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November 2 highlights: Trump and Biden rally supporters

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

President Donald Trump and Joe Biden made last-ditch efforts to energize their bases and win over undecided voters on the final day of campaigning before Election Day.

Trump was in four states key to his 2016 victory but where recent polls have shown him trailing Biden — Pennsylvania, Michigan, North Carolina and Wisconsin. Biden visited Cleveland before kicking off a flurry of events in Pennsylvania. His running mate, Sen. Kamala Harris, D-Calif., also visited the Northeast battleground state.

Former President Barack Obama held campaign stops for Biden in Atlanta and Miami.

This live coverage has ended. Continue reading election news from November 3, 2020.

Stories we're following today:

—Latest polls from battleground states

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

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

765d ago / 5:33 AM UTC

The first votes are in

765d ago / 4:36 AM UTC

Obama's homestretch itinerary: On the campaign trail — and inside Trump's head

ATLANTA — As the campaign clock ticked down to Election Day on Monday, former President Barack Obama was just warming up.

"What's Trump's closing argument right now?" Obama said at a drive-in campaign rally here for Democratic presidential nominee Joe Biden and Georgia's Democratic Senate candidates. "Last night on his Covid spreader tour, he's going around spreading Covid. He's like a carrier. He cares more about having big crowds than keeping people safe."

For nearly four years, Obama refrained from attacking his successor, respecting a time-honored tradition even as President Donald Trump launched hundreds of Twitter attacks against him. He kept largely silent as Trump falsely claimed that Obama had spied on his campaign, baselessly accused him of treason, demanded that he be prosecuted and characterized him as the most corrupt president in history.

His relative public silence about Trump's presidential performance drew criticism from some Democrats who had hoped to see him get off the sidelines during some of the most tumultuous years in recent American politics. While Obama campaigned for some Democrats during the 2018 midterm elections, his criticism of Trump was reserved, as he mostly avoided direct personal attacks against the president.

Last month, as the 44th president took to the trail to make his closing argument in behalf of his former vice president, the gloves came off. And in the campaign's final days, the hits have come hard and fast.

Read more here.

765d ago / 4:25 AM UTC

Texas Republicans appeal after judge rejects bid to toss 127,000 drive-through ballots

Texas Republicans again appealed a court order allowing drive-through voting to continue in Harris County, Texas, with a late filing Monday evening.

Earlier in the day, a federal judge ruled against Texas Republicans who sued to toss out more than 127,000 ballots cast in drive-thru voting booths in Harris County, declaring that the plaintiffs didn't have standing to sue.

Judge Andrew Hanen, nominated to the court by President George W. Bush, wrote in an order that Texas Election Code permits drive-thru early voting, but said that the law does not authorize movable structures — like the tents used for drive-thru voting — as polling places for Election Day.

“If the plaintiffs had standing, the Court would have found that the contention of drive-thru voting on Election Day violates the Texas Election Code,” Hanen wrote.

State Republicans appealed the ruling to the Fifth Circuit Court of Appeals late Monday, amending their petition to ask solely for drive-thru voting to be blocked on Election Day while leaving the already-cast ballots alone.

Read more here.

765d ago / 4:02 AM UTC

Trump ends 2020 campaign like he did in 2016

GRAND RAPIDS, Mich. — President Trump will end his 2020 campaign much of the same way he did in 2016 — at a late night rally here fighting to pull off another come-from-behind victory.  

While the trip is strong on symbolism — Trump often retold the story of his 2016 midnight Michigan rally and how he believed it helped him eke out a win in the state — campaign aides are feeling pessimistic about their chances of winning Michigan this time around. More than 3 million ballots have already been cast, about 60 percent of total votes cast in 2016, and Trump has consistently trailed Democratic nominee Joe Biden in nearly every poll of the state for months.

There have been a series of logistical issues at the event, like there have been at a number of these rallies in the home stretch. Cars were lined up for at least three miles waiting for hours to park throughout the evening. When the parking lot at the airport where the rally is being held filled up, police started directing people to an overflow lot, but dozens of people instead left their cars along the side of the road and took off walking in the dark through a field towards the sound of the rally music in the distance.

At 10:30 p.m., when Trump was initially scheduled to start speaking, there was a long line of people waiting to be screened by Secret Service. 

It’s a much different scene than Trump’s late night rally in Miami on Sunday. Not only is it about 50 degrees cooler, it’s a more muted crowd than in Miami, where there were two Spanish-speaking musical acts and the feel of a summer music festival.

Michigan did get a performance of the National Anthem by Ted Nugent, who referred to the crowd as the “real Michigan.This isn’t Gretchen Whitmer Michigan. This is freedom Michigan, God’s country, law and order and deer hunting Michigan.”

 

765d ago / 3:39 AM UTC

More than 2.500 ballots tossed in South Carolina because of reinstated witness requirement

Nearly 2,600 absentee mail in ballots have been thrown out in South Carolina because of a missing witness signature, state Election Commission spokesman Chris Whitmire told NBC News Monday evening. 

South Carolina Democrats say the Supreme Court’s Oct. 5 decision after ballots had been mailed to reverse a lower court’s ruling that a witness signature was not required because of the coronavirus pandemic led to voter confusion.

The 2,592 ballots dismissed out of 427,000 absentee mail in ballots submitted is expected to rise as the state accepts ballots until 7 p.m. Tuesday. Every vote could matter in a close Senate race between Republican Sen. Lindsey Graham and Democratic challenger Jaime Harrison. 

South Carolina does not allow curing, a process that allows a voter to correct issues with their ballot or vote an alternate way after the ballot was rejected. 

South Carolina Democrats have a “litany of lawyers” watching the ballots, including the number of ballots that are rejected, said Trav Robertson, chairman of the South Carolina Democratic Party. South Carolina Republican Party Chairman Drew McKissick said that the lack of witness signature invited fraud. 

“If someone walks into the polling booth today, they have to have photo id. There should be just s much proof as someone who turns in an absentee,” McKissick said.

A record 1.3 million people have already voted in South Carolina, which is 37 percent of registered voters and 60 percent of the number of those who voted in 2016.

765d ago / 2:58 AM UTC

Ohio shatters early voting record

A record 3.4 million Ohio voters cast their absentee ballot or voted early, Secretary of State Frank LaRose announced Monday, about 60 percent of the state’s 2016 turnout.

Ohio had never surpassed 2 million votes during early voting, LaRose said. About 243,000 absentee ballots are still outstanding, though he said the return rate has drastically outpaced that of 2016.

“Ohioans have refused to listen to the fear mongers who have spent months trying to convince them that it’s hard to vote — they’re proving it’s easy with every record broken,” LaRose said in a statement. “As ballots mailed on time continue to come in over the next ten days, Ohioans should rest assured that each legally cast ballot will be counted and their voice will be heard.”

Outstanding ballots that are postmarked by Nov. 2 and received by the county board of elections within 10 days after the election will be counted, LaRose said.

765d ago / 2:44 AM UTC

Pence and Harris make closing arguments

Vice President Mike Pence and Sen. Kamala Harris made their final pitches to voters on Monday, with Pence telling a crowd in Erie, Pennsylvania, that Joe Biden “is talking about shutting down the economy,” while Harris told a rally in Philadelphia “Your vote is your voice and your voice is your power.”

765d ago / 2:18 AM UTC

Twitter tags Trump tweet about Pennsylvania ballots as misleading

President Trump tweeted Monday the Supreme Court’s decision to allow mail-in ballots to be counted up to three days after the election will lead to “rampant” cheating and violence, which Twitter later flagged as misleading.

"The Supreme Court decision on voting in Pennsylvania is a VERY dangerous one. It will allow rampant and unchecked cheating and will undermine our entire systems of laws. It will also induce violence in the streets. Something must be done!" Trump tweeted

This is the latest decision by the social media giant to limit the spread of misinformation on the site, particularly from the president's official account. It has flagged previous tweets from Trump as misleading.

Lawyers for the president and the Republican Party have gone to court in recent weeks in places around the country, raising questions about how certain votes should be counted. The president has also repeatedly sowed doubt about the accuracy of the results and made baseless claims about voter fraud. 

Recently, the Supreme Court refused to block a decision ordered by Pennsylvania’s top court that allowed a three-day extension for absentee ballots. Trump won the state in 2016 by just over 44,000 votes, a margin of less than 1 percentage point. Earlier Monday, he told reporters he's "very concerned about Pennsylvania." 

"Philadelphia is known for bad things happening,” Trump said, without elaborating. 

765d ago / 1:18 AM UTC

Photo: Sunset on the campaign trail in Wisconsin

Image: Supporters of President Donald Trump walk along Highway 158 to his campaign rally at Kenosha Regional Airport in Wisconsin on Nov. 2, 2020.
Supporters of President Donald Trump walk along Highway 158 to his campaign rally at Kenosha Regional Airport in Wisconsin on Monday.Bing Guan / Reuters
765d ago / 12:53 AM UTC

A deep breath moment

On this election eve, Lester Holt reminds us that we have to let democracy work, “if not for ourselves, then for our children, who you know are watching us.”

765d ago / 12:33 AM UTC

Wisconsin manufacturing workers divided on Trump, despite broken promises

President Donald Trump’s promises of a manufacturing comeback have fallen flat in the key battleground state of Wisconsin. Despite his pledge to boost manufacturing and prevent factories from closing or moving overseas, the opposite has occurred.

“He ran on bringing all these jobs back to America. None of it has materialized. Fewer jobs materialized. He’s proven he’s not a friend of labor. He’s not a friend of workers,” said Ross Winklbauer, a sub-district director for the United Steelworkers labor union in southeastern Wisconsin.

In 2016, Trump was able to narrowly win the Badger State on a promise to increase manufacturing jobs, keep plants from closing, and make factories return operations to U.S. shores. But since he took office — and even before the pandemic hit — manufacturing jobs were up by just 3.2 percent, trailing the national average by nearly one full percentage point.

“I don’t think he’s fulfilled it all. There have been plant closings: Telsmith, Briggs & Stratton, all the steelworks are closing or have been diminished,” said Chris Chappelle, a welder at the Komatsu mining equipment manufacturing plant in Milwaukee and president of the local chapter of United Steelworkers.

Read more here.

765d ago / 12:12 AM UTC

Pennsylvania voting issues: 5 things to watch on Election Day

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BEAVER, Pa. — The pressure is on in the all-important battleground state of Pennsylvania where voters, as well as party and state officials, are anxiously preparing for what could turn into Election Week there.

"Pennsylvania is prepared. We're protected for this election and voters can cast their ballots with confidence," Gov. Tom Wolf, a Democrat, told reporters at a news conference Friday. "Our state has made a lot of improvements to strengthen our election system since the last presidential election in 2016."

The state last fall overhauled its election laws, the first major changes in about 80 years. But the new rules, combined with uncertainty over the Covid-19 pandemic and legal issues over mail-in voting, paint an uncertain picture of how the week could unfold.

Here are five things to keep an eye on.

765d ago / 12:07 AM UTC

Gulf storm damage causes polling place moves, power outages

MONTGOMERY, Ala. — Elections officials in the Deep South spent election eve tending to lingering damage from Hurricane Zeta and other storms that damaged buildings or left polling places without power ahead of Tuesday’s election.

Storm damage caused polling places to be moved in Louisiana, and power companies and election officials scrambled to restore power, or make sure generators were available, at polling places in Louisiana, Alabama, Georgia and Mississippi. Election officials expressed confidence that the sites would be operational Tuesday.

Thousands of voters in southwest Louisiana will be casting ballots in different locations Tuesday because Hurricane Laura wrecked their traditional polling sites in late August, and they have not yet been repaired. Across the state in the New Orleans area and in other southeastern parishes, several dozen voting locations will be running on generator power because outages caused by Hurricane Zeta last week have not been fixed.

Read more here.

765d ago / 11:43 PM UTC

'Boom Boom' Mitchell

765d ago / 11:10 PM UTC

Citing Texas' battleground status, DNC Chair Tom Perez rallies for Latino votes

SAN ANTONIO — Early in the election cycle, as Democrats were still narrowing their choices for a presidential nominee, Democratic Party Chair Tom Perez proclaimed that Texas was a battleground.

Few wanted to believe him then, but in the days before Election Day, he was making final get-out-the-vote rounds in South Texas, the Rio Grande Valley, Austin, its neighbor Williamson County and North Texas.

Polls have been confirming Perez's early declaration that Texas is in play, generating high anticipation of Democratic upsets up and down the ballot. But there is some caution, because Republicans have controlled the state for decades, and Jimmy Carter in 1976 was the last Democratic presidential nominee to win.

Perez said he was willing to declare Texas a battleground state so early because a big part of Democratic success in 2018 was the high Latino turnout nationally, with 800,000 more Latinos voting in Texas in the midterm elections than in 2016.

Read more here.

765d ago / 11:01 PM UTC

Trump bought up YouTube’s homepage. Biden responded with 200 other sites.

There’s nothing quite like YouTube’s homepage for a big advertiser. It’s among the most visited websites in the country, and an advertiser can buy up the whole thing. 

That made the homepage appealing to President Trump. His reelection campaign long ago purchased the prime position on YouTube for the final days of the race, meaning that on Monday all YouTube visitors in the U.S. were being shown Trump ads on its homepage. 

But Joe Biden’s campaign, in between appearances in swing states, cobbled together a possible rival for the YouTube spot: ad buys on the front pages of hundreds of other websites, including the Philadelphia Inquirer and People magazine. 

Megan Clasen, a senior adviser to the Biden campaign, said the campaign had more than 200 “takeovers” of digital publications Monday. (In the world of digital marketing, it’s what might be called a premium ad play, as opposed to social media.) 

“With less than 24 hours left, there’s only so many chances to reach voters,” Clasen said on Twitter. She said the “high impact digital placements” were one more opportunity to get Biden’s message in front of people before they cast votes Tuesday.

765d ago / 10:56 PM UTC

On election eve, this country is just unbelievably stressed out

Image: Businesses Around White House In D.C. Board Up In Anticipation Of Election Night Unrest
Workers add protective wood boards to the glass walls of a Wells Fargo bank near the White House on on Oct. 28, 2020. Businesses are preparing for possible demonstrations following next week's presidential election.Sarah Silbiger / Getty Images

The White House has been fortified, the National Guard called out and gun sales are surging.

On the eve of a momentous election, a deeply divided nation is on the edge as it plunges deeper into a pandemic and unemployment rages while the country holds its breath in anticipation of what some fear could be a potential breakdown in law and order or democracy depending on what happens Tuesday.

Downtown Washington felt like a city preparing for a siege Monday as the normally bustling streets of the capital were turned into a plywood ghost town of boarded-up storefronts and windswept sidewalks.

"We do not advise parking or driving downtown," D.C. Mayor Muriel Bowser said at a press conference last week.

Read the story.

765d ago / 10:50 PM UTC
765d ago / 10:39 PM UTC

Biden makes impromptu stop with Lady Gaga at University of Pittsburgh

Image: Joe Biden, Lady Gaga
Joe Biden stands with Lady Gaga at Schenley Plaza on Nov. 2, 2020, in Pittsburgh, Pa.Andrew Harnik / AP

 

Biden made an impromptu stop at the University of Pittsburgh campus with surprise guest — Lady Gaga. 

The former vice president joined the artist in surprising student organizers on his way to a drive-in rally in Pittsburg Wednesday evening.

Students were holding “We’re Gaga for Joe and Kamala” signs. Lady Gaga is set to perform at Biden's final campaign event in Pennsylvania this evening.

Lady Gaga responded to a Trump campaign statement that referred to the artist as an "anti-fracking activist" on Sunday. Trump tweeted about Lady Gaga and repeatedly mentioned at his events that he has a story on her. 

765d ago / 10:33 PM UTC

5 p.m. update: Nearly 97 million have voted early

As the United States enters the final day of early voting ahead of Election Day, almost 97 million Americans have already cast their votes — nearly doubling the 50 million who did so in 2016.

As of 5 p.m. on the East Coast, more than 96,900,000 voters have so far cast early ballots, according to data from the NBC News Decision Desk/Target Smart, a Democratic political data firm. The Decision Desk projects that number could approach 100 million by Tuesday.

With about 97 million votes already cast, the early vote total in 2020 represents roughly 71 percent of the total vote cast in all of 2016, when approximately 136.5 million ballots were counted.

Read more here.

765d ago / 9:49 PM UTC
765d ago / 9:40 PM UTC

South Carolina Board of Election says 1.3 million people voted early in SC

The South Carolina Board of Election says 1.3 million people have voted early in South Carolina as of 12 p.m. Monday either by mail or in person.

This blows past the 2016 numbers where just 517,000 people voted early. The South Carolina legislature expanded early absentee voting this year because of Covid-19.

The popularity of early voting can be seen in long lines over the weekend. Early in-person voting ends at 5 p.m. ET on Monday.

765d ago / 9:31 PM UTC

Top former RNC official announces he voted for Biden

A top former RNC official announced on Monday that he is voting for Joe Biden.

Ryan Mahoney, a former RNC communications director, tweeted a photo of his ballot.

Mahoney said he was "proud to vote country over party" and "proud to vote" for Joe Biden. Mahoney served as communications director during the 2018 midterms after working for the Committee in 2016, 2014, and 2012. 

765d ago / 9:03 PM UTC

Quinnipiac poll: Biden holds national lead, slight edge in Florida, Ohio

The final Quinnipiac University poll of the 2020 election shows Biden with slight leads over Trump among likely voters in Florida and Ohio and maintaining his wider lead over the president nationally.

In Florida, 47 percent of likely voters support Biden and 42 percent back Trump, while in Ohio, the Democratic nominee is seeing 47 percent support to the president's 43 percent.

In both states, the bulk of respondents who support Trump said they would cast their votes on Election Day (69 percent in Florida and 62 percent in Ohio), while far fewer Biden supporters said they would do the same (21 percent in Florida and 28 percent in Ohio).

Meanwhile, 50 percent of likely voters nationwide support Biden and 39 percent back Trump, according to the poll, which was released Monday. Biden's lead is a slight increase from the 10-point advantage he held among likely voters in September.

“Will it be a tidy game, set, match on Tuesday night? Or should we brace for an agonizing and ugly overtime, further enflaming a divided and troubled country? Tim Malloy, Quinnipiac University polling analyst, said in a statement. "The Biden numbers lean toward the first scenario, but 2016 lurks in the memory of Democrats.” 

The poll was conducted from Oct. 28 to Nov. 1, with margins of error of 2.4 points for the Florida results, 2.6 percent for the Ohio responses, and 2.5 percent for the national survey. 

765d ago / 8:44 PM UTC

Federal judge rejects Texas Republicans' bid to toss 127,000 drive-thru ballots

A federal judge ruled against Texas Republicans suing to toss more than 127,000 ballots because they were cast in drive-thru voting booths in Harris County, declaring that the plaintiffs didn't have standing in the suit.

Judge Andrew Hanen, who was nominated to the bench by George W. Bush, gave an oral ruling on Monday after an emergency hearing in the Southern District of Texas, a day after the Texas Supreme Court denied a similar suit in that court. Earlier, Hanen said the Fifth Circuit could change his ruling if he got it wrong.

Harris, the third most populous county in the country which includes Houston, set up drive-thru voting booths to accommodate voters during the pandemic, but a group of state Republicans sued the county clerk repeatedly claiming that the process violated the legislature’s authority over elections and Texans' equal protection rights.

More than 127,000 Texans — nearly 9 percent of the county’s cast ballots — came from the drive-thru voting booth, the county said on Saturday. The Houston Chronicle analysis revealed that that the vast majority of these ballots came from precincts won by Hillary Clinton in 2016 and Democratic U.S. Senate candidate Beto O’Rourke in 2018.

Read more here.

765d ago / 8:27 PM UTC

Beyoncé endorses Joe Biden in video

Beyoncé is 'crazy in love' with the Joe Biden and Kamala Harris ticket. 

In an Instagram video, the artist is sporting a Biden/Harris mask and an "I Voted" sticker on her hat — in a notable designer ensemble. 

View this post on Instagram

Come thru, Texas! #VOTE 😘

A post shared by Beyoncé (@beyonce) on

In her caption, Beyoncé, who was born and raised in Houston, urged her Texas fans to get out and vote. 

Beyoncé shared her support for Hillary Clinton in 2016 and performed a free concert at a rally in Cleveland. The artist joins several other celebrities in endorsing the former Vice President. 

765d ago / 8:03 PM UTC

Deer heads left near Biden-Harris, Black Lives Matter signs, police say

Police are investigating two decapitated deer heads left near a Joe Biden and Kamala Harris political campaign sign and a Black Lives Matter sign in Lake Oswego, Oregon.

Police in Lake Oswego said in a news release on Friday they discovered the heads at different locations on Thursday.

One was found next to a Biden presidential campaign sign at an intersection in the morning, police said. The other was found on the front lawn of a home next to a Black Lives Matter sign in the afternoon, according to police.

A police spokesperson told NBC News in an email that no suspects have been arrested, and an investigation is ongoing. 

Read the story.

765d ago / 7:31 PM UTC

What the law says about counting ballots after election day

Image: Absentee Ballots Are Counted In Minnesota Ahead Of Election Day
Volunteers and election officials process absentee ballots Monday in St. Paul, Minn.Stephen Maturen / Getty Images

Given President Trump's recent comments on about the propriety of counting mail ballots that arrive after election day, here are some things to keep in mind:

  • There's nothing unusual about counting ballots after election night. Every state does it. Early returns are incomplete. Mail-in, military, and overseas ballots typically aren't fully counted in more than half the states for a few days after poll close.
  • The vote count doesn't end on election night for another reason. Counties must canvass the returns, which will include adding in provisional ballots and making decisions about disputed ballots. States don't formally declare a winner until the results are certified. In most states, that process isn't over until mid-to-late November.
  • The Supreme Court has never ruled that only state legislatures can extend the voting deadline.  Even so, four U.S. Supreme Court justices and some lower court judges have said in recent weeks that because the Constitution says every state must choose its presidential electors "in such manner as the legislature thereof may direct," only legislatures can alter voting rules. But in the 2000 Bush v Gore case, that notion attracted only three votes and was not a holding of the court.
  • In a 2015 case, the Supreme Court said that the Constitution's reference to "legislature" in a separate but similar clause meant the entire lawmaking apparatus, not simply the two statehouses. If the Pennsylvania late-ballot fight comes back to the Supreme Court, this will be a major issue.
765d ago / 7:27 PM UTC

Social media’s new rules are designed for cooler heads to prevail

For many Americans, the election results will play out on social media. And this year, tech companies have new rules designed to avoid a repeat of 2016 when their sites were called a “wild, wild West” for politics. 

First, there will be a quiet period for political ads. Facebook, Instagram, YouTube and Google plan to halt all political ads after the polls close Tuesday, so candidates and activist groups won’t be able to buy their way into people’s feeds and encourage unrest while votes are counted. It could last for days or weeks, depending on what happens. 

Labels will be everywhere. On Facebook and Twitter, if a candidate claims victory before the news media declares a winner, their posts will get a label. On Twitter the rule applies broadly to everyone, so Twitter may label an election call by any user unless the race has been “authoritatively called” by at least two national news outlets.Other election-related posts may get labels or fact-checks if they include misleading information. 

Results from the traditional news media will be king. Though social media is usually about giving everyone equal voices, the tech companies will rely on and promote the voting data coming in from traditional news organizations such as wire services or television networks. YouTube and Google have partnered with The Associated Press, Facebook has partnered with Reuters, and Twitter will rely on big national news organizations. 

And some content may be taken down, the tech companies say. Twitter, for example, says it may remove false or misleading information intended to undermine public confidence in the outcomes. “This election is not going to be business as usual,” Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg said in a post in September where he outlined several goals, including “reduce the chances of violence and unrest.” 

765d ago / 6:36 PM UTC

That time you told a presidential candidate your wife was pregnant before your parents knew

765d ago / 6:02 PM UTC

Final NBC/Marist state polls show close races in Pennsylvania and Arizona

Democrat Joe Biden holds a narrow lead over President Trump in the all-important battleground state of Pennsylvania, while the two candidates are tied in Arizona, according to the final NBC News/Marist state polls of the 2020 presidential election.

In Pennsylvania, which Trump won four years ago, Biden is ahead by 5 points among likely voters, 51 percent to 46 percent, although that advantage is within that poll’s margin of error; a combined 3 percent say they’re undecided or are voting for someone else.

That’s down from Biden’s 9-point lead in the state in September’s NBC/Marist poll of the state.

Biden’s current 5-point edge in Pennsylvania is consistent with other recent high-quality public polls of the state, which show the former Democratic vice president ahead in the mid-single digits.

Read more here.

765d ago / 6:00 PM UTC

Some media locked out as 127K 'drive-thru' ballots debated

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A federal judge is hearing arguments in a suit to throw out more than 127,000 ballots because they were cast in drive-thru voting booths in Harris County, Texas.

Harris, the third most populous county in the country, set up drive-thru voting booths to accommodate voters during the pandemic. The Texas Supreme Court denied multiple attempts to toss the voting method in recent weeks, before the same group of Texas Republicans brought the issue to federal court last week, arguing that the county’s decision to offer drive-thru voting to all voters violates the legislature’s authority over elections and equal protection clauses because other counties did not implement drive-thru voting.

An emergency hearing was scheduled to begin at 10:30 a.m. CST, but much of the media is in the dark for now: social distancing requirements kept reporters out of the courtroom and a dial-in line set up for press disconnected reporters off just as the hearing was set to begin. A Houston Chronicle reporter said he was later allowed in the courtroom, but others remain outside.

Democrats and national voting rights advocates quickly moved to defend the ballots this weekend, but there’s also been some high profile Republican opposition to the suit.

765d ago / 5:47 PM UTC

Biden works to push Black turnout in campaign's final days

Supporters cheer as Joe Biden speaks during a "Souls to the Polls" event at Sharon Baptist Church in Philadelphia on Nov. 1, 2020.
Supporters cheer as Joe Biden speaks during a "Souls to the Polls" event at Sharon Baptist Church in Philadelphia on Sunday. Jim Watson / AFP - Getty Images

Joe Biden was spending the final days of the presidential campaign appealing to Black supporters to vote in-person during a pandemic that has disproportionally affected their communities, betting that a strong turnout will boost his chances in states that could decide the election.

Biden was in Philadelphia on Sunday, the largest city in what is emerging as the most hotly contested battleground in the closing 48 hours of the campaign. He participated in a “souls to the polls” event that is part of a nationwide effort to organize Black churchgoers to vote.

“Every single day we’re seeing race-based disparities in every aspect of this virus,” Biden said at the drive-in event, shouting to be heard over the blaring car horns. He declared that Trump’s handling of Covid-19 was “almost criminal” and that the pandemic was a “mass casualty event in the Black community.”

Read more here.

765d ago / 5:27 PM UTC

How Trump's latest approval poll numbers compare to recent presidents at this point in their presidency

The story of President Donald Trump's approval poll numbers is the story of consistency. 

Trump's approval rating has hovered within the same nine-point range (upper: 47 percent in the Oct. 14-17, 2018 and February 14-17, 2020, polls; lower: 38 percent in Oct. 23-26, 2017) since his inauguration in January 2017.

According to the October 29-31 NBC News / Wall Street Journal poll, Trump's most-recent poll comes in at 45 percent job approval. At this point in their presidencies, Barack Obama and George W. Bush were at 49 percent and Bill Clinton was at 56 percent. 

See the full numbers on presidential approval ratings.

A graphic of presidential approval poll ratings
765d ago / 5:12 PM UTC

Lester Holt nostalgically tweets on 2000 election tension as results came in

765d ago / 4:46 PM UTC

Justice Department announces monitoring plans ahead of the general election

The Justice Department on Monday announced plans to monitor voting rights on Election Day, a common practice for the agency to ensure there are no civil rights violations. 

“Federal law entrusts the Civil Rights Division with protecting the right to vote for all Americans,” said Eric S. Dreiband, assistant attorney general for the Civil Rights Division. The department will be taking complaints from voters nationwide on possible violations of voting rights law.

On Election Day, the Civil Rights Division will be sending officials to 44 jurisdictions across 18 states. This year, the majority of personnel will be in Michigan, with seven officials there, followed by Florida with six and Massachusetts with five.

766d ago / 4:18 PM UTC

Top Democrat on Senate Intelligence Committee issues election security warning

Sen. Mark Warner, D-Va., warned on Monday of potential election interference by foreign agents. 

Warner is the vice chairman of the Senate Intelligence Committee and receives the high-level briefings. 

He urged Americans to verify election "rumors" with the Cybersecurity and Infrastructure Security Agency website, which created a taskforce to deal with election interference, foreign and domestic. 

Warner closed the tweet with the hashtag #Protect2020, which was created as part of the agency's efforts to combat misinformation this election cycle. 

"Stay calm, and be judicious about what you believe and share online," Warner said

766d ago / 4:14 PM UTC

Some Trump supporters were stranded for hours after Georgia rally in latest snafu

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Following Trump's rally in Rome, Georgia, Sunday night, crowds of people waited 90 minutes or more to get back to their vehicles from the rally site.

It was the latest episode of a chaotic post-airport rally scene, after a rally last week in Omaha saw supporters wait hours in the cold for buses while after a subsequent rally in Butler, Pennsylvania, groups of supporters opted to walk rather than wait for limited bus service to return to their cars.

These regional airports have limited access to major thruways, which can make transportation after a large rally difficult.

766d ago / 3:53 PM UTC

Almost 94 million Americans have cast early votes — nearly doubling the total from 2016

As the U.S. enters the final day of early voting ahead of Election Day, almost 94 million Americans have already cast votes — nearly doubling the 50 million who did so in 2016.

As of 8 a.m. on the East Coast, more than 93,800,000 voters have so far cast early ballots, according to data from the NBC News Decision Desk/Target Smart, a Democratic political data firm. The Decision Desk projects that number could approach 100 million by Tuesday.

With about 94 million votes already cast, the early vote total in 2020 represents about 69 percent of the total vote cast in all of 2016, when about 136.5 million ballots were counted.

Continue reading on NBCNews.com. 

766d ago / 3:30 PM UTC

Alabama Walmart boards up windows in preparation for election night

This photo shows a boarded-up Walmart in a suburb of Birmingham, Alabama. When asked why the store was doing this, an employee responded by saying they were preparing for the day after the election.

The company has recently overturned its policy and will not remove guns and ammo for sale from select stores. The policy was originally in place over concerns of civil unrest but later determined to be “isolated civil unrest.”

Photo courtesy of Beth Shelburne in Birmingham.

 

766d ago / 3:23 PM UTC

Florida's Miami-Dade County hits over 1 million early votes

The Miami-Dade Elections Department reports over 1 million voters have already cast their ballots as of yesterday, state data shows. 

This is the first time the county hit over 1 million votes before Election Day. A Miami-Dade Elections Department spokesperson told NBC News this accounts for 64 percent of all registered voters in the county. The votes include in person-early votes and mail-in ballots. 

Miami-Dade county has an estimated population of over 2.5 million, per U.S. Census data. Hillary Clinton carried the county in 2016

766d ago / 2:28 PM UTC
766d ago / 2:28 PM UTC

U.S. vote to shape how world warms as climate pact exit looms

What happens on Election Day will to some degree determine how much more hot and nasty the world’s climate will likely get, experts say.

The day after the election, the United States formally leaves the 2015 Paris agreement to fight climate change. A year ago, President Donald Trump’s administration notified the United Nations that America would exit the climate agreement. And because of technicalities in the international pact, Nov. 4 is the earliest a country can withdraw.

The U.S., the world’s second-biggest carbon polluter, will be the first country to quit the 189-nation agreement, which has countries make voluntary, ever-tighter goals to curb emissions of heat-trapping gases. The only mandatory parts of the agreement cover tracking and reporting of carbon pollution, say U.S. officials who were part of the Paris negotiations.

Former Vice President Joe Biden has pledged, if elected president, to put the country immediately back in the Paris agreement, which doesn’t require congressional approval. 

Read the full story here.

766d ago / 1:58 PM UTC

FIRST READ: Biden leads Trump, but it's much closer in battleground states

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Image: Joe Biden
Joe Biden speaks at a drive-in rally at Franklin Delano Roosevelt Park on Nov. 1, 2020, in Philadelphia.Andrew Harnik / AP

There are three major findings in our final national NBC News/Wall Street Journal poll for the 2020 election.

One, Trump versus Biden has been a remarkably stable race. (Our July 2019 poll had the contest Biden 51 percent, Trump 42 percent among registered voters; the poll yesterday showed it Biden 52 percent, Trump 42 percent.)

Two, the overall fundamentals are difficult if you’re an incumbent president. (Trump’s job rating is in the mid-40s and his approval for handling the coronavirus is lower than that.)

And three, the race is tighter in the key battlegrounds. In the 12-most competitive battlegrounds — Arizona, Florida, Georgia, Iowa, Maine, Michigan, Minnesota, Nevada, New Hampshire, North Carolina, Pennsylvania and Wisconsin — Biden is ahead of Trump by a combined 5 points, 51 percent to 46 percent, according to a survey of 800 additional registered voters in those states interviewed Sunday by NBC/WSJ pollsters.

Get more of First Read.

766d ago / 1:53 PM UTC

NBC News Decision Desk: How we call races on election night 2020

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Here's how NBC News calls races on election night, the steps NBC News takes to verify results and the answers to some frequently asked questions.

How does NBC News project the outcomes of races?

Early on election night, the NBC News Decision Desk uses exit poll data to determine whether uncompetitive races can be called. Most races are called based on analyses of precinct- and county-level vote returns. The analyses also examine differences between early and Election Day votes. In close contests, a careful analysis of how much of the vote has not been counted is a crucial part of the process. No race is projected until the Decision Desk is at a minimum 99.5 percent confident of the winner.

NBC News will not project a winner in a race until after the last scheduled poll-closing time in a state.

What kinds of calls does the Decision Desk make?

Here are the Decision Desk calls and characterizations our audience can expect to hear from NBC News on election night: Too early to call; Too close to call; Projected winner; Apparent winner; and Winner.

Read more about how the Decision Desk makes calls, including how votes are counted and why exit polls matter.

766d ago / 1:23 PM UTC

Trump suggests he might fire Fauci after the election

Image: U.S. President Trump leads daily coronavirus response briefing at the White House in Washington
President Donald Trump departs after addressing the coronavirus task force daily briefing as Dr. Anthony Fauci, director of the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases, stands by at the White House.Jonathan Ernst / Reuters

President Donald Trump suggested during a campaign rally in Florida on Sunday night that he might fire Dr. Anthony Fauci after the election.

The comment came during his fifth and final rally of the day in Opa-Locka, when he promised that a vaccine is coming and the country is "rounding the turn" on the pandemic.

His crowd of supporters then began chanting, "Fire Fauci!"

"Don't tell anybody but let me wait 'til a little bit after the election," Trump said in response, leading to cheers from the audience.

"I appreciate it," said Trump, who continued by mocking Fauci. "Now, he's been wrong on a lot. He's a nice man though."

This came after the White House blasted Fauci for saying in a new interview that the U.S. is in a terrible position heading into the winter months. 

Read the story.

766d ago / 11:13 AM UTC
766d ago / 11:12 AM UTC
766d ago / 11:11 AM UTC
766d ago / 11:10 AM 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 they 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.