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2020 election highlights: Trump votes early, Biden continues final push

Get the 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

With just over a week to go until Election Day and millions of people, including President Donald Trump, already casting their ballots at early voting sites or by mail, the candidates are facing enormous pressure to solidify their bases and win over undecided voters.

This live coverage has ended. Continue reading election news from October 25, 2020.

Live Blog

Ransomware infection leads New York county to ask absentee voters to double-check status

Parts of a New York county's computer systems have been infected with ransomware, potentially impacting voters there who had tried to register to vote by absentee ballot by email.

Chenango County was infected by ransomware the weekend of Oct. 17, John Conklin, the county’s director of public information, said in a statement. The news was first reported by the local Evening Sun.

While the county’s immediate election systems are unaffected, county email systems were, and some voters who had tried to register for absentee ballots by emailing the county may have not properly registered. Such voters should call the county Board of Elections to check their status, Conklin said in a phone interview.

Hall County, Georgia, is also dealing with a ransomware infection that initially slowed its absentee ballot counting, but officials say they’ve since worked through that backlog. Ransomware attacks on local governments are a common occurrence, and there is no indication yet that the recent ransomware infections are part of a widespread and coordinated attack on the U.S. election system.

Voter advocates hoping to stave off intimidation at polls

Voting rights advocates and state officials are on high alert over fears that U.S. polling stations could attract the same strain of partisan violence and civil unrest that erupted on American streets this year, fueled by a deadly pandemic, outrage over police brutality and one of the most contentious elections ever.

Anti-government extremists and other armed civilians have flocked to protests against racial injustice and Covid-19 lockdowns. Paramilitary group members are accused of plotting to kidnap Michigan’s governor before the election. President Donald Trump encouraged one far-right extremist group to “stand back and stand by” and called for an army of “poll watchers” to keep tabs on polling places.

While gun rights advocates say fears of violence at the polls are unfounded, the toxic political atmosphere and the prospect of armed poll monitors have some worried it will keep voters from the polls and affect the election.

“Just as an American, the fact that we’re having this conversation is absolutely terrifying to me,” said American University professor Kurt Braddock, who researches extremist groups. “It’s a testament to how far the extreme right has come with getting into this conversation and impacting the way that politics get done here.”

Trump has called for an army of “poll watchers” to go to the polls and “watch carefully.” Monitoring the votes at polling places is allowed in most states, but rules vary and it’s not a free-for-all. States have established rules, in part, to avoid any hint that observers will harass or intimidate voters.

Some states and groups are preparing for that possibility.

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Trump continues to downplay the coronavirus as he ramps up campaign events

President Trump once again spread incorrect and misleading comments about the severity of the coronavirus at his first campaign rally of the day on Saturday, projecting a false sense of normalcy as he fights for his political life. 

"That's all I hear about now," Trump said, complaining of the amount of media attention the virus gets as he campaigned in North Carolina. "Turn on television, Covid, Covid, Covid, Covid, Covid, Covid." 

On Friday more than 85,000 new cases were reported across the country, breaking an earlier single-day record and casting a shadow on Trump's re-election efforts. 

Trump, who was infected with Covid-19, will head to Ohio next this afternoon, where cases are surging.

His campaign rally is being held at a fairgrounds that was linked to 22 cases in June.

 

An early voting line grows in Brooklyn

People wait to vote Saturday at the Barclays Center in Brooklyn.Stephanie Keith / Getty Images

And all over New York City, like here in Queens:

And in Manhattan, where this line went as far as eight block back: 

Early voters line up to vote at Wagner JHS Middle School in Manhattan, N.Y., on Oct. 24, 2020.Andrew Fine

Another negative Covid-19 test for Biden

Ahead of Biden campaigning in Pennsylvania today, his team announced he “underwent PCR testing for Covid-19 today and Covid-19 was not detected.”

He’s now tested negative 14 times since earlier this month.

Supreme Court sides mostly with Republicans in last-minute voting cases

The U.S. Supreme Court has faced a stream of last-minute appeals over election procedures since the spring, and most of the time it has rejected calls to allow less restrictive voting measures despite the pandemic.

That has generally meant that Republicans prevailed in seeking to block changes that would make it easier to vote, especially in casting mail-in ballots. Of 11 election-related cases filed as emergency appeals since April, Republican interests won in eight.

The court rejected Democratic efforts to lift an age eligibility requirement for mail ballots in Texas, or allow curbside voting and waive the witness requirement for mail ballots in Alabama, or suspend the witness requirement in South Carolina. And it put a hold on lower court orders that would have made it easier to get initiative measures on the ballot in Idaho and Oregon.

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New York is an early voting groove

Trump casts in-person ballot, will hold three campaign rallies today

President Donald Trump leaves the polling station after casting his ballot at the Palm Beach County Public Library in West Palm Beach, Fla., on Oct. 24, 2020.Mandel Ngan / AFP - Getty Images

 

President Trump, exiting the polling location wearing a face mask, told reporters that he cast his ballot Saturday morning for "a guy named Trump." 

"It was a very secure vote, much more secure than when you send in a ballot," Trump said, repeating false claims about the security of mail-in voting.

Trump holds campaign rallies today in North Carolina, Ohio and Wisconsin.

Trump arrives at early vote location in Florida

President Trump arrived at West Palm Library on Saturday morning, where he will vote early in-person.

Reporters are not allowed inside the voting location with the president. 

Two different paths for two Republican senators