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.
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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.