9:51 PM - November 2, 2020
9:51 PM - November 2, 2020

Biden makes last campaign stop in Pittsburgh

Democratic presidential candidate former Vice President Joe Biden stands with his wife Jill Biden during a drive-in rally at Heinz Field, Monday, Nov. 2, 2020, in Pittsburgh. (AP Photo/Andrew Harnik)
Andrew Harnik / AP
Democratic presidential candidate former Vice President Joe Biden stands with his wife Jill Biden during a drive-in rally at Heinz Field, Monday, Nov. 2, 2020, in Pittsburgh. (AP Photo/Andrew Harnik)

Biden ended the day at Heinz Field in Pittsburgh, the Steelers' football stadium, where he held a drive-in rally with his wife, Jill Biden, and the musician and actress Lady Gaga.

“I’m Jill Biden’s husband. And Lady Gaga’s friend,” he said as he took the stage.

The former vice president said he chose Western Pennsylvania for his final election eve campaign stop, “because you represent the backbone of this country: hardworking families, asking for nothing but a fair shot.”

To honks and cheers, he said, “It’s time for Donald Trump to pack his bags and go home.”

Michael Capozzeli, 51, a former Bucks County resident who now lives in Washington County, marveled at the excitement of even a socially distanced drive-in rally.

“Seeing everyone in their cars, suffering through the worst traffic on Earth to get here, even when so many people will be up at 6 am tomorrow working the polls. That’s something,” he said. “I haven’t seen this kind of energy since Obama.”

Ember Holmes, 27, and Andreana Gallagher, 27, sat on the hood of their car and cheered as Jill Biden addressed the crowd of hundreds gathered in cars and trucks and around the fenced perimeter of the parking lot. They live in Squirrel Hill, on Pittsburgh’s East End, and said their recent conversations about politics have been fraught.

“People feel afraid to say what they think, one way or the other,” Holmes said. “It’s nice tonight to be in such a positive environment,” she added. “Old people, young people, we’re all together. I’m feeling cautiously optimistic.”Biden will work to turn out voters in Pennsylvania on Tuesday, ending a historic election with appearances in Scranton and Philadelphia.

Jessica Calefati

9:48 PM - November 2, 2020
9:48 PM - November 2, 2020

Tracking the candidates' visits to Pennsylvania

John Duchneskie

8:53 PM - November 2, 2020
8:53 PM - November 2, 2020

Harris vows to ‘get this virus under control’ at South Philly rally

Sen. Kamala Harris speaks at a rally outside Citizens Bank Park on Monday night.
TOM GRALISH / Staff Photographer
Sen. Kamala Harris speaks at a rally outside Citizens Bank Park on Monday night.

Speaking at a rally Monday night in South Philadelphia, Sen. Kamala Harris called Trump’s handling of the pandemic “the greatest failure of a presidential administration in America’s history."

”The first thing Joe and I will do when we are in the White House is get this virus under control," she said. “Remember this, your vote is your voice. and your voice is your power. And don’t let anyone ever take your power from you. Now is the time to stand up. Now is the time to speak out. and now is the time to vote, and vote like our lives depend on it, because they do.”

Several local Democrats addressed the crowd before Harris took the stage, including Mayor Jim Kenney, City Councilmembers Helen Gym and Katherine Gilmore Richardson, and Attorney General Josh Shapiro.

Singer John Legend also performed for the crowd.

Juliana Feliciano Reyes

8:38 PM - November 2, 2020
8:38 PM - November 2, 2020

Trump raises prospect of ‘violence on the streets’ over counting of Pennsylvania mail ballots

President Donald Trump leveled his most incendiary and dangerous attack on the integrity of the 2020 election Monday, saying that counting mail ballots that arrive after Election Day “will induce violence on the streets.”

His comments, on Twitter and speaking to reporters outside Air Force One in Milwaukee, echoed baseless attacks made in recent days that counting ballots as allowed by a Pennsylvania Supreme Court ruling “allows tremendous cheating.”

But his warning of violence went further than before, as he continued to attack the U.S. Supreme Court for allowing the state court ruling to stand for now (the case remains pending before the high court).

“The Supreme Court decision on voting in Pennsylvania is a VERY dangerous one,” Trump said on Twitter. “It will allow rampant and unchecked cheating and will undermine our entire systems of laws. It will also induce violence in the streets. Something must be done!”

Over the weekend, Trump suggested he intends to try to stop the counting of legitimate votes, and top advisers hinted that he may try to prematurely declare victory before all the votes are counted — effectively attacking the election itself.

On Monday night in Milwaukee, Trump attacked the deadline extension allowing counties to count ballots if they arrive by 5 p.m. the Friday after Election Day.. Ballots arriving after 8 p.m. on Election Day must either be postmarked by Nov. 3 or have no proof they were sent afterward. The state court cited U.S. Postal Service delays in extending the deadline, saying the delays risked disenfranchising voters.

Republicans have twice challenged that ruling, but the U.S. Supreme Court last week declined to expedite hearing an appeal.

“I think it’s a very dangerous decision for our country, and I hope it’s going to be readjusted,” Trump told reporters. “We’ll be asking for that.”

Although news organizations often project winners based on seeing the bulk of results on election night, the counting of votes always continues well past Election Day. And it’s possible that Trump will appear to have an initial lead in the hours after polls close Tuesday night because more Republicans are expected to vote in person. Democratic votes are expected to climb as more mail ballots are tallied because more Democrats are using that method — a phenomenon known as “the blue shift.”

Laura McCrystal

6:25 PM - November 2, 2020
6:25 PM - November 2, 2020

Philly lawmakers and activists vow to fight voter suppression

On the eve of the election Monday, progressive local lawmakers and organizers gathered at Philadelphia City Hall, vowing to fight voter suppression and make sure every ballot is counted in the wake of President Donald Trump’s attacks on the election in Philadelphia and Pennsylvania.

“We are in a historic moment,” said Councilmember Kendra Brooks. “Everything is on the line.”

Calling West and Southwest Philadelphia “ground zero for the disastrous results of this presidency,” Councilmember Jamie Gauthier joined other speakers in emphasizing the power of the Black vote and that local politicians will leave “nothing up to chance” in the election."

It is our constituents who have gotten the most sick from coronavirus, our constituents who have lost their jobs and are still awaiting relief from the broken unemployment system, and it is our constituents who have suffered as Donald Trump has turned his back on American cities," she said.

Gauthier said she has heard from residents who say they don’t feel that former Vice President Joe Biden’s platform represents them, but noted that “we won’t even get to these conversations if we can’t get to the damn table.”

Several speakers — including Rick Krajewski, who is running for state representative in West Philadelphia — also called for justice for Walter Wallace Jr., a 27-year-old West man who was shot and killed by police last week as he approached them with a knife.

“As a Black man in West Philadelphia, these times can feel like Groundhog Day. How many times do I have to watch a video on social media of someone like me being shot down?” Krajewski asked. “But I also know that this...is directly connected to the past four years of hate and white supremacy that has taken hold of this country.”

Speakers touted their voter outreach efforts, and vowed to fight for every ballot to be counted. Some of the activist groups present, including Working Families Party, have said they’re planning for “mass action” in the days following the election in the event of coordinated voter intimidation, mail-in ballot invalidation, or other election interference.

“Every voting cycle, there is trouble. That is the norm for Black voters,” said State Rep. Chris Rabb, adding that this election is “about the process, a process that embraces justice that embraces everyone in our electorate."

”This is what democracy looks like, this is what America looks like. This is what a powerful electorate looks like," Rabb said. “We are Philly. Bad things will happen to those who stand in the way of justice.”

Oona Goodin-Smith

5:53 PM - November 2, 2020
5:53 PM - November 2, 2020

Pa. State Rep. Wendy Ullman: ‘Bucks County is going to come out big’ for Biden

Two years ago, State Rep. Wendy Ullman (D., Bucks) flipped a district that had been Republican for 40 years. On Monday evening, she predicted that Bucks County “is going to come out big for Biden and Harris."

”Bucks County has the values to make sure that we know we have to support them," Ullman, a former English professor at Bucks and Montgomery County community colleges, said, following a campaign stop in Doylestown by Doug Emhoff, husband of Kamala Harris.

“This is going to rescue the nation from the calamity we’ve been living under for four years.” Trump lost to Hillary Clinton in Bucks County by less than 1 percentage point in 2016.

Ullman said she was less certain that the Pennsylvania State House would flip to Democratic control in this year’s election.

Amy S. Rosenberg

5:14 PM - November 2, 2020
5:14 PM - November 2, 2020

Harris' husband campaigns in Philly suburbs

Doug Emhoff, husband of vice presidential candidate Kamala Harris, stumps in Doylestown, Bucks County, on Monday.
Amy S. Rosenberg / Staff
Doug Emhoff, husband of vice presidential candidate Kamala Harris, stumps in Doylestown, Bucks County, on Monday.

Los Angeles entertainment lawyer turned campaign spouse Doug Emhoff — husband of Kamala Harris — got the hay bale treatment Monday afternoon stumping in Doylestown, Bucks County, as he described a “nation in pain,” on the eve of the election.

“They don’t send me to the easy places,” Emhoff said, speaking to a few dozen Biden volunteers at the rustic Delaware Valley University Farm Market building. His view included two enormous tractors, one red, one blue, that partially blocked two Trump supporters who showed up with a sign on Lower State Road.

It was Emhoff’s fourth Pennsylvania stop of the day, after Lancaster, Ephrata and Jenkintown. Emhoff, who grew up in New Jersey before his family moved to California, would be a historic second spouse if Joe Biden and Harris are elected: the first male spouse of a President or Vice President, and the first Jewish person to be a part of a presidential or vice presidential couple.

“My wife, I love her. I do,” said Emhoff, who is on leave from his law practice in order to campaign. “But I’m also really proud of her, as you know. But I’m also here to announce her as your next vice president of the United States, my wife, Kamala Harris.”

Emhoff said he has found traveling around to swing states that, “people are just tired."

”They’re fed up," he said. “People are traumatized by what’s going on. People are stressed out. What I’ve concluded right now is that we are a nation in pain. We are in pain because of the failures of this administration on just about everything.”

Emhoff’s next stop was a little more glamorous: Philly, for a rally with his wife and singer John Legend.

Amy S. Rosenberg

4:27 PM - November 2, 2020
4:27 PM - November 2, 2020

Kamala Harris spends the day in eastern Pa.

Sen. Kamala Harris is spending a full day campaigning in eastern Pennsylvania on Monday, and is expected to end the day at a rally in Philadelphia.

Harris began the day with canvassers in Luzerne County, and then held a drive-in rally in Bethlehem for Latino voters.

Her Philadelphia event planned for Monday evening will also be a drive-in rally, with an appearance from John Legend.

Laura McCrystal

4:19 PM - November 2, 2020
4:19 PM - November 2, 2020

Biden speaks to union workers in Beaver County

Democratic presidential candidate former Vice President Joe Biden arrives to speak at a rally at Community College of Beaver County on Monday.
Andrew Harnik / AP
Democratic presidential candidate former Vice President Joe Biden arrives to speak at a rally at Community College of Beaver County on Monday.

At a small rally in the parking lot outside a Beaver County community college, Joe Biden on Monday vowed to protect labor unions, as Pennsylvania labor leaders in the crowd expressed a mix of anxiety and optimism about his chances on Election Day.

The rally was the first of three events Biden is set to host Monday in western Pennsylvania as his campaign “barnstorms” the state. His final event will take place with Lady Gaga at Heinz Field, the Pittsburgh Steelers' football stadium.

“From the very beginning of my career, I found myself in a situation where I relied on labor,” Biden said. “And I hope I’ve demonstrated that labor can rely on me.”

Union turnout will be critical to Biden’s hopes of winning Pennsylvania. He quipped that the workers who attended the rally must really support his campaign because of how chilly it was in the windy parking lot.

“The only way we can deal with corporate greed in America is union power,” Biden said. “You’re the only ones who can keep the barbarians on the other side of the gate.”

Members of Pennsylvania unions for steamfitters, ironworkers, and firefighters attended the rally. Many carried Biden-Harris signs and cheered loudly when Biden took the stage. Claire Cawley, a representative of the International Union Painters and Allied Trades said she’s glad Election Day is almost here.

“I feel uncertain and anxious, but I’m trying to stay positive,” Cawley said. “With COVID and mail ballots, it’s hard to predict anything. But I know we’ve done all we can to encourage our members to vote their union values.”

One labor leader said he expects more of his members to turn out Tuesday for Biden than did in 2016 because Pennsylvania unions have done a better job this cycle educating members about Biden’s positions, like his support for fracking.

“Not everyone in our union is 100% for Democrats, but I’ve had a lot of people tell me they didn’t realize what Biden was for until we explained it to them,” said Larry Nelson, president of the Beaver County Building Trades.

Jessica Calefati

3:03 PM - November 2, 2020
3:03 PM - November 2, 2020

Pence encourages use of ballot drop boxes, despite Trump’s attacks on mail voting

Jason and Meridith McConnell vote Oct. 20, 2020, sliding their mail-in ballots into the Gloucester County Board of Elections drop box at the Monroe Municipal Building in Williamstown, N.J.
TOM GRALISH / Staff Photographer
Jason and Meridith McConnell vote Oct. 20, 2020, sliding their mail-in ballots into the Gloucester County Board of Elections drop box at the Monroe Municipal Building in Williamstown, N.J.

As President Donald Trump continues to promote baseless claims about mail voting, his running mate encouraged supporters in Pennsylvania to use drop boxes to get their ballots in.

“After we get done here, I’m told you can drop off your absentee ballot. I guess there’s a drop box or something,” Vice President Mike Pence said at a rally in Erie on Monday, his second event in Pennsylvania in the final hours before Election Day.

On Sunday, Trump suggested foul play if the results of the election weren’t known by Tuesday night, even if some counties in Pennsylvania aren’t finished counting mail votes, which take longer to process.

In-person ballots are expected to skew toward Trump, while registered Democrats have requested nearly 63% of all absentee ballots (a voting phenomenon called the “blue shift.”)

“We’re going to go in the night of, as soon as that election is over, we’re going in with our lawyers,” Trump told reporters in North Carolina on Sunday.

Erie County isn’t even planning to begin counting mail ballots until late Tuesday night, after in-person ballots are counted. Carl Anderson III, the chair of the Erie Board of Elections, told CNN Erie would stop counting ballots around 2 a.m. on Nov. 4 and restart later that morning.

Rob Tornoe

2:50 PM - November 2, 2020
2:50 PM - November 2, 2020

More than 3.5 million N.J. voters have returned mail ballots

More than 3.5 million New Jersey voters had returned ballots as of noon Monday, representing about 90% of the total turnout in the 2016 presidential election.

“It is safe to say that this election will be an all time record turn out,” New Jersey Gov. Phil Murphy said at a news conference on Monday. “It just proves that when you open up access to the ballot and welcome every eligible voter and don’t try to find ways to disenfranchise voters our democracy is made stronger."

Murphy said voters should not drop their ballots off in the mail, the day before Election Day, and to instead drop off the ballot at a secure drop box or hand deliver it to a poll worker at your local polling place.

Ellie Silverman

3:15 PM - November 2, 2020
3:15 PM - November 2, 2020

Trump dismisses Pa. polls at Luzerne County rally

President Donald Trump arrives for a campaign rally at Wilkes-Barre Scranton International Airport on Monday.
JOSE F. MORENO / Staff Photographer
President Donald Trump arrives for a campaign rally at Wilkes-Barre Scranton International Airport on Monday.

Appearing at an afternoon airport rally in Luzerne County — not far from Biden’s childhood hometown of Scranton — Trump dismissed polls that have consistently showed him trailing Biden.

“It’s not gonna happen — we’re gonna win,” Trump said. “We have some big surprises.”

He repeated his baseless suggestion that Gov. Tom Wolf, a Democrat, would somehow “cheat” and steal the election from him. (County elections officials conduct the counting of votes, not the Wolf administration.)

“We’re all watching you, governor,” Trump said. “We have a lot of eyes on the governor and his friends. A couple of other governors out there, too.”

And he repeated a familiar litany of false claims, including that Pennsylvania remains shut down because of the coronavirus (it’s not) and that Biden has pledged to ban fracking (he hasn’t).

Allison Steele

2:31 PM - November 2, 2020
2:31 PM - November 2, 2020

Bucks county voters wait in line to correct mail ballot mishaps

Voters stand in line outside of the Bucks County Courthouse in Doylestown on Monday.
Samantha Melamed / staff
Voters stand in line outside of the Bucks County Courthouse in Doylestown on Monday.

Uncertainty around mail ballots brought dozens of voters to wait in a slow-moving line outside the Bucks County Courthouse in Doylestown on Monday afternoon.

Some had received bright-blue notices in the mail, notifying them of problems with their mail ballots. Some got phone calls flagging the problem ballots. And others came just to make sure their votes were counted in what they see as a critical election.

Jasmine Spence, 59, of Middletown Township was in line with an emergency ballot request for her daughter, away at graduate school, after her daughter’s ballot was flagged last Friday. They’d both requested mail ballots back in August, but didn’t receive them until mid-October.

“I’ll get it for her one way or another,” Spence said. “I don’t think we have a democracy anymore, so I’m trying to stand up as a citizen of the United States for a fair election.”

In line ahead of her, Gayle and Michael Bell of Bristol said they admitted user error. They’d left the dates off their ballot envelopes, planning to fill it out at the election office — then forgot to do so when they dropped them in a dropbox. Gayle Bell, 50, who works overnights as a sleep technician, said she did not mind waiting.

“We’re just doing what we have to do. It’s just too important. We’ll stand out here in the cold, in the rain. We have to get it done.”

Gayle Bell of Bristol, Bucks County, holds a notice she received about her mail ballot as she stands in line outside the Bucks County Elections office in Doylestown on Monday, Nov. 2, 2020
Samantha Melamed / staff
Gayle Bell of Bristol, Bucks County, holds a notice she received about her mail ballot as she stands in line outside the Bucks County Elections office in Doylestown on Monday, Nov. 2, 2020

Nearby, Diane Gould, 64, a Warminster resident, said she was just taking every precaution, because she and her husband had dropped off their ballots together but only his was marked as counted.

“I think it’s very important for everyone to get out and vote no matter what side you’re on,” she said. “Hopefully everyone is on my side, though.”

Samantha Melamed

1:15 PM - November 2, 2020
1:15 PM - November 2, 2020

Pa. health secretary says quarantining residents can still vote

Pennsylvania Secretary of Health Rachel Levine.
TIM TAI / Staff Photographer
Pennsylvania Secretary of Health Rachel Levine.

Pennsylvanians who are quarantining due to coronavirus exposure can submit an emergency absentee ballot application by 8 p.m. Tuesday in order to vote in this week’s presidential election, said a spokesperson for the Pennsylvania Department of State.

A widely shared social media post indicating the commonwealth is prohibiting quarantined Pennsylvanians from voting is “completely false,” Health Secretary Rachel Levine said.

As part of contact tracing, health officials advise people who may have been exposed to the coronavirus to quarantine for 14 days. Levine said she did not know offhand how many residents have received phone calls and letters advising them to quarantine in the days leading up to Tuesday’s election, but those people will not be disenfranchised.

“Those [quarantine] phone calls and those notifications are continuing at regular intervals,” she said, “and there’s nothing about voting or the election in the quarantine letters. They’re standard."

”The Department of State will work out for people who are in quarantine to be able to exercise their right to vote," she added.

— Erin McCarthy

1:00 PM - November 2, 2020
1:00 PM - November 2, 2020

In Westmoreland County, Pence urges supporters to show that Pennsylvania is ‘Trump country’

In a last-minute campaign appearance at the Latrobe Airport late Monday morning, Vice President Mike Pence urged rally attendees to show everyone that Pennsylvania is “Trump country."

”It’s on, Pennsylvania," he said, “and the road to victory goes straight through the Keystone State.”

In a roughly 45-minute speech on the cold morning, he praised Trump’s COVID response, vowed to “back the blue,” and repeated false claims about Trump’s record on creating Pennsylvania manufacturing jobs and Joe Biden and Kamala Harris’s stances on fracking and abortion.

As Pence closed his speech by encouraging people to drop off their ballots or go to the polls tomorrow, attendees yelled “We love you!” Pence is headed to Erie next as part of a statewide blitz of the battleground state.

— Juliana Reyes

12:22 PM - November 2, 2020
12:22 PM - November 2, 2020

Philly officials mobilizing response force to address any issues on Election Day

Philadelphia Police Commissioner Danielle Outlaw addresses the media at presser held to inform public about cities plans for Election Day.
ALEJANDRO A. ALVAREZ / Staff Photographer
Philadelphia Police Commissioner Danielle Outlaw addresses the media at presser held to inform public about cities plans for Election Day.

Philadelphia officials are expecting a calm, orderly Election Day, they said at a Monday news conference. But, in light of the national spotlight on Philadelphia and incidents elsewhere in the country, they are also mobilizing their largest-ever response force to address issues that may arise.

The Philadelphia District Attorney’s Office has assembled a 90-person task force and will run a hotline at 215-686-9641. In addition, Police Commissioner Danielle Outlaw declined to specify numbers but said a “substantial” response force will be available — and that any police called to the polls will be equipped with body-worn cameras, accompanied by a supervisor, and joined by District Attorney’s Office task force staff and detectives.

District Attorney Larry Krasner said his office sent Philadelphia Police a memo listing relevant charges.

For those who violate the law on Election Day, he added, “I’ve got something for you: a jail cell, charging documents, and at the end of the process a Philadelphia jury that will want to know why you thought it was OK to steal their votes.”

More specifically, Andrew Wellbrock of the DA’s Election Task Force said, each polling place is surrounded by protections: No electioneering is allowed within 10 feet of the entrance, and no police or armed troops within 100 feet. Krasner also said having a visible gun near a polling place could, depending on the circumstances, violate laws against voter intimidation.

“If you are blocking the way to the polls, if you are making Philadelphians feel unsafe while casting their ballots, it is a felony in the state of Pennsylvania,” Wellbrock said.

Although Outlaw said she expects to be able to maintain order, she said those nailing plywood boards to storefronts across the city were not wrong to do so. “I’m not discouraging folks to protect their property,” she said.

— Samantha Melamed

12:09 PM - November 2, 2020
12:09 PM - November 2, 2020

‘If you are voting in person, it is safe to vote,’ Pa. health secretary says

While Pennsylvania continues to see a spike in coronavirus cases, an increase in the statewide positivity rate, and a steady climb in coronavirus-related hospitalizations, Health Secretary Rachel Levine said voters should feel safe going to the polls to vote in Tuesday’s presidential election if they have not already done so.

“If you are voting in person, it is safe to vote,” Levine said. Not only should voters wear a mask, she said they should also pack their own blue or black pen and bring hand sanitizer. And “it’s really really helpful to” download the state’s contact tracing app, COVID Alert PA, she said.

She urged Pennsylvanians to vote early and avoid being stuck in long lines when polls close at 8 p.m.

As for people who have been advised by contact tracers to quarantine due to exposure to the coronavirus, she said they should contact the Pennsylvania Department of State and will not be prevented from voting if they have not yet done so. She said she did not know the specifics of how they would be advised to vote safely.

“If someone is in quarantine there are ways that we have that they can vote,” she said. “The Department of State will work out for people who are in quarantine to be able to exercise their right to vote.”

— Erin McCarthy

12:03 PM - November 2, 2020
12:03 PM - November 2, 2020

New Jersey congressional candidate Amy Kennedy to self-quarantine after COVID-19 exposure

Democrat Amy Kennedy is looking to unseat New Jersey Rep. Jeff Van Drew, who switched to the Republican Party earlier this year.
HEATHER KHALIFA / Staff Photographer
Democrat Amy Kennedy is looking to unseat New Jersey Rep. Jeff Van Drew, who switched to the Republican Party earlier this year.

Amy Kennedy, the Democratic candidate for Congress in New Jersey’s 2nd Congressional District, is cancelling in-person events and following state quarantine protocols after being “in close proximity” to someone at an outdoor event Saturday who has since tested positive for the coronavirus, her campaign said.

Josh Roesch, Kennedy’s campaign manager, said Kennedy tested negative Monday morning and “is not showing any symptoms.” Both Kennedy and the other person were wearing masks at the event, he said.

“Out of an abundance of caution, and in line with both Amy’s desire to lead by example and her commitment to protecting public health, she will be canceling all of her in-person events and following state quarantine protocols,” Roesch said in a statement.

Kennedy is in a tight battle against U.S. Rep. Jeff Van Drew in South Jersey. Van Drew made headlines after switching his party registration from Democrat to Republican and pledging “undying support” to President Donald Trump. A poll released last week showed the race in a “dead heat.”

Roesch said Kennedy would be tested again later this week. The district includes all of Atlantic, Cape May, Cumberland, and Salem Counties, and portions of four other counties.

— Amy S. Rosenberg

11:47 AM - November 2, 2020
11:47 AM - November 2, 2020

Pa. will fight back if candidates declare victory prematurely, Boockvar says

Pennsylvania Secretary of the Commonwealth Kathy Boockvar.
TIM TAI / Staff Photographer
Pennsylvania Secretary of the Commonwealth Kathy Boockvar.

Pennsylvania’s top elections official said Monday the state “will do everything in our power” to fight any false claims of victory or other misinformation and disinformation.

“We’re constantly dealing with this, right? The misinformation. That would be so unsubstantiated in every way, shape, or form, where somebody would declare victory when a fraction of the vote is counted,” Secretary of state Kathy Boockvar told reporters.

During a campaign rally in Iowa on Sunday, President Donald Trump insinuated that he intends to try to stop the count, and top advisers hinted that he may try to declare victory before all the votes are counted, effectively attacking the election itself.

“We should know the result of the election on Nov. 3. The evening of Nov. 3.,” Trump said at a rally Sunday in Iowa. “That’s the way it’s been and that’s the way it should be.”

While the vast majority of counties in Pennsylvania will begin counting mail ballots Tuesday, the days-long process of processing, opening, and counting those votes — potentially up to three million of them — will be only partially complete Tuesday night.

That means a large share of the vote will not yet be counted Tuesday night, and the uncounted votes are very likely to skew toward Joe Biden because of a strong partisan divide on vote method.

Boockvar emphasized that the results are never final on election night for several reasons, including that overseas and military voters' ballot deadline is a week after Election Day.

“There’s nobody that would want to see the men and women serving our country overseas or anywhere else disenfranchised through disinformation and false statements,” Boockvar said. “So all I can say ... is we will do everything in our power, legally, communications-wise, to counter any false claims, whether it’s that or otherwise, but there’s literally no basis in the law whatsoever for somebody other than us, the Department of State, to certify the results of an election. And that’s not done officially until Nov. 23.”

— Jonathan Lai

10:30 AM - November 2, 2020
10:30 AM - November 2, 2020

Biden holds edge over Trump in combined polling of battleground states

Joe Biden speaks during the Vice President Biden's Mobilization Event visit to FDR Park in Phila., Pa. on Nov. 1, 2020.
ELIZABETH ROBERTSON / Staff Photographer
Joe Biden speaks during the Vice President Biden's Mobilization Event visit to FDR Park in Phila., Pa. on Nov. 1, 2020.

Biden has a combined five-point edge among registered voters across the 12 most competitive battleground states, according to a poll conducted Sunday for NBC News and the Wall Street Journal.

In 2016, Trump won those same states by a combined two-point margin over Democrat Hillary Clinton, 49 percent to 47 percent.

In the new NBC-WSJ poll, Biden draws the support of 51 percent while Trump draws the support of 46 percent of those voters in Arizona, Florida, Georgia, Iowa, Maine, Michigan, Minnesota, Nevada, New Hampshire, North Carolina, Pennsylvania, and Wisconsin.

— Washington Post

7:30 AM - November 2, 2020
7:30 AM - November 2, 2020

10 Pennsylvania counties to watch closely as election results come in

It could take days to get the full election results in Pennsylvania. But there are some key places we’ll be eyeing for clues about how the race is unfolding, whose voters are turning out, and whose aren’t.

If Democratic votes surge in one suburb, it’s a good bet that’s happening in others. If blue-collar Trump supporters again pour out in huge numbers in one rural county, odds are the pattern will be repeated with similar voters elsewhere.

With 9 million voters and 67 counties in Pennsylvania — and 20 Electoral College votes at stake — here are some of the key places where you can take the temperature of a state that could decide whether President Donald Trump or Democrat Joe Biden wins the election.

— Andrew Seidman and Jonathan Tamari

7:00 AM - November 2, 2020
7:00 AM - November 2, 2020

Biden in a strong position to win Pennsylvania, according to new polls

Presidential candidate Joe Biden gives a speech during an outdoor campaign stop in the parking lot of the Sharon Baptist Church in Philadelphia, Pa. on November 1, 2020.
DAVID MAIALETTI / Staff Photographer
Presidential candidate Joe Biden gives a speech during an outdoor campaign stop in the parking lot of the Sharon Baptist Church in Philadelphia, Pa. on November 1, 2020.

Joe Biden is in a strong position to win Pennsylvania heading into the final hours of the presidential campaign, according to three new polls.

Biden leads President Donald Trump 51% to 44% in Pennsylvania, according to a Washington Post-ABC News survey released Sunday, while a New York Times/Siena College survey found a similar 49% to 43% edge for the Democrat.

And the Monmouth University Polling Institute found Biden leading 51% to 44% in a high-turnout scenario, while he has a smaller 50% Biden to 45% edge in a low turnout scenario — likely one in which a large number of mail ballots are rejected. Most analysts expect huge turnout in this election, projections which have been backed up by surges in early voting.

Those three polls are consistent with weeks of major surveys finding Biden steadily ahead by about 5 to 8 percentage points in the state. Biden led 49% to 44% in a Muhlenberg College poll released Saturday, within that survey’s margin of error.

Biden’s lead in the Monmouth survey is smaller than its poll last month, which was conducted after the first presidential debate. But most polls have shown little movement. Opinions on Trump appear fixed.

The consistency of the poll numbers, including support for the president stuck in the low to mid-40s, suggests a difficult path for Trump in a state that he knows is critical.

— Jonathan Tamari

6:45 AM - November 2, 2020
6:45 AM - November 2, 2020

Trump and Biden both holding events in Pa., while Kamala Harris will rally in Philly

Former Vice President Joe Biden (left) and President Donald Trump.
ELIZABETH ROBERTSON and TIM TAI / Staff Photographers
Former Vice President Joe Biden (left) and President Donald Trump.

On the last day before Election Day, Donald Trump, Joe Biden, Mike Pence, and Kamala Harris will all be in Pennsylvania to make one final pitch to voters.

Here’s where all the candidates are scheduled to be across the commonwealth today:

  • Trump will travel to just outside Biden’s hometown of Scranton to hold a campaign rally at Wilkes-Barre Scranton International Airport in Luzerne County at 2 p.m.
  • Biden will help kickoff canvassing in Beaver County before heading to Pittsburgh for a drive-in rally at 7 p.m., where he will be joined by Jill Biden.
  • Biden’s running mate, California Sen. Kamala Harris, will also be in Luzerne County Monday morning for a canvassing event before traveling to Philadelphia to hold her own drive-in rally here Monday at 7 p.m., alongside her husband, Doug Emhoff.
  • Vice President Mike Pence will hold events two events in Pennsylvania on Monday — the first at Arnold Palmer Regional Airport in Westmoreland County at 11:30 a.m., followed by a rally at Erie International Airport at 2 p.m.

— Rob Tornoe

6:30 AM - November 2, 2020
6:30 AM - November 2, 2020

Trump signals plan to discredit votes in Pennsylvania

President Donald Trump arrives for a campaign rally at Richard B. Russell Airport, Sunday, Nov. 1, 2020, in Rome, Ga. (AP Photo/Evan Vucci)
Evan Vucci / AP
President Donald Trump arrives for a campaign rally at Richard B. Russell Airport, Sunday, Nov. 1, 2020, in Rome, Ga. (AP Photo/Evan Vucci)

Trump laid the groundwork to dispute the election results and the counting of mail ballots in his visit to Pennsylvania on Saturday, leveling baseless claims of voter fraud and playing on the country’s tensions by predicting “bedlam” as votes are counted after Election Day. He again urged his supporters to watch Philadelphia, and continued on similar themes Sunday.

It is widely expected that counting votes, and determining a winner, will take longer than usual, perhaps several days, because of the large number of voters using mail ballots to avoid crowds during the coronavirus pandemic. Mail ballots take longer to process — that’s normal, not a sign of fraud. What’s unusual is the sheer volume of them being used.

Trump, however, insinuated that he intends to try to stop the count, and top advisers hinted that he may try to declare victory before all the votes are counted, effectively attacking the election itself.

“We should know the result of the election on Nov. 3. The evening of Nov. 3.,” Trump said at a rally Sunday in Iowa. “That’s the way it’s been and that’s the way it should be.”

Later, in North Carolina, he said, “As soon as the election is over, we’re going in with our lawyers.”

“FACT CHECK: Our elections are over when all the votes are counted,” Pennsylvania Attorney General Josh Shapiro wrote on Twitter in response to Trump’s comments. “But if your lawyers want to try us, we’d be happy to defeat you in court one more time.”

While news organizations often project winners based on seeing the bulk of results on election night, the counting of votes always continues well past Election Day. And it’s possible Trump will appear to have an initial lead in the hours after polls close Tuesday night, because more Republicans are expected to vote in person. Democratic votes are expected to climb as more mail ballots are tallied, since more Democrats are using that method — a phenomenon known as “the blue shift.”

— Jonathan Tamari, Andrew Seidman and Juliana Feliciano Reyes

6:15 AM - November 2, 2020
6:15 AM - November 2, 2020

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