Latino voters

OPA LOCKA, Fla. — Rather than the usual Trump rally soundtrack of Frank Sinatra’s ‘My Way’ and the theme song from Titanic greeting rally attendees, Trump’s campaign brought in a Spanish-speaking Colombian band to warm up the crowd at his event here outside of Miami.

It was a clear sign of the Trump campaign’s efforts to try to win over Latino voters who campaign officials see as key to winning the state after losing support among other key groups, like seniors. But while 69 percent of residents in Miami-Dade County identify as Hispanic, many attendees at the crowd appeared to be non-Hispanic.

The late night rally, scheduled to start just an hour before the county's midnight curfew goes into effect, was Trump's last scheduled event in Florida before Election Day. But as Trump makes a last-minute push in Florida, nearly 9 million voters in the state have already cast their ballots early, almost as many as the total ballots cast in 2016. When one speaker asked the crowd who had voted, they were met with loud cheers. 

701d ago / 2:12 AM UTC

Julián Castro campaigns for Biden in Phoenix, visits a Day of the Dead altar

Julián Castro, a campaign surrogate for Joe Biden, visited a Día de los Muertos ofrenda, or Day of the Dead altar, on Sunday in Phoenix, where local organizers had placed a photo of his stepmother, Alice, who died of Covid-19. 

The former Housing and Urban Development secretary under President Barack Obama, has been working to get out the Latino vote. He also attended a "Low Riden for Joe Biden" event in Phoenix.

701d ago / 1:41 AM UTC

Trump responds after FBI investigating harassment of Biden campaign bus in Texas

The FBI said on Sunday it is investigating the alleged harassment of a Biden campaign bus in Texas on Friday.

During a rally in Michigan earlier Sunday, the president praised a group of his supporters who surrounded the Biden campaign bus with their vehicles. Video showed two cars colliding, and the Biden campaign said the pro-Trump trucks tried to run the bus off the road as it traveled from San Antonio to Austin.

Trump responded to the FBI's statement in a tweet later Sunday, saying his supporters "did nothing wrong."

"In my opinion, these patriots did nothing wrong," he said. "Instead, the FBI & Justice should be investigating the terrorists, anarchists, and agitators of ANTIFA, who run around burning down our Democrat run cities and hurting our people!"

701d ago / 1:30 AM UTC

How Florida plans to restore voter confidence in the mail-in ballot

701d ago / 12:20 AM UTC

Trump says he's sending in his lawyers as soon as the election ends to review swing state votes

President Trump said Sunday that he's sending in his lawyers as soon as the election ends on Tuesday, his latest attack on the legitimacy of this week's unprecedented vote count.

After landing in North Carolina Sunday evening, Trump was asked about a report published Sunday in Axios that said the president could try to prematurely declare victory on Election Day. Trump denied he would do so, but lamented Supreme Court rulings that allowed for Pennsylvania and North Carolina to count absentee ballots that are postmarked before Election Day but arrive shortly after Nov. 3.

"I think it was a terrible decision for our country. And I think it was a very dangerous decision for our country," Trump said. "Because you're going to have one or two or three states depending on how it ends up where they're tabulating ballots and the rest of the world is waiting to find out. And I think there's great danger to it and I think a lot of fraud and misuse can take place. I think it's a terrible decision by the Supreme Court. A terrible decision."

His claims of widespread fraud connected to mail-in voting have been repeatedly debunked.

"Now I don't know if that's going to be changed because we're going to go in night of, as soon as that election is over, we're going in with our lawyers," Trump continued, adding, "I don't think it's fair that we have to wait a long period of time after the election. Should've gotten their ballots in a long time before that. Could've gotten their ballots in a month ago. I think it's a ridiculous decision."

Pennsylvania and North Carolina are two of the most hotly contested swing states. In Pennsylvania specifically, election officials are not allowed to ready the ballots for tabulation ahead of polls closing — a process known as "pre-canvassing" — that would help speed up the counting process.

Read more here.

701d ago / 10:38 PM UTC

These attorneys remade the Supreme Court. Now they're fighting to limit voting.

Way back in February, before the pandemic, the lockdowns, and the epic lines at polling places, election officials in the battleground state of Michigan got a letter. It said voter registration in 19 counties was “abnormally” high, indicating they weren’t maintaining their rolls.

The group spearheading those letters, called the Honest Elections Project, describes its mission as a nonpartisan effort to fight fraud, protect every American’s right to vote and instill faith in the electoral process.

Behind the group is a network that includes some of Washington's most powerful conservative figures, with close ties to the GOP and the Trump administration. Hundreds of pages of financial records and other documents, some not previously reported, lead back to Leonard Leo, an adviser to President Donald Trump and the former executive vice president of the influential conservative legal group known as the Federalist Society.

Read more here.

701d ago / 9:18 PM UTC

'Does anybody have a coat I can use?' Trump laments Michigan weather at campaign rally

701d ago / 9:07 PM UTC

As Biden sees multiple paths to win, Democrats face 'crippling fear' of 2016 redux

Joe Biden heads into Election Day with a unique coalition and multiple paths to victory against President Trump — but some Democrats can hardly believe the polls, haunted by the ghosts of 2016.

"I'm ping-ponging back and forth between utter dread and cautious optimism," said Zac Petkanas, a Democratic strategist who worked as the director of rapid response on Hillary Clinton's campaign.

Many Democrats were overconfident about the 2016 election and paid a heavy price for it. Now it's the opposite. They appear to be in a better position, but party operatives and loyalists are persistently on edge, trying to remain hopeful but often quick to panic at warning signs.

Read more here.

701d ago / 8:55 PM UTC

In key battlegrounds, voters of color see ballots marked for rejection at higher rates

Mail ballots returned by voters of color in two swing states where the race between President Trump and Joe Biden is tight are being flagged for errors and possible rejection at disproportionately high rates, according to an analysis by NBC News and TargetSmart.

NBC News and TargetSmart reviewed data on more than 60,000 spoiled ballots in 11 states, including two — Florida and Georgia — which have released the number of ballots flagged for errors or rejection as broken down by race. More than 7,900 ballots cast by Black, Hispanic, and Asian voters in those two states have been marked for voter errors at higher rates than white voters. However, the data from the 11 states shows a low rejection rate overall. 

In Florida, election officials have flagged Black, Hispanic and Asian voters at twice the rate of white voters. 

Read more here.

701d ago / 8:36 PM UTC
701d ago / 7:43 PM UTC

Texas Supreme Court: Drive-thru votes can stand

HOUSTON — The Texas Supreme Court declined to act on Sunday on a Republican-filed lawsuit that aimed to throw out around 127,000 Harris county votes cast at drive-thru voting sites, at least temporarily allowing those votes to stand. 

"We always knew that the law was on our side here," Harris County Clerk Chris Hollins told NBC News. "We followed the election code to a T. We worked with the secretary of state to introduce drive-thru voting. We know that it is legal, in addition to being safe and convenient."

The Republican-led effort to toss the drive through-ballots isn't over. Federal District Court Judge Andrew Hanen has a hearing scheduled for Monday morning on the lawsuit. Some Democrats are skeptical that the George W. Bush-appointed Judge will provide a fair hearing. 

Harris County's attorneys believe the all-Republican Texas Supreme Court's decision strengthens their argument.

"If the federal court follows the law, then we will win no questions asked," Hollins said. 

701d ago / 7:20 PM UTC

Lady Gaga and John Legend to perform at final Biden events

The Biden campaign on Sunday announced its pre-Election Day plans, which will include a slate of events in Pennsylvania and feature musical performances from Lady Gaga and John Legend.

The former vice president will spend Monday campaigning around the Pittsburgh area. Biden, who started his presidential campaign in Pittsburgh, will be concluding it there as well.

His wife, Jill Biden, will hold events in Erie and Lawrence Counties before holding a get out the vote event for suburban women in Allegheny County, home to Pittsburgh. She will then join the Democratic nominee for an election night event in Pittsburgh.

Lady Gaga will perform at that event, while John Legend will join Harris and her husband, Doug Emhoff, at an election night rally in Philadelphia.

701d ago / 7:11 PM UTC

Officials push back on Trump camp's attempts to question Tuesday's vote

With early voting setting records as states have expanded the ability to do so, nearly 100 million people have already cast ballots. Polls show Biden with a large lead among early voters in key states, while Trump maintains a significant advantage among those who have yet to vote. Democrats are also leading nationally and in several key swing states among voters who did not cast ballots in 2016.

Trump and his allies have in recent days amplified rhetoric calling into question the legitimacy of Tuesday's vote. On ABC's "This Week," Trump campaign senior adviser Jason Miller on Sunday baselessly claimed that Democrats will seek to "steal" the election back from Trump if he holds a lead in some key swing states over Biden on November 3.

Election officials from both parties have attempted to reassure voters about the legitimacy of the count, which may last for days as mailed-in ballots trickle in. Spencer Cox, the Republican lieutenant governor of Utah who is also the party's gubernatorial nominee, called Miller's comment "garbage."

On CNN's 'State of the Union," Michigan Gov. Gretchen Whitmer, a Democrat, noted that "it is going to take time to count" the firehose of absentee ballots but that "it's more important that we get a count that’s accurate than a count that is fast."

Pennsylvania Secretary of State Kathy Boockvar told NBC's "Meet the Press" that voters should "ignore the hype. Just get your ballots in today."

701d ago / 6:24 PM UTC

Trump begins rally blitz by playing the hits and lamenting the cold

President Trump is spending one of the last days before Election Day engaged in a five-rally blowout across several key states where he is either trailing Joe Biden or running narrowly ahead.

He began his Sunday spree in Michigan, where he held a mid-day rally in snowy Washington Township, played the greatest hits of his campaign as temperatures dropped down to 29 degrees with the wind chill.

The president went through his typical rally setlist, blasting Democratic policy proposals, criticizing Joe Biden's fitness, and assailing so-called "cancel culture."

Read more here.

701d ago / 5:40 PM UTC
701d ago / 5:16 PM UTC

Pennsylvania Secretary of State late mail-in ballots will be counted

Pennsylvania Secretary of State Kathy Boockvar joined "Meet the Press" on Sunday to discuss the timeline of election results from the state, which is down to the wire in legal battles over ballot rules and anticipating counting delays.

Over two million Pennsylvanians have already cast their votes, Boockvarnd said, noting that this year’s mail-in ballots will be “10 times as many as the last time we had a presidential election in Pennsylvania.” Still, she said the "overwhelming majority of ballots in Pennsylvania … will be counted within a matter of days."

On ballots postmarked Nov. 3 after 8:00 p.m. ET, which may or may not be valid depending on the courts, Boockvar explained that officials will be tallying but separating the late arrivals until there is a ruling.

"What we want to do, first and foremost, is say to the voters, ‘Ignore the lawsuits, ignore the hype. Just get your ballots in today,’” Boockvar said, "The best way you can make sure that your ballot will be counted is to get it in by 8:00 p.m. on November 3rd."

701d ago / 4:47 PM UTC
701d ago / 4:39 PM UTC

Biden campaign responds to Trump caravan incident

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Biden's campaign addressed to a Trump truck caravan in Texas that surrounded a Biden/Harris campaign bus on Friday, attempting to slow it down, as footage of the incident showed.

"Rather than engage in productive conversation about the drastically different visions that Joe Biden and Donald Trump have for our country, Trump supporters in Texas today instead decided to put our staff, surrogates, supporters, and others in harm’s way," Biden campaign Texas Communications Director Tariq Thowfeek said. "Our supporters will continue to organize their communities for Joe Biden, Kamala Harris and Democrats up and down the ballot, and to the Texans who disrupted our events today: We’ll see you on November 3rd."

The bus was en route from San Antonio to Austin on I-35 when it was surrounded by multiple vehicles with Trump signs and flags. The caravan attempted to run the bus off the road, the campaign said, adding that some of the vehicles pulled in front of the bus and slowed to try and stop it in the middle of the highway.

Campaign staff called 911 and local law enforcement assisted the bus in reaching its destination. The campaign then canceled its event at the Texas AFL-CIO in Austin out of caution.

Video of the incident showed that two vehicles collided while driving close to the bus.

Trump later tweeted a video of the incident, praising his supporters. He also addressed the incident at a rally in Michigan on Sunday, saying "our people" were "protecting his bus yesterday."

701d ago / 4:17 PM UTC

Biden campaign pushes back on Trump 'Super Predator' tweet

701d ago / 4:11 PM UTC

White House blasts Fauci after he says U.S. 'poorly' prepared for Covid-19 winter

The White House is strongly pushing back on a new interview in which Dr. Anthony Fauci, the nation's leading infectious disease expert, said the U.S. is in a terrible position to face the upcoming months of the pandemic.

"We’re in for a whole lot of hurt. It’s not a good situation,” Fauci, director of the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases, told The Washington Post on Friday. "All the stars are aligned in the wrong place as you go into the fall and winter season, with people congregating at home indoors. You could not possibly be positioned more poorly."

In a lengthy statement, White House spokesman Judd Deere called it "unacceptable and breaking with all norms for Dr. Fauci, a senior member of the President’s Coronavirus Taskforce and someone who has praised President Trump’s actions throughout this pandemic, to choose three days before an election to play politics."

Read more here.

701d ago / 3:51 PM UTC

On Election Night, these are the first states to watch

Election Day may well turn into Election Week this year with late returns deciding the presidency, but there still will be a large group of Americans tuning in on Tuesday trying to read the tea leaves of the early results. For those politically-obsessed souls, the Data Download is happy to provide this hourly guide on how we’ll be watching the returns.

There are a lot of ways people try to get an early read on what’s going on Election Day. One of the first is the inevitable early leak of the exit polls. Do yourself a favor and ignore them. Those are the numbers that gave us President John Kerry in 2004 and President Hillary Clinton in 2016.

The real show starts at 7 p.m. when polls begin closing in seven states, including two biggies, Georgia and eastern Florida. A half-hour later polls close in two more states everyone will be watching, North Carolina and Ohio.

Read more here.

701d ago / 3:08 PM UTC

Poll: Biden bests Trump with Latino voters by a 2-1 margin

Joe Biden leads Donald Trump among Latino voters by about a 2-1 margin days before the presidential election, according to a new NBC News/Wall Street Journal/Telemundo poll.

The poll finds that 62 percent of Latinos support Biden, while 29 percent support Trump. In 2016, according to exit polls, Hillary Clinton’s margin of victory among Latinos was 66 percent to 28 percent.

Still, their engagement in the election lags behind other voter groups, which could be a warning sign for Democrats hoping to bank Latino votes for Biden and other Democratic candidates in key battleground states like Arizona, Florida and Texas. Sixty-seven percent say their interest in the election ranks a 9 or a 10 out of 10, compared with 87 percent of white voters and 80 percent of Black voters.

Read more here.

701d ago / 3:00 PM UTC
701d ago / 2:36 PM UTC

Biden leads Trump by 10 points in final pre-election NBC News/WSJ poll

Joe Biden maintains a double-digit national lead over President Donald Trump in the final national NBC News/Wall Street Journal poll before the 2020 presidential election, down slightly from the 11-point lead he had in the poll two weeks ago.

Sixty percent of registered voters in the poll say the country is on the wrong track and a majority disapprove of Trump’s handling of the coronavirus.

Read more on this story.

701d ago / 1:59 PM UTC

'It's too important now': Record turnout, Black voters fuel Democratic hopes in Georgia

Norman Williams hadn’t voted in 52 years. But the 75-year-old retired Atlanta resident cast his first ballot since 1968 earlier this month for Joe Biden for one simple reason: His intense desire to see President Donald Trump kicked out of office.

Interviews with more than a dozen voters, as well as former lawmakers, strategists and experts in Georgia politics, reveal a traditionally red state in reach for Biden as Democrats up and down the ticket appear to be gaining ground with just two days to go until Nov. 3.

Read more here.

701d ago / 1:29 PM UTC

The view from Trumpworld, 48 hours out

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President Trump’s re-election campaign is feeling increasingly confident about their odds in the battleground states of Florida and North Carolina and less so on crucial Midwestern states like Michigan and Wisconsin, according to people familiar with the discussions, who agree Pennsylvania could be the most critical opportunity of all on Tuesday. 

Some allies close to the president are bullish enough to think Florida and North Carolina could be called early in the evening, based on what their current internal polling shows. They declined to share that data. 

The president has spent considerable time in recent weeks in the Sunshine State, with another stop scheduled for Sunday evening. A Thursday rally in Fayetteville, North Carolina was scrapped due to high winds but Trump will be back in the state twice before Tuesday. 

As he’s crisscrossed the country this week, the president has been asking aides on Air Force One what more he could be doing for a chance at a second term, peppering his staff with questions about what specifically he should be saying and where they should be focusing. 

Still, the president is currently trailing Joe Biden in almost all of the key battleground contests. The Trump campaign has argued their candidate’s all-out blitz in the home stretch, despite the coronavirus crisis and record infections in many of the states he’s visited, can help boost turnout on Tuesday. 

In the final four days of the 2020 cycle alone, the president will have held 18 rallies with thousands of supporters. Five of those will have been in the commonwealth of Pennsylvania, where the president is dedicating the most time in the last push. "He will do whatever it takes," one ally of the president said. 

701d ago / 1:15 PM UTC

 

701d ago / 1:07 PM UTC

Harris predicts a 'decisive decision' on election night

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Kamala Harris said Saturday while campaigning in Florida that she was confident there would be a "decisive decision" on election night.

"I really do hope that," Harris told reporters, adding that "based on what I'm feeling and seeing here and around the country" she did not think the election results would end up in front of the Supreme Court, as President Trump has suggested. 

When asked about what she and Joe Biden would do if Trump jumped the gun and declared victory before the race was called, Harris said, "I'm not going to speculate about that."

"I really do believe that the American people have a line, that they will be unwilling to cross and that line, whoever they vote for," she said, predicting that "there will be a respect for the elections and the outcome."

In her last and biggest event of the day, Harris told rallygoers in Palm Beach, “Florida is gonna determine in every way who will be the next president of the United States.”

701d ago / 1:07 PM UTC

Where will the candidates be on election night?

Donald Trump is expected to hold his election night celebration at his Trump International hotel in Washington, although there has been some talk of moving the festivities to the White House. 

Joe Biden will be in Delaware and plans to address the country from the Chase Center, the same location where he formally accepted his party's nomination in August. 

701d ago / 1:07 PM UTC

In Pennsylvania, small-town Trump defectors are rare — but could be decisive

It's hard to find a man like Victor Dennis in this evenly divided, deeply polarized, heavily courted corner of the county that most precisely mirrored President Donald Trump's statewide victory here in 2016.

All but a relative handful of voters in this small Northampton County town, 75 miles due west of the Statue of Liberty and 20 miles northeast of Allentown, have voted — or will vote — the same way that they did four years ago. There isn't much room for a change of heart in the town or in a county that Trump won 50 percent to 46 percent four years ago.

That's what makes voters like Dennis, 91, only a little more common than dragon-riding leprechauns. But the race is so tight here, and across the state, that just a small number of crossover voters could make the difference.

"First time in my life, I voted for a Democrat," Dennis, a longtime resident of Forks who now lives in a retirement community in nearby Nazareth, told NBC News on Friday after he finished packing groceries into his car in a strip mall parking lot. "I like a lot of the things Trump did, but I couldn't stand his bloviating."

Election experts say that the result in Pennsylvania is most likely to determine which candidate wins the presidency. This region, with its mix of bedroom communities for New York and Philadelphia, a health care economy that rivals its historical manufacturing base, and rural stretches dotted with small towns, is one of the most heavily contested in the country.

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