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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Supreme Court Justice Alito weighs in on Pennsylvania mail-in ballot case
Supreme Court Justice Samuel Alito late Friday granted part of a request from Pennsylvania's state Republicans, who wanted an order regarding mail ballots that came in during the extended deadline.
He ordered county election officials to comply with a previous directive issued by the secretary of state to keep separate the mail ballots that arrived after Election Day but before Friday at 5 p.m. But he did not order the state to stop counting them.
He also ordered the state to file a response to the Republican request by 2 p.m. Saturday.
The state GOP told the court midday Friday that even though the secretary of state directed counties to separate out the ballots that arrived after Election Day but before Friday at 5 p.m., it was unclear whether all the counties were obeying that directive.
"The vote in Pennsylvania may well determine the next President of the United States, and it is currently unclear whether all 67 county boards of elections are segregating late-arriving ballots," they told the justices.
They asked the Supreme Court to order the secretary to repeat her directive to keep the late ballots separate — and this time to add that they should not even be counted. Otherwise, the Republicans said, it might not be possible to remove those ballots from the count if the party later prevails on its argument that the deadline extension was illegal.
They argued that the state Supreme Court had no authority to extend the mail ballot deadline, and therefore any votes cast during the extended period should not be counted.
In Florida, Spanish-language misinformation embraces misleading Election Day claims
MIAMI — As Joe Biden inches closer to winning in Pennsylvania and Georgia, Spanish-language disinformation is intensifying among Florida Latinos claiming fraud and rigged elections.
A well-known former candidate for state office in Florida posted an impassioned video in Spanish on Facebook boosting the baseless claim that the election is being stolen from President Donald Trump. The video has since been reposted to Twitter, where it’s been viewed more than 116,000 times over the past two days.
“You have the historical authority to destroy the communists that are in the department of elections,” the man said, adding that it’s time to take to the streets to defend Trump.
The new wave of false claims comes after Democrats raised alarms in the run-up to the election about Spanish-language misinformation that had circulated among Latino voters in Florida. And while researchers said Election Day passed without evidence of major English-language misinformation campaigns on social media, they cautioned that the coming days and weeks would be challenging.
On Friday morning, a doctored photo was being passed around in WhatsApp groups, a popular app among Latinos in Florida, showing Biden leaning uncomfortably close behind the former president of the National Electoral Council of Venezuela, who herself was accused of electoral fraud in the South American country. Her image has been used in various Spanish-language misinformation memes about the outcome of the U.S. election on WhatsApp.
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U.S. breaks single-day record of over 100,000 Covid-19 cases for third day in a row
The U.S. has reported over 100,000 new Covid-19 cases in a single day for the third day in a row, breaking the previous records, according to an NBC News tally.
There have been at least 122,365 new Covid-19 cases reported in the U.S. today, eclipsing yesterday's previous single-day record of 121,289 cases, according to an NBC News count.
As the election hangs in the balance, the country is still grappling with a surge in coronavirus cases.
Getting control of the virus was one of the top issues for a majority of voters in their vote for president — a reminder of the high stakes of the election as votes continue to be counted.
According to early results from the NBC News Exit Poll of early and Election Day voters, 61 percent said rising coronavirus cases were a significant factor in their vote — including a quarter who said the surge was the most important factor. Only 33 percent of voters said recent spikes in Covid-19 cases were not important to their vote for president.
Georgia poll worker forced into hiding while more Fulton County votes come in
The elections director of Georgia's most populous county said Friday he expects officials will upload their final 4,600 ballots before the end of the night — despite online trolls robbing him of the services of one of his fastest workers.
Fulton County elections director Richard Barron told reporters he expects the county's final 3,800 provisional ballots and over 800 overseas and military ballots will be added to the state's vote tally before midnight.
He added the work was being done without one of his most dependable employees. The man started getting threats after video of him throwing out a piece of paper went viral on Twitter and Facebook, where he was accused of being "corrupt" and throwing out ballots. Barron said the accusation was "undeniably false" — the worker had thrown out an instruction sheet a voter had mistakenly included with their ballot, which is a piece of paper that's much smaller than the 19-inch ballots.
He said the worker's name, address and even information about his car were circulating online by people accusing him of "fraud," forcing him into hiding.
Barron said he spoke to the worker and "I expressed my sorrow that all this had happened to him, simply for being an election worker."
While we wait... This is how the NBC News Decision Desk calls races
Here's how NBC News calls races on election night, the steps NBC News takes to verify results, and the answers to some frequently asked questions.
Early on election night, the NBC News Decision Desk uses exit poll data to determine whether uncompetitive races can be called. Most races are called based on analyses of precinct- and county-level vote returns.
The analyses also examine differences between early and Election Day votes. In close contests, a careful analysis of how much of the vote has not been counted is a crucial part of the process. No race is projected until the Decision Desk is at a minimum 99.5 percent confident of the winner.
How are votes counted? Data reporters across the country talk to local election officials and report raw vote results on a county-by-county basis from the time polls open until they close and long afterward. The data is supplemented with state and county vote computer feeds and websites, when available.
Advocates race to find Georgia voters to correct bad ballots
Advocates for both presidential candidates raced to find every person in Georgia who submitted a flawed ballot before time ran out Friday to fix the paperwork in a race that could be decided by the narrowest of margins.
Hours before the 5 p.m. deadline, Christin Clatterbuck and Sarah Meng joined about 20 other volunteers who planned to visit addresses in suburban Atlanta’s Gwinnett County in search of voters whose ballots were initially rejected but could be fixed with a signature or an ID.
Cam Ashling, a Democratic activist who organized the small effort, gave instructions and a pep talk. “Never has it ever been more true than now that every vote counts," she shouted beside a pickup truck with a bed full of snacks, water and a big bottle of hand sanitizer.
Clatterbuck and Meng drove through suburban neighborhoods in their small SUV. They walked past rose bushes to knock on the door of a home in Lilburn where they were looking for a 19-year-old voter. Her dad answered and promised to call her at college.
Other problem ballots were cast by people not listed on the voter rolls who will need to explain why. They must correct, or “cure,” their ballots by the deadline for the votes to count.
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ADL asks Pelosi, McCarthy to keep QAnon-backing lawmakers off committees
WASHINGTON — The Anti-Defamation League is asking House Speaker Nancy Pelosi, D-Calif., and House Minority Leader Kevin McCarthy, R-Calif., to block committee assignments for new members who have supported the far-right QAnon conspiracy movement.
The civil rights group's CEO and national director, Jonathan A. Greenblatt, sent the House leaders a letter urging them "to take note of any members of the 117th Congress who have endorsed, given credence to or intentionally promoted QAnon content, to remove them from the Democratic Caucus and Republican Conference, and to decline to assign them to Congressional committees."
While the letter, obtained by NBC news and dated to last week, didn't name names, Rep.-elect Marjorie Taylor Greene, R-Ga., has attracted national attention for having promoted QAnon content.
A spokesman for McCarthy, who as caucus leader oversees Republican committee assignments, didn't immediately respond to an email asking if Greene will be permitted on panels.
The Democratic-led House voted in October to condemn QAnon in a resolution which noted that "many QAnon followers express anti-Semitic views." FBI agents have linked the extremist movement to domestic terrorism threats. Greenblatt said barring QAnon's promoters from committees would send the right message.
"Such a decisive and meaningful action will make clear that the U.S. House of Representatives will not allow division to take hold under the banner of such conspiratorial belief systems," he wrote. "Silence and inaction in the face of such unacceptable conduct allows the conspiracy to grow unchallenged."
Republicans battle on Twitter over support for Trump's baseless election fraud claims
GOP Rep. Dan Crenshaw of Texas and incoming GOP Rep. Marjorie Taylor Greene of Georgia had a war of words on Twitter Friday over supporting Trump's baseless claims of fraud and falsely declaring victory.
The Republican infighting started when Greene, a Georgia businesswoman who has expressed support for the far-right conspiracy theory QAnon and has been criticized for a series of racist comments, suggested Crenshaw was giving up and criticized him for having a "loser mindset" after he said in a tweet "we must accept the final results when it is over."
Crenshaw then pushed back against Greene, who also hinted at retribution for Republicans who aren't supporting the president, questioning whether she is "just purposely lying so you can talk tough?"
"No one said give up. I literally said investigate every irregularity and use the courts. You’re a member of Congress now, Marjorie. Start acting like one," he tweeted.
NBC News projected that Greene, a staunch Trump supporter, won her House race for Georgia's 14th Congressional District on Tuesday. Crenshaw, also a loyal Trump supporter, won re-election to represent Texas' 2nd Congressional District.