An important reminder for election day: depending on when states count their absentee ballots, battleground states could dramatically swing from Donald Trump to Joe Biden (or vice versa) as results come in.
CNN sets the expectations for election night:
Likely shift from red to blue: Some people call this the ‘red mirage or the ‘blue shift,’ where early results favor Trump but later ballots even things out and might even put Biden ahead once all the results are tallied.
This dynamic is expected in Pennsylvania and Wisconsin, where they don’t process absentee ballots before Election Day. Early waves of results will likely come from ballots cast on Election Day and from outside the state’s population centers, which are expected to favor Trump. …
Likely shift from blue to red: Some people call this the ‘blue mirage’ or the ‘red shift.’ This is when the first waves of results disproportionately favor Biden, only to be followed by more Trump-friendly ballots later on. This is most likely to occur in the states that start processing mail-ballots weeks before Election Day.
The most critical states where experts believe this will happen are Florida and North Carolina. Election officials in these states say the first results to become public after the polls close will be large batches of absentee ballots and in-person early votes, which have been quite favorable to Democrats. As the night drags on, Election Day ballots will trickle in, helping Trump’s margins.
As a reminder, Biden will win the electoral college if he can maintain control of every state Hillary Clinton won in 2016 and flip Michigan, Pennsylvania and Wisconsin, where polls show the Democrat leading.
Early voting update: nearly 84 million Americans have already voted in the election as of today, four days before election day.
According to the US Elections Project, 83,940,065 Americans have voted by mail or early in person, representing 60.9% of the country’s total 2016 turnout.
Texas has the highest level of turnout in comparison to its 2016 vote count, having already surpassed the total number of ballots cast in the last presidential election.
But California narrowly edges out Texas in terms of raw vote totals so far. As of today, 9,167,959 Californians have already cast their ballots, in comparison to 9,009,850 Texans.
Biden and Obama to hold drive-in rallies in Flint and Detroit on Saturday
The Biden campaign has released additional details about Joe Biden and Barack Obama’s joint campaign trip to the swing state of Michigan tomorrow.
Biden and Obama will hold two drive-in rallies in Flint and Detroit to encourage Michiganders to vote in the presidential election. The Flint event will be at 1.45pm ET, and the Detroit event is scheduled to begin at 5.30pm ET.
“President Obama and Joe Biden will travel to Michigan to discuss bringing Americans together to address the crises facing the country and winning the battle for the soul of the nation,” the Biden campaign said.
Obama has been hitting the campaign trail for his former running mate in recent days, most recently holding a drive-in rally in Orlando, Florida.
During the Orlando event, Obama criticized Donald Trump’s response to the coronavirus pandemic, accusing the president of being “jealous of Covid’s media coverage.”
Joe Biden is en route to the Midwest, where he will campaign in the swing states of Iowa, Minnesota and Wisconsin today.
Speaking to reporters before boarding his campaign plane, Biden was asked why he is going to Minnesota, which Hillary Clinton narrowly won in 2016. Polls show Biden leading in Minnesota by an average of about 8 points, according to FiveThirtyEight.
“I’m not concerned. We’re going to be in Iowa, we’re going to be in Wisconsin, so I thought I’d stop in Minnesota,” Biden said. “I don’t take anything for granted. We’re going to work for every single vote up until the last minute.”
The Democratic nominee is traveling with one of his granddaughters, Maisy Biden. Biden traveled with his granddaughter Finnegan on Tuesday, and he went to Florida yesterday with his granddaughter Natalie.
Joe Biden and Kamala Harris will barnstorm the key battleground state of Pennsylvania on Monday, the day before election day.
The Biden campaign said in a press release, “Vice President Biden, Dr. [Jill] Biden, Senator Harris, and Mr. [Doug] Emhoff will hold events in the Keystone State to get out the vote while also discussing how to bring Americans together to address the crises facing the country and win the battle for the soul of the nation.”
Pennsylvania is crucial to Biden’s strategy for an electoral college win, and the Democrat’s focus on the state underscores that he believes it will be the tipping point in the race.
Donald Trump won Pennsylvania by less than 1 point in 2016, but recent polls have shown Biden leading in the state by an average of about 5 points, according to FiveThirtyEight.
This is Joan Greve in Washington, taking over for Martin Belam.
As Martin noted, Texas has now surpassed its total 2016 voting turnout, with residents having already returned a record 9,009,850 ballots as of today.
Harris county, the largest county in Texas and the home of Houston, celebrated hitting its total 2016 turnout in the traditional way: with more cowbell, of course.
Connecticut’s Democratic senator Chris Murphy sums up what a lot of people appear to be thinking about Trump’s late-night Twitter antics.
And that’s it from me. I’ll be back tomorrow. Joan E Greve will be along shortly to take you through the rest of the day…
The New York Times bring us this news about Trump’s election night plans – which have changed:
President Trump has called off plans to appear at the Trump International Hotel on election night and is likely to be at the White House instead, according to a person familiar with the plans.
Advisers had said privately that Mr. Trump was going to appear at his namesake hotel in Washington for an election night party for which his campaign had sent out multiple fund-raising solicitations to his supporters.
“November 3rd will go down in history as the night we won FOUR MORE YEARS. It will be absolutely EPIC, and the only thing that could make it better is having YOU there,” read one solicitation from the president that included an image of Trump and the first lady, Melania Trump, under the words “Join us on election night.”
It was unclear why the plans had changed. But the prospect of the president appearing on the night of the election at the hotel was certain to reinforce concerns about Mr. Trump mingling the office with his business.
It would also reinforce questions about whether the hotel would be in violation of Washington coronavirus restrictions limiting gatherings to 50 people. And a party would have to be paid for by the campaign, which is facing a cash crunch in the final weeks of the race.
Texas surpasses total 2016 turnout with early voting
Dave Wasserman of the Cook Political Report tells us that Texas has just surpassed its all-time record for votes cast.
It should be safely Republican – Jimmy Carter in 1976 was the last time the state opted for a Democratic nominee. However, polls have had Trump’s lead down to as narrow as one point. Kamala Harris will be campaigning there today.
April Siese from CBS News has this from earlier today on the news that a Louisville police officer is to sue Kenneth Walker, the boyfriend of Breonna Taylor, for emotional distress, assault and battery. Breonna Taylor was killed by police on 13 March 2020. Nobody has faced any charges connected directly to her death. Siese reports:
An officer involved in the fatal shooting of Breonna Taylor has filed a civil suit against the 26-year-old’s boyfriend for emotional distress, assault and battery on the night she was killed. The lawsuit claims Louisville Sergeant Jonathan Mattingly experienced “severe trauma, mental anguish, and emotional distress” because of Kenneth Walker’s actions on 13 March.
Mattingly and two other officers entered Taylor’s apartment early in the morning that day with a warrant in an attempt to carry out a drug investigation. Walker, a licensed gun owner who said he thought the officers were intruders, allegedly fired a shot that hit Mattingly in the leg. Police opened fire, killing Taylor. Taylor had no criminal record and no drugs were found.
“Walker’s conduct in shooting Mattingly is outrageous, intolerable, and offends all accepted standards of decency and morality,” the lawsuit said, citing one of the legal standards for intentional emotional distress.
Donald Trump, who only finished his last round of tweets at around 3am in DC, is back up and tweeting again.
He’s again claiming falsely that the US has more cases of coronavirus because it does more tests, and also that deaths are ‘way down’.
There are, of course, instant refutations in the replies, with charts showing that hospitalisations are up, and that while deaths are indeed lower, there are still around 1,000 Americans dying each day of Covid. That’s roughly one every ninety seconds.
A pregnant Florida woman didn’t let labor stop her from casting her vote in the presidential election, refusing to go to the hospital until she filled out her ballot, report the Associated Press.
Officials with the Orange County Supervisor of Elections said the woman was already in labor when she arrived at the polling site with her husband Tuesday afternoon, news outlets reported.
Elections employee Karen Briceno Gonzalez said the husband asked for a ballot for his wife and later told the staff that she was in the car, in labor and refusing to go to the hospital until she was able to vote.
Briceno Gonzalez said she rushed outside to give the woman her ballot and check her ID. The staffer thought the woman would fill it out later, but while doing some controlled Lamaze breathing, the woman filled the ballot out right away.
Elections clerk Eileen Deliz said the couple never mentioned why the woman waited until she was in labor to cast her vote.
“Maybe she wanted to come in-person at one point and that’s why she was waiting, who knows. But she wouldn’t go to the hospital until she voted,” Deliz said.
Deliz said the unexpected incident delivered a bunch of smiles to the election workers.
“We are very, very busy, but when something like that happens it just makes our day,” Deliz said. “Every election cycle brings us a great little story.”
Officials said the woman’s husband later drove her to an Orlando hospital.
The couple were perhaps slightly lucky they weren’t trying to vote in Brooklyn, where lines on Friday morning were long and the weather was miserable.
Giovanni Russonello has this about Florida for the New York Times On Politics newsletter today.
Trump can count on the continued support of rural voters and white men, while Biden is almost guaranteed to carry strong support from women and African-American voters across the state.
Yet Biden is unlikely to hold on to Hillary Clinton’s strong showing with Latino voters. Instead, he’s looking to make up for it among some of the white voting blocs that Trump relied on in 2016, particularly suburbanites and older voters.
A batch of high-quality Florida polls arrived this week — probably some of the last that we’ll see before the election — and they all showed Biden with an advantage of three to six percentage points among the state’s likely voters. Taken together, the surveys put Biden in a strong position to pull together a winning coalition in Florida, which has successfully predicted the victor in the past six presidential elections.
There’s a note of caution though.
In each poll, the difference was within the margin of error, and the polling miss of 2016 — when Florida surveys overestimated Clinton’s support by a few points — should give us pause.
But don’t forget, earlier this week a piece in the Miami Herald pointed out that the state has a long experience administering mail-in ballots, and the ability to count them early. It could be that on the night, a swift decisive Biden victory in Florida will make count-wrangling in other swing states an irrelevance.
If you missed it yesterday, we published the latest episode of our Anywhere But Washington series.
In 2016, white evangelicals made up a quarter of all US voters. And 81% of them voted for Donald Trump. Oliver Laughland and Tom Silverstone headed to the pivotal battleground state of North Carolina to see if Trump’s religious base is showing signs of crumbling. They meet extreme evangelical pastors, travelling progressive preachers and the moral movement leader Rev William Barber.
Here’s Erin Schumaker and Arielle Mitropoulos for ABC News looking particularly at what has gone wrong with the coronavirus response in Massachusetts, where the daily case counts look similar to what the state was experiencing in May.
Residents have been wearing masks and the state has collected Covid-19 data and launched one of the nation’s first contact tracing programs. For months, the safety measures seemed to be working, but now, cases are on the rise once again. On Thursday, Massachusetts reported 1,243 new Covid-19 cases, according to the health department, marking the sixth day in a row it logged more than 1,000 single-day cases.
“The only silver lining is that the number of deaths has stayed fairly stable since the springtime,” said Dr. Howard Koh, a professor at Harvard T.H. Chan School of Public Health. “But we also know that when cases go up, hospitalizations and ultimately deaths generally follow.”
Balancing the state’s response remains an ongoing issue – as is the broader federal response.
Dr. Sandro Galea, an epidemiologist and dean at the Boston University School of Public Health said “If you did a Melbourne-style lockdown, you would probably bring cases down.” But, noting that at one point last month, Massachusetts had the highest unemployment rate in the country. “That’s really hard,” he added.
As for places that could be improved, Galea pointed to testing. “Testing remains hampered by general federal chaos,” he said. “It’s hard to think of ways Massachusetts could be better in the vacuum, absent a broader federal strategy.”
Some of the blame for the rise is being directed at younger people.
While there’s evidence that people under the age of 30 are driving the rebound in new cases this fall, Galea doesn’t think the rise is related to Boston’s high density of universities, some of which have opened in person. “Transmissions are quite low,” he said of schools.
Instead, he pointed to informal gatherings, especially among young people. “Whether those can come under control is an open question,” Galea said. “It’s fluctuating day by day.”
Where the impact is felt most, though, is clear.
Boston, Massachusetts’ biggest city, has unsurprisingly led the state in Covid-19 infections. And similar to other cities around the country, those nearly 20,000 cases are concentrated in Black and brown neighborhoods.
“All the neighborhoods that are getting hit hardest are the lower-income neighborhoods, these are places where you have multi-generational households, you have many people who are essential workers, who are the ones having to bear the brunt,” Dr. John Brownstein, chief innovation officer at Boston Children’s Hospital, said.
Here’s Rebecca Shabad for NBC News with a re-cap on those coronavirus comments by Donald Trump Jr last night.
Donald Trump Jr. falsely claimed Thursday that Covid-19 infection numbers have dwindled to “almost nothing,” despite there being around 1,000 deaths reported in the U.S. the same day.
In an interview on Fox News’ “The Ingraham Angle,” the president’s son said that medical experts who have been talking about a surge in cases are “truly morons.”
“I went through the CDC data, because I kept hearing about new infections, but I was like, ‘Well why aren’t they talking about this?’” Trump Jr. said. “Oh, oh, because the number is almost nothing. Because we’ve gotten control of this thing, we understand how it works. They have the therapeutics to be able to deal with this.”
“It’s gone to almost nothing,” he repeated
According to the Johns Hopkins university coronavirus tracking figures, the US yesterday recorded 971 deaths, and the highest ever level of new daily cases the university has noted, at 88,521.
Montana, Wyoming and Alaska have the steepest upwards curve, with cases increasing at a rate of over 20%. Louisiana is the only state in the whole of the US showing an increase rate of lower than 3%.
Amy S. Rosenberg at the Philadelphia Inquirer has been in Delaware talking to people from Joe Biden’s home state about the Democratic nominee.
In Delaware, Biden is that ubiquitous homegrown pol it seems so many have met in person, or come close to meeting, or feel like they’ve met. Or maybe they’ve met Beau, when he spoke at their high school or served with their son in the Guard, or their daughter had Jill as a teacher, or they once sold Joe a Thunderbird. Biden’s a guy who has held Delawareans captive in a decades-long love-him-don’t-love-him relationship. As Biden is trying to finally vault to the top of his career goals, Delawareans are holding their breath.
The touches of that sentimental guy known as “Delaware Joe” are everywhere in a trip through the tiny state, from signs over twin garages of their Rehoboth home (Beau’s Gift and Forever Jill), to the counter at Janssen’s, the upscale market near the Biden home in Greenville, a suburb of Wilmington, where meat cutter Bill Keenan notes the “always polite” Jill favors the turkey patties with feta, lately with curbside pickup.
Walking on the Boardwalk earlier this week, Larry Hobbs, public works foreman in Rehoboth, said, “I see what he’s for. He seems to be a people person for real. Honest and transparent.” Hobbs says he views the crime bill Biden supported as a mistake, but, “we all make mistakes.”
Paul Fallon, who lives in Claymont, only met Biden once at a Memorial Day ceremony, where Biden, “came down and shook every hand.”
Standing behind an old “Delaware’s Joe Biden,” sign a bunch of which he says he found by chance one day, Fallon said, “I like him. I trust him.” He added: “I’d vote for a potato besides Trump.”
Americans have bought nearly 17m guns so far in 2020, more than in any other single year, according to estimates from a firearms analytics company.
Gun sales across the United States first jumped in the spring, driven by fears about the coronavirus pandemic, and spiked even higher in the summer, during massive racial justice protests across the country, prompted by police killings of black Americans.
“By August, we had exceeded last year’s total. By September, we exceeded the highest total ever,” said Jurgen Brauer, the chief economist of Small Arms Analytics, which produces widely-cited estimates of US gun sales.
The estimated number of guns sold in the US through the end of September 2020 is “not only more than last year, it’s more than any full year in the last 20 years we have records for”, Brauer said.
The previous record for estimated firearms sold in a single year was 16.6m in 2016, when Hillary Clinton ran for president against Donald Trump and endorsed a strong gun-control platform, he said.
The spike in gun sales comes amid rising tensions and intense political polarization. Citing “the current unrest”, Walmart removed guns and ammunition from display in stores this week, as a “precaution” against theft if stores are robbed, the Wall Street Journal reported. The retailer did not confirm when firearms and ammunition would be put back on display but said that customers could continue to buy guns and ammunition by request.
Read more of Lois Beckett’s report: Americans have bought record 17m guns in year of unrest, analysis finds
Very much more seriously, but still with a Halloween theme, the name of Breonna Taylor may have slipped down the national news agenda but she has not at all been forgotten in Louisville, where last night there was the 155th day of protest in the Kentucky city.
The local Courier Journal reports that last night about 35 protesters marched from the Louisville Free Public Library on York Street followed by supporters in cars during a “No Justice No Halloween” march in her honor. They have a photo gallery of the event.