Election Day live: Can Trump pull off a 2016 repeat?

Live Updates: 2020 Elections

Minutes before the first statewide polls closed on Tuesday, Trump’s campaign claimed it had internal data showing an Election-Day surge of Republican votes.

Minutes before the first statewide polls closed on Tuesday, Trump campaign officials said they felt more confident at this early hour than they did on election night in 2016.

“With the lack of a ground game on the Biden side, they left a ton of votes on the table and we are driving votes today,” Trump campaign manager Bill Stepien told reporters on a call, claiming the president’s team has internal data showing depressed Election Day turnout on the Democratic side and a surge of Republican votes.

“They were very much hoping to slam the door shut on Pennsylvania, Florida, Wisconsin and Arizona — that simply hasn’t happened,” Stepien contended.

While turnout surpassed 2016 levels in some GOP-leaning counties by Tuesday afternoon, many counties that Biden is favored to win also saw record turnout. In Florida, for example, the Democratic stronghold of Broward County reached nearly 75 percent turnout by 5 p.m., up three percent from overall turnout levels in 2016. Youth turnout has also surged in the weeks leading up to Election Day, providing a likely edge to the Biden campaign given the demographic’s liberal skew.

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Nearly two-thirds of voters surveyed in early exit polls said the country going in the wrong direction, with the staggering national economy weighing heavily in their decisions.

A total of 63 percent polled by FoxNews and the Associated Press were pessimistic about the future. The economic downturn was the single most important factor in the vote of 28 percent of respondents and an important factor to another 57 percent. However, almost 7 in 10 said their family is making do.

Nineteen percent said someone they knew had died of Covid-19. Forty-one percent of respondents said the government Covid response was the single most important factor in their vote; another 44 percent said it was important. And more than half said they’ve missed out on a major event due to coronavirus.

Only 6 percent said the national economy was in “excellent” condition, with almost 60 percent saying it is “not so good” or “poor.” Just 5 percent said they were “enthusiastic” about how the U.S. government is working — 38 percent are “dissatisfied” and another 35 percent are “angry.”

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The vast majority of voters in this year’s election made up their mind well ahead of Election Day, early exit polling shows.

The earliest data shows that only 4 percent of voters said they opted for a presidential candidate over the past week, compared with 93 percent who decided earlier.

Those numbers would appear to track with pre-election polling, which has shown a stable race between President Donald Trump and former Vice President Joe Biden for months.

That could be due in part to a higher-than-usual proportion of voters casting ballots by mail or in person before Election Day in an effort to avoid crowded polling places amid the coronavirus pandemic. It could also stem from polarization within the electorate.

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PHILADELPHIA — President Donald Trump’s campaign is seizing on what officials said are isolated incidents or legal campaigning here to raise doubts about the integrity of the election in the most hotly contested state in the country.

Mike Roman, Trump’s director of Election Day operations, shared a viral Twitter video Tuesday of a poll watcher being turned away at a voting facility in Philly. Roman used the incident to allege that pro-Trump poll watchers have been denied access “all over the City” and that “The steal is on!”

But a spokesperson for the Philadelphia City Commissioners, which runs elections there, said there’s no evidence the issue is widespread, and that the poll watcher depicted in the video was eventually allowed into the facility.

“It was an honest misunderstanding. The poll watcher, I’m told, his certificate had a different ward and division on it than the ward and division of the polling place he was trying to get into. And the judge of election misunderstood the law: He thought they had to match,” said Kevin Feeley, a spokesperson for Philadelphia City Commissioner Lisa Deeley, a Democrat. “The poll watcher was admitted. As far as I know, he’s there now.”

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LIVE UPDATES: 2020 ELECTIONS

Gov. Gavin Newsom said that while he believes most demonstrations will be “peaceful and appropriate,” state officials are “obviously preparing for those that may get out of control.”

SAN FRANCISCO — Gov. Gavin Newsom said Tuesday that California is “prepared” and ready for the possibilities of civil unrest and protests in the wake of election results as business owners continue boarding up shops in major cities.

California saw large peaceful protests, but also violent chaos, after the police killing of George Floyd in Minneapolis earlier this year. Residents in the blue state are bracing for the same after the election, especially if the outcome remains in dispute.

“Everybody’s prepared … everybody’s taking it very seriously — not just here in California, but all across the country,’’ he said. “And I can assure you, we’re taking it very seriously, at all levels. We’ve been working with federal partners for a number of months now candidly, sharing information. And obviously working with local and county partners in anticipation that there may be protests.’’

Newsom said that while he believes most demonstrations will be “peaceful and appropriate,” state officials are “obviously preparing for those that may get out of control.”

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The U.S. stock market experienced its second-best Election Day rally in history on Tuesday, with the Dow Jones Industrial Average closing up more than 550 points or 2 percent.

The S&P 500 index also gained more than 58 points, or nearly 1.8 percent, by the end of the trading day at 4 p.m.

The gains are a sign of positive trader sentiment, although it’s unclear if that has to do with hopes of a clear winner emerging, possible additional action when the Federal Reserve meets later this week, or a sense of relief about the political contest coming to a close. It also sets the markets up for a potentially big drop on Wednesday if traders are spooked by any tally uncertainty that could emerge later on Tuesday evening.

President Donald Trump has repeatedly touted the performance of the stock market as a reflection of his job performance, with the market hitting all-time highs during his presidency. Even after the coronavirus ravaged the economy and caused a painful selloff in March, markets have recovered since then with the S&P 500 and Nasdaq Composite Index hitting new all-time highs this summer and fall.

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Results in North Carolina will be slightly delayed after the state’s Board of Elections voted Tuesday to extend voting hours at a handful of precincts because they opened late.

The extensions were granted to one precinct each in Cabarrus County and Guilford County, as well as two precincts in Sampson County.

The longest extension is for 45 minutes, and the shortest will span 17 minutes. Polls are scheduled to close at 7:30 p.m. The state will not begin posting results until all polling locations have closed.

There are 2,660 Election Day polling places stationed across the state.

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NEW YORK — New York City hasn’t gone for a Republican president since Calvin Coolidge, but that hasn’t deterred conservative voters from turning out for President Donald Trump this year.

Throughout the five boroughs, pockets of Republicans showed up to the polls this week to pull the lever for Trump, citing his handling of the economy, his desire to reopen the country amid the coronavirus pandemic and his appointment of conservative justices to the federal bench.

“I’ve been a Republican all my life, I’m a conservative, I like his Supreme Court picks. I can’t stand identity politics,” said Sal Pitello, 69, of Bay Ridge in Brooklyn. “We voted for a disruptor, we got a disruptor.”

Peter Papadatos, 41, of nearby Bensonhurst, said Gov. Andrew Cuomo and Mayor Bill de Blasio had put the hammer to small businesses like the pet supply store he owns, and he welcomed Trump’s message of reopening the country.

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Live Updates: 2020 Elections

USPS missed the judge’s afternoon deadline but says it will complete review later Tuesday

Updated

A federal judge ordered the U.S. Postal Service to send inspectors to sweep facilities in a number of swing states for any remaining ballots and send them out for delivery — a ruling that comes ahead of some states’ end-of-Tuesday deadlines to receive mail-in ballots.

In an order issued Tuesday in Washington, D.C., District Judge Emmet G. Sullivan said the Postal Service must sweep its facilities in Central Pennsylvania, Philadelphia, Detroit, Colorado/Wyoming, Atlanta, Houston, Alabama, Northern New England, Greater South Carolina, South Florida, Lakeland, and Arizona.

With many Americans turning to mail-in voting during the coronavirus pandemic, controversy has swirled around the Trump administration’s handling of these ballots. The Trump-appointed postmaster general, Louis DeJoy, initially ordered cost-cutting measures that could have slowed down delivery (he later agreed to drop these). The mail-in voting process has also been the subject of multiple lawsuits around the country. Some states require ballots to be received by Election Day in order to be counted, while others say ballots must only be post marked by the deadline.

“Defendants shall send Postal Service inspectors or their designees, to processing facilities in the following Districts and direct them to sweep the facilities between 12:30 PM EST and 3:00 PM EST to ensure that no ballots have been held up and that any identified ballots are immediately sent out for delivery,” Sullivan wrote.

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Live Updates: 2020 Elections

The president was joined by top aides and advisers during his first public appearance of Election Day.

Updated

President Donald Trump remarked that “losing is never easy” during his first in-person appearance of Election Day, as he was surrounded by top aides and advisers accompanying him on a brief trip to his campaign headquarters in Arlington, Va.

Asked by reporters Tuesday whether he had prepared alternate versions of speeches in preparation for the results of the election, Trump replied that he was “not thinking about [a] concession speech or acceptance speech yet.”

“Hopefully, we’ll be only doing one of those two,” he said. “And, you know, winning is easy. Losing is never easy. Not for me, it’s not.”

But Trump also said he heard his reelection effort was “doing well all over,” specifically mentioning the campaign’s performance in the battlegrounds of Arizona, Florida and Texas.

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PHILADELPHIA — Pennsylvania has received more than 2.5 million mail-in and absentee ballots so far, according to new data from election officials here.

That means that 81 percent of state voters who were sent those ballots have returned them. To break it down, more than 1.6 million of those ballots were from registered Democrats, 586,000 were from Republicans, and 278,000 were from independents or third-party voters.

This isn’t surprising or necessarily revealing: Political insiders have expected for months that Democrats would vote disproportionately by mail, while Republicans would vote disproportionately in person.

One stat that is interesting, though, is that 84 percent of registered Democrats who have been sent mail-in or absentee ballots have returned them, compared with 74 percent of Republicans.

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Live Updates: 2020 Elections

Residents in key presidential swing states like North Carolina and Florida are among those complaining of calls telling them to “stay home.”

Federal and state investigators are looking into reports from across the country of misleading robocalls urging people to stay home on Election Day, which a trade group representing major telephone companies says appear to be originating in Europe.

People in swing states such as North Carolina, Michigan and Florida were among those who reported receiving the calls, along with states such as New York, New Jersey and Nebraska that are not considered at play in the presidential race, according to officials and campaign operatives collecting the accounts.

Many people who received the calls reported a similar pattern — a robotic woman’s voice urging them to stay home and suggesting that it could be dangerous to do otherwise. “This is just a test call. Time to stay home. Stay safe and stay home,” the voice says in one recording posted by a North Carolina voter who said he received the call Tuesday morning. The calls did not explicitly mention the election.

An industry working group is tracing the calls, and early signs point to them originating in Europe, said Brian Weiss, a spokesperson for USTelecom, a trade group representing companies such as AT&T and Verizon. It is not uncommon for robocalling campaigns to originate overseas.

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Live Updates: 2020 Elections

Public polling indicates a Trump victory is possible, though it is unlikely to be by the margins that Trump and other allies say they’re envisioning.

President Donald Trump’s top surrogates are painting a rosy picture of an overwhelming reelection victory, even as polls have him trailing in many key battleground states.

Lara Trump, a senior adviser to Trump’s reelection campaign and the president’s daughter-in-law, said Tuesday that they believe the president will decisively beat Democratic nominee Joe Biden without the need for a protracted ballot count.

“People have not been talking to pollsters, and we think it’s going to be a landslide victory and we aren’t even going to need to take this into further days,” Lara Trump said on Fox News.

Public polling and election forecasts indicate that a Trump victory is possible, though it is unlikely to be by the margins that Trump and other allies say they’re envisioning — and potentially with less than the 306 electoral college votes he earned in the 2016 election.

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Former Vice President Joe Biden signed one of the living room walls of his childhood home during a stop in Scranton, Pa., on Tuesday morning.

“From this house to the White House with the grace of God. Joe Biden 11-3-2020,” the message reads.

Biden has often played up his working-class roots on the campaign trail, and has especially focused on Pennsylvania, a battleground state that could determine the outcome of the election.

The Democratic presidential nominee spent his young childhood in Scranton before moving to Delaware when he was 10 after his father lost his job in the area.

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The deputy campaign manager and communications director for Democratic presidential nominee Joe Biden was optimistic about the state of the White House race as voting continued Tuesday.

“We believe we have a lot of options. We have a lot of pathways to get to 270,” Kate Bedingfield said in an interview on MSNBC, referring to the number of electoral votes required to win the presidency.

In addition to visiting the Great Lakes-area swing states that propelled President Donald Trump to office in 2016, Biden has spent the final days of the 2020 general election campaign making stops in more Republican-leaning battlegrounds such as Georgia and Iowa.

Bedingfield also pointed on Tuesday to “record levels of enthusiasm and turnout in the early vote,” specifically mentioning increased levels of African-American turnout in Georgia and youth turnout in North Carolina.

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Former Vice President Joe Biden joked Tuesday that his five-vote sweep of Dixville Notch, N.H., would allow him to declare victory in the presidential election, a jab at allegations that President Donald Trump might try to claim a second term in the White House before all ballots are counted.

“Based on Trump’s notion, I’m going to declare victory tonight,” Biden said, eliciting laughs from a group of about 50 to 60 supporters outside a carpenters union in Scranton, Pa. Dixville Notch, a tiny township in northern New Hampshire, is famous for being the first to count its votes.

Biden delivered brief remarks in Scranton and hit on themes familiar to his campaign including rebuilding the middle class, restoring the soul of the nation and recalling the violence in Charlottesville, Va., that spurred him to run for president.

Biden’s jab at Trump comes after Axios reported on Monday that Trump told multiple aides he plans to declare victory on election night if he’s “ahead.” But in an interview with Fox News Tuesday Morning, Trump said he would declare himself the winner of the 2020 election “only when there’s victory,” acknowledging that “there’s no reason to play games.”

POLITICO asked British voters across all 650 election districts who they support as U.S. president, and found that not a single district would back Trump.

Conservatives and progressives alike rejected Trump, who didn’t exceed 30 percent support among any age group, in the poll conducted by Hanbury Strategy. Trump is least popular among Britons over the age of 65: just one in six would vote for him.

The poll gathered responses from 3,991 British voters between Oct. 9-15 and then ran the findings through a model to calculate estimated results for each parliamentary constituency in Great Britain.

The poll is the latest example of tremendous British interest in the election, driving a flood of election content, including right-wing pundit Nigel Farage touring the boarded-up downtown of Washington D.C. and announcing “democracy in crisis”, and on the left, Channel 4’s documentary “American Nightmare: Trump’s Breadline Kids.

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President Donald Trump and Democratic presidential nominee Joe Biden had a full day of trying to set the narrative on Election Day before a night — or many nights — of anxiously awaiting results.

Biden stopped early at St. Joseph on the Brandywine Roman Catholic Church and visited his son Beau’s gravesite before hitting the trail and heading to his birthplace of Scranton, Pa., and later Philadelphia. He made quick visits to a jazz club and a community center bearing his name. Biden planned to spend the end of the evening with his family at his Delaware home.

Trump had several media hits, leading off with a “Fox and Friends” interview that started more than a half hour behind schedule.

“You three are friends,” Trump told the Fox News morning show hosts, who have served as a receptive outlet for the president dating back to the early days of his candidacy in 2015.

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President Donald Trump on Tuesday offered a bitter assessment of his tenure in the White House, saying the experience has been “mean” and marked by “horrible people.”

The comments came in an Election Day interview on “Fox & Friends,” after co-host Ainsley Earhardt asked Trump whether he has enjoyed being president and if the job has been “worth it.”

“Well, it’s been mean. It’s been — you’ve dealt with horrible people,” Trump replied, adding: “You deal with people that are very deceptive.”

Trump, who participated in five campaign rallies Monday, sounded noticeably hoarse throughout his phone interview Tuesday, and seemed relatively despondent compared with his previous appearances on his preferred cable morning news show.

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Democratic presidential nominee Joe Biden began Election Day by going to church with his wife, Dr. Jill Biden, and two of his granddaughters.

The family members entered St. Joseph on the Brandywine in Wilmington, Del., at 7:10 a.m. EST, according to pool reports and left the historic Roman Catholic Church at 7:27 a.m. Biden then walked across the street to the cemetery where his son, Beau, his first wife and his daughter are buried.

The former vice president plans to visit Pennsylvania later Tuesday — making stops in Scranton, where he was born, as well as in Philadelphia, where he has based his campaign headquarters. He is expected to return to Wilmington in the evening to deliver his election night remarks.

President Donald Trump won Pennsylvania by 1.2 percentage points in 2016, but Biden maintains a narrow lead there now. The state’s 20 electoral votes are widely viewed by pollsters and political analysts as potentially having the power to determine the outcome of the White House race.