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Month-long vote count in Pennsylvania is another warning for November

First Read is your briefing from "Meet the Press" and the NBC Political Unit on the day's most important political stories and why they matter.
Image: Mail-in ballots
Processing work on mail in ballots for the Pennsylvania Primary election is being done by Emily Pellegrino, left, Danielle Beardsley, center, and Tim Vernick at the Butler County Bureau of Elections, on May 28, 2020, in Butler, Pa.Keith Srakocic / AP file

WASHINGTON — In our ongoing effort to educate the public about how long Election Day (Week? Month?) will last due to the counting of mail-in ballots, it's important to note that it took 28 days to count all of the votes in battleground Pennsylvania’s June 2 primary.

By midnight of Primary Day, 42 percent of the statewide vote was in, according to NBC News’ Decision Desk.

By 3:00 pm ET the day after, you had more than just 50 percent of the vote.

It wasn’t until five days after the primary — on June 7 — when you got to 75 percent of all ballots counted.

And finally, on June 29, you got to 100 percent.

Bottom line: If states and races are anywhere close, it’s going to take weeks to count all of the ballots to see who won.

And, of course, this doesn’t apply to just Pennsylvania; New York is still counting votes after its June 23 primary.

Here’s a daily — and sometimes an hour-by-hour — look at how the statewide count played out in Pennsylvania’s June 2 primary, per the NBC Decision Desk:

From Charlotte to Jacksonville to reality

President Trump’s announcement that the GOP has now scrapped the in-person Jacksonville, Fla., component for next month’s Republican convention is a microcosm of how the president has reacted to the coronavirus pandemic over the last five months.

He railed at states and communities that put restrictions in place to combat the coronavirus:

“I love the Great State of North Carolina, so much so that I insisted on having the Republican National Convention in Charlotte at the end of August. Unfortunately, Democrat Governor, @RoyCooperNC is still in Shutdown mood & unable to guarantee that by August we will be allowed...”

He ridiculed Democrats who — months ago — started to plan for a virtual convention:

“Joe Biden wanted the date for the Democrat National Convention moved to a later time period. Now he wants a “Virtual” Convention, one where he doesn’t have to show up. Gee, I wonder why? Also, what ever happened to that phone call he told the Fake News he wanted to make to me?”

He never had a plan how to keep people safe a large in-person event:

Coronavirus Surge in Tulsa ‘More Than Likely’ Linked to Trump Rally.

A month before the convention, he finally bowed to reality:

"I looked at my team, and I said, 'The timing for this event is not right. It’s just not right with what’s happened recently — the flare up in Florida — to have a big convention. It’s not the right time.'”

The president and his surrogates are still misleading the public:

“Leading by example, President Trump has put the health and safety of the American people first with his decision on the Jacksonville convention.,” the Trump campaign said in a statement Thursday.

And despite it all, the president is pushing for the country to return to normal:

“We believe many school districts can now reopen safely, provided they implement mitigation measures and health protocols to protect families, protect teachers, and to protect students.”

Data Download: The numbers you need to know today

4,050,277: The number of confirmed cases of coronavirus in the United States, per the most recent data from NBC News and health officials. (That’s 60,931 more cases than yesterday morning.)

145,164: The number of deaths in the United States from the virus so far. (That’s 981 more than yesterday morning.)

48.79 million: The number of coronavirus tests that have been administered in the United States so far, according to researchers at The COVID Tracking Project.

Nearly 65,000: The number of people in a South Korean study that found that children over 10 may transmit the virus at similar rates to adults.

31 points: The net negative swing in Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis’s job approval rating since April. His approval now stands at just 41 percent approve, 52 percent disapprove, according to a new Quinnipiac poll.

2020 Vision: The Kentucky polling experiment

Since President Trump’s surprise win in 2016, the polling community has asked this question: How do you improve state polls?

Last fall, NBC’s state polling partner — Marist College’s Institute for Public Opinion — conducted an experiment with Kentucky’s competitive gubernatorial contest.

(If you recall, the outcome of Kentucky’s 2015 gubernatorial race, which served as precursor of sorts for Trump’s win a year later, contradicted the public and private polling.)

The findings from the Kentucky experiment: The pre-election poll results that most closely matched the final vote totals in that contest came: 1) when the samples were drawn to account for geography (metropolitan versus non-metropolitan regions), and 2) when they incorporated random-digit dialing without an enhanced sample list.

Read more about the experiment, and how it’s guiding Marist’s polling going forward, here.

Tweet of the day


Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell announced Thursday that the Senate GOP’s coronavirus relief bill will be released early next week – the original plan had been for the Leader to release the bill this week.

“The administration has requested additional time to review the fine details, but we will be laying down this proposal early next week,” McConnell said.

Per our Hill team, this is a major setback for McConnell who had hoped to produce the GOP “starting point” legislation this week as they near the deadline when unemployment insurance benefits expires and the August congressional recess.

McConnell is continuing to try and gain consensus among his conference including unemployment insurance, direct stimulus payments and the $1 trillion price tag.

The Lid: Play ball

Don’t miss the pod from yesterday, when we looked at the intersection of baseball and politics as the MLB returned to action.

ICYMI: What else is happening in the world

Here’s what you need to know about the president’s move to axe the Jacksonville piece of the RNC.

Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez denounced Rep. Ted Yoho in a House floor speech decrying misogynistic treatment of women.

Mitch McConnell is struggling to balance the demands of vulnerable GOP incumbents, staunch anti-spending Republicans and the president himself, writes NBC’s Sahil Kapur.

The new CDC guidelines on getting children back into classrooms are out.

Trump is expected to sign executive orders on drug pricing.

Former Pennsylvania Democratic congressman Ozzie Myers has been charged with ballot stuffing.

Karen Bass is rising on the VP prospect list.

Kimberly Guilfoyle is facing scrutiny for her fundraising team’s efforts and spending.

Homeland Security officials made false statements as they tried to bar New York residents from Global Entry and related travel programs.

The late Rep. John Lewis will lie in state at the Capitol next week.