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Obama mocks Trump, Biden calls for unity

Latest news, polls, analysis and more.
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 one week remaining until Election Day, President Donald Trump and Joe Biden are heading to key battleground states for their final pushes.

Trump held afternoon events in Michigan and Wisconsin, as well as a Nebraska rally at 8:30 p.m. ET. Meanwhile, Biden visited Georgia, a traditionally Republican stronghold that Democrats are hoping they can flip.

This live coverage has ended. Continue reading election news for Wednesday, October 28, 2020.

Stories we’re following today:

Melania Trump talks Covid-19 diagnosis in first solo 2020 campaign event

—Biden brings closing message to historically red Georgia

How to track your ballot after mail-in voting

—Latest polls from battleground states and more

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

Read updates below:

Three Florida counties limit early voting hours for Hurricane Zeta

Nicole Via y Rada

Three counties in Florida's panhandle limited early voting hours on Wednesday ahead of Hurricane Zeta hitting the area. 

Escambia, Okaloosa and Santa Rosa counties backed Trump in 2016 and are solid Republican areas. Trump held a rally in Escambia County after the debate last week. 

Escambia and Santa Rosa counties will close voting at 3 p.m. ET on Wednesday and reopen at 11 a.m. on Thursday, to assess any potential damage from the storm. Okaloosa County will close polling locations two hours early on Wednesday and reopen at 9 a.m. Thursday. Florida early voting hours regularly run from 7 a.m. to 7 p.m. 

Hurricane Zeta is set to make landfall Wednesday afternoon and is the eighth storm to hit the Gulf Coast this hurricane season. 

Despite universal mail ballots, study finds few dead people vote in Washington state

Rebecca Shabadis in Washington, D.C.

A study by Stanford University's Democracy & Polarization Lab found that over the course of a 7-year period, "dead people's ballots are almost never voted fraudulently and subsequently counted as valid votes in the state of Washington."

Trump has insisted that efforts in other states to send ballots to all registered voters to encourage mail-in voting would lead to rampant fraud, including insisting that ballots would be sent to dead people and others would vote on their behalf. His campaign has fought universal mailing efforts in other states.

The study released Tuesday found that between 2011 and 2018, there were ballots representing 14 dead people cast out of 4.5 million voters in the state. They said that this represented only 0.0003 percent of voters. 

"Even these few cases may reflect two individuals with the same name and birth date, or clerical errors, rather than fraud," the study found.

Beto O'Rourke tries to bring the election heat on chilly Texas day

SAN ANTONIO — Democrat Beto O'Rourke braved a cold snap in Texas earlier Tuesday to fire up canvassers in the red state where the presidential race is tightening.

A masked O'Rourke gave a pep talk from beneath a city park pavilion to Texas Organizing Project canvassers who listened from their cars. He then went door-to-door with the canvassers in north San Antonio as early voting in state ends Friday. 

Beto O'Rourke in McAllister Park in San Antonio, Texas, on Oct. 27, 2020.
Beto O'Rourke in McAllister Park in San Antonio, Texas, on Oct. 27, 2020.Suzanne Gamboa / NBC

O'Rourke, a 2020 Democratic presidential candidate, is trying to improve the turnout in the state beyond what it saw in 2018, when he was lost a close race against Sen. Ted Cruz, R-Texas, and helped drive up turnout. 

"Texas will decide the outcome of the 2020 election," said O'Rourke, who drove 551 miles from El Paso to San Antonio for the canvassing. He raved about Texas' early voter turnout which has broken records.

His canvassing in Texas comes after NBC News changed its rating of Texas from leans Republican to Toss Up. 

Trump stumps in Nebraska, pleads: 'Get the heck out and vote'

Dartunorro Clark

President Trump stumped in Omaha, Nebraska, on Tuesday, urging his supporters there to vote while slamming his Democratic rival with familiar attacks regarding the economy and the coronavirus pandemic. 

"I am standing here, freezing — I ask you one little favor," Trump told the crowd. "Get the heck out and vote."

Trump is trailing in national polls but is ahead in Nebraska. At the rally, he slammed Biden for the size of his rallies and also hit President Obama — who held an event today for his former vice president where he bashed the president — for rally crowd size. Biden's campaign has used drive-ins to avoid large maskless crowds unlike the president. 

“They are trying to figure out like if Trump is getting these crowds and Biden is getting like 12 people, you know the circles. He fills in the circles," Trump said. He went on to claim that the coronavirus is not the reason for small numbers of people attending Biden’s in-person events. "That's not the reason, okay? That's not the reason. It's a hell of an excuse but it's not the reason” Trump said. 

Trump is spending time in the final stretch of the campaign in Nebraska because if the Electoral College is down to a single vote to the winning 270, unlike most states, which tend to use a winner-takes-all system, Nebraska divides their Electoral College votes. It gives two to the winner of the statewide vote and one to the winner of each congressional district. Maine, where Trump has also spent time in the final days, has the same system. 

Trump to suburban women: 'We’re getting your husbands back to work'

The Associated Press

President Trump has a new message to suburban women as he campaigns in Michigan: “We’re getting your husbands back to work.”

Trump, who polls show has diminishing support from suburban women, also criticized the restrictions put in place to slow the spread of Covid-19.

Trump told the women in the crowd of thousands in Lansing: “We’re getting your husbands back to work, and everybody wants it and the cure can never be worse than the problem itself.”

The comments came as part of criticism of the state’s governor, Democrat Gretchen Whitmer. The crowd also chanted, “Lock her up!”

Trump took credit for the actions of federal law enforcement in disrupting an alleged plot to kidnap Whitmer, while seemingly raising questions about the seriousness of the threat.

“It was our people that helped her out with her problem,” Trump says. “And we’ll have to see if it’s a problem. Right? People are entitled to say, ‘Maybe it was a problem, maybe it wasn’t.’”

Texas Supreme Court upholds governor's order for one ballot drop-off site per county

Dartunorro Clark

The Texas Supreme Court on Tuesday upheld Gov. Greg Abbott's order limiting counties to one drop-off site for absentee ballots, dealing a blow to Democrats and voting rights groups that won a temporary injunction blocking the mandate.

“The Governor’s October Proclamation provides Texas voters more ways to vote in the November 3 election than does the Election Code. It does not disenfranchise anyone,” the court said in its ruling.

“The plaintiffs have not established a probable right to an injunction blocking the October Proclamation. As a result, they were not entitled to a temporary injunction, and the trial court erred in granting that relief. The judgment of the court of appeals is reversed, and the temporary injunction issued by the trial court is dissolved.”

Democrats and voting rights groups said Abbott's Oct. 1 order, which allowed for only one absentee ballot drop off location for every county regardless of its size, amounted to voter suppression because the order would affect the state’s largest cities, such as Houston, some of which are Democratic strongholds.

Click here for the full story

Trump campaign website hacked

President Trump's campaign website appeared to fall victim to hackers on Tuesday night.

"This site was seized," read a message that was briefly posted on a page at The "world has had enough of the fake news spreaded daily" by the president, the message continued.

The message said it had information that "discredits" the president and his family, and demanded cryptocurrency to either release or withhold the information.

A screengrab of
A screengrab of

The site then appeared to go offline soon after, and was restored minus the hacked message a short time later.

A spokesman for the Trump campaign, Tim Murtaugh, said the “website was defaced and we are working with law enforcement authorities to investigate the source of the attack. There was no exposure to sensitive data because none of it is actually stored on the site. The website has been restored.”

Click here for the full story

How to track your ballot after mail-in voting

Judge stops Election Day gun ban near Michigan polling sites

The Associated Press

A judge on Tuesday blocked a ban on the open display of guns near Michigan polling places on Election Day, agreeing with critics who said a Democratic secretary of state failed to follow state law with her sudden order.

Gun-rights groups accused Secretary of State Jocelyn Benson of exceeding her authority in banning people from openly carrying guns within 100 feet of voting sites. She acted after authorities recently busted up an alleged plot to kidnap Gov. Gretchen Whitmer.

But Benson failed to go through a formal rule-making process required under state law, Judge Christopher Murray said.

Compliance “is no mere procedural nicety,” Murray said. “Instead, our appellate courts have repeatedly emphasized the importance of the democratic principles embodied in the (law), which requires notice and an opportunity to be heard on the subject under consideration.”

South Carolina cannot reject ballots due to mismatched signatures, judge rules

The Associated Press

A federal judge in South Carolina ruled Tuesday that local election boards cannot reject voters’ absentee ballots on the basis of mismatched signatures and must review and reprocess previously rejected ballots for the upcoming general election.

The temporary injunction comes after a recent survey by the South Carolina State Election Commission discovered a handful of county election boards were conducting signature matching on ballots, though the state has no laws, rules or regulations on the practice.

U.S. District Judge Richard Gergel of Charleston wrote Tuesday that counties that wish to continue matching signatures on absentee ballots must seek approval of the court first.

Voter outreach groups filed the lawsuit earlier this month, as the significant number of first-time absentee voters this election has brought due process issues to the forefront, said Christe McCoy-Lawrence, co-president of the League of Women Voters’ South Carolina chapter. The suit sought a permanent procedure for elections officials to notify voters and allow them to fix ballots with signature issues.

“This decision is a significant win for voter confidence in a year when the COVID-19 pandemic has upended our elections with rule changes, delays and massive surges in mail voting,” McCoy-Lawrence said in a statement. “This ruling erases the uncertainty voters might feel about whether their absentee ballot signature may not exactly match a previous one on record.”

Hotels are amping up their 'Painkiller' perks for Election Night

Harriet Baskas

Election Day, and perhaps the days and weeks to follow, may be especially tense this year for a myriad of reasons. To help ease the stress but still mark the day, some hotels and restaurants are offering discounts and perks for overnight guests and complimentary cocktails for those who have proof that they have voted.

Some hotels, and at least one museum, are even turning their lobbies and rooftops into polling stations.

Some hotels around the country are turning ballrooms, rooftops and other large spaces into polling places where citizens can cast a vote or drop off a mailed ballot — all with adequate social distance.

The Crossroads Hotel in Kansas City, Missouri, is offering a “Not at a Crossroads” package on Nov. 3 to guests who show proof of voting. Perks for overnight guests include CBD gummies, "Painkiller" cocktails and a variety of candies and snacks.

Click here for the full story.

North Carolina's Senate race hit with a sexting scandal and a Covid diagnosis. Do voters care?

Sen. Thom Tillis has had a busy week.

The first-term Republican senator voted to confirm a new Supreme Court Justice, campaigned with Vice President Mike Pence, given several rounds of media interviews and announced a packed schedule of events in the final days of his re-election bid.

Tillis' Democratic challenger Cal Cunningham, rocked by weeks of controversy, has been a bit harder to find.

His last scheduled interview was several weeks ago, and journalists requesting sitdowns say they're finding their calls unreturned. While he's still speaking to voters, many events are entirely virtual, and local reporters complain his campaign is no longer sending out schedules to the media.

And yet his campaign, pivotal in determining who controls the chamber, is still seen as one of the Democrats' best chances to flip a Senate seat this year.

Tillis announced he tested positive for the coronavirus on Oct. 2 after attending a White House event in honor of Amy Coney Barrett. That same day, Cunningham, a married father of two and an officer in the Army Reserve who has centered his campaign on his character, was caught in a sexting scandal and later admitted to having an extramarital relationship.

Click here for the full story.

Rapper Common entertains Biden's supporters in Georgia

Image: Democratic U.S. presidential nominee Biden campaigns in  Georgia
Common performs before Joe Biden's Atlanta campaign stop on Tuesday.Brian Snyder / Reuters


Pelosi says no Covid-19 relief before election day, blames White House for failing 'miserably'

Dartunorro Clark

House Speaker Nancy Pelosi ended any hopes of a Covid-19 relief bill before the Election Day, blaming the White House for failing "miserably" in a letter to House Democrats on Tuesday.

"For a long time now, Congressional Democrats have laid out a strategic plan to crush the virus. The White House and Mitch McConnell have resisted, and on Sunday, Mark Meadows told us why saying 'We’re not going to control the pandemic,'" Pelosi said in the letter, referring to the chief of staff's interview on CNN's "State of the Union" this past Sunday.

"From 'hoax' to hundreds of thousands dead, the White House has failed miserably — not by accident, but by decision," she wrote. "Now we know why they resisted science at the expense of lives, livelihoods and the life of our democracy. Again, it was a decision to do so."

This news comes as Covid-19 case numbers reached a record high this past weekend and hospitalizations are climbing, more than 225,000 people have died in the United States and there is a 7.9 unemployment rate. President Donald Trump himself has also signaled that no stimulus deal is coming before the election.

Click here for the full story.

Harris talks immigration, DACA in Reno

Deepa Shivaram

“We have to have a president and a vice president who understands that the way this country was built includes the hard work the sweat and blood of immigrants through the generations." Harris said while standing on top of a truck during an unscheduled stop in Iddlewild Park in Reno, Nevada.

"When Joe and I are elected, get rid of any policy that is about separating children from their parents, any policy that is about putting babies in cages. We will renew our promise to our dreamers. We will reinstate DACA.”

Reluctant masker at Trump rally

Supporters of President Donald Trump have their temperature taken before attending a campaign rally on Oct. 27, 2020 in Lansing, Mich.
Supporters of President Donald Trump have their temperatures taken before a campaign rally Tuesday in Lansing, Mich.Chip Somodevilla / Getty Images

Melania Trump talks Covid-19 diagnosis in first solo 2020 campaign event

First lady Melania Trump arrives to speak at a campaign rally on Oct. 27, 2020, in Atglen, Pa.Laurence Kesterson / AP

Melania Trump made her first solo appearance of the campaign Tuesday in Pennsylvania, where she touted her "Be Best" anti-bullying campaign before charging that Joe Biden would "destroy America" as president.

The first lady opened her remarks, which came as her husband has been trying to woo back suburban women, by referring to her family's battle with the coronavirus this month.

"We are all feeling so much better now thanks to healthy living and some of the amazing therapeutic options available in our country — thank you again for your well wishes!" she told group of about 200 mostly masked supporters in a barn in Atglen.

The rally Tuesday was the first lady's first in more than a year. She was supposed to make a campaign appearance in Pennsylvania last week but it was postponed because of a "lingering cough" from the virus that also infected her husband and their son Barron.

Read the story.

Mississippi’s GOP senator raised less than $85,000 in her last filing before election

The money chase in the race for Mississippi’s Senate seat could make the contest more interesting in the final days, with donors favoring the Democratic candidate despite the Republican incumbent's solid lead in most polls.

While Mike Espy, the Democratic challenger, has raised more than $3.9 million in the final financial filing released before the election — bringing his total to nearly $9.4 million for this campaign cycle — his opponent, GOP incumbent Cindy Hyde-Smith, has raised just $85,000 over the same period, which encompasses the first two weeks of October.

Hyde-Smith's campaign has raised slightly more than $2.9 million for the entirety of this cycle.

Mississippi's junior senator gained national attention in her first election bid in 2018 after a video of her went viral when she attempted to praise a supporter by saying, “If he invited me to a public hanging, I’d be on the front row. 

Many considered it a troubling choice of words in a state with a difficult racial history, which includes 581 lynchings from 1882 to 1968, the most of any state during that period, according to the NAACP.

After that statement, major donors asked for refunds in an attempt to distance themselves from her remarks, and she hasn’t been able to regain their support. The only senators who have raised less money during the 2020 campaign cycle are retiring, Mississippi Today reported.

New York Mayor Bill de Blasio waits in line to vote in Brooklyn

Image: New York City Mayor Bill de Blasio stands in line to cast aerly ballot in Brooklyn New York
Mayor Bill de Blasio stands in line with other voters to cast his ballot during early voting in Park Slope on Tuesday. Mike Segar / Reuters

Trump campaign tweets out-of-context snippet of Biden quoting Pope Francis

Nicole Via y Rada

The Trump campaign on Tuesday misleadingly edited remarks Biden made in a speech in Georgia in which he quoted Pope Francis, taking the lines out of context in a video snippet posted to Twitter to suggest the Democratic nominee was asking why he was running. 

Biden, who is Roman Catholic, quoted from the pope's most recent encyclical warning against divisive forms of populist politics. "Politics is something more noble than posturing, marketing and media spin," the Democratic nominee said, directly quoting the pontiff.

"These sow nothing but division, conflict and a bleak cynicism," Biden continued, paraphrasing the pope's message. "For those who seek to lead, we do well to ask ourselves, why am I doing this? Why? What is my real aim? Pope Francis asked questions that anyone who seeks to lead this great nation should be able to answer."

The Trump campaign did not include any of this context in the video, making it seem like the former vice president was asking aloud about his own reasons for running. 

Pence keeps packed campaign schedule despite aides' Covid-19 infections


Amanda Golden

Hallie Jackson

Amanda Golden, Monica Alba and Hallie Jackson
Image: U.S. Vice President Mike Pence rally in Kinston, North Carolina
Vice President Mike Pence speaks at a rally in Kinston, N.C., on Oct. 25, 2020.Jonathan Drake / Reuters

Vice President Mike Pence has continued a robust campaign schedule and will travel throughout the country during the final week of the election, despite a Covid-19 outbreak among close aides and staff.

Five of Pence's aides, including his chief of staff Marc Short, his “body man” Zach Bauer, and his senior political adviser Marty Obst, have tested positive for the coronavirus. Despite being in close contact with several of those aides, Pence is not quarantining because his active campaigning was deemed essential work.

"While Vice President Pence is considered a close contact with Mr. Short, in consultation with the White House Medical Unit, the vice president will maintain his schedule in accordance with the CDC guidelines for essential personnel," the vice president's press secretary, Devin O’Malley, wrote in a statement.

Pence traveled on Sunday and Monday to campaign in North Carolina and Minnesota, respectively. The vice president's aggressive travel schedules comes amid renewed scrutiny of the safety precautions being put in place after the outbreak among the vice president's staff. 

Read more here.

Biden brings closing message to historically red Georgia

Joe Biden on Tuesday made his first visit of the 2020 election cycle to the battleground state of Georgia, delivering a closing argument centered around his criticism of President Trump and his goal of seeking to "heal our nation."

Speaking in Warm Springs, Ga., Biden took aim at Trump's responses to the dual public health and economic crises caused by Covid-19 as well as the protests for racial justice seen across the nation this year.

“These are all historic, painful crises. The insidious virus. Economic anguish. Systemic discrimination. Any one of them could have rocked a nation,” Biden said.

Biden’s events marked his first visit of the 2020 election cycle to Georgia, a state a Democratic presidential candidate hasn’t carried since 1992 but where Democrats have been making inroads.

Read more about Biden's Tuesday trip to Georgia.

Facebook says suspected Iranian hackers behind U.S. election threats operated in 2019


Iranian hackers suspected of emailing threatening messages to U.S. voters last week and spreading false information about compromised election systems ran a disinformation campaign last year targeting the Middle East, Facebook said on Tuesday.

U.S. officials blamed Iran last week for thousands of threatening emails and an online video that purported to show hackers breaking into a voter registration system just days before the U.S. presidential election. Tehran has denied the allegations.

Facebook said it had suspended one fake account that attempted to share the video on its site. That account in turn led to more than 20 other accounts on Facebook and Instagram, revealing a dormant disinformation operation that had targeted countries including Israel and Saudi Arabia in 2019, the company said.

Study in contrasts: Trump and Biden campaign

Image: Donald Trump Campaigns For Re-Election In Michigan
Supporters wait for the arrival of President Donald Trump at a campaign rally at Capital Region International Airport in Lansing, Mich., on Tuesday.Chip Somodevilla / Getty Images
Image: Democratic Presidential Nominee Joe Biden Campaigns In Georgia
Joe Biden speaks at the Mountain Top Inn and Resort in Warm Springs, Ga., on Tuesday.Drew Angerer / Getty Images

Barrett urged to recuse herself in PA mail ballot deadline case

One of the Pennsylvania boards of election involved in the lawsuit over the deadline for receiving mail ballots — now back before the Supreme Court — has filed a motion seeking to have Amy Coney Barrett recuse, that is, take herself out of any involvement in the case. 

The Luzerne County Board of Elections says her impartiality can reasonably be questioned “given the circumstances of her nomination and confirmation.”

The board cites the unprecedented closeness of her confirmation to Election Day and the statements by the president who nominated her. “All of this raises a terrible ‘appearance’ problem which can only engulf the Supreme Court in a political stew with poisonous consequences for the independence and perceived integrity of the judiciary,” the board argues.

The justices decide for themselves whether to recuse in any individual case. 

How older Black voters could propel Biden to victory

Black voters are expected to vote for Joe Biden over President Donald Trump by about an 80-point margin, according to polling estimates. But political analysts say Black voters over age 65 in particular are expected to play a pivotal role in deciding Biden's fate.

“Black older voters are truly the stronghold the Democratic Party has in terms of consistency, reliability and turnout,” said Chryl Laird, an assistant professor of political science at Bowdoin College in Brunswick, Maine.

That energy could be amplified dramatically this year, experts, Democratic Party activists and rank-and-file voters say. Spurred by memories of the civil rights movement and the struggle for voting rights, senior Black voters tend to view voting as a mode of activism and an instrument for overcoming racial tension. And Black voters not only tend to align ideologically with Biden, but also to describe Trump as a deeply concerning source of division and a threat to the country's stability and values.

Read more here.

Biden: U.S. needs a president 'who is not in it for themselves'

Joe Biden spoke about the impact of President Franklin Delano Roosevelt while campaigning in Georgia and assured voters that even though he is running as a Democrat, he would "govern as an American president."

Israeli Trump supporters rally for his re-election in Jerusalem

An Israeli supporter of President Donald Trump waves a campaign flag at a rally for his re-election in Jerusalem on Oct. 27, 2020.
An Israeli supporter of President Donald Trump waves a campaign flag at a rally for his re-election in Jerusalem on Oct. 27, 2020.Maya Alleruzzo / AP
An Israeli supporter of President Donald Trump attends a rally for his re-election in Jerusalem on Oct. 27, 2020.
An Israeli supporter of President Donald Trump attends a rally for his re-election in Jerusalem on Oct. 27, 2020.Maya Alleruzzo / AP

ANALYSIS: 5 things to watch in the final week of the 2020 campaign

People watch the final presidential debate between Joe Biden and President Donald Trump at a drive-in watch party in San Francisco on Oct. 22, 2020.Jeff Chiu / AP

The flood of information coming to voters in the final week of an election can seem overwhelming.

Most of them just want to know one data point: the name of the winner. That information will have to wait at least until Election Day next Tuesday — and possibly beyond that. But there are ways to sift through bluster, spin and punditry to get a sense of how things are going between now and the end of Election Day.

In that vein, here are some things to keep an eye on over the next week.

'Who are these folks?': Obama slams Jared Kushner for his comments on Black Americans

Rebecca Shabadis in Washington, D.C.

Obama on Tuesday slammed Jared Kushner, Trump's son-in-law and adviser, for comments he made Monday about Black Americans.

"His son-in-law says Black folks have to want to be successful. That's the problem. Who are these folks? What history books do they read? Who do they talk to?" Obama said to Biden supporters at a drive-in rally in Orlando.

In an interview with Fox News, Kushner described Black America's issues with inequality and racism as "complaining."

"The thing we've seen in the Black community, which is mostly Democrat," he said, "is that President Trump's policies are the policies that can help people break out of the problems that they're complaining about, but he can't want them to be successful more than they want to be successful."

Obama mocks Trump, saying he's jealous of Covid-19 media coverage

Rebecca Shabadis in Washington, D.C.

While campaigning in the key battleground state of Florida, former President Obama mocked Trump for his recent complaints about media coverage of the Covid-19 pandemic.

"What's his closing argument? That people are too focused on COVID. He said this at one of his rallies. 'COVID, COVID, COVID,' he's complained. He's jealous of COVID's media coverage. If he had been focused on COVID from the beginning, cases wouldn't be reaching new records," Obama told Biden supporters in Orlando at a drive-in car rally.

Obama also expressed incredulity at how the White House has responded to the Covid-19 outbreaks among its staffers. 

"Let me say this, I lived in the White House for a while. It's a controlled environment. You can take some preventive measures in the White House to avoid getting sick. Except this guy can't seem to do it. He's turned the White House into a hot zone," Obama said. 

Majority of Americans don't expect to know presidential winner on Election Day

Melissa Holzberg

A week out from Election Day, a majority of American adults don't expect to know who will win the presidential race on Nov. 3, according to new data from the latest NBC News|SurveyMonkey Weekly Tracking Poll. 

Sixty-eight percent of adults said they don't expect to know if President Trump or Joe Biden won the election on election night, but there's a split in how long people will think it will take to find out. Thirty-eight percent said they expect to know within a few days, 19 percent said within a few weeks and 11 percent said they expect it to take longer than a few weeks. 

Thirty percent of Americans said they still expect to know who won the contest on Nov. 3. 

'I'm committed': Early voters motivated as they wait in line in Philadelphia

What a data analysis of Supreme Court confirmations tells us

According to U.S. Senate records, in the last 45 years,  two other successful Supreme Court nominations have taken less time than Amy Coney Barrett's: John Roberts' second nomination in 2005, and John Paul Stevens' 1975 nomination. 

President Franklin Roosevelt had more Supreme Court justices confirmed than any president since George Washington. President Richard Nixon had four justices confirmed in his first term, the most in one term in recent history. President Donald Trump just got his third.

Read the story, after Ginsburg’s death, what a data analysis of Supreme Court confirmations tells us.

Graphic: Number of justices nominated and confirmed, per president

Who are the Asian Americans still voting for Trump in spite of his 'China virus' rhetoric?

President Donald Trump's repeated use of anti-China rhetoric like "kung flu" and "China virus" to describe Covid-19 quickly became a customary part of the election cycle. Soon after, his word choice prompted analysis around how it could affect Asian American voters.

For the most part, Trump's discriminatory language hasn't done him many favors with Asian American voters. A survey released in September shows that a majority of the electorate is supporting Joe Biden, at 54 percent, while about 30 percent is backing Trump. But the community's depth and diversity can't be explained in one statistic.

Asian Americans as a whole have trended left in recent elections, but research shows that some populations have shifted toward the right, specifically Vietnamese Americans and, to a lesser extent, Indian Americans. In some cases, that's because of the rhetoric that many fear has emboldened people to attack those in the community.

Continue reading on

Biden maintains ad advantage in key swing states

A look at the TV and radio ad spending in the battleground states helps tell the story behind Joe Biden's lead, showing big spending advantages over President Donald Trump in places like Michigan, Wisconsin and even Pennsylvania.

Biden outspent Trump in every single one of the states rated as toss-ups or leaning on the NBC News Political Unit's latest battleground map over the last week (Oct. 20-26). 

Here’s some state-by-state analysis.

'It ain't never going to change': West Virginians say why they're not voting

In the 2016 election, 63% of eligible voters in McDowell County, W.Va., did not vote and the 2020 election may yield similar results.

NBC News' Morgan Radford spoke with West Virginians who might be planning to skip voting again.

Analysis: The polls could be wrong. But that may help Biden, not just Trump.

David Wasserman

As Election Day approaches and President Donald Trump continues to trail Joe Biden by high single digits both nationally and in key states, their respective bases are buzzing with either hope or dread that "the polls could be wrong again."

In truth, public opinion polls are imperfect instruments, and there's always bound to be some degree of error, especially given the widely varying quality of the nation's pollsters. But Trump would probably need a larger polling miss than in 2016 to win re-election, and there's no guarantee a systemic polling error this year would run in his favor.

Could the polls be wrong in 2020? A lot depends on the region.

First, it's important to remember that in 2016, the final pre-election average showed Hillary Clinton leading Trump 46.8 percent to 43.6 percent nationally, according to leading polling aggregator RealClearPolitics. That wasn't too far off the mark: She went on to win the popular vote 48.2 percent to 46.1 percent, not exactly strong evidence that hordes of "shy Trump voters" refused to tell pollsters their true intentions.

Continue reading on 

Early voting begins in DC

Voters wait outside of the Capital One Arena before the start of the first day of early voting in Washington on Oct. 27, 2020.
Voters wait outside of the Capital One Arena before the start of the first day of early voting in Washington on Oct. 27, 2020.Bill Clark / CQ-Roll Call via AP

In closely watched Florida, poll shows Biden with edge

Nicole Via y Rada

A new poll of the tight race in Florida finds Biden with a slight edge over Trump among likely voters, the Florida Atlantic University, Business and Economics Polling Initiative found. 

Of those polled, 50 percent of voters support Biden and 48 percent support Trump, though 6 percent said they could change their minds before Election Day. 

Thirty-seven percent of respondents found the economy to be the most important issue, followed by the coronavirus and health care. 

Trump won Florida in 2016 by just over 1 percent and has made several campaign stops in the state. Former President Barack Obama will visit North Miami to campaign for Biden on Saturday. 

The poll was conducted Oct. 24-25 and has a margin of error of plus or minus 3.1 percentage points. 

Fake news spread on WhatsApp to Indian Americans plays stealth role in U.S. election


New Jersey tech entrepreneur Arun Bantval is U.S. presidential candidate Joe Biden’s top fake-news watchdog on messaging service WhatsApp about the Democrat and his Indian American running mate Kamala Harris.

Messages on WhatsApp, owned by Facebook, are confidential and cannot be seen by moderators who police misleading memes, claims and other content on the social media giant’s flagship platform. Two billion users rely on WhatsApp’s free app to chat with individuals and groups of up to 256 people.

Bantval, 56, who chairs the Biden campaign’s five-member rapid response team focused on South Asian voters, has tracked dozens of concerning messages of unknown origin and crafted about 50 rebuttal graphics and texts over the last three months.

Continue reading

FIRST READ: Biden continues to lead in latest battleground map


Mark Murray

Carrie Dann

Melissa Holzberg

Chuck Todd, Mark Murray, Carrie Dann and Melissa Holzberg

WASHINGTON — With one week to go until Election Day, the NBC News Political Unit’s battleground map is pretty much unchanged from a month ago.

Joe Biden and the Democrats continue to be above 270 electoral votes, with Michigan, Pennsylvania and Wisconsin all in the Lean Democratic category.

But there are two changes. One, Arizona moves from Lean Democratic to Toss Up, bringing Biden down from 290 electoral votes to 279.

Two, Texas moves from Lean Republican to Toss Up, bringing the electoral votes in President Trump’s column down from 163 to 125.

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In setback for Democrats, Supreme Court won't let late mail ballots count in Wisconsin

Image: Early Voting Begins In Swing State Of Wisconsin
Residents drop mail-in ballots in an official ballot box outside of the Tippecanoe branch library in Milwaukee on Oct 20, 2020.Scott Olson / Getty Images

Wisconsin cannot count mail ballots that arrive well after the polls close under an order issued Monday by the Supreme Court, a defeat for Democrats in a battleground state.

By a vote of 5-3, the justices declined to lift a lower court ruling preventing the state from counting mail ballots that arrive as much as six days after Election Day. Justices Stephen Breyer, Sonia Sotomayor and Elena Kagan said they would have granted the request.

Voting rights groups, the state and national Democratic parties and the League of Women Voters sued seeking to extend the deadline to accept mail-in ballots. They said the flood of absentee ballots and problems arising from the coronavirus pandemic make it harder for voters to receive their mail ballots and return them on time. Wisconsin has been especially hard hit by Covid-19, with hospitals filled nearly to capacity.

Read the story.

Both sides ramp up ground games in suddenly battleground state of Texas

Priscilla Thompson

With just a week to go until Election Day both Democrat and Republican groups are on the ground in Texas working to turn-out last-minute voters. 

The Congressional Leadership Fund, a Republican Super PAC has invested $1 million in the state, in an effort to turn out voters in areas where there hasn’t been a robust GOP voter outreach effort.

Meanwhile Democratic groups like the Texas Organizing Project are also barnstorming the state alongside Former Rep. Beto O’Rourke. They’re focused on galvanizing Black and Latino voters who are registered to vote, but haven’t done so historically. The goal: to turn Texas, a historically red state, blue. 

Read more on the Texas battle.

U.S. voter info has always been public — but now it's getting weaponized

Image: Early voting in Maryland
Voters line up outside a polling station during early voting in Bel Air, Md., on Oct. 27, 2020.Hannah McKay / Reuters

When John Ratcliffe, the top U.S. intelligence official, said at a news conference Wednesday that Iran and Russia had obtained American voter registration information, he left out an important point: American voters' data is already public and widely available.

"We have confirmed some voter registration information has been obtained by Iran and separately by Russia," Ratcliffe said. "This data can be used by foreign actors to attempt to communicate false information to registered voters that they hope will cause confusion."

Iran had already weaponized some of that information in the form of threatening emails sent to some Democrats in Florida. The email campaign showed no signs of any successful effort to target Florida's election infrastructure.

But the campaign offered a stark reminder that voting in the U.S. comes with a strong chance that your personal information is shared online.

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Ex-Postal Service worker charged with tossing absentee ballots in dumpster in Kentucky

The Associated Press

A former U.S. Postal Service worker was charged with tossing dozens of absentee ballots and other mail that was found in a dumpster in Kentucky, the U.S. attorney's office said.

DeShawn Bojgere, 30, of Louisville, was charged with delay or destruction of mail, a news release from U.S. Attorney Russell Coleman's office said in a news release Monday.

The mail included approximately 111 general election absentee ballots that were being mailed from the Jefferson County clerk’s office to voters, as well as 69 mixed class pieces of mail, 320 second-class pieces of mail and two national election campaign flyers from a political party in Florida, the release said.

Bojgere told Postal Service special agents that he was responsible for discarding the mail, prosecutors said. He faces up to five years in prison and a $250,000 fine if convicted. It was not known whether he is represented by a lawyer who could comment on his behalf. 

Special Agent Scott Balfour said earlier that such incidents are “exceedingly rare.

'Relentless lies and baseless attacks': Pa. governor's office dismisses Trump's rally venue claims

Rebecca Shabadis in Washington, D.C.

Image: U.S. President Donald Trump holds a campaign event, in Allentown, Pennsylvania
President Donald Trump throws a "Make America Great Again" cap into the crowd during a rally in Allentown, Pa., on Oct. 26, 2020.Leah Millis / Reuters

Pennsylvania Gov. Tom Wolf's office is dismissing Trump's claims during campaign events Monday that the governor was "shutting us out" of rally venues in the state. 

"This is more of the president’s relentless lies and baseless attacks," said Sara Goulet, a spokeswoman for the governor's office. "The administration sent a letter to the Trump campaign’s legal office asking the campaign to abide by masking and social distancing guidelines earlier this year. We did not receive a response." 

"Outside of that, the administration has had no contact with the Trump campaign about its events," Goulet added. "Neither the Trump campaign nor the Biden campaign must reach out to the administration when planning visits."

To the cheers of attendees, Trump issued what appeared to be a threat of retaliation against the state's Democratic governor during a rally in Allentown on Monday, claiming Wolf's coronavirus restrictions had forced the campaign to shift the site of his campaign events. 

With one week to go, Trump and Biden make final push

With just seven days to go until Election Day, President Trump and Joe Biden are crisscrossing the country, making their final arguments to voters. NBC's Kristen Welker reports for "TODAY" from Atlanta, where Biden is set to hold a rally Tuesday night.

'Big responsibility': In 2020, even armchair election analysts see little room for error

Volvi Einhorn at work in Brooklyn.
Volvi Einhorn at work in Brooklyn.Buri Stein

Volvi Einhorn is a full-time architect in Brooklyn, New York, not a political operative, so you wouldn't think he'd be a wild card in the election.

But in his spare time, Einhorn and two friends have been faithfully posting the latest political polls to a Twitter account that, thanks to their dedication since 2015, now has more than 195,000 followers. And he says that come election night, Nov. 3, they'll be doing their best to call the results.

"We're going to be busy the whole night," said Einhorn, 30.

Calling elections was once the exclusive domain of a select group of experts. But the internet, as it has with just about everything else, has democratized the scene. Einhorn is part of a growing group of self-appointed election gurus and prognosticators who have taken on the challenge of analyzing races and making forecasts — often before news organizations have weighed in.

And while their analyses are unofficial, such calls — even those made in good faith — add to an information ecosystem that experts have warned could be rife with bad actors looking to exploit any uncertainties around the election.

Read the story.

Twitter flags Trump voting tweet as misleading

Dartunorro Clark

Twitter placed a warning label on a tweet President Donald Trump sent Monday night, calling it misleading for its baseless claims about mail-in ballots for the Nov. 3 election. 

"Big problems and discrepancies with Mail In Ballots all over the USA. Must have final total on November 3rd," Trump tweeted.

Twitter later placed a label the tweet, warning, "Some or all of the content shared in this Tweet is disputed and might be misleading about how to participate in an election or another civic process." It also linked to a page on the site explaining that voting by mail is safe and secure.

This is the latest move by the social media giant, which has recently taken an aggressive approach to limit and remove misinformation and misleading claims on the site. Last week, Twitter removed a tweet from one of Trump's top Covid-19 advisers, which falsely claimed that masks don't work to prevent the spread of coronavirus.

There is no evidence of massive voter fraud and election experts have repeatedly noted that if fraud happens, such as a recent case in New Jersey in which a new election was called after allegations of mail-in ballot fraud, it is easily found. 

How states aim to prevent a surge in mail-in ballot rejections

NBC News

In North Carolina, voters whose absentee ballots are rejected will be notified and given the chance to fix them and deadlines are extended. Experts worry rejection rates for mail-in ballots in some states could be double or triple what they are in a normal election year.

Ivanka Trump fundraises in Beverly Hills for father's cash-strapped campaign


Stephanie Ruhle

Carol E. LeeCarol E. Lee is the Washington managing editor.

White House senior adviser Ivanka Trump, alongside Republican National Committee Chairwoman Ronna McDaniel, fundraised with major donors in Beverly Hills on Monday for President Donald Trump's cash-strapped campaign, an unusual move in the final week before Election Day.  

The event at Spago, the flagship restaurant of chef Wolfgang Puck, was limited to 15 individuals willing to make a minimum contribution of $100,000. 

Health care executive Lee Samson, who previously hosted the president in April 2019, opened up his home on Monday afternoon for an event of about 100 donors. McDaniel led a discussion with Ivanka Trump.  

Two individuals told NBC News that there were few masks and that Trump and McDaniel were not wearing face coverings for at least the backyard portion of the fundraiser. All attendees for both events were required to test negative ahead of the gatherings and were socially distanced throughout, according to a Republican familiar with the planning.

"There was certainly no social distancing going on," one of the individuals said. "Almost no one was wearing a mask — except the valet, the waiters and the law enforcement."

Biden adds more in-person campaign stops in final week

Marianna Sotomayor

Joe Biden announced that he's expanding his reach across the map in the days before Election Day, traveling to Iowa and Wisconsin on Friday and Michigan on Saturday.

Biden's visit to Iowa is an indicator of how the campaign is feeling, given that he’s traveling to a state that the campaign had filed under their "win back" column but has done little in-person campaigning there. The Democratic nominee has not been to Iowa since he jetted out of the state the evening of the primaries in early February. 

Biden was last in Wisconsin on Sept. 21 when he made two stops. The campaign wanted him to go more often since then, but the coronavirus cases spikes delayed the visit. He was last in Michigan on Oct. 16, when he made stops in Southfield and Detroit. Polls show Biden leading President Donald Trump there, a state Trump won four years ago.

The former vice president makes two stops in Georgia today and two in Florida on Thursday.


Twitter launches 'pre-bunks' to get ahead of voting misinformation

David C. Ingram

Twitter says it will begin placing messages at the top of users' feeds to pre-emptively debunk false information about voting by mail and election results, an escalation of the tech company’s battle against misinformation.

Twitter is calling the messages a "pre-bunk," something it says it has never done, because the debunking is not a reaction to an existing tweet with misinformation.

Read more here.

Masks required at Monday's White House event

Hallie Jackson

Masks will be required at Monday's White House event in honor of Judge Amy Coney Barrett's anticipated Supreme Court confirmation, a senior White House official said.

"Tonight’s seated audience will be socially distanced," the official told NBC News. "Face coverings are required for all those attending. Those in close proximity to the President will be tested beforehand.”

Face-coverings have not been a requirement at similar White House gatherings before and were notably not seen at the late September event honoring Barrett's nomination. Trump and more than a dozen people close to him, including the first lady and his youngest son, tested positive for Covid-19 in the days after that event.