Elections officials in several key states hurried to finish counting all outstanding votes as Americans could finally learn who won Tuesday's presidential election.
Joe Biden maintained his Electoral College lead over President Donald Trump, overtaking the president in Georgia and Pennsylvania. Trump, meanwhile, vowed to "pursue this process through every aspect of the law" Friday after offering a series of false claims about election integrity in defiant remarks from the White House the day before, and is mounting a legal blitz across several battleground states.
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Pennsylvania appeals court orders some provisional ballots to be set aside for now
A state appeals court in Pennsylvania has ordered the secretary of state to notify all local election officials that they must set aside provisional ballots that were cast by voters as a way to fix problems with their mail-in ballots.
The court will later decide whether those votes can be counted. The issue is the practice of letting mail-in voters fix problems on their ballots or instead cast provisional ballots to solve the problems.
Republicans say state law doesn't allow that. Democrats say while state law doesn't explicitly provide for the practice, it doesn't prohibit it, either.
How Ritchie Torres, Congress' first gay Afro Latino, won on 'bread-and-butter issues'
Ritchie Torres learned he had been elected to Congress while watching the election returns at a friend’s house with a few core members of his campaign. The moment, he said, proved to be intensely gratifying.
“I was raised by a single mother who raised children on minimum wage,” Torres, a member of the New York City Council, said. “I lived in public housing and had to struggle with depression and substance abuse. I never thought life would take me on a journey from the Bronx to Washington, D.C.”
After winning a crowded primary this summer, Torres sailed to a resounding victory Tuesday over his Republican opponent in New York’s 15th Congressional District, a Democratic stronghold centered in the Bronx. Torres, 32, will become one of the first Black, openly gay men to serve in the House, along with Mondaire Jones, the winner Tuesday in New York’s 17th District, to the north of Torres’ district.
Torres said his entry into politics was heavily influenced by his experience growing up in a public housing development that had mold, mildew, leaks, lead and lacked consistent heat or hot water during the winter months.
Read more here.
Trump campaign defiant, but 'deflated' feeling creeping in
As the Trump campaign pushes forward with baseless claims of fraud in a race that’s increasingly slipping from its grasp, a campaign official says the team's desire to have a stronger, more experienced “face” of the legal fight started Wednesday, but so far has not materialized.
There's real frustration about how there’s no clear “field general” marshaling the legal and public relations battles, like what James Baker did for George W. Bush in 2000. As one ally said, “all the best names are Never-Trumpers.”
The defiant public posture from the Trump campaign also belies the “deflated” feeling among its staffers, and there’s apprehension about a dayslong wait for a concession that may never come.
Other than a single paper statement and some tweets from the president, there hasn’t been much from Trump's team today. Compare that to 24 hours ago, when there had already been one campaign call and several news conferences on the schedule. If we see the president today — a big if, since that discussion is still in process — it would not happen before 2 p.m. The president is working from the Oval Office this afternoon, the White House said.
Trump said in a statement released by the campaign, "We believe the American people deserve to have full transparency into all vote counting and election certification, and that this is no longer about any single election. This is about the integrity of our entire election process."
"From the beginning, we have said that all legal ballots must be counted and all illegal ballots should not be counted, yet we’ve met resistance for this basic principle by Democrats at every turn," the statement continued. "We will pursue this process through every aspect of the law to guarantee the American people have confidence in our government. I will never give up fighting for you and our nation.”
Nevada's Clark County still needs to count tens of thousands of ballots
Nevada's Clark County registrar, Joe Gloria, said Friday afternoon that the county is still going through 63,000 mail-in ballots, 30,000 of which were reported in the morning.
He told reporters at a press conference Friday that the county will be providing results twice a day, with the next batch of results expected sometime before 4 p.m. PT. More than 200 new mail-in ballots came in Friday's mail. He also said that voters have until 5 p.m. PT Friday to provide ID for their ballots, which applies to about 44,000 in the system.
Gloria said that he hopes the county will finish counting the majority of absentee ballots by Sunday.
The county will also begin counting 60,000 provisional ballots Friday, although Gloria said that they're waiting for instructions from the secretary of state's office on when to send their report up. There are also about 2,100 ballots whose signatures need to be cured.
Biden is currently leading Trump in Clark County, which covers the Las Vegas area, by more than 20,000 votes.
Photo: Observers get a close look at Pennsylvania ballots
NAACP debunks claims about white supremacy plots
The NAACP on Thursday shot down claims being shared on social media and messaging apps claiming that the organization has knowledge of plots of domestic terrorism by white supremacists.
“While the NAACP takes all matters of discrimination, hatred and domestic terrorism very, very seriously, we thought it was important enough to let you all know in this moment that those claims are false,” Trovon Williams, the NAACP’s vice president of marketing and communications, said. “The NAACP has not come in contact with any such information.”
The message circulating falsely claims white supremacist groups are planning an initiation process for this weekend where initiates aim to kidnap and brutally murder Black men and boys. The message also outlines protective steps the Black community should take to keep the men in their life safe.
“Those claims are false,” Williams said. “These are certainly divisive times. Mechanisms like this are utilized to bring dissension and to also bring fear. We will not be fearful.”
2 men detained after police learn of possible threat to Philadelphia vote counting center
Two armed men who were en route to the Philadelphia Convention Center, where votes are being counted, were taken into custody Thursday night after police learned of a possible threat, a Philadelphia police spokesperson told NBC News.
The spokesperson added that charges are pending for the two men, who have not been publicly identified, and that the FBI is investigating the matter.
The two men were driving a silver Hummer truck from Virginia. Police said they found the car parked and unoccupied around 10:20 p.m. ET; about seven minutes later, two police officers on bicycles saw two men in possession of firearms.
Read more here.
Anticipating a Biden victory, Pelosi says 'it's a happy day for our country'
House Speaker Nancy Pelosi, D-Calif., said Friday morning that it was clear Biden and Sen. Kamala Harris, D-Calif., would win the White House.
"It's a happy day for our country," she told reporters at her weekly press conference at the U.S. Capitol, calling Biden the "president-elect" though NBC News has not made a call in the presidential race yet.
"I think Joe Biden has a big mandate, a bigger mandate than John F. Kennedy when I was in school," she said.
Under a Biden-Harris presidency in the next Congress, the speaker said that Democrats would likely want to push a jobs bill, as well as an infrastructure package.
While she acknowledged that Democrats lost House seats this week, she said she views the developing situation as a “tremendous opportunity” and added, "We have the gavel."
Biden extends lead in Nevada, NBC News projects
Joe Biden has extended his lead over President Trump in Nevada, but the race is still too close to call, NBC News projects.
The change puts Biden's expanded lead at about 20,000 more votes than Trump, giving the Democratic nominee about 49.8 percent of the vote to the president's 48.1 percent, with about 92 percent of the vote reported.
Here's Obama's reaction to Biden gains
Former President Barack Obama believes in the electoral process and that, in the end, Joe Biden will be victorious, a senior member of the Obama-Biden White House who is close to the campaign tells NBC News.
This person adds that Obama really enjoyed being on the campaign trail for his former VP.
Georgia secretary of state says 'there will be a recount'
Georgia Secretary of State Brad Raffensperger said Friday the presidential race in the state is "too close to call" and "there will be a recount in Georgia."
With millions of votes cast, Raffensperger, a Republican, said, it appears "we’ll have a margin of a few thousand" deciding the race. "With a margin that small, there will be a recount in Georgia," he said.
"The final tally in Georgia at this point has huge implications for the entire country," he said. "The stakes are high and emotions are high on all sides. We will not let those debates distract us from our work. We'll get it right, and we will defend the integrity of our elections."
The state's voting system implementation manager, Gabriel Sterling, said, "We are looking at a margin of less than a large high school."
Raffensperger tempered his comment while speaking to reporters later in the day, saying a recount was "likely." Sterling called a recount a "strong probability."
Sterling said a recount could start only after the initial count is certified — a process that could take up to two weeks, although he said officials were optimistic they could get it done before then.
There were just over 4,000 votes still waiting to be counted Friday, and almost as many as 9,000 military ballots that will be counted if they're returned by the end of the day, election officials said.
Joe Biden's vote count began to exceed President Trump's early Friday morning, a lead that was up about 1,600 votes by just before noon ET.
Sterling said officials are not seeing "any widespread irregularities," but they're "investigating any real allegations." In a race this tight, Sterling said, "little small things can make a difference."