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Highlights: Biden, Trump prep for final pitches to voters

Get the latest presidential election news and campaign updates.
Image: President Donald Trump and Joe Biden on a background of concentric circles made up of blue and red stars.
Chelsea Stahl / NBC News

With only two days to go before Election Day, both President Donald Trump and Democratic nominee Joe Biden are making their final pitches to voters in battleground states that will be keys to victory.

Trump is traveling to five states — Michigan, Iowa, North Carolina, Georgia, and Florida — while Biden is holding two events in Philadelphia.

This live coverage has ended. Continue reading election news for Monday, Nov. 2, 2020.

Stories we're following:

—Latest polls from battleground states and more

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

A voting rights win in Texas

—Trump begins rally blitz by playing the hits

—Biden bests Trump with Latino voters

Texas Supreme Court: Drive-thru votes can stand

HOUSTON — The Texas Supreme Court declined to act on Sunday on a Republican-filed lawsuit that aimed to throw out around 127,000 Harris county votes cast at drive-thru voting sites, at least temporarily allowing those votes to stand. 

"We always knew that the law was on our side here," Harris County Clerk Chris Hollins told NBC News. "We followed the election code to a T. We worked with the secretary of state to introduce drive-thru voting. We know that it is legal, in addition to being safe and convenient."

The Republican-led effort to toss the drive through-ballots isn't over. Federal District Court Judge Andrew Hanen has a hearing scheduled for Monday morning on the lawsuit. Some Democrats are skeptical that the George W. Bush-appointed Judge will provide a fair hearing. 

Harris County's attorneys believe the all-Republican Texas Supreme Court's decision strengthens their argument.

"If the federal court follows the law, then we will win no questions asked," Hollins said. 

Lady Gaga and John Legend to perform at final Biden events

The Biden campaign on Sunday announced its pre-Election Day plans, which will include a slate of events in Pennsylvania and feature musical performances from Lady Gaga and John Legend.

The former vice president will spend Monday campaigning around the Pittsburgh area. Biden, who started his presidential campaign in Pittsburgh, will be concluding it there as well.

His wife, Jill Biden, will hold events in Erie and Lawrence Counties before holding a get out the vote event for suburban women in Allegheny County, home to Pittsburgh. She will then join the Democratic nominee for an election night event in Pittsburgh.

Lady Gaga will perform at that event, while John Legend will join Harris and her husband, Doug Emhoff, at an election night rally in Philadelphia.

Officials push back on Trump camp's attempts to question Tuesday's vote

With early voting setting records as states have expanded the ability to do so, nearly 100 million people have already cast ballots. Polls show Biden with a large lead among early voters in key states, while Trump maintains a significant advantage among those who have yet to vote. Democrats are also leading nationally and in several key swing states among voters who did not cast ballots in 2016.

Trump and his allies have in recent days amplified rhetoric calling into question the legitimacy of Tuesday's vote. On ABC's "This Week," Trump campaign senior adviser Jason Miller on Sunday baselessly claimed that Democrats will seek to "steal" the election back from Trump if he holds a lead in some key swing states over Biden on November 3.

Election officials from both parties have attempted to reassure voters about the legitimacy of the count, which may last for days as mailed-in ballots trickle in. Spencer Cox, the Republican lieutenant governor of Utah who is also the party's gubernatorial nominee, called Miller's comment "garbage."

On CNN's 'State of the Union," Michigan Gov. Gretchen Whitmer, a Democrat, noted that "it is going to take time to count" the firehose of absentee ballots but that "it's more important that we get a count that’s accurate than a count that is fast."

Pennsylvania Secretary of State Kathy Boockvar told NBC's "Meet the Press" that voters should "ignore the hype. Just get your ballots in today."

Trump begins rally blitz by playing the hits and lamenting the cold

President Trump is spending one of the last days before Election Day engaged in a five-rally blowout across several key states where he is either trailing Joe Biden or running narrowly ahead.

He began his Sunday spree in Michigan, where he held a mid-day rally in snowy Washington Township, played the greatest hits of his campaign as temperatures dropped down to 29 degrees with the wind chill.

The president went through his typical rally setlist, blasting Democratic policy proposals, criticizing Joe Biden's fitness, and assailing so-called "cancel culture."

Read more here.

Pennsylvania Secretary of State late mail-in ballots will be counted

Pennsylvania Secretary of State Kathy Boockvar joined "Meet the Press" on Sunday to discuss the timeline of election results from the state, which is down to the wire in legal battles over ballot rules and anticipating counting delays.

Over two million Pennsylvanians have already cast their votes, Boockvarnd said, noting that this year’s mail-in ballots will be “10 times as many as the last time we had a presidential election in Pennsylvania.” Still, she said the "overwhelming majority of ballots in Pennsylvania … will be counted within a matter of days."

On ballots postmarked Nov. 3 after 8:00 p.m. ET, which may or may not be valid depending on the courts, Boockvar explained that officials will be tallying but separating the late arrivals until there is a ruling.

"What we want to do, first and foremost, is say to the voters, ‘Ignore the lawsuits, ignore the hype. Just get your ballots in today,’” Boockvar said, "The best way you can make sure that your ballot will be counted is to get it in by 8:00 p.m. on November 3rd."

Biden campaign responds to Trump caravan incident

Biden's campaign addressed to a Trump truck caravan in Texas that surrounded a Biden/Harris campaign bus on Friday, attempting to slow it down, as footage of the incident showed.

"Rather than engage in productive conversation about the drastically different visions that Joe Biden and Donald Trump have for our country, Trump supporters in Texas today instead decided to put our staff, surrogates, supporters, and others in harm’s way," Biden campaign Texas Communications Director Tariq Thowfeek said. "Our supporters will continue to organize their communities for Joe Biden, Kamala Harris and Democrats up and down the ballot, and to the Texans who disrupted our events today: We’ll see you on November 3rd."

The bus was en route from San Antonio to Austin on I-35 when it was surrounded by multiple vehicles with Trump signs and flags. The caravan attempted to run the bus off the road, the campaign said, adding that some of the vehicles pulled in front of the bus and slowed to try and stop it in the middle of the highway.

Campaign staff called 911 and local law enforcement assisted the bus in reaching its destination. The campaign then canceled its event at the Texas AFL-CIO in Austin out of caution.

Video of the incident showed that two vehicles collided while driving close to the bus.

Trump later tweeted a video of the incident, praising his supporters. He also addressed the incident at a rally in Michigan on Sunday, saying "our people" were "protecting his bus yesterday."

Biden campaign pushes back on Trump 'Super Predator' tweet

White House blasts Fauci after he says U.S. 'poorly' prepared for Covid-19 winter

The White House is strongly pushing back on a new interview in which Dr. Anthony Fauci, the nation's leading infectious disease expert, said the U.S. is in a terrible position to face the upcoming months of the pandemic.

"We’re in for a whole lot of hurt. It’s not a good situation,” Fauci, director of the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases, told The Washington Post on Friday. "All the stars are aligned in the wrong place as you go into the fall and winter season, with people congregating at home indoors. You could not possibly be positioned more poorly."

In a lengthy statement, White House spokesman Judd Deere called it "unacceptable and breaking with all norms for Dr. Fauci, a senior member of the President’s Coronavirus Taskforce and someone who has praised President Trump’s actions throughout this pandemic, to choose three days before an election to play politics."

Read more here.

On Election Night, these are the first states to watch

Election Day may well turn into Election Week this year with late returns deciding the presidency, but there still will be a large group of Americans tuning in on Tuesday trying to read the tea leaves of the early results. For those politically-obsessed souls, the Data Download is happy to provide this hourly guide on how we’ll be watching the returns.

There are a lot of ways people try to get an early read on what’s going on Election Day. One of the first is the inevitable early leak of the exit polls. Do yourself a favor and ignore them. Those are the numbers that gave us President John Kerry in 2004 and President Hillary Clinton in 2016.

The real show starts at 7 p.m. when polls begin closing in seven states, including two biggies, Georgia and eastern Florida. A half-hour later polls close in two more states everyone will be watching, North Carolina and Ohio.

Read more here.