The 2020 U.S. election concluded on its fifth day. While President Donald Trump played golf in Virginia, President-elect Joe Biden won Pennsylvania, surpassing the 270 electoral vote threshold to take the White House and become the 46th president of the United States.
In addition, Kamala Harris made history Saturday as the first woman elected as vice-president of the United States, shattering barriers that have kept men — almost all of them white — entrenched at the highest levels of American politics for more than two centuries. She is also the first Black woman elected as vice-president as well as the first person of South Asian descent elected to the office.
Here are the latest updates:
10:40 p.m. | The Associated Press: The Trump campaign and Republican National Committee filed a lawsuit Saturday in Arizona that seeks the manual inspection of potentially thousands of in-person Election Day ballots in metro Phoenix that they allege were mishandled by poll workers and resulted in some ballot selections to be disregarded.
The legal challenge against Democratic Secretary of State Katie Hobbs centres on instances in which people are believed to have voted for more candidates than permitted.
When tabulators detect such an “overvote,” poll workers should give voters a choice to fix the problem, but the workers instead either pressed or told voters to press a button on the machine to override the error, leaving the devices to disregard the problematic ballot selections, according to the lawsuit.
The lawsuit was filed hours after the dismissal of another Arizona election lawsuit that contested the use of Sharpie markers in completing Election Day ballots in Maricopa County. Even though election officials have said voting with a Sharpie would not invalidate a ballot, many social media users in the controversy known as #Sharpiegate have falsely claimed their ballots had been invalidated because they were told to use the markers.
Hobbs spokeswoman Sophia Solis said the secretary of state’s office is still reviewing the lawsuit, but added that the latest lawsuit “is seemingly a repackaged ‘Sharpiegate’ lawsuit.”
While the Trump campaign’s lawsuit doesn’t mention Sharpies, it focuses on how ink splotches on a ballot are handled by electronic tabulators and raises the possibility of overvotes.
9:51 p.m. | Edward Keenan, Toronto Star: Joe Biden’s victory in the U.S. presidential election will be celebrated by many Canadians who have been holding their breath (and ripping out their hair) throughout Donald Trump’s tumultuous term — though a Biden administration will upset the plans of some Canadians.
Here are some things his win down south means for people up north.
9:13 p.m. | Alex McKeen, Toronto Star: Their front lawns tell the story of why Gary Landi hasn’t had a conversation with his next-door neighbour in four years.
The side-by-side homes in the Estacada Village of Phoenix both have stucco exteriors and red shingled roofs in the traditional southwestern style. But while the neighbour boasts several large Trump flags on top of the house, Landi keeps his single Biden-Harris sign under his front window, to reduce the chances it’ll be stolen in the night.
“It’s pretty divided,” Landi said, both of his fractious relationship with his neighbour and of Arizona as a whole during the 2020 presidential election. “I mean they ignore me, I ignore them, so it’s fine, we don’t bother each other. But you know, it shouldn’t be that way.”
Read the Star’s full dispatch from Arizona here: Donald Trump supporters flood battleground capitals in denial of results
9 p.m. | The Associated Press: In his first speech after securing the White House, President-elect Joe Biden is making an appeal to supporters of President Donald Trump.
Biden said Saturday night in Wilmington, Delaware, that “this is the time to heal in America” and pledged to be a president to represent even those who didn’t support him.
Noting “I’ve lost a couple times myself,” Biden said, “now, let’s give each other a chance.”
Trump has not conceded the race to Biden, pursuing legal challenges over ballot counts in several states.
Biden said “it’s time to put away the harsh rhetoric, lower the temperature, see each other again, listen to each other again,” saying of his political opponents, “they are not our enemies. They are Americans.”
8:55 p.m. | The Associated Press: Joe Biden is pledging to be a president “who seeks not to divide but to unify.”
Biden is delivering his first remarks as president-elect at a victory party in Wilmington, after he was officially declared the winner of the presidential election on Saturday. Biden jogged onto the stage wearing a black suit, black mask and light blue tie. He pointed and waved at the screaming crowd gathered to hear him speak.
Echoing his campaign stump speech, Biden promised to be a president who “doesn’t see red states or blue states, only sees the United States,” and said he would work “with all my heart” to win the confidence of all Americans.
Biden touted the fact that he’s won more votes than any presidential ticket in history, calling his win “a convincing victory, a victory for the people.” He also said he was “surprised” by seeing the celebrations and an “outpouring of joy” in the wake of his win nationwide.
Biden said that “once again, America’s bent the arc of the moral universe more toward justice.”
8:50 p.m. | The Associated Press: Vice president-elect Kamala Harris is paying tribute to Black women who “so often prove they are the backbone of our democracy.”
Harris, the daughter of Jamaican and Indian immigrants, is the first woman to be elected to the vice presidency.
Harris noted her ascension to the role comes 100 years after the 19th Amendment was ratified and 55 years after the signing of the Voting Rights Act, which expanded who could participate in American democracy.
She praised Joe Biden for having “the audacity to break one of the most substantial barriers that exist in our country” by selecting a woman as his running mate.
“Every little girl watching tonight sees that this is a county of possibilities,” Harris said.
The remarks were some of the most direct she has delivered about her history-making role as Biden’s running mate.
7:25 p.m. | Edward Keenan, Toronto Star: In this pandemic campaign year, the honking of car horns replaced the cheers of a crowd at candidate Joe Biden’s drive-in rallies. In the early afternoon, that beep-beep-beep became the soundtrack of the cities where he’d just become President Elect.
For a Torontonian in Washington, it sounded like someone had just won the World Cup. And it went on for hours.
Streets across Washington were filled with cars honking, many of their occupants leaning out of windows and screaming with joy as they passed sidewalks and parks full of people jumping up and down, waving Biden/Harris signs, or homemade variations of their message to Donald Trump: You’re fired.
Read the full analysis by the Star’s Washington Bureau Chief here: ‘It’s a catharsis!’ People party outside the White House as outgoing president Donald Trump hunkers down within
7:10 p.m. | Star staff: Canada’s Minister of Infrastructure and Communities, Catherine McKenna, remarked Saturday evening that the news of a Biden administration was “really sinking in.”
“It’s been a long, tough slog these past four years internationally on climate action. It will make a big difference to have the U.S. back in the #ParisAgreement, joining Canada & like-minded countries pushing hard for ambitious climate action,” she tweeted.
McKenna was Canada’s environment and climate change minister from 2015 to 2019.
6:42 p.m. | The Canadian Press: Canadians across the country ushered in what they hoped would be a new, calmer era of relations with the United States on Saturday, welcoming U.S. president-elect Joe Biden with open arms.
Relations with Canada’s nearest neighbour and largest trading partner grew strained at times during President Donald Trump’s reign, as he insulted Prime Minister Justin Trudeau and imposed punitive steel and aluminum tariffs using a section of U.S. trade law that called its long-time ally a national security threat.
Read the full story here: After waiting with bated breath, Canadians welcome Biden’s win with open arms
6:35 p.m. | Susan Delacourt, Toronto Star: Ottawa’s downtown core appears to be “jammed with people and cars,” Star columnist Susan Delacourt reports.
“The Byward Market in Ottawa is jammed with people and cars; a lineup of people waiting to get into @MetroBrasserie_ Record warm temps plus @JoeBiden victory seems to have sent Ottawans outdoors to celebrate,” she wrote on Twitter.
6:20 p.m. | The Associated Press: The #Sharpiegate controversy may be over now that the attorneys who challenged the use of the markers to complete Election Day ballots in metro Phoenix told a court they’re dismissing their legal challenge.
Roopali Desai, an attorney for Arizona Secretary of State Katie Hobbs, said she received notice Saturday from the court that the lawyers who filed the lawsuit are now ending the case.
A copy of the dismissal notice provided to The Associated Press doesn’t specify a reason for dismissing the case, and Alexander Kolodin, one of the attorneys who filed the lawsuit, declined a request for comment.
Arizona election officials have said voting with a Sharpie would not invalidate their ballot. But many social media users have falsely claimed their ballots had been invalidated because they were told to use the markers to fill out their ballots.
The lawsuit alleged tabulation equipment was unable to record a voter’s ballot on Tuesday because she completed it with a Sharpie. One of the remedies sought by the lawsuit was for voters who used Sharpies to be present to watch workers count ballots, a proposition that the judge expressed skepticism about.
Election officials say votes wouldn’t be cancelled if ink from a Sharpie bleeds through the back side of ballots and that there is a process that would keep the ballots from being cancelled out if problems arise.
Read more about #Sharpiegate here: Claim that Sharpie pens ruin Arizona ballots misses the mark
5:57 p.m. | The Canadian Press: Kamala Harris became the first woman and first person of colour elected vice-president of the United States on Saturday, a victory that holds a special meaning for her former schoolmates and current students at the Montreal high school she made her Alma Mater almost 40 years ago.
Harris, 56, lived briefly in the city and graduated from Westmount High School in 1981.
The Vice-President Elect hasn’t spoken much about her time in the city, briefly touching on it in her memoir “The Truths we Hold: An American Journey.” She described arriving in the city as a 12-year-old in the mid-1970s when her Indian-born mother Shyamala Gopalan, a breast-cancer researcher, took a job at McGill University.
Hugh Kwok, who was friends with Harris at the public high school, wished her well in her new, history-making role. He described her win alongside President Elect Joe Biden as a positive development at a time when the world could use an infusion of peace and love.
“Definitely it’s good for Canadians, she understands Canadians since she lived here,” he said.
Kwok said he and Harris encouraged each other to follow their respective passions for tennis and dancing as teenagers.
While he hasn’t spoken with her since graduating, he said her supportive messages from the past continue to resonate today.
“I’m not a political person, I’m a car guy, I build cars and she always encouraged me to follow my passion,” said Kwok, who runs the Wingho Auto dealership in Montreal.
“She’s following her passion and I’m sure she’ll do great, she has all the ingredients to do well.”
Read the full Canadian Press story here: Kamala Harris’s Canadian classmates celebrate after her vice-presidential win
Read the Star’s 2018 story about Harris’ Montreal years here.
5:50 p.m. | The Associated Press: Chanting “This isn’t over! and “Stop the steal,” supporters of President Donald Trump protested at state capitols across the country Saturday, refusing to accept defeat and echoing Trump’s unsubstantiated allegations that the Democrats won the election by fraud.
From Atlanta and Tallahassee to Bismarck, Boise and Phoenix, crowds ranging in size from a few dozen to a few thousand — some of them openly carrying guns — decried the news of Joe Biden’s victory after more than three suspense-filled days of vote-counting put the Democrat over the top. Skirmishes broke out in some cities.
Read the full story here.
5:21 p.m. | The Associated Press: President-elect Joe Biden’s victory was celebrated by civil rights activists and Black leaders who warned that a tough road lies ahead to address America’s persistent inequalities and the racial division that Donald Trump fueled during his presidency.
Biden will take office in January as the nation confronts a series of crises that have taken a disproportionate toll on Black Americans and people of colour, including the pandemic and resulting job losses. Many cities saw protests against racial injustice during a summer of unrest.
During a contentious campaign against Trump, Biden made explicit appeals for the support of Black voters. He pledged to unify the country, acknowledged systemic racism, criticized his rival for stoking division and picked Kamala Harris as his running mate, making her the first Black woman on a major party’s presidential ticket. While those were all welcomed steps, Black leaders and activists say they will keep pushing the incoming administration to do more.
Read the full story here: Black leaders greet Biden win, pledge to push for equality
5:00 p.m. | Star staff: Biden supporters took to the streets for celebrations in several cities in the U.S. upon hearing of his win.
4:13 p.m. | Edward Keenan, Toronto Star: The Star’s Washington Bureau Chief is reporting from the streets of D.C., where people are out celebrating Biden’s win.
3:15 p.m. | The Associated Press: President Donald Trump has returned to the White House and a very different Washington, D.C., after losing his reelection bid.
Trump’s motorcade returned from his golf club in Virginia via roads largely cleared of other cars and people Saturday afternoon.
But as he approached the White House, he was welcomed home with boos and raised middle fingers. Chants of “Loser, loser, loser” and profanities were also heard as his motorcade drove by.
Trump has so far refused to concede to President-elect Joe Biden and is promising legal challenges. He is the first president to lose reelection since George H.W. Bush in 1992.
2:48 p.m. | Rosie DiManno, Toronto Star: After biding his time for more than three decades, twice rejected by his own party as Democratic nominee, bestirred from semi-retirement, the 77-year-old former senator and former vice-president has surmounted the heights of the Oval Office. No. 46, presumptively.
A sane and measured president after the hysterical derangement of his conspiracy-cocooned predecessor.
America will have a new commander-in-chief, grandfather-in-chief, healer-in-chief, reconciler-in-chief. All the roles Biden must embrace in these end days of Donald Trump darkness. The mad sitting president in the attic, still dropping bomblets of defiance and laying down fire for a scorched-earth litigious resistance.
Read the full story from The Star’s Rosie DiManno here: Joe Biden now faces the tough job of undoing the ongoing damage of Donald Trump’s toxicity
2:39 p.m. | The Associated Press: Several hundred people have gathered outside President Donald Trump’s Virginia golf club after his election loss to President-elect Joe Biden.
The crowd includes dozens of Biden supporters celebrating his win, singing, “Hey hey hey, goodbye” and chanting, “Lock him up!” — a chant frequently heard at Trump rallies, directed at people he doesn’t like.
There are also dozens of Trump supporters, many waving large Trump flags and chanting, “We love Trump!” A convoy of trucks festooned with pro-Trump and American flags has been driving up and down the street, with one driver jeering at the gathered press.
There’s horn honking, cowbell ringing, whistle-blowing and plenty of cheering.
Trump was golfing when a flurry of media outlets, including The Associated Press, declared Saturday morning that Biden had won the election.
He is now on his way back to the White House.
2:18 p.m. | The Associated Press: As Election Day ground on into “election week,” it became increasingly clear that Democrat Joe Biden would oust President Donald Trump from the White House. Late-counted ballots in Nevada, Pennsylvania and Georgia continued to keep Biden in the lead and offered him multiple paths to victory.
The questions, rather, were these — where he would win, when it would happen and by how much.
On Saturday, Biden captured the presidency when The Associated Press declared him the victor in his native Pennsylvania at 11:25 a.m. EST. That got him the state’s 20 electoral votes, which pushed him over the 270 electoral-vote threshold needed to prevail.
Read the explainer on why AP called the 2020 election for Joe Biden here.
2:15 p.m. | The Associated Press: The secretary general of the North Atlantic Treaty Organization is welcoming the election of Joe Biden, calling him “a strong supporter of NATO and the transatlantic relationship.”
Jens Stoltenberg said Saturday in a statement that he looks forward to working with Biden and Vice-President-elect Kamala Harris “to further strengthen the bond between North America and Europe.”
He added that “US leadership is as important as ever in an unpredictable world.”
President Donald Trump had been a ferocious critic of NATO during his 2016 campaign and repeatedly threatened to pull the U.S. from the alliance upon assuming office.
Trump pressed members of the alliance to boost their defence spending – a priority of his predecessors as well — in furtherance of collective defence. He also pushed the alliance to turn its focus from Russia to emerging threats from China and terrorism.
2:00 p.m. | The Associated Press: Joe Biden just won the presidency. That may turn out to be the easy part.
The president-elect already was braced to deal with the worst health crisis the nation has seen in more than a century and the economic havoc it has wreaked.
Now, he has to build a government while contending with a Senate that could stay in GOP hands, a House sure to feature fewer Democratic allies and a public that includes more than 70 million people who would prefer that President Donald Trump keep the job.
There also is the looming question of whether Trump, who has claimed the election was being stolen from him, will co-operate. Traditionally, the transition process relies on the outgoing administration working closely with the incoming one, even if they are from different parties.
Read the full story here: How to build a government: Transition challenges await Biden
1:55 p.m.: U.S. relations with China are the worst since the countries normalized ties four decades ago. America’s allies in Europe are alienated. The most important nuclear anti-proliferation treaty is about to expire with Russia. Iran is amassing enriched nuclear fuel again, and North Korea is brandishing its atomic arsenal.
Not to mention global warming, refugees crises and looming famines in some of the poorest places on earth, all amplified by the pandemic.
President-elect Joe Biden is inheriting a landscape of challenges and ill will toward the United States in countries hostile to President Donald Trump’s “America First” mantra, his unpredictability, embrace of autocratic leaders and resistance to international cooperation. Biden also could face difficulties in dealing with governments that had hoped for Trump’s reelection — particularly Israel and Saudi Arabia, which share the president’s deep antipathy toward Iran.
But Biden’s past as head of the Senate Foreign Relations Committee and as vice president in the Obama administration has given him a familiarity with international affairs that could work to his advantage, foreign policy experts who know him say.
“President Trump has lowered the bar so much that it wouldn’t take much for Biden to change the perception dramatically,” said Robert Malley, chief executive of the International Crisis Group and a former adviser in the Obama White House. “Saying a few of the things Trump hasn’t said — to rewind the tape on multilateralism, climate change, human rights — will sound very loud and significant.”
1:48 p.m.: Sen. Mitt Romney, the 2012 Republican presidential nominee, is congratulating President-elect Joe Biden and Vice-President-elect Kamala Harris.
The Utah Republican tweeted Saturday that he and his wife know Biden and Harris “as people of good will and admirable character.” He says, “We pray that God may bless them in the days and years ahead.”
Romney, President Donald Trump’s most vocal critic within the Republican Party, said Friday that Trump was “damaging the cause of freedom” and inflaming “destructive and dangerous passions” by claiming, without foundation, that the election was rigged and stolen from him.
Trump has so far refused to concede and is promising unspecified legal challenges.
Romney had said earlier in the year that he wasn’t voting for Trump. He didn’t say for whom he did vote, however.
1:47 p.m.: The highest-ranking Black member of Congress says he specifically advised President-elect Joe Biden to pick a Black woman as his running mate if he wanted to win the White House.
House House Majority Whip Jim Clyburn told CNN on Saturday, “I said to him in private that I thought that a lot of the results would turn on whether or not there would be a Black woman” on the ticket.
Of selecting California Sen. Kamala Harris as his running mate, Clyburn said, “I think it cemented his relationship to the Black community.”
Clyburn’s pivotal endorsement of Biden ahead of South Carolina’s early Democratic primary, the first in which Black voters played an outsize role, helped Biden develop the momentum that propelled him to successes in other primary and caucus contests, and ultimately to the Democratic nomination.
1:15 p.m.: Former President Barack Obama says he “could not be prouder” to congratulate President-elect Joe Biden and Vice-President-elect Kamala Harris.
In a statement Saturday, Obama says Biden has “got what it takes to be President and already carries himself that way,” because he will enter the White House facing “a series of extraordinary challenges no incoming President ever has.”
Acknowledging that the election revealed the nation remains bitterly divided, Obama said, “I know he’ll do the job with the best interests of every American at heart, whether or not he had their vote.”
He adds: “I encourage every American to give him a chance and lend him your support.”
Biden served as Obama’s vice-president for two terms.
1:14 p.m.: Two former Democratic presidents are offering their congratulations to President-elect Joe Biden and Vice-President-elect Kamala Harris.
Bill Clinton tweeted that “America has spoken and democracy has won.” The 42nd president also predicted Biden and Harris would “serve all of us and bring us all together.”
Jimmy Carter, the 39th president, said in a statement Saturday that he and his wife, Rosalynn, are “proud” of the Democrats’ “well-run campaign and seeing the positive change they bring to our nation.”
Neither Clinton nor Carter mentioned President Donald Trump in their congratulatory remarks.
Biden was a young Delaware senator when Carter served as president from 1977 to 1981. Biden had risen in the ranks to Senate Judiciary Committee chairman by Clinton’s presidency in the 1990s and led confirmation hearings for Clinton’s two Supreme Court nominees: Justice Stephen Breyer and the late Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg.
12:54 p.m.: Prime Minister Justin Trudeau has congratulated Democrat Joe Biden and running mate Kamala Harris on winning the U.S. presidential election.
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Trudeau says he looks forward to “tackling the world’s greatest challenges together.”
“Canada and the United States enjoy an extraordinary relationship – one that is unique on the world stage. Our shared geography, common interests, deep personal connections, and strong economic ties make us close friends, partners, and allies,” Trudeau said in the statement.
“We will further build on this foundation as we continue to keep our people safe and healthy from the impacts of the global COVID-19 pandemic, and work to advance peace and inclusion, economic prosperity, and climate action around the world.”
12:54 p.m.: President-elect Joe Biden is planning to address the nation on Saturday night.
His presidential campaign announced that Biden and his wife, Jill, and Vice-President-elect Kamala Harris and her husband Doug Emhoff will appear at a drive-in rally outside the convention centre in Wilmington, Delaware.
12:53 p.m.: When Joe Biden steps into the Oval Office in January, he will already have fulfilled his No. 1 campaign pledge: to oust President Donald Trump.
That likely will turn out to have been the easy part. It will be much harder for Biden to deliver on his broader promises to push far-reaching progressive initiatives to address the health, economic and social crises besetting the nation.
Senate Republicans are poised to deep-six Biden’s agenda in Congress, whether they keep control or Democrats eke out a one-vote majority. Biden’s party is already roiled by competing demands from anxious centrists and restless progressives. The broad, ideologically diverse coalition that united behind Biden out of disgust for Trump is quickly fracturing.
“This administration will be dealing with a lot of incoming all at once,” said Vanita Gupta, a former Obama administration official who now runs the Leadership Conference on Civil and Human Rights, an influential progressive coalition. Linking arms for an election is one thing, she said. “The governing agenda gets a lot messier.”
Biden’s much-vaunted experience and willingness to work across party lines will be put to an immediate test as he navigates a nation further polarized in the Trump era.
“It will be a challenge, but he is the right person for this moment,” said Amanda Litman, an adviser to Hillary Clinton’s 2016 presidential campaign.
12:52 p.m.: Thirty-three years ago, he was the fast-talking junior senator from Delaware with a chip on his shoulder, desperate to prove his gravitas during a brief, ill-fated presidential run.
The next time around, in 2008, he was the seasoned foreign policy hand and veteran lawmaker who strained to capture the imagination of Democratic presidential primary voters.
As he weighed a third attempt at the presidency last year, many Democrats feared he was too late. Too old, too moderate, too meandering to excite ascendant voices in his party, too rooted in the more civil politics of the past to nimbly handle Donald Trump.
Joseph Robinette Biden Jr. ran anyway. He ran as a grieving father who connected with a country in pain. As a relative centrist who emphasized character, stability and belief in bipartisanship over the particulars of a policy agenda. As a flawed, uneven campaigner whose vulnerabilities were ultimately drowned out by his opponent’s outsize weaknesses, and eclipsed by the seismic issues at stake, as the nation confronted the ravages of a deadly pandemic.
In many ways, he ran as the politician he has always been. And for one extraordinary election, that was enough.
12:52 p.m.: The protests that broke out after the police killing of George Floyd in May were some of the biggest racial justice marches organized in decades. In the early weeks, polling showed broad and deep support for them across the country.
But as the summer wore on and with it, sporadic looting and acts of vandalism, Americans became much more divided in how they saw the protests.
Just how divided became clear on Election Day.
Alfonse Bowman of Philadelphia said that as he cast his ballot for Joe Biden, he was thinking of how just a week before, the police in his hometown had fatally shot a young Black man. Bowman, who is Black, said he thought to himself of President Donald Trump: “We have to get this man out of office.”
Anne Marie Kelly, a white medical worker who lives a couple of hours away in Stroudsburg, Pennsylvania, said she was horrified by the vandalism and looting that followed protests in some cities. It made her feel that “this is not the America I want to live in anymore,” and reinforced her resolve to vote for Trump.
As the election grinds to a close, and the nation begins sifting through the results, one thing is clear: The protests this summer and what came after weighed heavily on Americans’ minds.
12:51 p.m.: Across the country, there were parties and prayer after Democrat Joe Biden won the presidency.
In New York City, spontaneous block parties broke out Saturday. People ran out of their buildings, banging on pots. They danced and high-fived with strangers amid honking horns.
People streamed into Black Lives Matter Plaza near the White House, waving sings and taking cellphone pictures.
In Lansing, Michigan, Donald Trump supporters and Black Lives Matter demonstrators filled the Capitol steps.
The lyrics to “Amazing Grace” began to echo through the crowd, and the Trump supporters put their hands on a counterprotester and prayed.
12:50 p.m.: Hillary Clinton is congratulating the “history making ticket” of President-elect Joe Biden and Vice-President-elect Kamala Harris upon their victory over President Donald Trump.
Clinton, who lost to Trump in 2016, called the election “a repudiation of Trump, and a new page for America.”
Harris will become the first woman to hold national office. Clinton was the first woman to be a major party nominee for president. She won almost 3 million more votes than Trump but fell short in key battleground states to lose the Electoral College.
The Biden-Harris ticket was able to flip several of those states, including Wisconsin, Michigan and Pennsylvania.
12:33 p.m.: People took to the streets, their balconies and the internet on Saturday after the Associated Press declared Democrat Joe Biden president-elect after a win in Pennsylvania shortly after 11:30 a.m.
The hashtag #PresidentBiden2020 and #ElectionResults2020 were flooded with reactions across the world as news came in of Biden’s victory.
Back home, Canadians flooded the hashtag #CongratulationsAmerica, sending their wishes to the new President and Vice President-elect. Torontonians took to their balconies, celebrating the win cheering and blasting music.
12:09 p.m.: The election of Democrat Joe Biden as the next president of the United States is expected to have wide-ranging implications for Canadian politics and policy.
The day after the election, the United States became the first and only country in the world to withdraw from the Paris climate change pact.
Biden has promised to put the U.S. back into the agreement as soon as possible, and that, plus his own domestic environmental policies, could be a boon for Canada, including by opening markets for Canadian clean energy technology.
In the last four years, Canada has in some places slowed or amended its own environment policies to reflect concerns American companies facing fewer environmental regulations and taxes might hurt Canada’s competitiveness.
That includes methane regulations, which Canada delayed by three years when outgoing U.S. President Donald Trump paused similar targets in the U.S., and limiting the carbon pricing on industries that face heavy competition from U.S. firms that don’t pay the same kind of tax.
Trump made wide-ranging changes to U.S. immigration policy that did have an effect on the flow of people to Canada.
Among them, a surge in asylum seekers who crossed irregularly into this country due to a loophole in the Safe Third Country Agreement. Canada has been trying to renegotiate that deal and might find a more willing dance partner in Biden — or the flow might dry up. Trump’s move to make it harder for people from certain countries to enter the U.S., and for people to obtain skilled worker visas, also saw a jump in immigration to Canada. Biden may reverse those changes, and there could be a subsequent “brain drain” from here.
12:08 p.m.: President Donald Trump is not conceding to President-elect Joe Biden, promising unspecified legal challenges seeking to overturn the outcome of the race for the White House.
Trump said in a statement, “our campaign will start prosecuting our case in court to ensure election laws are fully upheld and the rightful winner is seated.”
11:48 a.m.: People cheered and pumped their fists along the Wilmington, Delaware, waterfront as the news that the presidential race had been called for the state’s former senator arrived on their cellphones.
The waterfront is just steps from the outdoor stage that Democrat Joe Biden erected on Election Day to celebrate victory.
On the water late Saturday morning, two men on a kayak yelled to a couple paddling by in the opposite direction, “Joe won! They called it!” as people on the shore whooped and hollered.
11:47 a.m.: Kamala Harris made history Saturday as the first Black woman elected as vice-president of the United States, shattering barriers that have kept men — almost all of them white — entrenched at the highest levels of American politics for more than two centuries.
The 56-year-old California senator, also the first person of South Asian descent elected to the vice presidency, represents the multiculturalism that defines America but is largely absent from Washington’s power centres. Her Black identity has allowed her to speak in personal terms in a year of reckoning over police brutality and systemic racism. As the highest-ranking woman ever elected in American government, her victory gives hope to women who were devastated by Hillary Clinton’s defeat four years ago.
Harris has been a rising star in Democratic politics for much of the last two decades, serving as San Francisco’s district attorney and California’s attorney general before becoming a U.S. senator. After Harris ended her own 2020 Democratic presidential campaign, Joe Biden tapped her as his running mate. They will be sworn in as president and vice-president on Jan. 20.
11:29 a.m.: Democrat Joe Biden has won Pennsylvania, surpassing the 270 electoral vote threshold to take the White House and become the 46th president of the United States.
Biden also carried Arizona, Wisconsin and Michigan on his path to the presidency, flipping states that President Donald Trump won in 2016.
Pennsylvania was a must-win state for Trump.
The 77-year-old Biden was born in Scranton, Pennsylvania, and sought to contrast his working-class roots with the affluent Trump’s by casting the race as “Scranton versus Park Avenue.”
Biden’s victory came after more than three days of uncertainty as election officials sorted through a surge of mail-in votes that delayed the processing of some ballots.
Trump is the first incumbent president to lose reelection since Republican George H.W. Bush in 1992.
11:02 a.m.: States are still counting votes in the presidential election, Democrat Joe Biden is on the verge of victory and President Donald Trump is at his Virginia golf club for the first time since the end of September.
Trump left the White House on Saturday morning and had on golf shoes, a windbreaker and a white hat.
The White House isn’t immediately responding to questions about the president’s possible golfing partners.
There were a few people with Biden flag banners outside the club entrance when Trump arrived.
Trump also has spent the morning tweeting about his unsubstantiated allegations of election fraud and illegal voting. Twitter hid four of the president’s tweets behind a warning label that they may contain disputed or misleading statements about the election.
10:13 a.m.: Voters in Colorado, Florida and Alabama passed ballot measures Tuesday that codify what is already law: That only U.S. citizens 18 and older can vote. The passage of the largely-symbolic measures has triggered questions about why the pro-Trump group behind them spent time and money on the effort.
The amendments passed overwhelmingly in all three states, including by a nearly 8-to-1 ratio in Alabama and Florida. Before the 2020 election, North Dakota and Arizona were the only state constitutions that specified non-citizens could not vote in state or local elections.
A former GOP state legislator from Missouri who led the effort said the ballot measures were needed to combat recent changes that allow non-U. S. citizens to vote in some local elections.
Opponents counter that the measures are unnecessary and fuel anti-immigrant sentiment.
On the Colorado ballot, the question read: “Shall there be an amendment to the Colorado constitution requiring that to be qualified to vote at any election an individual must be a United States citizen?” The Alabama and Florida ballots had similar language.
Had the measures failed, it would have kept Colorado’s state’s constitutional language of “allowing every eligible U.S. citizen to vote in Colorado elections.”
Julian Camera, manager for a campaign that opposed the measure in Colorado and field organizer for the American Civil Liberties Union of Colorado, said the ballot language is misleading.
“They’re giving voters the impression that there’s not already a citizenship requirement to vote in almost all elections nationwide,” said
A Florida-based organization called Citizen Voters, Inc., funded a majority of the state campaigns for these amendments — including $1.4 million toward Colorado’s efforts, according to public filings to the Secretary of State.
The group’s founder is John Loudon, a former Republican state senator in Missouri and past adviser to America First Policies, a group supporting President Donald Trump. Loudon said the ballot amendments were needed because the current constitutional language isn’t strong enough.
10:03 a.m.: President Donald Trump has repeatedly said there’s one place he wants to determine the outcome of the presidential election: the U.S. Supreme Court. But he may have a difficult time ever getting there.
Over the last two days, Trump has leaned in to the idea that the high court should get involved in the election as it did in 2000. Then, the court effectively settled the contested election for President George W. Bush in a 5-4 decision that split the court’s liberals and conservatives.
Today, six members of the court are conservatives, including three nominated by Trump. Still, it’s not clear what legal issues might cause the justices to step in. Trump has made repeated, unsubstantiated claims of election fraud. Lawsuits filed by his campaign so far have been small-scale efforts unlikely to affect many votes, and some already have been dismissed.
Despite this, Trump has focused on the high court. In the early morning hours following Election Day he said: “We’ll be going to the U.S. Supreme Court — we want all voting to stop.” And on Thursday, as Biden inched closer to the 270 Electoral College votes needed to win the White House, Trump again told Americans, “It’s going to end up, perhaps, at the highest court in the land, we’ll see.” On Twitter too he urged, “U.S. Supreme Court should decide!”
9:10 a.m.: The most turbulent and norm-breaking presidential election of a lifetime has led to an extraordinary spectacle in the United States over the past three days: armed protesters gathering nightly outside offices where workers are counting the votes that will decide who wins the White House.
Some carry shotguns. Some have handguns. Often, they carry black, military-style semi-automatic rifles.
The protesters with weapons are a small minority of the demonstrators. There have been no reports of anyone getting shot, and the laws in Arizona, Nevada and Michigan — where guns have been seen outside vote-tabulation centres in recent days — allow people to openly carry firearms in public.
But in a nation increasingly inured to weapons at rallies — most often carried by right-wing demonstrators, though also sometimes by left-wing protesters — experts warn that the guns create a dangerous situation that could be seen as intimidation or tip easily into violence.
“The more we see, the more people see it as a normal reaction — even though it’s not. There’s nothing normal about it,” said Cynthia Miller-Idriss, a professor at American University who studies extremism. “The potential for violence becomes normalized.”
The armed protesters have shown up at the vote-counting centres in response to groundless accusations from President Donald Trump that the Democrats are trying to steal the election. No serious irregularities have been reported.
9:08 a.m.: President Donald Trump has held himself up as a champion of U.S. troops without rival. Now, with his presidency on the line, he’s casting suspicion on a tool of participatory democracy — the mail-in ballot — that has allowed U.S. military personnel to vote while serving far from home since the War of 1812.
The president has shouted from Twitter to “STOP THE COUNT” and levelled unsubstantiated charges that “surprise ballot dumps” after election night are helping rival Democrat Joe Biden “steal” the election.
All the while, Trump insists that military voters’ mail-in ballots must be counted. He even suggested on Friday — without presenting evidence — that some troops’ mail-in ballots have gone “missing.”
In his dizzying effort to sow doubt about the integrity of the vote, Trump has been all over the map on mail-in voting. The broadsides have unsettled many veterans and former military brass who saw voting by mail as a tether to their civic duty when serving abroad.
“Officials at all levels including in the Congress need to say to the president ‘Sir, you need to exercise the same patience that the rest of the nation does,’” said retired Navy Adm. Steve Abbot, who later served as deputy Homeland Security adviser in the George W. Bush administration.
Abbot is a member of Count Every Hero, a coalition of top military brass advocating for service members’ votes to be protected and properly tallied. He added: “It doesn’t help this democracy for (Trump) to continue to sound this alarm. It’s inappropriate.”
9:06 a.m.: The conservative evangelical Christians who helped send Donald Trump to the White House four years ago stuck by him in 2020. But even if Trump doesn’t get a second term, some conservative Christians see reasons to celebrate in this year’s election results.
White evangelical voters made up 23 per cent of the vote nationwide and overwhelmingly favoured Trump this fall, with about 8 in 10 backing him, according to AP VoteCast. Their support may not have been enough to re-elect the president — with Democratic nominee Joe Biden in the lead as states continued to count votes Friday — yet evangelicals still took heart in their strong presence at the polls and the GOP’s success in down-ballot races.
“There’s no question that we did our job,” Ralph Reed, the veteran GOP activist who founded the Faith and Freedom Coalition non-profit, said of his fellow conservative Christians.
Like most fellow evangelicals, Reed left room for the president to eke out a victory even as that path appeared slim Friday. But he also singled out Democrats’ lacklustre showing in key congressional races as a positive sign and suggested that religious conservatives might see an opportunity to work with a Biden administration that tacks away from the left.
“Should President Trump come up short … if that’s what ends up happening — other than that, it was a very impressive cycle for voters of faith and for social conservatives in the Republican Party,” Reed said.
While many of Trump’s evangelical allies are white, the president’s campaign also worked to appeal to Latino voters and the GOP saw signs of improvement with that demographic in several states. The Rev. Samuel Rodriguez, a Latino evangelical pastor who has advised Trump, said those advances with Latino voters are one reason why evangelicals should view the election as “a win” for their priorities.
“I would argue, with great due deference to our president, that if we fall short, it’s not due to the evangelical agenda of life, religious liberty and biblical justice,” Rodriguez said. “It was more a rejection of the personality.”
Looking ahead, Rodriguez said, “if we can reconcile the message and the messenger, I think the future looks pretty amazing.”
Among Latinos, 61 per cent of evangelicals backed Trump, according to AP VoteCast, far higher than the 35 per cent he received from Latinos overall.
Biden’s campaign had tried to peel off parts of Trump’s evangelical base as part of its active faith outreach operation. But Robert Jones, author of two books about white Christians, said there was no erosion of white evangelicals’ support for Trump and the Republican Party in this election — and that applied to both men and women in that demographic.
“They absolutely stood by their man,” said Jones, who oversees frequent surveys of religious Americans as CEO of the Public Religion Research Institute, an independent Washington-based non-profit.
9:03 a.m.: Joe Biden’s transition team isn’t waiting for a verdict in the presidential race before getting to work.
As officials continue to count ballots in several undecided states, longtime Biden aide Ted Kaufman is leading efforts to ensure the former vice-president can begin building out a government in anticipation of a victory.
Kaufman is a former senator from Delaware who was appointed to fill the seat vacated when Biden was elected vice-president. He also worked on Barack Obama’s transition team in 2008, and helped write legislation formalizing the presidential transition process.
Biden first asked Kaufman to start work on a just-in-case transition in April, shortly after the former vice-president locked up the presidential nomination at the conclusion of a once-crowded Democratic primary. Now, each day after the election that goes by without a declared winner is one day fewer to formally begin preparing to take over the White House.
8:58 a.m.: A close margin and a large number of outstanding votes are what’s making the Pennsylvania contest between President Donald Trump and Joe Biden too early to call.
The Democrat held a lead over Trump of more than 28,800 votes at 11:15 p.m. Friday, out of more than 6.5 million ballots cast — an edge of about 0.43 per cent. State law dictates that a recount must be held if the margin between the two candidates is less than 0.5 per cent.
The Pennsylvania secretary of state’s website said Friday that there were about 89,000 more mail ballots to count. Many were from Allegheny County, a largely Democratic area that is home to Pittsburgh, and the Democratic stronghold of Philadelphia County.
Additionally, there are potentially tens of thousands of provisional ballots that remain to be tabulated, though an exact number remained unclear. Those ballots will be counted after officials verify their eligibility to be included.
Pennsylvania is among a handful of battleground states Trump and Biden are narrowly contesting as they seek the 270 electoral votes needed to win the presidency.
8:57 a.m.: Four days after the election, the U.S. presidential race hovered in suspended animation Saturday as the long, exacting work of counting votes brought Democrat Joe Biden ever closer to a victory over President Donald Trump.
The verdict delay can be attributed to high turnout, a massive number of mail-in ballots and slim margins between the two candidates. But Biden held leads in Pennsylvania, Nevada and Georgia, putting him in an ever-stronger position to capture the 270 Electoral College votes needed to take the White House.
There was intense focus on Pennsylvania, where Biden led Trump by more than 27,000 votes, and Nevada, where the Democrat led by about 22,000. The prolonged wait added to the anxiety of a nation facing historic challenges, including the surging pandemic and deep political polarization.
8:56 a.m.: Joe Biden on Friday took the lead in Pennsylvania, where a victory would give him the presidency, and was ahead in three other critical battlegrounds as his campaign focused on a presidential transition process and states worked to tally the remaining votes.
In remarks to the country from Delaware on Friday night, Biden said that the trajectory of the race was clear and that he expected to win all of the uncalled states where he is currently ahead of Trump. He claimed the strength of his support reflected “a mandate for action” to counter the coronavirus pandemic and other crises.
“We’re going to win this race with a clear majority of the nation behind us,” Biden said, pointing to his apparent strength in the historically red states of Georgia and Arizona as evidence of a broad political coalition.
As Biden edged closer to victory, President Donald Trump and his political lieutenants spent the day continuing to float baseless conspiracy theories about the legitimacy of the election, and Republicans in several states threatened or took legal action aimed at slowing or halting the counting of ballots. But there were also mounting indications that Trump would not have the full support of his party if he persisted in a scorched-earth effort to impede the electoral process.
Early Friday, Biden overtook Trump in the vote count in both Pennsylvania and Georgia.
Saturday 8:55 a.m.: Demands to stop the vote count. Baseless accusations of fraud. Claims that the opposition is trying to “steal” the election.
Across the world, many were scratching their heads Friday — especially in countries that have long been advised by Washington on how to run elections — wondering if those assertions could truly be coming from the president of the United States, the nation considered one of the world’s most emblematic democracies.
“Who’s the banana republic now?” Colombian daily newspaper Publimetro chided on the front page with a photo of a man in a U.S. flag print mask.
The irony of seeing U.S. President Donald Trump cut off by major media networks Thursday as he launched unsubstantiated claims lambasting the U.S. electoral system was not lost on many. The U.S. has long been a vocal critic of strongman tactics around the world. Now, some of those same targets are turning around the finger.
Venezuelan President Nicolás Maduro laughed as the vote dragged on past Tuesday, briefly breaking into the hymn of his nation’s annual beauty contest on state TV, singing, “On a night like to night, any of them could win.”
In Africa — long the target of U.S. election guidance — one Kenyan commentator spun out satiric tweets, drawing freely from clichés that long have described troubled elections and questioning the strength of democracy in the U.S.
Kenyan cartoonist Patrick Gathara tweeted that Trump “has barricaded himself inside the presidential palace vowing not to leave unless he is declared the winner,” with a mediator “currently trying to coax him out with promises of fast food.”
Along with the mockery comes dismay. Many people in Africa see the U.S. as a bellwether for democracy and, after troubled votes in Tanzania and Ivory Coast in recent days, they looked to what Washington might say.
“We are asking ourselves, why is the U.S. democratic process appearing so fragile when it is meant to be held up to us in the rest of the world as a beacon of perfect democracy?” said Samir Kiango, a Tanzanian out in his country’s commercial capital Friday.
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