7:07 AM - November 6, 2020
7:07 AM - November 6, 2020

Recap: Joe Biden on the cusp of overtaking Trump in Pa.

Joe Biden appeared closer than ever to winning the presidency late Thursday, as the counting of mail ballots in Pennsylvania had him on the cusp of overtaking President Donald Trump’s lead in the state and securing the Electoral College votes needed for victory.

Trump’s lead over Biden in Pennsylvania — once as large as hundreds of thousands of votes — had narrowed to less than 25,000 shortly before midnight Friday. The state reported 175,000 mail ballots left to count — many of them in overwhelmingly Democratic Philadelphia.

But Philly moved slower than usual yesterday.

As the world watched for Pennsylvania’s largest city to deliver results that will help determine who wins the White House, a state court victory for President Donald Trump’s reelection campaign disrupted the vote tallying Thursday and left officials working at diminished capacity.

For two hours at midday, the city’s count was paused altogether after the state Commonwealth Court ordered that Trump’s campaign observers had to be able to stand within six feet of any tables where counting is taking place in order to meaningfully monitor the process.

Afterward, city lawyers told a federal judge, workers sat tabulating ballots in only the first of several rows of tables, allowing observers to watch from behind metal barriers. That left the other tables empty, equipment unused, and ballots counted at a slowed pace.

With all eyes on Pennsylvania, we’ll be updating our coverage live. Click here to follow along with results.

6:21 AM - November 6, 2020
6:21 AM - November 6, 2020

Biden takes the lead in Georgia

Democrat Joe Biden is now leading President Donald Trump in the battleground state of Georgia.

By Friday morning, Biden overtook Trump in the number of ballots counted in the battleground, a must-win state for Trump that has long been a Republican stronghold. Biden now has a 917-vote advantage.

The contest is still too early for The Associated Press to call. Thousands of ballots are still left to be counted — many in counties where the former vice president was in the lead.

An AP analysis showed that Biden’s vote margins grew as counties processed mail ballots cast in his favor.

There is a potential that the race could go to a recount. Under Georgia law, if the margin between Biden and Trump is under half a percentage point of difference, a recount can be requested.

— Associated Press

12:11 AM - November 6, 2020
12:11 AM - November 6, 2020

Police detain men after tip about vehicle with armed group heading to convention center

Police investigate a Hummer on the 200 block of North 13th Street, Thursday, Nov. 5, 2020, in Philadelphia.
JESSICA GRIFFIN / Staff Photographer
Police investigate a Hummer on the 200 block of North 13th Street, Thursday, Nov. 5, 2020, in Philadelphia.

Philadelphia police detained two men late Thursday night after receiving a tip that a Hummer vehicle from Virginia with two or three people armed with firearms was headed to the Pennsylvania Convention Center, where ballot counting is underway for the presidential election.

Just after 10:20 p.m., police reported they had received information about a 2003 gray or silver Hummer with Virginia tags that was occupied by several people armed with AR-15 rifles.

A few minutes later a Hummer fitting the description was found parked and unoccupied in the 200 block of North 13th Street, just north of the convention center. Police then detained two men in the area and were on their way to find a woman located outside the city.

On the back window of the Hummer were decals associated with the pro-Trump QAnon conspiracy movement, including a large “Q” and “#WWG1WGA,” which stands for “where we go one we go all.” The movement believes President Donald Trump is fighting a secret war against the “deep state” and that Democrats are led by satan-worshipping pedophiles. Trump has refused to denounce the movement.

It was not immediately clear whether police found any weapons. A bomb-sniffing police dog was called in to check the Hummer. The occupants of the Hummer may have been staying at a nearby hotel, police said.

No further information was immediately available.

— Robert Moran

11:15 PM - November 5, 2020
11:15 PM - November 5, 2020

Map: Vote for president by Philly precinct

11:02 PM - November 5, 2020
11:02 PM - November 5, 2020

Philly’s counting of mail ballots has been slowed by a Trump legal challenge

Workers on the hall floor at the Pennsylvania Convention Center where the counting the Mail-in ballots is being handled from yesterdays, Presidential election. Counting is being held at the Pennsylvania Convention Center, 12th and Arch St. in Center City Philadelphia on Wednesday, November 4, 2020.
ALEJANDRO A. ALVAREZ / Staff Photographer
Workers on the hall floor at the Pennsylvania Convention Center where the counting the Mail-in ballots is being handled from yesterdays, Presidential election. Counting is being held at the Pennsylvania Convention Center, 12th and Arch St. in Center City Philadelphia on Wednesday, November 4, 2020.

Philadelphia’s votes are going to take even longer to count than expected.

As the world watched for Pennsylvania’s largest city to deliver results that will help determine who wins the White House, a state court victory for President Donald Trump’s reelection campaign disrupted the vote tallying Thursday and left officials working at diminished capacity.

For two hours at midday, the city’s count was paused altogether after the state Commonwealth Court ordered that Trump’s campaign observers had to be able to stand within six feet of any tables where counting is taking place in order to meaningfully monitor the process.

Afterward, city lawyers told a federal judge, workers sat tabulating ballots in only the first of several rows of tables, allowing observers to watch from behind metal barriers. That left the other tables empty, equipment unused, and ballots counted at a slowed pace.

— Jonathan Lai, Jeremy Roebuck, Anna Orso and Erin McCarthy

10:44 PM - November 5, 2020
10:44 PM - November 5, 2020

Philly tops 300,000 mail-in ballots counted so far

More than 300,000 mail-in ballots from Philadelphia have been counted so far, City Commissioner Al Schmidt reported on Twitter.

“We’ve just updated our results page to include approximately 14,000 mail-in votes cast by Philadelphia voters. This puts us over 300,000 mail-in votes counted,” Schmidt posted at 10:27 p.m.

The 300,000 is part of roughly 359,000 mail-in ballots has or will be tallying.

— Robert Moran

9:56 PM - November 5, 2020
9:56 PM - November 5, 2020

At vote count protests in Philadelphia, partisan bickering yields to a party

A dancing City Hall and a person in a Gritty Costume, the Flyers macot, dance together on Nov. 5 2020 as Philadelphia revels being in the national spotlight during the presidential election.
CHARLES FOX / Staff Photographer
A dancing City Hall and a person in a Gritty Costume, the Flyers macot, dance together on Nov. 5 2020 as Philadelphia revels being in the national spotlight during the presidential election.

As one of the most stressful presidential campaigns in American history has emptied to partisan confrontations over how the vote count should proceed, something quite unexpected occurred Thursday evening in Philadelphia in this year of surprises.

A dance party broke out.

“We’re dancing in the streets like Lionel Richie,” said Rowena Dabney, 43, a small-business owner from North Philadelphia. “This energy is coming from hope.”

She was among about 400 supporters of Democratic presidential nominee Joe Biden who rallied Thursday evening outside the Pennsylvania Convention Center, where mail ballots were still being counted.

— Anthony R. Wood, Anna Orso, Oona Goodin-Smith and Juliana Feliciano Reyes

9:51 PM - November 5, 2020
9:51 PM - November 5, 2020

Trump lead over Biden in Pa. drops below 45,000 votes.

As Pennsylvania continued to count mail ballots Thursday night, President Donald Trump’s lead over Joe Biden dropped down to 44,728 votes.

Trump’s lead fell below 100,000 late Thursday afternoon and continued to shrink throughout the day into the night as county election officials tallied hundreds of thousands of ballots that remained outstanding.

Also on Thursday night, Trump’s lead over Biden in Georgia had fallen below 2,000 votes, according to reports.

— Robert Moran

8:45 PM - November 5, 2020
8:45 PM - November 5, 2020

We fact-checked Trump’s claims of election fraud in Philadelphia and Pennsylvania

President Donald Trump speaks in the briefing room at the White House in Washington, D.C., on Thursday, Nov. 5, 2020.
Chip Somodevilla / MCT
President Donald Trump speaks in the briefing room at the White House in Washington, D.C., on Thursday, Nov. 5, 2020.

In a brief address from the White House Thursday night, President Donald Trump claimed that the election was rigged in states across the nation, and made a number of specific claims about Pennsylvania’s election and the ballot-counting process in the state and Philadelphia. Here’s what he said, and what we know to be correct:

Trump: “Partisan Democrats have allowed the ballots to be received three days after the election, and we think much more than that.”

The facts: Election officials will be counting ballots that were received between 8 p.m. on Election Day and 5 p.m. Friday, as long as there is no evidence showing the votes were cast after Tuesday. The issue has been litigated before the Pennsylvania Supreme Court and the U.S. Supreme Court.

— William Bender, Maddie Hanna and Jason Laughlin

8:21 PM - November 5, 2020
8:21 PM - November 5, 2020

Federal judge dismisses Trump campaign lawsuit over observation of Philly vote count

Ballots are counted inside the Pennsylvania Convention Center in Philadelphia on Election Day.
HEATHER KHALIFA / Staff Photographer
Ballots are counted inside the Pennsylvania Convention Center in Philadelphia on Election Day.

A federal judge on Thursday night dismissed without prejudice a motion by President Donald Trump’s campaign challenging its access to observe the vote-counting in Philadelphia, as he urged both sides to reach an agreement.

At a hearing, U.S. District Judge Paul Diamond told Trump’s campaign it didn’t necessarily have the right to be within a specific number of feet of election workers. While lawyers for the city said they were permitting observers at a distance of six feet — in light of an earlier state court ruling Thursday — campaign lawyers disputed that characterization.

Diamond suggested that both sides agree on the number of observers allowed to be present — proposing that 60 people from each side be allowed. He also said Trump’s campaign — which said some of its observers had not been allowed into the convention center — should submit a list of names to the city, and urged lawyers to act in good faith in reaching agreement.

“The world has its eyes on Philadelphia,” he said. “It’ll take its eyes off soon enough.”

Maddie Hanna

8:18 PM - November 5, 2020
8:18 PM - November 5, 2020

Postal Service finds 71 delayed Pa. mail ballots

The U.S. Postal Service found 71 delayed ballots in Pennsylvania postal facilities Thursday after a federal judge ordered employees to sweep post offices across the state, according to court filings.

Five ballots were found in Philadelphia-area postal facilities. In Central Pennsylvania, where coronavirus cases and low staffing numbers have recently affected facility operations, 34 ballots were found. In Western Pennsylvania, 32 ballots were found. All of the ballots were immediately delivered to boards of elections by 5 p.m. Thursday, the records state.

It’s unclear when the ballots came into the Postal Service’s possession, or whether they were postmarked by the Nov. 3 deadline. The discovery of these ballots also comes after a court-ordered facility sweep on Tuesday found 13 ballots in Central Pennsylvania.

The Postal Service was ordered Thursday afternoon by U.S. District Judge Emmet G. Sullivan of Washington, D.C., to sweep facilities across Pennsylvania and North Carolina after data showed that hundreds of ballots were scanned into the Postal Service’s systems across the two states, but never scanned out.

The data showed that in Philadelphia, 375 ballots were scanned into the processing facility; 220 in Central Pennsylvania, and 281 in Western Pennsylvania. On Wednesday, four ballots were scanned into Philadelphia, and two in Western Pennsylvania.

One hundred ballots were found in North Carolina, according to the records.

Ellie Rushing

8:12 PM - November 5, 2020
8:12 PM - November 5, 2020

‘Best block party in America’ continues outside convention center in Philly

Count Every Vote Supporters dance across the street from the Pennsylvania Convention Center in Philadelphia on Thursday.
JESSICA GRIFFIN / Staff Photographer
Count Every Vote Supporters dance across the street from the Pennsylvania Convention Center in Philadelphia on Thursday.

At 7:30 p.m., the nearly 12-hour protest dance party was still going strong outside the Convention Center. Just four supporters of President Donald Trump remained, fenced in by police and barricades.

Little kids, union members, and people dressed as drop boxes all danced alongside each other as DJs from the Worldtown Collective Femi and Ben Arsenal blasted afrobeat into the cool fall night.

“Yo, this has to be the best block party in America right now!” one of the DJs yelled.

Sheila Rhames taught Jesse Bacon the electric slide. Rhames, 57, of West Philadelphia, wearing a Black Lives Matter shirt, said she was jubilant, despite what she called the Trump campaign’s efforts to “suppress our vote.”

“For him to say he’s gonna take us to court? That’s crazy,” she said.

Bacon, 43, of South Philadelphia, brought his 5-year-old daughter, Charisma, to the party. He celebrated as if there was already a victory.

“I didn’t get to dance in the street for Obama in 2008,” Bacon, 43, said, “so I’m making up for it.”

As for the Trump supporters, he said, “I’m hoping they were scared off ... by our joyfulness.”

Juliana Feliciano Reyes

7:58 PM - November 5, 2020
7:58 PM - November 5, 2020

Trump repeats baseless claims that election is rigged, with focus on Pa. and Philly

President Donald Trump speaks in the East Room of the White House on Wednesday.
Evan Vucci / AP
President Donald Trump speaks in the East Room of the White House on Wednesday.

President Donald Trump continued to claim that the presidential election was rigged in states across the nation, including citing without evidence allegations of fraud in Philadelphia and Pennsylvania.

As Democrat Joe Biden appeared to be nearing victory in key states, Trump held a White House news briefing where he took no questions but repeated the baseless allegations that he and his supporters have made since Tuesday night.

“It’s really destroyed our system,” he said of the election. “It’s a corrupt system. It makes people become corrupt even if they’re not corrupt by nature.” He leveled baseless claims of fraud at Pennsylvania particularly, as the count in the state had narrowed the race to less than 80,000 votes, with hundreds of thousands more mail ballots to be counted.

“We were up by nearly 700,000 votes in Pennsylvania,” he said, a vote advantage he held before millions of mail-in ballots had been counted. “I won Pennsylvania by a lot.”

He also referred to a legal challenge to Philadelphia’s vote-counting at the Convention Center, where representatives from his campaign have complained about their ability to observe the count.

“They don’t want anybody in there,” he said. “They don’t want anybody watching them as they count the ballots.”

In a federal court hearing Thursday evening, a lawyer representing the campaign stated on the record campaign representatives had been in the counting room, though there was dispute over how close they had been able to get to the counters.

“They’re trying obviously to commit fraud,” Trump said.

— Jason Laughlin

7:38 PM - November 5, 2020
7:38 PM - November 5, 2020

In Scranton, Biden’s hometown supporters watch and wait

Joe Biden supporter Liz McDonald stands for a portrait in front of her home — down the street from Biden's childhood home — in Scranton on Thursday.
TIM TAI / Staff Photographer
Joe Biden supporter Liz McDonald stands for a portrait in front of her home — down the street from Biden's childhood home — in Scranton on Thursday.

On Washington Avenue in Scranton, where Joe Biden paid a visit to his childhood home on Election Day, neighbors sat on porches on an unseasonably warm fall evening Thursday, brimming with anticipation.

“We’re all so excited,” said Liz McDonald, a critical-care dietician, who lives about a block from Biden’s childhood home. “I’m just waiting for Philadelphia to deliver it for him. How great would that be if Pennsylvania put him over the top?”

McDonald said Biden’s message from the get-go, “Joe from Scranton” resonated here and in places like it, for a reason.

“This is a middle-class neighborhood. Everybody works, both heads of household and you have lots of teachers in the neighborhood, detectives, a really good mix. And that’s how he started. He gets it. He gets us.”

Helen Giannetta, 68, a retired first- and second-grade teacher, got take-out hoagies with her grandson Joseph from Hank’s, the corner shop decorated with Biden photos and articles. “I think he’s just a wonderful representative of the values that we have in this area and so many towns that are like Scranton — honesty, decency, empathy, integrity.”

Not everyone was as upbeat about the state of the race. Rob Acqusto, 43, a manager for an energy company, who lives in nearby Kingston, voted for Trump.

“I feel terrible,” Acqusto, said. “I have not given up hope. I go back and forth but I’m worried.”

“I do fear what Biden will do. If there’s another national shutdown, I will probably be out of a job. I think in four years a lot of damage can be done and then maybe Trump can rerun, or Don Jr.”

Julia Terruso

7:02 PM - November 5, 2020
7:02 PM - November 5, 2020

Perry wins reelection in Pa.'s 10th Congressional District

U.S. Rep. Scott Perry
Andrew Harnik / AP
U.S. Rep. Scott Perry

Republican U.S. Rep. Scott Perry has won a fifth term in Pennsylvania’s 10th Congressional District in the Harrisburg-York area.

Perry beat Democrat Eugene DePasquale, the state’s two-term auditor general.

Perry, a staunch Trump supporter and owner of one of the most conservative voting records in the U.S. House, hung on for another term in a district that is becoming less conservative.

The race was Pennsylvania’s most expensive this year, attracting more than $11 million in spending by outside groups after a Democratic opponent with little name recognition came within 2.5 percentage points of knocking off Perry in 2018.

The Associated Press

6:49 PM - November 5, 2020
6:49 PM - November 5, 2020

‘Keep the faith, Philadelphia,’ councilmembers tell crowd outside convention center

Count Every Vote demonstrators in front of the Pennsylvania Convention Center in Philadelphia on Thursday.
JESSICA GRIFFIN / Staff Photographer
Count Every Vote demonstrators in front of the Pennsylvania Convention Center in Philadelphia on Thursday.

Outside the Pennsylvania Convention Center early Thursday evening, a crowd of hundreds stood for a moment of silence for those who died of COVID-19 and those who died at the hands of police. Councilmember Helen Gym told the group to “keep the faith, Philadelphia.”

“You are dancing for justice, you are dancing amid grief. We’re dancing for justice for Walter Wallace,” she said, referencing the 27-year-old Black man Philadelphia Police officers killed last week.

Among those dancing in the street were Rowena Dabrey and Elizabeth Grace, both small business owners from North Philadelphia who met while in line for Ms. Tootsie’s inside Reading Terminal Market. Inspired by the music, they joined in dancing and chanting “count every vote!” about 2 p.m.

Four hours later, the two strangers were still dancing, and contemplating how they’d react if Biden won Pennsylvania.

“We really want change,” Dabrey said. “I like Biden and I’m a Democrat, but I know that Obama backs him, and that means a lot.”

City Councilmember Kendra Brooks spoke as the sun set, encouraging those who gathered to continue to push for progressive values like affordable housing, healthcare for all, and a Green New Deal.

“These are the reasons why we’re in the streets,” she said, adding. “What we’re fighting for is democracy, and it’s bigger than any person.”

Anna Orso, Oona Goodin-Smith

6:35 PM - November 5, 2020
6:35 PM - November 5, 2020

Trump campaign continues legal battle over observer access to Philly vote count

President Donald Trump’s campaign continued to press its challenge to Philadelphia’s vote-counting Thursday evening — arguing before a federal judge that the city was continuing to deny Republican observers adequate access to watch ballots be counted.

U.S. District Judge Paul Diamond, at times appearing exasperated, asked lawyers for the city and Trump campaign to reach an agreement on how many people should be able to observe, and from what distance — as he sought to pin down both sides on what had happened during Thursday’s counting.

“Can we be responsible adults here and reach an agreement as to how far all observers are allowed to stand?” Diamond said.

While lawyers for the city said people were being permitted to observe the vote counting from a distance of six feet — in line with a state court ruling issued earlier Thursday — Trump’s campaign contended that its observers had not been given “equal access” to watch.

“Are there people in the room?” Diamond asked.

“There is a non-zero number of people in the room,” said Jerome Marcus, a lawyer for the Trump campaign. He claimed observers were being kept 30 to 100 feet away, despite the city’s contention.

A lawyer for the city said that to comply with the earlier court ruling, election officials had limited counting activity to the first row of the convention center, and measured a barricade six feet from that.

After about 30 minutes of back-and-forth, Diamond called a recess, asking the lawyers to negotiate on their own.

“As I understand it, there are people here who should be counting ballots,” the judge said, adding that vote-counting would likely be over within a day, and that the lawyers could avoid “a lot of legal spinning between now and then.”

The city, meanwhile, has appealed Thursday’s state court ruling to the Pennsylvania Supreme Court.

Maddie Hanna

5:58 PM - November 5, 2020
5:58 PM - November 5, 2020

Most Pa. votes have been counted but top elections official says race is still too close to call

Secretary of State Kathy Boockvar did not offer a clear timeline Thursday evening for when Pennsylvania counties will finish counting ballots.

She said she had expected the overwhelming majority of ballots would be counted by Friday, and she said they already accomplished that. But because the race is close, Boockvar said it is still not clear who won.

“The closer the race is,” she said, “the longer it takes.”

Boockvar’s statements at a Thursday evening news conference appeared to walk back her comment in an interview with CNN hours earlier that the state “definitely could” have a winner by the end of the day.

Pennsylvania had 327,348 mail ballots left to count as of just after 6 p.m. Thursday, according to state data. More than 84,000 of those ballots are in Philadelphia.

Boockvar did not give an estimate of how many provisional ballots are left to be counted, or how many ballots postmarked by Election Day arrived after 8 p.m. Tuesday. The range so far, she said, is some counties received no ballots after 8 p.m. on Tuesday and others received in the hundreds, “maybe 500.”

A Pennsylvania Supreme Court ruling allows mail ballots to be counted if they are received by Friday, as long as they are postmarked by Nov. 3 or have missing or illegible postmarks.

“It’s a significantly lower number than we thought,” she said of the ballots arriving after 8 p.m. Tuesday. She said she’s heard from about two-thirds of the counties and does not yet have a complete count of those ballots.

“It’s not a full picture yet…it’s like a fraction of what we saw in the primaries, I think we saw 60,000 [ballots] in the three days following the primary, it’s not going to be anywhere near that.”

Ellie Silverman

5:20 PM - November 5, 2020
5:20 PM - November 5, 2020

Montco voters furious at GOP bid to kill out votes

Activists hold a demonstration outside the Montgomery County Courthouse in Norristown on Wednesday.
TYGER WILLIAMS / Staff Photographer
Activists hold a demonstration outside the Montgomery County Courthouse in Norristown on Wednesday.

From Constance Powers' perspective, the help from a Montgomery County election worker was nothing more than a good deed.

After she made a clerical error on her mail ballot, the worker let her know about the mistake and told her she could go to the county seat in Norristown and fix it. Her goof was failing to fill out her address on the envelope. Powers, 59, went there, fixed her mistakes and returned to her home in Bryn Mawr. She said she voted for Joe Biden.

Now the Republican Party has filed lawsuits to get her vote killed.

“I’ll be furious if that gets that ballot uncounted,” Powers said. “I went through a lot of trouble.”

In suits filed in federal and state courts, the GOP is arguing that it was unfair that voters in some counties were warned about glitches in their mail ballots and given the opportunity to correct them. The legal action in the state’s appellate Commonwealth Court targets the issue statewide, while the federal one questions those “cured” mail ballots in Montgomery County.

Montgomery County elections officials said Thursday that only 98 voters took them up on offers to correct ballot errors, which included missing signatures or missing addresses on envelopes. That’s out of a total of more than 400,000 votes cast in the county.

Julie Shaw, William Bender

5:07 PM - November 5, 2020
5:07 PM - November 5, 2020

‘Count Every Vote’ demonstration turns into dance party

“Count Every Vote” protesters have a dance party outside of the Pennsylvania Convention Center on Thursday, while ballots are counted inside.
HEATHER KHALIFA / Staff Photographer
“Count Every Vote” protesters have a dance party outside of the Pennsylvania Convention Center on Thursday, while ballots are counted inside.

At the Pennsylvania Convention Center, where protesters supporting each candidate had gathered earlier in the day, the numbers of Trump supporters dwindled in the late afternoon as the “Count Every Vote” demonstration turned into an hours-long dance party, but as the sun began to set, both crowds grew again.

By 5 p.m., the pro-Trump side had grown to about 50 people, some sitting in lawn chairs and others waving Trump 2020 flags.

Some responding to calls on social media by local elected Democrats, the pro-Biden side grew to a crowd of hundreds and continued to dance as the sun started to set.

They passed out pizza and some occasionally stepped closer to the pro-Trump side, yelling profanities or waving Biden-Harris signs. Because of metal barricades and a heavy police presence, there didn’t appear to have been physical clashes between protesters as of 5 p.m., though some had exchanged harsh words.

A man in a Joe Biden mask held a sign that read “Did I win yet?” while another man professed through a megaphone that anti-Trump protesters were going to hell. (He was drowned out in part by a pro-Biden French horn player.)

Anna Orso, Oona Goodin-Smith, Justine McDaniel

4:28 PM - November 5, 2020
4:28 PM - November 5, 2020

‘We’ve got to count the votes,' Biden says, urging calm

Former Vice President Joe Biden speaks Thursday in Wilmington, Del., as Sen. Kamala Harris stands next to him.
Carolyn Kaster / AP
Former Vice President Joe Biden speaks Thursday in Wilmington, Del., as Sen. Kamala Harris stands next to him.

Joe Biden made brief comments Thursday afternoon, expressing confidence that the final vote count would give him the presidency, and urging calm from his supporters.

“We continue to feel very good about where things stand,” Biden said in Wilmington, Del. “We have no doubt that when the count is finished, Sen. Harris and I will be declared winners.”

He emphasized again the importance of finishing the vote count, and asked for patience.

“Thank you all for your patience,” he said, “but we’ve got to count the votes.”

Jason Laughlin

4:10 PM - November 5, 2020
4:10 PM - November 5, 2020

Trump’s lead over Biden in Pa. is now less than 100,000 votes

Workers at the Pennsylvania Convention Center count Philadelphia mail ballots on Wednesday.
ALEJANDRO A. ALVAREZ / Staff Photographer
Workers at the Pennsylvania Convention Center count Philadelphia mail ballots on Wednesday.

President Donald Trump’s lead over Joe Biden in Pennsylvania has fallen below 100,000 votes, as county elections officials across the state continue to count hundreds of thousands of mail ballots.

A big portion of the ballots that remain to be counted were cast by voters in the Democratic strongholds of Philadelphia and Allegheny County. Tens of thousands of ballots also remain uncounted in Bucks County in the Philly suburbs, and Lehigh County.

And mail ballots across the state have been decisively in Biden’s favor. That means Biden is in a strong, but not definitive, position to win the state’s 20 Electoral College votes — and with them the presidency.

The campaigns are also locked in close races in Georgia, Nevada, and North Carolina. But a win in Pennsylvania would send Biden to the White House.

— Andrew Seidman

3:47 PM - November 5, 2020
3:47 PM - November 5, 2020

Judge orders Pa. counties to segregate ballots that don’t get proof of identification by Nov. 9

A Commonwealth Court judge has ordered that counties keep separate any mail or absentee ballots with missing proof of identification that they don’t provide by Nov. 9.

The order, issued Thursday by Judge Mary Hannah Leavitt, comes in response to a lawsuit filed by President Donald Trump’s campaign Wednesday against Pennsylvania’s secretary of state.

The campaign argued that the secretary, Kathy Boockvar, erred in telling counties that mail-in voters had until Nov. 12 to provide proof of identification, and that the deadline should have been Nov. 9.

Leavitt didn’t decide whether Trump’s campaign was right, but said in her order that any such ballots — the numbers of which are unknown — should be kept segregated while the case is decided.

The case was part of a flurry of legal activity by Trump’s campaign, which has questioned the integrity of the vote-counting process in Philadelphia in particular.

Maddie Hanna

3:37 PM - November 5, 2020
3:37 PM - November 5, 2020

Demonstrations continue outside convention center in Philly as votes are counted inside

As 3:30 p.m passed outside the Pennsylvania Convention Center, around 50 “count the vote” counter-protesters continued to dance for a seventh hour in the middle of 12th Street as a DJ pumped music through speakers.

Protesters held signs reading “all eyes on PA” and “count every vote” as they formed a dance circle.

Rafael Schneider of Philadelphia brought his French horn to the musical protest. Schneider said he played on the steps of the Philadelphia Art Museum with the Clarion Call for Justice in support of Black Lives Matter. Inspired by Woody Guthrie, he said he believes in music as a tool “for joy and also political power.”

Across the street, around two dozen “stop the count” protesters held signs reading “Keep America Great,” and unfurled a large Trump banner.

Oona Goodin-Smith

2:50 PM - November 5, 2020
2:50 PM - November 5, 2020

Pennsylvania ‘definitely could’ have a winner today, according to top election official

Poll workers count ballots during operation ending inside the Ehinger Gym at West Chester University in West Chester, Pa. Wednesday, November 4, 2020.
JOSE F. MORENO / Staff Photographer
Poll workers count ballots during operation ending inside the Ehinger Gym at West Chester University in West Chester, Pa. Wednesday, November 4, 2020.

The winner of the presidential race in Pennsylvania “definitely could” be announced by the end of the day, Secretary of State Kathy Boockvar said in an interview Thursday afternoon with CNN.

“Counties are furiously at work and it looks like we’re ahead of schedule,” Boockvar told CNN’s Jake Tapper.

President Donald Trump’s lead over Joe Biden has been narrowing in the state as counties report mail ballot results. As of just before 3 p.m., Trump was leading by more than 108,000 votes.

There are 369,364 outstanding mail ballots left to be counted statewide, according to state data.

Philadelphia has the largest number of mail ballots that still must be counted. As of 2:45 p.m. Thursday, the city had 91,386 mail ballots to count.

Bucks County has the second largest number of outstanding mail ballots, with more than 46,000 left, followed by Lehigh and Allegheny counties.

— Laura McCrystal

2:24 PM - November 5, 2020
2:24 PM - November 5, 2020

Trump wants Pa. to stop counting votes. Republican currently losing says the opposite.

Republican congressional candidate Sean Parnell, who is currently trailing Rep. Conor Lamb, wants Pennsylvania to keep counting votes
Keith Srakocic / AP
Republican congressional candidate Sean Parnell, who is currently trailing Rep. Conor Lamb, wants Pennsylvania to keep counting votes

The same day President Donald Trump called on Pennsylvania to stop counting duly cast mail ballots, Republican candidate for Congress Sean Parnell called for just the opposite.

Parnell is trailing U.S. Rep. Conor Lamb in the race to represent Pennsylvania’s 17th congressional district. The day after Lamb, a Democrat, declared victory in the tight race, which has not yet been called, Parnell’s campaign manager Andrew Brey criticized Lamb’s declaration of victory as premature.

“Unless Lamb has a sixth sense that helps him precisely determine vote totals from outstanding precincts in this razor’s edge race, he should exercise the restraint that he was calling for while significantly behind,” Brey said.

He continued.

“All eyes are on Pennsylvania, and our poll workers have volunteered their time working day and night to count votes. We should absolutely let them continue their work, count every legal vote, and let the process play on until its rightful conclusion.”

— Jessica Calefati

2:24 PM - November 5, 2020
2:24 PM - November 5, 2020

‘Philly’s got this!' Amid demonstrations, the city keeps counting ballots

Philadelphia City Councilwoman Helen Gym was one of a few elected officials who observed the ballot counting inside the Pennsylvania Convention Center on Thursday afternoon.

“There is no reason to worry,” Gym, who said she was one of the Democratic Party’s designated monitors, told the crowd after she came out. “I want America to know: Philly’s got this!”

The “Count Every Vote” crowd had swelled to about 200, while about 50 remained in the crowd of Trump supporters. Trump lawyers Pam Bondi and Corey Lewandowski had appeared before the crowd earlier.

“The Trump campaign and his political operatives want you to think that somehow there is some kind of circus going on,” Gym said. “But they’re the circus, and they’re the clowns right now.”

State Senator-elect Nikil Saval, a Democrat, was also in the building observing the counting as a canvassing monitors for his own campaign.

“We have been inside, and it is so boring in there... dedicated servants staying up all night, counting ballots,” Saval said.

— Justine McDaniel

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

Quiet day at the Trump House in Latrobe

Leslie Rossi owner of the "Trump House" in Latrobe, Pa.,Thursday, November 5, 2020
STEVEN M. FALK / Staff Photographer
Leslie Rossi owner of the "Trump House" in Latrobe, Pa.,Thursday, November 5, 2020

In the run up to the Nov. 3 election, it wasn’t uncommon for 1,000 people per day to visit Leslie Rossi’s shrine to President Donald Trump — a red, white and blue-drenched house in Latrobe, Pa., with a 14-foot metal cut-out of the president looming over the front lawn that has come to be known as the Trump House.

Rossi, a Republican National Convention delegate who owns the building, converted the house during the 2016 election, and used it to educate local Trump fans about building a grassroots campaign, registering ex-Democrats with the Republican Party, and distributing lawn signs and other Trump merchandise.

But the house, she said, had also become something of a community hub for conservatives in this rural area east of Pittsburgh.

“It was a fun place to come. People had a blast here,” said Rossi, 50, who buys, renovates and rents homes. “People tell me their life stories here.”

But on Thursday, as results continued to trickle in that indicated Trump may lose reelection to Joe Biden, only a handful of diehard supporters stopped in to lament the state of the race.

The visitors saw the writing on the wall for a likely Biden win, but they didn’t trust the results.

“They’re cheating him right now,” a retired boilermaker named Michael Wujcik said to Rossi.

“You can’t have all these mail-in ballots that are fraudulent,” Rossi said. “I don’t know what to believe anymore.”

Trump has for months attempted to discredit the validity of mail voting, which is being used at record levels due to the coronavirus pandemic. There is no evidence of widespread fraud with mail voting, and Trump himself has voted by mail in the past.

Rossi expects Trump to pull out a win by exposing electoral corruption. But if Trump loses, Rossi said she doesn’t believe his supporters will engage in mass protests or violence.

“That’s not our style. We’re going to go back to work the next day,” she said.

Rossi said she doesn’t know how many thousands of dollar she has spent decking out the house and giving away Trump merchandise — “I don’t want to know” — and hasn’t decided what to do with it after the election is over.

But even if Trump loses, Rossi said it won’t have been for nothing.

“I think a lot of politicians make a lot of money doing the corrupt thing,” she said, “and he exposed that.”

— Sean Collins Walsh

1:39 PM - November 5, 2020
1:39 PM - November 5, 2020

Federal judge orders U.S. Postal Service to sweep Pennsylvania postal facilities

The USPS Philadelphia Processing and Distribution Center on Lindbergh Blvd in Philadelphia, Pa.
MONICA HERNDON / Staff Photographer
The USPS Philadelphia Processing and Distribution Center on Lindbergh Blvd in Philadelphia, Pa.

A federal judge in Washington has ordered the U.S. Postal Service to sweep postal facilities across Pennsylvania and North Carolina for any leftover ballots.

U.S. District Judge Emmet G. Sullivan ordered the Postal Service to conduct morning and afternoon sweeps on Thursday and Friday of postal facilities in Philadelphia, Western Pennsylvania, Central Pennsylvania, Greensboro, and the Mid-Carolinas. The sweeps should be conducted in a timely manner to ensure any ballots discovered be returned to boards of elections by 5 p.m., Sullivan wrote.

Sullivan ordered the Postal Service to file the detailed plans of the sweeps, and the number of ballots discovered, to the court by 5 p.m. Thursday.

The order comes after alarming data filed in court Wednesday evening showed that on Nov. 3, hundreds of ballots were scanned into the Postal Service systems across the two states, but never scanned out. The data shows that in Philadelphia, 375 ballots were scanned into the processing facility; 220 in Central Pennsylvania, and 281 in Western Pennsylvania. On Wednesday, four ballots were scanned into Philadelphia, and two in Western Pennsylvania.

Postal officials have said that as part of an expedited delivery process, the manual sorting and delivery of ballots to elections officials, which can cause ballots to be scanned in but not out, has distorted the data. Officials have said they believe the ballots to be delivered, but could not say definitively that none had been left behind.

On Wednesday, Sullivan similarly ordered the agency to conduct mandatory morning and afternoon ballot sweeps of all Texas postal facilities. The Postal Service reported Wednesday evening that it discovered 815 remaining ballots, which were delivered that afternoon.

Sullivan has pressured the Postal Service this week to explain why about 300,000 mail ballots that had entered its mail stream could no longer be traced. On Tuesday, Sullivan ordered the agency to sweep 220 postal facilities across Philadelphia, Central Pennsylvania, and 10 other locales across the country, with a deadline of 4:30 p.m. that day. The Postal Service missed this deadline, but conducted the sweeps, asserting it found only 13 ballots across all facilities.

— Ellie Rushing

1:05 PM - November 5, 2020
1:05 PM - November 5, 2020

Outstanding votes in Pennsylvania: Where we stand

Pennsylvania had counted 86% of its mail ballots as of shortly after noon Thursday, according to state data.

There are more than 360,000 mail ballots left to count.

President Donald Trump currently has a lead of 115,071 votes over Joe Biden in Pennsylvania.

Here are the vote totals thus far:

  • Trump has 50.32%, or 3,228,960 votes.
  • Biden has 48.53%, or 3,113,889 votes.

Laura McCrystal and Cynthia Fernandez

12:46 PM - November 5, 2020
12:46 PM - November 5, 2020

Reports that vote counters in Allegheny County are taking the day off are misleading. Here’s the true story.

You may have seen national reports that Allegheny County is taking the day off from counting 35,000 remaining mail ballots. Those reports are misleading.

Because a mailing company sent 29,000 ballots to the wrong voters, Allegheny County cannot begin processing those votes until Friday after 5 p.m.

That’s laid out in a court settlement between the Allegheny County Board of Elections and two Republican Congressional candidates, who sued elections officials in October over their handling of the mailing error. Under a separate state Supreme Court ruling, counties can accept and count mail ballots that arrive by 5 p.m. Friday — making it the current return deadline.

The other 6,000 ballots similarly have issues that need to be reviewed by a special board that meets Friday.

Tom Lisi of Spotlight PA

12:30 PM - November 5, 2020
12:30 PM - November 5, 2020

South Jersey congressional race remains tight with ballots left to count

U.S. Rep. Jeff Van Drew addressing supporters in Sea Isle City on Nov. 3, 2020. He built up a lead Election Night against Democrat Amy Kennedy.
Amy S. Rosenberg
U.S. Rep. Jeff Van Drew addressing supporters in Sea Isle City on Nov. 3, 2020. He built up a lead Election Night against Democrat Amy Kennedy.

Party switcher Rep. Jeff Van Drew’s 9,500 vote lead over Democrat Amy Kennedy will be put to the test Friday when Atlantic County says it will scan 18,473 ballots received on and since Election Day.

Lynn Caterson, chair of the Atlantic County Board of Elections, said Thursday that members of the New Jersey National Guard were busy processing the ballots, zipping and stripping, in preparation for the scanning company’s employees to be brought in Friday.

An additional 9,383 provisional ballots were cast on Election Day at polling places, she said. But those ballots need to be investigated one by one, and cannot be counted until next Tuesday at the earliest, to ensure that the voter has not also voted by mail.

“When you’re talking about another 27,000 ballots, almost every race in Atlantic County could be affected,” she said.

Atlantic County reported about 116,000 votes on Election Night, with Kennedy amassing only a 4,700 vote lead in the Democrat rich County. Turnout in the county may end up exceeding 70 percent, Caterson said.

The storied Kennedy family may have run into a thicket of local Atlantic City politics in its quest to unseat the Congressman who switched parties and professed “undying support” to President Trump.

An unknown number of ballots are left to be counted in Cumberland County, the only other county in the sprawling district where Kennedy held an edge. Van Drew built up a 10,000 vote lead in his home county of Cape May.

Since Election Night, results stalled at 75 percent of precincts, according to data compiled by the Associated Press.

— Amy S. Rosenberg

12:16 PM - November 5, 2020
12:16 PM - November 5, 2020

Vote counting in Philly resumes after brief pause

Philadelphia elections officials have resumed the counting of remaining mail ballots after what a city spokesperson described as “brief pause” after a court ordered Trump campaign canvassing monitors be granted closer access to the operations.

Earlier Thursday, the Pennsylvania Commonwealth Court ordered that the Trump campaign observers had to be able to stand within six feet of any tables where counting is taking place in order to meaningfully monitor the process.

The city has appealed the ruling to the Pennsylvania Supreme Court. Its judges have not yet indicated whether they will consider the case.

“As the City appeals, the count is going forward,” city spokesperson Mike Dunn said. “There was a brief pause in light of the ongoing litigation, but it has resumed in accordance with the law.”

— Jeremy Roebuck and Jonathan Lai

12:04 PM - November 5, 2020
12:04 PM - November 5, 2020

Biden campaign remains confident they will win Pennsylvania, and ultimately the White House

The Biden campaign on Thursday continued to project confidence, saying it expected to win Pennsylvania and ultimately the White House.

“Let me be very clear: our data shows Joe Biden will be the next president of the United States,” Biden campaign manager Jen O’Malley Dillon said Thursday during a call with reporters. “Donald Trump continues to push a flailing strategy designed to prevent people’s votes from being counted,” she said.

O’Malley Dillon said the campaign believed there were more than 600,000 outstanding mail ballots to be counted in Pennsylvania, where Trump led by about 164,000 votes as of early Thursday morning. “We continue to see ourselves nearing parity with Donald Trump,” she said.

“We believe from our data that the majority of outstanding ballots left are for the vice president, and that at the end of the day ... we will win by a sizable number of votes in Pennsylvania,” O’Malley Dillon said. “We need to make sure we continue the count there.”

She added that the campaign also feels “bullish” about Biden’s prospects in Arizona, Nevada, and Georgia, while North Carolina leans toward Trump.

Bob Bauer, a senior adviser to the Biden campaign, said the Trump campaign’s lawsuits in Pennsylvania and other states were “meritless” and “part of a broader misinformation campaign” about the integrity of the election.

— Andrew Seidman

11:52 AM - November 5, 2020
11:52 AM - November 5, 2020

Philadelphia temporarily halts vote counting due to court order

Corey Lewandowski, left, and Pam Bondi, center, at a press conference in front of the Convention Center, in Philadelphia, November 05, 2020
JESSICA GRIFFIN / Staff Photographer
Corey Lewandowski, left, and Pam Bondi, center, at a press conference in front of the Convention Center, in Philadelphia, November 05, 2020

Philadelphia elections officials have temporarily halted the counting of remaining votes as they scrambled to accommodate a court order granting closer access to the operations for Trump campaign canvassing monitors.

Earlier Thursday, the Pennsylvania Commonwealth Court ordered that the Trump campaign observers had to be able to stand within six feet of any tables where counting is taking place in order to meaningfully monitor the process.

City lawyers they would appeal the order to the Pennsylvania Supreme Court and in the meanwhile are analyzing the layout of the room in the Convention Center where counting is taking place to see what changes if any are needed to accommodate the ruling.

Officials did not give an indication of how long of a delay to expect.

— Jonathan Lai and Jeremy Roebuck

11:09 AM - November 5, 2020
11:09 AM - November 5, 2020

35,000 ballots remain in Allegheny County, but most won’t be counted until Friday

Allegheny Count ballots wait to be counted at a large former metalworks warehouse located on Pittsburgh's north side.
Jessica Calefati / Staff
Allegheny Count ballots wait to be counted at a large former metalworks warehouse located on Pittsburgh's north side.

Most of the 35,000 mail ballots left to be counted in Allegheny County won’t be counted until tomorrow, according to Amie Downs, county spokesperson.

There will be no canvassing done at the warehouse Thursday, and it is closed to media and observers because the elections staff will be doing administrative work, according to a news release sent out Wednesday night.

Allegheny County elections staff had counted 313,072 mail-in or absentee ballots, out of the 348,485 returned, as of Tuesday at 8 p.m.

The difference, about 35,400, includes the nearly 29,000 voters who had first received misprinted ballots before being issued corrected ballots. Those ballots will need to be inspected as part of the Return Board process, which begins at 9 a.m. tomorrow at the Elections Warehouse.

That uncounted ballots also include about 2,250 ballots that were not scannable and will need to be reviewed during the Return Board process, and about 4,350 miscellaneous ballots with issues like missing a date or an illegible voter declaration. These numbers were all estimated as of Tuesday night, Downs said.

There are also six precincts that will be reported Friday.

— Ellie Silverman

10:48 AM - November 5, 2020
10:48 AM - November 5, 2020

Top Pa. Democrats confident Biden will win as votes continue to be counted

Pennsylvania and Philadelphia Democrats host a news conference at Philadelphia City Hall, releasing internal projections that they say suggest Joe Biden will win the state.
Anna Orso/Inquirer
Pennsylvania and Philadelphia Democrats host a news conference at Philadelphia City Hall, releasing internal projections that they say suggest Joe Biden will win the state.

Responding to what they called “misinformation” by the Trump campaign, top Pennsylvania Democrats on Thursday said their internal analyses suggest Joe Biden will win the commonwealth, even as hundreds of thousands of mail ballots had yet to be counted.

Philadelphia State Sen. Sharif Street, vice chair of the state Democratic Party, was flanked during a news conference by state politicians, U.S. Reps. Dwight Evans (D., Philadelphia) and Madeleine Dean (D., Montgomery), as well as New York Assemblyman Michael Blake, vice chairman of the Democratic National Committee.

Street said the officials were not declaring Biden had won Pennsylvania, but that he “will,” drawing a distinction with Trump campaign officials. On Wednesday, the Trump campaign wrongly announced the president won Pennsylvania — an assertion “based on math,” campaign manager Bill Stepien said — as they sued to halt voting counting in the state.

“We are in no way suggesting this election is over. We want every vote to be counted,” Street said. “We’re sharing our internal numbers because there’s been so much misinformation put out by the Trump campaign that we thought it was important that the public have a glimpse into what we are seeing.”

Street’s county-by-county analysis, conducted by his campaign staff, was based on the party distribution of the uncounted ballots remaining in each county and suggested Biden would ultimately win Pennsylvania by about 190,000 votes. The Inquirer has not independently verified their projection, which goes a bit farther than an estimate by U.S. Sen. Bob Casey, a Democrat who has suggested Biden could win the state by more than 100,000 votes.

As of Thursday morning, Trump held an advantage of about 160,000 votes statewide, a margin that has consistently shrunk over the past two days as county officials process mail ballots, which disproportionately skew Democrat. State figures Thursday morning show more than 700,000 mail ballots have yet to be reported into the state system.

Blake, of the DNC, said the committee projects to net more than 100,000 Biden votes in Philadelphia alone as ballots continue to be counted, saying the city will “bring this thing home.”

“The Democratic National Committee is saying very clearly: we don’t just think we’re gonna win,” he said. “I’m telling you we gon' win Pennsylvania, and Joe Biden is going to be president.”

— Anna Orso

10:24 AM - November 5, 2020
10:24 AM - November 5, 2020

Trump campaign nets a court win for their Philly canvassing monitors

Pam Bondi holds up a paperwork she said allows the Trump Campaign access to watch the ballot counting at the Convention Center, in Philadelphia, November 05, 2020
JESSICA GRIFFIN / Staff Photographer
Pam Bondi holds up a paperwork she said allows the Trump Campaign access to watch the ballot counting at the Convention Center, in Philadelphia, November 05, 2020

Trump campaign monitors watching the counting of Philadelphia’s votes will be granted more up-close access to the effort under a ruling Wednesday from a Pennsylvania Commonwealth Court judge

Judge Christine Fizzano Cannon ordered that canvassing monitors be granted access to observe “all aspects” of the process from no more than six feet away, overturning a ruling from a lower court in Philadelphia.

On a call with reporters, Trump campaign officials called the ruling a “major victory” and pledged they would pursue additional legal action over the city’s ballots, though it was unclear what form that could take in court.

Previously, the campaign alleged that their monitors were being kept too far away from votes being counted to meaningfully ensure the validity of the ballots being counted. For instance, one Trump canvassing monitor told a Common Pleas judge in Philadelphia on Tuesday, some tables where votes were being counted in the Convention Center were up to 100 feet away from where he was stationed. Monitors were kept behind a waist-high metal fence to separate them from the operations.

Those restrictions applied to both Republican and Democrat poll monitors.

The Commonwealth Court ruling came as Pennsylvania’s count enters its third day and as remaining votes in Philadelphia could prove crucial in determining which candidate ultimately carries the state.

— Jeremy Roebuck and Maddie Hanna

9:59 AM - November 5, 2020
9:59 AM - November 5, 2020

Chester County wraps up counting with Biden winning big

Chester County has finished counting all ballots received by 8 p.m. Tuesday, with the totals putting Joe Biden in a 17-point lead ahead of President Donald Trump.

Officials have counted the 161,935 votes cast in-person, and 147,433 mail-in ballots received as of 8 p.m. Tuesday. Mail ballots postmarked by Election Day but received afterwards are not yet reflective in the totals.

More than 81% of the county’s eligible voters cast a ballot, the county reported, surpassing the voter turnout in 2016 by about 3 points.

Following a 24-hour ballot counting operation, Chester County Board of Elections will resume work at 9 a.m. Friday to complete pre-canvassing, canvassing, computation, provisional ballot review, and tabulation.

Ellie Rushing

9:47 AM - November 5, 2020
9:47 AM - November 5, 2020

Wolf condemns Trump’s call to stop vote counting in Pennsylvania

Gov. Tom Wolf said Pennsylvania is committed to tallying every vote and condemned President Donald Trump, who called for an end to the counting even as legal mail ballots remain to be counted.

“Pennsylvania is going to count every vote and no amount of intimidation will stop our dedicated election officials in our municipalities,” Wolf said in a statement. “The planned attacks on our elections this morning are undemocratic and all elected officials must denounce them. Pennsylvania will be prepared to protect our election workers and our votes.”

On Twitter Thursday morning, Trump wrote, “STOP THE COUNT!” as several states, including Pennsylvania, continue to count legally cast mail in ballots. The Trump campaign has also vowed to halt Pennsylvania’s election count with a barrage of lawsuits.

— Rob Tornoe

9:43 AM - November 5, 2020
9:43 AM - November 5, 2020

Demonstrators call for Philly to count every vote as a pro-Trump rally fails to materialize

A “Protect the Vote” rally that was advertised on social media for 8 a.m. Thursday outside the Pennsylvania Convention Center, where the city’s mail-in ballots continue to be counted, had not materialized by 9 a.m.

Perhaps a dozen Trump supporters stood around, holding red signs with the words “votes should be counted on Election Day, not the day after.” They stood on the sidewalk, alone or in pairs, and blended in with onlookers as they watched a group of “count every vote” folks play music from speakers, bang on drums, and dance in the street at the intersection of 12th and Arch Streets, between the convention center and Reading Terminal Market

Dan Kelly, 47, of Philadelphia, arrived for the “protect the vote” event shortly before 8 a.m. and stood outside the convention center talking with people wearing Republican poll watcher badges.

Nearby, Sarah Anderson, 24, of Virginia, a policy director for the conservative group Freedomworks, which organized the event, handed out signs. She said she does not think all the mail-in votes being counted inside the convention center are illegal, but wants to make sure no illegal votes get counted and disenfranchise legal voters.

Across the street, the “count every vote” gathering took on a more upbeat vibe as the morning went on. Elliot Beck, 34, of Philadelphia, played his drum in an effort to “keep spirits up."

”Voting is a basic right," he said. “People have fought for it for hundreds of years. To see it possibly be taken away is scary.”

Temple student Ali Hodges, 21, also of Philadelphia, danced in the street. She said she came out to ensure the Trump supporters' protest “doesn’t interfere with our constitutional right to vote.”

Rabbi Monica Gomery, 35, of Kol Tzedek synagogue in West Philadelphia, held a painted “Count Every Vote” sign over her head and said she wanted to “make sure the fine folks inside are able to do so as safely as possible.”

— Erin McCarthy

9:30 AM - November 5, 2020
9:30 AM - November 5, 2020

Biden wins big in Montco as county wraps up counting

Democratic presidential candidate former Vice President Joe Biden takes off his face mask as he arrives to speak, Wednesday, Nov. 4, 2020, in Wilmington, Del. (AP Photo/Carolyn Kaster)
Carolyn Kaster / AP
Democratic presidential candidate former Vice President Joe Biden takes off his face mask as he arrives to speak, Wednesday, Nov. 4, 2020, in Wilmington, Del. (AP Photo/Carolyn Kaster)

Montgomery County has finished counting all ballots received as of 8 p.m. Tuesday, the county announced, with Joe Biden leading the county by 26 points, his largest margin across the Philadelphia suburbs.

All in-person votes cast across the 431 precincts have been counted. More than 98% of the county’s mail-in ballots, or 240,086 votes, that were received by 8 p.m. Tuesday has been counted.

All told, 501,561 presidential votes have been counted in Montgomery County, up 15.4% from 2016 (66,874 votes).

The county has reported that 3,322 mail ballots are still under review as part of the official canvassing process, and said the total may change as votes postmarked by Nov. 3 can be accepted through Friday.

Joe Biden leads President Donald Trump by 17 points across Philadelphia’s suburbs. Biden is up 17 points in Chester County and 23 points in Delaware County. Trump continues to lead Biden in Bucks County by a couple thousand votes, but more than 20,000 mail ballots still need to be counted.

Ellie Rushing, Andrew Seidman

8:20 AM - November 5, 2020
8:20 AM - November 5, 2020

Republicans on brink of retaining control of Pennsylvania Senate, while House still undecided

An American flag flies outside of the Capitol dome in Harrisburg.
Matt Rourke
An American flag flies outside of the Capitol dome in Harrisburg.

With Gov. Tom Wolf’s agenda for his final two years in office hanging in the balance, Republicans in Pennsylvania appeared on track to keep the majority in the state Senate, while control of the House remained in question.

The GOP, which has controlled the Senate since 1994, scored victories for incumbents in Erie and Lancaster Counties, while also picking up a flip in the southwest part of the state, according to the Associated Press.

In the Pennsylvania House, Democrats need a net gain of nine seats to control the 203-member chamber. They targeted races in the Philadelphia suburbs, where they flipped more than a dozen seats two years ago, as well in suburban areas outside Pittsburgh, Harrisburg, and Allentown, where they hoped to capitalize on anti-Trump sentiment.

By Wednesday afternoon, the House Democratic Campaign Committee had conceded one of its targets in Dauphin County, but declared victory in a Montgomery County seat. And the chair of the committee urged patience as candidates wait for county election offices to count a flood of mail ballots.

Control of the legislature is particularly important heading into 2021, when lawmakers will draw new congressional maps and potentially shape Pennsylvania politics for the next decade. For Wolf, it was key to his agenda for raising the minimum wage, enacting a severance tax on natural gas drilling, and other issues.

— Ed Mahon, Spotlight PA

7:00 AM - November 5, 2020
7:00 AM - November 5, 2020

Trump’s lead in Pennsylvania continues to narrow as mail ballots counted

Poll workers count ballots during operation ending inside the Ehinger Gym at West Chester University in West Chester, Pa. Wednesday, November 4, 2020.
JOSE F. MORENO / Staff Photographer
Poll workers count ballots during operation ending inside the Ehinger Gym at West Chester University in West Chester, Pa. Wednesday, November 4, 2020.

Former Vice President Joe Biden’s lead in the Philadelphia suburbs is growing by the minute as elections officials continue to count scores of mail ballots, and his strong performance there may well help lift him to Pennsylvania’s 20 Electoral College votes.

As of early Thursday morning, President Donald Trump’s lead over Biden had narrowed in Pennsylvania to about 164,000 votes.

As of 9:50 p.m. Wednesday night, Pennsylvania had 99% of precincts reporting but only 71% of mail ballots counted, with about 763,000 remaining to be counted. Of the mail ballots counted so far in Pennsylvania, 77% were cast for Biden.

Philadelphia will report new numbers sometime before 9 a.m. Thursday, city commissioners announced.

The number of mail ballots to count is expected to increase. Some ballots had been received but not yet scanned into the state’s database. The Pennsylvania Supreme Court also allowed mail ballots to be counted if they are returned to county elections offices by 5 p.m. on Friday, instead of the normal deadline of 8 p.m. on Election Day. Republicans are challenging that ruling before the U.S. Supreme Court.

— Rob Tornoe and Andrew Seidman

6:45 AM - November 5, 2020
6:45 AM - November 5, 2020

Nevada, North Carolina and Georgia also remain in play as vote counting continues

Democratic and Republican representatives review absentee ballots at the Fulton County Election preparation Center Wednesday, Nov. 4, 2020 in Atlanta. (AP Photo/John Bazemore)
John Bazemore / AP
Democratic and Republican representatives review absentee ballots at the Fulton County Election preparation Center Wednesday, Nov. 4, 2020 in Atlanta. (AP Photo/John Bazemore)

Georgia

As the vote counting continued Wednesday, people across the nation watched to see whether Georgia would finally become the swing state that Democrats have long hoped for. But with many of the votes left to tally in counties that tend to vote blue, Democrats had reason for optimism.

As of Thursday morning, Trump’s lead over Biden in Georgia was down to 18,500 votes. Republican Secretary of State Brad Raffensperger, the state’s top election official, said late Wednesday that just under 108,000 votes remained to be tallied. That was down from an estimated 200,000 earlier in the day.

Nevada

About 75% of the votes are in, and Biden leads by less than 8,000 votes.

But there are outstanding ballots left to be counted in the coming days. Under state law, they can still be accepted so long as they were postmarked by Election Day, on Nov. 3.

North Carolina

Trump prematurely claimed early Wednesday that he won the state.

Though the president is correct that he held a nearly 77,000-vote lead in the state early Wednesday, the race is too early to call with up to 116,000 mail ballots left to count, as well as the potential of thousands of provisional ballots.

As long as those ballots are postmarked by Nov. 3, state election officials have until Nov. 12 to count them. And when it comes to mail ballots, Biden was outperforming Trump. That means the ballots yet to be counted could give Biden a lead.

— Associated Press

6:30 AM - November 5, 2020
6:30 AM - November 5, 2020

Trump campaign vows to halt Pa. vote count in a wave of legal challenges

A supporter holds a sign during a news conference with Eric Trump and Rudy Giuliani about President Donald Trump’s legal challenges to the election in Pennsylvania at Atlantic Aviation in Philadelphia on Wednesday, Nov. 4, 2020.
TIM TAI / Staff Photographer
A supporter holds a sign during a news conference with Eric Trump and Rudy Giuliani about President Donald Trump’s legal challenges to the election in Pennsylvania at Atlantic Aviation in Philadelphia on Wednesday, Nov. 4, 2020.

President Donald Trump’s campaign vowed Wednesday to halt Pennsylvania’s election count with a barrage of lawsuits that it contended — without evidence — were needed to stop the state from “baking in a backdoor victory for Joe Biden with late, illegal ballots.”

Repeating the president’s claim that Democrats were “scheming to disenfranchise and dilute” GOP voters, Trump’s team unleashed a pack of new filings on state and federal courts disputing issues that included the state’s decision to count late-arriving mail ballots and how much access Republican monitors had to watch the counting process.

The onslaught — along with similar suits filed in Michigan, Nevada, and Georgia, as well as a demand for a vote-recount in Wisconsin — reflected a broader Republican strategy to rely on the courts and litigation to contest the election in states pivotal to the president’s chances of a second term.

“Bad things are happening in Pennsylvania,” the Trump campaign said in a statement. “President Trump and his team are fighting to put a stop to it.”

Through Wednesday night, there had been no reports of widespread voter fraud or irregularities with Pennsylvania’s count, though the results here still remained too close to call.

— Jeremy Roebuck , Maddie Hanna and Angela Couloumbis

6:00 AM - November 5, 2020
6:00 AM - November 5, 2020

Thursday morning roundup