Election 2020 Live Updates: Biden Speaks as Results Trickle In – The New York Times

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Maggie Haberman

Mark Meadows, the White House chief of staff who abided by Trump’s efforts to play down the coronavirus throughout the summer, has contracted the virus himself, a senior administration official said.

Credit…Dustin Franz for The New York Times

OBERLIN, Ohio — On the roads that lead to Oberlin College, Trump flags tied to telephone poles whip in the wind all year long. But the scene is far different on campus, with a jazz band crooning on Friday evenings and Priuses with bumper stickers that say “be kind.”

Against a backdrop of crunchy autumn leaves, there was a low-level anxiety at the liberal enclave on Friday, a sense of not wanting to jinx the results of a tight presidential race.

Though President Trump won Ohio, traditionally a swing state, by a decisive 8 percentage points, the race was far closer elsewhere, leaving some uncertain what to think.

Jake Zweiback, a sophomore from the Philadelphia suburbs, said he had been refreshing his phone almost constantly, looking at a map of the Electoral College and checking on the progress of the vote count in his home state.

After supporting Bernie Sanders in the primary, Mr. Zweiback, 20, said he had voted absentee for Joseph R. Biden Jr. and was eager to make sure his vote counted.

“I haven’t checked in a few hours,” he said, sitting under a tree on the quad. He asked a friend the status of the count in Pennsylvania, where Mr. Biden leads by less than a percentage point.

“I don’t know,” said Chloe Seaton, 18. “I’m taking a break.”

Ms. Seaton, a sophomore from Brooklyn, said she had also voted for Mr. Biden and had been trying to keep up with the news. But the days-long saga had left her a bit exhausted.

“It just seems like it’s never-ending,” she said.

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Thomas Kaplan in Wilmington, Del.

Biden didn’t get to deliver a victory speech tonight, but he says as he concludes his brief remarks, “I hope to be talking to you tomorrow.”

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Thomas Kaplan in Wilmington, Del.

Biden tries to lower the temperature: “We may be opponents, but we’re not enemies. We’re Americans.” He adds, “We have to put the anger and the demonization behind us.”

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Thomas Kaplan in Wilmington, Del.

Biden urges patience as votes are counted: “We’re proving again what we’ve proved for 244 years in this country: Democracy works. Your vote will be counted.”

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Thomas Kaplan in Wilmington, Del.

Biden says Americans have “given us a mandate for action.” He adds, “They made it clear they want the country to come together.”

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Thomas Kaplan in Wilmington, Del.

The numbers “tell us a clear and convincing story,” Biden says in Wilmington. “We’re going to win this race.”

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Joseph R. Biden Jr., the Democratic presidential nominee, delivered an address.CreditCredit…Erin Schaff/The New York Times

The Democratic presidential nominee delivered remarks from Wilmington, Del.

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Katie Glueck in Wilmington, Del.

Here in Wilmington, a number of top Biden aides have entered the room.

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Nick Corasaniti in Philadelphia

Election officials in both Philadelphia and Allegheny County (Pittsburgh) have stopped counting for the night and will resume Saturday morning.

See Pennsylvania results

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Trip Gabriel in Pittsburgh

The elections chair in Erie County, Pa., said about 1,500 provisional ballots were cast there, and they’ve been about evenly split Trump-Biden. Biden’s lead will change little.

See Pennsylvania results

Thomas Kaplan headshot

 

Thomas Kaplan in Wilmington, Del.

Biden’s motorcade is en route to the Chase Center in Wilmington, where he is expected to speak shortly.

Credit…Victor J. Blue for The New York Times

PHILADELPHIA — Dueling protests by supporters of President Trump and Joseph R. Biden Jr. ended late Friday outside the Pennsylvania Convention Center, where Philadelphia’s votes are still being counted.

Some 11 hours after the two demonstrations began on opposite sides of the street, several hundred Biden supporters ended a dance party in the street that had started on Thursday in anticipation of his victory. There was no violence, but by Friday evening the two sides competed for the loudest music: For the fewer Trump supporters, it included Bruce Springsteen and Led Zeppelin; for the Biden camp, the playlist was rap and hip-hop.

Police officers on bicycles increased their numbers to three lines keeping the two groups apart, from one line earlier in the day. Liz Irvine, a Biden supporter, said she had feared violent confrontations between rival camps after the election, but was now more comfortable. “I wouldn’t be here if I thought this was going to pop off,” she said.

Credit…Joshua Rashaad McFadden for The New York Times

MINNEAPOLIS — At the site where George Floyd was killed by the Minneapolis police in May, Romell Jernagin said on Friday that persistent issues plaguing his community, such as police brutality and gang activity, were unlikely to be solved by new political leadership.

Although he voted for Joseph R. Biden Jr., Mr. Jernagin, 31, said he was not confident that Mr. Biden could truly address systemic racism if he clinched the election.

“We’ll see what change is really going to happen,” said Mr. Jernagin, a security guard.

Chantal Tousignant was devastated when Donald J. Trump won in 2016. It was the first time she was eligible to vote, and she had supported Hillary Clinton.

So she said she felt good that it seemed Mr. Biden would win. But she was not elated.

“The problems that we’re facing right now aren’t problems that are here because of Trump,” said Ms. Tousignant, 23, the chief operating officer of 612 MASH, a nonprofit emergency response team formed after the Floyd protests.

“I’m happy that he’s not going to be able to have the influence and power that he’s had for the last four years,” Ms. Tousignant said of Mr. Trump. “But I think the wake of his destruction is still going to ripple through.”

Credit…Gabriella Angotti-Jones for The New York Times

LOS ANGELES — When Dolores Selico cast her vote for Joseph R. Biden Jr. in a high school gymnasium in South Los Angeles on Tuesday, she wore a T-shirt with the face of John Lewis, the Georgia congressman and civil rights pioneer who died in July. Her attire was to honor “what our ancestors went through so we could vote,” said Ms. Selico, 80, who is Black.

As the nation sat on edge while election results trickled in, Ms. Selico stayed away from the news. But she did receive updates from friends, and as Americans started to absorb the reality on Friday that they could soon have a new leader, she was ecstatic.

“Beautiful,” she said. “It’s God’s will, not ours.”

Raymond Eaton, another longtime resident of South Los Angeles, also cast his vote for Mr. Biden this week. But he left the polling station with trepidation; he recalled voting for Hillary Clinton in 2016 and being shocked when President Trump won.

As Mr. Eaton, 68, who works as a driver for Uber and Lyft, watched the initial results on Tuesday night, a similar feeling of dread set in. But by Friday, his mood brightened. With Mr. Biden closer to victory, Mr. Eaton said he was now filled with hope.

Despite the deep polarization that is likely to persist, a new president is, in Mr. Eaton’s view, a victory for everybody: “For the whole doggone world. We can still become united.”

Trip Gabriel headshot

 

Trip Gabriel in Pittsburgh

Allegheny County (Pittsburgh) just announced a new batch of ballots counted: 7,300 for Biden, 1,875 for Trump. Biden’s lead in Pennsylvania increases to 27,130 votes.

See Pennsylvania results

Credit…Erin Schaff/The New York Times

Joseph R. Biden Jr.’s advisers accelerated their transition planning on Friday as election results showed him with an advantage in battleground states that could hand him the presidency, with the first senior officials in a potential Biden White House possibly named as early as next week.

In Wilmington and Washington, Mr. Biden’s advisers and allies are ramping up their conversations about who might fill critical posts, both in the West Wing and across federal agencies, guided heavily by Mr. Biden’s plan to assemble what would be the most diverse cabinet in history.

The behind-the-scenes activity underscored that even as Mr. Biden publicly offered a disciplined message about counting every vote and refrained from claiming victory, he was already mapping out a quick start in office as the nation faces a worsening pandemic and a damaged economy.

Biden advisers say that so far, officials in Mr. Trump’s government have worked with them in good faith, which they hope and expect will continue.

As coronavirus infections hit new highs, Mr. Biden’s aides are planning for the first critical transition decisions to focus on health care and addressing the pandemic, the central theme of his campaign in the final months. Transition officials are also looking at what types of economic actions could be taken almost immediately, including rolling back some of Mr. Trump’s executive orders.

“Men, women, gay, straight, center, across the board, Black, white, Asian,” Mr. Biden said this spring when talking about his prospective cabinet. “It really matters that you look like the country, because everyone brings a slightly different perspective.”

Credit…Johnathon Kelso for The New York Times

Stacey Abrams, who was on a short list of potential vice-presidential candidates, was ultimately not chosen by Joseph R. Biden Jr.

But on Friday, as Mr. Biden took a narrow lead in Georgia, celebrities, activists and voters credited Ms. Abrams with moving past her loss — she came within 55,000 votes of the governor’s mansion in 2018 — and building a well-funded network of organizations to highlight voter suppression in the state and inspiring an estimated 800,000 residents to register to vote.

“You have to build the infrastructure to organize and motivate your base, and you have to persuade people,” said Jason Carter, a Democrat who was the party’s candidate for governor in 2014. “Stacey built that infrastructure.”

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Katie Glueck in Wilmington, Del.

A number of top Biden officials and allies are on hand tonight in Wilmington, including Jake Sullivan and Steve Ricchetti, two of his close advisers, and Senator Chris Coons.

Credit…Joseph Prezioso/Agence France-Presse — Getty Images

BOSTON — There has been a member of the Kennedy family in Congress nearly continuously since John F. Kennedy was first elected to the House of Representatives in 1946. But 2021, it seems, will be a rare exception.

Representative Joseph P. Kennedy III, Democrat of Massachusetts, ran unsuccessfully for the Senate this year, losing in a primary in September and giving up his House seat in the process. Also on the 2020 ballot: Amy Kennedy, the wife of former Senator Edward M. Kennedy’s son Patrick, who was running for a House seat in New Jersey’s 2nd District. The Associated Press declared her opponent, Representative Jeff Van Drew, a onetime Democrat who switched parties in December and declared allegiance to President Trump, the winner on Friday.

Between John F. Kennedy and Joseph P. Kennedy III, there have been four Kennedys in Congress: Robert F. Kennedy, the senator from New York in the late 1960s; Edward M. Kennedy, a Massachusetts senators from the 1960s through 2009; Joseph P. Kennedy II, a representative from Massachusetts in the 1990s; and Patrick J. Kennedy, a representative from Rhode Island from 1995 to 2011.

And while 2021 won’t see one of the Kennedys in Congress, there will still be a Kennedy: The junior senator from Louisiana, a Republican, shares a first and last name, if not a family lineage, with the former president — John Kennedy.

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Jennifer Medina in Phoenix

In Arizona, Maricopa County just released another round of ballot results, and while Trump closed the gap slightly, it doesn’t put him on pace to capture the state.

See Arizona results

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Nick Corasaniti in Philadelphia

Biden continues to build on his lead in Pennsylvania, now leading the president by 21,705 votes after updates from Chester and Delaware counties outside Philadelphia.

See Pennsylvania results

Nearly a dozen lawsuits filed by President Trump and his allies are working their way through the courts in Nevada, Pennsylvania, Michigan and Georgia, trying — so far unsuccessfully — to stop ballot counting and invalidate enough votes to erase Joseph R. Biden Jr.’s leads there. Here is a look at those cases.

In Pennsylvania, the biggest fight has been over ballots that are postmarked by Election Day but arrive later. In September, the state Supreme Court ruled, over Republican objections, that election officials could accept ballots arriving up to three days later. The point could be moot because Mr. Biden has taken the lead in Pennsylvania before those late-arriving ballots have been counted.

The U.S. Supreme Court declined to intercede, but left open the possibility that it could revisit the question. The Trump camp has also asked the court to order that ballots cast on time but arriving late be kept apart from others, though Pennsylvania’s secretary of state has already given that instruction.

One of several other Pennsylvania disputes involves people from both parties who observe the tabulation in Philadelphia, where they were told to stay 10 feet away from the vote counters. Some Trump allies have claimed, falsely, that no observers were allowed. In response to a Republican complaint, a judge ruled on Thursday that they could stand within six feet, but refused to stop the counting.

A similar case in Michigan was thrown out.

In Nevada, the Trump campaign has sued to stop the processing of mail ballots, claiming that its monitors had inadequate access. A judge denied the request, citing a lack of evidence, but the Republicans have appealed. Another Republican suit claimed lax authentication of ballots; a judge dismissed it.

An Arizona lawsuit claims that ballots filled out with felt-tipped pens were being discarded; state and federal officials say that is false. A case in Georgia claims that a few dozen late-arriving ballots — which the state does not allow, even if they are postmarked by Election Day — were not properly set apart, raising the possibility that they would be counted. A judge threw out the complaint, saying there was no evidence that the ballots in question had arrived late.

Katie Glueck headshot

 

Katie Glueck in Wilmington, Del.

Biden is expected to speak tonight regardless of the status of the uncalled races, campaign officials say.

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Nicholas Fandos

Senator David Perdue is headed to a January runoff against Jon Ossoff, his Democratic challenger. The contest in Georgia could determine which party controls the Senate.

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“In some of these local races it has come down to a handful of votes,” said Ashleigh Strange, one of the Pennsylvanians assembled, about the movement’s importance.

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Officials said that an election worker in Fulton County, Ga., received threats following a Twitter post that falsely claimed he had discarded a ballot, and that the worker has gone into hiding.CreditCredit…Erik S Lesser/EPA, via Shutterstock

ATLANTA, Ga. — A man working at a vote-counting site in Atlanta earlier this week has gone into hiding after being wrongly accused of discarding a ballot, according to Richard Barron, elections director for Georgia’s largest county, Fulton.

Mr. Barron made the announcement at a Friday evening press conference during which Fulton officials announced they had finished counting all the county’s more than 500,000 votes, including those cast in person — early or on Election Day — and mail-in ballots. Just a few-thousand provisional, military and overseas ballots are yet to be counted.

A short video posted on social media showed a man processing ballots, and crumpling and throwing away a piece of paper. A person narrating the video claims that he threw out a ballot. In fact, he was simply tossing out a list of instructions that had been placed in a ballot envelope, Mr. Barron said. After the video went viral, and the election worker’s personal information was posted online, threats were made on his life and he was forced into hiding, Mr. Barron added.

“He’s afraid to drive his car because the information about his car and his license plate is out there,” Mr. Barron said.

Mr. Barron said an investigation by the State Election Board into the incident showed no ballots had been discarded. He praised the election worker for being “very good at his job,” which was to slice open ballot envelopes with a cutting machine. “He was one of the workers who trained others with the cutting machines.”

Fulton County expects to finish processing the remaining ballots at some point tonight, he said.

Katie Glueck headshot

 

Katie Glueck in Wilmington, Del.

People familiar with the Biden campaign’s thinking say he may speak tonight even if the race isn’t called, but the tone will be shaped by the results that are in. Things are still fluid.

Today is the deadline for Georgia voters to correct issues with their ballots, known as curing. Volunteers went door-to-door throughout Atlanta and elsewhere in the state to help voters with rejected absentee ballots make the corrections.

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Matt Stevens in New York

Officials in Maricopa County, Ariz., expect to release tens of thousands of newly recorded votes around 9 p.m. ET. The remaining votes there will be key to deciding a tight race.

When Laura Franklin was born on Jan. 20, 1918, women could not vote.

But on Friday, Ms. Franklin, 102, sat in her home in Houston watching election returns and radiating joy as it looked more and more likely that Kamala Harris — a Black woman like her — might become vice president of the United States.

And she marveled: Though women’s suffrage was passed on June 4, 1919, over a year after her birth in Portsmouth, Va., Ms. Franklin said she couldn’t quite believe this moment had taken so long.

“It’s almost hard to understand that — it’s hard to understand why women were abject objects; why women were suppressed,” Ms. Franklin said in a telephone interview. “I still don’t understand it.”

Growing up in the segregated South, Ms. Franklin said she faced constant discrimination for both her gender and race in a professional career as a lab technician at the University of Chicago Comer Children’s Hospital to becoming an educator and serving as the assistant principal of a public high school in Chicago.

She recalled not being able to get a credit card without her husband’s signature (she did anyway) and how teachers like her were required to stop working when they became pregnant.

“I know so much about segregation; I know so much about how women were suppressed, generally were suppressed in a whole lot of ways,” Ms. Franklin said. But as for watching a Black woman be sworn in as vice president, she said, “I never thought it was hopeless.”

In New York, Delia Garces, 107, explained from her apartment in Washington Heights that she had insisted on voting in person to make sure her vote for Ms. Harris and Joseph R. Biden Jr. was counted.

Born in the Dominican Republic, where women were granted the right to vote in 1942, Ms. Garces immigrated to the United States in 1968 and became a citizen over three decades ago. As she watched the returns for the Biden-Harris ticket on Friday, Ms. Garces reflected on how much had changed for this moment to be possible.

“Back in my time, you’d never think of a woman reaching those heights. But now we can imagine anything,” she said. “Women’s intelligence and wisdom has taken women a long way — all the way to being able to become president.”

Ms. Garces said she could not wait for what she hoped would be Ms. Harris’s Inauguration Day. “If I’m alive,” Ms. Garces said. “I won’t miss it.”

Katie Glueck headshot

 

Katie Glueck in Wilmington, Del.

Biden had planned to address the nation tonight, but there are indications he may well not do so until the race is called. Things are fluid here in Wilmington!

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Nate Cohn in New York

New ballots from Clark County (Las Vegas) expanded Biden’s lead in Nevada. I am not aware of a reason to believe that Trump can overcome his deficit in the state.

See Nevada results

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Nate Cohn in New York

The latest Arizona ballot releases aren’t looking great for Trump. Biden just led Yuma’s update. The problem for Trump? That’s a place where he led the count up till now.

See Arizona results

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Nick Corasaniti in Philadelphia

There are still 102,000 mail ballots to be counted in Pennsylvania. Additionally, there are at least 100,000 provisional ballots issued on Tuesday that have yet to be counted.

See Pennsylvania results

Credit…Michelle V. Agins/The New York Times

The vote count slowed to a crawl Friday across the states most likely to decide the presidency, leaving Joseph R. Biden Jr. at 253 electoral votes by most major news organizations’ counts — tantalizingly close to the 270 he needs, but without a clear sense of when he might reach that number.

Pennsylvania, with 20 electoral votes, remains Mr. Biden’s clearest path to victory; a win there would be enough to call the entire race in his favor. He slowly built a lead of more than 14,500 votes over President Trump on Friday, with more than 100,000 absentee ballots still to count, and he has won more than three-quarters of the absentee votes counted so far. There are also about 100,000 provisional ballots, cast by people who could not be verified as eligible on Election Day, which usually lean overwhelmingly Democratic, as well.

Though Mr. Biden’s lead, now 0.2 percentage points, is growing, news organizations have not called Pennsylvania, possibly because they are waiting for it to exceed 0.5 percentage points, the threshold for a recount.

In Nevada, with 6 electoral votes, Mr. Biden leads by nearly 2 percentage points, a figure that has grown as the remaining vote was counted. Most of the outstanding vote is in Clark County, which includes Las Vegas; it appears likely to favor Mr. Biden strongly. The county has said it would release another batch of votes at 7 p.m. Eastern.

In Arizona, with 11 electoral votes, Mr. Biden leads by almost 40,000 votes, or 1.3 percentage points, with about 200,000 votes to count. Late-arriving ballots were expected to favor Mr. Trump, contrary to the pattern in other states — and they have, but not by much. He would need to carry the rest overwhelmingly to take the lead. The state expects to report many more ballots at 9 p.m. Eastern.

In Georgia, with 16 electoral votes, Mr. Biden leads by only about 4,000 votes, less than 0.1 percentage points, with only a few thousand regular mail ballots — which have favored him strongly so far — left to count. Also remaining are an unknown number of overseas, military and provisional ballots. Whatever the count, it will be close enough to trigger an automatic recount, so Georgia may be the last state called.

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Dave Philipps in Las Vegas

Biden nets 2,520 votes in the Las Vegas area, giving him a lead of over 22,000 in Nevada. Tens of thousands of ballots still to count, but they continue to go Biden’s way.

See Nevada results

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Katie Glueck in Wilmington, Del.

I’m told Biden spent the day watching election results, meeting with aides and being with his family.

Here’s the scene today in Wilmington, Del., where preparations are under way for a possible appearance by Joseph R. Biden Jr. at 8 p.m. Eastern.

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