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Highlights: Presidential candidates compete for battleground states

Get coverage and electoral vote updates.
Image; President Donald Trump and Joe Biden on a background of red and blue stars in concentric circles.
Watch live presidential election results as ballots are counted in key swing states for President Trump and Joe Biden.Chelsea Stahl / NBC News

This live coverage has ended. Continue reading election news from Thursday, November 5, 2020.

The United States remained in electoral purgatory on Wednesday afternoon as officials scrambled to count the millions of votes still outstanding after Tuesday's presidential election.

Democratic nominee Joe Biden sustained an overall Electoral College lead after being projected as the winner in key Midwestern battlegrounds Wisconsin and Michigan. President Donald Trump vowed to take legal action in both states, as well as in Pennsylvania, where over 1 million ballots remained uncounted.

Stories we're following:

—Nov. 5 highlights: Presidential candidates compete for battleground states

Amid shrinking odds of victory, Trump campaign plans legal battle

Republicans break with Trump, say take time to count all the votes

—See which counties in the remaining battleground states have the most votes left to count

Facebook anti-lockdown group mobilizes to drive people to vote-counting location in Detroit

Hours before pro-Trump protesters banged on windows outside Detroit’s TCF Center, urging officials to “stop the count,” a Facebook group previously devoted to protesting Covid-19 restrictions told users to “be a presence” at the ballot counting facility.

Stand Up Michigan to Unlock Michigan, a Lansing-based private Facebook group of 79,000 members "who are passionate about advancing freedom,” organized an event with calls to action that garnered nearly 2,000 interactions, such as likes and comments, according to the group’s private Facebook page viewed by NBC News. 

“Urgent call to action in Detroit,” a group administrator posted Wednesday. 

Facebook groups that advocated for efforts to push back against coronavirus lockdowns initially popped up in nearly every state in the early spring to organize activists protesting local coronavirus lockdown orders. Their rapid growth made them a central organizing space for various conservative causes, including the anti-Black Lives Matter movements

While it's unclear if the event drove people to the convention center, the situation highlights how groups of right-leaning citizens who had previously organized around the coronavirus pandemic are being tapped to protest the election.

Posts urged users who were outside the ballot facility to “just be a presence” and “pray, take photos, take videos.” Inside the facility, according to NBC News correspondent Steve Patterson, election workers were “quietly, diligently counting” ballots.

Fact check: Trump says he can claim Electoral College votes

The president tweeted Wednesday that he had "claimed" the Electoral College votes of three of the six states still counting ballots and would claim a fourth, too, due to fraud. 

"We have claimed, for Electoral Vote purposes, the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania (which won’t allow legal observers) the State of Georgia, and the State of North Carolina, each one of which has a BIG Trump lead. Additionally, we hereby claim the State of Michigan if, in fact,....." he wrote in a pair of tweets, which Twitter has flagged for containing unproven information. ".....there was a large number of secretly dumped ballots as has been widely reported!"

This is all false. The president cannot claim Electoral College votes; they are awarded by states, based on the results of elections. While Trump is leading in Pennsylvania, Georgia and North Carolina, NBC News has characterized the races as either "too early" or "to close to call" because there are many outstanding ballots still being counted. His leads in Georgia and North Carolina are narrow, too.

Pennsylvania does allow election observers; a state judge rejected a Trump campaign lawsuit making this same claim earlier Wednesday, after determining that election officials were following the law.

And finally, there's been no evidence of "secretly dumped" ballots in Michigan. NBC News has projected that Joe Biden will win the state.

'Count Every Vote' rallies in Philadelphia and New York

People hold a "Count Every Vote" banner during a rally at the New York Public Library the day after Election Day.Jeenah Moon / Reuters
A "Count Every Vote" rally in Philadelphia where votes are still being tallied.Spencer Platt / Getty Images

Biden predicts victory in 2020 race: ‘When the count is finished, we will be the winners’

Joe Biden predicted Wednesday that he would win the 2020 election over President Donald Trump when the final votes were counted.

“After a long night of counting, it’s clear we’re winning enough states to win 270 electoral votes to win the presidency,” Biden told a small group of reporters at the Chase Center on the Riverfront in Wilmington, Delaware.

“When the count is finished, we will be the winners,” Biden said. He noted he was “not here to declare we won,” but added he’d speak again “tonight or tomorrow.”

Standing beside his running mate, Sen. Kamala Harris, D-Calif., the Democratic nominee then ran through his electoral prospects in a series of critical battleground states.

Read the story.

Biden campaign says calls for Wisconsin recount 'pathetic'

The Biden campaign called the Trump camp's demands for a recount in Wisconsin “pathetic.” Biden’s team called out the contradiction of the Trump camp wanting a recount when their original plea was to stop the count.

“Plain and simple, Donald Trump has lost Wisconsin, is losing Michigan and he is losing the presidency,” Biden's Rapid Response Director Andrew Bates says.

In his full statement, Bates points out that Trump won Wisconsin by roughly the same amount of votes in 2016 and noted lawyers are standing by if the president wants to push forward with a call for a recount. 

MAP: See the states where marijuana is legal

Voters in New Jersey, Arizona, Montana and South Dakota approved ballot measures Tuesday that would legalize recreational marijuana. Mississippi approved the use of medical marijuana for people with debilitating conditions.

Nationwide, 15 states, two territories and Washington, D.C., have legalized marijuana for recreational use, while 34 states and two more territories allow medical marijuana.

See which states allow marijuana for medical and/or recreational use.

NBC News Exit Poll: College grads and older voters swing Michigan for Biden in projected win

President Trump won the votes of seniors and white college graduates in Michigan four years ago, but Joe Biden was able to swing both groups into his column to cobble together a narrow projected victory this year.

According to the NBC News Exit Poll of early and Election Day voters, Biden won voters 65 and older by 54 percent to 46 percent, reversing Trump’s 4-point win in 2016. Biden also won white college graduates, by 52 percent to 46 percent, a group that Trump won by 8 points four years ago. 

In addition, Biden won the union vote by 15 points (56 percent to 41 percent), similar to Hillary Clinton’s 13-point margin in the last election. Union households, though, are a dwindling share of the electorate in Michigan (22 percent, down from 28 percent in 2016).

And Biden saw strong support among Black voters (89 percent) and voters under age 30 (56 percent). 

North Carolina won't be making updates to its vote total for more than a week

It's unlikely Americans will know the full electoral picture in North Carolina for another eight days, the North Carolina State Board of Elections said Wednesday.

Trump currently holds a lead of less than 80,000 votes over Biden in the state, which NBC projects is still too close to call. NBC News estimates that about 300,000 votes are left to be tallied, but counting in North Carolina has not resumed during the day Wednesday following Election Day.

The final count is delayed because the vast majority of county boards of elections won't start counting the absentee and provisional ballots until Nov. 12 — so totals won't be updated for more than one week.

Finish the path to 270 after Biden wins Wisconsin and Michigan

It will take at least 270 electoral votes to win the 2020 presidential election. Finish the 2020 map on our interactive page by clicking or tapping an individual state or toggle in order to move it to red or blue. States where NBC News has a projected or apparent winner cannot be changed.

Pa. court rejects one Trump lawsuit in Philadelphia County

A state court in Pennsylvania has rejected a legal complaint brought by Republicans in the state who objected that they were not given a good enough chance to observe the opening and sorting of ballots.

The judge said that observers are not there to audit ballots, so it appeared that the board of elections in Philadelphia County was complying with state law.

But the judge said he would not discourage election officials from allowing observers to get closer to the canvassing tables if it can be done in a manner consistent with coronavirus safety protocols.  

Black men drifted from Democrats toward Trump in record numbers, polls show

Support for the Democratic presidential candidate reached a new low among Black men this year, according to the NBC News poll of early and Election Day voters.

Eighty percent of Black men supported Joe Biden, down slightly from Hilary Clinton’s 82 percent in 2016 but significantly down from Barack Obama’s level of support among Black men in 2012 and 2008.

In Obama’s first presidential campaign, 95 percent of Black male voters and 96 percent of Black women chose him. Four years later, support from Black women remained at 96 percent for Obama’s 2012 re-election, while the figure for Black men slid to 87 percent.

In 2016, when the nominee was Hillary Clinton, Black men dropped further to 82 percent while Black women’s support for Clinton remained high at 94 percent. Biden came close to matching that this year, garnering the support of 91 percent of Black women.

Support for the Democratic presidential candidate in general appears to be slipping among Black women, as well, but to a much smaller degree. Biden still enjoyed the support of more than 9 out of every 10 Black female voters.

Read more here.