Savannah Behrmann | USA TODAY
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We’re days past Election Day and USA TODAY’S coverage of the 2020 election continues as states work to finish counting the ballots.
All eyes on are the battleground states that will ultimately decide the election. Be sure to refresh this page often to get the latest information on how things are going.
Biden: ‘We’re going to win’ but waiting ‘can be numbing’
Democratic presidential nominee Joe Biden repeated his appeal Friday for supporters to remain patient for ballots to be counted three days after voting ended in his race to unseat President Donald Trump.
“We don’t have a final declaration, a victory yet,” Biden said indoors at the Chase Center in Wilmington, Delaware, where hundreds of supporters gathered outside. “We’re going to win this race with a clear majority of the nation behind us.”
Biden said the 74 million votes is more than any ticket in history.
“The people spoke loudly for our ticket,” Biden said
Biden leads Trump narrowly in three states haven’t been called yet: Pennsylvania, Nevada and Georgia. With 264 electoral college votes in hand, any one of the states would provide Biden the 270 votes required to clinch the White House.
Biden leads in Pennsylvania by 28,833 votes, Nevada by 22,657 votes and Georgia by 4,395 votes. Georgia’s secretary of state has already announced a recount.
Biden also leads Arizona, which has been called in his favor, by 29,861 votes. But Trump has hoped to reclaim that state.
“As slow as it goes, it can be numbing,” Biden said.
His comments echoed a brief statement he gave Thursday at The Queen theater urging patience in waiting for voting to be completed.
“We have to remain calm, patient, as we count all the votes,” Biden said.
Biden said he is beginning to act without waiting for the vote to be completed. He and his running mate, Sen. Kamala Harris of California, met with health officials on Thursday to plan how to deal better with the COVID-19 pandemic. Biden said they also heard about how the recovery is slowing because of the pandemic.
“We’re going to work on day one to put our plan into action,” Biden said. “We don’t have any more time to waste on partisan warfare.”
— Bart Jansen
Unprecedented double runoff: None of Georgia’s candidates receive 50% of votes
Georgia Sen. David Perdue is headed to a runoff election in January against Democrat Jon Ossoff, potentially leaving the Senate majority undecided until January.
After counting votes and tallying absentee ballots, Ossoff caught up to Perdue to force a runoff, which is done in the state if no candidate wins 50% of the vote. The Libertarian candidate Shane Hazel also appeared to have chipped away at Perdue’s vote share.
The state is one of the last remaining hopes for Democrats, who have watched a list of more than a dozen potential pickups dwindle as Republicans defeated challenge after challenge across the country, despite Democrats enjoying strong polls in their favor and spending millions of dollars on key races.
Democrats need at least two more wins to flip the Senate, three if Biden does not win the White House.
The last remaining options for Democrats lie in North Carolina, where GOP Sen. Thom Tillis appears to have the lead and Alaska, where Democratic candidate Al Gross hopes to unseat Republican Sen. Dan Sullivan. The other is another January runoff in Georgia between incumbent Republican Sen. Kelly Loeffler and Democrat Raphael Warnock, the senior pastor of Ebenezer Baptist Church in Atlanta.
— Christal Hayes
Trump focuses on legal path that experts say may not exist
President Donald Trump made clear in a series of tweets Friday that he views the courtroom as his best option to winning reelection even though experts say the lawsuits his campaign has filed so far lack a discernible strategy that could deny Joe Biden a widely expected win.
The Trump campaign has filed lawsuits in battleground states but many of them involve a small number of votes or have been written off by legal experts, such as Rachael Cobb at Suffolk University, as “throwing a lot of stuff at the wall.”
“I had such a big lead in all of these states late into election night, only to see the leads miraculously disappear as the days went by,” Trump tweeted, reiterating a claim that has been widely debunked for days. “Perhaps these leads will return as our legal proceedings move forward!”
Trump jumped out to an early lead in Pennsylvania, Michigan, Georgia and other key states on Election Day because officials counted in-person, day-of votes first — as they always do. Those votes favored Trump. Officials then turned to the record number of mail ballots that were cast this year due to the coronavirus pandemic. Those votes favored Biden, and there have been enough of them to give Biden the lead in most of the remaining battlegrounds.
Trump’s latest message was more consistent with the sort of grievance-airing he has offered in two appearances at the White House since Tuesday’s election. It was a departure from the more measured statement issued by the Trump campaign earlier Friday in which he vowed to “never give up fighting for you and our nation.”
The latest tweets also underscored that Trump sees his path to victory through a legal fight. The president has repeatedly threatened to put the administration of the election before the Supreme Court, but it’s not yet clear on what grounds such a case would be made.
The recount and legal battle of 2000 that cleared the way for George W. Bush to assume the presidency was focused on one state: Florida. Trump faces a much more difficult challenge in pursuing litigation and recounts in multiple states at the same time — assuming those states are called for Biden.
A loss in any of them would mean losing his legal path to the White House.
But Twitter isn’t a courtroom; arguments there don’t have to be based in the law.
“Joe Biden should not wrongfully claim the office of the President,” Trump asserted Friday in a tweet. “I could make that claim also. Legal proceedings are just now beginning!”
— John Fritze
With ballots still being counted, turnout among Americans eligible to vote is close to breaking a 40-year record, a USA TODAY analysis shows.
The vote could hit a 120-year high by the time counting is done, according to Michael McDonald, a University of Florida professor whose U.S. Elections Project tracks voter participation.
The current turnout rate is only half a percentage point lower than the highest level since 1980, 61.6%, in 2008.
As states count remaining ballots, the turnout could eventually reach more than 66%, the U.S. Elections Project said.
The project estimated that nearly 160 million Americans voted in this election among about 240 million Americans who are eligible to vote. The last time the rate went any higher was 1900, when 73.7% of eligible voters turned out, and the highest ever was 82.6% in 1876.
As of Friday night, 42 states had already exceeded their 2016’s voter turnout rates, based on USA TODAY examination of Associated Press vote counts and the U.S. Elections project’s estimates of eligible voters. So far, Hawaii has the biggest growth from 2016, at nearly 15 percentage points, followed by Montana, at 10 percentage points, and Vermont, at 9 percentage points.
For 2020 voter turnout, Minnesota so far has the nation’s highest rate with nearly 80 percent, followed by Wisconsin and Maine, both with 75 percent.
— Dian Zhang and Dan Keemahill
Nonwhite voters are driving Biden’s numbers up in Georgia
Nonwhite voters are driving former Vice President Joe Biden’s success in Georgia as outstanding ballots are being counted over the past several days.
USA TODAY looked at the percentage of Democratic votes won in each Georgia county in 2020 versus the nonwhite population of that county. Just under 80% of Biden’s success in Georgia’s 159 counties can be attributed to the nonwhite population in each county.
USA TODAY used statistical regression to figure out the correlation between Biden’s share of the vote in each county as of Friday morning and the proportion of nonwhite people in the county according to the U.S. Census Bureau.
Georgia’s statewide population is just under 33% Black, according to the U.S. Census Bureau, compared to 13% nationwide. Georgia’s largest city, Atlanta, where many of the state’s outstanding mail-in votes have been counted in recent days, is 52% Black.
The Rev. James Woodall, president of the Georgia NAACP, said numerous advocacy groups in the state spent about eight years registering voters, educating them on issues, and getting them to the polls. This year, advocacy groups encouraged mail-in voting.
“We’ve pushed our folks to vote by mail and wear masks and socially distance, primarily because we want our people to stay alive while still being able to enfranchise their voices through the ballot process,” Woodall said, pointing to the disproportionate impact of coronavirus on Black Americans.
Where the election stands:How Biden has a clear path to 270 electoral votes
In many places, mail-in ballots have been the last votes to be counted due in part to the tedious nature of removing the paper ballots from security envelopes and verifying signatures, and also due to mail delays. The national NAACP is party to the ongoing federal lawsuit that has forced the U.S. Postal Service to ensure timely delivery of mail-in ballots, including in Pennsylvania and Georgia.
Among the other four states that have remained battlegrounds this week as outstanding ballots are counted — Arizona, Nevada, North Carolina, and Pennsylvania — none showed as strong of a correlation between nonwhite voters and Biden’s success as Georgia’s did.
The analysis of Pennsylvania’s counties by votes and nonwhite population showed a modest correlation — just over 63%. One of Pennsylvania’s major jurisdictions with outstanding ballots has been Philadelphia County, which is 44% Black.
— Erin Mansfield
Trump calls for ‘full transparency’ as Biden builds lead
President Donald Trump called for “full transparency” in the counting of ballots and vowed to “never give up fighting” in a statement Friday that came as Democratic nominee Joe Biden edged closer to winning the election.
Trump’s latest thoughts on the race, which came in the form of a statement from his campaign, was more subdued than the bombastic remarks he gave at the White House a day earlier in which he leveled a series of baseless accusations about Biden’s growing lead in Pennsylvania and other states.
“We believe the American people deserve to have full transparency into all vote counting and election certification, and that this is no longer about any single election,” Trump said. “This is about the integrity of our entire election process.”
Trump has claimed without evidence that the process is faulty and has said incorrectly that mail-in ballots being counted after Election Day are fraudulent. In fact, counties and states almost always count absentee and mail-in ballots after Election Day. This year, the number of those mail ballots was dramatically larger because of the pandemic.
Though Trump’s rhetoric was less contentious, he offered no sign he is contemplating a concession.
“We will pursue this process through every aspect of the law to guarantee that the American people have confidence in our government,” he said. “I will never give up fighting for you and our nation.”
– John Fritze and David Jackson
Biden to make primetime speech Friday
Democratic presidential nominee Joe Biden will give a primetime speech Friday, a campaign aide said, as the former vice president continues to widen his lead in battleground states.
Sen. Kamala Harris, the Democratic vice presidential nominee, Dr. Jill Biden, and Harris’ husband Doug Emhoff will also be in attendance, the aide said.
The former vice president is currently at 264 electoral votes, and is ahead by a slim margin in battleground states Pennsylvania, Georgia and Nevada. If one of those states gets called in his favor, he will pass the 270 electoral votes to become president.
Too close to call:Georgia will recount votes for president because of a slim margin, official says
Harris will speak before Biden, another aide confirmed. Although it’s not customary for the vice presidential candidate to speak at an address of this sort, Harris would be the first woman and first Black vice president in history. Black voters in Detroit, Philadelphia, Atlanta and Milwaukee have been credited with pushing Biden closer towards the presidency.
During remarks Thursday, Biden called for his supporters to remain calm and said his campaign has “no doubt that when the count is finished Sen. Harris and I will be declared the winners.”
“The processes work, the count is being completed, and we’ll know very soon,” he said.
– Rebecca Morin
Biden expands lead to nearly 2 points in Nevada as state counts mail ballots
Democrat Joe Biden on Friday added another 8,000 votes to his lead over President Donald Trump in Nevada, inching closer to winning the perennial presidential battleground and securing a spot in the White House.
State election officials on Friday started releasing some 51,000 late-arriving mail-in ballots cast in the contest. Biden won nearly two-thirds of the first batch of around 30,000 votes, extending his lead over Trump to 22,000 ballots – or roughly 2 percent of votes tallied so far.
Nevada, with its six electoral votes, is among a handful of states left to be called in the election, along with Pennsylvania, North Carolina and Georgia.
– James DeHaven
Flipping counties not a likely factor in 2020 presidential race
Large numbers of counties flipping support from one party to another is not likely to be a major storyline in this year’s election outcome.
In 2016, Donald Trump won in part by flipping over 200 counties that supported President Barack Obama.
While there are still a handful of key counties yet to be called, as of Friday morning few have shifted from supporting one party to another.
Of the 489 counties that voted for Clinton in 2016, only 23 have, so far, flipped to Trump.
Most of those counties are small. Thirteen are rural, and not a single large metro county flipped to Trump’s favor. The largest was Nassau County on New York’s Long Island, though the margin is small and the count is not yet finalized.
As poorly as Trump fared flipping counties, Biden did arguably worse. Of the 2,620 counties that supported Trump four years ago, only 60 appear to have thrown their support to the democratic candidate.
Seven are major population centers, including Maricopa County in Arizona, the fourth-most populous county in the country.
The vote counts in the counties are nowhere close. The counties that Biden appears to have flipped contain nearly 10 million votes. Those won by Trump have just over a million, combined.
There are 3,141 counties and population is concentrated: Half of the country’s population lives in just 150.
– Matt Wynn
USPS finds thousands of ballots in PA and NC, races to deliver them
Sweeps of U.S. Postal Service mail-processing facilities in Pennsylvania and North Carolina on Thursday found 2,243 undelivered ballots, according to a filing in the U.S. District Court of Washington D.C. early Friday.
In each case the ballots were delivered to local elections offices, the USPS said in the filing, which is part of an ongoing lawsuit to ensure the delivery of mail-in ballots cast in the general election. Pennsylvania accepts mail-in ballots for up to three days after the election if they’re postmarked by Election Day.
For this election, North Carolina accepts ballots up to nine days late, as long as they were postmarked on Election Day.
Both are battleground states where votes continue to be counted in the race between President Donald Trump and former Vice President Joe Biden.
Postal service officials will be in court again today with District Court Judge Emmet Sullivan at 11 a.m. EDT. Sullivan has ordered the agency to conduct twice-daily sweeps to ensure all outstanding ballots are found and delivered.
– Dinah Voyles Pulver
Georgia will have a presidential recount, state official says
Georgia Secretary of State Brad Raffensperger, a Republican, said Friday morning the state would have a recount because of the slim election margin.
“Right now, Georgia remains too close to call,” he said. “There will be a recount.”
Under Georgia state law, candidates can request a recount if the margin of victory is less than 0.5%. Democratic presidential nominee Joe Biden gained a small lead over President Donald Trump early Friday morning. The two candidates are separated by about 1,100 votes.
“We are literally looking at a margin of less than a large high school,” Georgia’s voting system implementation manager Gabriel Sterling said. According to Sterling, the state had about 4,169 votes left to count. A recount could take until the end of the month, he noted. The state pays for recounts in Georgia.
Trump and his allies, without citing evidence, have alleged election fraud, but Sterling rejected the claims.
“We’re not seeing any widespread irregularities,” he said.
A recount in the Senate race between incumbent Republican Sen. David Perdue and Democratic challenger Jon Ossoff was unlikely given current vote totals, Sterling said. The two Senate candidates are separated by close to 100,000 votes, or about 2 percentage points. The Senate race is instead poised to head to a runoff election in January.
– Nicholas Wu
Kudlow: ‘I think there will be a peaceful transfer of power’
President Donald Trump and his staff say they are not giving up on the election, despite signs Joe Biden could capture enough states to carry the Electoral College. But they are also saying the president will respect a peaceful transfer of power if it comes to that.
“I think there will be a peaceful transfer of power,” Trump economic adviser Larry Kudlow said in an interview on CNBC. “This is the greatest country in the world and we abide by the rule of law as will the president.”
Kudlow also said he has spoken with the president and that he “intends to fight” and prevail, a message also delivered by the president’s reelection campaign.
“This election is not over,” said Matt Morgan, the Trump 2020 campaign general counsel.
The statements come the morning after an angry tirade from Trump in which he falsely accused election officials in contested states of trying to “steal” the election from him. There is no evidence that is happening.
– David Jackson
‘Here we go guys!’: Biden supporters await news in Delaware
With Joe Biden on the cusp of a presidential victory Friday morning, his supporters gathered in his hometown of Wilmington, Delaware. The excitement was palpable in a parking lot outside the Chase Center, where Biden is expected to speak later.
Supporters, who held signs and American flags, exchanged shouts of, “It’s gonna be a great day” and “Here we go, guys!”
Thomas Kunish, 40, likened it to a tailgate party. He had arrived in Wilmington from Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, with his five-year-old son. He perched a stuffed dinosaur holding a Biden-Harris sign on his pickup truck and tossed a football back and forth with his son as they waited.
Some supporters, like Zach Rossetti, 25, have been here for days. After watching Biden vote in their shared hometown of Scranton, Pennsylvania, on Election Day, Rossetti drove to Wilmington to await a result. He’s been spending his days at the Chase Center and nights at a hotel — but today felt different. “I am so certain we’re going to have a result today,” he said.
Beverly Relyea, 62, a Wilmington native, hasn’t been keeping vigil in the parking lot. But she said she knew it was time to come after a Biden took the lead in Pennsylvania earlier this morning. “Got my clothes on, put my hat on, and I came,” she said.
For now, the wait continues.
– Camille Caldera