This coverage has ended. Follow here for Saturday’s updates.

White House chief of staff Mark Meadows has tested positive for coronavirus, according to an administration official with knowledge of the diagnosis. This comes a little more than a month after President Trump and other members of his family and inner circle tested positive. The White House declined to comment Friday.

Also Friday, former vice president Joe Biden addressed the public, acknowledging that votes were still being tabulated but expressing confidence he would soon be able to claim a win.

“My fellow Americans, we don’t have a final declaration of victory yet, but the numbers … tell us a clear and convincing story. We’re going to win this race," Biden said from Delaware.

The latest on vote counting in the states still in play …
  • Pennsylvania: Biden leads by close to 29,000 votes in the count.
  • Georgia: Biden leads in the count by about 4,400 votes. Counties have finished counting early and absentee ballots and are focused on provisional ballots.
  • Nevada: Biden leads in the count by more than 22,000 votes. More vote counts are expected at noon Eastern time on Saturday.
  • Arizona: Biden’s lead in the vote count is just under 30,000 votes. Maricopa County, the state’s largest, has about 72,000 early ballots left to process and count, 5,000 early ballots to verify and 15,000 provisional ballots to process as of 9 p.m. Eastern on Friday, according to its elections department.
6:09 a.m.
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Trump, Biden supporters face off in Detroit after police probe bomb threat and briefly seize ‘Trump Unity’ float

By Emily Wax-Thibodeaux

Police warned a group of squabbling President Trump supporters and counter-demonstrators to separate in downtown Detroit on Friday night — with law enforcement eventually closing the roads — and the owner of a giant, traveling shrine to the president was briefly arrested and his vehicle was impounded.

The protest broke up just before 10 p.m., police said, after a tense and often bizarre day that included an evening investigation of a false bomb threat at the convention center.

The day began with the abrupt closing of the Wayne County Treasurer’s Office after threats to “storm the building,” police said. Detroit is the Wayne County seat.

Democratic presidential candidate Joe Biden was declared the winner of Michigan’s 16 electoral votes on Wednesday, in a state that’s part of what’s known as the “blue wall” and often a key to winning the presidency along with other Rust Belt states such as Wisconsin and Pennsylvania.

Michigan had long been Democratic but flipped in 2016 and helped elect Trump.

Detroit police Chief James Craig said the police had intelligence that armed groups would come to the city on Friday.

County treasurer Eric Sabree said in a statement that he closed his office “in the interest of the safety of taxpayers and our staff,” after law enforcement heard about threats to take over the building and demand a ballot recount.

But the protests remained largely a war of words, with pro-Trump demonstrators calling the city and the election results, “corrupt and a fraud,” and yelling “Stop the steal,” although there has been no evidence of vote fraud.

Pro-Biden demonstrators called out, “No more years” and “Black Lives Matter.”

In the end, though, the only person arrested was Rob Cortis, a Livonia, Mich., man and owner of the “Trump Unity Bridge,” a traveling shrine-like float to Trump, decorated with eagles, “Build the Wall” and “Trump Unity” in massive letters along with “Blue Lives Matter” signs.

Cortis had an outstanding warrant against him for disturbing the peace in Canton Township. His float — a GMC Yukon XL SUV with a trailer — also has an invalid license plate, police said.

Traveling in the giant altar with a large “Trump 2020” flag, Cortis claims to have campaigned across the country from D.C. to Los Angeles, according to his float’s Facebook page.

Cortis was warned by police to stay out Detroit on Wednesday because his plates were invalid and one said “Keep America Great,” police said.

Local news reports and videos on social media show him screaming, “Help, help” as he was arrested and put into a police vehicle.

Detroit Police Sgt. Nicole Kirkwood said he was “blocking traffic and playing loud music and we had given him a warning.”

His “vehicle was impounded” briefly, police said, but later in the evening, Cortis was released along with his vehicle.

Cortis did not respond immediately to messages left on his phone and on his float’s Facebook page.

4:43 a.m.
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White House chief of staff Mark Meadows has the coronavirus, official says

By Amy B Wang and Josh Dawsey

White House chief of staff Mark Meadows has tested positive for the coronavirus, according to an official with knowledge of the situation.

The diagnosis comes a little more than a month after Trump and other members of his family and inner circle also tested positive for the virus. About two weeks ago, Meadows appeared on CNN to say the administration had effectively given up on trying to slow the virus’s spread.

On Election Day, Meadows visited the Trump campaign headquarters in Arlington, Va., where he was photographed without a mask. Meadows was also among those in the East Room of the White House when Trump gave remarks around 3 a.m. Wednesday to a crowd of about 150 of his top aides, donors and allies.

4:15 a.m.
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Biden urges patience, unity in speech from Chase Center: ‘We’re going to win this race’

By Amy B Wang and Derek Hawkins

Joe Biden and Sen. Kamala D. Harris took the stage at Chase Center together just before 11 p.m. Friday, addressing the public for the first time in a long day of waiting as states continued counting outstanding ballots.

Biden acknowledged that votes were still being tabulated but expressed confidence he would soon be able to claim a win. He and Harris lead in four of the six states where the race has not yet been called.

“My fellow Americans, we don’t have a final declaration of victory yet but the numbers tell a clear and convincing story: We’re going to win this race,” Biden said.

Biden said he and Harris were on track to over 300 electoral college votes and to win the race with a clear majority.

“I know watching these vote tallies on TV moves very slow, slow, and it’s as slow as it goes,” Biden said. “It can be numbing, but never forget the tallies aren’t just numbers. They represent votes and voters.”

As he has in previous addresses this week, Biden turned to the coronavirus pandemic that has killed at least 235,000 Americans since February. He emphasized again that bringing the pandemic under control would be his priority in the White House.

“On Day One, we’re going to put our plan to control this virus into action,” Biden said. “We can’t save any of the lives lost ... but we can save a lot of lives in the months ahead.”

He closed by urging patience as states finished counting ballots.

“Remember, we have to remain calm, patient, let the process work out as we count all the votes,” Biden said. “You know, we’re proving again what we’ve proved for 244 years in this country. Democracy works. Your vote will be counted. I don’t care how hard people try to stop, I will not let it happen.”

3:04 a.m.
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Stacey Abrams garners praise from Democrats on the verge of achieving a long-held dream: Flipping Georgia

By Vanessa Williams and Reis Thebault

Stacey Abrams did not deny her anger when Republican Brian Kemp was declared the winner of the Georgia governor’s race two years ago, after a bitter contest marred by widespread irregularities and allegations of voter suppression.

Instead, she channeled that anger into the work she had started years before to organize and mobilize an army of voters to break the Republican Party’s lock on state politics and create a government that looked more like the new Georgia.

That army, anchored in metro Atlanta and in smaller pockets of predominantly Black cities and counties, helped to push former vice president Joe Biden several thousand votes ahead of President Trump in the state this week. Now Democrats are on the verge of achieving a long-held dream: flipping Georgia, which hasn’t voted for their presidential nominee since 1992.

2:34 a.m.
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Maricopa County releases additional batch, bringing Biden’s lead in Arizona to 29,861

By Lenny Bronner and Amy B Wang

Maricopa County, the largest county in Arizona, just released the count from an additional batch of ballots, bringing Biden’s statewide lead down to 29,861.

The latest votes from the county, which includes Phoenix and its suburbs, split 53 percent to 47 percent for Trump. Of the 71,932 ballots in the latest batch, Trump received 38,388 votes and Biden received 31,433 votes.

However, if this trend continues for the remaining votes left to be counted — approximately 170,000 — it would not be enough for Trump to take the lead in Arizona from Biden. Trump needs to win approximately 60 percent of the outstanding ballots to overtake Biden.

2:29 a.m.
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Biden to give public remarks tonight

By Amy B Wang

Biden is expected to give public remarks Friday night, even if the presidential race hasn’t been called, according to a campaign aide.

Biden and Harris have been hunkered down in Wilmington, Del., for most of the day, waiting to see if calls would be made in remaining states that would put them over 270 electoral college votes. Biden will probably talk about the progress he has made in the vote count since Thursday and their campaign’s confidence that he would soon be declaring victory, an aide said.

Sen. Christopher A. Coons (D-Del.), a Biden ally, told reporters Friday that they did not expect a race call out of Pennsylvania until tomorrow.

“I have not spoken directly to the vice president,” Coons also said. “I think the folks around him are staying calm and being appropriate respecting voters and respecting the process.”

1:57 a.m.
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Georgia to hold January runoffs for two seats that could determine Senate control, Edison Research projects

By Paulina Firozi and Reis Thebault

Republican Sen. David Perdue and Democratic challenger Jon Ossoff will head to a runoff race after neither candidate received 50 percent of the vote, Edison Research projects. Georgia election rules require a candidate to get to 50 percent to win outright.

In the special election for the state’s other Senate seat, a runoff will pit Raphael Warnock (D) against Sen. Kelly Loeffler (R), who was appointed to the seat. The two emerged as the top vote-getters in a crowded primary in which Rep. Douglas A. Collins (R) also sought the seat; Warnock has 33 percent of the vote and Loeffler 26 percent.

Democrats have not traditionally performed well in runoffs in the state, and the top of the ticket will not be on the ballot in January to help turn out voters for down-ballot races.

“Now this race is headed to a runoff,” Ossoff said at a morning news conference in Atlanta’s Grant Park. “And the people of Georgia will decide on January 5, 2021, who represents us in the United States Senate. We have all the momentum, we have all the energy, we’re on the right side of history. Y’all ready to work?”

When asked whether he would coordinate with the Warnock campaign ahead of the runoff, Ossoff said, “Absolutely.”

In a statement Thursday, Perdue’s campaign manager, Ben Fry, said, “If overtime is required when all of the votes have been counted, we’re ready, and we will win.”

The head of the campaign arm of Senate Republicans expressed confidence earlier this week in Perdue’s chances in January.

“David Perdue won this race in regular time and will do the same in overtime,” National Republican Senatorial Committee Executive Director Kevin McLaughlin said in a statement.

1:23 a.m.
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Federal judge rejects GOP request to intervene in Clark County ballot-processing

By Emma Brown

A federal judge in Nevada on Friday swiftly rejected Republicans’ request to intervene in the counting of ballots in Clark County, finding that they had provided little-to-no evidence that the county’s procedures violated state law or had caused harm.

The plaintiffs — two GOP congressional candidates, a voter and a person described as a credentialed member of the media — made much the same arguments that the Nevada Republican Party and Trump campaign made unsuccessfully in state courts in recent days.

They argued that Clark County has been illegally using a machine to verify signatures on some mail ballots and illegally preventing “meaningful” access to observation of ballot-counting. They asked Judge Andrew P. Gordon to step in and require the county to allow observers to get closer to election workers, and they asked him to require all remaining ballots to be manually reviewed — a mandate that would undoubtedly slow down an already slow count to determine the winner of Nevada’s six electoral college votes.

Gordon was skeptical of their argument from the start of a two-hour hearing Friday, pointing to an opinion by Supreme Court Justice Brett M. Kavanaugh in which he discouraged district judges from interfering with legislatures’ decisions about election administration.

“You’re asking me, it seems, to ignore Justice Kavanaugh’s direction,” Gordon told lawyer David O’Mara, who also represented the Trump campaign and the Nevada GOP in their state lawsuits.

1:04 a.m.
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Two charged with carrying weapons near Philadelphia vote-counting site amid election tensions

By Maura Ewing, Rachel Weiner, Craig Timberg and Mark Berman

PHILADELPHIA — Prosecutors here charged two Virginia men with weapons violations after police arrested them while they carried guns near the convention center, where votes from the presidential election have been counted this week amid dueling demonstrations outside.

Police said the FBI received a tip Thursday about an armed group traveling from Virginia to Philadelphia, one of the cities where the ongoing vote-counting has spurred sometimes tense protests. Police found the car associated with the tip, and then the men, on Thursday night.

Since Election Day ended Tuesday with several key states undecided, demonstrators have gathered outside vote-counting sites in cities including Detroit, Atlanta and Phoenix, in some cases shouting and demanding access while questioning the legitimacy of the vote counting process.

1:02 a.m.
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Justice Alito temporarily grants Pennsylvania GOP request to enforce segregation of late ballots

By Elise Viebeck and Robert Barnes

Legal jockeying in Pennsylvania intensified Friday as Republicans asked the U.S. Supreme Court to ensure county election officials were segregating mail ballots delivered after Election Day, the latest effort by the GOP to use the courts to intervene in the vote count as former vice president Joe Biden’s advantage grew.

On Friday evening, Justice Samuel A. Alito Jr., who received the petition because he is the justice responsible for that region, approved the GOP request for now. He called for a response from state officials by Saturday afternoon.

Even if the high court were to ultimately side with Republicans, the impact would likely be muted: Pennsylvania officials said they are already setting aside the small number of mail ballots that have arrived since Tuesday.

12:43 a.m.
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Wisconsin Republican group urged Pennsylvania Trump supporters to turn in absentee ballots after deadline

By Kim Bellware

KENOSHA, Wis. — As Trump’s allies in battleground states look for ways to stave off defeat, a group of Republicans here has encouraged Republicans in Pennsylvania to submit absentee ballots after the Nov. 3 deadline.

Kenosha For Trump blasted out an urgent email Thursday evening that read, “Trump Victory urgently needs volunteers to make phone calls to Pennsylvania Trump supporters to return their absentee ballots. These phone calls will help President Trump win the election!”

The email, first reported by the Milwaukee Journal-Sentinel, was sent from a Gmail account and not an official Trump campaign email address.

“The e-mail in question was sent by an unaffiliated local group and any related social media posts have been taken down,” Trump Victory spokesperson Anna Kelly said in a statement.

The group’s call-to-action came two days after the deadline for ballots to be postmarked. Ballots postmarked by the time polls closed on Tuesday can be counted if they arrived within three days after Election Day.

Wisconsin Republicans were among Trump’s supporters who had been surveying party members in Pennsylvania on if and when they returned an absentee ballot.

Two field directors listed as contacts on the Kenosha for Trump email are paid staff members of the Wisconsin Republican Party, records show. Neither staffer responded to emails from The Washington Post on Friday.

The Kenosha for Trump Facebook page has been deleted, and neither the Kenosha County GOP or the Wisconsin Republican Party responded to questions.

The email may have been a simple misunderstanding of the eligible ballot deadline, which was affirmed by the U.S. Supreme Court less than a week before Election Day, according to Peter Kang, an election law expert and professor at Northwestern Law.

“That’s the innocent explanation,” Kang said. “It’s really hard to explain what they’re doing otherwise, unless they’re encouraging people to send in late ballots and maybe hope those get counted to use that as evidence of illegal voting.”

11:45 p.m.
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Trump raises vague questions about military ballots in Georgia

By Dan Lamothe and Michelle Ye Hee Lee

President Trump on Friday tweeted vague questions about thousands of military ballots that have not yet been counted in Georgia as his odds of reelection diminished, in an apparent effort to raise doubts about the integrity of the election process.

“Where are the missing military ballots in Georgia?” Trump tweeted. “What happened to them?”

The questions came after former vice president Joe Biden pulled ahead of him in the presidential race in Pennsylvania, following an arduous, multiday effort to count ballots nationwide. Trump has alleging without evidence that widespread fraud by Democrats hampered his campaign.