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Trump, Biden hit Arizona, Supreme Court makes battleground state rulings

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

The presidential race went west on Wednesday to court voters in the crucial state of Arizona, a swing state where Covid-19 woes could spell trouble for President Donald Trump.

Trump held afternoon rallies in Bullhead City and Goodyear after delivering remarks at his namesake hotel in Las Vegas. Joe Biden's running mate, Sen. Kamala Harris, D-Calif., is visiting Phoenix and Tucson.

This live coverage has ended. Continue reading election news for Thursday, October 29, 2020.

Stories we're following today:

—'Anonymous' revealed

—Supreme Court makes Election Day rulings in two battleground states

—How polling this year is different from 2016

—Latest polls from battleground states and more

—Plan your vote here

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

Highlights below:

Former DHS official Miles Taylor reveals he is writer of scathing Trump op-ed

Miles Taylor, the former Department of Homeland Security chief of staff who stepped forward in August to blast President Trump's leadership, said Wednesday he's "Anonymous," the senior administration official who wrote a scathing op-ed and book about the Trump White House.

In a post on Medium entitled "Why I'm no longer Anonymous," Taylor said he wrote the op-ed as a way to get the White House to focus on what he was saying about the danger he thought Trump posed to the country, instead of focusing on him.

Read more here.

Face masks required in all Texas polling locations, federal judge rules

A federal court judge in San Antonio, Texas, mandated face masks at all state polling locations for all voters, poll workers and poll watchers. 

U.S. District Court Judge Jason Pulliam struck down Texas Gov. Abbott’s order that exempted polling locations from a statewide mask mandate Tuesday night. In his opinion, the judge called Abbott’s order a direct violation of the Voting Rights Act because it “creates a discriminatory action against Black and Latino voters.” 

Polling places were among 11 exemptions that Abbott’s July 2 executive order granted. 

Mi Familia Vota, a Latino voting outreach organization, the Texas NAACP and a Texas voter filed a voting rights suit against Abbott and Ruth Hughes, the Texas secretary of state on July 16, which included the mask exemption. Pulliam dismissed the case on Sept. 20 but an appellate court brought it back to court under a separate claim in violation of the Voting Rights Act. Tuesday's ruling comes after a plaintiff's motion for a preliminary injunction. 

“This is a major victory for democracy,” Héctor Sánchez Barba, the executive director and CEO of Mi Familia Vota said in a news release. “Voters should not have to choose between protecting their health and exercising their fundamental right to vote.”

Trump jokes about not paying his microphone vendor

Trump has had some audio issues at his first campaign rally of the day in Bullhead, Arizona, partly to do the wind. 

"Whoever did this microphone, don't pay him. You know I have a reputation for not paying. And it's a false reputation," Trump said. 

"Its probably a RINO that's operating it," Trump joked. Earlier in the event he called RINOs the "lowest form of human life."

Trump will host a second rally in Arizona later this afternoon. 

Election Confessions: What people really think about the candidates

Read what readers have to say about President Donald Trump, Joe Biden and the country

Trump faces cash crunch in battleground ad spending

With six days to go before Election Day, President Trump faces a cash crunch in battleground state ad spending, including in Florida.

Maryland man arrested after allegedly refusing to wear mask at polling place, sheriff says

A Maryland man faces charges after refusing to wear a mask at an early voting site after election workers and law enforcement asked him to put a mask on or leave, authorities said.

Daniel Swain, 52, was charged Monday with violation of the governor’s orders and trespassing charge after refusing to leave a voting site or comply with the location’s mask policy, the Harford County Sheriff’s Office said in a Facebook post. Maryland Gov. Larry Hogan expanded the state's mask order in July, requiring face coverings in most indoor locations and made violation of the order a misdemeanor offense.

Deputies were told that the Harford County Board of Elections had a designated area for voters who were unable or unwilling to wear a mask, but that Swain and another man allegedly refused to vote in that area.

Trump returns to law and order attacks on Biden following Philadelphia unrest

President Donald Trump responded to the unrest in Philadelphia following a police-involved shooting there Monday by blaming Democratic officials in the state.  He said his administration was also looking into the shooting of Walter Wallace, but didn't offer any specifics when asked what he would do to prevent police shootings, particularly those involving the mentally ill. 

Wallace, whose family said was bipolar and experiencing a mental health crisis, was shot and killed while holding a knife during a confrontation with police.

“We are watching it very closely,” Trump said of the protests in Philadelphia where there has been looting and injuries. “We’re waiting for a call. If they want help we will be there within one hour, we're ready to go within one hour.”

Before taking questions from reporters, Trump announced several endorsements from local industry groups, including the Nevada Trucking Association and the Retail Association of Nevada. Trump stopped overnight in the state where he stayed at his Trump International Hotel before going to Arizona for two rallies. Trump had no public events in Nevada, where polls show him running behind. Joe Biden had a 6-point lead in the most recent poll.

Businesses near the White House board up ahead of Election Day

Workers add protective wood boards to the windows of a Wells Fargo bank, a CVS store and the McPherson Building on Wednesday as they prepare for possible demonstrations following next week's presidential election.Sarah Silbiger / Getty Images

Pennsylvania election officials ordered to keep late mail ballots separate

WASHINGTON — Pennsylvania officials have notified the U.S. Supreme Court that the Secretary of the Commonwealth issued guidance to county boards of election directing them “to securely segregate all mail-in and civilian absentee ballots received between 8:00 p.m. on Tuesday, November 3, 2020, and 5:00 p.m. on Friday, November 6, 2020, from all other voted ballots.”

The cutoff under Pennsylvania law for receiving mail in ballots to count is 8 p.m. A state Supreme Court ruling extended that to 5 p.m. on Nov. 6 but that extension is under court challenge. Republicans are asking the Supreme Court to declare that order unconstitutional.  

Republicans asked that, at a minimum, late ballots be kept separate. The state took the action today on its own.

Florida man arrested for allegedly altering governor's voter registration online

Police in Florida have arrested a man they say changed Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis's address in the state's voter registration database.

DeSantis noticed when he tried to vote in person Monday and was told by a poll worker his address had been changed by an unknown party, according to a report from the Collier County Sherriff's office.

The internet protocol address used to make the change helped police track down the suspect, a 20-year-old Floridian who had recently Googled DeSantis's Wikipedia page for his age so that he could make the change, the report said.

Florida voters whose addresses appear wrong when they go to vote can still cast a provisional ballot.

305,000 unregistered Asian American swing state voters still have time to register, study finds

Thousands of eligible Asian American voters in seven crucial swing states could define the course of the 2020 election if they utilize the same-day voter registration options available to them.

The Research group New American Economy found that there were almost 305,000 currently unregistered Asian Americans living across the seven states in question. Three of the biggest populations live in Nevada (77,400), Michigan (63,800) and Minnesota (58,700).

The study found that because seven out of 13 swing states have same-day registration, Asian immigrants and other potential voters of color in those areas would have an outsize influence on the outcome of the Nov. 3 presidential contest if they decide to head to the polls.

New American Economy defined the swing states with same-day registration available as Iowa, Michigan, Minnesota, Nevada, New Hampshire, North Carolina and Wisconsin.

Read more here.