The Guardian’s Sam Levine reports from Philadelphia:
Pam Bondi and Corey Lewandowski, two top Trump campaign surrogates, appeared outside the Pennsylvania convention center in a chaotic scene Wednesday to announce they were going inside to observe the counting of absentee ballots.
I couldn’t hear what either of them said because they were drowned out by a large group.
They stood in front of a small group of protesters loudly chanting to “count every vote.” Bondi and Lewandowski both held up a printed copy of a court order that appeared to secure their access to observe the polls.
The two Trump surrogates stood in front of a small group of Trump supporters that could be heard singing “America the Beautiful” at one point.
Senator David Perdue, a Republican of Georgia, released a statement as it becomes more likely his reelection race will advance to a January runoff.
“If overtime is required when all of the votes have been counted, we’re ready, and we will win,” Perdue’s campaign manager said.
Perdue is currently at 50% in Georgia, with about 60,000 votes from mostly Democratic-leaning counties left to be counted.
If Perdue falls below 50%, which seems likely at this point, Perdue will face Democrat Jon Ossoff in a January runoff.
A spokesperson for Georgia secretary of state Brad Raffensperger expressed hope that the state would know the winner of its electoral votes by the end of the day.
“I am prayerful that we could get to a resolution by the end of the day today,” the spokesperson said.
There are about 60,000 votes left to be counted, according to the secretary of state, and Donald Trump leads by about 18,000 votes, or 0.4% of the total count.
A Georgia election official confirmed there are about 60,000 votes left to count in the state, which remains too close to call.
A spokesperson for Georgia secretary of state Brad Raffensperger said officials are prioritizing accuracy over speed.
But the spokesperson also acknowledged some county officials had forgotten to click the “upload” button to post their vote counts, so the state has sent out a reminder for that.
As a reminder, Donald Trump’s lead in Georgia has narrowed to about 18,000 votes.
Pennsylvania attorney general Josh Shapiro criticized Donald Trump’s reelection campaign for suing to halt vote-counting in the pivotal swing state.
“I’m not going to let anyone stop that process of counting,” Shapiro told MSNBC. “These are legal votes. They will be counted.”
Shapiro accused the president of trying to draw election officials into a political battle, when the focus should be on counting the remaining ballots.
“The rhetoric needs to go away,” Shapiro said. “The campaign is over.”
Donald Trump is again tweeting in all caps, making false claims about the remaining ballots left to be counted.
“ANY VOTE THAT CAME IN AFTER ELECTION DAY WILL NOT BE COUNTED!” Trump said.
In reality, a number of states, including Pennsylvania, allow ballots to arrive for days after election day as long as the ballots are postmarked by election day.
It’s also worth noting that it often takes longer for ballots to arrive from service members who are deployed overseas. It’s unclear whether the president thinks those Americans’ ballots should be thrown out.
If both of Georgia’s Senate races advance to runoffs, Democrats could take the Senate majority by winning both races and the White House.
It would be a heavy lift for Democrats to win both Senate races in the traditionally conservative state, as the extremely close presidential race in Georgia demonstrates, and Republicans are still very likely to maintain control of the Senate.
But Republicans’ chances of success in Georgia may be tied to whether Donald Trump would still campaign for their candidates if he becomes a lame-duck president, as an Atlantic writer noted.
Democratic Senate candidate Raphael Warnock has released his first ad for the January runoff election in Georgia.
The ad features Warnock subjecting himself to the potential attacks that might come from his Republican opponent, Senator Kelly Loeffler.
“Raphael Warnock eats pizza with a fork and knife,” the narrator’s ad says in a menacing voice. “Raphael Warnock once stepped on a crack in the sidewalk.”
The ad then pivots to Warnock saying, “Get ready, Georgia. The negative ads against us are coming. Kelly Loeffler doesn’t want to talk about why she’s for getting rid of healthcare in the middle of a pandemic, so she’s going to try and scare you with lies about me.”
Warnock and Loeffler advanced to the January runoff after no candidate in the special Senate election managed to attract 50% of the vote.
The other Senate race in Georgia, between Republican incumbent David Perdue and Democrat Jon Ossoff, is likely headed to a runoff as well, as it looks like Perdue’s numbers could slip below 50% with the final batch of Georgia ballots.
There are about 61,000 outstanding votes in Georgia, most of them from Democratic-leaning counties, according to the Washington Post.
Donald Trump currently leads by about 18,000 votes in the state, and the mail-in ballots that are being counted have favored Joe Biden. It’s expected to be an extremely close final result.
This is Joan Greve in Washington, taking over for Martin Belam, and we still don’t have a winner in the US presidential election.
Donald Trump is reacting to the state of play in his now-standard manner: by demanding election officials stop counting valid ballots.
“STOP THE COUNT!” the president said in a new tweet.
Election officials have pledged to count every valid vote cast by election day, and many of them have defended the integrity of the counts in their states.
It’s also worth noting that, if counting were stopped now, Biden would win the presidency because he is ahead in Nevada, which would get him to the 270 electoral votes needed to win the White House.
Look, you know and I know that as soon as enough races have been called that Biden has 270 Electoral College votes, it is still not going to be the end of this.
Wisconsin, provided Trump is within 1% of Biden, will get recounted for sure. And there are the legal challenges. Reuters have just put together this handy outline of a few of the key ones:
Michigan ballot-counting fight
Trump’s campaign said on Wednesday it had filed a lawsuit in Michigan to stop state officials from counting ballots. The campaign said the case in the Michigan Court of Claims seeks to halt counting until it has an election inspector at each absentee-voter counting board. The campaign also wanted to review ballots that were opened and counted before an inspector from its campaign was present.
Pennsylvania court battles
Republican officials on Tuesday sued election officials in Montgomery County, which borders Philadelphia, accusing them of illegally counting mail-in ballots early and giving voters who submitted defective ballots a chance to re-vote. At a hearing on Wednesday, US District Judge Timothy Savage in Philadelphia appeared skeptical of their allegations and how the integrity of the election might be affected.
In a separate lawsuit, the Trump campaign asked a judge to halt ballot counting in Pennsylvania, claiming that Republicans had been unlawfully denied access to observe the process.
Meanwhile, Republicans in Pennsylvania have asked the US Supreme Court to review a decision from the state’s highest court that allowed election officials to count mail-in ballots postmarked by Election Day that arrived through until Friday 6 November. On Wednesday, Trump’s campaign filed a motion to intervene in the case.
Supreme court justices said last week there was not enough time to decide the merits of the case before Election Day but indicated they might revisit it afterwards. As a result, Pennsylvania election officials said they will segregate properly postmarked ballots that arrived after Election Day, which opens the possibility the court could subsequently strike them out.
US Postal Service litigation
A judge on Wednesday said Postmaster General Louis DeJoy must answer questions about why the USPS failed to complete a court-ordered sweep for undelivered ballots in about a dozen states before a Tuesday afternoon deadline. US District Judge Emmet Sullivan is overseeing a lawsuit by Vote Forward, the NAACP, and Latino community advocates who have been demanding the postal service deliver mail-in ballots in time to be counted in the election.
Georgia ballot fight
The Trump campaign on Wednesday evening filed a lawsuit in state court in Chatham County, Georgia. Unlike the Pennsylvania and Michigan actions, that lawsuit is not asking a judge to halt ballot counting. Instead, the campaign said it received information that late-arriving ballots were improperly mingled with valid ballots, and asked a judge to enter an order making sure late-arriving ballots were separated so they would not be counted.
After the announcement just now that there will be a press conference in Nevada this morning featuring the Republican chair of the state and attorneys, presumably we’ll be able to add Nevada to that list soon.
This could be intriguing. 8:30am PST is 4:30pm this afternoon if, like me, you are in London.
Nevada still has around 25% of its votes to count, which is approaching 400,000. Joe Biden has a narrow lead of about 7,500 at the moment. Under state law, ballots can still be accepted so long as they were postmarked by Election Day up until 10 November.
Trump narrowly lost Nevada in 2016 as the state has trended toward the Democrats in the past decade. The last Republican to win the state was George W. Bush in 2004.
The tweet mentions Matt Schlapp as a Brooks Brothers Riot participant. For those of us without total recall of US elections from twenty years ago, my colleague Adam Gabbatt reminded us what the Brooks Brothers Riot was recently:
In late November 2000, hundreds of mostly middle-aged male protesters, dressed in off-the-peg suits and cautious ties, descended on the Miami-Dade polling headquarters in Florida. Shouting, jostling, and punching, they demanded that a recount of ballots for the presidential election be stopped.
The protesters, many of whom were paid Republican operatives, succeeded. The counting of disputed ballots in Florida was abandoned. What became known as the Brooks Brothers riot went down in infamy, and George W Bush became president after a supreme court decision.
A very simple message coming out from the Biden campaign this morning: Count every vote.
These two charts sum up exactly why in one state Trump supporters were protesting to keep the count going, and in another state the Trump campaign has been taking legal action to try and shut the counting down.
Pennsylvania’s Gov. Tom Wolf, by the way, was quite clear yesterday on the state’s determination to count every vote, saying:
Pennsylvania is going to count every vote and make sure that everyone has their voice heard. Pennsylvania is going to fight every single attempt to disenfranchise voters and continue to administer a free and fair election.
I suspect it is the experience of watching Donald Trump grind out the last few Electoral College votes to win in 2016 that is making some people still lack confidence that Biden will actually win.
However, as well as Jennifer Rubin being convinced, Giovanni Russonello writes this for the New York Times politics newsletter this morning. Note, that unlike Fox News and the Associated Press (and us), NYT have not yet put Arizona into Biden’s column. But he writes:
Joe Biden has now won 253 electoral votes and has multiple routes to the White House, with five swing states still undecided and uncounted votes in several likely to favor him. While Trump has not indicated that he has any plans to concede, and his campaign insists he could still prevail, at this point a path to victory would most likely run through the courts. It’s a hard road ahead for him.
He does point out though that capturing the presidency won’t take away all the question marks about the Democratic performance at this election.
If Democrats end up declaring a victory over all, it will be a beleaguered one. Not only did Trump outperform their expectations in the battlegrounds, but Democratic candidates for both the House and the Senate also lost races — some in states that split their tickets and favored Biden for president — that the party had been fairly confident about.