Biden, Trump rally on final day of elections race: Live news

With just a day of campaigning left, the two candidates rally in key states as the bitter presidential race nears an end.

Biden will focus on Pennsylvania and Ohio while Trump will hold five rallies in four states in the final day of campaigning [AFP]
  • US President Donald Trump is set to hold five rallies in four states – North Carolina, Pennsylvania, Michigan and Wisconsin – on the final day of campaigning.
  • His Democratic rival Joe Biden will spend most of the day in Pennsylvania with a stop in Ohio, while former President Barack Obama stumps for him in Georgia and Florida.
  • In the final days of campaigning, Trump and his surrogates have continually pushed baseless claims that votes counted after election day are evidence of malfeasance.
  • With just one day until election day, more than 95 million US citizens have already voted, far outpacing early voting in any past elections and accounting for 69.2 percent of all votes counted in 2016.

Hello and welcome to Al Jazeera’s continuing coverage of the US elections. This is Farah NajjarJoseph Stepansky and William Roberts.


‘Take a breath’: Kamala Harris prepares for election

Joe Biden’s running mate Kamala Harris has just signed off for the night on Twitter, urging voters to get a good night’s sleep.

“Take a breath,” she said. “We got this.”

Facebook to add labels to posts claiming early victory

Facebook says it will add information labels to any posts by candidates claiming “premature victory” in the US election.

The platform will add specific information in top-of-feed notifications and continue showing the latest results in its voting information centre. It will also monitor for voter suppression attempts and remove offending posts.

“We are monitoring closely and will remove content calling for coordinated harm or interference with anybody’s ability to vote,” the company said.


Twitter, Facebook flag Trump tweet on mail-in ballots

Social media platforms Twitter and Facebook have both flagged a post by US President Donald Trump that called a US Supreme Court decision on voting in Pennsylvania “very dangerous.”

The US Supreme Court last week allowed extended deadlines for receiving mail-in ballots in Tuesday’s election in Pennsylvania and North Carolina, states pivotal to Trump’s re-election chances.

Twitter said the content of Trump’s tweet was “disputed” and “might be misleading”.

Facebook said that voting by mail and voting in person have a “history of trustworthiness” in the US, with voter fraud being extremely rare.


CDC issues advisory for voters to reduce spread of COVID-19 on election day

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) has issued an advisory for voters casting their ballot in the US to help contain the spread of COVID-19.

Voters have been advised to avoid crowded ride-sharing services, buses, or trains when heading to polling stations.

And voters driving their own vehicle to their voting district, are also advised to check the voter line, and join only when the queue is shorter.

When voting, individuals are also advised to keep at least six feet (1.8 metres) apart from other people.

“Wear a mask around others, and wash your hands before and after voting – or if that’s not possible, use an alcohol-based hand sanitiser with at least 60 percent alcohol.”


Democratic US vice-presidential candidate Kamala Harris waves ahead of giving remarks during an event, in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania on the eve of the November 3 presidential election [Jonathan Ernst/Reuters]

‘Like a rock concert’, Trump rally in Wisconsin draws thousands

Outside a Trump rally in Kenosha, Wisconsin, bumper-to-bumper traffic snaked along an open road winding through empty corn fields before giving way to parking lots full of cars and trucks festooned with Trump and Thin Blue Line flags, Al Jazeera’s Cinnamon Janzer reports.

Tables teem with pro-Trump and anti-Biden merchandise. The road reveals a cluster of shuttle buses loaded with rally-goers. Middle-aged male passengers mumble about the poor treatment of the “elegant, smart, beautiful” first lady Melania Trump while an elderly woman wishes Minnesota would rid themselves of “that lady,” referring to Ilhan Omar.

A line of people encircles the Kenosha Regional Airport hours before Trump is scheduled to appear. The growing crowd is clad in hats, blankets, and mittens to stave off cold winds whipping through the open landscape. The “Pledge of Allegiance” barked over loudspeakers.

Inside,a family from Illinois offered reasons for making an hour-and-a-half drive north.

“It’s amazing. It’s like a concert,” said Greg Seigpiel, describing the last four years under Trump’s presidency as the best of his life. His wife, Tammi, who voted for Obama in 2008 out of a distaste for McCain, is motivated by “capitalism over socialism.”

College student, Ava, aged 19, is “sick and tired of suppressing my beliefs. I want to be around people who also share the same views as me and the silent majority I feel is coming up.”

Chants of “four more years” begin to ring out from the crowd.

Festooned in Trump gear, thousands drove for miles and waited in line for hours to hear President Donald Trump speak at the Kenosha Regional Airport in Kenosha, Wisconsin on November 2, 2020 [Cinnamon Janzer/Al Jazeera]

Lady Gaga stumps for Biden at final campaign event in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania

American singer and songwriter Lady Gaga campaigned with Joe Biden and Jill Biden in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, to increase turnout for the Democratic candidate in the crucial swing state, Al Jazeera’s Hilary Beaumont reports.

“I’m going to keep this very simple: if you believe in Joe Biden and you haven’t already voted, make a plan to get to the polls tomorrow. Turnout is going to be critical, so get there early,” Gaga said, removing her glitter “VOTE” mask to speak.

“I know you’ve seen the polls, the record number of mail-in and early votes, it’s tempting to feel comfortable and confident and sit back. But now is not a time,” Gaga said.

“Now is a time to show up and vote like this country depends on it, because it does,” she said. The crowd at the outdoor rally cheered and honked their horns. “We all know that this thing may come down to Pennsylvania. We need you.”

Democratic presidential candidate Joe Biden with Lady Gaga, (right), at the University of Pittsburgh [Andrew Harnik/AP Photo]

Obama in Miami, criticises Trump for failures, urges votes for Biden

“If there was a Democrat who was behaving this way, the way our current president does, I couldn’t support him,” former President Barack Obama said of Donald Trump at a campaign rally in Miami, Florida.

“If I saw a Democrat who was lying every single day, I mean, the fact-checkers can’t keep up. It’s like over and over again. Yeah, I would say: ‘Well I don’t’,” said Obama who returned to Florida to urge Democrats who have not voted yet to go to the polls on Election Day.

“That’s not the example I want. I don’t trust that person to manage the country’s affairs, because … because it’s violating the values that we try to live by. And these are the values we try to teach our kids,” Obama said.

“They’re not white values. They’re not Black voters. They’re not Latino values or Asian-American values. They are American values. And we have to reclaim them,” he said.

Former President Barack Obama at a rally in Miami urged Democrats who have not yet cast ballots to vote on Election Day [Lynne Sladky/AP Photo]

Trump claims improvement in trade, manufacturing jobs at rally in Michigan. Hits Biden as a ‘globalist’.

“Joe Biden is a globalist who spent 47 years outsourcing your jobs, opening your borders and sacrificing American blood and treasure in endless, ridiculous foreign wars,” Trump told a large crowd of supporters in Traverse City, Michigan.

Biden supported the North American Free Trade Agreement (NAFTA) which Trump said shipped US auto industry jobs to Mexico and Canada.

“It was a terrible thing that took place, but we’ve stopped that and the USMCA (renegotiated NAFTA) makes it very, very financially difficult for them to do that,” Trump said.

“Sleepy Joe supported China’s entry into the World Trade Organization. Michigan lost half of all auto manufacturing jobs after those Biden betrayals,” he said.

Joe Biden rallies Black voters in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania

“We need a vote now to deliver some racial justice in America,” Biden told attendees at a drive-in rally in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, aimed at encouraging Blacks to vote on Election Day.

“A season of protest has broken out all across this nation,” Biden said. “Those protests are a cry for justice.”

Biden criticised as “a bunch of malarkey” Trump’s claims of doing more for Blacks in America and knocked the president for failing to condemn white supremacy.

Biden is promising new criminal justice reforms, investment in Black colleges and federal subsidies for first-time Black home-buyers.

“Everyone knows who Donald Trump is. Let’s show them who we are,” he said.


Democratic presidential candidate former Vice President Joe Biden speaks at a drive-in campaign rally in Pittsburgh [Andrew Harnik/AP Photo]

Obama campaigns in Georgia

Former President Barack Obama campaigned in Georgia on Monday in support of Biden.

“I’ve got one word for you, Atlanta, tomorrow. Tomorrow, after four years of failure, you have the power to change America,” Obama said during a drive-in rally in Atlanta.

“Tomorrow, you can put an end to the politics that tries to divide a nation just to win an election, that tries to stoke conspiracy theories and fear at a time when we need competence and we need hope.”

Obama has been campaigning in several battleground states in the campaign’s closing weeks and will also visit Florida on Monday.

He was joined in Atlanta by Georgia Democratic Senate candidates Jon Ossoff and the Reverand Raphael Warnock. Georgia is the only state with two Senate races where Democrats are considered competitive.

Former President Barack Obama speaks at a rally in Atlanta, Georgia [Brynn Anderson/The Associated Press]

Trump inspires few poll watchers during early voting: Report

Despite appeals by Trump for supporters to go to polling placing and monitor election conduct, few have heeded the president’s call during early voting, non-profit news site ProPublica has reported.

The president has repeatedly called on supporters to monitor the polls, amid unfounded warnings of widespread voter fraud. “Watch all the thieving and stealing and robbing they do,” he said during a rally in September “Because this is important.”

While there is no official official data, election officials across the country told ProPublica that they have seen relatively few Republican poll watchers amid an unprecedented surge in early voting. At times, Democratic poll watchers have outnumbered Republicans.

The effort appears to have particularly petered out in Colorado and Nevada, where the campaign had particularly tried to energise monitors to go to the polls.


The election in graphics

From Electoral College forecasts, House and Senate races and voter turnout numbers, Al Jazeera looks at Tuesday’s extraordinary election season in graphics.

Read more here.

Florida heads into election day with no clear favourite

Florida, the nation’s largest swing state, is once again living up to its reputation as a bitterly fierce electoral battleground where neither presidential candidate enjoys a clear advantage heading into Election Day.

Given the makeup of the national electoral map, a win for Biden here would almost certainly be an early knock-out punch, while victory for Trump will give his campaign a chance to fight it out in other battlegrounds as results come in from around the country later in the night.

If anything, the race has only tightened during the past month. Biden has watched his state polling advantage shrink from a 4.5 percentage point lead over Trump in early October to just one percentage point in November, according to polling averages compiled by RealClearPolitics.

Statewide, more than 8.9 million Floridians have already cast their ballots, either through mail or in-person during the state’s early voting period. The turnout shattered 2016’s early voting numbers by more than two million ballots. Four years ago, about 9.5 million people in Florida voted, total, and participation this cycle is on track to surpass that.

Read more here.

Supporters of President Donald Trump and former Vice President Joe Biden (obscured) wave flags and hand out information to arriving voters outside an early voting polling station in West Palm Beach, Florida [Rebecca Blackwell/AP Photo]

Democrat leads Republican in Arizona Senate race, North Carolina dead heat: Poll

Democratic Senate candidate Mark Kelly held a big lead over Arizona Republican incumbent Martha McSally on the eve of the election while Republican and Democrat vying for Senate seat in North Carolina were running neck-and-neck, new Reuters/Ipsos polls showed.

Kelly had 53 percent support of likely voters, while McSally had 44 percent in Arizona, according to the poll. In North Carolina, Democratic challenger Cal Cunningham had 48 percent support, while Republican Senator Thom Tillis had 46 percent support, the poll showed.

Democratic Senate candidate Mark Kelly has a wide lead over the Republican incumbent going into election day, according to a new poll [Rob Schumacher/The Associated Press]


US judge denies Texas Republican bid to scrap 127,000 votes

A federal judge in Texas on Monday denied an attempt by Republicans to throw out about 127,000 votes already cast in the US presidential election at drive-through voting sites in Houston, a Democratic-leaning area.

The plaintiffs had accused County Clerk Chris Hollins, a Democrat, of acting illegally when he allowed drive-through voting as an alternative during the coronavirus pandemic.

US District Judge Andrew Hanen said the plaintiffs lacked standing to bring the case. The lawsuit was brought last Wednesday by plaintiffs including state Representative Steve Toth, conservative activist Steve Hotze, and judicial candidate Sharon Hemphill.

Biden addresses union workers at Pennsylvania rally

In his first stop in Pennsylvania during a barnstorm tour on Monday, Joe Biden’s message was clear: Trump cannot relate to blue-collar workers, Hilary Beaumont reports for Al Jazeera.

Biden attempted to appeal to union workers at an appearance in Beaver County, Pennsylvania by talking about his childhood in Scranton, Pennsylvania and Claymont, Delaware: “You get to this home stretch, you find yourself going home, at least, I find myself going home; this is like home.”

He shared a story about his dad losing his job when he was a child and having to move cities. He said his father told him, “A job’s about a lot more than a paycheck. It’s about your dignity, it’s about respect. It’s about your place in the community. It’s about being able to look your kid in the eye and say, ‘Honey, it’s going to be OK.'”

The Democratic candidate said he would raise taxes on corporations and invest the proceeds into union jobs and infrastructure. Trump has repeatedly said Biden would ban fracking, a major industry in Pennsylvania. “No matter how many times Trump tries to lie about it, I would not ban fracking, never said I would,” Biden said Monday. During a primary debate in March, Biden suggested he was in favour of ending fracking, but his campaign has since clarified that he would not ban fracking.

Democratic presidential candidate former Vice President Joe Biden speaks in Beaver County, Pennsylvania [Andrew Harnik/The Associated Press]

Trump mocks Biden near hometown

“I think you’re going to see a great red wave tomorrow,” Trump told a packed rally on Monday near Scranton, Pennsylvania, Biden’s childhood home.

He said he expected to win Florida and Pennsylvania, and cast doubt on the narrative that Biden is leading the race, Hilary Beaumont reported for Al Jazeera.

“Who is going to vote?” he asked, and the crowd roared. “Is there anyone here who is going to vote for Sleepy Joe?” The crowd boo’ed. “Is there anybody who would have the courage to put up their hand?” His supporters laughed.

“Oh, but he was born in Scranton, what a phony he is. He was born in Scranton,” Trump continued. He mocked Biden: “I’m a Scranton boy.”

To win the crucial swing state of Pennsylvania, Trump must convince voters that Biden is a worse option for president. Biden must energise Black voters in cities like Philadelphia to win Pennsylvania.

On Monday, Trump incorrectly said Biden called Black men “super-predators” and told Black men to vote Trump on election day. In fact, it was Hillary Clinton who used the term “super-predator” in the 1990s. Trump also repeated his false line that there is no president who has done more for African Americans than he has.

Donald Trump holds a campaign rally at Wilkes-Barre Scranton International Airport in Avoca, Pennsylvania [Carlos Barria/Reuters]


State officials warn against pressure to declare election winner early

State law enforcement officials are warning against pressure to declare the winner of the election, following statements from the president casting, without evidence, doubt on results that come after November 3.

“States do not certify the election on election night,” Michigan Attorney general Dana Nessel told reporters. “We’re not about to let anyone steal this election.”

“We have experience in handling close elections,” Josh Stein, the attorney general of North Carolina, said in a briefing organised by the non-partisan Voter Protection Project. “We may know the winner Tuesday night … or we may not know the winner.”

The political news website Axios reported Sunday that Trump has told confidants he will declare victory right away late Tuesday if it looked like he was ahead in the voting. But officials in many states, such as Michigan, Wisconsin, and Pennsylvania – all key states where the outcome is unpredictable – have said that counting the large numbers of mail-in votes could take at least another day and perhaps three days.

Trump has called the Axios report “false”.

Harris avoids saying Trump’s name in Pennsylvania

Democratic vice-presidential nominee Kamala Harris is not uttering President Donald Trump’s name as she campaigns in Pennsylvania, The Associated Press reports.

Instead, Joe Biden’s running mate is referring to him as “you know who” or “the other guy”.

She told a crowd in Bethlehem, Pennsylvania, on Monday: “I’m kinda done talking about the guy in the White House. If y’all don’t mind, I’m just gonna talk about Joe.”

The event was billed as a get-out-the-vote rally focused on Latinos, who make up roughly 30 percent of the city’s population. Harris largely stuck to her standard campaign speech, highlighting the differences between Trump and Biden.

Democratic vice-presidential candidate Senator Kamala Harris waves to supporters during a drive-in get out the vote rally in Pennsylvania [Michael Perez/The Associated Press]

Charity worker jailed in Egypt, who met with Trump upon release, endorses Biden

Aya Hijazi, a charity worker who met with Trump after being released from an Egyptian prison in 2017, has endorsed Biden.

Hijazi, who served three years in prison on human trafficking charges dismissed as bogus by human rights groups, recounted meeting with the president in the Oval Office photo-op following her release. US officials had raised Hijazi’s case with Egypt soon after Trump took office on January 20, but the president had maintained he struck “no deal” with the government.

“Trump leaned in and said, ‘You know it’s I who released you, don’t you? I succeeded and Obama failed’,” Hijazi recounted of the meeting. “In the most vulnerable moment of my life, 48 hrs after releasing me from prison it was never about me like it was never about us. It’s about his ego. We deserve better.”

Hijazi, 30, and her Egyptian husband had established the Belady foundation to aid street children in 2013, but were arrested in 2014.


Campaigns converge in Pennsylvania

The Biden and Trump campaigns are converging in Pennsylvania a day before election day, a state that has seen limited early voting and where a final vote tally could take days.

Trump was set to speak in Luzerne County, an area that swung Republican in 2016, while Biden was set to have the majority of his final day of campaigning with one drive-in rally in Beaver County and two events in Pittsburgh. Meanwhile, Democratic vice-presidential nominee Kamala Harris and Vice President Mike Pence were both fanning out across the state.

Biden has a slim lead in Pennsylvania polls but experts said that does not mean Trump cannot win the likely tipping-point state. Trump won the state by only 44,292 votes in 2016, turning it red for the first time since 1988.

Polls show Pennsylvania’s top issues are the economy, COVID-19 and healthcare. In the final week of the election, the number of coronavirus cases in the state hit a record high, Philadelphia police shot and killed Walter Wallace Jr, who was Black, sparking protests and looting, and residents struggled to find work amid a high unemployment rate caused by the coronavirus pandemic.

Read more about Pennsylvania’s significance in the race here.

Polls show a tight race between United States President Donald Trump and opponent Joe Biden in Pennsylvania [Shannon Stapleton/Reuters]

Judge rules ballot-counting measures in Nevada legal

A Nevada judge ruled that ballot-counting measures in the state’s largest county, home to Las Vegas, were legal, in a setback to Trump and Republican officials in a battleground state ahead of Tuesday’s election.

Their suit claimed the counting process in Clark County was plagued by several issues, including observers not being able to get to where they needed to observe the count and ballots being handled in a way observers deemed improper.

Trump’s campaign, the state Republican Party and an individual voter filed the lawsuit against Nevada’s secretary of state and the Clark County registrar on October 23. The ruling, issued on Thursday, was released on Monday.

Trump is trailing Biden in opinion polls in Nevada, one of a dozen battleground states that traditionally decide presidential elections. Judge James Wilson said the plaintiffs in the Nevada case did not have legal standing to bring the case and had not provided evidence that the county’s processes had led to the counting of fraudulent votes.

Clinton weighs in on Trump campaign comments on vote counting

Former Democratic presidential candidate Hillary Clinton has weighed in baseless statements made by the Trump campaign that cast doubt on votes counted after election day.

“The election will be over when all the votes are counted,” the former secretary of state tweeted on Monday.

Amid an unprecedented surge in mail voting, it may take several days for the winner to become clear. States never give official final vote tallies on election day, although news organisations call races when partial vote counts show an insurmountable lead. That determination may take longer than in past elections.

In the final days of the race, Trump and his surrogates have falsely suggested that vote tallies that change after election day indicate malfeasance. Instead, changes in vote counts in the days after the election will reflect a more complete accounting.

Federal judge doubtful about Texas Republican bid to scrap 127,000 votes

A federal judge in Texas appeared sceptical of an attempt by Republicans to throw out about 127,000 votes already cast in the presidential election at drive-through voting sites in Houston, a Democratic-leaning area, according to Reuters News Agency.

On the eve of Election Day, US District Judge Andrew Hanen said the Republicans who brought the case faced an “uphill road” in convincing him that the votes should be voided.

The judge said the plaintiffs needed to show that Harris County Clerk Chris Hollins, a Democrat, had an “evil motive” in allowing drive-through voting as an alternative during the coronavirus pandemic.

Hanen also questioned the last-minute timing of the case: “Didn’t we test this in the primaries this summer?” The judge asked a lawyer for the plaintiffs, adding: “Why am I just getting this case?”

The number of early voters in Texas has surpassed total votes counted in 2016, according to the US Elections Project [Go Nakamura/Reuters]

Biden holds first event of the day in Cleveland, Ohio

Biden held his only event outside of Pennsylvania in Cleveland, Ohio on Monday.

“When America’s heard, I believe the message is going to be loud and clear. It’s time for Donald Trump to pack his bags and go home. We’re done,” Biden said at a drive-in rally, kicking off his last full day of campaigning this election season. “We’re done with the chaos. We’re done with the tweets, the anger, the hate, the failure, the irresponsibility.”

Ohio Senator Sherrod Brown, a Democrat, told reporters he and other Democrats had lobbied the Biden campaign to send the candidate to the state in the final days of the race. Biden has focused his attention mostly on northern battlegrounds of Wisconsin, Michigan and Pennsylvania.

Obama won Ohio by three percentage points in 2012. Trump won the state by a margin of about seven percentage points in 2016, although polls show a tight race in the current contest.

Democratic presidential candidate former Vice President Joe Biden speaks at a rally in Cleveland, Ohio [Andrew Harnik/The Associated Press]


Biden defends Fauci

Biden has defended Dr Anthony Fauci after Trump suggested he would dismiss the nation’s top infectious disease expert after Election Day.

Biden tweeted Monday: “We need a president who actually listens to experts like Dr. Fauci.”

Biden has sought to keep the presidential campaign focused on the federal response to the coronavirus pandemic, which has killed more than 231,000 people in the US. Trump has used the race’s final hours to accuse Biden of wanting to force the country back into a lockdown to slow the spread of the virus.

During a rally that started late Sunday in Opa-locka, Florida, the Republican president expressed frustration that surging virus cases remain prominent in the news, sparking chants of “Fire Fauci” from his supporters. Trump replied, “Don’t tell anybody, but let me wait until a little bit after the election”.

Trump, without evidence, calls his lag in the polls ‘suppression’

Trump, during his first of five campaign stops, criticised polls showing him trailing behind Biden, noting that polls also showed him trailing behind Hillary Clinton in 2016.

“They work magic and the amazing thing is they hang on to their jobs they do horribly,” Trump said of pollsters during the rally in Fayetteville, North Carolina.

Trump, without evidence, suggested that pollsters were conspiring against him, inflating his challengers’ polling leads to discourage supporters from going to the polls. He added: “I watch these fake polls … We’re going to win anyway.”

Read Al Jazeera’s examination on whether we can believe the polls this time around here.


Glitches allow banned Facebook election ads to recirculate

Facebook has acknowledged glitches in enforcing its policy on removing misleading political advertising for the US election after a report revealed banned messages were being recirculated.

The social media giant, which has faced intense scrutiny over its handling of political misinformation, said it took action after a Wall Street Journal report showed loopholes allowing activist groups to repost ads that had been banned after third-party fact checks.

The Wall Street Journal report said some ads supporting Trump and containing false claims about Biden had been reposted and shared by a conservative group after the original messages were blocked. Facebook began removing the reposted ads after the Journal report over the weekend.

“When a fact-checker applies a rating, we apply a label and demote it while also rejecting it as an ad – this is true for all ratings,” a Facebook spokesperson told the AFP news agency. “We reviewed these ads and are taking action on those that violate our policies, while also working to improve how we find similar ads to those that were already rated.”

A report showed misleading political ads blocked by Facebook [Elise Amendola/The Associated Press]


Twitter outlines plan for candidates declaring victory before official results

Twitter Inc has outlined a plan for placing warning labels on tweets from candidates and campaigns that claim victory in advance of official results.

The move comes as the social network braces for what it has called an unusual election due to a high number of mail-in ballots that may cause a delay in final results. Concern has been further heightened in the final days of the by Trump and his surrogates, who have falsely suggested that votes counted after election day are somehow suspect. It is common practice in the US for states to reach their official tallies days after polls close.

Beginning on election night through the inauguration, Twitter said it would place warning labels such as “official sources called this election differently”, or “official sources may not have called the race when this was tweeted”. US-based accounts with over 100,000 followers and a significant engagement will also be considered for labeling, Twitter said.

In an updated blog, the company said it would consider state election officials and national news outlets such as ABC News, Associated Press, CNN and Fox News that have independent election decision desks as official sources for results. Their official Twitter accounts will be exempted from labeling, the company said.

Trump on Sunday denied a report that he planned to declare victory on election night if he appeared “ahead”.


Trump campaign ramps up false claims over vote count validity

The Trump campaign in the waning days of the presidential race have pushed the false narrative that votes counted after election day are evidence of malfeasance.

On Sunday, Trump slammed a Supreme Court ruling that allowed Pennsylvania to count mail ballots that arrive three days after election day if they are postmarked, meaning sent, by election day. Trump said: “We should know the result of the election on November 3rd. The evening of November 3rd. That’s the way it has been, and that is [the] way it should be.”

Earlier in the day, Trump senior campaign adviser, Jason Miller, predicted that early results would show Trump with an Electoral College victory, and if those results change in the following days as all votes are counted, it’s evidence of Democrats trying to “steal” the election.

The narrative pushed by the campaign is false on several counts.

Why Trump campaign claims on vote counting are false

First of all, while news organisations often project winners on election night – after determining that one candidate has an insurmountable lead based on partial vote counts – states never officially report final results on November 3 and there is no laws requiring them to do so.

States traditionally take time to officially “certify” their counts, which can include counting late-arriving mail ballots, provisional ballots or, in the case of extremely close races, recounts. This is part of the regular process of counting votes and has been throughout US history.

Furthermore, many states are not allowed to even begin counting ballots, including those that arrived by mail days before election day, until election day itself, slowing their ability to give speedy results.

It is also false that mail ballots in states in which they are counted if postmarked by election day, even if they arrive in the following days, are somehow less valid. States in the US are responsible for creating the policies on how they conduct voting in national elections. These policies can be challenged in court and at times make it all the way to the highest court in the US, the Supreme Court. This was the case for challenges to mail-ballot deadlines in battlegrounds Pennsylvania and North Carolina. The court allowed both state’s policies to stand.

Federal judge orders USPS to reinforce ‘extraordinary measures’ ballot delivery policy

The US Postal Service (USPS) must remind senior managers they must follow its “extraordinary measures” policy and use its Express Mail Network to expedite ballots in advance of Tuesday’s presidential election, under an order signed by a federal judge.

US District Judge Emmet Sullivan’s order on Sunday, to which the USPS agreed, said the postal service must reinforce its “special procedures” to ensure it “delivers every ballot possible by the cutoff time on Election Day”.

USPS will also reinforce to managers that “all ballots with a local destination must be cleared and processed on the same day or no later than the next morning for delivery to local offices, from now through at least November 7.”

With an unprecedented number of ballots cast by mail already recorded during the election season, attention has turned to USPS over fears ballots would not be delivered to election officials by state deadlines. While some key battleground states, notably Pennsylvania and North Carolina, allow ballots that are post-marked by election day to be counted if they arrive in the days following, many key states require mail ballots to arrive by the time polls close on election day.

Dow jumps more than 300 points as US markets brace for turmoil

Wall Street’s major stock indexes opened higher on Monday after their worst week since March as investors prepare for an eventful week surrounding Tuesday’s presidential election.

After jumping more than 300 points at the opening bell, the Dow Jones Industrial Average slid back a bit, then resumed its climb. Around 9:45am ET (14:45 GMT), the 30-share index was up more than 323 points or 1.22 percent at 26,825.37.

The S&P 500 – a gauge for the health of US retirement and college savings reports- was up 0.87 percent, while the tech-heavy Nasdaq Composite Index was up more than 1 percent.

Investor sentiment has been weighed down in recent weeks thanks to a sell-off in big tech, surging COVID-19 infections in the US and Europe, deadlocked talks between the White House and Congressional Democrats over a new round of fiscal stimulus and uncertainty surrounding the outcome of the US race for the Oval office.

All eyes will be glued on Tuesday night’s election climax although many expect there will not be a clear winner in the presidential race come Wednesday morning.

Read more here.

Wall Street’s main stock indexes bounced back on Monday after closing out their worst week since March [File: Andrew Kelly/Reuters]

Federal judge weighs bid to void 127,000 votes cast at drive-through sites in Texas

A federal judge in Texas will consider on Monday whether Houston officials should throw out about 127,000 votes already cast at drive-through voting sites in the Democratic-leaning area.

US District Judge Andrew Hanen is set to hear an emergency bid at 10:30am local time (16:30 GMT) by a Republican state legislator and others who accuse Harris County Clerk Chris Hollins, a Democrat, of exceeding his constitutional authority by allowing drive-through voting as an alternative during the coronavirus pandemic.

The lawsuit was brought on Wednesday by plaintiffs including state Representative Steve Toth and a conservative activist, Steve Hotze.

The Texas Supreme Court, a state court, on Sunday rejected a nearly identical bid by the same plaintiffs to halt drive-through voting in Harris County. The same court also previously denied similar challenges brought by the Texas Republican Party and the Harris County Republican Party.

Podcast: Could Latino voters help Trump win again?

For the first time in United States history, Latina, Latino, Latinx and Hispanic voters are projected to exceed the number of Black eligible voters in a presidential election, making this the largest ethnic minority voting group. Since launching his candidacy for the presidency in 2016, Donald Trump’s language towards the Latino immigrant community has been charged.

However, not all voters are focusing on immigration reform at the ballot box.

Al Jazeera’s The Take podcast hears from members of the community on what their key voting issues are, and what a Biden win, or a second Trump presidency, will mean to them.

Over 95 million people have voted early

Over 95 million US citizens have already cast their ballot in the November 3 election, with at least 34,576,166 voting in person and 60,451,666 casting ballots by mail, according to the US elections project.

The ballots cast in early voting represent 68.9 percent of all votes counted in 2016, although overall turnout is expected to be higher than four years ago.

Early voting has smashed 2016’s early voting total of 47.2 million [LM Otero/The Associated Press]

Trump says FBI should not investigate caravan that targeted Biden campaign bus

Donald Trump is not happy that the Federal Bureau of Investigation announced they are investigating a caravan of pro-Trump vehicles that surrounded a Joe Biden campaign bus on a highway in Texas last week.

“In my opinion, these patriots did nothing wrong. Instead, the FBI & Justice should be investigating the terrorists, anarchists, and agitators of ANTIFA, who run around burning down our Democrat run cities and hurting our people!” Trump tweeted late Sunday.

Biden wasn’t in the bus at the time, but his campaign cancelled events in Texas on Friday citing “safety concerns”.

Brexit ‘godfather’ Farage says Trump will win US election

Brexit Party leader Nigel Farage said that he felt Trump would win the US presidential election as his support base was so enthusiastic and he had gathered momentum in the final days of the campaign.

“He’s not just the president of the USA, he is a human dynamo,” Farage, whom Trump calls a friend, told Talk Radio from Pennsylvania. “I have never seen a support base as enthusiastic as they are for this man. These crowds chant ‘we love you’.”

“You can, if you want to, look at the opinion polls, look at the betting markets, look at the lead editorials of the global press and they will all tell you that its a slam dunk for Joe Biden. I do not believe it,” Farage said.

What is the Electoral College?

In the US, the president and vice president are not decided by which candidate receives the most votes overall in the country, even though US voters do directly select a preferred choice on their ballots.

Instead, it all comes down to Electoral College voters.

Under this state-based system, every state has a group of “electors” who are chosen in most cases by political parties in that state.

These electors actually cast the deciding votes for the presidential and vice-presidential candidates. They are expected to vote on December 14.

Learn more about the system here.

US elections 2020-INTERACTIVE-Electoral College
[Alia Chughtai/Al Jazeera]

A recap of Donald Trump’s closest 2016 victories

Among this year’s presidential battleground states are four that Trump won by extremely slim margins in 2016.

Here are the states he won by a slim margin four years ago.

Trump threatens to fire Fauci in rift with disease expert

Trump is suggesting that he will fire Dr Anthony Fauci after Tuesday’s election, as his rift with the nation’s top infectious disease expert widens while the nation sees its most alarming outbreak of the coronavirus since the spring.

Speaking at a campaign rally in Opa-locka, Florida, Trump expressed frustration that the surging cases of the virus that has killed more than 230,000 Americans so far this year remain prominent in the news, sparking chants of “Fire Fauci” from his supporters.

“Don’t tell anybody but let me wait until a little bit after the election,” Trump replied to thousands of supporters just after midnight Monday, adding he appreciated their “advice”.

Trump’s comments come after Fauci levelled his sharpest criticism yet of the White House’s response to the coronavirus and Trump’s public assertion that the nation is “rounding the turn” on the virus.

On last day, Trump and Biden scour battleground states

Trump will hunt for support in four battleground states on Monday: North Carolina, Pennsylvania, Wisconsin and Michigan, where he will hold two rallies.

His Democratic rival Joe Biden will focus on Pennsylvania and Ohio during the final day of campaigning in their long and bitter race for the White House.

Trump trails Biden in national opinion polls before Tuesday’s Election Day. But the race is seen as close in enough swing states that Trump could still piece together the 270 votes needed to prevail in the state-by-state Electoral College that determines the winner.

Trump will wrap up his campaign in Grand Rapids, Michigan, the same place he concluded his 2016 presidential run with a post-midnight rally on Election Day.

Biden, running mate Kamala Harris and their spouses will spend most of Monday in Pennsylvania, splitting up to hit all four corners of a state that has become vital to the former vice president’s hopes.

Biden will rally union members and members of the Black community in the Pittsburgh area before being joined for an evening drive-in rally by singer Lady Gaga.

Biden also will make a detour to bordering Ohio, spending time on his final campaign day in a state that was once considered a lock for Trump, who won it in 2016, but where polls now show a close contest.

US campaign enters final day with country on edge

The US presidential campaign enters its final day with a last-minute scramble for votes by Donald Trump and Joe Biden, drawing to a close a race that has put a pandemic-stricken country on the edge.

A record of more than 93 million people have cast early ballots, including in-person and mailed votes, according to the nonpartisan US Elections Project.

As the hours count down on Monday and with polls showing him behind, Trump will repeat his marathon performance from the previous day with another set of rallies in key states.

Source: Al Jazeera and news agencies