On the eve of Election Day, President Trump increasingly raised the baseless claim that the Supreme Court’s recent decision on Pennsylvania’s deadline for receiving ballots will open the door to widespread voter fraud — and election night violence. Democratic nominee Joe Biden closed his campaign Monday night exactly how he started it more than a year and a half ago: By telling voters he would be a unifying president if elected.
Biden leads Trump by 10 percentage points nationally, 52 percent to 42 percent, according to an average of national polls since Oct. 26. Biden’s margin in the battleground states of Michigan and Wisconsin is nine points. It’s five points in Pennsylvania, five in North Carolina, four in Arizona and three in Florida.
In election-eve rallies, Trump increasingly raises specter of fraud, violence in Philadelphia
As he barnstormed four states in one final day of campaigning, Trump on Monday increasingly raised the baseless claim that the Supreme Court’s recent decision on Pennsylvania’s deadline for receiving ballots will open the door to widespread voter fraud — and election night violence — in Philadelphia.
In an exchange with reporters after he touched down in Milwaukee on Monday night, Trump was asked whether he’s expecting a “long, late night” tomorrow.
Trump responded by immediately mentioning Philadelphia.
“I’m very concerned about Pennsylvania. Philadelphia is known for bad things happening with voting,” Trump said, without providing any evidence to back up his claim. “You know that, and it’s been known for … a long time. And I’m very concerned when the court allows you to go outside of the November 3rd date, and they allow you to do all sorts of things for an extended period of time. Bad things will happen, and bad things lead to other type things. It’s a very dangerous thing for our country.”
After an event in Pittsburgh on Monday night, Biden was asked about Trump’s claim that there may be violence on election night.
“I’m not going to respond to anything he has to say,” Biden told reporters. “I’m hoping for a straightforward, peaceful election with a lot of people showing up.”
Trump struck a similar note in a tweet Monday night that was later flagged by Twitter as potentially misleading.
And at a campaign rally in Avoca, Pa., Monday afternoon, Trump declared that “you can’t extend the dates,” warning about “the danger that could be caused by that extension — and especially when you know what goes on in Philadelphia, and it’s been going on for years.”
“So, governor, open up your state, and please don’t cheat,” Trump said. “Governor, please don’t cheat, because we’re all watching. We’re all watching you, governor. We have a lot of eyes on the governor and his friends.”
Pennsylvania Gov. Tom Wolf (D) later responded in a tweet.
“Pennsylvanians will not be intimidated,” Wolf said. “You can watch us count every vote and have a fair election.”
Updates continue below advertisement
Biden closes campaign just as he started it: By promising to be a unifying president
Joe Biden closed his campaign Monday night exactly how he started it more than a year and a half ago: By telling voters he would be a unifying president if elected. It was a message the Democratic presidential nominee has stuck to, even when it seemed almost quaint as he struggled in the crowded primary race.
“The only thing that can tear America apart is America itself,” Biden told the crowd at Heinz Field in Pittsburgh, where people honked and cheered from their vehicles.
“No one else can challenge us. That’s exactly what Donald Trump has been doing since the beginning of this campaign: dividing Americans, tearing us apart, pitting Americans against one another based on our race, our gender, ethnicity, our religion. It’s wrong. That’s not who we are.”
The drive-in rally was Biden’s final campaign event before Election Day, and he noted that his first stop after announcing his candidacy — in April 2019 — had been in western Pennsylvania. He chose to make Pittsburgh his last stop, he said, “because you represent the backbone of this country.” (The Keystone State’s 20 electoral college votes could also be critical to either candidate’s pathway to victory.)
As he had for months before, Biden urged voters at the end of his speech to choose “hope over fear,” “unity over division” and “truth over lie after lie after lie.” He promised he would be a president for those who did not vote for him as much as he would for those who had.
“Folks, it’s time to stand up and take back our democracy,” Biden said. “We can do this! We can be better than what we’ve been. We can be who we are at our best: the United States of America.”
The message was the latest presidential tweet to be flagged by the social media company as potentially misleading.
“The Supreme Court decision on voting in Pennsylvania is a VERY dangerous one,” Trump tweeted Monday night as he was on his way to a campaign rally in Kenosha, Wis. “It will allow rampant and unchecked cheating and will undermine our entire systems of laws. It will also induce violence in the streets. Something must be done!”
Last month, the Supreme Court declined to disturb decisions that allow Pennsylvania officials to receive ballots cast by Election Day and received within three days and a ruling by North Carolina’s elections board that set a grace period of nine days.
In both cases, the Republican Party and GOP legislators had opposed the extensions, and Trump has railed on the campaign trail about the mail-in vote.
Twitter flagged Trump’s Monday night message not long after the president posted it. In addition to posting a warning on the tweet, the social media platform also appeared to disable the ability of users to share or “like” it.
“Some or all of the content shared in this Tweet is disputed and might be misleading about an election or other civic process,” the message from Twitter reads.
Updates continue below advertisement
As Election Day arrives, a fight about military ballots takes center stage
Voting by U.S. troops has been thrust into the spotlight as a bitter election campaign comes to a close, with opponents of President Trump alleging that his efforts to limit mail-in voting could disenfranchise military families.
Democrats have raised the issue repeatedly after the president said last week that it would be “very proper and very nice” if a winner was declared on Election Day. Trump added that it was “totally inappropriate” for ballots that arrive later to be included, even though the votes of hundreds of thousands of service members that are sent by mail have been counted afterward for years.
Trump’s opponents have pounced on the comments, suggesting that they show the president is willing to win at all costs, even if doing so hurts military families.
A Nevada state judge on Monday afternoon denied Republicans’ request to force Democratic-leaning Clark County to release some public records related to the election and said other county records would not have to be released until after the election is certified.
The Trump campaign, the Republican National Committee and the Nevada Republican Central Committee had sought images of voters’ signatures on file as well as images of signatures on ballots returned for the general election, potentially a first step in an attempt to challenge ballots on the grounds that signatures did not match. The plaintiffs had also asked for information about the names, party affiliations and shifts worked by election workers responsible for counting ballots, as well as copies of policies and procedures and any correspondence between county officials and voters regarding authenticating ballots.
Judge Elizabeth Gonzalez ruled that some of the requested information, such as detailed information about the transportation of ballots, should remain confidential for security reasons. She decided that other records, such as those related to written policies and procedures, should be produced by Nov. 20, after the election is certified and elections officials have more time to process records requests.
The judge also decided that county officials were required to disclose only records in existence at the time of the requests. Republicans, who filed three separate requests in October, had in some instances asked for records to be produced on a rolling basis as they became available.
“How on earth can you ask in a public information request for documents that have yet to come into existence?” Gonzalez had asked a lawyer representing the plaintiffs during a brief hearing Monday.
In her order, Gonzalez did not mention the plaintiffs’ requests for signature files. She wrote that any of the plaintiffs’ records requests not specifically identified in her order should be considered denied.
Dan Kulin, a spokesman for Clark County, said county officials were pleased with the decision. Representatives for the Nevada GOP and the Trump campaign did not immediately respond to a request for comment.
Updates continue below advertisement
Ivanka Trump assures Iowa crowd that a coronavirus vaccine is coming by year’s end
DES MOINES — Ivanka Trump, first daughter and senior adviser to President Trump, rallied a crowd of about 400 people here Monday, telling them a vaccine for the coronavirus is due by “end of the year.”
“We will defeat the plague and bring back your jobs, and 2021 will be the greatest year in American history,” she said in remarks that both quoted Winston Churchill and defended her father’s notorious all-caps rage tweets. “I recognize my father’s communication style is not to everyone else’s taste,” she said. “I’m told his tweets can be unfiltered. But the results speak for themselves.”
Trump invited Republican Sen. Joni Ernst to the stage for two minutes and endorsed her in a race that’s too close to predict. A Des Moines Register/Mediacom Iowa Poll released Sunday shows that Ernst leads 46 percent to 42 percent over Democrat Theresa Greenfield.
Former White House press secretary Sarah Sanders introduced Trump and then spent her five minutes disparaging the media and lauding her former boss. Both were onstage at one point with Ernst, who said they represented “girl power” in Washington. The phrase resonated with Jason Patterson, 42, of nearby Arkeny. “It was Donald Trump who empowered these wonderful conservative women” said Patterson, who was inspired by “seeing like-minded people get together.”
Updates continue below advertisement
Trump to appear on ‘Fox & Friends’ the morning of Election Day
Trump will be interviewed on Fox News on Tuesday morning, the network announced Monday night.
The “Fox & Friends” appearance, slated for the 7 a.m. hour, will mark Trump’s 118th interview with a Fox media outlet as president, according to a Washington Post tally.
Interviews on Fox outlets — including Fox News Channel, Fox Business Network and Fox Radio Network — have made up more than 30 percent of Trump’s interviews as president, far more than any other outlet.
Updates continue below advertisement
Federal monitors to be stationed 100 feet outside of Minneapolis polling sites after election official raises concerns
MINNEAPOLIS — Federal officials coming to Minneapolis to monitor for election law violations will be positioned Tuesday outside a 100-foot security zone set up around polling places, a perimeter prompted after a top Minnesota official questioned whether the Justice Department plan would violate state election laws.
The department’s plan, announced Monday, will send staff to 44 jurisdictions across 18 states. Minnesota Secretary of State Steve Simon told reporters his office had been given “no advance” notice and pointed to a state law that is “very explicit and very clear” about who can be inside polling sites. “Under Minnesota law, there is no automatic right of law enforcement to go … for any purpose into a polling place, unless they are invited in,” Simon said.
A Justice Department spokesman said lawyers from the agency’s Civil Rights Division had been in touch with secretary of state’s offices across the country about their Election Day monitoring plans. “The monitors are distributed across the country, as we have in prior federal election years,” spokesman Matt Lloyd said in a statement. “Every federal election year, the department makes a new assessment of where the department should be and sends out staff based on that assessment.”
Risikat Adesaogun, a spokeswoman for Simon’s office, later confirmed that federal officials had contacted it to say they would be working with the city of Minneapolis on issues Tuesday. But she said that the department did not offer any advanced guidance on exactly what the agency would be doing and that state officials only learned of the plans through media reports Monday morning. She said Simon and others remain “concerned.”
The degree of cooperation between Justice Department officials and the city of Minneapolis was unclear. City spokeswoman Sarah McKenzie noted in a subsequent statement that 14 federal monitors will be located outside of the 100-foot buffer zone. “It is the city’s understanding that those monitors will contact the city with any concerns about anything they might observe.”
Updates continue below advertisement
South Florida post office finds 62 ballots stuck in massive mail backlog
U.S. Postal Service officials found 62 misplaced ballots in a post office in South Florida in a backlog of 180,000 mail items, the agency reported to a federal court Monday.
All but one of the ballots found at the Princeton Post Office in Homestead, Fla., were delivered as of Monday, Justice Department lawyers representing the Postal Service wrote in a court filing. The lone undelivered ballot was mailed to a new development that did not have a mailbox, according to the filing. It was returned to the sender.
Video that showed the mail backlog — and what appeared to be ballots — at the post office shook the Sunshine State and both presidential campaigns over the weekend. Florida House Democratic Leader Kionne McGhee posted the footage on Twitter, and within hours Judge Emmet G. Sullivan of the U.S. District Court for the District of Columbia ordered the Postal Service to provide daily updates on the status of operations at the post office.
Miami-Dade County State Attorney Katherine Rundle (D) requested an audit of all postal distribution centers and ordered any lingering mail ballots be transported to elections officials.
“The Postal Service is as old as the Declaration of Independence and what we are seeing is that institution, that number one form of communication that Americans depend on, come under attack,” McGhee said in an interview. “I commend the federal judge for his effective and efficient order to the postmaster general on enduring that our democracy remains intact.”
The Postal Service said it began an investigation of the mail backlog Friday and has officials from its Office of Inspector General and the U.S. Postal Inspection Service, its law enforcement agency, at the facility to oversee operations. In addition, 58 postal workers are sorting through the backlog to search for more election mail.
Sullivan on Sunday ordered the Postal Service to reissue commands to take “extraordinary measures” to ensure the timely delivery of ballot mail and directed that every postal facility certify by 10 a.m. each morning that it has completed an “all clear” search for election mail and handed off any ballots that remain through a pickup from local election officials or a special delivery to the election office.
Ballot propositions in California and other states could change the tech industry
Tech companies aren’t just watching the outcome of the presidential election. Several high-profile state ballot initiatives could have a major impact on Silicon Valley.
Across the country, voters in some states will weigh in on initiatives that could shape the future of gig workers’ rights, privacy and even how devices are repaired.
States have emerged as a major driver of tech regulation in the absence of action from Washington. And it’s likely that outcomes of some state measures could shape the debate at the federal level about how digital privacy should be regulated, or whether Uber and Lyft should have to make drivers employees instead of contractors.
Yet tech trade groups would prefer these policies be developed through the traditional legislative process.
Making his closing arguments to voters in Pennsylvania, Biden on Monday evening said he could begin to reunite a nation divided by Trump and also made a direct appeal to Black voters.
“Tomorrow we can put an end to a presidency that has failed to protect this nation,” Biden said to a honking crowd during the drive-in rally. “Tomorrow we can we can put an end to a presidency that has fanned the flames of hate across this nation, pouring gasoline on every racial incident in this country.”
Both Trump and Biden visited the state Monday, appealing to working-class and urban voters who might not yet have made up their minds. Unlike during his earlier remarks in Monaca, Pa., in which he highlighted his pro-military and pro-union bona fides, Biden in his evening speech argued that America was eager for racial reconciliation, at one point loudly declaring that, “Black … lives … matter!”
“The country is ready,” Biden said. “But not with Donald Trump as president … Honk if you think Donald Trump has done more for Black people than anyone since Abraham Lincoln,” as the president claimed during a recent debate.
“Honk if you think it’s a bunch of malarkey!” Biden said, to a cacophony of honking horns.
Biden invoked the names of George Floyd, Breonna Taylor, Jacob Blake and Walter Wallace Jr., all victims of police violence. Wallace was killed one week ago across the state, in Philadelphia. Biden said Floyd’s 6-year-old daughter told him, “Daddy is going to change the world.”
Biden ran off a list of perceived offenses by Trump, from questioning the legitimacy of former president Barack Obama’s birth certificate to his “stand back and stand by” remarks during the first presidential debate, when Trump was asked to disavow white supremacists.
Biden went further, though, saying police and criminal justice reform is not the only way voting for him would benefit Black people. He talked of an equal chance to build wealth and start businesses.
States begin readying National Guard for potential election unrest
Governors have readied National Guard members for duty ahead of Tuesday’s election, signaling concerns that unrest may ignite during the most divisive presidential race in recent history.
Massachusetts Gov. Charlie Baker (R) alerted up to 1,000 Guard members on Monday to provide assistance to state and local law enforcement should the need arise, Baker’s office said, and “to maintain public safety or protect opportunities to exercise first amendment rights during large scale events.”
Authorities are not aware of any specific threats against polling sites, Massachusetts State Police Col. Christopher Mason said in a statement.
Montana on Monday became the third state to have already had more votes cast in 2020 than were cast in 2016, and it’s not even Election Day.
More than 517,000 ballots have been cast in Montana already, far outpacing both ballots cast before Election Day (298,000) and total votes (516,900) in 2016. The state is one of many that expanded access to mail-in voting, and also features contested races for the Senate, governor and an at-large House seat.
Early in-person voting is still underway in many states, and mail-in ballots continue to flow in. Washington, Nevada, New Mexico and North Carolina have all reached at least 95 percent of their 2016 total vote count already.
Arizona activists push to turn out young Latino voters
PHOENIX — Get-out-the-vote efforts in the battleground state of Arizona were going strong Monday, with a special push for younger people of color. Many groups are targeting the growing voting-age Latino population, which they hope will eventually turn Arizona blue for good.
Staff at NextGen Arizona started texting and calling at 7 a.m., said Jordan Iglesias, the group’s 23-year-old deputy organizing director. They had started by targeting the most likely voters, then moved on to the less likely ones in promising districts where recent races have been won by thin margins. On Sunday, the group made 84,000 calls aimed at flipping Arizona, according to Iglesias.
Joe Garcia, executive director of the Chicanos por la Causa Action Fund, said he thinks this election will show that candidates in Arizona — and, increasingly, nationwide — need Latinos to win. The state is at a tipping point as a wave of largely Democratic-voting Latinos come of voting age. “It’s a tsunami change in the political landscape of Arizona,” Garcia said Monday. The nonprofit group’s director of advocacy and civic engagement, Lydia Guzman, said that the final day of mobilization could really make a difference. Supporters’ efforts could be as simple as reaching out to friends and family members to check that they have voted. It could mean offering a ride.
“Pick up your mom,” she said. “Pick up your Nana.”