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:
Georgia GOP files lawsuit over absentee ballots
Sen. Gary Peters wins in Michigan, NBC News projects
Democratic incumbent Sen. Gary Peters defeats Republican John James in Michigan Senate race, NBC News projects.
Rebuffing Republican efforts to take a seat from Democrats in the Senate, incumber Sen. Gary Peters has fended off Republican challenger John James, NBC News projects.
A first-term senator, Peters faced a stronger challenge from James than was expected.
Rhode Island voters drop 'Providence Plantations' from state name
Voters approved a constitutional amendment Tuesday that strips part of what has long been the state's official name — "Rhode Island and Providence Plantations."
With 100 percent of precincts reporting, the amendment dropping "Providence Plantations" passed with 52.9 percent of the vote, according to unofficial state results.
The name dates to the 17th century, when the Puritan minister Roger Williams founded plantations on the Providence River that later became the colony — and then the state — of Rhode Island.
An online petition this year pointed to the state's history as a slave-trading hub and argued that its name "holds the memory of an economic foundation built on slavery, and only keeps us connected to a shameful past."
Click here for the full story.
'Not done': Why social media's biggest election test is ahead
There was a long list going into Election Day of horror stories that might have played out on social media. There could have been rampant interference by foreign governments, widespread hoaxes, a flood of deliberately false information about voting and much more.
The worst possibilities appeared not to have come to pass Tuesday, some tech researchers said, although they weren't ready to give tech platforms a sterling review just yet — especially after President Donald Trump set off a fresh wave of misinformation early Wednesday by falsely claiming that he had won.
A full accounting of how the end of the campaign played out on sites like Facebook, Twitter and YouTube is still to come as researchers and the companies themselves examine how people used the platforms. But early assessments indicated that, at least publicly, social media didn't stand out as a problem on Election Day.
International election monitors say no evidence of fraud in U.S. election, Trump claims ‘baseless’
International election monitors said Wednesday there is no evidence that the U.S. election was marked by systematic fraud and that allegations from President Donald Trump and others are “baseless.”
“We feel that these allegations of systemic wrongdoing during these elections have no solid ground,” Urszula Gacek, head observer mission for the Organization for Security and Cooperation in Europe, told reporters in Washington.
“To the contrary, given the extreme stress test the system was exposed to, and despite problems with resources both financially, and at least initially with the recruitment of poll workers, the American electoral process appears to have passed that stress test,” Gacek said.
Michael Georg Link, a former German diplomat who served as the special coordinator for the OSCE observer mission monitoring the U.S. vote, said that “baseless allegations of systematic deficiencies, notably by the incumbent president, including on election night, harm public trust in democratic institutions.”
The OSCE mission, with 102 observers from 39 countries, praised the work of state and local election officials and said the vote on Tuesday was well-managed despite the coronavirus pandemic, a deeply partisan climate and numerous legal battles over voting rules. The monitoring team will remain in the United States to observe the final counting of ballots and how legal challenges play out, Gacek said.
Nevada election officials reverse themselves on releasing vote count updates
Nevada election officials reversed themselves Wednesday night on when they would announce updated election results, going back to releasing the information on Thursday morning in what was the second such rescheduling of the day.
The secretary of state’s elections division originally tweeted early Wednesday morning that they would announce more results on Thursday. But by Wednesday afternoon, a spokeswoman for the office said an update would be provided later in the day because of the national and statewide interest.
The elections division had hoped at least one of the two largest counties, Clark and Washoe, would have updates by Wednesday afternoon, but it was told those officials were still processing and counting ballots, the spokeswoman, Jennifer Russell, said.
“Given that Washoe and Clark counties are not going to have updated results to provide us with till later, we decide to release an update on Thursday at 9 a.m. with all of the counties,” she said.
Russell said state election officials originally decided not to release further election results till Thursday because they did not want to disrupt county elections offices while they were still tabulating ballots.
'A tipping point': Psychedelics, cannabis win big across the country on election night
As the nation awaits a final result from the presidential election, a clear winner emerged Tuesday: drugs.
Measures to legalize cannabis and decriminalize other drugs won major victories this week as five states — Arizona, New Jersey, South Dakota, Montana and Mississippi — legalized some form of marijuana use and Oregon became the first state to make possession of small amounts of harder drugs, including cocaine, heroin and methamphetamine, violations not punishable by jail time.
Voters in Oregon and Washington, D.C., also approved measures to allow for the therapeutic use of psychedelic mushrooms, which are already being prescribed to help some terminally ill patients in Canada cope with pain and end-of-life anxiety.
"People are realizing it's not just about getting high," said Avis Bulbulyan, CEO of SIVA Enterprises, a cannabis business development and solutions firm based in Glendale, California, near Los Angeles. "This is a tipping point for drug policy absent any federal reform."
Click here for the full story.
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
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.
Click here to read the full story.
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
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.
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.
Biden wins Michigan, NBC News projects
Joe Biden has won Michigan, NBC News projects.
It is an important notch for the former vice president, who believed his working-class appeal and attacks on Trump for his handling of the coronavirus would resonate with voters in the industrial Midwest.
The state, which Trump carried in 2016 over Hillary Clinton by fewer than 11,000 votes out of over 4.5 million cast, has 16 Electoral College votes.
Despite inconclusive election, Wall Street ends the day on a high note
Wall Street soared Wednesday amid an inconclusive presidential election, recording some of its biggest gains since April as investors bought up "security blanket" stocks such as tech and Treasury notes.
The Dow Jones Industrial Average surged by more than 800 points at its session high, before closing the day with a gain of around 370 points. The S&P 500 ended the day higher by around 2.2 percent, logging its best performance since June, and the Nasdaq closed the day up 3.8 percent.
With no sure path toward a "blue wave" controlling both chambers, investors were mostly trading on the belief that a more equal balance of power would prevent any overly progressive changes and would return more moderate legislation on the economy and taxes.
Amid shrinking odds of victory, Trump campaign plans legal battle
President Trump is being encouraged by aides and advisers in his determination not to give up on his shrinking odds of victory, with those in his orbit pushing a range of allegations about voting irregularities as they hold out hope that the count somehow shifts in his favor.
Campaign officials, along with White House senior adviser Jared Kushner and chief of staff Mark Meadows, huddled at the campaign’s Virginia headquarters Wednesday afternoon plotting strategy and legal battles ahead. Aides plan to make sure Trump is very visible in the days ahead performing presidential duties while his campaign tries to challenge results on multiple fronts.
If Joe Biden’s leads in Michigan, Arizona and Nevada hold, he will have enough Electoral College votes to win regardless of the outcomes in Pennsylvania and Georgia, where the contests also remained close.
Chaos erupts in Detroit after Republican poll challengers demand an end to vote count
DETROIT — Things are getting tense in the TCF Center after the Trump campaign filed a lawsuit to stop vote counting until it receives greater access to the counting sites.
Around 2:30 p.m. ET, a large group of Republican poll challengers arrived at the door of the massive basement room where Detroit election workers are processing the small number of absentee and military ballots that still need to be counted and were angry to learn they would not be allowed inside due to capacity issues.
Sharon Dolente, the voting rights strategist for the American Civil Liberties Union of Michigan, estimated that both parties have more than 100 poll challengers in the room.
Dozens of people outside the counting room began to bang on the windows, shouting, "stop the count." A group of poll challengers on the convention center floor also started clapping and chanting, demanding that the vote be stopped.
Still, the city continued to count ballots.
Nevada election officials to announce updated results Wednesday
Nevada state election officials say they will announce updated results Wednesday, earlier than previously stated.
In the wee hours on Tuesday, the Nevada secretary of state’s elections division tweeted that further results would not be announced till 9 a.m. Thursday.
“But 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,” secretary of state spokeswoman Jennifer Russell told NBC News. She did not give a specific time for announcing the updated results.
Russell said state election officials originally decided not to release further election results till Thursday because they did not want to disrupt county elections offices while they were still tabulating ballots.
Nevada lawmakers passed a bill over the summer to provide for a mostly mail-in vote amid Covid-19 concerns, allowing mailed ballots to be counted so long as they were postmarked by Election Day and received by officials within a week of the election. In Nevada, election results are required to be certified and reported by Nov. 16.
“There are still a great deal of mail-in ballots that are being counted, processed and that are still coming in,” Russell said.
With election results in flux, progressive groups mobilize for 'National Day of Solidarity'
Feeling optimistic about Joe Biden's prospects in the presidential race, a massive coalition of progressive groups is planning a "National Day of Solidarity" on Saturday.
The coordinated effort will span 40 states across the country and will include more than 70 events beginning midday.
"We're going to see the leaders of 230 people-powered organizations across the country coming together, lifting up our voices" Angela Peoples, director of the umbrella group Democracy Defense Coalition, told NBC News exclusively in an interview. The purpose is to celebrate record high ballot counts nationwide while "making sure that every vote is counted, and that the voices of the people is what won out on the day," she explained.
Ahead of Tuesday's election, the groups mapped out multiple ways to mobilize progressives after Nov. 3, regardless of the outcome that was expected to be unpredictable. In materials sent to organizers of faith, labor, women, environmental and social justice groups, the coalition explained that "sustained and coordinated action" is the best way to help ensure long term support for progressives.
Saturday's actions are encouraged to respect local Covid-19 safety protocols and will include everything from rallies and demonstrations to live music and artistic expressions.
Read more here.
Trump wins one Electoral College vote in Maine, NBC News projects
Trump wins one Electoral College vote in Maine's 2nd Congressional District, NBC News projects.
The district — which encompasses nearly all of the state outside the Portland and Augusta metro areas — is receiving outsize attention due to the higher-than-usual possibility the race could end in a 269-269 electoral vote tie.
Maine awards two of its four Electoral College votes to the statewide winner, but allows two of its congressional districts to award one vote each to the winner in each of the districts.
Democrats carried Maine's 2nd District in every election since 1992 before Trump flipped it red in 2016 by seizing on its rural, union-heavy makeup the way he did in many states across the Upper Midwest.
Arizona's Maricopa County has 605,000 uncounted ballots, some results released tonight
Data from Arizona's Maricopa County shows that there are still about 605,000 uncounted ballots, and results for a bulk of them are expected to come out in two batches starting around 9 p.m. ET, which is 7 p.m. local time.
It's unclear when other counties in Arizona will report their latest figures. NBC News says that the presidential race in Arizona is too close to call.
Some Republicans break with Trump, say take time to count all the votes
WASHINGTON — Some Republicans are not falling in line behind President Donald Trump's attempts to falsely declare victory and seek to halt some vote counting in the presidential race, with several GOP leaders expressing rare public rebukes of the president.
Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell, R-Ky., a Trump ally who usually avoids criticizing the president in public, told reporters Wednesday that "claiming you've won the election is different from finishing the counting."
With millions of votes still uncounted, Trump in a 2:35 a.m. Wednesday speech at the White House baselessly claimed he had defeated Democrat Joe Biden and alleged "major fraud on our nation" as election officials work through a massive surge in mail-in ballots, which they had long warned would take extra time to count. The president called for a halt in "all voting."
Trump's campaign amplified their boss's erroneous claims in public statements and threats of lawsuits, which Biden's team dismissed as meritless, insisting even the conservative-leaning Supreme Court would not give them any consideration.
But the more surprising rebukes came from members of Trump's own party.
Read more here.
NBC News Exit Poll: Gains with white men helped put Biden over the top in Wisconsin
In Wisconsin, where NBC News has declared Joe Biden the apparent winner, the Democratic candidate got strong support from Black voters, Latino voters, and white women with a college degree, according to the NBC News Exit Poll of early and Election Day voters. It was his relative strength among white men without a college degree, though, that helped put him over the top.
President Trump won this group by 62 percent to the 35 percent Biden won, but that was much narrower than his 69 percent to 26 percent margin with this group in 2016.
Analysis: Trump thinks he's losing. Just listen to him.
Speaking from the White House early Wednesday morning, Trump falsely declared that he was winning. And then he said the election is "a fraud on the American public" and an "embarrassment to our country." In case it wasn't obvious that he is desperately worried, he said he wants state officials to stop counting ballots midstream.
Oh, and he vowed to sue to overturn the results, despite calling himself the winner.
All of this is normal behavior for an intemperate adolescent, an authoritarian ruler, or Trump. Still, his speech Tuesday night will surely be remembered as a low point for both the concept of democracy and the practice of republicanism. For the moment, Trump's tack represents two significant developments in the purgatory-is-hell story of the 2020 election.
Read Jonathan Allen’s analysis here.
Trump campaign sues to stop the count in Michigan
The Trump campaign announced Wednesday it is suing in Michigan to stop the vote count after the president fell behind Biden in the critical swing state.
"As votes in Michigan continue to be counted, the presidential race in the state remains extremely tight as we always knew it would be," Trump campaign manager Bill Stepien said in a statement. "President Trump’s campaign has not been provided with meaningful access to numerous counting locations to observe the opening of ballots and the counting process, as guaranteed by Michigan law."
"We have filed suit today in the Michigan Court of Claims to halt counting until meaningful access has been granted," he added.
Biden holds a 45,000 vote lead over Trump in Michigan. The president, back in 2016, carried the state by a slimmer margin.
Biden is the apparent winner in Wisconsin, NBC News projects
Joe Biden is the apparent winner in Wisconsin, NBC News projects.
The narrow apparent victory renewed Democrats' long winning streak in the swing state, which was broken four years ago when Trump edged out Hillary Clinton. Biden’s heartland appeal brought him 10 Electoral College votes.
The Trump campaign said earlier Wednesday that it would "immediately" demand a recount in the state as the presidency remains in the balance.
Biden now has more votes than any presidential candidate in history
Biden has now won more votes than any presidential candidate in American history as of Wednesday afternoon, passing Obama's 2008 record of more than 69.4 million ballots cast in his name.
With more than 20 million expected votes left to count, according to an NBC News projection, Biden's final total should go well beyond Obama's 2008 mark. Trump, too, is on track to win the second-highest vote total in U.S. history. He should pass Obama's 2008 total in the coming days, but it looks unlikely that he will surpass Biden.
Key Georgia county reports issue counting estimated 80,000 absentee ballots
Election officials in a suburban Georgia county that could help determine whether Biden or Trump takes the state have flagged an issue affecting up to 80,000 hand-marked absentee ballots scanned by a new voting system.
The votes, cast in Gwinnett County, are scanned in batches, and 3,200 of the batches, with each batch containing a maximum of 25 ballots, had at least one ballot that needed review, county spokeswoman Heather Sawyer said in an email.
The batches must remain together, so the county temporarily approved the problematic ballots and re-scanned the batches, but will go back to review the ballots that previously couldn’t be scanned, which will change final vote tallies, Sawyer said.
Unique in Georgia, the county, with a population of 936,250, uses a two-page absentee ballot printed in English and Spanish. The multipage ballot could have been an issue if new users didn’t have adequate training, Eddie Perez, an analyst for election technology advocacy group OSET, told NBC News in an email. NBC News has collaborated with the OSET Institute since 2016 to monitor U.S. election-technology and voting issues.
Dominion, provider of the new $150 million voting system in place across Georgia, declined to comment.
Democrat Sara Gideon concedes to Republican Sen. Susan Collins
Republican incumbent Susan Collins is the apparent winner in Maine's Senate race, NBC News projects.
Democrat challenger Sara Gideon conceded to Collins, a top target of Democrats this election cycle, earlier Wednesday.
"We came up short," Gideon told supporters Wednesday afternoon. She said she'd called Collins to wish her well.
"I congratulated her on winning this election and told her I'll always be available to help serve the people of Maine," Gideon said.
Collins called the call "very gracious." "We had a good talk," she said.
The race was the most expensive in Maine history. Collins raised more than $26.5 million and spent over $23 million, while Gideon brought in more than $68.5 million and spent nearly $48 million, according to the Center for Responsive Politics.
Judge furious that Postal Service didn't sweep mail-sorting facilities for ballots as ordered
A federal judge blasted the Postal Service on Wednesday because it did not follow his court order to perform a sweep of mail-sorting facilities Tuesday afternoon for any undelivered ballots.
“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,” U.S. District Judge Emmet Sullivan said during a hearing Wednesday.
Joseph Borson, a Justice Department attorney representing the Postal Service, said that the agency had told him after Tuesday's order that there was not enough time for it to fulfill the court's order, as Postal Service agents were not in position to sweep its 220 facilities across the United States.
“I wish we knew that earlier, so we could convey that,” Borson said, but he noted that the Postal Service had conducted sweeps beginning at 7 a.m. on Election Day that continued throughout the day. Only 13 undelivered ballots were found.
The overarching issue is about 300,000 mailed ballots that were not scanned by the Postal Service.
Voter advocates and the Postal Service both warn that just because the 300,000 ballots were not scanned does not mean they were not delivered. Both sides emphasized that in rushing ballots in the final week prior to the election, the Postal Service sacrificed tracking to ensure ballots’ quick delivery. Instead, some were pulled from circulation and prioritized.
Lawyers in the lawsuit maintain, however, that the Postal Service has not acted transparently and they want to certify that all of the agency’s facilities have been swept.
Fact check: Trump's false, misleading claims about ballot counting in key states
President Trump on Wednesday continued to promote false claims about the election and ballot processing after vote tallies in key states appeared to move in Joe Biden's favor in the early morning hours.
Twitter flagged a series of the president's tweets as "misleading," including one in which he said, in part, that his leads "started to magically disappear as surprise ballot dumps were counted." There were no "surprise" ballot dumps in the states Trump appears to be referencing — states such as Wisconsin, Pennsylvania and Michigan that NBC News has characterized as too close to call and will be pivotal to deciding who wins the White House.
Valid ballots are still being tabulated in those states, and rules restricting when officials in key states could begin processing mail ballots have delayed the vote count into Wednesday, at least.
In another tweet, Trump claimed, "They are finding Biden votes all over the place — in Pennsylvania, Wisconsin, and Michigan. So bad for our Country!"
This is an incorrect characterization, since officials are not "finding" Biden ballots. More Democrats voted by mail this year than did Republicans, and as more mail ballots are processed, the totals are changing.
In one of the earlier tweets that Twitter labeled as misleading, Trump also appeared to suggest that Democratic officials are corruptly influencing the elections in their states. There's no evidence for this. Republicans also hold control of at least one part of the legislature in Michigan and Wisconsin, two states where Trump was leading last night but where valid mail ballots have caused the tallies to shift narrowly in Biden's favor with 97 percent of the expected vote in.
In fact, the president's party and his campaign bear some responsibility for the counting delays Trump is using to cast doubt on the validity of the results. Lawmakers in Pennsylvania sought to change the rules to enable the processing of mail-in ballots prior to Nov. 3, but negotiations broke down between the state's Democratic governor and the Republican-controlled House; each side blamed the other.
In Michigan, Republicans in the state Legislature only agreed to allow larger jurisdictions to get a 10-hour head start on pre-canvassing ballots, even as election officials pushed for more time. In Wisconsin, GOP Sen. Ron Johnson pushed the state's Republican Legislature to allow the processing of mail ballots ahead of Election Day, but the it did not act.
Trump, Biden wait as vote counting continues in states such as Michigan, Pennsylvania
WASHINGTON/DETROIT — The presidential election remained undecided Wednesday, turning the nation's attention to a handful of battleground states that continue to tabulate the crush of mail-in ballots that will decide if Donald Trump or Joe Biden will be victorious.
NBC News has projected the outcome in 42 states, giving Biden a narrow lead over Trump in the Electoral College count. But both remain shy of the 270 delegates needed to win, with many critical battleground states still either too early or too close to call.
As of Wednesday morning, NBC News has yet to project a winner in Arizona, Georgia, Michigan, Nevada, North Carolina, Pennsylvania or Wisconsin. Biden leads in Arizona. Some of these states have indicated that enough of their vote total could be in by the end of the day in order for a winner to be projected.
Trump's campaign manager says they will 'immediately' call for a Wisconsin recount
Trump campaign manager Bill Stepien on Wednesday said the campaign will "immediately" request a recount in Wisconsin.
"The President is well within the threshold to request a recount and we will immediately do so," he said.
As it stands, Biden holds a lead of more than 20,000 votes over Trump in Wisconsin with virtually all of the vote having been reported.
Wisconsin election law allows for candidates to request a recount if the margin in the race is 1 percent or less. Biden is currently up by 0.6 points over Trump.
But former Wisconsin Gov. Scott Walker, a Republican, warned that the effort could be futile.
"After recount in 2011 race for WI Supreme Court, there was a swing of 300 votes," Walker tweeted. "After recount in 2016 Presidential race in WI, @realDonaldTrump numbers went up by 131. As I said, 20,000 is a high hurdle."
Dow soars by more than 800 points, as investors regroup without 'blue wave'
Wall Street continued to climb Wednesday, recording some of the biggest gains since April, even as investors braced for a lengthy wait to determine the winner of the presidential election.
The Dow Jones Industrial Average climbed by around 800 points, with the S&P 500 trading higher by around 3.4 percent as traders ditched infrastructure and industrial stocks in favor of tech stocks. The rebound came as traders reassessed the possibility of a "blue wave" that would have accelerated the passing of a stimulus package.
The tech-heavy Nasdaq jumped by as much as 4.5 percent, as investors sought out safer havens in a sector that has performed well under stay-at-home orders. Shares in Facebook were up 8 percent, Alphabet was higher by 7 percent, and Amazon gained by around 6 percent.
Many investors see continued Republican control in the Senate as good for markets, with lower prospects of new taxes or regulation hitting their bottom line.
Georgia still has at least 240,000 votes left to count, secretary of state says
In Georgia, where the presidential race is too close to call, Secretary of State Brad Raffensperger said Wednesday morning “our job isn’t done yet” and that they still need to count 200,000 mail-in ballots and between 40,000 and 50,000 early in-person votes.
He said that the counties covering the Atlanta metro area, DeKalb, Fulton and Cobb, as well as Forsyth County, are still counting all of those votes and then will need to move on to counting ballots returned by overseas and military voters.
Raffensperger said his team across the state is trying to finish counting the votes by the end of the day.
"Every legal ballot will be counted,” he said.
Partisan observers fuel tension as Detroit election workers tally absentee ballots
DETROIT — As the nation anxiously awaits the final vote tally in Michigan, the state's political attention is turning to a massive convention center basement in downtown Detroit.
Hundreds of election workers have been working in shifts here since Monday to process an unprecedented flood of absentee ballots in Detroit that will be crucial to determining whether Donald Trump or Joe Biden won this battleground state, and whether Democrat Gary Peters has held onto his seat in the Senate.
Both political parties are here in large numbers, with scores of partisan observers representing major political parties as well as organizations like the American Civil Liberties Union and the Election Integrity Fund, an organization affiliated with the conservative Thomas More Society that sued the state over the summer over its absentee ballot procedures.
The counting process has mostly been peaceful but poll challengers say they've seen some tense exchanges.
"There's been some aggressive conduct and sharp disputes," Democratic challenger Ralph Simpson, a Detroit lawyer and political activist, said. "Things like 'show me the ballots,' and 'should those be counted?'"
But ballot counting has continued.
Michigan secretary of state says major cities to complete count within hours
Michigan Secretary of State Jocelyn Benson said Wednesday she expects for the remaining, uncounted vote in places such as Detroit, Flint, Kalamazoo and Grand Rapids to come in later in the day.
The country will have a "much better picture [of Michigan] by the end of today," she told reporters at news conference.
Benson said the reason the count has been lengthy is because election workers are tasked with confirming the validity of every ballot. Tens of thousands, she added, remain outstanding.
"You all can trust the results as an accurate reflection as a will of the people," she said.
As it stands, Biden holds a more than 30,000 vote advantage over Trump in the Wolverine State as he seeks to flip the state Trump carried in 2016. Much of the remaining vote in Michigan comes from areas that lean Democratic, like Detroit.
NBC News Exit Poll: In Maine, Biden wins solid support from liberals, women and voters 65 and older
Joe Biden is projected to win Maine with strong backing from groups including women, college graduates and voters 65 and older, according to the NBC News Exit Poll of early and Election Day voters.
Support for Biden in Maine was, not surprisingly, strongest from liberals — 94 percent of them went for Biden, and they comprise 3 in 10 voters in Maine. In addition, 61 percent of moderates and 57 percent of independents also voted for Biden.
Sixty-four percent of women cast ballots for Biden as did 69 percent of college graduates and 63 percent of voters 65 and older.
Vote Watch: Twitter takes action on multiple Trump tweets
Twitter is taking quick action on the president's tweets calling into question the legitimacy of the election.
The social media platform labeled two of Trump’s tweets Wednesday morning with warnings that their claims regarding continuing vote counts were potentially misleading about the election, following a similar action taken in the early morning hours.
In one tweet, which Twitter also restricted from comments, likes and retweets, Trump baselessly claimed his advantage in states led by Democrats "started to magically disappear as surprise ballot dumps were counted."
Another used a manipulated or misleading screenshot of a map from an elections results reporting outlet to suggest that 100 percent of a new count of votes in Michigan went to Biden. That did not happen.
"As votes are still being counted across the country, our teams continue to take enforcement action on Tweets that prematurely declare victory or contain misleading information about the election broadly,” Twitter spokesperson Nicholas Pacilio said in a statement. “Our teams continue to monitor Tweets that attempt to spread misleading information about voting, accounts engaged in spammy behavior, and Tweets that make premature or inaccurate claims about election results. Our teams remain vigilant and will continue working to protect the integrity of the election conversation on Twitter."
Twitter’s actions follow several similar steps from election night in which it labeled and limited engagement on a tweet from Trump claiming Democrats were trying to “steal the election.” Facebook took similar steps to label identical posts on its platform.
Biden wins Maine, NBC News projects
Biden picked up three of the state’s four Electoral College votes Wednesday afternoon as key states continued counting ballots. NBC News has not allocated the remaining Electoral College vote.
No winner in the presidential contest has been declared.
Pa. officials urge patience with 50 percent of mail-in ballots counted
Pennsylvania officials urged patience at a press conference Wednesday morning as counties continued to tally mail-in ballots, saying again that they had expected for the count to be a slow process.
Gov. Tom Wolf, a Democrat, said he’s confident that all votes will be counted fully and accurately.
“I will do everything within my power to ensure that the results are fair and that every vote is counted. Pennsylvania will have a fair election,” he said, adding that it would be “free of outside influences. We all will vigorously defend against any attempt to attack that vote in Pennsylvania.”
Wolf added, “We may not know the results even today.”
Secretary of State Kathy Boockvar said that they expect to receive 2.5 to 3 million mail-in ballots — 10 times the number of mail-in ballots cast in 2016. Only 50 percent have been counted as of Wednesday morning, she said, saying millions more were still left to be tallied.
Boockvar said to expect “a lot of updates” throughout the day.
Beschloss: America has always been divided
Presidential historian Michael Beschloss says elections have often been contested throughout American history, including in 2000 and 1876, and that early voting and mail-in ballots will only add to the situation. He also says that the heavy voting turnout is a sign that "our democracy is flourishing.”
Trump's Florida victory powered in part by Miami overperformance
WASHINGTON — A huge story early last night was Joe Biden’s swing-and-a-miss in Miami-Dade County, Florida — which he appears to have won by only about 7 points compared with Hillary Clinton’s 30-point romp four years ago.
That collapse was enough to negate Biden’s improvement over Clinton in other swing counties such as Pinellas and Seminole.
But there’s another wrinkle: While Biden lost big, it wasn’t because he missed Democrats’ mark in the state dramatically when it comes to votes.
At this hour, Biden has received about 617,000 votes in the county. That’s not too far below Clinton’s 624,000.
The difference? President Trump piled nearly 200,000 additional votes onto his 2016 tally.
In 2016, Trump got about 334,000 votes in the county. That’s compared with 532,000 to date this cycle.
Trump campaign argues he has a path to victory
Trump campaign manager Bill Stepien argued on a call with reporters Wednesday morning that the president could pull off wins in Michigan, Arizona, Pennsylvania and Georgia and said he thought Wisconsin was headed for "recount territory."
NBC News has not yet projected a winner in any of these states.
Stepien also continued to push a false narrative that Democrats were attempting "to count late ballots," an attack that the president has used to cast unfounded doubt on the legitimacy of a Biden win.
"If we count all legally cast ballots, we believe the president will win," Stepien said.
Florida votes to raise state’s minimum wage to $15 an hour
Florida voted Tuesday to gradually hike the state’s minimum wage to $15 per hour, joining a growing list of states and municipalities in taking the step.
The 2020 election ballot initiative garnered the 60 percent support needed to pass, according to The Associated Press. Florida becomes the eighth state to approve a $15-an-hour minimum wage, and the second-most populous to do so.
The measure would increase the state’s current $8.56-an-hour pay floor to $10 next year. For every year after that, the minimum wage would rise by $1 an hour until it hits $15 in 2026.
The day after: Counting ballots in Michigan
Ritchie Torres becomes first gay Afro Latino elected to Congress
Ritchie Torres has won his House race for New York’s 15th Congressional District, making him the first gay Afro Latino person elected to Congress.
Torres was all but certain to win in his deep-blue House district. He defeated Republican Patrick Delices, a former professor of Caribbean studies at Hunter College.
He fills a seat left by Rep. Jose Serrano, a 16-term Democrat who said last year that he would not run for re-election.
"Tonight we made history," Torres tweeted Tuesday night, calling it "the honor of a lifetime to represent a borough filled with essential workers who risked their lives so that New York City could live" during the pandemic.
Torres could be joined by Mondaire Jones, who's currently ahead in his race for New York's 17th Congressional District, as the first gay Black members of Congress.
Read more here.
Wall Street rises at opening bell as investors brace for long wait to determine election outcome
Wall Street rose Wednesday morning as investors braced for a lengthy wait to determine the winner of the presidential election.
The Dow Jones Industrial Average climbed by around 230 points at the opening bell, with the S&P 500 trading higher by around 1.6 percent. The tech-heavy Nasdaq soared by around 2.6 percent as investors sought out safer havens in a sector that has performed well under stay-at-home orders. Shares in tech giants Facebook, Amazon, Apple and Alphabet were all up more than 2 percent Wednesday morning.
Traders prepared to face the two outcomes they had most feared in the run-up to the election — a contested result, or no Senate majority but a win by former Vice President Joe Biden.
Some of the biggest swings in the last 24 hours came overnight, after President Donald Trump falsely claimed he had won the election. Neither NBC News nor any other major news organization has declared a winner.
Dingell: Women will help Biden win Michigan
Democratic Rep. Debbie Dingell, who won re-election to a fourth term in the battleground state of Michigan, tells "TODAY" she's "not surprised" by the tightness of the presidential race there, but predicts Joe Biden will win the state with the help of a lot of women who didn't vote in 2016 but came out this year.
First Read: Win or lose, Trump and his politics look like they're here to stay
WASHINGTON — Whether or not President Trump ultimately wins or loses — and the remaining vote appears to be strong for Joe Biden — Trumpism looks like it’s here to stay.
Democrats were hoping for a repudiation of Trump; that a GOP loss so big would force Republicans to the negotiating table, to try to compete for votes in urban/suburban America, and to dial down the scorched-earth politics over the last few years.
Instead, even if Trump doesn’t win, he might have helped the GOP keep its Senate majority and pick up House seats when Republicans looked destined to lose them.
Bottom line: Even if he’s voted out of office — as we continue to count the votes in Arizona, Georgia, Michigan, Nevada, Pennsylvania and Wisconsin — Trump and his brand of politics aren’t leaving the political scene.
Read more here.
Pollsters: Blame the founding fathers
NBC pollsters Bill McInturff and Jeff Horwitt talk about the still-undetermined presidential election. McInturff says not to blame pollsters for the surprisingly close race: "Blame the Founding Fathers" who created the Electoral College. Horwitt agrees that it's "a humbling experience for all of us" and points to the 2018 election, when outcomes changed as votes were counted.
Reading the fine print on how mail-in ballots are counted in Pennsylvania
As election officials continue to count ballots in the battleground state of Pennsylvania where the presidential race is too early to call, it's important to consider the fine print as far as how mail-in ballots are considered.
It's not completely correct to say that ballots will be counted as long as they are received by Friday at 5 p.m. ET and postmarked on or before Election Day.
Ballots did not necessarily need to be postmarked on or before Nov. 3, but they can't show any indication that they were sent after then.
The Pennsylvania Supreme Court said in its ruling: “Ballots mailed by voters via the United States Postal Service and postmarked by 8:00 p.m. on Election Day, November 3, 2020, shall be counted if they are otherwise valid and received by the county boards of election on or before 5:00 p.m. on November 6, 2020; ballots received within this period that lack a postmark or other proof of mailing, or for which the postmark or other proof of mailing is illegible, will be presumed to have been mailed by Election Day unless a preponderance of the evidence demonstrates that it was mailed after Election Day.”
With a handful of states left to call, see which paths to 270 remain
There are fewer than 10 states left to call. These states, and the electoral college votes they represent, will determine the next president. You can plot a path to the White House for the candidates with our Road to 270 map, note that you cannot change the states in which NBC News has projected a winner.
Pa. Gov. Wolf blasts GOP for calling on state's secretary of state to resign over ballot counting
Pennsylvania Gov. Tom Wolf blasted GOP leaders in his state for calling on Secretary of State Kathy Boockvar to resign Tuesday because of how the state has handled the counting of ballots.
"This is a partisan attack on Pennsylvania's elections and our votes. Our election officials are working diligently to make sure every vote is counted and everyone's voice is heard. Attacks like this are an attempt to undermine confidence in the results of the election, and we should all denounce them for the undemocratic actions they are," Wolf said in a statement.
He added that he supports Boockvar and all local election officials "who are working hard to deliver timely, accurate results and ensure that everyone's vote is counted and protected."
Boockvar said Tuesday night that she had no intent to resign and said that the Republican leaders "should be the ones to resign for not having allowed Pennsylvania to start pre canvassing ballots early as 46 other states across the country have done. We would be getting results a lot sooner if they had.”
The race is still too early to call, according to NBC News.
Nevada done counting until Thursday morning
As America counts its votes, world hedges its bets
LONDON — Millions around the world had their eyes glued to the election drama playing out in America on Wednesday, with allies stressing that no matter the winner, their relationships with the United States remained strong.
The election made headlines throughout Europe, the Middle East and Asia.
British Foreign Minister Dominic Raab struck a diplomatic tone, telling Sky News that the United KIngdom's relationship with the U.S. was in "great shape and we're confident that it will go from strength to strength whichever candidate wins the election."
In Germany, where President Trump is deeply unpopular, German lawmaker and the leader of Angela Merkel’s conservative CDU party Annegret Kramp-Karrenbauer said on German broadcaster ZDF that the German-American friendship had been "put to a tough test" in the past four years.
The election has also drawn significant interest in Japan. A former ambassador to the U.S. told NBC News that Tokyo’s close relationship with Washington wasn't dependent on its leader.
"If Mr. Biden comes in or Mr. Trump is re-elected, we're ready to dance with the new president," Ambassador Ichiro Fujisaki said.