U.S. Election: Biden sweeps the west coast while Trump wins Idaho and Utah; battleground states still too close to call
Americans will cast their votes Tuesday for President Donald Trump and Democrat Joe Biden, selecting a leader to steer a nation battered by a surging pandemic that has killed more than 231,000 people, cost millions their jobs and reshaped daily life.
Here are the latest election day updates:
11:10 p.m. | The Associated Press: President Donald Trump has won the state of Utah.
The Republican nominee on Tuesday was awarded its six electoral votes.
Utah hasn’t supported a Democratic presidential candidate since Lyndon B. Johnson in 1964.
Trump won Utah in 2016, but independent candidate Evan McMullin had a strong showing in the state owing to widespread distaste of both Trump and Democrat Hillary Clinton. McMullin captured more than 20% of the vote.
11:05 p.m. | The Associated Press: Democrat Joe Biden has won California, Oregon and Washington state, while President Donald Trump has won Idaho.
California, Oregon and Washington are all liberal states, while Idaho is conservative.
California has 55 electoral votes, the biggest haul of any state. It’s also the home of Biden’s running mate, Sen. Kamala Harris. She served as the San Francisco district attorney and the state’s attorney general before winning election to the Senate in 2016.
Biden nets 74 electoral votes for the three Western states, while Trump takes four electoral votes from Idaho.
11:03 p.m. | Edward Keenan, Washington bureau chief: WASHINGTON—It ain’t over yet.
Late into Tuesday evening, the most significant and divisive U.S. election in decades or longer was yet to be resolved. It seemed possible it could be days, or even weeks, before it is.
Everyone had been prepared for that, of course. But there had been the possibility of an early result, if Biden were heading toward a landslide via decisive wins in Florida, Georgia and North Carolina. But as the night wore on, Florida looked increasingly to be leaning toward Trump, courtesy of a wave of support from the Hispanic voters there, with Georgia and North Carolina reckoning to be very tight.
Things looked encouraging for Biden in Ohio — another state that could signal he was en route to victory — but the returns were very early. Texas, a potentially victory-sealing prize for Biden, was tied with 70 per cent of the votes reported.
Read the full analysis from the Star’s Edward Keenan.
11:00 p.m. | The Associated Press: Democrat Joe Biden has won New Hampshire and its four electoral votes, holding on to a state that President Donald Trump only narrowly lost in 2016.
The state was considered a 2020 battleground despite not going for a Republican presidential candidate since George W. Bush in 2000.
Four years ago, Democrat Hillary Clinton won the small state over Trump by roughly 2,700 votes. That’s less than 1% of the 732,000 ballots cast, and it was the second-closest margin of victory in the country.
Biden didn’t fare as well in New Hampshire’s first-in-the-nation Democratic primary in February. He finished a dismal fifth, behind Bernie Sanders, Pete Buttigieg, Amy Klobuchar and Elizabeth Warren. But his candidacy took off after a commanding win later that month in the South Carolina primary, leading to the exits of several of his competitors.
11:00 p.m. | Alex Ballingall and Tonda MacCharles, Ottawa bureau: Prime Minister Justin Trudeau’s cabinet ministers were pointedly reminded in the past few days that Donald Trump remains the U.S. president for the next three months — win, lose or draw Tuesday.
It was a message meant as a reality check ahead of a U.S. election that lived up to advance billing as too tough to call.
As key states reported early see-saw results, most Canadian politicians held their partisan fire on social media, waiting for a clear outcome in a polarized race that gripped global attention.
Trudeau kept his preferences to himself as did Conservative leader Erin O’Toole when they spoke to reporters on Parliament Hill earlier in the day. Not so two other political leaders. The BQ and NDP leaders openly wished Trump would lose.
10:56 p.m. | Susan Delacourt, national columnist: Donald Trump’s election in 2016 forced Trudeau to change course, writes national columnist Susan Delacourt, from being progressive and globally minded to defending Canada and being vigilant for any signs of Trump-style populism could migrating here.
Read Susan Delcourt’s column here.
10:35 p.m. | The Associated Press: President Donald Trump has won the state of Missouri.
The Republican nominee on Tuesday was awarded its 10 electoral votes.
In 2016, Trump beat Democrat Hillary Clinton in the state by 18 percentage points.
10:35 p.m. | The Associated Press: There’s a fair chance Americans won’t know the winner of Tuesday’s presidential election while it’s still Tuesday — or maybe even Wednesday.
The main reason? Many states have made it easier to request a mail ballot amid the coronavirus pandemic and concerns about crowded polling places. But mail ballots generally require more time to process than ballots that are cast in person.
10:11 p.m. | The Associated Press: Democrat Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez wins reelection to U.S. House in New York’s 14th Congressional District.
10:09 p.m. | The Associated Press: Republican Sen. John Cornyn of Texas has defeated Democrat MJ Hegar in his hardest-fought reelection battle in almost two decades.
Cornyn held an edge in polls and fundraising for most of the race but was still forced into mounting an unusually aggressive defence as Democrats poured millions of dollars into Hegar’s race.
Hegar is a former Air Force helicopter pilot who narrowly lost a U.S. House race two years ago. She called Cornyn a “spineless bootlicker” beholden to Trump and Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell.
Cornyn’s victory came in the face of uncommon headwinds for Republicans in Texas.
10:05 p.m. | The Associated Press: President Donald Trump has won the state of Kansas.
The Republican nominee on Tuesday was awarded its six electoral votes.
In 2016, Trump coasted to victory over Democrat Hillary Clinton by 20 percentage points in the state.
10:03 p.m. | The Associated Press: Democrat Ritchie Torres wins election to U.S. House in New York’s 15th Congressional District. Torres will be the first openly gay Black man to be elected to Congress.
10:03 p.m. | The Associated Press: Republican Sen. Lindsey Graham secures a fourth term in the South Carolina Senate race and defeats Democrat Jaime Harrison despite his record-breaking fundraising.
9:52 p.m.: Democrat John Hickenlooper has defeated Republican Sen. Cory Gardner in Colorado. It’s the first seat that the Democrats have picked up on election night.
Colorado is a state that’s shifted strongly to the left since Gardner’s election to the Senate in 2014.
Hickenlooper is a popular former two-term governor who repeatedly tied Gardner to President Donald Trump during the race.
Gardner promoted his work on a sweeping public lands bill, a national suicide prevention hotline he launched and various federal dollars he secured for Colorado. But he avoided criticism of the president and struggled to distinguish himself from Trump’s words and policies.
Democrats have won every statewide race since Gardner’s election, with the exception of a board of regents position in 2016.
9:40 p.m.: Democrat Joe Biden has won the state of Colorado.
He was awarded its nine electoral votes on Tuesday.
The state, which went for Democrat Hillary Clinton four years ago, has trended sharply to the left since President Donald Trump’s 2016 election.
The state also has a competitive Senate race between Republican incumbent Cory Gardner and the state’s former governor John Hickenlooper. Gardner is considered one of the nation’s most vulnerable senators.
9:46 p.m. | The Associated Press: Democrat Ilhan Omar wins reelection to U.S. House in Minnesota’s 5th Congressional District.
9:30 p.m. | The Associated Press: Democrat Joe Biden has won the District of Columbia.
He was awarded its three electoral votes on Tuesday.
District voters have been allowed to cast presidential ballots since 1964 and have always voted overwhelmingly Democratic. Hillary Clinton’s win in the District over Republican Donald Trump in 2016 was the widest margin ever.
9:23 p.m. | The Associated Press: Republican Marjorie Taylor Greene, who expressed racist views and support for QAnon conspiracy theories in a series of online videos, has won a U.S. House seat representing northwest Georgia.
Her candidacy was bolstered by President Donald Trump, who has called her a “future Republican Star.”
Greene was heavily favoured in the conservative district even before Democratic challenger Kevin Van Ausdal suddenly dropped out in September, saying he was moving out of state.
Greene is a businesswoman and political newcomer who’s gained large followings on social media in part by posting incendiary videos and comments.
Greene has claimed in online videos that Black and Hispanic men are being held back by “gangs and dealing drugs,” alleged an “Islamic invasion” of government offices and accused Jewish billionaire George Soros of collaborating with Nazis.
9:20 p.m. | Alex McKeen, reporter: PORTLAND—There are a couple hundred people gathered here in Portland at Revolution Hall, listening to speeches from Black Lives Matter activists. Everything is peaceful here. There are some people wearing protective gear, bullet proof vests and helmets. Another sign of anticipation that there could be tension with police tonight.
Read the full story from the Star’s Alex McKeen.
9:09 p.m. | The Associated Press: Democrat Joe Biden has won the presidential race in New York.
Biden’s victory in New York over Republican President Donald Trump was widely expected and was called by The Associated Press shortly after the polls closed at 9 p.m. The former vice-president takes the state’s 29 Electoral College votes.
New York is a reliably Democratic state.
Presidential candidates don’t often lose their home states, but Trump made little effort to win over voters in his hometown, instead relentlessly attacking New York City as a “ghost town” and an “anarchist jurisdiction.”
The results of more tightly-contested races for Congress and the state Legislature might not be known for some time because absentee ballots won’t be counted in New York for at least a week.
9:08 p.m. | The Associated Press: Two more Republican senators have won reelection, and Republican Cynthia Lummis has won an open seat in Wyoming.
Republican Sens. Ben Sasse of Nebraska and Mike Rounds of South Dakota have easily won reelection.
In Wyoming, Republican Cynthia Lummis, a former congresswoman, defeated ecology professor and climate activist Merav Ben-David to replace Republican Sen. Mike Enzi, who’s retiring.
9:06 p.m. | Lex Harvey, newsletter producer: Canada is home to around 620,000 Americans who are eligible to vote — the largest voting population outside of the U.S. In 2016, fewer than six per cent of cast ballots, but this year there’s been an unprecedented push, mainly by Democrats Abroad Canada (and Raptors coach Nick Nurse), to get Americans in Canada to vote.
While there’s no way to track 2020 votes cast from abroad, Democrats Abroad Canada membership has increased 90 pre cent since 2016, and 80 per cent of members requested ballots compared to 58 per cent in 2016. Democrats Abroad expects a 250 per cent increase from 2016 in votes cast by its members. So it seems like the mobilization efforts worked.
But will it make a difference? A few key states in 2016 were won and lost by a close margin – notably Michigan, which Trump took by fewer than 11,000 votes. It’s possible voters in Canada could make a real difference this time. Stay tuned.
Read the full story from the Star’s Lex Harvey.
9:04 p.m. | The Associated Press: President Donald Trump has won Louisiana, Nebraska, Nebraska’s 3rd Congressional District, North Dakota, South Dakota and Wyoming, while Democrat Joe Biden has won New Mexico and New York.
Nebraska, one of two states that divides its electoral votes, has five total electoral votes up for grabs. Trump won the statewide vote, which is good for two electoral votes. He also won the 3rd Congressional District, which nets him a third vote.
Nebraska’s 1st and 2nd congressional districts haven’t yet been called.
Trump nets 20 electoral votes from his wins in Louisiana, Nebraska, Nebraska’s 3rd, North Dakota, South Dakota and Wyoming, while Biden takes 34 electoral votes for winning New Mexico and New York.
8:55 p.m. | The Associated Press: President Donald Trump has won the state of Indiana.
The Republican nominee on Tuesday was awarded its 11 electoral votes.
Indiana is the home state of Trump’s running mate, Vice-President Mike Pence.
Trump won Indiana by 19 percentage points in 2016 over Democrat Hillary Clinton.
8:54 p.m. | The Associated Press: Polls closed across the East Coast Tuesday night as President Donald Trump and Democratic challenger Joe Biden concluded an epic campaign that will shape America’s response to the surging pandemic and foundational questions of economic fairness and racial justice.
The night opened with predictable victories for each candidate, with Trump taking Alabama and Oklahoma and Biden winning his home state of Delaware and Virginia, a former battleground that has become a Democratic stronghold. It was too early to call, in a tight race, the 2020 battleground of Florida as well as Georgia and Pennsylvania.
Americans made their choice as the nation faced a confluence of historic crises with each candidate declaring the other fundamentally unfit to navigate the challenges. Daily life has been upended by the coronavirus, which has killed more than 232,000 Americans and cost millions of jobs.
8:46 p.m. | Robert Benzie, Queen’s Park Bureau: Billionaire former New York mayor Michael Bloomberg promised to spend tens of millions of dollars to defeat Donald Trump in Florida and Republican Voters Against Trump and the Lincoln Project also targeted the state with an “orange crush” push to help Joe Biden.
But with Trump, who claims the state as his home, holding a lead with most of the votes counted it looks like the Never Trump push in Florida may have fallen short. Fortunately for Biden, the Sunshine State is far more important to the incumbent’s pathway to victory than it is for him.
8:36 p.m. | The Associated Press: Republican Sen. Tom Cotton of Arkansas has won reelection in a race that’s allowed him to lay the groundwork for a potential 2024 White House bid.
The 43-year-old Cotton has easily defeated Libertarian nominee Ricky Dale Harrington, a former prison chaplain who had never run for office. The only Democrat who was running against Cotton dropped out hours after the filing deadline last year.
With millions in campaign cash to spend, Cotton has run ads in presidential battleground states like Ohio and Michigan, and campaigned with endangered Senate GOP colleagues. He insisted the moves were intended to help President Donald Trump and Senate Republicans, and not about any future plans of his own.
8:34 p.m. | The Associated Press: President Donald Trump has won the state of Arkansas.
The Republican nominee on Tuesday was awarded its six electoral votes.
Arkansas is a reliably Republican state that hasn’t gone for a Democratic presidential candidate since Bill Clinton in 1996.
8:26 p.m. | The Associated Press: With the coronavirus now surging anew, voters ranked the pandemic and the economy as top concerns in the race between President Donald Trump and Democratic rival Joe Biden, according to AP VoteCast, a national survey of the electorate.
Voters were especially likely to call the public health crisis the nation’s most important issue, with the economy following close behind. Fewer named health care, racism, law enforcement, immigration or climate change.
After eight months and 232,000 deaths, the candidates faced a dissatisfied electorate. Many voters said they have been personally affected by the virus. Roughly 6 in 10 said the country is going in the wrong direction.
The survey found that Trump’s leadership loomed large in voters’ decision-making. Nearly two-thirds of voters said their vote was about Trump — either for him or against him.
8:24 p.m. | The Associated Press: A judge in Nevada has ordered 30 Las Vegas-area voting sites to remain open for an extra hour after President Donald Trump’s campaign and Nevada Republicans cited reports that some locations did not open on time.
Clark County District Court Judge Joe Hardy Jr. in Las Vegas heard immediate arguments in an Election Day lawsuit filed to extend voting times to 8 p.m. for 22 specified sites, which had been scheduled to close at 7 p.m.
Hardy added eight additional sites at the request of attorneys for Democrats.
Clark County has 125 voting centres in and around Las Vegas. The judge ordered that anyone in line at the 30 sites at 8 p.m. will be allowed to cast a ballot.
8:09 p.m. | The Associated Press: Republican Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell has won a seventh term in Kentucky.
The 78-year-old McConnell defeated Democrat Amy McGrath, a retired Marine combat pilot who challenged him as a political outsider. McConnell is the longest-serving Republican leader in Senate history.
As President Donald Trump’s top ally on Capitol Hill, McConnell led efforts to defend the president during his impeachment acquittal in the Senate. He also worked with Trump on a tax overhaul and orchestrated Senate confirmation of more than 200 judicial appointments, including Amy Coney Barrett to the Supreme Court.
McGrath also lost a race for a House seat in 2018.
8:03 p.m. | The Associated Press: President Donald Trump has won Alabama, Mississippi, Oklahoma and Tennessee, while Democrat Joe Biden has won Connecticut, Delaware, Illinois, Maryland, Massachusetts, New Jersey and Rhode Island.
The results were not a surprise. Biden is very strong in the states that went for him, just as Trump is strong in the states he won.
Trump takes 33 electoral votes for winning those four states, while Biden adds 69 electoral votes to his total for winning seven states.
7:59 p.m. | The Associated Press: President Donald Trump has won the state of South Carolina.
The Republican nominee on Tuesday was awarded its nine electoral votes.
Trump handily won the state in 2016 over Democrat Hillary Clinton. South Carolina hasn’t voted for a Democratic presidential candidate since Jimmy Carter in 1976.
Joe Biden’s victory in the South Carolina primary in February started a wave of wins that helped cement his status as Democrats’ presidential nominee. South Carolina Republicans didn’t hold a primary, an early sign of their support for Trump’s reelection.
7:52 p.m. | The Associated Press: Democrat Joe Biden has won the state of Virginia.
He was awarded its 13 electoral votes on Tuesday.
Democrat Hillary Clinton won Virginia over Republican Donald Trump in 2016, helped in part by her choice of running mate: Virginia Sen. Tim Kaine.
Virginia has grown increasingly liberal over the last four years, and as a result of the 2019 elections, Democrats now control every branch of government in the state.
7:35 p.m. | Alex McKeen, Reporter: PORTLAND—In Portland, there is anxiety in the air on election night.
There are already protests – a west coast “Unity March” for one – planned for this evening in downtown Portland. Businesses are boarded up, and state Gov. Kate Brown has declared a state of emergency. That means a unified police force combining local, state, and federal officers have the ability to use tools like tear gas tonight, which are ordinarily banned in Portland, if things get really out of hand.
Speaking with voters in Portland, there are mixed views about whether all the precautions are overkill. No one doubts that there will be civil disruption tonight, even substantial disruption.
Oregon’s largest city, a mecca of progressive politics in its centre surrounded by a sea of red rural areas, has become one of the most volatile protest centres in America in 2020. It’s a place where outrage at the death of George Floyd sparked some of the most massive and sustained Black Lives Matter protests in the country and emboldened the angriest members of both sides of America’s deepest political divides to adopt a fighting posture.
Bill Sparks, who helps run an all-around maintenance company in the city, was busy putting boards up on businesses all week. He laughed when asked about whether he thinks they will be necessary tonight.
“We’ve been doing this a long time,” he said. “It’s going to happen.”
Sam Briggs and Jamie Fletcher, out walking with dog Sven on Tuesday said they may take to the streets and join protests depending on what happens, particularly if there is any effort by President Donald Trump to contest a Biden win by attempting to delegitimize ballots.
Protesters in black bloc, covered head to toe in black clothing except for their eyes, said Monday night they would continue to come out a protest in their own way, which includes smashing windows and setting fires, no matter what the election result is.
And conservatives outside of Portland are watching closely too. Some, like Tonja Stradley in Sandy, Oregon, are viewing the protests and riots in Portland with increasing anxiety, fearing a “socialist takeover” that could eventually motivate them to take to the streets and confront them directly.
Read the full story from the Star’s Alex McKeen here.
7:32 p.m. | The Associated Press: President Donald Trump has coasted to victory in West Virginia, taking its five electoral votes.
The Republican nominee defeated Democrat Joe Biden on Tuesday in a reliably conservative state.
The last Democrat to win a presidential race in West Virginia was Bill Clinton in 1996.
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Trump defeated Democrat Hillary Clinton in West Virginia four years ago by 42 percentage points, one of his highest margins of victory in the nation. Many in the state credit him for his conservative populism and promises to help the declining coal industry, even as few expected he could bring back jobs in a dying field.
7:05 p.m. | The Associated Press: U.S. President Donald Trump has won Kentucky, and Democrat Joe Biden has carried Vermont.
They are the first two states called in the 2020 presidential election.
Kentucky is reliably conservative, while Vermont is considered one of the most liberal states.
Trump wins eight electoral votes from Kentucky, while Biden takes three for winning Vermont.
6:38 p.m. | The Associated Press: U.S. President Donald Trump called into talk radio shows in the battleground states of Pennsylvania and Wisconsin just hours before polls closed.
Trump projected confidence Tuesday that he will win key states like North Carolina and Florida and said he’s expecting a “great” evening.
He was set to call into conservative host Mark Levin’s show minutes after the first two interviews, but Levin abruptly said Trump would not be appearing. Levin said he was told the president couldn’t come on the show but gave no further details.
Trump told Wisconsin host Vicki McKenna that he is expecting a strong night based on lines of people waiting to vote. Trump has sown doubts about mail voting, without evidence, and is expecting most of his supporters to turn out on Election Day.
At the same time, his campaign was hosting a call with reporters in which they projected confidence but predicted a tight race that would come down to turnout.
6:30 p.m. | The Associated Press: In North Carolina, an armed man loitering at a polling site on Election Day has been arrested and charged with trespassing.
Thirty-six-year-old Justin Dunn was legally carrying a firearm but loitered at the Charlotte site after voting Tuesday morning, which prompted a precinct official to call police over fears of voter intimidation. A precinct official accompanied by a police officer asked him to leave the site and banned him from the location.
Police say Dunn left the precinct but returned about two hours later. He was taken into custody and charged with second-degree trespassing.
Publicly listed numbers for Dunn were disconnected when a reporter tried to reach him Tuesday.
5:53 p.m. More than 13,000 votes in one South Carolina county will have to wait a while to be counted because of a printing error.
Dorchester County Election Commissioner Todd Billman said at a news conference Tuesday that the mail-in ballots did not have the proper bars printed at the top so the scanner used to count the votes won’t register them. He says the error does not affect anyone’s vote.
The votes will have to be counted by hand and will not be counted Tuesday. Billman says Dorchester County’s full results will be finished by the Friday deadline to certify returns.
The county went for Democrat Hillary Clinton in 2016.
The Senate race between Republican Sen. Lindsey Graham and his Democratic challenger, Jaime Harrison, as well as the U.S. House race between Rep. Joe Cunningham and Republican challenger Nancy Mace, will be affected by the unscanned ballots.
5:40 p.m. Vermont Gov. Phil Scott says he voted for Joe Biden for president, making him the first Republican governor in the nation to acknowledge voting for the Democratic presidential candidate.
The Republican governor told reporters Tuesday after casting his ballot in his hometown of Berlin, Vermont, that he had never voted for a Democrat in his life.
“As many of you knew, I didn’t support President Trump. I wasn’t going to vote for him,” Scott said. “But then I came to the conclusion that it wasn’t enough for me to just not vote. I had to vote against.”
He says he “put country over party, which again wasn’t an easy thing to do in some respects.”
A couple of other current Republican governors have said they aren’t voting for Trump, but they said they weren’t voting for Biden, either. Massachusetts Gov. Charlie Baker says he left his ballot blank for president. Maryland Gov. Larry Hogan says he voted for President Ronald Reagan, who died 16 years ago.
5:40 p.m. Republicans are keeping their legal options open to challenge absentee ballots in Pennsylvania, if the battleground state could swing President Donald Trump’s reelection. A top Democratic lawyer says the suits are meant to sow doubt about the results and lack merit.
Two federal lawsuits aim to prevent absentee votes from being counted. The GOP already has laid the groundwork at the Supreme Court for an effort to exclude ballots that arrive after polls close Tuesday. Trump has railed over several days about the high court’s pre-election refusal to rule out those ballots.
“You have to have numbers. You can’t have these things delayed for many days and maybe weeks. You can’t do that. The whole world is waiting,” Trump said Tuesday at his campaign headquarters.
In a lawsuit filed Tuesday, Republicans and a local voter accused county officials in suburban Philadelphia of improperly sorting deficient ballots before Tuesday to give voters a chance to fix problems. The suit comes after county Republicans noted a pile of ballots set aside, during a walk-through of operations at the county courthouse in Norristown on Sunday.
Neither suit will matter in the long run unless the gap between Trump and Democratic nominee Joe Biden is so small that a few thousand votes, or even a few hundred, could make the difference.
5:28 p.m. Puerto Ricans forced voting centres to remain open past official closing times Tuesday as they stood in long lines to choose new leaders they hope can help heal a U.S. territory wracked by corruption, hurricanes, earthquakes and the coronavirus pandemic.
Armed with water, snacks and folding chairs, voters across the island fanned themselves as they waited under a harsh sun to participate in an election featuring six gubernatorial candidates. Some arrived around dawn and waited up to three hours for centres to open.
An elderly man slowly walked past one long line, raised his cane and shouted, “Let’s vote for our homeland!” as those around him cheered.
Also on the ballot was the island’s sixth referendum on whether to change its current territorial status. It asked one question: “Should Puerto Rico be admitted immediately into the union as a state?” The vote is advisory as Congress would have to approve that happening.
5:20 p.m. Democratic presidential nominee Joe Biden isn’t making any predictions about the outcome of the election as the final hours of voting tick down.
Speaking to reporters Tuesday outside a Delaware community centre, Biden said he’s “superstitious” about offering predictions for election night but remains “hopeful.” He says he’s heard from aides that there’s “overwhelming turnout” among young people, women and older Black adults in places like Georgia and Florida.
He says, “The things that are happening bode well for the base that has been supporting me — but we’ll see.” Still, he admitted, “It’s just so uncertain” because of how many states are in play.
Biden also wouldn’t commit to commenting on any results on election night, even if President Donald Trump weighs in on the vote. “If there’s something to talk about tonight, I’ll talk about it,” Biden said. “If not, I’ll wait till the votes are counted the next day.”
Biden capped off a day of last-minute campaigning in his hometown of Scranton, Pennsylvania, and in Philadelphia with a couple of local stops in Wilmington, Delaware. He spoke to the CEO of a community centre for teens and visited a pool where he worked as a teenager, closing out a day that began before the sun rose.
4:55 p.m. The cybersecurity agency at the Department of Homeland Security says the U.S. election so far has featured the usual technical glitches and routine issues but no apparent signs of any malicious cyber activity — at least not yet.
The Cybersecurity and Infrastructure Agency also says it’s too early to declare victory as polls near closing time around the U.S. Tuesday and with days of vote counting and certification ahead.
A senior agency official says, “It has been quiet and we take some confidence in that but we are not out of the woods yet.” The official spoke on condition of anonymity to brief reporters about ongoing nationwide election monitoring efforts ahead of the release of any kind of official evaluation.
The official warned that local and state election systems could experience problems as results are reported, but the most likely cause would be from high demand put on the system as people overwhelm websites to check results.
4:55 p.m. Democratic vice-presidential nominee Kamala Harris is heading to Wilmington, Delaware, after spending the afternoon campaigning in battleground Michigan.
She reminded voters at a Detroit church on Tuesday how slim Donald Trump’s margin of victory was in the state in 2016. She urged them to try to get two other people to vote as well.
She also urged people to remember why they are voting if they are stuck in long lines.
Earlier Tuesday, she campaigned alongside Democratic Sen. Gary Peters, who is up for reelection, Sen. Debbie Stabenow and Rep. Brenda Lawrence in Southfield. Peters is in a competitive race against Republican John James.
She will join Joe Biden in Delaware on Tuesday night.
4:55 p.m. A spokesperson for the Iowa secretary of state says hand sanitizer on voters’ hands caused a ballot scanner to jam at a polling place in Des Moines.
Spokesperson Kevin Hall says some voters’ hands were moist when they handled the ballots and the buildup of sanitizer eventually caused the scanner to stop working.
The machine was fixed in about an hour.
To prevent another breakdown, poll workers moved the sanitizing station farther back in the line so voters’ hands would be dry when they first touched the ballots.
It was a problem unique to the coronavirus era. Iowa is considered one of the toss-up states in Tuesday’s election between President Donald Trump and Democrat Joe Biden.
4:38 p.m. New York City police are keeping an eye on election-related protests but say they don’t anticipate the kind of unrest that unfolded in the city after Minneapolis police killed George Floyd earlier this year.
NYPD Chief of Department Terence Monahan told reporters Tuesday that the department has not uncovered any information suggesting people are looking to inflict mayhem because of the election.
He said thousands of officers are at the ready to respond if there are problems.
Many businesses in Manhattan boarded up their windows as a precaution in the days ahead of the election.
About halfway through voting Tuesday, Monahan said, “It’s been relatively quiet and a normal election day, so far,” with only one minor incident: a skirmish outside a polling place between a Trump supporter and a Trump detractor.
4:30 p.m. Canada’s diplomats will be ready to help Canadians living south of the border if there’s trouble in the United States after election day, Deputy Prime Minister Chrystia Freeland says.
“It is absolutely a responsibility of our government to be there for Canadians outside our country, and we will be there for them, too,” Freeland said Tuesday.
She said it’s up to Americans to decide who will lead them, and up to Canada to deal with whoever American voters select.
“We absolutely respect the choice the American people are making today and we will be ready to work effectively with whoever they choose as their government.”
But some observers of the U.S. presidential election expect that late-counted votes could mean the outcome is still uncertain by the end of the night, with final tallies taking days or even weeks in some states.
In the polarized American political environment, which saw clashes between demonstrators and police in many cities earlier this year, that could potentially lead to civil unrest.
“Our federal government is absolutely ready. We have thoughtfully prepared for all eventualities and I am really confident that we have a plan no matter what happens,” Freeland said.
3:35 p.m. A federal judge in Washington, D.C., has ordered U.S. Postal Service inspectors to sweep more than two dozen mail processing facilities for lingering mail-in ballots and for those ballots to be sent out immediately.
The order, which includes centres in central Pennsylvania, Philadelphia, Detroit, Atlanta, south Florida and parts of Wisconsin, comes after national delivery delays leading up to the election and concerns the agency wouldn’t be able to deliver ballots on time.
The Postal Service’s ability to handle the surge of mail-in ballots became a concern after its new leader, Postmaster General Louis DeJoy, a major GOP donor, implemented a series of policy changes that delayed mail nationwide this summer. Delivery times have since rebounded but have consistently remained below the agency’s internal goals of having more than 95% of first-class mail delivered within five days, with service in some battleground areas severely lagging, according to postal data.
2:40 p.m. The North Carolina State Board of Elections voted Tuesday to keep four polling places open longer because they opened late, which is expected to delay statewide reporting of results.
The longest extension was 45 minutes for a site in Sampson County. That means the state can’t publicly report any statewide results until 8:15 p.m.
The state’s more than 2,600 polling places are otherwise scheduled to close at 7:30 p.m. But state elections officials said in a news release last week that if hours are extended at any polls, they wouldn’t publicly post any results until all polls are closed.
Board Chair Damon Circosta confirmed at the meeting Tuesday that the extended hours would delay public release of results.
The polling places that opened late include one site in Cabarrus County, one in Guilford County and two in Sampson County. The delays were at least partly due to issues with printers or other electronic equipment. The extensions, which only apply to the individual precincts and not other sites in those counties, range from 17 minutes to 45 minutes and match the extra time it took to get them open.
Board Executive Director Karen Brinson Bell said at a news conference in the morning before the vote was held that it’s not unusual to extend polling place hours on Election Day.
2:10 p.m. The latest tally of early voting in the U.S. shows that almost 102 million Americans cast their votes before Election Day, an eye-popping total that represents 73% of the total turnout of the 2016 presidential election.
The Associated Press tally reveals that the early vote in several states, including hotly-contested Texas and Arizona, has already exceeded the total vote of four years ago.
Early voting — whether in-person or by mail-in or absentee ballot — has swelled during the COVID-19 pandemic as voters have sought the safety and convenience it offers. The greatest gains have been witnessed in Kentucky, where almost 13 times as many voters cast their ballots early as in 2016.
12:45 a.m. The third-ranking Democrat in the U.S. House is predicting Democrats will pick up as many as a dozen House seats.
Majority Whip Jim Clyburn told reporters outside a polling place in Columbia, South Carolina, on Tuesday that he believed it would be a “good night for Democrats” up and down the ticket.
Clyburn says, “Holding the House would just be status quo. Winning the Senate would make it good.”
Democrats control the House 232-197, with five open seats and one independent. It takes 218 seats to control the chamber. Republicans control the Senate.
Clyburn has expressed concerns about voter suppression. He says President Donald Trump has been “literally stoking flames of indecision, unrest, threatening violence.”
Clyburn says the nation’s division “didn’t start with Trump, and it won’t stop with Trump.”
12:42 p.m. House Speaker Nancy Pelosi says she’s “absolutely certain” that Democrats will “solidly hold” onto their House majority.
On an Election Day conference call with reporters, the California Democrat said “this election is about nothing less than taking back the soul of America, whether our nation will follow the voices of fear or whether we will choose hope.”
Pelosi and Rep. Cheri Bustos say the party is reaching deep into Trump country to win seats. Bustos is chair of the campaign arm for House Democrats, who are well positioned to try to add longtime GOP seats in Long Island, Arkansas, Indiana and rural Virginia.
Bustos says Democrats “are going to see some wins in those deep red districts.”
Pelosi says she’s confident Democratic presidential nominee Joe Biden will win the White House from President Donald Trump.
Biden has spent the day visiting Pennsylvania. Trump had a phone interview on Fox News Channel.
(UPDATED) 11 a.m. First lady Melania Trump has cast her vote, stopping in at a voting centre in Palm Beach, Florida, close to President Donald Trump’s Mar-a-Lago resort.
Trump switched his residence from New York to Palm Beach County last year and voted in person on Oct. 24 during early voting. Asked why she didn’t vote with the president, the first lady told reporters on Tuesday: “It’s Election Day so I wanted to come here to vote today for the election.”
The first lady waved and smiled to reporters. She was the only person not wearing a mask when she entered the Morton and Barbara Mandel Recreation Center to vote, presumably for her husband. It’s unclear if she wore a face covering inside the voting centre.
10:43 a.m. JUNEAU—Voting concludes Tuesday in Alaska’s closely watched U.S. Senate race, with Republican incumbent Dan Sullivan seeking to fend off a challenge from independent Al Gross.
The ballot also includes a rematch of the 2018 U.S. House race between U.S. Rep. Don Young and independent Alyse Galvin. President Donald Trump, who won the state in 2016, and Democrat Joe Biden are vying for Alaska’s three electoral votes.
Most of the Legislature’s 60 seats are up for election, with control of the House and Senate up for grabs. The Senate in recent years has been led by Republicans. Since 2017, the House has been held by a bipartisan coalition.
The ballot also includes a measure that would overhaul Alaska’s oil tax structure, which oil companies have spent heavily to defeat, and a measure that would create ranked-choice voting in Alaska general elections, an issue that has cut across party lines.
Supreme Court Justice Susan Carney faces opposition from some conservative groups in her retention vote. The Alaska Judicial Council, which reviews judicial performance, recommended she be retained.
10:35 a.m.: NEW ORLEANS – A panel of federal appeals court judges has rejected an eleventh hour Republican effort to bar Election Day drive-thru voting in Houston.
The 5th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals in New Orleans denied the request in a one-sentence ruling issued late Monday. The court hadn’t been asked to invalidate votes already cast at drive-thru sites in the Houston area.
The request stemmed from a lawsuit brought by conservative Texas activists, who have railed against expanded voting access in Harris County, where a record 1.4 million early votes have already been cast. The county is the nation’s third-most populous and a crucial battleground in Texas, where President Donald Trump and Republicans are bracing for the closest election in America’s largest red state in decades on Tuesday.
9:55 a.m. WASHINGTON—Federal authorities are monitoring voting and any threats to the election across the country at an operations centre just outside Washington, D.C., run by the cybersecurity component of the Department of Homeland Security. Officials there said there were no major problems detected early Tuesday but urged the public to be wary and patient.
U.S. Cybersecurity and Infrastructure Security Agency director Christopher Krebs said from the centre there was “some early indication of system disruption,” but he did not elaborate. He says he has “confidence that the vote is secure, the count is secure and the results will be secure.”
Krebs says officials have seen attempts by foreign actors “to interfere in the 2020 election.” But he says officials “have addressed those threats quickly” and “comprehensively.”
Krebs says Election Day “in some sense is halftime.” He says, “There may be other events or activities or efforts to interfere and undermine confidence in the election.” He asks all Americans “to treat all sensational and unverified claims with skepticism and remember technology sometimes fails.”
9:35 a.m.: Joe Biden is spending Election Day campaigning in his hometown of Scranton and in Philadelphia. He will meet with voters in each city.
Pennsylvania is key to Biden’s White House hopes. While his aides say he has multiple paths to nab 270 Electoral College votes, his easiest is by winning Michigan, Wisconsin and Pennsylvania. Biden has campaigned in the Keystone State more than any other.
The cities Biden is visiting Tuesday hold both strategic and symbolic significance: Biden has made his working-class upbringing in Scranton a centrepiece of his campaign, framing his economic pitch from the perspective of Scranton versus Wall Street, as he seeks to win back the blue-collar voters who helped deliver Donald Trump a win in 2016.
9:15 a.m.: WASHINGTON—A veteran Republican operative who got his start in politics by helping to persuade a judge to throw out hundreds of mail-in ballots is organizing an “army” of volunteers for President Donald Trump’s campaign to monitor voting in Democratic-leaning areas on Tuesday.
Mike Roman, Trump’s director of Election Day Operations, is a former White House aide from Pennsylvania who gathered claims in 1993 of voter fraud, resulting in a court ruling overturning election results and getting his candidate seated in the Pennsylvania State Senate.
For months, Trump has been trying to undercut the validity of mail-in ballots, a long-used method of voting that was up this year because of the COVID-19 pandemic.
Roman, who previously ran the secretive in-house intelligence unit for the political network led by GOP megadonors Charles and David Koch, has organized what the campaign claims is 50,000 poll watchers. Many many of them registered through an “Army For Trump” website that asks his supporters to “enlist” in his reelection fight.
8:56 a.m.—President Donald Trump says he believes his large rally crowds during his fast-paced weeks of campaigning are the “ultimate poll” and translate into a lot of votes for his reelection.
Trump told Fox News Channel’s “Fox & Friends” on Tuesday he will spend Election Day making phone calls to people who have been loyal to him and will go to his campaign headquarters in suburban Virginia to thank the staff.
Trump said he would declare himself the winner of the election “Only when there’s victory.” There has been concern that Trump will declare victory early — before vote counts are definitive. But the Republican president told Fox there’s no reason to “play games.” He says he thinks he has a “very solid chance at winning.”
Trump also says he understands why businesses are boarding up their storefronts but thinks it’s very sad they feel the need to do it. He predicts that if there is violence and unrest, it will be in Democratically run cities like Chicago; New York; Portland, Oregon; Oakland, California; and Baltimore and blames “weak leadership.”
8:30 a.m. DELAWARE—Joe Biden has started Election Day with a visit to church — and the grave of his late son, Beau.
Biden and his wife, Jill, made an early morning stop at St. Joseph’s on the Brandywine in Wilmington, Delaware, the church he typically visits on Sunday when home. Biden had granddaughters Finnegan and Natalie in tow Tuesday.
After a brief church visit, the four walked to Beau Biden’s grave in the church cemetery.
Beau died of brain cancer in 2015, and Biden often speaks on the campaign trail of his courage while deployed to Iraq as a major in the Delaware Army National Guard.
Biden’s late wife, Neilia, and infant daughter, Naomi, died in a car crash in 1972, shortly after Biden was elected senator. They are also buried in the cemetery.
Biden is spending the rest of his day in Pennsylvania as he makes a final push to get out the vote.
7:45 a.m. BEIJING—Global stock markets and U.S. futures rose Tuesday on investor hopes that a possible victory by challenger Joe Biden in the American presidential election might lead to more economic stimulus.
Dow futures were up 1.6 per cent while those for the S&P 500 were 1.3 per cent higher ahead of the start of trading on Wall Street. European indexes were up firmly in midday trading, while Asian markets closed higher.
Traders are betting Biden might push for a bigger U.S. stimulus package if he unseats President Donald Trump. That would require support in the Senate, which is controlled by Trump’s Republicans. Some incumbents, also up for re-election this week, face challengers from Biden’s Democratic Party.
On Monday, Wall Street closed higher amid indications Biden might be leading.
7 a.m.: FLORIDA—Trump and Biden have campaigned heavily in Florida, each hoping to win the prized battleground state’s 29 electoral votes. Millions have already voted by mail and in person before Tuesday’s election, setting records for early voting.
Besides the presidential race, 27 congressional seats are at stake in Florida. Neither of the state’s two senate seats are up for election this year.
6 a.m. NEW YORK—An unprecedented Election Day has gotten under way in New York, with polls now open statewide.
A record 3.5 million votes were cast in the state before the polls even opened Tuesday.
That included at least 1 million absentee ballots and 2.5 million ballots cast in the early voting period that ended Sunday. Any ballots postmarked by Tuesday will be counted. Polls close at 9 p.m.
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