President Donald Trump and Joe Biden made last-ditch efforts to energize their bases and win over undecided voters on the final day of campaigning before Election Day.
Trump was in four states key to his 2016 victory but where recent polls have shown him trailing Biden — Pennsylvania, Michigan, North Carolina and Wisconsin. Biden visited Cleveland before kicking off a flurry of events in Pennsylvania. His running mate, Sen. Kamala Harris, D-Calif., also visited the Northeast battleground state.
Former President Barack Obama held campaign stops for Biden in Atlanta and Miami.
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What the law says about counting ballots after election day
Given President Trump's recent comments on about the propriety of counting mail ballots that arrive after election day, here are some things to keep in mind:
- There's nothing unusual about counting ballots after election night. Every state does it. Early returns are incomplete. Mail-in, military, and overseas ballots typically aren't fully counted in more than half the states for a few days after poll close.
- The vote count doesn't end on election night for another reason. Counties must canvass the returns, which will include adding in provisional ballots and making decisions about disputed ballots. States don't formally declare a winner until the results are certified. In most states, that process isn't over until mid-to-late November.
- The Supreme Court has never ruled that only state legislatures can extend the voting deadline. Even so, four U.S. Supreme Court justices and some lower court judges have said in recent weeks that because the Constitution says every state must choose its presidential electors "in such manner as the legislature thereof may direct," only legislatures can alter voting rules. But in the 2000 Bush v Gore case, that notion attracted only three votes and was not a holding of the court.
- In a 2015 case, the Supreme Court said that the Constitution's reference to "legislature" in a separate but similar clause meant the entire lawmaking apparatus, not simply the two statehouses. If the Pennsylvania late-ballot fight comes back to the Supreme Court, this will be a major issue.
Social media’s new rules are designed for cooler heads to prevail
For many Americans, the election results will play out on social media. And this year, tech companies have new rules designed to avoid a repeat of 2016 when their sites were called a “wild, wild West” for politics.
First, there will be a quiet period for political ads. Facebook, Instagram, YouTube and Google plan to halt all political ads after the polls close Tuesday, so candidates and activist groups won’t be able to buy their way into people’s feeds and encourage unrest while votes are counted. It could last for days or weeks, depending on what happens.
Labels will be everywhere. On Facebook and Twitter, if a candidate claims victory before the news media declares a winner, their posts will get a label. On Twitter the rule applies broadly to everyone, so Twitter may label an election call by any user unless the race has been “authoritatively called” by at least two national news outlets.Other election-related posts may get labels or fact-checks if they include misleading information.
Results from the traditional news media will be king. Though social media is usually about giving everyone equal voices, the tech companies will rely on and promote the voting data coming in from traditional news organizations such as wire services or television networks. YouTube and Google have partnered with The Associated Press, Facebook has partnered with Reuters, and Twitter will rely on big national news organizations.
And some content may be taken down, the tech companies say. Twitter, for example, says it may remove false or misleading information intended to undermine public confidence in the outcomes. “This election is not going to be business as usual,” Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg said in a post in September where he outlined several goals, including “reduce the chances of violence and unrest.”
That time you told a presidential candidate your wife was pregnant before your parents knew
Final NBC/Marist state polls show close races in Pennsylvania and Arizona
Democrat Joe Biden holds a narrow lead over President Trump in the all-important battleground state of Pennsylvania, while the two candidates are tied in Arizona, according to the final NBC News/Marist state polls of the 2020 presidential election.
In Pennsylvania, which Trump won four years ago, Biden is ahead by 5 points among likely voters, 51 percent to 46 percent, although that advantage is within that poll’s margin of error; a combined 3 percent say they’re undecided or are voting for someone else.
That’s down from Biden’s 9-point lead in the state in September’s NBC/Marist poll of the state.
Biden’s current 5-point edge in Pennsylvania is consistent with other recent high-quality public polls of the state, which show the former Democratic vice president ahead in the mid-single digits.
Some media locked out as 127K 'drive-thru' ballots debated
A federal judge is hearing arguments in a suit to throw out more than 127,000 ballots because they were cast in drive-thru voting booths in Harris County, Texas.
Harris, the third most populous county in the country, set up drive-thru voting booths to accommodate voters during the pandemic. The Texas Supreme Court denied multiple attempts to toss the voting method in recent weeks, before the same group of Texas Republicans brought the issue to federal court last week, arguing that the county’s decision to offer drive-thru voting to all voters violates the legislature’s authority over elections and equal protection clauses because other counties did not implement drive-thru voting.
An emergency hearing was scheduled to begin at 10:30 a.m. CST, but much of the media is in the dark for now: social distancing requirements kept reporters out of the courtroom and a dial-in line set up for press disconnected reporters off just as the hearing was set to begin. A Houston Chronicle reporter said he was later allowed in the courtroom, but others remain outside.
Democrats and national voting rights advocates quickly moved to defend the ballots this weekend, but there’s also been some high profile Republican opposition to the suit.
Biden works to push Black turnout in campaign's final days
Joe Biden was spending the final days of the presidential campaign appealing to Black supporters to vote in-person during a pandemic that has disproportionally affected their communities, betting that a strong turnout will boost his chances in states that could decide the election.
Biden was in Philadelphia on Sunday, the largest city in what is emerging as the most hotly contested battleground in the closing 48 hours of the campaign. He participated in a “souls to the polls” event that is part of a nationwide effort to organize Black churchgoers to vote.
“Every single day we’re seeing race-based disparities in every aspect of this virus,” Biden said at the drive-in event, shouting to be heard over the blaring car horns. He declared that Trump’s handling of Covid-19 was “almost criminal” and that the pandemic was a “mass casualty event in the Black community.”
How Trump's latest approval poll numbers compare to recent presidents at this point in their presidency
The story of President Donald Trump's approval poll numbers is the story of consistency.
Trump's approval rating has hovered within the same nine-point range (upper: 47 percent in the Oct. 14-17, 2018 and February 14-17, 2020, polls; lower: 38 percent in Oct. 23-26, 2017) since his inauguration in January 2017.
According to the October 29-31 NBC News / Wall Street Journal poll, Trump's most-recent poll comes in at 45 percent job approval. At this point in their presidencies, Barack Obama and George W. Bush were at 49 percent and Bill Clinton was at 56 percent.
Lester Holt nostalgically tweets on 2000 election tension as results came in
Justice Department announces monitoring plans ahead of the general election
The Justice Department on Monday announced plans to monitor voting rights on Election Day, a common practice for the agency to ensure there are no civil rights violations.
“Federal law entrusts the Civil Rights Division with protecting the right to vote for all Americans,” said Eric S. Dreiband, assistant attorney general for the Civil Rights Division. The department will be taking complaints from voters nationwide on possible violations of voting rights law.
On Election Day, the Civil Rights Division will be sending officials to 44 jurisdictions across 18 states. This year, the majority of personnel will be in Michigan, with seven officials there, followed by Florida with six and Massachusetts with five.
Top Democrat on Senate Intelligence Committee issues election security warning
Sen. Mark Warner, D-Va., warned on Monday of potential election interference by foreign agents.
Warner is the vice chairman of the Senate Intelligence Committee and receives the high-level briefings.
Warner closed the tweet with the hashtag #Protect2020, which was created as part of the agency's efforts to combat misinformation this election cycle.
"Stay calm, and be judicious about what you believe and share online," Warner said.
Some Trump supporters were stranded for hours after Georgia rally in latest snafu
Following Trump's rally in Rome, Georgia, Sunday night, crowds of people waited 90 minutes or more to get back to their vehicles from the rally site.
It was the latest episode of a chaotic post-airport rally scene, after a rally last week in Omaha saw supporters wait hours in the cold for buses while after a subsequent rally in Butler, Pennsylvania, groups of supporters opted to walk rather than wait for limited bus service to return to their cars.
These regional airports have limited access to major thruways, which can make transportation after a large rally difficult.