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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

Speaker Pelosi believes Biden will have enough Electoral College votes to win White House

House Speaker Nancy Pelosi sent a letter to her Democratic colleagues stating she believes Biden will have enough Electoral College votes to win the White House. 

“The American people have made their choice clear at the ballot box, and are sending Joe Biden and Kamala Harris to the White House,” she wrote.

This is the first time Pelosi commented on the state of the presidential race, while also barely addressing the tough races Democrats ran to maintain their majority in the House.

Instead, she urged urging her colleagues to remain patient as the final ballots are counted, and races called.

 

Track which counties in battleground states have the most votes left to count

After the election drew to a close, several battleground states were left counting mail-in ballots which were submitted in record numbers.

Vote counting in Michigan has been challenged by protesters seeking to stop the count.

Track the vote count progress here. This graphic will update with the latest numbers.

Tears and triumph as Biden wins Michigan

Hannah McKay / Reuters
Supporters react as they hear the news on television that Joe Biden won Michigan at a watch party near the White House the day after the election.Hannah McKay / Reuters

Democrats worry as waning Senate prospects threaten big ambitions

WASHINGTON — The latest results from the 2020 election elevate the prospects of a Joe Biden presidency and a Republican-led Senate, which would make him the first president since 1989 to enter office without full control of Congress.

Neither is settled yet, but Biden has an edge in the final count to 270 electoral votes and Senate Republicans have more paths to retaining a majority in the final races left to be decided, due in part to GOP turnout surges beyond what polls had predicted, and drop-offs in Democratic Latino support.

"It was a bad night," Sen. Sherrod Brown, D-Ohio, said on MSNBC. "I do think Democrats need to sharpen our message ... We need a popular 'we're on your side' message."

So could a divided Washington get anything done?

Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell, R-Ky., who easily won re-election in Kentucky, has styled himself the "grim reaper" of progressive policy ideas.

"There will be no progressive legislation unless Dems take the Senate now or in 2022," Ezra Levin, an activist who co-founded the group Indivisible, said.

Click here for the full story.

Officials in largest Nevada county still working on determining outstanding ballots

Election officials in the largest county in Nevada say they will announce on Thursday how many ballots are still left to be counted. 

More than 800,000 votes have been processed in Clark County, home to Las Vegas, as of Election Day. Of those, more than 337,000 were mail-in ballots, Clark County Registrar of Voters Joe Gloria said during a press conference Wednesday afternoon. 

Ballots still left to be counted include provisional ballots, electronic ballots sent to absentee voters overseas, ballots from disabled voters, as well as special ballots for new residents, Gloria said. 

State officials said they were working to release some data later Wednesday.

"We now recognize there is a lot of national and statewide interest in the results and we are going to release updates as they come in,” Nevada Secretary of State spokeswoman Jennifer A. Russell told NBC News. She said updated results would be announced Wednesday, but did not give a specific time.

Postal Service says it delivered ballots on time amid concern over untracked votes

A federal judge blasted the Postal Service on Wednesday because it did not follow his order to sweep mail-sorting facilities for undelivered ballots by Tuesday afternoon.

That led to a hearing Wednesday at which government attorneys were asked to explain why they did not start inspecting Postal Service facilities in 12 key regions at 3 p.m. ET on Election Day, as U.S. District Judge Emmet Sullivan of Washington, D.C., had ordered.

"It just leaves a bad taste in everyone's mouth for the clock to run out, game's over and then we find out that there was not compliance with a very important court order," Sullivan said during the hearing.

Joseph Borson, a Justice Department attorney representing the Postal Service, said agency officials told him after Sullivan issued the order Tuesday that there was not enough time to comply with it. Postal Service agents were not in a position to sweep facilities across the United States, although they had conducted inspections of all 220 facilities earlier in the day.

"I wish we knew that earlier, so we could convey that," said Borson, who said the Postal Service had conducted sweeps throughout the day, which began at 7 a.m. ET on Election Day and continued until evening. Only 13 undelivered ballots were found, all in Pennsylvania, and they were immediately delivered to local boards of elections before Tuesday's count.

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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.