This live coverage has ended. Continue reading election news from November 6, 2020.
Election Day stretched into its third day on Thursday as Americans anxiously awaited results in several key states.
Joe Biden maintained his lead over President Donald Trump, who delivered a series of false claims about the election on Thursday night and has vowed legal action in several battleground states as the Electoral College gap widened.
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Georgia election official says state still has more than 47,000 ballots to count
Gabriel Sterling, the chief operating officer of the Georgia secretary of state’s office, appeared less confident Thursday afternoon that his state would quickly wrap up the counting of votes.
As of 3 p.m. ET, he said that there were 47,277 ballots outstanding that needed to be counted. About 17,000 of those ballots are in Chatham County, where Savannah is located and where the process is moving slowly. Other counties that are still counting ballots include several in the Atlanta metro area.
Sterling said Thursday afternoon that the state is using paper ballots for the first time in 20 years, the counting of which is "going to take time." When asked for a timeline on when Georgia might finish, he said, "done is a very relative term at this point" because so many races are so close across the state.
Earlier in the day, when Georgia still had 61,000 uncounted ballots, Sterling told reporters at the state Capitol in Atlanta, “We anticipate getting through this process today."
Former White House chief of staff Mick Mulvaney says Trump could run in 2024 if he loses
Trump's former chief of staff claimed Trump could run for president in the next election if he were to lose to Joe Biden this time around.
Mick Mulvaney, now the U.S. special envoy to Northern Ireland, said that the president could unite the country in 2024, in a webinar with the Institute of International and European Affairs.
Mulvaney told Michael Collins, director general of the institute, that 2024 would be the election that will "unite" the country after a "fork in the road."
When asked about who he thinks would throw their hat in the race, Mulvaney said Trump.
"I’m telling you, absolutely, I would absolutely expect the president to stay involved in politics," he said. "I would absolutely put him on the shortlist of people who are likely to run in 2024. He doesn’t like losing."
Trump campaign presses legal challenges as count continues in swing states
President Donald Trump's campaign continued its legal blitz across key battleground states Thursday, homing in on Pennsylvania with state judges denying or dismissing lawsuits in Georgia and Michigan.
The race for the White House has come down to just a handful of states — particularly Pennsylvania, Nevada, Georgia and Arizona, which are all too close to call, according to NBC News. NBC News has projected that Joe Biden has won Michigan and is the apparent winner in Wisconsin, giving the former vice president a narrow lead over Trump. But both remain shy of the 270 delegates needed to win the White House, raising the stakes in the states that remain outstanding, particularly Pennsylvania, with its 20 Electoral College votes.
The president and his allies have repeatedly and falsely suggested that the ongoing count of eligible ballots is a sign of fraud. By Thursday, the president had simplified his message to calls for the regular process of counting ballots to stop entirely.
Photos: Both sides rally in Pennsylvania
'Let the institutions of our democracy do their jobs,' Fed Chair Powell says about presidential election
"Continued support from both monetary and fiscal policy” may be needed to overcome the current economic downturn, Federal Reserve Chairman Jerome Powell said Thursday as the central bank wrapped up its two-day monetary policymaking meeting.
When asked by a reporter about the presidential election, Powell said, "I am very reluctant to comment on the election directly, indirectly or at all," before adding, "It is a good time to step back and let the institutions of our democracy do their jobs."
The Federal Open Market Committee voted to keep the benchmark interest rate unchanged, holding at 0 to 0.25 percent.
While the Fed has a formidable set of policy tools it can deploy — and has already deployed — to support the economy, it cannot do the one thing economists say households and businesses really need: Offer direct income support, either in the form of stimulus checks or expanded unemployment insurance benefits.
Powell, along with other Fed officials, has urged Congress, in increasingly urgent tones, to come to an agreement and pass another fiscal stimulus package to keep the fragile economic recovery going as Covid-19 cases soar around the country.
Partial victory for Trump campaign in Pennsylvania case
In a tactical victory for the Trump campaign that will have no immediate effect on the vote count, a Pennsylvania appeals court has ordered special handling of mail-in ballots for which voters don’t supply missing proof of identification until next week.
Here’s the issue: The state election code requires those who vote by mail to provide proof of identification. If it’s missing, it can be provided later. The issue is, what’s the deadline? The secretary of state said it’s Nov. 12. The Trump campaign filed a lawsuit asking a court to rule that it’s actually Nov. 9.
The appeals court on Thursday ordered the state to set aside any mailed ballots for which missing voter identification information is supplied between those dates. Those ballots are not to be counted until the court resolves the issue.
Missouri poll worker positive for Covid-19 still worked shift, died after Election Day
A Missouri elections supervisor who knew they tested positive for the coronavirus and still worked at a polling site on Election Day has died.
The unidentified election judge supervisor in St. Charles County tested positive for the virus on Oct. 30 and failed to isolate for the recommended two-week period, the county said on Thursday. It is unclear what caused the election worker’s death.
Instead of isolating as advised by the private lab that provided the test, the election supervisor worked at the Blanchette Park Memorial Hall polling site, where 1,858 voters cast their ballots. County officials do not believe the voters who came through the site would be considered close contacts with the supervisor but nine other election workers have been advised to get tested.
Coronavirus cases in the U.S. have hit record-breaking daily totals for two straight days. The country saw 104,429 new cases Wednesday, breaking the single-day record of 98,583 new cases set last week. There were 120,048 new cases Thursday.
Read more here.
Vote Watch: What worked on Election Day
The NBC News Vote Watch team compiled some bullets on the successes surrounding the 2020 election. Here are some of them:
- Voter participation is at a record high, with more than 142 million votes counted as of Thursday morning. NBC News estimates this will climb to more than 160 million, a record for a presidential election.
- More than 100 million ballots were cast during the early voting period, made possible by secretaries of state who ensured their citizens were able to vote safely during a pandemic that has claimed the lives of more than 230,000 Americans.
- Despite fears, the Department of Homeland Security was able to say on Election Day that "there doesn’t appear to be any violence anywhere." While we are monitoring isolated protests across the country, there is currently no widespread unrest.
- Voters respected one another, and there were very few credible reports of voter intimidation at the polls. Poll workers, including the thousands of young people trained to fill the shortage left by older workers sitting this one out due to Covid-19 concerns, have been called the "unsung heroes" of this process.
- The polls closed on Election Day without any evidence of cyber manipulation by foreign governments or criminals. DHS credited the work of federal, state and local election officials who focused on protecting our elections over the past four years, part of a nationwide effort.
- Social media wasn’t the problem many feared it would be. Despite all the worry about widespread hoaxes and false information, this was not the horror scenario some expected.
- So far, ballot counting continues with no reports of significant fraud or systemic issues. On Election Day, machinery issues were limited and addressed.
- Despite multiple controversies, the Postal Service was able to get ballots where they needed to be and is currently not searching for any lost ballots.
Recount laws in key states in the presidential race
Here are recount laws in key states as the presidential race comes down to the wire.
GOP seeks to withdraw Montgomery County, Pennsylvania, lawsuit
The two plaintiffs behind the Republican-backed lawsuit claiming improprieties in the handling of mail ballots in Montgomery County, Pennsylvania, are now seeking to withdraw their claim.
In what is clearly a tactical retreat, GOP congressional candidate Kathy Barnette says because there’s another case in state court that raises similar claims, she wants to let go of this one in federal court. The judge will undoubtedly grant the motion.
It appeared during a hearing on the motion that she was likely to lose. She may simply be trying to avoid a loss. In any event, this case has now collapsed.
The claim was that the county was improperly screening mail ballots before Election Day and giving voters a chance to fix any errors that would render their ballots invalid.
French bulldog named Wilbur elected mayor of Rabbit Hash, Kentucky
The Kentucky hamlet of Rabbit Hash has a new mayor — Wilbur, a 6-month-old French bulldog.
"Rabbit Hash, Kentucky, has never had an actual person or human as a mayor," Amy Noland, Wilbur's human, told NBC News.
Noland said the tradition emerged in the late 1990s.
Here's why Pennsylvania's Allegheny County will continue counting ballots Friday
About 35,000 mail-in ballots in Pennsylvania’s Allegheny County, which covers the Pittsburgh area, still need to be counted, and officials say they won’t be able to start doing so until Friday.
A federal court ordered that the bulk of those ballots — 29,000 — couldn’t be handled or processed until 5 p.m. ET Friday, County Executive Rich Fitzgerald said at a brief press conference Thursday. Those were replacement ballots sent to voters after a printing company that contracted with the county sent incorrect ballots to voters in October. Because voters were also sent the correct ballots, officials need to verify that the voters didn’t try to cast both.
At 9 a.m. ET Friday, the election return board will be sworn in, which can’t happen until three days after Election Day across the state, and will begin going through the remaining uncounted mail-in ballots. That includes about 6,800 ballots that have other issues, such as those that were damaged in the mail or during opening or that did not have the required secrecy envelopes.
Another batch that will be looked at Friday is provisional ballots, which could amount to between 10,000 and 15,000 in number, Fitzgerald said.
Georgia's largest county finished processing absentee ballots, results coming soon
Around 1:30 p.m. ET Thursday, Fulton County Elections Director Rick Barron said that officials there have finished processing absentee ballots.
As many as 7,000 vote tallies will be published later Thursday.
Fulton, where Atlanta is located, is the most populous county in Georgia. Biden currently leads there with 72.6 percent, though Trump is ahead in the state overall.
Judge denies Trump lawsuit in Michigan
A state court judge has denied a request from the Trump campaign which asked Michigan to stop counting absentee votes until an election inspector from each party was present at each county canvassing board and until surveillance video was available of each ballot box.
She said the Trump campaign failed to offer solid evidence that any laws were being violated.
Judge dismisses Trump-GOP lawsuit in Georgia
A state court judge in Georgia has dismissed a lawsuit filed Wednesday by the Trump campaign and the Georgia Republican Party, which claimed that late-arriving mail ballots were being mixed in with ballots that arrived on time. The lawsuit included a claim from an observer who thought he saw evidence of such mixing.
The judge said Thursday there was no evidence that the ballots seen by the observer were actually received after the cutoff for mail ballots.
“There is no evidence that the Chatham County Board of Elections or the Chatham County Board of Registrars has failed to comply with the law,” the judge said.
Analysis: Big jump for Biden in Philadelphia suburbs
If Joe Biden comes back in Pennsylvania, he will have the suburbs of Philadelphia to thank for a shift in his direction.
In Chester County, which runs south toward Biden's Wilmington, Delaware, home, and west of Philadelphia toward Lancaster, Biden's share of the vote is 5.6 percentage points higher than Hillary Clinton's at 57.5 percent.
Already, with 95 percent reporting, he has about 36,000 more votes out of Chester than Clinton did. Trump's share of the vote is down a little bit, about 1.5 percentage points.
The lack of third-party candidates this cycle may account for the differences in Biden’s increased share and Trump's fall: In 2016, the major parties received about 94.5 percent of the vote in Chester. This time, they are at 98.5 percent combined.
Likewise, in neighboring Montgomery County, which runs west-northwest of the city, Biden’s share of the vote is 4.1 percentage points higher than Clinton’s at 62.5 percent, while Trump’s is down six-tenths of a percentage point from 2016. Biden’s raw vote total is 57,000 votes higher than Clinton’s.
Trump campaign announces Nevada suit, refuses to offer evidence
The Trump campaign said Thursday that it is filing a lawsuit in federal court in Nevada on Thursday, asking the judge to stop counting ballots due to "thousands" of illegal ballots.
Richard Grenell, former acting director of National Intelligence, addressed reporters at a press conference, claiming that the campaign was not being allowed to observe the process.
"Ballots are not automatically legal votes until they are checked and we are not being allowed to check," Grenell said.
It is election officials, not campaigns, that verify voters' ballots. Both Republican and Democratic poll watchers are observing ballot counting in Nevada.
MSNBC reporter Jacob Soboroff pressed Grenell for evidence. Watch what happened next.
Biden's lead over Trump in Nevada up to nearly 12,000 votes
Joe Biden’s lead over President Trump in the pivotal battleground state of Nevada grew to nearly 12,000 votes Thursday afternoon, as votes continued to be counted in Clark County.
As of 12:30 p.m. ET, Biden led Trump in Nevada 603,807 votes to 592,020, or by a margin of 11,787 votes, according to NBC News’ Decision Desk. Eighty-eight percent of the vote in Nevada has been counted, according to NBC News' Decision Desk. Nevada and its six Electoral College votes remained too close to call as of 12:30 p.m. ET.
Biden’s expanded lead — earlier in the day he’d led Trump by fewer than 8,000 votes — came as Clark County, which includes Las Vegas, continued to count ballots.
Biden camp increasingly optimistic: 'Our data shows that Joe Biden will be the next president'
“Our data shows that Joe Biden will be the next president of the United States,” Biden campaign manager Jen O’Malley Dillon said Thursday during a virtual briefing with reporters. She added that the continued counting of votes in key battlegrounds “is going to show our path to victory.”
In Nevada, where Biden is currently leading Trump by about 8,000 votes, with 86 percent of the vote in, O’Malley Dillon said she expected counting “to be finished and results to be announced” Thursday.
In Pennsylvania, she said, Biden would win by a “sizable number of votes."
She called Georgia a “true toss-up” but said that Biden had been “cutting into” Trump’s lead and that the state now “leans to the vice president.”
Above all, O’Malley Dillon said supporters need to “stay patient” and “stay calm.”
“The counting is happening. It’s going to take time,” she said.
Campaign adviser Bob Bauer said the multiple lawsuits filed by the Trump campaign in numerous states were all “meritless” and designed “to create an opportunity for them to message falsely about what is happening in the election process.”
He added that the suits are “doomed to fail.”
Georgia official expects to finish counting votes Thursday
Gabriel Sterling, the chief operating officer of the Georgia secretary of state’s office, told reporters at a Thursday morning press conference that he thinks his state will finish counting ballots by the end of the day.
“We anticipate getting through this process today,” he said at the state capitol in Atlanta.
The state has about 61,000 uncounted ballots. Sterling attributed the ballot counting delays to some county staffers accidentally forgetting to press an upload button to the system.
“Fast is great. We appreciate fast. We more appreciate accuracy,” he said, adding that election officials "are not involved in voter fraud; these people are not involved in voter suppression."
Pa. lieutenant governor predicts Biden will win state's 20 electoral votes
Pennsylvania Lt. Gov. John Fetterman said that his state’s ballot-counting process is “drawing to a close” and believes that the outstanding ballots will deliver the state's 20 electoral votes to Joe Biden.
As of Thursday morning, Pennsylvania had about 768,000 ballots remaining that needed to be counted, which Fetterman said in an interview on MSNBC would be enough to "probably deliver our Commonwealth to the [former] vice president at this point, based on previous modeling of how those ballots have been performing with respect to, whether it's for the [former] vice president, or the president.”
While Fetterman declined to predict when he believes his state would finish counting, he indicated that it was possible it would be done by Thursday evening.
“Things are drawing to a close,” said Fetterman, who reiterated that the outstanding ballots in his state will be favorable to Biden’s chances to carry Pennsylvania, which Trump won in 2016.
Asked about any irregularities from the election in his state, he said it’s been “incredibly smooth” and suggested that the only issue has been the lawsuits the Trump campaign is mounting.
“You have the Trump campaign showing up on our corner in Philadelphia like some sad carnival barker, making outlandish claims,” he said. “That's the only problem.”
Democrat Mark Kelly claims victory in Arizona Senate race
Democrat Mark Kelly has claimed victory against Republican Sen. Martha McSally in Arizona, which would give Democrats a badly needed pickup in the Senate if the vote returns bear out that result.
"I am deeply honored that Arizonans have trusted me to be their next United States Senator and to serve in this seat once held by Senator John McCain," Kelly said in a series of tweets Wednesday night.
"We woke up today still facing a pandemic, a struggling economy, and deep division in our country," he wrote. "We need to slow the spread of the virus, get our economy back on track, and defend health care protections for people with pre-existing conditions. And I know that together, we can."
McSally has not conceded the race, and NBC News is characterizing the race as too early to call, with Kelly leading.
A win would give the state two Democratic senators, Kelly and Kyrsten Sinema, who was elected in 2018. Sinema congratulated Kelly in a tweeted statement Wednesday. "I am confident Mark will uphold the Arizona values of seeking common ground and putting country above party," she wrote.
Kelly, 56, is a former NASA astronaut and the husband of former Rep. Gabby Giffords, who survived being shot in the head in 2011 at a constituent event. The couple founded the Giffords Foundation, which supports gun control laws around the country.
On bikes, in cars and on foot, 'Count Every Vote' protesters rally near White House
62,000 outstanding ballots in Georgia
There are 62,000 outstanding votes in Georgia, the secretary of state’s office told NBC News on Thursday.
Secretary of State Brad Raffensperger is holding a press conference later Thursday morning.
This race is still too close to call.
FIRST READ: Is it time to rethink how we conduct and cover our presidential contests?
With Joe Biden on the cusp of 270 electoral votes, it’s time to discuss the political institutions and instruments that the 2020 cycle broke — or demonstrated once again that they were already broken.
- The Iowa caucuses. (Remember that botched count?)
- The supposed importance of the first three nominating contests (Biden lost them all, but he seems headed to the White House).
- The polls (especially of the state battlegrounds).
- The exit polls (they again were a mess).
- All of the Twitter pundits (who didn’t necessarily reflect the views of Democratic primary voters), plus all of the online misinformation.
- And the Commission on Presidential Debates. (Remember when Trump pulled out of the second debate?)
- (There’s also an Electoral College system that doesn’t exactly match the popular vote, but that can only change via a constitutional amendment).
All of these institutions and instruments were created in the 20th century — except Twitter, of course — and they became essential parts to how America practices politics. But they no longer seem fit for our modern times.
With all eyes on Philadelphia, a calming livestream looks inside the process
It's coming down to the wire in Pennsylvania, with votes cast in an around Philadelphia key to the election outcome.
So what's it like on the inside where the votes are being processed? The Philadelphia City Commissioners Office has a surprisingly zen livestream offering a look inside.
Trump's gains among Latino voters shouldn't come as a surprise. Here's why.
SAN ANTONIO — Robert Gonzalez hoped to help Donald Trump get to the White House by waving a large Trump-Pence flag outside a polling site Tuesday. This predominantly Latino city backed Joe Biden, but Trump won the state.
"He's not a career politician," Gonzalez said of Trump. He was saddened that businesses in the Riverwalk downtown — a heavy tourist area — had been boarded up because of the pandemic. Trump would bring economic recovery, he said.
As Americans woke up Wednesday to a still-undecided presidential race, some were stunned by Trump's gains among Latino voters in the battleground states of Texas and Florida, which he won. In Texas, 41 percent to 47 percent of voters backed Trump in several heavily Hispanic border counties in the Rio Grande Valley region, a Democratic stronghold. In Florida, Trump won 45 percent of the vote, an 11-point improvement on his 2016 performance.
But the diverse Latino electorate has a record of backing Republicans in some parts of the country, with some segments commonly identifying with Republican messages about the economy and social and political issues.
Explore the potential paths to 270 as the campaigns await final battleground tallies
The 2020 campaign is down to the last six states. The outcomes in these states will determine which candidate is elected president. Explore the potential remaining paths to the White House with our Road to 270 map.
Why Texas remains a Republican stronghold
HOUSTON — As polls closed in Texas on Tuesday night, dozens of young liberals crowded onto the patio of a bar in Houston's eclectic Midtown neighborhood, hoping to see history being made.
For weeks, polls showed an unusually tight presidential race in Texas, raising the possibility that Joe Biden might become the first Democrat to win the state since 1976. At Axelrad Beer Garden, voters said they saw the record-setting turnout in left-leaning Harris County as a reason for hope.
"I'm trying not to set my expectations high, so if somehow we flip that will be an exciting surprise," Serma Malik, 36, said.
Then the results started coming in, and the hope faded.
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.
His speech Wednesday 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.
See which counties in the remaining 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.
Trump's high-stakes, swing-state legal blitz: Where his campaign says it's suing, and why
Trump, speaking from the White House around 2:30 a.m. ET Wednesday, made it clear he'd fight in court to aid his re-election, falsely claiming he had already won though no winner had been declared and while millions of ballots were still being counted.