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Highlights and analysis from Election Day 2020

Presidential election results as ballots are counted in key swing states for President Trump and Joe Biden. Get live coverage and electoral vote updates.
Watch NBC News special election coverage
Watch NBC News special election coverage

Election Day is over, with polls having closed across the country and officials processing both in-person and mail-in ballots.

As Tuesday bled into Wednesday, President Donald Trump and Joe Biden were running a tight race. Trump was projected to win some key battleground states such as Florida, Ohio and Texas, while Biden was projected to win New Hampshire and Minnesota. Meanwhile, election officials in three other key states, Pennsylvania, Michigan and Arizona, still have millions of ballots to count.

This live coverage has ended. Continue reading election news from November 4, 2020.

Read live updates below:

NBC News Exit Poll: 3 in 10 Biden voters say opposition to Trump drove their choice

Voters for Joe Biden were more than twice as likely as voters for President Trump to say that their choice for president was driven by opposition to the other candidate. 

According to early results from the NBC News Exit Poll of early and Election Day voters, more than 3 in 10 Biden voters said their vote for Biden was mainly against Trump. In contrast, just 15 percent of Trump voters said they cast their ballot against Biden. 

And more Trump voters (80 percent) said their vote was in support of the president. This compares with 63 percent of Biden voters who said they cast their ballot in support of the Democratic candidate.

Vote Watch: 14,000 ballots won't be counted in one S.C. county Tuesday night because of printing error

In South Carolina's Dorchester County, 14,000 mail-in ballots won't be counted Tuesday night because of a printing error. 

The mistake was noticed when they tried to scan the mail-in ballots during the day, according to a spokesman for the state's Board of Elections. The county has to come up with a solution to the problem by Wednesday morning.

Dorchester County is outside of Charleston, which voted for Trump in 2016, 56 percent to 38 percent.

The state's Senate race between GOP incumbent Sen. Lindsey Graham and Democratic challenger Jaime Harrison is competitive.

Postal Service ordered to sweep its facilities for ballots

A federal judge ordered Postal Service inspectors to "sweep" postal service facilities this afternoon “to ensure that no ballots have been held up and that any identified ballots are immediately sent out for delivery.”

U.S. District Judge Emmet Sullivan's order covers 12 Postal Service regions, including in swing states such as Pennsylvania, Georgia, Texas, Michigan, Florida and Arizona and came after the federal mail agency said 300,000 ballots it had received had not been scanned for delivery — though just because they weren't scanned doesn't mean they weren't delivered, postal officials say.

The Postal Service did not meet its 3 p.m. deadline to finish the sweep, but it said it started "all clear" sweeps to check for election mail, including voter registration, absentee ballot requests and absentee ballots, in January 2020. It said the Postal Inspection Service, essentially the mail police, had stationed hundreds of its agents to conduct daily reviews of all 220 of its facilities since Oct. 29. 

The NAACP, one of the groups that filed the case, said it was "grateful Judge Sullivan is requiring the USPS to take all actions necessary to ensure ballots are delivered on time."

"There is no room for error," NAACP President Derrick Johnson said. "Some state deadlines are tonight and the ballots must arrive. The Postal Service must comply fully with this order or be held in contempt.” 

Sullivan denied the NAACP's request for an emergency conference after the Postal Service did not meet the court's deadline, but he certified that all the sorting facilities were being swept for overlooked or mishandled ballots until 8 p.m.

The judge did tell the agency's lawyers to plan for a hearing at noon Wednesday discuss their failure to meet his earlier deadline. 

Trump campaign, Nevada GOP file emergency motion to limit processing of mail-in ballots

The Trump campaign and the Nevada Republican Party filed an emergency motion Tuesday afternoon, asking the state Supreme Court to stop processing some mail-in ballots in Clark County. 

Citing the potential for ballot manipulation, the motion requests the state’s highest court to stop election officials in Clark County, home to Las Vegas and the largest population in the state, from using a signature match software. The motion also asks the court to stop processing the mail-in ballots until the appeals can be heard and observation can be increased of the county’s ballot tabulation system. 

The emergency motion was filed a day after a Nevada district court judge issued an order rejecting the campaign and the Nevada GOP’s joint lawsuit filed in October, that claimed potential issues with the county’s signature verification system and its ballot processing procedures.

District Court Judge James Wilson’s order Monday stated that parties did “not have standing to bring these claims.”

'Get people back to work': Mississippi voters say economy is top issue

JACKSON, Miss. — In a suburb outside Mississippi's largest city, President Trump remains popular with many voters. 

Roughly 75 percent of voters in Rankin County, a Republican stronghold in the state, backed Trump in 2016. Polls are set to close in the state at 8 p.m. ET.

At the Oakdale Baptist Church voting location, Tip Dyess, 53, said he wants Trump re-elected “to keep our economy strong."

The state has an unemployment rate of about 7 percent, according to the most recent projections from the Mississippi Department of Employment Security for September.

Loretta Paits lacks Dyess' confidence.

Sitting outside the polling location in a lawn chair as she waited for a friend to vote, she shared that she favored Joe Biden’s plan to "get people back to work." Mississippi has one of the nation's highest uninsured rates, and Paits said she hopes Biden will reform health care in "a way that benefits everybody."

As masked voters walked past, the coronavirus pandemic was also on Paits' mind.

"I pray that he gets a vaccination," she said of Biden.

NBC News Exit Poll: Trump voters divided on whether mask-wearing is a public responsibility

As the handling of the coronavirus becomes a flashpoint in the 2020 presidential election, Trump voters are divided on the use of masks.

Among the president's voters, 50 percent say wearing a mask is a public health responsibility while a similar share (47 percent) say they are more of a personal choice.

According to early results from the NBC News Exit Poll of early and Election Day voters, an overwhelming majority of voters nationwide say that wearing a mask is more of a public health responsibility (68 percent). Just 3 in 10 say mask-wearing is a personal choice.  

A sizable share of Biden’s voters see mask wearing as a duty to the public: 83 percent say it’s a public health responsibility while just 14 percent say it is a personal choice.

Analysis: Trump gets huge boost in Miami-Dade County in Florida

President Trump has improved over his raw vote total in Miami-Dade County in Florida by more than 100,000 votes with ballots still to be counted. Trump has more than 457,000 votes compared to 334,000 in Miami-Dade four years ago. 

That's with about 84 percent of precincts reporting. Biden is within about 10,000 votes of Hillary Clinton's total at the moment. The Miami-Dade area includes much of Florida's Cuban American community, which Trump had pinpointed as a constituency that could help him carry Florida again.

In some counties, Biden already has outpaced Clinton's numbers. But nothing so far is as dramatic as Trump's boost in Miami-Dade.

Swing states Ohio, North Carolina too early to call

Ohio and North Carolina, two closely watched swing states, are too early to call, NBC News projects.

NBC News Exit Poll: Biden favored by Virginians on issues of coronavirus, economy

Polls are now closed in Virginia. While the race is too early to call according to the NBC News Decision Desk, early returns show former Vice President Joe Biden is leading.  

One issue on the minds of Virginia voters and elsewhere is the pandemic: 56 percent of Virginia voters see U.S. efforts to contain the coronavirus pandemic as going badly. Just 42 percent think the handling of the pandemic has been going well.

The NBC News Exit Poll of early and Election Day voters found that most Virginians who’ve cast a ballot see Biden as the candidate better able to handle the coronavirus pandemic by a margin of 57 to 38.

Biden is also edging out President Trump with Virginia voters as the candidate better able to handle the economy, 52 to 45.

Biden wins Vermont, NBC News projects

NBC News projects Biden as the winner in Vermont, an outcome that was widely predicted.

Road to 270: Finish the map on our interactive page

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 projected a winner cannot be changed.

NBC News Exit Poll: Ohio voters support Trump's approach to the economy

The economy has always been an area of strength for President Trump, and his approach continues to resonate with Ohio voters. According to the NBC News Exit Poll of early and Election Day voters, Ohio voters say Trump would handle the economy better than Joe Biden by a 14-point margin, 56 percent to 42 percent.

Ohio voters are also more aligned with Trump’s philosophy on the coronavirus pandemic than voters are nationally. In Ohio, voters are about evenly divided between those who say that containing the coronavirus, even if it hurts the economy, is more important (47 percent), and those who say that rebuilding the economy now, even if it hurts efforts to contain the coronavirus, is more important (48 percent). By contrast, voters nationally stress the importance of containing the coronavirus by a 10-point margin.

The GOP also has a built-in partisan advantage in Ohio: According to the exit poll, self-described Republican voters in Ohio outnumber Democrats 40 to 30 percent. Nationally, Democrats slightly outnumber Republicans 38 to 35 percent. 

Lumber yards see record sales for plywood as stores, businesses board up

Construction crews board up shop windows in downtown Portland, Ore., on Election Day.
Construction crews board up shop windows in downtown Portland, Ore., on Election Day.Alisha Jucevic / for NBC News

Retailers rushing to board up their windows in preparation for political unrest have led to record sales at building supply companies across the country’s largest cities. 

“I’ve never seen anything like this in my 14 years with the company,” John Torres, a salesman with Prince Lumber in New York City, said. 

Over the weekend, the company sold more than 500 pieces of plywood. The last time demand reached that level was in June in response to looting and property damage during demonstrations over the death of George Floyd, he said.

“The only thing we know is that people are really scared of what’s going to happen,” he said. “The phone is still ringing.”

Storefront businesses across the country from Lululemon to Louis Vuitton have boarded up their windows to protect themselves from potential unrest around the election. 

Over the last month, work orders for plywood have poured in to local supply companies. Between Oct. 5 and Nov. 2, 906 stores ordered preventive board-up or additional security in advance of the election, according to ServiceChannel, a software company that connects real estate businesses with local commercial contractors.

NBC News Exit Poll: In Georgia, Biden reverses slide in Democrats' performance among white voters

President Trump is winning solid support from white voters in Georgia, but results from the NBC News Exit Poll indicate that Democrat Joe Biden is doing better among these voters than any Democrat in decades. The exit poll was conducted with representative sample of the state’s early and Election Day voters. Georgia remained too early to call when polls closed in the state at 7 p.m. ET.

This year, Georgia and its 16 electoral votes emerged as a battleground for the first time in decades. Both Biden and Trump visited the state in the final week before Election Day, and both campaigns also spent millions of dollars on television ads aimed at Georgia voters. One of the reasons for the state’s newfound competitiveness is that Georgia’s white voters have reversed their decadeslong shift toward the Republican Party. 

While Trump leads Biden solidly among whites in Georgia, 68 percent to 30 percent, this margin is substantially slimmer than in 2016, when Trump amassed a 75 percent to 21 percent gap over Democrat Hillary Clinton among these voters. In fact, no Democrat has performed as well as Biden with Georgia white voters since Bill Clinton did in his first bid for the presidency in 1992 — the last time a Democrat won the state.

Biden’s gains among whites are keeping things competitive in Georgia, but most of his support is coming from the state’s voters of color, who made up 40 percent of the electorate there this year. Biden is overwhelming Trump among these voters, 81 percent to 17 percent.

 

Gay bars in Houston, San Francisco transform into polling sites

Buddy's, an LGBTQ bar in Houston, transformed itself into a polling location on Tuesday. 

"It’s been wonderful! The reception has been overwhelmingly positive. The poll workers are excited. There’s a lot of great energy. We’re all very excited about the whole process," Chris Barry, the bar's owner, told NBC News shortly before the polls closed. 

Located in Houston's gay-friendly Montrose neighborhood, Buddy's brought in 14 voting booths where anyone registered to vote in Harris County, the most populous county in Texas, can cast their ballot until 7 p.m. CT.

Image: Voters line up at a polling station on Election Day in Houston
Voters leave Buddy's on Election Day in Houston.Callaghan O'Hare / Reuters

 

The tagline for Buddy's Election Day event — which is expected to have cocktails, karaoke and drag queens — is "Vote in the front. Party in the back!"

In a post shared to its Facebook page, the venue claims to be the "world's 1st presidential polling location from an LGBTQ+ bar." 

However, it has company: The Eagle, a gay leather bar in San Francisco, is also letting voters cast their ballots at the venue, according to the San Francisco Chronicle. The paper reported that voters filled out their ballots "under chains hanging from pitch black ceilings" as a "disco ball spun overhead."

Kornacki: Early and mail-in voting turnout high, but keep an eye on same-day voting

Georgia, Virginia Senate races too close to call

NBC rates the Senate races in Virginia and Georgia as too close to call. 

In Virginia, Democrat Sen. Mark Warner is leading against his GOP challenger, Daniel Gade, NBC News projects.

There are two Senate races in Georgia that political observers are paying close attention to as Democrats hope to flip the traditionally red state.

In one race, Democrat Jon Ossof is facing off against Republican incumbent Sen. David Perdue. The other race is a special election to fill the seat vacated by Republican Sen. Johnny Isakson, who resigned last year. It features Republican Sen. Kelly Loeffler who was appointed to her seat after Isakson resigned, and Republican Rep. Doug Collins, who is challenging her. 

On the Democratic side is Raphael Warnock, a local pastor. In both Georgia races, candidates must reach 50 percent to avoid a runoff 

Indiana Gov. Eric Holcomb wins re-election, NBC News projects

Indiana Gov. Eric Holcomb will win his second term as chief executive of the Hoosier State, NBC News projects.

Holcomb had been leading Democrat  Dr. Woody Myers by double digits in recent polls. 

Image: Eric Holcomb
Indiana Gov. Eric Holcomb participates in a debate on Oct. 27 in Indianapolis.Darron Cummings / AP

 

Holcomb won the governorship in 2016, taking the place of Mike Pence, who left office to run alongside then-GOP presidential nominee Donald Trump. This was the fifth consecutive gubernatorial win for the GOP in Indiana. 

NBC News Exit Poll: Moderates swing heavily for Sen. Lindsey Graham's Democratic challenger in South Carolina

Moderates are supporting Democrat Jaime Harrison over three-term Republican incumbent Lindsey Graham in the hotly contested Senate race in South Carolina, according to early results from the NBC News Exit Poll of early and Election Day voters. This election was too early to call when polls closed in South Carolina at 7 p.m. ET. 

Moderates, who make up 38 percent of the South Carolina electorate this year, lined up solidly behind the Democrat, giving Harrison 60 percent to 38 percent for Graham, the poll found. Not surprisingly, conservatives are overwhelmingly breaking for Graham (82 percent to 17 percent), while Harrison has built sky-high support (92 percent to 8 percent) among liberals.

Harrison’s base in South Carolina includes Black voters (among whom he leads, 93 percent to 7 percent) and those with annual incomes of less than $30,000 (70 percent to 29 percent). Key elements of Graham’s coalition include white evangelicals (among whom he leads 82 percent to 16 percent) and veterans (71 percent to 28 percent).

Passionate displays but few problems reported at Houston voting sites

HOUSTON — With less than an hour left until polls close in Harris County, pro-Trump and pro-Biden demonstrators lined up on opposite sides of a busy road at one of Houston’s most popular voting sites.

From one side of West Gray Street, a young man holding a Trump flag yelled, “Covid is a hoax!”

From the other side came a sarcastic reply, from a college student in a Biden mask: “Cover your mouth!”

Despite the passionate displays as voting winds down here, a police official said both sides have remained peaceful, and there have been no reports of major issues at any of the 800 Harris County voting sites today.

“At this point, I'm just eager for them to start counting the votes,” Adam Tran, 64, said as he waved a Trump flag as the sun set in Houston. “I think everyone is.”

Kentucky, South Carolina Senate races too close to call, NBC News projects

As polls close in Kentucky and South Carolina, NBC News rates the Senate races there as too close to call. 

Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell, a Republican, is facing off against Democrat Amy McGrath in Kentucky. GOP Sen. Lindsey Graham is facing off against Democrat Jaime Harrison.

Both races have seen a flood of money to Democrats and observers are watching to see how much that makes a difference in these traditionally red states. 

 

Trump wins Indiana. Virginia, Kentucky, South Carolina, Georgia too early to call

Trump opens up Election Day with a victory in Indiana, NBC News projects. The president won Indiana handily in 2016.

Meanwhile, NBC News rates the presidential race in Virginia, Kentucky, Georgia and South Carolina as too early to call, with Joe Biden leading in Virginia. Election observers have their eye on Georgia as a swing state to watch early.

NBC News Exit Poll: Abortion opponents and abortion rights supporters care equally about the Supreme Court

Abortion opponents and abortion rights supporters may not agree on much, but they appear to see eye to eye on one thing: the extent to which the Supreme Court was on their minds when casting ballots in 2020. Early results from the NBC News Exit Poll of early and Election Day voters found majorities on both sides of the abortion debate saying appointments to the Supreme Court were an “important factor” in their vote this year. 

 

Among abortion rights supporters (those who say abortion should be legal in all or most cases), 62 percent said that the court was an important factor in their 2020 presidential vote. That number is nearly the same among abortion opponents (who say abortion should be illegal in all or most cases), 61 percent of whom said appointments to the court were a key factor in their vote.

The court loomed large during the 2020 presidential campaign after Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg’s death in September and the Senate confirmation of President Trump’s nominee Amy Coney Barrett one week before the election.

Although America is closely divided on the issue of abortion, slightly more voters (51 percent) say abortion should be legal in all or most cases than those who say it should be illegal (42 percent).

 

NBC News Exit Poll: Slim majority of voters want Affordable Care Act kept intact

A slim majority of Americans (52 percent) would prefer that the Supreme Court keep the Affordable Care Act, also known as Obamacare, as it is, according to early results from the NBC News Exit Poll of early and Election Day voters. Forty-two percent of voters would prefer to see the court overturn the 2010 health care law. 

Support for Obamacare is higher among low-income voters than middle and high-income voters. Among voters with family incomes under $50,000, 62 percent would like the Supreme Court to keep the law as is. By contrast, among voters with family income between $50,000 and $100,000, 53 percent favor overturning the law. 

ACA exit poll

While health care policy was cited by voters as the most influential issue of the 2018 midterm election, this year it has been eclipsed by the economy, the coronavirus pandemic and racial injustice. Only about 1 in 10 voters this year cited health care policy as the issue mattering most in deciding their vote for president.

Photo: Crowd gathers near the White House

Image:
Protesters gather on Black Lives Matter Plaza near the White House on election night.Ting Shen / for NBC News

Trump visits campaign staff in final hours of 2020 race

Georgia county extends voting hours till 9 p.m.

A court ordered Spalding County, Georgia, polling sites to stay open for an additional two hours Tuesday after the county's computers went down in the morning.

The polls in Spalding will close at 9 p.m., instead of the previously scheduled 7 p.m. Earlier Tuesday, the sheriff posted that "the computers at all polling locations across Spalding County are down," before updating later that the problem had been resolved and lines were short.

NBC News Exit Poll: In North Carolina, Black and white voters prioritize different issues

As the Biden and Trump campaigns compete in the Tar Heel State, the Biden campaign will look to turn out Black voters there. Trump, meanwhile, will look to shore up support among white evangelicals and white Americans with no college degree.

Early results from the NBC News Exit Poll of early and Election Day voters in North Carolina show that white and Black voters have starkly different views when it comes to the most important voting issues.

While a plurality of white voters in North Carolina (46 percent) say that the economy is the most important issue to their vote, 48 percent of Black voters point to racial inequality as a top 2020 voting issue. 

'I already cried twice today. It’s a whole thing'

LOS ANGELES — Estrella Cruz, 30, carried her chihuahua mix named Hero out of Wiltern Theatre in the Koreatown neighborhood of Los Angeles on Tuesday afternoon with the rest of her day planned out now that she had voted. She intended to relax in a bath, order Korean food for dinner, and watch the election returns trickle in while drinking margaritas. 

“I cleared my day today,” Cruz said. “I’ve just had nausea, anxiety — I woke up at 4 o’clock this morning. I’m calling people, asking, ‘How are you?’ I already cried twice today. It’s a whole thing.” 

Voting at the Wiltern Theatre, like many places in Los Angeles, was pretty easy on Tuesday. Lines were short, if there were any at all, because 3.1 million people in the county — over half of all registered voters — had already submitted a ballot before election day, according to the Los Angeles County Registrar-Recorder’s Office. 

But throughout the city, businesses had been boarding up their windows in anticipation of possible rioting after election day. 

Eugene Lee, 30, said a big reason why he voted for Biden and Kamala Harris was his hope that they could help ease some of the festering tensions nationwide.

“They seem more reliable as leaders and I think we’ll see more peace within the country with them,” Lee said.

Decriminalizing small amounts of hard drugs on the ballot in Oregon

Oregon voters on Tuesday are considering a ballot measure that would decriminalize possession of small amounts of hard drugs such as heroin and cocaine.

Volunteers deliver signed petitions in favor of Measure 110 in Salem, Ore., on June 26, 2020.
Volunteers deliver signed petitions in favor of Measure 110 in Salem, Ore., on June 26, 2020.Yes on Measure 110 Campaign via AP

 

If Measure 110 passes, Oregon would be the nation's first state to take such action.

While proponents of Measure 110 say the proposal will prioritize addiction treatment, opponents fear it'll lead to societal acceptance of dangerous drugs.

NBC News Exit Poll: About 1 in 10 Pennsylvania voters say state makes voting hard

Voters in Pennsylvania are twice as likely as voters nationwide to say that their state makes voting difficult, according to early data from the NBC News Exit Poll of early and Election Day voters.

While the vast majority of voters in Pennsylvania and across the country said their state makes it easy for them to vote, the poll found that 12 percent of voters in Pennsylvania said the key battleground state makes voting difficult, compared to 6 percent who said the same nationally. The question was not asked in every state, but another place with a higher share saying the state makes voting difficult was Georgia (14 percent).   

Pennsylvania voters exit poll

In both Pennsylvania and Georgia, voters in large cities and suburbs were much more likely to say that their state makes voting difficult, compared to voters in small cities and rural areas. In Pennsylvania, for example, 18 percent of voters in cities with populations over 50,000 said the state makes voting difficult. By contrast, only 4 percent of small city and rural Pennsylvania voters expressed that view.

Early Georgia exit polls show a near-even split

Vote Watch: Multiple agencies investigating robocalls that hit numerous states

Multiple agencies are investigating a series of robocalls that have reached Americans across the country, urging them to stay home.

In one such call, a robotic female voice says, "This is just a test call. Time to stay home. Time to stay home. Stay safe and stay home." 

In a press call Tuesday, a senior official at the Cybersecurity and Infrastructure Security Agency said that "the FBI is investigating," but cautioned that "robocalls happen every election." The FBI confirmed in an email they were tracking reports of robocalls.

New York Attorney General Letitia James also announced her office was investigating the calls, as did two commissioners of the Federal Communications Commission, Jessica Rosenworcel and Geoffrey Starks.

Georgia Secretary of State: Results tallied as early as tonight

Georgia Secretary of State Brad Raffensperger told NBC News that he expects to have results tallied as early as Tuesday night — or by Wednesday at noon “at the very latest."

He pointed to record high early voting turnout as a reason he predicts Georgia results will be tallied "faster than many other states." On the short lines statewide — a 2-minute wait on average, his office said this afternoon — he said Tuesday's effort met their high expectations for the election and called this a"great day" for Georgia voters. 

Trump tweets some early confidence

 

NBC News Exit Poll: More voters say coronavirus containment efforts are not going well

As U.S. coronavirus infections topped 9 million confirmed cases this weekend, many voters across the country say efforts to contain the pandemic are not going very well. According to early results from the NBC News Exit Poll of Election Day and early voters, 51 percent of voters nationwide say containment efforts are going badly — that includes 35 percent who say they are going very badly.

But voters’ priorities around dealing with the Covid-19 outbreak are divided: 52 percent of voters say it is more important to contain the coronavirus now, even if it hurts the economy. A considerably smaller share (42 percent) says it is more important to rebuild the economy now, even if it hurts efforts to contain the coronavirus.

Biden and Trump voters are divided in their priorities. Biden voters are considerably more likely to say getting case counts under control is more important (79 percent). Trump voters emphasize shoring up the economy (70 percent).

NBC News Exit Poll: Most voters say coronavirus surge was important factor in their choice

As the United States grapples with a surge in coronavirus cases, a majority of voters said rising case counts were an important factor in their vote for president. 

According to early results from the NBC News Exit Poll of early and Election Day voters, 61 percent of those casting ballots 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.

Coronavirus surge exit poll

Voters who supported Joe Biden were far more likely than President Trump's voters to say that rising coronavirus cases were important to their vote: 83 percent of Biden’s voters said this compared with just 46 percent of Trump voters.

Trump campaign projects confidence in final hours of voting

Trump campaign manager Bill Stepien said on a call with reporters Tuesday evening that whatever ground Joe Biden had gained during early voting, Donald Trump was making up for it on Election Day.

"The Biden campaign cannibalized their vote," Stepien said. "They simply moved those who traditionally vote on Election Day to vote early. And to that, we say congratulations.”

Senior campaign adviser Jason Miller addressed the "mood in the room," and said that everyone in the campaign, including the president, felt "more confident" tonight than they did this time four years ago.

Miller also said he was hopeful Trump would win enough electoral votes for the race to be called tonight, throwing cold water on warnings from Democrats and election experts that it could take days to count all of the votes in some close battleground states like Pennsylvania.

NBC News Exit Poll: Voters say Biden would better handle the coronavirus

As the coronavirus and the economy emerge as important voting issues in the 2020 election, Biden is favored among voters overall to better handle the coronavirus pandemic. 

According to early results from the NBC News Exit Poll of early and Election Day voters, 53 percent of voters nationwide say Biden would better manage the virus; 42 percent of voters say Trump would do a better job. The Trump administration has faced significant criticism over the president’s handling of the virus, and he has sparred with public officials in recent days as case counts spike across the country.

But as the U.S economy strives to recover from record job losses and an economic downturn this year, Trump and Biden are more competitive among voters on the economy: 49 percent of voters say Biden would better handle the economy, while a nearly identical share say Trump would do a better job (48 percent).

Why one Nevada Republican says he's voting for Biden

Harry Rosenthal has been a lifelong registered Republican. But when he cast his vote on Election Day in Las Vegas, he voted for former Vice President Joe Biden. 

“I felt it was important to put decency back back into the White House,” said Rosenthal, 44, a civil defense attorney, who cast his ballot in person at a west side polling location in Las Vegas on Tuesday.  “I think there are a lot of Republicans who feel that way.” 

Rosenthal added that he did not vote for President Donald Trump in the 2016 election and considers himself a “never-Trump Republican.”

There are several voters across the country who echo Rosenthal’s sentiment such as those at the Lincoln Project, an anti-Trump super PAC made up of mostly Republicans.

“The country is not going in the right direction and Trump is definitely not the right choice to get it back on track,” Rosenthal said. “I’m unsure about Joe Biden, but I’m willing to take that chance.”

Biden's busy Election Day

 

This may have just been Joe Biden’s busiest day on the campaign trail to date, with he's making 11 stops between Delaware and Pennsylvania. Of course, none of these should be qualified as rallies given that they were all brief stops in cities that are close to Biden’s heart:

—Wilmington, Delaware: Home for decades.

—Philadelphia: Where he officially launched his presidential campaign & where his HQ is based.

—Scranton, Pennsylvania: Where he was born and lived for the first 10 years of his life.

 

NBC News Exit Poll: Nearly half of voters say economy is doing well — a bigger share than in 2016

Despite the economic hit delivered by the coronavirus pandemic, more Americans voting in the 2020 presidential election said the economy is doing well than said the same in 2016, according to early results from the NBC News Exit Poll of early and Election Day voters.

When asked to assess the condition of the nation’s economy, 48 percent of voters said the economy is either “excellent” or “good," compared to 50 percent who said it was either “not so good” or “poor.” These are better numbers for the economy than in 2016, when roughly 6 in 10 voters gave it a negative rating.

 

Economy exit poll

Compared to the economy as a whole, Americans have sunnier assessments of their own finances. When asked to compare their financial situation to four years ago, only 20 percent said their family’s finances are worse than when President Trump took office; the rest said their finances are the same (38 percent) or better (41 percent).

Tradition brings several voters out at one Las Vegas polling location

Tradition and ensuring their ballots were counted motivated several voters at one west side Las Vegas polling location to cast their ballots in person on Election Day. 

“It’s been a ritual for me growing up,” said Desiree Solis, 46. She brought her two sons, Maximus, 8, and Viggo, 7, with her to vote at the polling site, located in the Las Vegas Ballpark parking lot in the city’s west side. “I wanted them to experience this process and know how important it is to have your voice be heard.” 

Las Vegas
Desiree Solis, 46, brought her sons, Maximus, 9, and Viggo, 7, when she voted in person in Las Vegas on Election Day.Anita Hassan / NBC News

Nevada lawmakers passed a bill during this summer that gave voters for the first time the choice between voting by mail and going to the polls if the state is under a declaration of disaster or emergency. While about 55 percent of more than 1.1 million votes cast by Tuesday morning in the state were through mail-in ballots, several voters like Solis still came out to the polls on Election Day. 

"This is how I’ve always done it and I think it’s the best way to do it," said Steve Wynn, 50, a registered nurse, who moved to Las Vegas about four months ago. 

Lines at the Las Vegas Ballpark polling location were short, with voters saying they were able to cast their ballots in about 15 minutes. Several voters coming to the location also opted to vote on election day, but by using their mail-in ballots. All Nevada polling locations also double as ballot drop off sites.

“I didn’t want to potentially be in a crowd and wait any amount of time,” said Lisa Silvani, 30, who works in the food and beverage industry. Silvani added that she also felt more secure about dropping off her ballot than using the United States Postal Service. “To me, that’s how there’s the least room for error in making sure it counts.”

 

NBC News Exit Poll: Voters look for strong leader, good judgment in presidential candidates

About a third of voters said the quality of a strong leader was most important in their vote for president, according to early results from the NBC News Exit Poll of early and Election Day voters. 

About quarter of voters said showing good judgment was most important, while a fifth said caring for people like them was key, and another fifth said it was important for the candidate to unite the country. 

Candidate quality exit poll

But at the end of the day, about three-quarters of voters said the candidate's position on issues was more important to them than the candidate's personal qualities. 

Read more on the methodology of the NBC News Exit Poll.

NBC News Exit Poll: Fewer voters in 2020 than 2016 made their decision in final week

After enduring the onslaught of a 2020 campaign during which an estimated $14 billion was spent to convince voters, just 4 percent of Americans say they waited until the week before Election Day to decide on their presidential candidate, according to early results from the NBC News Exit Poll of early and Election Day voters. That’s a substantially smaller share than those who waited until the last minute to decide in 2016, when 13 percent of the electorate waited until the final week to decide on their vote.

Most voters (74 percent) say they made up their mind before the campaign began in earnest on Labor Day. The remainder said they decided sometime in September or October.

Biden says he may not speak to supporters Tuesday night after all

Backtracking on an earlier commitment to address the nation Tuesday night regardless of the election results, Joe Biden said Tuesday that he may wait to speak if the race remains tight.

"If there's something to talk about tonight I'll talk about it. If not, I'll wait until the votes have been counted the next day,” Biden told reporters in Wilmington, Delaware.

Asked what results he’d need to see Tuesday night to feel confident he was on track to win the election, Biden nodded to Florida.

“If Florida came in by 1 it's over. Done. If Florida doesn't come in and what happens is the early vote occurs in some other states, I think we're going to do well in them and we're going to re-establish that 'blue wall,'” he said.

“You can't think of an election in the recent past where so many states are up for grabs,” Biden said, referring to, “the idea I'm in play in Texas, Georgia, North Carolina, Florida.”

How Biden will spend his night

In divided Sterling Heights, Michigan, this undecided voter had to make a last-minute choice

Coming into Election Day, Cindy Swieczkowski found herself in an unusual position in this bitterly divided country.

Swieczkowski, 70, lives in Sterling Heights, Michigan, a diverse Detroit suburb where voters twice backed Barack Obama before electing Donald Trump four years ago. In Macomb County, where Sterling Heights is located, the candidate voters choose tend to win statewide. And she has passionate neighbors with strongly held positions on both sides of this election. 

As she stood in line outside Grissom Middle School to vote on Tuesday, she waited with people like Karen Bua, 67, who praised Donald Trump. Others, like Cody Garrett, 29, said they're determined to see Trump defeated.

But even as she waited for her turn to vote, Swieczkowski, a Republican who supports Trump's economic policies but doesn't like his leadership style, said she still hadn't made up her mind.

“I'm still standing here thinking about it, trying to work this out before I get inside," she said. "There's a lot of turmoil going on right now."

 

NBC News Exit Poll: Voters divided over which national issues are most important

As the 2020 presidential race unfolds amid a global pandemic, economic downturn, and protests about racial injustice in the United States, the economy has emerged as the top voting issue for the electorate.

According to early results from the NBC News Exit Poll of early and Election Day voters, about a third of voters said the economy was the most important issue to their vote. Racial injustice was the most important issue for 21 percent of voters, while another 18 percent said the coronavirus outbreak was their top issue.

But Trump and Biden voters are divided on the most pressing issues. Biden voters are significantly more likely than Trump’s voters to point to racial inequality and the coronavirus as important issues. Trump voters are more likely to point to the economy and crime and safety.

NBC News Exit Poll: Less than half of voters approve of Trump's performance as president

Less than half of Americans casting ballots in the 2020 presidential election — 47 percent — approve of Donald Trump’s performance as president, according to early results from the NBC News Exit Poll of early and Election Day voters. Fifty-two percent disapprove of his performance.

Trump elicited strong sentiments in both directions. A third of voters expressed strong approval of Trump’s presidency; about 4 in 10 voters said they strongly disapproved.

Trump approval exit poll

Trump’s approval rating among voters is a few ticks higher than the final NBC News/Wall Street Journal poll. Conducted Oct. 29-31, the poll found 45 percent of registered voters approved of Trump’s performance as president. Trump’s approval rating among voters in the exit poll is also higher than polling averages of the public tracked by FiveThirtyEight (which puts his rating at 45 percent) and RealClearPolitics (46 percent). 

With the exception of the first few months of his presidency, Trump’s approval rating has been below 50 percent in most public polls of Americans, an unusually consistent level of unpopularity compared to other U.S. presidents.

Read more on the methodology of the NBC News Exit Poll.

Judge to hear case Wednesday on pre-processing Pa. ballots

A federal judge has scheduled a hearing for 9 a.m. Wednesday on the lawsuit over pre-processing of mail ballots in Montgomery County, Pennsylvania.

A lawyer involved in the case said the county was notifying voters if their ballot envelopes had some obvious problem, like a missing date or signature. And the county was also weighing envelopes to see if they contained the required inner security envelope. The county was not, however, opening the envelopes, so one question is whether these procedures violated the state law against pre-canvassing ballots before election day.

A Republican candidate for Congress, Kathy Barnette, claims that county officials illegally began the process of  pre-canvassing — or pre-processing — mailed ballots before the time specified in state law, which is 7 a.m. on election day.

She says more than 3,900 ballots were pre-canvassed and that when problems were discovered, individual voters were notified and given a chance to fix any defects that would have made their ballots void. State law doesn't allow that, she argues, and it violates the guarantee of equal protection if voters in one county are afforded such opportunities when those in others are not. Her lawsuit asks a federal judge for an order disqualifying any ballots that were cured under the above procedure.

Kelly Cofrancisco, communications director for the county’s board of commissioners, said the state Supreme Court has ruled that while notifying voters of potential problems with their mail ballots is not required, it is also not prohibited. 

“Our process in no way takes the place of the procedures that are followed as part of the canvass of ballots, and at no point prior to canvass is a determination made on whether a ballot will or will not be accepted," Cofrancisco said. "We believe in doing whatever we can to afford those who have legally requested and returned a ballot a fair opportunity to have their vote count.” 

Vote Watch: Twitter takes fast action on accounts violating platform’s policies

Twitter has banned several high-profile accounts that frequently posted about fringe politics on Election Day for breaking the company’s spam or hateful conduct policies.

The company appears to be taking substantial steps to curb spam, election disinformation and violent rhetoric in the final day of a contentious election cycle. Former Congressional candidate DeAnna Lorraine Tesoriero was suspended from Twitter on Tuesday afternoon shortly after publishing a tweet that baselessly claimed immigrants would enter the U.S. and commit violence if Trump is not elected. Twitter told NBC News that Tesoriero’s account, which had over 393,000 followers, “was permanently suspended for repeated violations of the Twitter Rules.”

Tesoriero was also a proponent of the false QAnon conspiracy theory. She did not immediately respond to requests for comment.

A ring of other accounts that purported to be independent journalists was also removed by Twitter on Tuesday. Accounts in the group, which had over 100,000 collective followers, were often the source of misleading or politically charged images and videos from protests in recent months. A Twitter spokesperson told NBC News the accounts were suspended for violating its rules on spam and platform manipulation. That policy specifically addresses “coordinated activity” and “attempts to artificially influence conversations through the use of multiple accounts.”

 

 

Strong turnout in Florida's most populous county after record-breaking early voting

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Voters wait in line outside the Hialeah John F. Kennedy Library on Election Day in Miami.Sam Navarro / for NBC News

MIAMI ­— Election Day brought strong voter turnout in Miami-Dade County, the state’s most populous, after a record-breaking amount of ballots cast by mail and during the early voting period.

As of 2 p.m., 88,000 people had voted on Election Day. But even before the day started, 1,135,078 or 65 percent of registered voters had already voted, according to Miami-Dade Elections Department. By comparison, in 2016, a total of 998,000 ballots were cast.

At the Coral Gables Branch Library, in Miami-Dade County, there was only a trickle of voters throughout most of the day, after having been one of the busiest in the county during the early voting period.

Outside the library, Nicole Gonzalez, 27, said she voted for Biden, “because we need to care about each other and that’s what it comes down to.” The Cuban-American artist cited racism and “anything that makes people feel unsafe” as reasons to vote for the Democratic nominee.

She said her family leans Republican and she doesn’t feel heard by them sometimes.

Miami-Dade is the most populous county in the state and it’s 70 percent Latino. Hillary Clinton won the county by 300,000 votes in 2016. But since then alliances have shifted. Trump’s deluge of messaging attacking Democrats as socialists has been effective with the large Cuban-American community, Venezuelan AmericansColombian Americans, and other groups.

Outside the library, Marianne Brandon, 84, said she was directed to another precinct because voter ID had expired. Brandon, born in Hungary and raised in Colombia, said she would vote for Trump because she “doesn’t like the other communists.”

Brandon, retired from the insurance business, said “I have traveled a lot in my life. I know what communism is and it doesn’t work.”

Texas twins in a truck: Julián and Joaquín Castro make final attempt to get out the vote

Democrats Julián and Rep. Joaquín Castro threw out a double whammy of encouragement to voters in their hometown of San Antonio, Texas, Tuesday. 

The two rode in the back of a white Chevy Silverado festooned with Texas and American flags through the streets of their old West Side neighborhood. They were followed by a few cars with Biden-Harris signs and blue balloons. The caravan was intentionally limited to avoid any security issues after a Biden-Harris campaign bus was forced off the road by a Trump caravan. 

The Castros waved and threw thumbs up at largely enthusiastic motorists they passed and people outside their homes. One pedestrian gestured with his thumb turned down as the cars drove by. 

Julián Castro said the caravan was a throwback to the sort of political campaigning — trucks with bullhorns shouting political messages — that used to be seen in his neighborhood and other Latino communities, and still seen in Mexico and parts of Latin America. 

"We're going old school today," Castro said. "We could go over 12 million votes in Texas, which would be a record and we want to make sure everybody gets out and expresses their voice through their vote." 

Texas has been a reliably Republican state for years but has been trending Democrat with growth in Hispanic and Asian populations and higher engagement of young voters. The presidential race is tight, giving Democrats some hopes of turning Texas blue this year. 

"Just like everybody else I'm still really anxious," said Joaquín Castro about the chances of a Texas turnover. With the state already having set an early voting record of 9 million votes and a potential total voting record, "that's a good sign for Democrats."

Biden outspent Trump on Facebook, Google ads down the stretch

Biden spent about twice as much money on Facebook ads as Trump did in the final week of the campaign, according to data from the tech company. 

Biden’s campaign spent $14 million on Facebook and Instagram versus $6 million spent by Trump’s campaign, according to an analysis of Facebook data for Oct. 25 through Oct. 31 by Acronym, a liberal group that tracks ad spending and runs anti-Trump ads through an affiliate. NBC News confirmed the numbers through Facebook’s ad library

The ad spending was despite technical problems that both campaigns said they experienced on Facebook last week. 

Biden also spent more than Trump on Google and its properties including YouTube, according to the analysis of Google data: $9.7 million by Biden versus $7.9 million by Trump. 

A big budget isn’t always the most effective for internet ads, where an auction usually determines the price an advertiser pays. The Markup, a tech news website, reported last month that Biden was paying 11 percent more on average for Facebook ad impressions than Trump’s campaign was, a difference Facebook attributed to the campaigns’ strategies. 

In 2016, Trump and his campaign staff credited their Facebook advertising effort with fueling their come-from-behind victory.

The scene at Biden election headquarters

Greetings from the Biden campaign's election night headquarters in the main parking lot of the Chase Center on the Riverfront, in Wilmington, Delaware!

This parking lot will serve as the venue for the campaign’s election night drive-in car rally, although at the moment it remains empty of supporters as workers put the finishing touches on the construction of the platform and podium where Biden will speak later.

It’s a currently a crisp 64 degrees here, with grey skies. While reporters are gradually streaming into the media area on the perimeter of the lot, the only sounds to be heard presently are the din of traffic on nearby I-95 and the continuing hum of construction vehicles.

That will all change in a few hours, when about 300 cars will be let into the lot for the rally. 

How is DACA influencing voters?

The Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals program is trending on Twitter as voters discuss how DACA influenced their decisions on Election Day. Others are dedicating their votes to DACA recipients who are not eligible to vote.

The DACA program has become a point of contention under the Trump administration, which sought to end the program. DACA currently protects over 600,000 teens and young adults who were brought to the U.S. as undocumented children and lack legal status. The Obama-era program gives them a chance to study and work without fear of deportation.

The Trump administration began rejecting new applicants to the program this summer about a month after the Supreme Court blocked the White House from ending the program completely. In its ruling, the Supreme Court said the administration was “arbitrary and capricious” in its attempt to end DACA. 

“We are going to take care of DACA, we’re going to take care of Dreamer, it’s working right now, we’re negotiating different aspects of immigration and immigration law,” President Trump said during an NBC News town hall on Oct. 15. “We’re working very hard on the DACA program.”

In his campaign platform, Biden has pledged to reinstate the DACA program and explore "all legal options to protect their families from inhumane separation."

This map shows the states that accept mailed ballots after Election Day

The results of the election may not be fully known for days.

Most states require that mailed ballots be postmarked and received by Nov. 3. More than 20 states set deadlines for ballots to reach their destination that extend as late as Nov. 23.

Read the story, the states that accept mailed ballots after Election Day.

Here's what to watch as the polls close Tuesday night

Image: Texans Casts Their Vote On Last Day Of Early Voting In The State
Voters wait in line to cast their ballot in Fort Worth, Texas, on Oct. 29, 2020.Montinique Monroe / Getty Images

As results begin to come in Tuesday night, here's an hour-by-hour look at what to watch for, including when polls close and what's at stake in some of the most significant battleground states.

Dow ends the day up by 550 points, buoyed by investor hopes on clear election winner

Wall Street ended Election Day on a high, buoyed by investor hopes that a clear winner would be declared in the presidential election and that a fiscal stimulus deal would be swiftly passed.

The Dow Jones Industrial Average closed up by 552 points, after gaining as much as 715 points at its session high. The S&P 500 and the Nasdaq both ended the day up by 1.8 percent each.

Read the story here.

Feline poll watcher in Kentucky

Image: 2020 U.S. election in Kentucky
Barton Foley, 32, with his cat "Little Ti Ti" on his shoulder, casts his ballot on Election Day at Ballard High School in Louisville. Bryan Woolston / Reuters

Early vote tops 100 million, doubles total from 2016

Image: Iowans Wait In Line At Polling Stations On The Last Day Of Early Voting
Voters wait in line on the final day of early voting on Nov. 2, 2020 in Cedar Rapids, Iowa.Mario Tama / Getty Images

More than 100 million Americans cast early ballots this election cycle, doubling the total who did so in 2016.

As the U.S. nears the conclusion of Election Day, upwards of 100.7 million voters have cast early or absentee ballots this cycle, according to data from the NBC News Decision Desk/TargetSmart, a Democratic political data firm.

That means that in just early voting, turnout has reached nearly 75 percent of what it was in all of 2016, when about 136.5 million ballots were cast.

Read the story.

NBC News Exit Poll: Our methodology, and how we're counting early voters

The NBC News Exit Poll was conducted with voters as they left polling places across the United States on Election Day. To account for the high number of early and absentee voters and ensure a sample that accurately represents the ways all Americans cast their ballots nationwide, the exit poll also includes extensive interviews with in-person early voters, as well as telephone surveys.

The exit poll was conducted at early in-person voting centers in eight states, an innovation that began in 2018 in only two states. The exit poll has always included telephone polls of absentee voters in a handful of states, but for the first time this year, telephone polls were conducted in all 24 states that were polled, as well as in the national exit poll.

By the end of Election Day, approximately 100,000 total interviews will be conducted.  

In 2018, methodological changes were made to the exit poll to better reflect the age and education composition of the electorate. Those improvements continue to be incorporated in the 2020 methodology. To make direct comparisons to 2016, the poll is using trend-adjusted numbers for the 2016 figures. For that reason, the 2016 top-line numbers you see reported for questions including age, education and income will not reflect the publicly available data. 

The National Election Pool has continued to adopt best practices and refine the exit poll.

'Just another Tuesday': Election Day appears free of widespread voting chaos

Anxieties that Election Day would be marred by widespread voting problems, hacking or intimidation at the polls grew muted by Tuesday afternoon as the lessons of 2016 have so far helped to avoid the disarray of elections past, election officials and voter groups say.

While there have been routine issues during this Election Day, including malfunctioning machines at polling sites and the spreading of misinformation to confuse voters, fixes like more counties having contingency plans in the event of technical troubles seem to be working.

"At this point, this just looks like any other Election Day, and even just another Tuesday," a senior official with the Department of Homeland Security's Cybersecurity and Infrastructure Security Agency told reporters.

In the swing state of Pennsylvania, the nonpartisan Pennsylvania Election Protection Coalition said volunteers were documenting any potential threats toward voters at the polls, but "there have been no reports of intimidation."

"So far, we've seen mostly the typical minor problems that we see on every Election Day," Sara Mullen, advocacy and policy director for the ACLU of Pennsylvania, said in a statement.

Read more here.

Here are some key counties to watch tonight

Election observers are paying attention to the same set of critical states — Pennsylvania, Florida, Michigan, Arizona, etc. Within those, there are a handful of important counties to watch.

Erie County, Pennsylvania

This Northwest Pennsylvania county on the shores of Lake Erie is the quintessential Obama-to-Trump county; Obama won here in 2012 by nearly 20,000 votes, while Trump had a 2,000-vote lead here in 2016. Located in the middle of Cleveland, Buffalo and Pittsburgh, Erie got more attention from Democrats in the 2020 cycle, and they hope to flip it back after an encouraging Senate result 2018.

Luzerne County, Pennsylvania

This county, which borders Biden's former hometown of Scranton, marked another big flip from Obama to Trump in 2016. It went from one Obama won by 6,000 votes in 2012 to a more than 26,000 vote Trump victory that year, when the state as a whole was decided by fewer than 50,000 votes.

The county was also a focal point of Trump's efforts to cast doubt on the legitimacy of the mail-in vote.

Pinellas County, Florida

Home to St. Petersburg, Pinellas County marked a major flip from Obama to Trump in Florida. A return to Biden could signal a promising development for the campaign in the Sunshine State, while if Trump can maintain his margin here, it could bode well for him. In 2012, Obama won this county by more than 25,000 votes. Last cycle, Trump won by about 6,000.

Wayne County, Michigan and Milwaukee County, Wisconsin

In these counties, it all comes down to turnout. Trump won Wisconsin and Michigan by razor-thin margins in 2016, and he was boosted in part by a much lower than expected turnout in these counties, home to Detroit and Milwaukee.

In 2012, Obama won more than 595,000 votes in Wayne County and about 328,000 in Milwaukee County, topping Romney by more than 380,000 and 170,000 in each, respectively. In 2016, Clinton won just about 520,000 votes in Wayne County and 288,000 in Milwaukee County, topping Trump by 290,000 and 160,000 respectively. Boosting turnout to Obama-levels would have netted Clinton victory in both states.

Candidates and milk, anyone?

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Presidential candidate cookies at Oakmont Bakery in Oakmont, Pa. on Election Day. The bakery has been printing candidates' faces on cookies for the past four elections. It has stopped keeping count of who's leading the cookie poll this year after divisiveness in the community and on social media. Michael Swensen / for NBC News

Harris supporters held Hindu ceremony for good luck in her ancestral village in India

CHENNAI/NEW DELHI — Supporters of U.S. vice presidential candidate Kamala Harris held prayers near her ancestral village in India ahead of Tuesday's U.S. election, while a Hindu fringe group sought divine blessings for her rival Donald Trump.

The southern Indian region where Harris' maternal grandfather was born is rooting for the Democratic Party to win because of the family connection.

Meanwhile, a group that claims to have the support of 5 million Hindus says it wants Trump to be re-elected in order to keep India's main rivals - Pakistan and China - in check.

Hours ahead of the U.S. presidential election, people living in and around Thulasendrapuram, the village of Harris' grandfather, gathered at a temple for special prayers.

One local politician conducted an "abhishekam", a practice that involves pouring milk over a Hindu idol while religious verses are recited, in the presence of about 20 villagers, said R. Manikandan, a shopkeeper near the temple.

Read more.

Unable to vote early without an excuse, Mississippi voters show up in-person

JACKSON, Miss. — Volunteers in Mississippi handed out snacks to the line of voters that wrapped around the Eudora Welty Library precinct in downtown Jackson.

Eve Williams waited almost an hour before the doors of the polling location were visible. The 51-year-old voted for Joe Biden and Democratic Senate candidate Mike Espy.

While in line, Williams drafted a poem reflecting on the lives of George Floyd and Breonna Taylor, whose deaths ignited weeks of demonstrations across the country against racial injustice.

"My vote is for George Floyd who cried out for his mother in pain," said Williams.

Two miles down the road, the University of Mississippi Medical Center is running out of ICU beds as the state struggles to slow down new infections. 

Despite the pandemic, most registered voters in Mississippi will have to cast ballots in-person. The state Supreme Court ruled against a lawsuit seeking to expand early voting in the state. Although face coverings are not required to vote in Mississippi, Williams, like the majority of voters at the precinct, wore a face covering. The threat of the pandemic, she said, was not a deterrent to voting in-person.

“I was going to come regardless,” she said. “I realize how important it is.”

Gov. DeWine says Ohio results likely to be known Tuesday night

Ohio's GOP governor, Mike DeWine, predicted that the results of the presidential race in his state are likely to be known on Tuesday night. 

“The president is certainly not going to do as well as you would have expected a Republican president did 12 years ago or so," DeWine said Tuesday in an interview with MSNBC. 

DeWine said that the first votes that will be counted will be the mail-in ballots and the early in-person votes. 

On the timing of the results, DeWine said, “We're gonna know tonight unless it's a really, really close race.”

2020 election could deliver the biggest gender gap in American history. What's driving it?

Polls suggest that this presidential election could result in the biggest gender gap the country has seen since women won the right to vote 100 years ago. Women are breaking for Biden by more than 20 percentage points in some pre-election surveys, up from 2016 when Hillary Clinton won women by 15 points, while men are largely sticking with President Donald Trump. Some men, including some Black and Hispanic men, are even supporting Trump at a slightly higher rate than in 2016.

That could put the gender gap, the difference between the percentage of men and women who vote for the winning candidate, near 30 points. It was around 20 points in the last election.

Although women as a group have voted Democratic for decades, that is mostly due to support from Black and nonwhite women. The last time white women backed a Democrat for president was in 1996 when Bill Clinton won re-election. But recent surveys show that white women, especially those with college degrees, are souring on the president. The 2020 election could be the first time in 25 years that they go for a Democrat.

Read more here.

Trump to watch returns with family and senior aides

President Trump will be briefed by his advisers on the election results throughout the day and will be watching returns tonight with family and senior aides in the residence and the Oval Office, according to a person close to the campaign.

The president’s team set up a “war room” to monitor results in the Eisenhower Executive Office Building next to the White House, this person said.

"The war room needed to be in close proximity to the president, and there is no expense whatsoever to American taxpayers for the use of a room," the Trump campaign's communications director, Tim Murtaugh, said on why White House grounds are being used for campaign purposes. "Every piece of equipment, including WiFi and computers, was paid for by the campaign, and no White House staff is involved."

The White House election night event is expected to be held in the East Room, according to two sources familiar with the planning. One of the sources says approximately 300-400 people have been invited to the indoor event, where testing will be required.

ANALYSIS: Trump pulled a lot of votes from Florida's biggest counties in 2016

It's easy to think of Trump's 2016 victory in Florida as the muscle of rural and small-town voters against cities and close-in suburbs — and that's certainly part of the story. But Trump also pulled a ton of votes out of the state's 10 most populous counties. Four years ago, just a hair over 50 percent of his vote total came from those bigger counties, according to an analysis of vote data compiled by Dave Leip's Atlas of U.S. Presidential Elections, while two-thirds of Hillary Clinton's did.

One interesting thing to keep an eye on is whether Trump is winning a majority of his votes from those big counties, or if that share slips because of a swing among suburban voters.

The counties include Miami-Dade, Broward, Palm Beach, Hillsborough, Orange, Pinellas, Duval, Lee, Polk and Brevard.

Election Confessions, the final edition

It's the end of the road for Election Confessions 2020.

Readers have written more than 70,000 election "confessions" since the latest version of the site launched in June 2019. They've written about every candidate, even the short-lived ones. Readers confessed a variety of printable and un-printable thoughts and feelings, and you can read the printable ones here.

In the final months of the campaign, several distinct types of voters emerged in the confessions. Read about these types, and see if you fall in any of these categories, here.

Election Confesssion

GOP prepares to see its House minority shrink

Republicans expect to see their House minority shrink in the election, a well-placed party operative said hours before Election Day polls close on Tuesday.

"Anything in the single-digit losses is a decent night," said the operative, who described a net loss of 15 seats as "a reasonably bad night."

"If it’s worse than that, Trump is probably being washed out and there was nothing we could do anyway," said the GOP operative, who spoke candidly on condition of anonymity. Trump is down on average by about 8 points from his 2016 vote "across all types" of districts, including the suburbs, the operative added.

Meanwhile, House Speaker Nancy Pelosi, D-Calif., told reporters Tuesday she feels "absolutely certain" that Democrats "can win many seats." Rep. Cheri Bustos, D-Ill., the chair of the party''s House election arm, added: "I believe we will grow the majority."

House Majority Whip James Clyburn, D-S.C., told NBC News' Leigh Ann Caldwell on Tuesday that he predicts a net gain of 10 or 12 seats for his party. “We’ll we will see. Holding the House would just be the status quo. Winning the Senate would make it good,” he said.

Trump campaign has internal concerns about chances in Pennsylvania

While Trump voiced confidence about the election publicly on Tuesday, there are signs of internal concerns about the campaign's chances in the key battleground of Pennsylvania. 

“The team in Pennsylvania was not as prepared as it should be in a state that could decide the presidency," a person with direct knowledge of Trump campaign operations told NBC News.

Detailing the concern about turnout in Pennsylvania on Tuesday, the source said, “When you bank your entire election on Election Day turnout, you have to ask people if they’re going to stand in line for two hours.”

The Trump campaign moved some resources from Ohio to Pennsylvania in the past couple of days, the person said, but added, “You can’t fix it at this point.”

The source said the campaign should have focused more on mail-in ballots, but conceded that effort was undermined by the president’s own rhetoric.

A second person with direct knowledge of the Trump campaign operations said what is happening Tuesday in Pennsylvania is “not ideal.”

Houston's mayor saddles up for Election Day

North Carolina extends polling hours at some sites, delaying results

North Carolina won’t release any election results until after 8:15 p.m., after a late start at four polling sites earned those precincts extended polling hours. 

Polls in the state are scheduled to be open from 6:30 a.m until 7:30 p.m.; North Carolina law allows the state board to order minute-for-minute extensions when delays go past 15 minutes, but such orders delay the release of election results after all polling precincts have closed.

The state board of elections ruled that a polling site at the Plainview fire station in Dunn, N.C., will stay open for an additional 45 minutes after opening 45 minutes late Tuesday morning due to printer issues.

Three other polling sites were extended as well for periods ranging from 17 to 34 minutes, and the state board will do so for additional precinct polling sites if any are interrupted for more than 15 minutes.

Michigan mayor who voted for Trump in 2016: 'I regret my vote'

The Republican mayor of Sterling Heights, Michigan, told MSNBC on Tuesday that voting for Donald Trump in 2016 was a "mistake" he will not be repeating.

"Trump is just bad for our country. He’s bad for the city of Sterling Heights, he’s bad for Macomb County, and I made a mistake," said Michael Taylor, who said he cast his ballot for Joe Biden in this election and has been outspoken in recent months about his disdain for Trump. "I regret my vote."

Taylor said he is not alone: In his part of the crucial battleground state, he is seeing fewer Trump signs than he did four years ago. 

"What I've hearing from neighbors and friends and family members, we're concerned about his leadership on the pandemic. We’re concerned about what he's doing dis-unifying the country," Taylor said. "We need strong leadership. We need somebody who’s focused on getting our kids back to school, getting our jobs back. And he's more focused on his Twitter account."

Cincinnati voters head to polls with pandemic, economy and equality on their minds

CINCINNATI — Ohioans went to the polls Tuesday with their top issues of concern — the pandemic, the economy, protests and getting children back to school — at top of mind.

“Obviously, the elections are important, and everyone has to exercise their right to vote," said Tiffany Forde, 36, a Biden supporter from Cincinnati. "If you want to see change, and if we want change in our communities and at the presidential level, then it’s important — especially for people of color, whose ancestors went through a lot to be able to vote.”

Voting lines in Cincinnati appeared to be manageable at many polling places Tuesday. Across the state, which is considered a toss-up by the NBC News Political Unit, more than 3.4 million people voted before Election Day, Ohio Secretary of State Frank LaRose tweeted Monday night.

Cincinnati resident Midge Hall, 85, and her daughter, Lisa Gerard, headed to the polls together with opposing views on who should lead the country for the next four years. 

Hall, a Trump supporter who raised eight kids, believes children need to be in school. “If they exercise what they’re supposed to do, I think the schools can be safe," she said. "If you keep your distance and if they are properly supervised, it can happen.

In 2016, Gerard, 50, voted for Trump as a long-time Republican, but has since broken family ranks by switching her party affiliation to Democratic, something her mother only found out after leaving the polls Tuesday. 

“We’re ready for a change," Gerard said. "I’m worried about equality. I’m worried about the people” and the direction of the country. “We really need to get this covid thing under control.”

Judge orders USPS inspectors to sweep mail facilities for unsent ballots

Federal district Judge Emmet Sullivan on Tuesday ordered U.S. Postal Service inspectors or their designees to “sweep” postal facilities by 3 p.m. ET “to ensure that no ballots have been held up and that any identified ballots are immediately sent out for delivery.”

Sullivan's order, which covers regions in many swing states, including Philadelphia, Detroit, Atlanta, Houston, South Florida, Arizona and parts of South Carolina, comes after the USPS said just 62% of Central Pennsylvania’s ballots moved on-time this past Saturday.

Sullivan set a 4:30 p.m. ET deadline for “a status update" on the sweeps.

Three states, many colors of Election Day

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Voters wait in line outside the Hialeah John F. Kennedy Library to cast their votes on Election Day in Miami.Sam Navarro / for NBC News
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Sk Hashan, Laila Dola and Ireen Mahmood take a selfie after voting at PS 69 in the Jackson Heights neighborhood of Queens, New York City.Amy Lombard / for NBC News
Image: The big picture: Election Day across America
A voter shows her enthusiasm in Phoenix.Dominic Valente / for NBC News

In the skies of Philadelphia, a jab at Trump makes the rounds

Philadelphians were quick to spot a plane circling their city on Tuesday bearing an apparent jab at the president.

"TRUMP <3'S JERRY JONES & THE COWBOYS," the plane's banner read.

Jones, the billionaire owner of the Dallas Cowboys football team, has long been an acquaintance of Trump, having recently sent the president well-wishes after Trump's Covid-19 diagnosis in early October.

The Philadelphia Eagles defeated the division rival Cowboys 23-9 in a game over the weekend. 

In pizza we crust: On an Election Day like no other, pie delivery remains a constant

Image: Americans Watch As President Trump And Challenger Joe Biden Hold Separate Town Halls
The town hall with President Donald Trump plays on a television inside a pizza shop in Washington, D.C., on Oct. 15, 2020.Tasos Katopodis / Getty Images

Election night is to pizza parlors what Valentine’s Day is to florists. However, with large gatherings discouraged during the pandemic, pizzeria owners across America are not sure what to expect.

During previous elections and big news events, media outlets would have dozens of pies delivered throughout the night to feed journalists working in the newsroom. But many of the city’s media outlets, including NBC News, are still having reporters work from home. That means local pizza shops will be missing out on some of their biggest customers on election night.

But with many schools being closed and some offices giving employees the day off to vote, "we're definitely expecting to see an increase in delivery, pick-up and dining at the restaurant,” one pizzeria owner told NBC News. “Our culinary team is doubling up on product and prep, and everyone is ready for a busy night.”

Read the story here.

Trump to campaign staff: 'Winning is easy, losing is never easy'

Speaking to staffers at his campaign headquarters in Northern Virginia, Trump expressed confidence that he's doing well in certain battleground states and suggested that losing the election would not be easy for him. 

"I hear we're doing very well in Florida, we're doing very well in Arizona, we're doing incredibly well in Texas," Trump told his campaign staff at the Republican National Committee annex in Arlington, Va. "The lines have been amazing, and I think we're going to have a great night."

Trump said that he isn't thinking about a concession or an acceptance speech yet. 

"Hopefully, we'll be only doing one of those two and you know, winning is easy. Losing is never easy — not for me it's not," he said. 

Trump continued by bashing a Supreme Court decision that is allowing Pennsylvania to count mail-in ballots several days after Election Day. 

"I think we should know what happens on the night. Let people put their ballots in earlier,” he said. “You have to have numbers. You can't have these things delayed for many days and maybe weeks, you can't do that. The whole world is waiting. This country is waiting, the whole world is waiting."

"We should be entitled to know who won on Nov. 3," he added.

'Future voter' checks out her polling place in Brooklyn

Image: 2020 U.S. presidential election in New York
Zora King shows her "future voter" sticker at Borough Hall on Election Day in Brooklyn, N.Y., on Tuesday.Caitlin Ochs / Reuters

Some Republicans feel protected by 6-3 Supreme Court, even if Biden wins

WASHINGTON — Republican voters fearing a potential Joe Biden presidency are taking some solace in the belief that a newly conservative Supreme Court with Justice Amy Coney Barrett will restrain Democratic ambitions.

Some of President Donald Trump’s supporters believe the new 6-3 majority of Republican appointees will be a bulwark against a Biden administration’s attempts to move the country in a more progressive direction.

“We have no fears because there’s a conservative Supreme Court now,” said Cynthia Manville of Buckeye, Arizona, who attended a Trump rally in Phoenix last Wednesday. “We feel if Democrats cast legislation that’s radical liberal, it wouldn’t stand the test of time.”

“God has a certain way of watching over this country,” said Manville, who attended with her husband, Steve, both of whom were wearing red “Make America Great Again” hats.

The conservative victory on the court eases one of the biggest sources of anxiety among Republican voters, which has tended to be a motivator to vote. In 2016, an open Supreme Court seat galvanized evangelicals behind Trump. In the run-up to 2020 Election Day, Trump sought to bring back that urgency by warning that Biden could "pack the court" and erase their gains.

Read more here.

Polling locations in Las Vegas experiencing technical difficulties

Several polling locations in Clark County, which includes Las Vegas, were experiencing technical difficulties Tuesday morning and have not yet opened, according to a tweet from the Nevada secretary of state's office. 

“If you are waiting in line, please be patient,” the tweet said. “The sites will open soon.” 

In Nevada, polls opened at 7 a.m. and close at 7 p.m. Those who are voting in person will be allowed to cast their votes as long as they are in line at a polling location by 7 p.m. All polling locations also double as ballot drop-off sites.

More than 1.1 million voters had cast their ballots by Monday morning in the battleground state, according to NBC News' count.

More prayers for Kamala Harris in India

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Hindus pray for the success of Sen. Kamala Harris at a temple in Thulasendrapuram village, south of Chennai, India, on Tuesday.Aijaz Rahi / AP
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A banner with Sen. Kamala Harris in Thulasendrapuram, the hometown of Harris' maternal grandfather who migrated from there decades ago.Aijaz Rahi / AP

Atlanta polling places see shorter lines

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Voters line up early on Election Day in Atlanta.Brynn Anderson / AP

Voting seems to be running smoothly in Fulton County — Georgia's most populous, which includes Atlanta — with some reports indicating wait times of less than 30 minutes.

This is a stark departure from earlier this year, when the county experienced hourslong lines, ballot shortages and voting machine malfunctions during its June primary in what voting rights groups widely slammed as a "catastrophe."

Vote Watch: Michigan attorney general warns about robocalls targeting Flint residents with false voting information

Michigan Attorney General Dana Nessel said Tuesday morning that her office received multiple reports from residents in Flint who said they received robocalls that pushed inaccurate voting information.

The robocalls allegedly told some residents that if lines were too long on Election Day, that voters could vote the following day, which is not true.   

"Obviously this is FALSE and an effort to suppress the vote. No long lines and today is the last day to vote. Don’t believe the lies! Have your voice heard! RT PLS," Nessel posted on her Twitter account, urging other social media users to retweet her post. 

Gov. Gretchen Whitmer also said that an unknown group was spreading misinformation through robocalls in an attempt to confuse Michigan voters.

“Let me be clear — if you plan to vote in-person, you must do so, or be in line to do so, by 8PM today,” she posted on Twitter.

A Department of Homeland Security official said Tuesday that robocalls with false information are common and were not a reason for alarm. "It feels like we just jumped into 2018 or 2016. This happens every year. The AG is on top of it, it’s under control through the state level. I would expect to see more of it frankly," the official said.

Voters battle malfunctioning machines and misinformation at some polling sites

Some voters saw hiccups with election machines and infrastructure Tuesday morning, but there were no major reports of widespread problems for what is expected to be an historic turnout.

Particular attention is being given to key battleground states, such as Georgia, Ohio and Pennsylvania, where President Donald Trump and Democratic nominee Joe Biden are vying for votes in what is largely viewed as one of the most bitterly divisive presidential elections in recent memory and coming amid a backdrop of a raging pandemic that has killed more than 232,000 in the United States.

"Thought we would be smart getting here early," Becca McCormick, 35, said in a video as she waited on a line 100 people deep just before 7 a.m. in Roxborough, a Philadelphia neighborhood. "But turns out so did everyone else."

In the swing state of North Carolina, several polling places were reporting technical issues when polls opened at 6:30 a.m., including a site in the capital city of Raleigh.

Voters in Franklin County, Ohio, and Spalding County, Georgia, were instructed to use paper ballots after technical glitches with machines. The issues in Spalding County were resolved later in the morning.

Read more here.

Israeli columnists fret over U.S. elections

Columnists in Israel fretted about the U.S. election Tuesday and its potential to affect domestic and regional politics

“A lot of politicians aren’t going to sleep tonight anxiously waiting for the results of the American elections,” columnist Sima Kadmon wrote in the popular Hebrew daily Yedioth Ahronoth. 

While the U.S. has long been a firm ally of Israel, and Joe Biden has said that he would sustain "an ironclad commitment to Israel’s security," Trump has endeared himself to many Israelis. The president has withdrawn the U.S. from the historic 2015 nuclear agreement with Iran, moved the American Embassy to Jerusalem and helped drive the normalization of relations between Israel and the United Arab Emirates and Bahrain.  

In The Jerusalem Post, Andrew Lövy directed his column to readers who could vote in the U.S., writing: "If you truly care about Israel, you need to vote for Donald Trump."

That's because, he wrote, Trump has been the most pro-Israel president "during my lifetime."

As many as 7 in 10 Jewish Israelis say that when it comes to their country's interests, Trump is their preferred candidate in the election, according to a survey from the Israel Democracy Institute

Meanwhile, in Palestinian news agency Maan, Nasser Al Laham writes that a Trump re-election mean the capitulation of Arab states. 

“Saudi Arabia will become the undisputed leader of Arab regimes with money, politics and security,” he said, a likely reference to the Gulf kingdom’s close relationship with the Trump White House and also its growing regional ambitions. 

Vote Watch: Conservative media influencers get early start pushing misleading claims about Pennsylvania election

Conservative media influencers and Republican political operatives are tweeting misleading videos and photos from polling places, making dubious claims of election rigging from the battleground state of Pennsylvania. Several tweets have been shared tens of thousands of times. 

Pennsylvania voters have been hit especially hard by online voter fraud misinformation, according to media intelligence platform Zignal Labs, which has analyzed social media, broadcast, traditional media and online conversations around the presidential election. Zignal’s data shows Pennsylvania — which Trump won by just 44,000 votes in 2016 — has seen more voter fraud misinformation online than any other state, more than 227,000 vote by mail misinformation mentions in the last two months alone. Misinformation about voting is most commonly centered in battleground states. 

The Philadelphia District Attorney’s office debunked a separate tweet from Trump’s director of election day operations, Mike Roman, who tweeted photos from separate polling places alongside the baseless claims that “Bad things are happening in Philly.” The Philadelphia District Attorney’s office called Roman’s tweet “deliberately deceptive.” 

Twitter has not yet taken actions on these posts.

Hillary Clinton casts vote for Biden

Hillary and Bill Clinton cast their votes for Joe Biden this morning, the couple shared on Twitter.

"Just voted. Felt good," the 2016 Democratic presidential nominee wrote.

'He woke us up': Why Detroit Democrats say they're seeing higher Black turnout this year

The Rev. Gary Bennett, 81, urges voters to support Joe Biden and other candidates endorsed by the Black Slate, a local political organization, in Detroit on Tuesday.
The Rev. Gary Bennett, 81, urges voters to support Joe Biden and other candidates endorsed by the Black Slate, a local political organization, in Detroit on Tuesday.Erin Einhorn / NBC News

DETROIT — Voters were lined up outside the city's Adams-Butzel recreation center as soon as it opened its doors at 7 a.m. Tuesday, which seemed like a good sign to the Rev. Gary Bennett.

The recreation center, on Detroit's west side, is home to six precincts that saw their voter numbers drop by more than 500 between 2012 and 2016 — part of a citywide plunge in voter turnout that played a role in Donald Trump's narrow win in Michigan four years ago.

Trump won Michigan by just under 11,000 votes in 2016, leading Democrats to grumble that more voters in Detroit — a majority-Black Democratic city — could have given Hillary Clinton this crucial battleground state.

Some of Detroit's 42,000 drop in votes was related to the city's shrinking population, but much of it was low enthusiasm for Clinton, said Bennett, 81, who was standing outside the recreation center Tuesday urging voters to support candidates endorsed by the Black Slate, a local political organization.

Some Black voters four years ago wanted to give Trump a chance, Bennett said, but they've since been appalled by his immigration policies, his repeated false statements and his tacit support for white supremacist organizations

"He woke us up. He woke everybody up," Bennett said, noting that he's seen more people voting this year. 

"Everybody's running scared because they don't want Trump to have another four years," Bennett said. "The elephant is in the room and you can smell the peanuts on his breath."

Postal Service reports fifth consecutive day of fewer on-time ballot deliveries

The U.S. Postal Service reported its fifth consecutive day Tuesday of fewer on-time election ballot deliveries. 

In a court filing Tuesday, the Postal Service said that its processing score fell from roughly 91 percent to a new low Monday of 89.59 percent. Before the coronavirus pandemic and Postmaster General Louis DeJoy’s policy changes, on-time delivery rates were around 95 percent.

The revelation about slow ballot deliveries could prove problematic since 28 states will not accept ballots that arrive after Election Day, even if they are postmarked before Nov. 3. 

Officials are urging voters who have mailed in their ballots to check whether they've been returned and accepted. If they were not accepted, officials said voters should try to vote Tuesday at their polling place in person. 

First lady casts her ballot in Florida

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Melania Trump arrives to cast her vote at Morton and Barbara Mandel Recreation Center in Palm Beach, Fla., on Tuesday.Marco Bello / Reuters

Trump campaign asks Pennsylvania counties for sensitive election security information

President Trump's campaign asked at least three counties in Pennsylvania for a rundown of highly specific election security plans — including ballot storage locations and transportation details — according to an email obtained by NBC News. The Pennsylvania secretary of state has advised counties not to disclose election security information to any third parties and has reached out to the FBI.

Election officials in Cumberland, Mercer and Montour counties — all counties that are delaying mail-in ballot canvassing until Wednesday morning — received the email from a Gmail address connected to a Trump campaign volunteer.

Cumberland County Commissioner Gary Eichelberger said that in his 16 years in office, he has "never seen anything like" the Trump campaign's request.

A spokesperson for Trump's campaign said that the request was made to evaluate the differences in voting processes across jurisdictions.

Citing a "slew of Democrat efforts to change election rules at the last minute, and the resulting pressure on election officials," the spokesperson wrote that the Trump campaign is seeking to "understand how and what officials are planning as a result."

Trump's firewall: Six 'toss up' states he cannot afford to lose

It's Election Day, and here's one way to think about the road to 270 electoral votes.

President Trump has a narrow path to victory, and six states rated "toss up" by the NBC News Political Unit are essential to keeping his hopes alive: Texas, Florida, Georgia, North Carolina, Ohio and Iowa.

These states are must-wins for Trump, but not necessarily for Democrat Joe Biden. The president won all of them in 2016 and if any fall in Biden's column, he's in trouble.

But capturing the six states wouldn't be enough. If he wins them and carries Maine's 2nd Congressional District, Trump would need an additional 22 electoral votes. Some people close to him see Arizona (also rated "toss up") and Pennsylvania (rated "lean Democratic") as his best hopes of achieving that, as he trails by larger margins in polls of Michigan and Wisconsin.

Biden, meanwhile, sees multiple potential paths to victory and is less reliant on the six toss-ups above.

ANALYSIS: It's 'white knuckle time' for Biden and Trump

Joe Biden and President Donald Trump on the campaign trail.
Joe Biden and President Donald Trump on the campaign trail.Getty Images; AP

Members of Florida's congressional delegation upbraided Joe Biden's state director last week about Biden's failure to mobilize Black voters in South Florida and around Jacksonville, according to two people who were on the conference call.

The state is one of two battlegrounds — along with Pennsylvania — where victory would likely give Biden a glide path to the presidency. His strength or weakness at the top of the ticket may also affect a series of down-ballot races across the state. And Democratic Party officials see a barnburner shaping up.

In a memo to state party insiders Monday morning, Florida Democratic Party Executive Director Juan Peñalosa explained his view that a 120,000-ballot edge for registered Democrats over registered Republicans heading into Election Day would put Biden in range of winning. NBC News, in conjunction with the company TargetSmart, has calculated that 119,552 more Democrats than Republicans had voted early in person or by absentee ballot through Sunday.

"It's white knuckle time," Peñalosa wrote in the memo, which was obtained by NBC News.

He might well have been speaking for all Americans on the eve of Election Day 2020.

Read the analysis.

Battleground Texas: Two voters in nation's biggest swing state on how they see the race

HOUSTON — There were few lines to vote in Harris County this morning, where a record 1.4 million people had cast ballots before Election Day

The unprecedented enthusiasm in the Houston region — and in fast-growing and rapidly diversifying communities around Dallas, Austin and San Antonio — has Democrats thinking they could win Texas for the first time since the presidential election of 1976.

Michelle Green, a 57-year-old Black woman, stopped off to cast a ballot this morning at a polling location in north Houston. Green said she couldn’t even remember if she voted in 2016; it didn’t seem important at the time. 

But she wasn’t going to miss her chance this year.

“I’m ready to get Trump out of there,” Green said. “He’s getting on my nerves. I don’t have time for that man.”

But not everyone is convinced Biden really has a serious shot in Texas, despite polls showing a toss-up. A few miles away, in a northern Houston suburb, Sam Willingham, a 37-year-old white man, parked his pickup truck at a community center, and headed in to cast a ballot for Trump.

“I don’t buy it,” Willingham said, referring to polls projecting a tight race in Texas. “Almost everyone I know is voting for Trump. Drive back through this neighborhood, and all you see are Trump signs and Trump flags. I think the media is pumping up that story to make Texas seem like a liberal place, but it’s really not.”

Voter intimidation lawsuit filed after police use pepper-spray at North Carolina march

Image: Law enforcement officers spray protesters shortly after a moment of silence during a Get Out The Vote march in Graham
Law enforcement officers spray protesters shortly after a moment of silence during a Get Out The Vote march in Graham, N.C., on Oct. 31, 2020.Anthony Crider / via Reuters

A federal lawsuit is accusing police in North Carolina of voter intimidation after they deployed pepper spray during a get-out-the vote rally and hauled several participants to jail in a chaotic display of pre-Election Day discord.

The complaint, filed late Monday against the police chief of Graham, a rural community west of Durham, and the Alamance County sheriff, says that protesters were not expecting conflict at Saturday's "I Am Change" march, but that the situation escalated "when deputies and officers planned and orchestrated the violent dispersal" of a peaceful crowd.

The demonstration, attended by about 250 people, coincided with the last day North Carolina residents were allowed to sign up for same-day voter registration and vote early in person. Videos on social media showed the tense scene unfold as participants, some in Black Lives Matter shirts, clashed with deputies, seen spraying the crowd outside the county courthouse.

Read the story.

CDC offers guidelines for in-person voters

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention suggests those voting in person on Tuesday bring their own black ink pens, sanitize their hands before and after voting, and stay 6 feet apart from other voters.

The CDC listed these and other tips on its website to minimize the risk of Covid-19 transmission on Election Day. Others include wearing a mask and bringing a spare one in case the first gets wet or dirty. The agency also suggests filling out any registration forms in advance to reduce the amount of time at polling sites.

Voters who are sick or in quarantine do have the right to vote, the federal health agency adds, but should speak to poll workers about safety guidelines when they arrive.

Sunrise Movement made 1.3 million calls, 2.4 million texts for Biden, other candidates

The youth-led Sunrise Movement, which endorsed Bernie Sanders in the democratic presidential primary, made more than 1.3 millions calls for Biden and other down-ballot candidates in the general election, according to the group.

Sunrise, which organizes around climate justice and advocates for a Green New Deal, sent more than 2.4 million texts and 778,000 postcards "all across 3.5 MILLION voters in key swing states and battleground districts," the group's data director said on Twitter.

The group hasn't shied away from criticizing Biden, but still reached out to voters in Arizona, Florida, Michigan, North Carolina, Pennsylvania, Texas, and Wisconsin on his behalf, its data director said.

Prayers offered for Trump and Harris in India

Image: People ride past a billboard featuring Sen. Kamala Harris in her ancestral village, Thulasendrapuram.
People ride past a billboard featuring Sen. Kamala Harris in her ancestral village, Thulasendrapuram.Aijaz Rahi / AP

Prayers were offered for President Donald Trump and Democratic vice-presidential nominee Kamala Harris in India on Tuesday.   

A Hindu group sought divine blessings for Trump in capital New Delhi, saying it wanted the president to be reelected in order to keep the country's main rivals, Pakistan and China, in check.

The U.S. is viewed largely positively in India, the world’s second-most-populous nation, and Prime Minister Narendra Modi often uses his relationship with Trump to boost his own standing. 

Meanwhile, residents of Thulasendrapuram, the village in southern India where Harris’ maternal grandfather is from, gathered at a temple for special prayers. One local politician conducted an "Abhishekam," which involves pouring milk over a Hindu idol amid recitation of religious verses. 

Harris is the first vice-presidential candidate of Indian origin.  

Livestreams offer a look inside the U.S. election

Coming to you live, it's Election Day 2020. 

Many localities are offering livestreams of their ballot processing today. 

You can get a peek inside the process everywhere from Philadelphia and Denver to Green Bay, Wisconsin, and Whatcom County, Washington.

They're rare looks behind the scenes of an election in which is already under the microscope. Here's what it looks like in Philadelphia:

'Trump,' 'MAGA' graffiti defaces Jewish cemetery in Michigan

A Jewish cemetery in Grand Rapids, Michigan, was vandalized with pro-Trump graffiti that was discovered the same day the president visited the city for his final campaign rally of the 2020 election.

The Michigan chapter of the Anti-Defamation League shared images of the vandalism on Twitter on Monday afternoon.

Grand Rapids police told NBC News the incident is under investigation. It is unknown when the vandalism occurred, and there are currently no suspects, police said.

Read the story

Pennsylvania Latino radio host uses airwaves to give voting info after Trump rhetoric

In the battleground state of Pennsylvania, popular Latino radio host Vic Martinez — known on the airwaves as VJ Mar — said Trump’s rhetoric slamming mail-in ballots has meant more of his Latino listeners are opting to show up in person to vote.

“They are deciding that even though they ordered their ballots, they are going to go in person and vote,” said Martinez, who has never endorsed a presidential candidate in the popular Spanish-language radio station La Mega, but this year endorsed Joe Biden. La Mega, an FM station, broadcasts in Allentown and Reading, as well as in Philadelphia, through La Calle radio station.  

Martinez said his listeners initially were concerned about exposure to the coronavirus and wanted to vote early by mail, but then he was getting more calls from people who were hearing rumors that Trump wanted to disqualify mail-in ballots.

“They said if their ballot was going to get discounted, they weren’t going to mail it in, they weren’t going to drop it off, they were going to go in on Election Day,” Martinez said.

Martinez said La Mega is devoting the day to providing information for voters. Over 5 percent of Pennsylvania's eligible voters are Latino.

The Keystone State has had multiple voting issues leading up to Election Day. Trump has been threatening to challenge mail-in ballots received three days after the election there and is raising a specter of fraud in the state where he and Joe Biden are in a close race

Vote Watch: No signs of foreign interference affecting votes, U.S. officials say

There have been no signs of foreign interference with voting as Election Day opens, senior U.S. officials said Tuesday morning.

Chad Wolf, the acting director of the Department of Homeland Security, said in a news conference that the agency has seen "no indications that a foreign actor has succeeded in compromising or affecting the votes cast in this election."

The U.S. has in recent weeks accused Iran of sending voter intimidation emails to Florida voters and Russia of hacking into two local government networks, but actual voting machines are rarely connected to the internet.

In a press call, a senior official at the U.S. Cybersecurity and Infrastructure Security Agency pointed to those accusations as evidence that the U.S. has quickly identified and addressed foreign election interference efforts.

Biden hits key swing states in fight for final votes, Trump sticks to lower-key Election Day schedule

Image: Presidential Candidate Joe Biden Travels To Pennsylvania On Election Day
Joe Biden speaks to supporters at a canvass kickoff event at Local Carpenters Union 445 on Tuesday in Scranton, Pa.Drew Angerer / Getty Images

Polls were opening across the country Tuesday morning after a highly contentious presidential campaign, with voters deciding whether to re-elect President Donald Trump to another four years or elect Democratic nominee Joe Biden.

The final day of the election cycle comes amid a deeply divided nation and after a record-breaking nearly 100 million votes already cast either through early voting at polls or through mail-in ballots. As millions more Americans cast their ballots Tuesday, the coronavirus pandemic continues to worsen with 40 states seeing a 25 percent rise in cases in the last two weeks. In total, the U.S. has had 9.3 million coronavirus cases and more than 232,000 have died. According to the NBC News Polling Average, Biden leads Trump nationally 51.5 percent to 44.4 percent.

Image: Presidential Candidate Joe Biden Travels To Pennsylvania On Election Day
Joe Biden speaks to supporters at a canvass kickoff event at Local Carpenters Union 445 on Tuesday in Scranton, Pa.Drew Angerer / Getty Images

Trump will spend part of Election Day visiting the Republican National Committee annex office in Arlington, Virginia, which also houses campaign staff. He’s scheduled to arrive around 10 a.m. ET and is expected to stay for about an hour, according to the official White House schedule. He’ll then return to the White House where he’s planning to spend election night as the results start rolling in.

In a phone interview with Fox News' "Fox and Friends" on Tuesday morning, Trump said he also plans to make a series of calls to "very loyal" and "very important" people. He suggested that Biden's last-minute campaign stops Tuesday indicate that his campaign is nervous about losing the election.

Read the story.

Wall Street rises as investors bet on clear election winner and swift passing of stimulus bill

Wall Street opened on a high note Tuesday as investors expressed confidence that a clear winner would be declared in the U.S. election and that a fiscal stimulus deal would be swiftly passed.

The Dow Jones Industrial Average rose by just over 320 points after the opening bell rang on Election Day, with the S&P 500 gaining 1 percent and the Nasdaq composite rising by around 0.75 percent.

While Wall Street is typically lukewarm toward the prospect a Democratic government, the pandemic has changed that. A "blue wave," wherein Democrats gain control of the White House and both chambers, is seen as far more likely to implement a large stimulus plan and provide relief to the millions of workers displaced by coronavirus shutdowns.

Read the story here.

Beware the 'blue mirage' and the 'red mirage' on election night

Image: Election officials sort absentee and early voting ballots for counting inside Boston City Hall
Election officials sort absentee and early voting ballots for counting inside Boston City Hall, Monday, Nov. 2, 2020, in Boston.Elise Amendola / AP

The unprecedented combination of Covid-19 and sky-high interest in the presidential race have made 2020 an especially challenging one for election administrators.

But it could also make drawing conclusions from the initial results reported Tuesday night particularly hazardous.

It's likely that in Sun Belt battlegrounds such as Florida, North Carolina and Texas, the first totals to be reported will be huge tranches of mail and early in-person ballots that break heavily for Joe Biden, creating a "blue mirage" in the early tallies that could be erased once Trump-friendly in-person Election Day votes are tabulated.

But the opposite could be true in northern battlegrounds such as MichiganPennsylvania and Wisconsin, where officials are not permitted to begin processing mail ballots until the day of the election (or, in Michigan's case, the day before). In those states, a "red mirage" of Trump-heavy Election Day votes could linger until larger metro counties report huge tranches of early ballots later in the evening.

The lesson: it will be easier than ever for initial vote tallies to lead untrained eyes astray.

Read the full story.

Trump calls into 'Fox and Friends,' says he has a 'solid chance of winning'

Trump called into Fox News' "Fox and Friends" on Tuesday morning for a wide-ranging interview in which he touched on his Election Day plans, the coronavirus and his message to undecided voters. 

In addition to visiting his campaign's headquarters in Arlington, Virginia, Trump said he also plans to make a series of calls to "very loyal" and "very important" people. He suggested that Biden's last-minute campaign stops Tuesday indicate that the Democrats are nervous about losing the election.

"I noticed that Biden went out, and I think he's campaigning a little because he's worried," Trump said. "We've seen tremendous swing changes, we've seen, actually the last three days. This reminds me, I hope it reminds me, of four years ago, tremendous changes have taken place over the last week."

When asked when he might declare victory, Trump said, "I think we'll have victory, but only when there's victory and there's no reason to play games." He added he has a "very solid chance of winning."

Asked about what he thinks the Electoral College outcome will be, Trump said he thinks he will "top" the tally in 2016, which was 306 to 232.

NBC News Decision Desk: How we call races on election night 2020

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.

Read the full story here.

Weather in swing states looking mostly clear and sunny

Voters in swing states and throughout much of the country should expect mostly clear and sunny weather as they head to the polls Tuesday. 

Forecasts show mild temperatures and clear weather for the Midwest, where voters in Wisconsin, Michigan and Ohio will see highs between 50 and 68 degrees.

In North Carolina, Georgia, and Florida, any voters waiting in lines are not forecast to be rained on; instead they should expect sun and moderate temperatures. But voters in Southern Arizona might want to bring a hat to the polls, with a high in Tucson of 91 degrees.

Americans head to the polls

Image: Election day
People line up to vote at Martin Luther King Jr. Park in Columbia, S.C., on Election Day.Joshua Boucher / The State via AP
Image: Election day
People line up to vote in the 2020 U.S. presidential election at P.S. 198 in Manhattan, N.Y., on Tuesday.Andrew Kelly / Reuters
Image: Across The U.S. Voters Flock To The Polls On Election Day
An election official stands near the ballot boxes at Ballard High School on Tuesday, in Louisville, Ky.Jon Cherry / Getty Images

Biden visits son Beau's grave before Election Day events

Ohio's most populous county switches to paper poll books for voter check-ins

Ohio’s most populous county will be switching to paper poll books after experiencing technical difficulties, Secretary of State Frank LaRose's office said early Tuesday.

In Franklin County, home to Columbus, the Board of Elections was unable to upload all early in-person voting data into their electronic check-in system, forcing them to turn to paper poll books to check in voters.

“It's important to note that this does NOT impact voting machines in any way, and only modifies how voters are checked in,” the secretary’s office wrote on Twitter. “Secretary LaRose directed every board of elections to have paper pollbooks as a contingency plan to ensure the integrity of the system.”

Why election results in Michigan might not take as long to arrive as some have feared

DETROIT — Election workers are pouring into the basement of a convention center downtown this morning to start counting a record-shattering deluge of absentee ballots.

Concerns about the coronavirus and new laws that make it easier to vote absentee have flooded cities across the state with far more absentee ballots than they've ever seen before, fueling fears that the laborious process of counting them will delay election results in this crucial battleground state. But faster ballot-counting technology — plus a boost from a new law that allowed cities to begin some of the steps involved with processing ballots yesterday — has at least one veteran election official predicting results will arrive in a relatively timely fashion.

"I think people may be surprised about how quickly it gets done," said Christopher Thomas, who retired in 2017 after 36 years leading the Michigan election bureau but was brought on this fall to help the city of Detroit with its vote-counting operation.

Michigan's largest city has a long history of botched elections. A primary election in August triggered alarms after exhausted, overwhelmed election workers made significant errors processing an unprecedented volume of absentee ballots.

But city and state election officials have since hired and trained thousands of election workers including 900 people who worked yesterday in the basement of the TCF Center, verifying ballots and getting them ready to be scanned today.

By midday Monday, workers had processed around 100,000 absentee ballots and were ready to start sliding them into high-speed vote tabulators — new equipment the city acquired this year — shortly after polls opened 7 a.m. today. "It's a big head start. It really is," Thomas said. "The more laborious steps are out of the way."

He predicted that news about who won Michigan won't be too far behind. 

"My guess is within a couple hours," he said.

 

 

Trump vs. Biden: Who has a better chance of restoring America's lost jobs?

One of the top priorities for President Donald Trump or former Vice President Joe Biden will be to rebuild America’s battered workforce and kick-start business growth. The labor market still faces a deficit of more than 10 million jobs, with more disappearing permanently. 

While the pandemic remains the biggest unknown and poses the biggest potential risk, issues such as infrastructure investment, rebalancing trade and passing a stimulus package are all key topics.

While Trump and Biden have both referred to infrastructure investment, by itself it is no silver bullet and won't create jobs immediately. And in light of the unequal number of women and minorities displaced from the workforce, a new model could include jobs in health care and technology along with construction and building trades.

For trade, ensuring America’s competitiveness in the midst of widespread economic pain is no small task, but it is necessary in an era of global supply chains. Many business owners say relief from Trump’s tariff wars would be a big help.

Stimulus has remained a sticking point, but if Biden wins the presidency and the Democrats retain control of the House and retake control of the Senate, Wall Street hopes a much larger stimulus package could be rolled out early in the new year.

Read the story here.

Twitter flags Trump tweet about Supreme Court case on eve of the election

Twitter flagged a tweet from Trump late Monday in which the president said a recent Supreme Court decision on voting in Pennsylvania was "dangerous" and "would induce violence in the streets."

The social media platform said in front of the tweet, "Some or all of the content shared in this Tweet is disputed and might be misleading about an election or other civic process."

The president was referring to a ruling by the Supreme Court last month that said Pennsylvania election officials would allow ballots to be counted up to three days after Election Day.

Trump tweeted, "The Supreme Court decision on voting in Pennsylvania is a VERY dangerous one. It will allow rampant and unchecked cheating and will undermine our entire systems of laws. It will also induce violence in the streets. Something must be done!"

Trump returned to the White House from the campaign trail early Tuesday morning, tweeting at around 3 a.m. ET a video montage showing clips of him dancing to the song "YMCA" at some of his rallies.

Biden wins all 5 votes in tiny town of Dixville Notch, New Hampshire

The tiny town of Dixville Notch, New Hampshire, continued its long tradition of being among the first to cast votes on Election Day after its poll opened at midnight Tuesday. 

Biden received all five of the votes in the town near the U.S.-Canadian border.

Addressing a crowd in his hometown of Scranton, Pa. this morning, Biden joked that if he were Trump, he would have called the race already. 

'Duel for the world': German media highlight election's global impact

Headlines in longtime U.S. ally Germany captured the global importance of the American election on Tuesday. 

Germany’s FOCUS magazine called the vote a "duel for the world" on the front page of its latest issue. 

Meanwhile, Der Spiegel dedicated its cover story on what it called President Donald Trump's "legacy of hatred, culture wars and discord." The image on the cover of the popular news magazine showed a grim-faced Trump sitting on the Lincoln Memorial chair surrounded by ruins.

“Trump has transformed the United States into a dangerous place," Der Spiegel wrote. "The president, whose job it is to unite the country, has incited Americans against each other."

A recent Pew poll found that only 26 percent of Germans have a positive view of America, and just 10 percent have confidence in Trump when it comes to his handling of world affairs.

Pennsylvania voting issues: 5 things to watch on Election Day

The pressure is on in the all-important battleground state of Pennsylvania where voters, as well as party and state officials, are anxiously preparing for what will could be Election Week there.

"Pennsylvania is prepared. We're protected for this election and voters can cast their ballots with confidence," Gov. Tom Wolf, a Democrat, told reporters at a news conference Friday. "Our state has made a lot of improvements to strengthen our election system since the last presidential election in 2016."

The state last fall overhauled its election laws, the first major changes in about 80 years. But the new rules, combined with uncertainty over the Covid-19 pandemic and legal issues over mail-in voting, paint an uncertain picture of how the week could unfold.

Here are five things to keep an eye on.

Nursing home residents and workers weigh Covid-19 in their vote for president

The pandemic’s deadly impact on the country’s nursing homes is shaping the way that many long-term care residents, their family members and elder care workers are approaching this election.

In Chicago, nursing home workers represented by the Service Employees International Union, which endorsed Joe Biden, vowed to vote early as a tribute to co-workers who have died from the pandemic. 

"I’m voting for the loved ones, like my co-worker Camelia, and all those who didn’t survive this most hellish year," said one nursing home aide, faulting President Trump for his response to the pandemic, according to a statement released by SEIU Healthcare.

On the campaign trail, Trump has touted his administration’s efforts to send personal protective equipment and rapid testing to the country’s long-term care facilities and criticized some governors for failing to do enough to protect highly vulnerable residents. 

In addition to facing the threat of the coronavirus, many nursing home residents are also struggling with isolation, as visitor restrictions have limited their access to family members. 

"The impact on nursing home residents has been just so traumatic," said Lori Smetanka, executive director of the National Consumer Voice for Quality Long-Term Care, an advocacy group. "Whoever wins the election really needs to focus on the need for a concerted national effort to protect residents and to make sure they have the supplies — the PPE and the testing — that they need."

Biden seeks support from older voters who backed Trump in 2016

On Election Day, analysts are paying close attention to voters who are 65 and older — voters who favored President Trump by 7 points in 2016, according to exit polls, but who have been more inclined to support Joe Biden this year. 

In the final national NBC News/Wall Street Journal poll, conducted last week, Biden held a 58 percent to 35 percent lead over Trump among senior voters. 

Trump was already losing ground with older Americans before the coronavirus, but the pandemic has become a central issue for these voters this year, said John Hishta, senior vice president of campaigns for the AARP.

"The pandemic and Covid have served as a backdrop for all of this," Hishta said. "What if I get sick — how does that affect my finances? What if my kids get sick? What if I can’t see my kids?"

Both Trump and Biden have made it a priority to target senior citizens in the final stretch of the campaign, especially in critical swing states like Pennsylvania and Florida. An NBC News/Marist College survey released Monday showed Biden with a narrow 5-point lead over Trump — within the poll’s margin of error — with a similar advantage among voters ages 65 and older. 

“Neither side is taking them for granted, like they did in years past,” Hishta said. 

On election eve, this country is just unbelievably stressed out

The election is coinciding with a sharp rise in Covid-19 cases and cooling weather, which will make it harder for people to see family and friends, and after months of racial reckoning that Paul and other psychologists call a "triple pandemic" of stress — the virus, the election and racial reckoning — especially for people of color.

Dr. Stephen Stein, the past president of the D.C. Psychological Association and a practicing psychologist, said he's been getting calls from people he hasn't worked with in 20 years.

"All three of these things are melding together and producing a synergistic sense of dread and isolation," he said.

Read more here.