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Supreme Court blocks Alabama curbside voting, Obama debuts on campaign trail

Highlight from Wednesday's latest election news, voting results and polls.
Image: President Donald Trump and Joe Biden on a background of concentric circles made up of blue and red stars.
Chelsea Stahl / NBC News

All eyes are on the campaign trail as President Donald Trump and Joe Biden barrel through the remaining days of the 2020 presidential election.

The campaigns are in full preparation mode on Wednesday ahead of Thursday's final presidential debate.

This live coverage has ended. Continue reading election news from October 22, 2020.

—Latest polls from battleground states and more.

—Plan your vote here.

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

Share your election confessions.

Read the latest updates:

666d ago / 8:50 PM UTC

Romney says he did not vote for Trump

Sen. Mitt Romney, one of the president's most prominent Republican critics, told NBC News he did not vote for Trump in this year's election.

Romney, the junior senator from Utah and the 2012 GOP presidential nominee, has long clashed with Trump. He was the sole Republican senator to vote for Trump's impeachment earlier this year and, earlier this month, he blamed the president for the "vile, vituperative" state of U.S. politics

Romney didn't vote for Trump in 2016 either; he wrote in the name of his wife, Ann Romney, instead.

666d ago / 8:44 PM UTC

Obama makes first in-person stump for Biden, rips Trump's pandemic response

Former President Barack Obama, in his first in-person campaign event of the 2020 cycle for Joe Biden, ripped President Donald Trump's response to the Covid-19 pandemic as being full of "incompetence and misinformation."

"The pandemic would have been hard for any president," Obama said during a socially distanced roundtable discussion in Philadelphia with Black community leaders. 

"But the degree of incompetence and misinformation, the number of people who might not have died, had we just done the basics," suggested that Trump did not rise to the occasion in responding to the outbreak, Obama added. He did not mention the president by name in his remarks.

Obama also urged young Black people to vote in the upcoming election, explaining that doing so can help give them a voice and "make things better."

Responding to a question about how he might talk to young Black people in Philadelphia about voting, he said that his message "is not that voting makes everything perfect, but that it makes things better."

"Anyone who says things haven't gotten better in the history of this country ... is somebody who didn't live through ’50s or the ’40s or the ’30s," the former president said. "And the reason things changed is because people voted," he added.

"And that is going to continue how we bring about changes," Obama said.

Obama, sporting a black face mask, later told the audience that he was "confident that Joe Biden and Kamala Harris" would "deliver on some of their promises" because "they know how to build coalitions."

The roundtable marked the first time in the 2020 election that Obama stumped in person for his former vice president. 

The event was the first of two campaign events of the day for Obama. Later, he will lead a drive-in rally for Biden in Philadelphia.

666d ago / 8:43 PM UTC

Biden maintains lead in NBC News National Polling Average

October 21 NBC News National Polling Average
Biden continues to lead in the NBC News National Polling Average with less than two weeks until the election.

Biden continues to maintain a lead over Trump in NBC News National Polling Average, which includes an average of 10 of the most recent national polls. 

While Biden has never fallen behind Trump during the election, the margin has narrowed and widened at time.

Recently, the margin seemed to widened after Trump's widely panned debate performance and news that he had contracted the coronavirus. The president has since then narrowed the margin slightly. 

Click here to see NBC's interactive poll tracker and polls in battleground states. 

666d ago / 8:26 PM UTC

Trump volunteer tells rallygoers not to wear QAnon attire. Not everyone listens.

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A campaign worker at President Trump's rally in Gastonia, North Carolina, told attendees as they arrive at the main entrance that they cannot be wearing any QAnon attire. 

Another woman at the rally told NBC News that she was denied entry because she was both wearing a QAnon shirt and smoking a cigarette. She said she had multiple QAnon shirts with her and seemed intent on wearing one of them once she finished her cigarette and got in.

666d ago / 7:37 PM UTC

Biden calls reports of missing families separated at border an "outrage"

Joe Biden on Wednesday responded to recent reports that the parents of hundreds of children separated at the border were still missing by calling the issue "an outrage, a moral failing and a stain on our national character."

Lawyers appointed by a federal judge said Tuesday that they have been unable to locate the parents of 545 migrant children separated under Trump's hard-line immigration efforts, which began in 2017.

Biden committed to rolling back Trump's policies if elected.

"I’ll send a bill to Congress on Day One that will create a roadmap to citizenship for the 11 million undocumented individuals already living in and strengthening the United States," Biden said. "These are our neighbors and co-workers, and they are integral to our communities."

666d ago / 6:59 PM UTC

Stand-ins prepare for presidential debate

Stand-ins for President Trump, Joe Biden and moderator Kristen Welker participate in a rehearsal for Thursday's final presidential debate.

Image: Preparations continue for the second and final 2020 presidential campaign debate between President Donald Trump and Democratic nominee Joe Biden at Belmont University in Nashville
Jonathan Ernst / Reuters
666d ago / 6:38 PM UTC

Some Florida voters receive threatening emails about election

Voters in Florida’s Alachua County received emails Tuesday threatening them into voting for President Trump next month.

While the email came from the domain officialproudboys.com, it is unclear who is actually behind the account. The Proud Boys are a far-right extremist group Trump told to "stand back and stand by" during the first presidential debate. 

The Alachua County Supervisor of Elections released a statement explaining they were "aware of multiple instances of voter intimidation via email" and were working with multiple law enforcement agencies as well as the FBI and Department of Homeland Security to learn more.

There is no evidence of a data breach at this time; Florida is one of many states that provides a database of register voters upon request.

 

666d ago / 6:09 PM UTC

Ahead of the debate, Harris says Biden doesn't talk 'about other people's kids'

While President Trump has been telegraphing that he plans to go after Joe Biden's son Hunter at Thursday's debate, Sen. Kamala Harris suggested the former vice president will go high.

Asked Wednesday how her running mate was preparing for the debate and likely personal attacks from the president, Harris told reporters in North Carolina, “You know, one of the things I love about Joe Biden ... he doesn't take on or talk about other people's kids.“

During their first debate last month, Biden appeared to restrain himself after Trump questioned the younger Biden's business dealings. After saying "my son did nothing wrong" at the energy company where he'd worked, Biden said, "We want talk about families and ethics? I don't want to do that — his family we could talk about all night," referring to the Trump family.

Biden then reined himself in, turned to the camera and said, "This is not about my family or his family. This is about your family — the American people." Trump "doesn't want to talk about what you need," Biden said.

666d ago / 5:57 PM UTC

Loeffler's challenger casts his ballot in Atlanta

Image: Democratic Senate Candidate Rev. Raphael Warnock Casts Early Vote In Atlanta
Elijah Nouvelage / Getty Images

Georgia Democratic Senate candidate Raphael Warnock, who is hoping to unseat Republican incumbent Kelly Loeffler, waits in line at State Farm Arena to cast his ballot Wednesday in Atlanta.

Warnock has assailed Loeffler for associating herself with a congressional candidate who has embraced baseless QAnon conspiracy theories and made racist remarks.

666d ago / 5:26 PM UTC

N.H. attorney general rejects state GOP's request to bar remote college students from absentee voting

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New Hampshire's attorney general has rejected the state Republican party’s request to stop remote college students from absentee voting.

Once a student establishes residence in the state, “the student does not lose his or her domicile due to temporary absence," the attorney general's office wrote in a letter to state and party leaders that it released to NBC News.

The statement upheld guidance from the state’s Democratic Party on the right of university students studying virtually outside of New Hampshire to vote in the state. The state Democratic Party praised the attorney general’s response.

"New Hampshire Republicans are so scared to face voters with their plots to repeal health care and overturn Roe v. Wade and their failed chaotic mismanagement of COVID that instead of trying to persuade Granite Staters to vote for them, the only thing they can do is to attempt to pull out every trick in their voter suppression playbook to stop people who don't agree with them from voting,” state Democratic Party spokesperson Holly Shulman said in a statement.

The state Republican Party did not immediately return NBC News' request for comment.

666d ago / 5:13 PM UTC

Maryland man arrested for allegedly threatening to kill Biden, Harris

A man in Maryland was arrested in charges of threatening to kill Joe Biden and Sen. Kamala Harris, the Justice Department said Wednesday. 

On Oct. 4, James Dale Reed, 42, left a threatening note on a doorstep of a home in Frederick, Md., that displayed yard signs in support of Biden and Harris, the department said. 

“We are the ones with those scary guns. We are the ones your children have nightmares about,” the letter stated, according to DOJ. 

The letter went on to directly threaten Biden and Harris, DOJ said.

A Ring doorbell video recorded the letter being left and Reed was identified, the criminal complaint said. Reed admitted to writing and delivering the letter, after previously denying his involvement, according to the DOJ.  

“We take these types of threats extremely seriously. Such threats to commit violence are illegal and have no place in our democracy, and we will hold accountable those who make them,” U.S. Attorney for the District of Maryland Robert K. Hur said. 

666d ago / 4:16 PM UTC

24 years ago today, Bill Clinton's approval rating was on its way up

The year was 1996, and incumbent Bill Clinton faced challengers Bob Dole and Ross Perot in a three-way race.

In the late stages of the contest, Clinton's approval rating climbed from the low 50s in August 1996 to 60 percent in January 1997. The October 19-22, 1996, poll had Clinton at 56 percent, with a margin of error of 3.09 percent.

In comparison, the most-recent approval poll for President Donald Trump shows 44 percent of Americans approving of his performance. See the full numbers for all recent presidents on the presidential approval poll tracker, and see the NBC News Polling HQ here.

A chart showing President Bill Clinton's approval rating across his two terms.
666d ago / 4:02 PM UTC

Mel Brooks, citing Trump's response to the pandemic, endorses Joe Biden

Comedy legend Mel Brooks, citing President Donald Trump's record on the coronavirus pandemic, endorsed Joe Biden in a video message to fans on Wednesday. 

Son Max Brooks and grandson Henry Brooks stood on the other side of a glass door, holding Biden campaign signs, as Mel Brooks, 94, spoke to the camera.

"They (Max and Henry) can't be with me. Why? Because of this coronavirus and Donald Trump's not doing a damn thing about it," the "Blazing Saddles" director said. "So many people have died and when you're dead you can't do much. So I'm voting for Joe Biden. I like Joe. Why do I like Joe? Because Joe likes facts, because Joe likes science." 

The coronavirus has killed more than 222,000 Americans as of Wednesday morning, according to a running NBC News count. Trump has defended his administration's response to Covid-19, arguing that it has struck a balance between public health and economic considerations.

666d ago / 3:49 PM UTC

Biden up among likely Iowa voters thanks to seniors and swing voters

Biden is up among likely voters in Iowa, according to a Monmouth University poll released Wednesday.

The upward tick is largely attributed to increased support among seniors and swing voters. 

The poll found that 50 percent of likely voters back Biden and 47 percent back Trump, a deviation from the advantage Trump previously held in August and September. 

Trump flipped the state in 2016 after Obama won it twice, so this election will be a major test to see if he can hold on to it.

The poll surveyed 501 voters between Oct. 15 and 19 and has a margin of error of plus or minus 4.4 percentage points.

666d ago / 3:48 PM UTC

Maricopa County warehouse handling tens of thousands of ballots an hour

NBC's Vaughn Hillyard reports from a warehouse in Maricopa County, Ariz. that is receiving and processing thousands of mail-in ballots for the 2020 election every day.

666d ago / 3:24 PM UTC

Michigan Senate race narrowing

NBC's Shaquille Brewster reports from Michigan where the Senate race between Democratic incumbent Sen. Gary Peters and Republican John James is tightening.

666d ago / 3:02 PM UTC

Early voting hitting unprecedented levels

NBC’s Jacob Soboroff joins TODAY to answer pressing questions about early voting and how to ensure your ballot is counted. He says over 30 million people have already voted in the 2020 election.

666d ago / 2:29 PM UTC

Biden responds to Republican senator's criticism of son Hunter

In response to Sen. Ron Johnson, R-Wisconsin, claiming that Hunter Biden, the former vice president's son, and other family members profited off of the Biden name, Joe Biden called the attack unfounded. 

"This is the same garbage — Rudy Giuliani Trump's henchmen. It's a last-ditch effort in this desperate campaign to smear me and my family," Biden told WISN 12 News, an ABC affiliate in Milwaukee

"Ron should be ashamed of himself," said Biden, who said that the vast majority of intelligence officials have said there's no basis to the claim at all. 

666d ago / 2:25 PM UTC

Trump campaign goes for kitchen-sink approach in new Spanish-language ad

WASHINGTON — President Donald Trump's campaign is out with a new Spanish-language ad that throws the kitchen sink at former Vice President Joe Biden in the hopes of diminishing him among Florida's diverse Hispanic community. 

For Cuban voters, there’s a photo of Biden kneeling superimposed in front of a flag of Che Guevara and the ad also accuses him of betraying Nicaraguans, abandoning the Venezuelans, and being the candidate of Castro-Chavistas. The spot ends with Trump declaring “America will never be a socialist country.” 

Team Trump has been trying to dent Biden's image among Florida Hispanics as polls over the last few months have shown the Democrat underperforming there.  

Meanwhile, the Biden campaign recently started running testimonial spots of Spanish-speaking individuals telling their own stories — combatting the socialist charge against Biden, attacking Trump on Puerto Rican hurricane recovery and the coronavirus, and criticizing Trump's hydroxychloroquine push. 

666d ago / 2:01 PM UTC

Pennsylvania Poll: Biden leads Trump by 7 percentage points

Biden leads Trump by 7 percentage points in Pennsylvania, a key battleground state that Trump carried in 2016 and that was won by former President Obama in 2012 and 2008, according to a USA TODAY/Suffolk University poll.

The poll found that 49 percent of likely voters in the state back Biden while 42 percent said they support Trump. Similarly, the survey found that 49 percent of likely voters in Pennsylvania view the former vice president favorably compared while 42 percent view Trump unfavorably. 

Obama will campaign on behalf of Biden in Philadelphia Wednesday night. 

The poll surveyed 500 likely voters between Oct. 15 and Oct. 19 and has a margin of error of plus or minus 4.4 percentage points.

666d ago / 1:06 PM UTC

Poll: Many in U.S. distrust campaign info

In a presidential election year that has thrown the country’s divisions into stark relief, Americans can agree on this: Misinformation about government and politics is a major problem.

A new survey by The Associated Press-NORC Center for Public Opinion Research and USAFacts finds that while voters say it’s pretty easy to find accurate information about voting, they have a harder time knowing whether there’s any factual basis for the information they’re getting from and about the candidates.

Among the poll’s findings: More than 8 in 10 rated the spread of misinformation about government a “major problem.” Roughly half of respondents said Trump’s campaign messages are rarely or never based in fact, while about 4 in 10 respondents say that of Biden’s campaign.

The poll of 1,121 adults was conducted Sept. 15-25 has a margin of sampling error for all respondents is plus or minus 4.1 percentage points.

666d ago / 12:56 PM UTC

Obama makes campaign debut

Former President Barack Obama will make his first appearance on the campaign trail Wednesday in support of Joe Biden, hoping to excite the Democratic base in Philadelphia. NBC's senior Washington correspondent Andrea Mitchell reports for TODAY.

666d ago / 12:44 PM UTC

Three-quarters of Latino voters disapprove of Trump's coronavirus response in poll

Nearly three-quarters of Latinos disapprove of President Donald Trump's handling of the coronavirus response, and a similar share blame him for having become ill with Covid-19 himself, according to the latest results of a weekly tracking poll.

In the poll released Tuesday by the National Association of Latino Elected and Appointed Officials Educational Fund, 73 percent of respondents agreed with the statement that Trump got infected with Covid-19 because he was behaving irresponsibly and didn't take proper precautions. The same share said they disapproved of his handling of the pandemic.

"After seven weeks of tracking Latino sentiments leading up to the election, it is difficult to overstate the impact that COVID-19 has had on the Latino electorate," Stephen Nuño-Perez, a senior analyst with the polling operation Latino Decisions, said in a statement. "This is an 'all hands on deck' issue that any candidate must address if they want to connect with Latino voters."

Read more about the poll results.

666d ago / 12:38 PM UTC

President Trump continued his push in battleground states by holding a rally in Pennsylvania Tuesday. First lady Melania Trump, who was supposed to appear in her first public visit since her coronavirus recovery, scrapped the trip with her aide citing a lingering cough. NBC's Peter Alexander reports for TODAY.

666d ago / 12:27 PM UTC

Court lets North Carolina keep absentee deadline extension

North Carolina can accept absentee ballots that are postmarked by Election Day for more than a week afterward, a federal appeals court ruled Tuesday.

The 4th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals declined to block an extension for accepting the ballots that was announced in late September. The State Board of Elections decided then that absentee ballots could be accepted until Nov. 12 as long as they were mailed by Election Day, lengthening the timeframe from three to nine days. The change was made as part of a legal settlement with voting rights advocates.

State and national Republican leaders went to court to fight the deadline extension. But the federal appeals court denied their emergency request to block the change. The court’s majority opinion notes that ballots must still be postmarked by Election Day to be counted. The opinion says that “everyone must submit their ballot by the same date. The extension merely allows more lawfully cast ballots to be counted, in the event there are any delays precipitated by an avalanche of mail-in ballots.”

The opinion also noted that if the court forced the state to shorten the deadline, it would violate a legal principle that limits how federal courts intervene in ballot rules close to an election. The ruling was decided 12-3. All 15 of the court’s active judges participated, rather than a smaller panel, in a sign of the case’s importance.

666d ago / 11:55 AM UTC

Trump-Biden final debate: Time, how to watch, topics

Image: President Donald Trump and Joe Biden will participate in a final presidential debate on Thursday night.
President Donald Trump and Joe Biden will participate in a final presidential debate on Thursday night.Chelsea Stahl / NBC News

The second and final presidential debate is set for Thursday night, giving President Donald Trump an opportunity to make up ground against Democratic presidential nominee Joe Biden.

Trump, who's trailing in national polling by about 9 points, will have to be more disciplined than he was in the chaotic first debate, while Biden has to avoid any major missteps.

Here's everything you need to know.

666d ago / 11:45 AM UTC

Trump abruptly ends '60 Minutes' interview, taunts CBS' Lesley Stahl

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Image: President Trump Departs White House For New Jersey
President Donald Trump exits the Oval Office and walks to Marine One on the South Lawn of the White House on Oct. 1, 2020.Drew Angerer / Getty Images file

President Trump abruptly ended a taped interview at the White House with "60 Minutes" reporter Lesley Stahl on Tuesday and taunted the veteran CBS News journalist in tweets.

"I am pleased to inform you that, for the sake of accuracy in reporting, I am considering posting my interview with Lesley Stahl of 60 Minutes, PRIOR TO AIRTIME! This will be done so that everybody can get a glimpse of what a FAKE and BIASED interview is all about," the president tweeted. He also called the interview a " terrible Electoral Intrusion" in another tweet.

He then posted a short video making light of Stahl not wearing a mask while appearing to talk with producers for the show at the White House. CBS said Stahl had been wearing a mask as she entered the White House and up to the time of the interview.

"You have to watch what we do to 60 Minutes," Trump said early in his rally in Erie, Pennsylvania, on Tuesday night. "You'll get such a kick out of it, you're going to get a kick out of it. Leslie Stahl is not going to be happy.”

Read the full story here.

666d ago / 11:42 AM UTC

McConnell signals Senate Republicans don't want a deal on Covid relief before election

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Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell told his fellow Republican members in a closed-door meeting Tuesday that he is “encouraging” the White House to wait until after the November 3 election to reach an agreement on a Covid-19 relief package with House Speaker Nancy Pelosi, according to three sources familiar with the conversation.

McConnell was responding to a question from a GOP senator facing re-election who pressed the need to go home to campaign after next Monday’s full Senate vote to confirm Supreme Court nominee Amy Coney Barrett.

The Majority Leader indicated that he agreed that Republican members need to campaign, and that the unknown of a package is too unpredictable so close to Election Day. He added that the final price tag, policy specifics and timing of any potential deal are still far from clear.

Shortly after his private comments, McConnell told reporters that if there is a deal struck in the ongoing negotiations between Pelosi and Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin, he would bring that bill to the floor of the Senate, but he suggested too many steps remain and he didn’t indicate a timeline.

Click here for the full story.

666d ago / 11:02 AM UTC

'Fresh start': Biden World Series ad focuses on unity, patriotism

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A 60-second Biden ad that aired during first game of the World Series on Tuesday stresses unity, love of country and the need for a "fresh start" after Trump.

"There is only one America. No Democratic rivers. No Republican mountains. Just this great land, and all that's possible on it, with a fresh start. Cures we can find. Futures we can shape. Work to reward. Dignity to protect," says actor Sam Elliott, who narrates the ad as the "Star Spangled Banner" plays in the background. 

"There is so much we can do if we choose to take on problems and not each other. And choose a president who brings out our best. Joe Biden doesn't need everyone in this country to always agree. Just to agree we all love this country. And go from there," he adds.

The Biden campaign says it's a national ad-buy, but declined to specify how much it costs. 

666d ago / 10:51 AM UTC

'This is really a tipping point': Obama urges young people to mobilize, vote Biden

Ahead of Obama's campaign trail debut Wednesday, he released a brief video on Twitter urging young people to turn out and vote for Biden. 

"We can come out of this moment stronger than before. Voting doesn't accomplish that on its own, but we can't accomplish that without voting," Obama says in the video.

"I know there's plenty out there to make people feel cynical and plenty of people are going to seize on that to convince you that your vote doesn't matter. It's not new. It's one of the oldest voter suppression tactics there is. What is new is a growing movement for justice, equality and progress on so many issues. This is really a tipping point." 

Obama is expected to deliver a speech Wednesday night in Philadelphia on behalf of the Biden campaign, his first in-person event during the general election. 

666d ago / 10:11 AM UTC

Kornacki explores Florida early voting numbers

666d ago / 10:10 AM UTC
667d ago / 11:56 PM UTC

McConnell signals Senate Republicans don’t want bigger Covid relief bill before election

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Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell told his fellow Republican members in a closed-door meeting Tuesday that he is “encouraging” the White House to wait until after the November 3 election to reach an agreement on a Covid-19 relief package with House Speaker Nancy Pelosi, according to three sources familiar with the conversation.

McConnell was responding to a question from a GOP senator facing re-election who pressed the need to go home to campaign after next Monday’s full Senate vote to confirm Supreme Court nominee Amy Coney Barrett.

The Majority Leader indicated that he agreed that Republican members need to campaign, and that the unknown of a package is too unpredictable so close to Election Day. He added that the final price tag, policy specifics and timing of any potential deal are still far from clear.

Shortly after his private comments, McConnell told reporters that if there is a deal struck in the ongoing negotiations between Pelosi and Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin, he would bring that bill to the floor of the Senate, but he suggested too many steps remain and he didn’t indicate a timeline.

Click here for the full story.