Democratic nominee Joe Biden is 17 electoral votes away from a victory in the presidential race, projected by Edison Research to flip Michigan and Wisconsin. Alaska, Pennsylvania, North Carolina, Georgia, Arizona, and Nevada remain uncalled.
Trump, his son and top members of his campaign advanced a set of conspiracy theories about the vote-tallying process to claim that Democrats were rigging the final count.
Eric Trump tweeted a video, first pushed out by an account associated with the far-right QAnon conspiracy theory, that purported to show someone burning ballots cast for his father. The materials turned out to be sample ballots, and Twitter quickly suspended the original account that circulated the misleading clip.
PHOENIX — More than 100 protesters — many with pro-Trump flags and signs — gathered Wednesday night outside the ballot-counting center in Arizona’s biggest county, which has been live-streaming its process.
They chanted “let us in!” and “count the votes” and “we love Trump." They also shouted “stop the steal,” referring to Trump’s baseless claims about the vote-counting process.
Democratic presidential nominee Joe Biden late Wednesday was declared the winner in Wisconsin, but President Trump’s campaign manager, Bill Stepien, said Trump would request a recount of the state’s ballots. Here’s what we know about that process.
Do Wisconsin rules allow President Trump to request a recount?
Yes. Under state law, a recount is automatically conducted at state expense when the margin separating two candidates is less than 0.25 percent. However, a candidate is allowed to request a recount any time the margin is less than 1 percent, provided the campaign agrees to pay. Unofficial tallies on Wednesday showed that Biden was leading Trump by about 0.6 percent in the state, or about 20,500 votes — close enough to allow Trump to request a recount but not for it to occur automatically. Trump defeated Hillary Clinton in Wisconsin by 22,748 votes in 2016.
Trump’s lead in votes counted in Georgia narrowed to fewer than 32,000 by Wednesday night, as the state’s most populous and Democratic counties tally the remainder of their absentee and early votes.
There were about 91,000 absentee and early ballots left to count in the state as of Wednesday night, with the majority of those ballots remaining in the Democratic stronghold counties of Fulton and DeKalb, according to the secretary of state’s office.
Secretary of State Brad Raffensperger (R) said in a briefing earlier Wednesday that he was pushing for the vast majority of votes to be counted by the end of the day.
“I want everyone to know within the sound of my voice that every legal vote in Georgia will count,” Raffensperger said.
But later that day, he said counting may continue into Thursday morning.
“It’s important to act quickly, but it’s more important to get it right,” Raffensperger said.
Fulton County officials said Wednesday they had about 42,400 ballots left to be opened, scanned and adjudicated, which is a process through which an elections panel reviews the ballot before entering the results. An additional 25,000 ballots have been scanned and are awaiting adjudication, they said. An adjudication review panel was to meet at 2 p.m.
A small team of Fulton County registration and election workers processed absentee ballots overnight, and a larger team continued that work at 8:30 a.m. Wednesday, the county said in a statement.
Fulton County is the state’s most populous and reliably Democratic.
In DeKalb County — one of the state’s largest and most diverse, home to part of Atlanta and its suburbs — election officials were processing and counting about 48,000 absentee ballots as of early Wednesday afternoon, Erica Hamilton, head of the county’s election office, said in a statement.
Hillary Clinton carried 79 percent of the DeKalb vote in 2016, and with thousands of votes still to count at 1:30 p.m., Biden had won 83 percent.
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Anti-Trump protesters halt traffic on major highway in Minneapolis
Protests over the unsettled outcome of the presidential election broke out Wednesday night in Minneapolis, where demonstrators blocked a highway, and in New York City.
In Minneapolis, several hundred marchers blocked traffic on Interstate 94 — a major artery in the city — in protest of Trump’s presidency but also as a warning that Biden might not deliver the “change” they are looking for.
More than two dozen groups helped organize the protest, including local labor unions and racial justice groups such as Black Lives Matter. Many carried signs referring to the still-uncertain election outcome, including “Count All Votes” and “Stop Trump.”
But in a city that remains deeply on edge five months after the death of George Floyd while in police custody, many marchers sought to put pressure on a potential Biden administration. They called on the former vice president to support police reform and to do more to assist people of color who have been hard hit by the coronavirus and the resulting economic fallout.
While the march was mostly peaceful, members of the Minnesota State Patrol, some clad in riot gear, soon approached and began making arrests when the group refused to leave the highway.
Earlier in the day in New York City, a large march had taken over part of Fifth Avenue. Anti-Trump protests had converged in Washington Square Park. From there, activists continued on in different directions. New York police tweeted that they arrested more than 20 people “who attempted to hijack a peaceful protest by lighting fires, throwing garbage and eggs in Manhattan.”
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Nearly 340,000 early ballots uncounted in Maricopa County; Nevada waiting to update vote totals
Nearly 340,000 early ballots and more than 17,000 provisional ballots still have to be counted in Maricopa County, Arizona’s most populous, according to election officials’ estimates late Wednesday.
A new batch of ballots reported by Maricopa County on Wednesday night favored Trump, who won 58 percent of the new ballots compared with Biden’s 40 percent, narrowing the race. (The Libertarian ticket got just under 2 percent.) Biden currently leads Trump in counted ballots by about 80,000 votes.
Maricopa County’s vote-counting tallies will be updated after 1 a.m. Eastern time and then daily at 9 p.m. Eastern going forward.
Election officials there say more than 6,000 early ballots have yet to be verified.
In Nevada, meanwhile, state election officials said Wednesday evening that they would not release new counts until Thursday at noon Eastern time.
Officials in Washoe County, home to Reno, said they hoped to finish tabulating all 9,000 outstanding mail-in ballots for reporting Thursday morning. More than 5,000 additional ballots — provisional ballots and those cast with same-day registrations — will also have to be tabulated in Washoe. In addition, election officials must count any mail ballot that was postmarked by Nov. 3 and that arrives by Nov. 10.
Deanna Spikula, the county voter registrar, emphasized the need for patience.
“I know everyone is eager to get the final results in the state tomorrow, but I caution everyone to wait,” Spikula said.
In more populous Clark County, home to Las Vegas, election officials did not say how many additional ballots they had counted Wednesday.
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Republicans don’t get hoped-for pickup in Michigan as Peters projected to hold Senate seat
Sen. Gary Peters (D-Mich.) is projected to win reelection, according to Edison Research, fending off a well-funded challenge from John James, a business executive and veteran seen as a rising Republican star.
The one-term incumbent was one of just two Democrats facing competitive reelection fights this year. The other, Sen. Doug Jones of Alabama, lost his race.
“I am sincerely honored that the voters of Michigan have once again put their trust and confidence in me to represent them in the United States Senate,” Peters said in a statement. “As we look ahead, I am energized to keep working to move our state forward and continue putting Michigan first.”
Peters’s reelection wasn’t one of the highest-profile Senate races, but he made headlines in the final weeks of the campaign after he opened up about a personal experience with abortion in an interview with Elle magazine, saying that an emergency abortion saved the life of his wife at the time, Heidi, in the 1980s.
Peters said he was compelled to tell the story following the confirmation hearings for Amy Coney Barrett, who was subsequently confirmed to the Supreme Court.
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9:21 p.m.Senate call
Gary Peters, a Democrat, has won the Senate race in Michigan, according to Edison Research.
Some prominent liberals took to social media to present mixed views of the election. Their comments reflected some concern on the left about the durability of Trump’s base, areas where Biden struggled with Latino voters and other issues.
As the outcome remained in doubt, some champions of Sen. Bernie Sanders (I-Vt.) suggested he would have been victorious as the Democratic nominee, stoking debate on social media.
In fourth state challenge, Trump campaign files suit against Georgia county over ballot handling
The Trump campaign and Georgia Republican Party on Wednesday evening sued election officials in Chatham County, home of Savannah, alleging that ballots arriving after the 7 p.m. deadline may have been mixed in with eligible ballots and improperly counted.
The suit seeks the names of all voters whose ballots arrived after the 7 p.m. deadline. It suggested that confusion regarding the state’s ballot deadline, which was the subject of litigation this year as voting-rights advocates sought to extend the deadline to account for mail delays, may have led to the counting of ineligible ballots.
The suit claims that a poll watcher for the Georgia GOP witnessed about 50 ballots being handled in a way that he was concerned did not conform with state law. The suit does not say whether that happened before or after the 7 p.m. deadline had passed.
Georgia law requires that ballots arriving after the deadline must be stored safely and unopened — and ultimately destroyed.
Voting-rights advocates decried the maneuver and said it was an attempt to hold back votes for Biden, who was trailing Trump by less than 48,000 votes in the state.
“It is a bunch of desperation that will not work,” said Lauren Groh-Wargo, who runs Fair Fight Action, the voting-rights organization founded by former Democratic gubernatorial candidate Stacey Abrams. “Biden is going to carry Georgia once all the outstanding vote and provisionals that are largely Democrats are all in.”
DETROIT — With Michigan's 16 electoral votes becoming critical to the outcome of the election, tensions rose Wednesday as President Trump's campaign asked the courts to stop vote-counting in the state and Republican demonstrators loudly demanded access to a downtown venue here where ballots were being tallied.
The brief frenzy of activity came not long before Edison Research projected that Joe Biden, Trump’s Democratic challenger, would win Michigan, which had been one of the pivotal remaining battlegrounds determining who would prevail in the bitterly fought election. Wednesday’s tallying of Michigan’s ballots stretched the outcome past Election Day, and those cast here, in a deeply blue city, pushed Biden’s lead to nearly 70,000 votes with 98 percent of the ballots counted as of late in the day.
Trump has repeatedly assailed the voting process, making baseless claims of fraud, including in a string of Twitter posts since the election ended with the outcome unresolved and several states still counting ballots. On Wednesday, his campaign announced plans for legal challenges not just in Michigan but in other key states.
Fewer than 300 votes separate candidates in Iowa’s 2nd District
By Mark Guarino7:04 p.m.
State Sen. Mariannette Miller-Meeks (R) was leading her U.S. House race against Democrat Rita Hart by 282 votes on Wednesday. If her lead holds, Miller-Meeks would flip the seat: Incumbent Democrat David Loebsack is retiring after seven terms.
But only 89 percent of the total votes cast had been counted by late Wednesday afternoon, and mail-in ballots have until Nov. 9 to arrive and be counted. A total of 393,963 votes have been reported so far.
Despite the outstanding ballots and slim margin, Miller-Meeks, a former director of the Iowa Department of Public Health, declared herself the winner early Wednesday.
“You are now looking at the new congresswoman for the 2nd Congressional District of Iowa,” she told supporters. “We started this campaign last October based upon a person who never gave up fighting, never quit on themselves, never quit on their future and never quit on the future of the American Dream.”
The Hart campaign released a statement noting that more than 12,000 absentee ballots remain outstanding, including 4,000 from Johnson County, which Hart already won.
“Over the coming days, we will ensure that Iowans’ voices are heard and that remaining votes are counted,” the statement said.
The 24-county 2nd District includes Iowa City but is primarily rural, Jasper County Democratic Party Chairperson Michelle Smith said. “We’re going to have to figure out how to get the message to resonate with the rural voters,” she said. “Trump blew it out of the water here. It’s embarrassing.”
Trump, Biden call a ‘lid,’ meaning they don’t plan to be seen publicly again today
Both the Trump White House and the Biden campaign called “a lid” for the day, a signal to the reporters and photographers who cover them that the candidates don’t intend to be seen publicly again or leave their respective homes.
A lid can always be lifted if news requires a public appearance, but as of now, neither camp expects to make any more news today. Both candidates can still tweet, which is how Trump primarily communicates. The president also has been known to call into a news show or announce an impromptu news conference after a lid was called.
Although the president did not make a public appearance on Wednesday after his overnight speech to supporters, he has been tweeting throughout the day — most recently to lay claim to states where he currently holds a precarious lead as more mail-in ballots are tallied.
“We have claimed, for Electoral Vote purposes, the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania (which won’t allow legal observers) the State of Georgia, and the State of North Carolina, each one of which has a BIG Trump lead,” the president tweeted. “Additionally, we hereby claim the State of Michigan if, in fact there was a large number of secretly dumped ballots as has been widely reported!”
Twitter placed a warning on the tweet: “Some or all of the content shared in this Tweet is disputed and might be misleading about an election or other civic process.” It also appended to the president’s tweet the additional context that “official sources may not have called the race when this was tweeted.”
Protesters converge on Detroit voting center as election officials count ballots
A group of protesters converged Wednesday afternoon on a facility in Detroit where election administrators are counting absentee ballots, demanding to watch the process alongside credentialed challengers who have been monitoring the tabulation of votes.
Videos posted by local media showed dozens of protesters streaming into the TCF Center in the city’s downtown. Some could be heard banging on windows, chanting “stop the count,” while others tried to force their way into the ballot counting area, according to a live stream posted by the Detroit Free Press. Outside the center, another group of demonstrators chanted, “count every vote.”
Shortly afterward, security officers shut the doors to the room where officials were tallying votes, barring any more people from entering, the Free Press reported. Guards could be seen in social media videos blocking the entrance, while election workers inside partially covered the windows with white posters.
The chair of Michigan’s Republican Party called the protesters “poll challengers,” although it wasn’t immediately clear if anyone from the group was credentialed for that purpose.
Lawrence Garcia, a city attorney for Detroit, said roughly equal numbers of Democrat and Republican election challengers had been watching poll workers count absentee ballots early in the day Wednesday. One challenger from each party is allowed at each of the center’s 134 “counting boards,” the panels of poll workers who tabulate the votes.
By midafternoon, Garcia said, the center’s sign-in book showed more than 250 Democrats and 225 Republicans were inside, crowding the room where counting was taking place.
“When we saw that, we said, ‘Whoops, we’d better stop people from coming in until we get a better number,’” Garcia told The Post. “A lot of people screamed and shouted, but they responded to the police when then told them to calm down.”
The situation cooled later in the day. About 6 p.m., a couple dozen people were still lingering outside, Garcia said.
“There were two or three hours where things were testy in the sense that people wanted to get in,” he said. “That’s okay in a democracy. It was just passionate advocacy for their point of view.”
3:57 p.m.House call
Victoria Spartz, a Republican, has won in the 5th District of Indiana, according to Edison Research.