xml:space="preserve">
xml:space="preserve">
Advertisement
Advertisement

Election 2020 updates: Here’s what happened on Nov. 5

President Donald Trump is testing how far he can go in using the trappings of presidential power to undermine confidence in this week’s election against Joe Biden, as the Democrat gained ground in tight contests in some key battleground states.

With his pathway to re-election appearing to shrink, Trump on Thursday advanced unsupported accusations of voter fraud to falsely argue that his rival was trying to seize power. It amounted to an extraordinary effort by a sitting American president to sow doubt about the democratic process.

Advertisement

“This is a case when they are trying to steal an election, they are trying to rig an election,” Trump said from the podium of the White House briefing room.

The president’s remarks deepened a sense of anxiety in the U.S. as Americans enter their third full day after the election without knowing who would serve as president for the next four years. His statements also prompted a rebuke from some Republicans, particularly those looking to steer the party in a different direction in a post-Trump era.

Advertisement

Neither candidate has reached the 270 Electoral College votes needed to win the White House. But Biden eclipsed Trump in Wisconsin and Michigan, two crucial Midwestern battleground states, and was inching closer to overtaking the president in Pennsylvania and Georgia, where votes were still be counted.

It was unclear when a national winner would be determined after a long, bitter campaign dominated by the coronavirus and its effects on Americans and the national economy. The U.S. on Wednesday set another record for daily confirmed cases as several states posted all-time highs. The pandemic has killed more than 233,000 people in the United States.

Biden spent Thursday trying to ease tensions and project a more traditional image of presidential leadership. After participating in a coronavirus briefing, he declared that “each ballot must be counted.”

“I ask everyone to stay calm. The process is working,” Biden said. “It is the will of the voters. No one, not anyone else who chooses the president of the United States of America.”

Biden’s victories in the upper Midwest put him in a strong position, but Trump showed no sign of giving up. He was back on Twitter around 2:30 a.m. Friday, insisting the “U.S. Supreme Court should decide!”

It could take several more days for the vote count to conclude and a clear winner to emerge. With millions of ballots yet to be tabulated, Biden already had received more than 73 million votes, the most in history.

A Constitution tattoo decorates the arm of Bob Lewis, left, while he argues with counter-protester Ralph Gaines as Trump supporters demonstrate outside the TCF Center in Detroit on Nov. 5, 2020.
A Constitution tattoo decorates the arm of Bob Lewis, left, while he argues with counter-protester Ralph Gaines as Trump supporters demonstrate outside the TCF Center in Detroit on Nov. 5, 2020. (David Goldman/AP)

Trump’s erroneous claims about the integrity of the election challenged Republicans now faced with the choice of whether to break with a president who, though his grip on his office grew tenuous, commanded sky-high approval ratings from rank-and-file members of the GOP.

Maryland GOP Gov. Larry Hogan, a potential 2024 presidential hopeful who has often criticized Trump, said unequivocally: “There is no defense for the President’s comments tonight undermining our Democratic process. America is counting the votes, and we must respect the results as we always have before.”

But others who are rumored to be considering a White House run of their own in four years aligned themselves with the incumbent, including Sen. Josh Hawley, R-Mo., who tweeted support for Trump’s claims, writing that “If last 24 hours have made anything clear, it’s that we need new election integrity laws NOW.”

Trump’s campaign engaged in a flurry of legal activity to try to improve the Republican president’s chances, requesting a recount in Wisconsin and filing lawsuits in Pennsylvania, Michigan and Georgia.

Judges in Georgia and Michigan quickly dismissed Trump campaign lawsuits there on Thursday.

Trump held a small edge in Georgia, though Biden was gaining on him as votes continued to be counted. The same was true in Pennsylvania, where Trump’s lead had slipped to about 22,000 votes — and the race is destined to get tighter.

Advertisement

One reason is because elections officials were not allowed to process mail-in ballots until Election Day under state law. It’s a form of voting that has skewed heavily in Biden’s favor after Trump spent months claiming without proof that voting by mail would lead to widespread voter fraud.

Mail ballots from across the state were overwhelmingly breaking in Biden’s direction. A final vote total may not be clear for days because the use of mail-in ballots, which take more time to process, has surged as a result of the coronavirus pandemic.

The Trump campaign said it was confident the president would ultimately pull out a victory in Arizona, where votes were also still being counted, including in Maricopa County, the state’s most populous area. The AP has declared Biden the winner in Arizona and said Thursday that it was monitoring the vote count as it proceeded. Several networks and news sites, such as The New York Times and CNN, were holding off on projecting Arizona for Biden.

“The Associated Press continues to watch and analyze vote count results from Arizona as they come in,” said Sally Buzbee, AP’s executive editor. “We will follow the facts in all cases.”

Trump’s campaign was lodging legal challenges in several states, though he faced long odds. He would have to win multiple suits in multiple states in order to stop vote counts, since more than one state was undeclared.

Some of the Trump team’s lawsuits only demand better access for campaign observers to locations where ballots are being processed and counted. A judge in Georgia dismissed the campaign’s suit there less than 12 hours after it was filed. And a Michigan judge dismissed a Trump lawsuit over whether enough GOP challengers had access to handling of absentee ballots

Biden attorney Bob Bauer said the suits were legally “meritless.” Their only purpose, he said “is to create an opportunity for them to message falsely about what’s taking place in the electoral process.”



Here are the latest 2020 election updates (all times EST):

11:26 p.m.: Trump camp files new federal lawsuit over Vegas-area voting

The Donald Trump campaign filed a new federal lawsuit late Thursday in Nevada, alleging that ineligible votes were cast in the Las Vegas area, the biggest Democratic stronghold in an otherwise predominantly GOP state.

A complaint filed after-hours in U.S. District Court resurrected an effort the campaign abandoned just hours earlier in Nevada state court — a court order to stop the Clark County Registrar of Voters from using an optical scanning machine to process ballots and validate voter signatures.

The federal filing cites experiences of a woman who said Thursday she was turned away from voting in person because a mailed ballot had been cast with her signature and a political strategist TV commentator who said he was denied an opportunity to observe ballot counting late on election night.

Trump Nevada campaign co-chairman Adam Laxalt said the new filing “highlights ongoing voter fraud and voter disenfranchisement in Clark County.”

Advertisement

State Attorney General Aaron Ford called it “a Hail Mary” and “another opportunity to undermine the confidence in this election” while ballots are still being counted.

Advertisement

— Associated Press

10:45 p.m.: Elections chief: Pennsylvania making good headway in count

Pennsylvania had hundreds of thousands of ballots left to count Thursday, a number that state officials expected to dwindle rapidly as Democrat Joe Biden and Republican President Donald Trump fought to the end for the White House.

“It’s very close in Pennsylvania, there’s no question,” said the state’s election’s chief, Kathy Boockvar. “So that means it’s going to take longer to actually see who the winner is.”

Some of the state’s most heavily populated locales, including Montgomery and Chester counties in the Philadelphia suburbs, reported finishing their tallies. The Trump campaign tried to stop the count in Philadelphia itself — alleging city officials were depriving their observers of meaningful access — but a federal judge refused to go along, instead urging the sides to forge an agreement. Speaking from the White House, Trump made unsupported allegations that Democrats in Pennsylvania and elsewhere were trying to steal the election.

Despite a flurry of legal action by Trump and the Republican Party over aspects of the count, counties across Pennsylvania headed toward the finish line of a massive tabulating effort that included millions of mail-in ballots. Pennsylvania remained the largest electoral prize yet to be called.

“We’re in a very good place with the mail-in and absentee ballots, but not quite there yet,” Boockvar, the secretary of state, said at a late-afternoon briefing. “What I’ve said all along is that the overwhelming majority of ballots will be counted by Friday. I still think we’re ahead of schedule.”

— Associated Press

10:15 p.m.: Fact check: Trump fabricates election corruption

Citing “horror stories,” President Donald Trump unleashed a torrent of fabricated accusations Thursday in an audacious attempt to undermine the legitimacy of the U.S. election.

Standing behind the presidential seal, Trump used a White House setting symbolizing the power of his office to assail an election he portrayed as rife with fraud and corruption. One allegation after another had no basis in fact, such as his accusation that election officials in Pennsylvania and Detroit tried to ban election observers from polling stations.

A look at his remarks, coming as Democrat Joe Biden made progress toward the electoral votes needed to claim the presidency.

More of the story here. — Associated Press

9:44 p.m.: Fox News Meets Trump’s Fraud Claims With Skepticism

Nearly a decade ago, Donald Trump had a regular Monday slot on the Fox News morning show “Fox & Friends,” and it has been a reliably friendly venue for him throughout his presidency. But more recently, the show has been cool to his unsubstantiated claims of widespread vote fraud.

On Thursday’s episode, co-host Steve Doocy challenged Pam Bondi, a former attorney general of Florida and a Trump supporter, over her comment about “fake ballots that are coming in late.”

“Pam, did you just say fake ballots?” Doocy asked.

“There could be. That’s the problem,” Bondi replied.

“Have you heard stories of ballots that are fake?” Doocy pushed back. “And if so, just tell us what you know.”

Bondi did not cite specific examples, instead saying, “We know that ballots have been dumped.”

The night before on Fox News, star opinion hosts Tucker Carlson and Sean Hannity spoke ominously about the vote results — but stopped short of endorsing Trump’s dismissal of the election as “a fraud on the American public.”

Hannity expressed his doubts about the vote in a series of questions: “Do you trust what happened in this election? Do you believe these election results are accurate? Do you believe this was a free and fair election? I have a lot of questions.”

More of the story here. — The New York Times

9:10 p.m.: Trump lets loose on integrity of election

For 40 hours, President Donald Trump fumed in private and tweeted his grievances in all caps.

When he at last emerged, it was to stand behind the presidential seal in the White House and deliver a diatribe most notable for his litany of false statements about the election and his attempt to cast doubt on the integrity of the Democratic process.

As votes continued to be counted and Democrat Joe Biden edged closer to victory, Trump lashed out Thursday evening in a performance that suggested he knew his prospects for a second term were slipping away.

“If you count the legal votes, I easily win. If you count the illegal votes, they can try to steal the election from us,” Trump claimed. In fact, there is no evidence that any votes cast illegally are being counted or that the process is unfair and corrupt.

The ballot-counting process across the country largely has been running smoothly with no evidence of widespread fraud or problems.

Trump delivered his statement before reporters in the White House briefing room and left without taking questions. It came after Trump and his allies spent a second day watching and waiting with the rest of the nation as vote totals pushed further in Biden’s direction in some key battlegrounds.

With just a handful of states yet to be decided, Biden had a clear advantage over Trump, but the president still retained a narrow path to the 270 electoral votes needed to win reelection. The Associated Press has not declared a winner, and it could take several more days for the vote count to conclude and a clear winner to emerge.

As expected, many of the votes being counted last are mail-in ballots, which take longer to process and overwhelmingly favor Democrats. Trump’s voters were far more likely to vote in-person after the president spent months casting aspersions on mail-in voting.

— Associated Press

9:05 p.m.: Networks cut away from Trump’s White House address

ABC, CBS and NBC all cut away from President Donald Trump on Thursday as he spoke from the White House to make an unfounded accusation that the presidential election was being stolen from him.

Trump had tried to commandeer the nation’s airwaves at a time when the evening newscasts are shown on the East Coast, after a day when the slow drip of vote counting revealed his leads in Pennsylvania and Georgia dwindling.

MSNBC’s Brian Williams also interrupted the president. Fox News Channel and CNN aired the president’s full address, after which CNN’s Anderson Cooper said Trump was “like an obese turtle on his back, flailing in the hot sun realizing his time was over.”

Advertisement

Network personalities had sharply criticized Trump after his angry, middle-of-the-night speech following Election Day but aired that talk in full. Trump was more subdued Thursday, yet offered a litany of complaints about “suppression” polls, mail-in voting and fraud that he never specified.

“We have to interrupt here, because the president has made a number of false statements, including the notion that there has been fraudulent voting,” said NBC’s Lester Holt. “There has been no evidence of that.”

— Associated Press

7:55 p.m.: Biden says ‘no one’ will take US democracy away

Democrat Joe Biden says, “No one is going to take our democracy away from us.” His comment came after President Donald Trump’s unfounded claims that Democrats were trying to “steal” the presidential election from him.

In a Thursday evening tweet, Biden says, “America has come too far, fought too many battles, and endured too much to let that happen.”

The nation is waiting to learn whether Biden or Trump will collect the 270 electoral votes needed to capture the presidency. Biden’s victories in Michigan and Wisconsin have put him in a commanding position, but Trump has showed no sign of giving up.

Speaking earlier Thursday from the White House, Trump did not back up his claim about Democrats with any details or evidence. State and federal officials have not reported any instances of widespread voter fraud.

The ballot-counting process across the country has been running smoothly, and the count is ongoing in several battleground states.

— Associated Press

7:07 p.m.: Trump makes baseless claim on election status

The Associated Press has not declared a winner in the presidential race, with a number of battleground states still too early to call.

But President Donald Trump is renewing his unfounded claims that Democrats are trying to “steal” the election from him. He did not back up his claim with any details or evidence. State and federal officials have not reported any instances of widespread voter fraud.

Trump spoke from the White House briefing room on Thursday, unleashing harsh criticism of pre-election polling that showed him trailing Democrat Joe Biden and claiming without evidence that the ballot-counting process is unfair and corrupt. He also renewed his criticism of widespread use of mail-in balloting in the pandemic.

The ballot-counting process across the country has been running smoothly, and the count is ongoing in several battleground states.

— Associated Press

6:38 p.m.: Election officials worried by threats and protesters

Election officials in several states said Thursday they are worried about the safety of their staffs amid a stream of threats and gatherings of angry protesters outside their doors, drawn by President Donald Trump’s baseless claims of widespread fraud in the race for the White House.

“I can tell you that my wife and my mother are very concerned for me,” said Joe Gloria, the registrar in Clark County, Nevada, which includes Las Vegas. He said his staff was bolstering security and tracking vehicles coming and going from the election offices.

But he added that he and others would not be stopped from “doing what our duty is and counting ballots.”

Groups of Trump supporters have gathered at vote tabulation sites in Phoenix, Detroit and Philadelphia, decrying counts that showed Democrat Joe Biden leading or gaining ground.

While the protests have not been violent or very large, local officials were distressed and concerned by the relentless accusations.

More of this story here. — Associated Press

6:19 p.m.: Trump campaign’s Nevada legal effort is over

A legal effort in Nevada by President Donald Trump’s campaign and state Republicans to try to stop the count of mail ballots in Las Vegas is over.

A document submitted in an appeal pending before the state Supreme Court says the campaign, state GOP, Democrats and attorneys for the state have reached a settlement requiring Clark County election officials to supply “additional observation access” at a ballot processing facility in Las Vegas.

The state high court declined on Election Day to stop the count based on an appeal of a state judge’s decision not to stop processing mail ballots in Las Vegas and surrounding Clark County -- a Democratic stronghold in an otherwise red GOP state.

In an order released Monday, Judge James Wilson Jr. in Carson City said he found neither the state nor Clark County had done anything to give one vote preference over another.

Nevada Democrats accuse Republicans of trying to suppress voting in the state’s most diverse area.

Trump campaign representatives said Thursday that they intended to file another complaint in U.S. District Court in Las Vegas to try to stop the counting of what state campaign co-chair Adam Laxalt called “improper votes.” That lawsuit was not immediately filed.

— Associated Press

6:01 p.m.: Trump campaign asks to join Arizona lawsuit

The Trump campaign and Republican National Committee have asked an Arizona judge to let them join a lawsuit that alleges vote tabulation equipment in metro Phoenix was unable to record a voter’s ballot because she completed it with a county-issued Sharpie pen.

They argued that anecdotal accounts of potential tabulation errors resulting from Sharpies demands further review and that they should be allowed to participate in the lawsuit because it will likely affect their interests in the tabulation of votes.

The lawsuit seeks a court order for all Maricopa County voters whose ballots were rejected as a result of using a Sharpie to be given a chance to fix their ballots. It also asks for such voters to be able to be present while election officials count their ballots.

The Arizona Democratic Party earlier asked to join the lawsuit, arguing that Democratic voters could be disenfranchised if the woman who filed the lawsuit was able to challenge a voter’s intent in making ballot choices without knowing the applicable standards.

A judge is holding a hearing Thursday in Phoenix in the lawsuit by Phoenix-area voter Laurie Aguilera, who also alleged ink from the marker bled through the back side of her ballot and that poll workers refused her request for a new ballot.

— Associated Press

5:52 p.m.: Poll watchers emerge as a flashpoint in battle over ballots

Election officials in key battleground states pushed back on claims by the Trump campaign that Republican poll watchers were being improperly denied access to observe the counting of ballots, saying Thursday that rules were being followed and they were committed to transparency.

Advertisement

Tasked this year with monitoring a record number of mail ballots, partisan poll watchers are designated by a political party or campaign to report any concerns they may have. With a few reports of overly aggressive poll watchers, election officials said they were carefully balancing access with the need to minimize disruptions.

“There were certainly a lot of eyes on the process in every absentee counting board all across our state,” said Michigan Secretary of State Jocelyn Benson, a Democrat and the state’s top election official. “I’m proud of how transparent and secure our process has been. I know that the truth is on our side here.”

Poll watchers have been a central element of legal battles that have erupted in Pennsylvania, Michigan and Nevada. While counting was largely finished in Michigan, the work continued Thursday in Pennsylvania and Nevada where a narrow margin separated President Donald Trump and his Democratic challenger, Joe Biden.

More of the story here. — Associated Press

5: 35 p.m.: Republicans break with Trump over push to halt vote count

Some Republicans are breaking with President Donald Trump’s attempts to falsely declare victory in the election and halt vote counting in Pennsylvania and other states, leaving him without key voices of support as his reelection hangs in the balance.

Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell, a Trump ally who won reelection Tuesday in Kentucky, told reporters that “claiming you’ve won the election is different from finishing the counting.” Sen. Marco Rubio, a Florida Republican who spoke at a recent Trump campaign rally, said in a tweet that “taking days to count legally cast votes is NOT fraud.” And Sen. Lisa Murkowski, R-Alaska, urged "everyone to be patient'' as results come in. "It is critical that we give election officials time to complete their jobs, and that we ensure all lawfully cast ballots are allowed and counted,'' she said in a statement.

Rep. Adam Kinzinger, R-Ill., addressed Trump directly on Twitter: "Stop. Full stop,'' he wrote Wednesday in response to Trump’s claim that Democrats were trying to “steal” the election.

"The votes will be counted and you will either win or lose,'' Kinzinger told Trump. "And America will accept that. Patience is a virtue.''

The comments by the Republican lawmakers and other GOP leaders were rare, public rebukes of Trump, who has demanded — and generally received — loyalty from fellow Republicans throughout his four-year term. Most in the GOP take pains to avoid directly criticizing Trump, even when they find his conduct unhelpful or offensive to their values and goals.

More of the story here. — Associated Press

4:57 p.m.: Biden feels ‘very good’ about election outcome

Democrat Joe Biden says he feels “very good” about the outcome of the presidential election and is telling his supporters to “stay calm” as votes continue to be counted.

Biden delivered brief remarks Thursday at a theater in downtown Wilmington, Delaware. He says, “It is the will of the voters — no one, not anyone else — who chooses the president of the United States of America.”

President Donald Trump’s campaign has pursued legal efforts to halt the vote counting in some states and is seeking a recount in Wisconsin.

Biden says that “the process is working” and “we’ll know very soon” the outcome of the election. Biden and his top campaign officials have expressed confidence about the vote but have been careful to emphasize the need for every ballot to be counted.

Biden’s running mate, California Sen. Kamala Harris, stood next to him as he spoke.

The Associated Press has not called the presidential race yet because neither Biden nor Trump has secured the 270 Electoral College votes needed for victory. Several key states remain too early to call — Pennsylvania, Georgia, North Carolina and Nevada.

— Associated Press

4:27 p.m.: Georgia presidential count tightens in scan of last ballots

Vote counting continued in several Georgia counties on Thursday as Americans watched to see whether the state gives Democrat Joe Biden the electoral votes he needs to become president.

The Associated Press has not declared a winner in Georgia, because the race between President Donald Trump and Biden is still too early to call. With thousands of ballots still being tallied in counties that tend to vote blue, Democrats had reason for optimism.

The secretary of state’s office announced that as of 2:40 p.m. there were about 47,277 votes remaining to be counted. Gabriel Sterling, who has overseen the implementation of Georgia’s new electronic voting system, said the secretary of state’s office has long said counting could take several days.

During an afternoon news conference in the state Capitol, Sterling did not offer an estimate for when he expected counties to finish tabulating their results. He said officials are working diligently and he emphasized his confidence in the legitimacy of the process.

“I think if anybody was going to try to rig a system they might have seen something a little less close than this,” Sterling said. “In this state in particular we take security very seriously. ... We’re going to have a recount for president more than likely and the people will see that the outcome will stay essentially the same.”

— Associated Press

4:12 p.m.: Pennsylvania anticipates quick progress on vote counting

Pennsylvania had hundreds of thousands of ballots left to count Thursday, but the state’s elections chief signaled the number was expected to dwindle rapidly as Democrat Joe Biden and President Donald Trump fought to the end for the White House.

Some of the state’s most heavily populated locales, including Montgomery and Chester counties in the Philadelphia suburbs, reported finishing their tallies. The counting continued in Philadelphia and in other counties throughout Pennsylvania two days after Election Day.

“It’s looking like we are ahead of schedule,” Secretary of State Kathy Boockvar, an official in the administration of Democratic Gov. Tom Wolf, said on CNN Thursday. She added that “it is looking like we’ll have the overwhelming majority counted by today.”

The Trump campaign and the Republican Party mounted several legal challenges to aspects of the vote count, contending, for example, that GOP election observers were kept too far away from the tabulation in Philadelphia, that some Democratic-leaning counties unfairly allowed people to fix technical problems with their mail-in ballots, and that mail-in ballots arriving after Tuesday should not be counted.

Trump scored one legal victory as intermediate state appeals court on Thursday granted more access to party and candidate observers, allowing them to get closer — 6 feet away — to election workers processing mail-in ballots in Philadelphia.

— Associated Press

Advertisement

3:53 p.m.: Biden’s slim lead in Nevada grows as more results released

With the country turning its attention to Nevada’s vote count, Democrat Joe Biden’s slim lead over President Donald Trump grew slightly, to more than 11,000 votes, as more results were released Thursday.

In Clark County, which includes Las Vegas and three-quarters of the state’s population, election officials said workers are counting tens of thousands of mail-in ballots, and the bulk should be counted by the weekend. On top of that, tens of thousands of provisional ballots need to be counted, many of which were cast by people taking advantage of a new law allowing voters to register or update their registration at the polls.

“Our goal here in Clark County is not to count fast. We want to make sure that we’re being accurate,” Clark County Registrar Joe Gloria said at a news conference in Las Vegas. “The results in the state of Nevada obviously are going to be very important to the entire country, and that is our number one goal.”

He said the large number of mail-in ballots is new to Nevada, so the counting process has taken longer than normal. The state mailed ballots to all active registered voters this year because of the coronavirus pandemic, a move that the Trump campaign has challenged, claiming it would lead to fraud.

Unlike some counties in the U.S. where election staff are counting ballots round the clock, Clark County employees are working shifts from 5:00 a.m. to 10:00 or 11:00 p.m. and counting and verifying mail-in ballots in planned stages, Gloria said.

“The work that comes through on the mail ballot process is very deliberate,” he said. “We’re not concerned with reading as fast as we can. We’re concerned with making sure that we’re accurate in what we report.”

— Associated Press

2:35 p.m.: No, ballots weren’t burned in Virginia Beach, officials say again after Eric Trump circulates misleading video

At 5 p.m. on Election Day, the city of Virginia Beach had a message for the public: No one has been burning up your vote.

A concerned citizen had shared a video with the city “that ostensibly shows someone burning ballots,” officials wrote in a news release.

But have no fear. Those were sample ballots, not official ones, the city said.

The video showed someone setting on fire a plastic bag full of what looked like paper ballots, according to CNN. The person didn’t show their face but claimed the 80 ballots were “all for President Trump.” The location was not identified but the papers stated they were from Virginia Beach.

More of this story here. — Katherine Hafner, The Virginian-Pilot

1:33 p.m.: Michigan judge dismisses Trump campaign lawsuit

A Michigan judge has dismissed a lawsuit by President Donald Trump’s campaign in a dispute over whether Republican challengers had access to the handling of absentee ballots.

Judge Cynthia Stephens noted that the lawsuit was filed late Wednesday afternoon, just hours before the last ballots were counted. She also said the defendant, Secretary of State Jocelyn Benson, was the wrong person to sue because she doesn’t control the logistics of local ballot counting, even if she is the state’s chief election officer.

The Associated Press called the Michigan presidential election for Democrat Joe Biden on Wednesday evening. Trump won the state in 2016.

The lawsuit claimed Benson, a Democrat, was allowing absentee ballots to be counted without teams of bipartisan observers as well as challengers. She was accused of undermining the “constitutional right of all Michigan voters ... to participate in fair and lawful elections.”

Benson, through state attorneys, denied the allegations. Much of the dispute centered on the TCF Center in Detroit where pro-Trump protesters gathered while absentee ballots were being counted.

— Associated Press

12:12 p.m.: Georgia judge dismisses Trump campaign lawsuit

A judge in Georgia has dismissed a lawsuit by the state Republican Party and President Donald Trump’s campaign that asked him to ensure a coastal county was following state laws on processing absentee ballots.

Chatham County Superior Court Judge James Bass did not provide an explanation for his decision Thursday at the close of a roughly one-hour hearing. The county includes the heavily Democratic city of Savannah.

The suit had raised concerns about 53 absentee ballots that poll observers said were not part of an original batch of ballots. County elections officials testified that all 53 ballots had been received on time.

For more on the Trump campaign’s legal challenges, click here.

—Associated Press

A tweet from the president of the United States on Nov. 5, 2020, which has been flagged and partially restricted by Twitter for spreading false information about the election. Trump is calling for an end to ballot counting as authorities in states such as Georgia, Pennsylvania, Arizona and Nevada keep counting valid ballots.
A tweet from the president of the United States on Nov. 5, 2020, which has been flagged and partially restricted by Twitter for spreading false information about the election. Trump is calling for an end to ballot counting as authorities in states such as Georgia, Pennsylvania, Arizona and Nevada keep counting valid ballots.

10:52 a.m.: Trump demands vote-counting stop on Twitter — a baseless claim outside of his authority

With Joe Biden edging closer to unseating him from the White House, President Donald Trump says he wants to put a halt to vote counting.

The extraordinary statement by an incumbent president to voice support for ceasing the count of legally cast votes came in a Thursday morning tweet, saying only: “STOP THE COUNT!”

He later tweeted, falsely, that ballots that came in after Election Day would not be counted. Different states have different laws in America’s decentralized election system. Some legally allow votes to arrive after Nov. 3, as long as they are postmarked before the end of Election Day.

Elections are run by individual state, county and local governments. Trump’s public comments have no impact on the tallying of votes across the country.

So far, the vote count across the country has been conducted efficiently and without evidence of any misconduct, despite Trump’s public complaints.

Trump’s comments come as his campaign has filed legal action in several states to try to stop vote counting, claiming a lack of transparency. Still, Trump’s campaign has held out hope that continued counting in Arizona could overcome a Biden lead in the state.

—Associated Press

10:46 a.m.: Arizona says 450,000 ballots still to be counted

Arizona state officials say there are about 450,000 ballots still to be counted in the Western battleground.

The AP says it is monitoring that vote count as it comes in. The AP has called the presidential race in Arizona for Democrat Joe Biden.

AP executive editor Sally Buzbee says: “The Associated Press continues to watch and analyze vote count results from Arizona. We will follow the facts in all cases.”

Biden holds a 2.35 percentage point lead over Trump in Arizona, an advantage of about 68,000 votes.

The vast majority of the ballots yet to be counted are from Maricopa County, the most populous area of the state.

This entry has been corrected to show that 450,000 ballots are still to be counted, not 375,000

Advertisement

—Associated Press

10:02 a.m.: Fox News leads Trump-Biden election night coverage with a record audience

Fox News was the top choice among viewers for coverage of the 2020 election as President Donald Trump and his opponent, former Vice President Joe Biden, were in a tight battle for 270 electoral votes.

But Nielsen data showed a lot fewer viewers turned to TV for presidential election coverage than in 2016, when Trump won the presidency in his race against Hillary Clinton.

Nielsen data showed Fox News, led by anchors Bret Baier and Martha MacCallum, averaged 13.8 million viewers, a record for cable news coverage of a presidential election, from 8-11 p.m. ET.

CNN finished second for the night (with 9.1 million viewers), followed by MSNBC (7.3 million), ABC (6.1 million), NBC (5.6 million), the Fox broadcast network (3.3 million), Fox Business (366,000) and CNBC (117,000).

Coverage also aired on WGN America, PBS, Telemundo, Univision and CNN en Espanol.

Fox News has seen its ratings surge overall in 2020, some nights topping all other networks on cable and broadcast television. For the second presidential cycle in a row, the top-three finish of Fox News, CNN and MSNBC shows how cable news has become the main destination for politically engaged viewers, taking the mantle from broadcast networks, which have long used their presidential election night coverage to showcase their news operations.

While Nielsen has yet to release a total figure on viewers who watched election coverage in prime time, the early numbers indicate it will be down significantly from the 71.4 million viewers in 2016.

The drop is likely a reflection of the overall decline in the usage of traditional television, especially among viewers under the age of 50. Many news outlets made streaming coverage of election results available on a wide range of platforms.

The live stream of CNN’s coverage had a peak 1.1 million concurrent viewers streaming at its peak on election night over a number of digital platforms. CBSN, the digital stream of CBS News, had 19.5 million unique visitors on Election Day, a new record for the service.

The TV number also may have dropped as it became apparent that no winner was going to be declared on the night.

—Stephen Battaglio, Los Angeles Times

Ramiro Collazo waves a Trump flag outside Versailles Cuban restaurant on Nov. 4, 2020, in Little Havana, Miami.
Ramiro Collazo waves a Trump flag outside Versailles Cuban restaurant on Nov. 4, 2020, in Little Havana, Miami. (Wilfredo Lee/AP)

9:15 a.m.: Democrats wonder, ‘What went wrong in Florida?’

In Florida, a state famous for razor-thin margins, the size of former Vice President Joe Biden’s loss to President Donald Trump was humiliating for Democrats and sent many searching for answers to how they failed to close the deal with voters — again.

Democrats zeroed in on two clear explanations: Biden didn’t connect with the state’s Latino voters, performing particularly poorly with Cuban voters in South Florida. They also second-guessed the party’s decision to freeze in-person organizing during the worst of the pandemic, a decision that set them back in reaching voters.

“Clearly, Biden was not able to capture the imagination of the Florida electorate and create the type of enthusiasm to go out and vote for Biden like Trump did with his base of supporters in the state,” said Fernand Amandi, a Miami-based Democratic pollster. “It’s an unacceptable record of futility. What makes it so vexing is that the problems that need to be fixed are so apparent. But they just don’t get fixed.”

Amandi focused on the Biden campaign’s struggles to connect with Hispanic voters in the state.

Trump and Republicans pummeled Biden for months with misleading claims suggesting he was a “socialist” and would cater to the left wing of the Democratic Party. The attacks carried added power with Cuban and Venezuelan Americans, who associate the labels with authoritarian and corrupt Latin American leaders.

Biden’s weakness was most evident in his underperformance in Miami-Dade County, which has the state’s deepest concentration of Hispanic voters, particularly Cuban Americans. Biden won the county, the state’s most populous, by just 7 percentage points — compared with Democrat Hillary Clinton’s 30-point victory margin four years ago against Trump.

AP VoteCast, a survey of the Florida electorate, found Trump won 58% of Cuban American voters statewide, while voters with South American heritage split evenly between Biden and Trump. The survey said Puerto Rican voters backed Biden by about 2 to 1.

The relatively poor showing in South Florida hurt other Democrats, as Republicans swept out two Miami-area congressional incumbents — Reps. Donna Shalala and Debbie Mucarsel-Powell.

“When you look at Miami-Dade in particular, there was a lot of advertising on the other side of the aisle dealing with socialism and in some cases even the word communism,” said Democratic Rep. Charlie Crist, a former Republican governor who has held three statewide offices.

“I think that obviously had an impact,” Crist said. “When you’re attacked you need to fight back. I’m not sure how much of the fighting back occurred on our side.”

—Associated Press

Speaker of the House Nancy Pelosi talks to reporters about election results at the Democratic National Committee headquarters in Washington on Nov. 3, 2020.
Speaker of the House Nancy Pelosi talks to reporters about election results at the Democratic National Committee headquarters in Washington on Nov. 3, 2020. (J. Scott Applewhite/AP)

8:15 a.m.: No ‘blue wave’ appears for Democrats in Congress

The election scrambled seats in the House and Senate but ultimately left Congress much like it began, deeply split as voters resisted big changes despite the heated race at the top of the ticket for the White House.

It’s an outcome that dampens Democratic demands for a bold new agenda, emboldens Republicans and almost ensures partisan gridlock regardless of who wins the presidency. Or perhaps, as some say, it provides a rare opening for modest across-the-aisle cooperation.

Speaker Nancy Pelosi was on track to keep control of the Democratic House, but saw her majority shrinking and her leadership called into question. Control of the Senate tilted Republicans' way as they fended off an onslaught of energized challengers, though a few races remained undecided Wednesday.

House Republicans picked up five seats, so far, deflating Pelosi’s plans to reach deep into Trump country by making rare gains with women and minority candidates. Republicans defeated several Democratic freshmen who delivered the House majority in 2018 in a backlash against Trump.

By evening, Pelosi had all but declared Democrat Joe Biden the winner, saying House Democrats “will now have the opportunity to deliver extraordinary progress” on party priorities — lowering health care costs, providing jobs through new infrastructure and others.

Most immediately, a COVID relief bill remains within reach, as the pandemic blazes through the states. GOP Leader Mitch McConnell said he would also like to negotiate a big spending bill to keep the government running past a mid-December deadline.

A handful of new progressives will be coming to Washington to join House Democrats, while Republicans will see new right-flank members, including Marjorie Taylor Greene, who has espoused unfounded QAnon conspiracy theories and won a vacant seat in northwest Georgia. Trump has called Greene a “future Republican star.”

Advertisement

One certainty is the upended projections will force a rethinking of polling, fundraising and the very messages the parties use to reach voters in the Trump era and beyond.

—Associated Press

Poll challengers watch absentee ballots being processed at the TCF center in Detroit on Nov. 4, 2020.
Poll challengers watch absentee ballots being processed at the TCF center in Detroit on Nov. 4, 2020. (Kimberly P. Mitchell/Detroit Free Press)

12:05 a.m.: Trump supporters converge on vote centers in Michigan and Arizona

Dozens of angry supporters of President Donald Trump converged on vote-counting centers in Detroit and Phoenix as the returns went against him Wednesday in the two key states, while thousands of anti-Trump protesters demanding a complete tally of the ballots in the still-undecided election took to the streets in cities across the U.S.

“Stop the count!” the Trump supporters chanted in Detroit. “Stop the Steal,” they chanted in Phoenix.

The protests came as the president insisted without evidence that there were major problems with the voting and the ballot counting, and as Republicans filed suit in multiple states over the election.

The Phoenix protesters filled much of the parking lot at the Maricopa County election center, where sheriff’s deputies were guarding both the outside of the building and the counting inside.

More on this story here. —Associated Press

Wednesday:

10:42 p.m.: Riot declared in Portland as protesters smash windows

A riot was declared in Portland, Oregon, and protesters took to the streets in Seattle on Wednesday as people demanded that every vote in Tuesday’s election be counted. Hundreds were protesting in both cities against President Donald Trump’s court challenges to stop the vote count in battleground states.

The Multnomah County Sheriff’s Office at about 7 p.m. declared a riot after protesters were seen smashing windows at businesses. In the interest of public safety, Gov. Kate Brown activated the use of the state National Guard to help local law enforcement manage the unrest, according to the sheriff’s office.

Brown said previously she would keep state troopers, sheriff’s deputies and police officers under a unified command into Friday in Portland to handle protests amid uncertainty over the winner of the U.S. presidential election.

The Oregon National Guard had been on standby. Brown’s order places law enforcement agencies under the joint command of the Oregon State Police and Multnomah County Sheriff’s Department, which allows those agencies to use tear gas if necessary to quell unrest. Mayor Ted Wheeler, who is also police commissioner, banned the use of tear gas by Portland police earlier this fall after concerns about an overly aggressive response to the unrest.

More of the story here. —Associated Press

10:38 p.m.: Police: At least 20 arrests at post-election protest in NYC

At least 20 people were arrested Wednesday night at a post-Election Day protest in New York City after police say piles of trash were set on fire and bottles were hurled at officers.

The arrests happened after hundreds of marchers demanding the counting of every presidential election vote converged on Manhattan’s Washington Square Park, where a smaller group started rallying against police misconduct.

Some of the people arrested were fighting with officers while others were blocking traffic, police said. The police department tweeted photos of several trash fires. Bystander video showed officers in helmets and tactical gear swarming protesters.

“We support everyone’s right to self-expression, but setting fires puts others at risk and will not be tolerated,” the NYPD’s tweet said. “We are working to de-escalate the situation... to prevent further damage from occurring.”

—Associated Press

10:30 p.m.: Protesters in Portland, Seattle: ‘Count Every Vote’

Protesters took to the streets in Portland, Oregon and in Seattle on Wednesday demanding that every vote in Tuesday’s election be counted. Hundreds of people were protesting in both cities against President Donald Trump’s court challenges to stop the vote count in battleground states.

Oregon Gov. Kate Brown said Wednesday she will keep state troopers, sheriff’s deputies and police officers under a unified command for an additional 48 hours in Portland to handle protests amid uncertainty over the winner of the U.S. presidential election.

More of the story here. —Associated Press

10:24 p.m.: Fox’s Arizona call for Joe Biden flipped the mood at Trump campaign headquarters

With Florida looking red early on Tuesday night, President Donald Trump and his advisers thought they were witnessing a repeat of election night 2016, when a victory in Florida foreshadowed a victory overall.

Inside the East Room, the mood was upbeat as hundreds of people, including Cabinet secretaries, ambassadors and former officials who have remained loyal to Trump, mingled and dined on sliders and french fries. Officials who had been pessimistic about the president’s reelection chances suddenly started to picture four more years in power.

That mirage of victory was pierced when Fox News called Arizona for former Vice President Joe Biden at 11:20 p.m., with just 73% of the state’s vote counted.

More of the story here. —The New York Times

9:45 p.m.: Armed agents are allowed in ballot-counting locations around the country, Justice Dept. tells prosecutors

The Justice Department told federal prosecutors in an email early on Wednesday that the law allowed them to send armed federal officers to ballot-counting locations around the country to investigate potential voter fraud, according to three people who described the message.

The email created the specter of the federal government intimidating local election officials or otherwise intervening in vote tallying amid calls by President Donald Trump to end the tabulating in states where he was trailing in the presidential race, former officials said.

More of the story here. —The New York Times

Recommended on Baltimore Sun

Advertisement
Advertisement
Advertisement
Advertisement
Advertisement
Advertisement