Supporters of both Biden and Trump have been gathering outside the Pennsylvania Convention Center, where ballots are being counted, for two days, with a block-party atmosphere among the pro-Biden crowd.
Supporters of both Biden and Trump have been gathering outside the Pennsylvania Convention Center, where ballots are being counted, for two days, with a block-party atmosphere among the pro-Biden crowd.
Amy Kennedy concedes to U.S. Rep. Jeff Van Drew in N.J.
Democrat Amy Kennedy late Friday night conceded defeat in her bid to oust U.S. Rep. Jeff Van Drew in New Jersey’s 2nd Congressional District.
Van Drew, who infuriated Democrats when he switched parties and declared “undying support” to President Donald Trump, gave a victory speech Tuesday night, but the race was still considered too close to call. Kennedy did not concede on election night and vowed to fight to the last ballot.
By Friday afternoon, Associated Press results showed 81% of precincts reporting and Van Drew’s lead widening to 15,867. Earlier Friday, with tens of thousands of ballots left to count and the margin at 15,494, AP projected Van Drew the winner.
As nation awaits election result, Trump chief of staff diagnosed with COVID-19
WASHINGTON — President Donald Trump’s chief of staff Mark Meadows has been diagnosed with the coronavirus as the nation sets daily records for confirmed cases for the pandemic.
Two senior administration officials confirmed Friday that Meadows had tested positive for the virus, which has killed more than 236,000 Americans so far this year. They offered no details on when the chief of staff came down with the virus or his current condition. His diagnosis was first reported by Bloomberg News.
Meadows traveled with Trump in the run-up to Election Day and last appeared in public early Wednesday morning without a mask as Trump falsely declared victory in the vote count. He had been one of the close aides around Trump when the president came down with the virus more than a month ago, but was tested daily and maintained his regular work schedule.
It marked the latest case of the virus in the West Wing, coming not even two weeks after Marc Short, Vice President Mike Pence’s chief of staff, and other aides tests positive for the virus. Trump, first lady Melania Trump, and at least two dozen others tested positive for the virus in early October, after Trump held large gatherings of people not wearing face-masks, including the ceremony announcing the nomination of now-Justice Amy Coney Barrett to the Supreme Court.
Biden speaks to nation again, vows that vote-count will not be stopped
Though he stopped short of declaring victory, former Vice President Joe Biden, accompanied by Sen. Kamala Harris, expressed confidence he would be the next president, going so far as to outline his priorities for his administration.
“We don’t have a final declaration of victory yet, but the numbers tell us a clear and convincing story,” Biden said, speaking from Wilmington, Del. “We’re going to win this race.”
Since Tuesday, Americans have watched the painstaking process of vote counting that has dragged on in Pennsylvania because state restrictions prevented mail ballots from being counted prior to Election Day. Far more Democrats chose to vote by mail than Republicans, so early leads for President Trump have dwindled and turned to deficits in key states like Pennsylvania and Georgia. Trump has falsely sought to label the votes still being counted as “illegal.”
Biden, who did not mention Trump by name, emphasized the need to count those votes.
“Your vote will be counted,” he said. “I don’t care how hard people try to stop it. I will not let it happen.”
Biden’s held a more than 28,000 vote margin over Trump in Pennsylvania Friday night, a state that would give him the presidency if he prevails there. His national tally so far, about 74 million, is the largest for any presidential candidate in American history, and he framed it as a “mandate for action on COVID, the economy, climate change, systemic racism.”
Pennsylvania looks like it’s going to be really, really close
Much of the world’s attention — and frustration, anxiety, and confusion — has been on the days-long process of counting votes in Pennsylvania. But the focus on the slow count in some ways obscures the real reason we don’t know who won yet.
It’s not just — or even necessarily — about the speed of counting votes. It’s about how close they are.
Consider, for example, how races can be called almost immediately in “safe” states. The Associated Press, The Inquirer’s source for race calls, declared Joe Biden the winner in California right after polls closed. That’s no shock, of course, but the point is it didn’t require a lot of votes to be counted. (In fact, as of Friday evening, the AP estimated California had counted about 78% of its votes, compared with 97% in Pennsylvania.)
So it’s not just about how many votes are counted and how quickly. It’s about the margins.
U.S. Supreme Court justice orders Pa. counties to separate, but keep counting, late-arriving mail ballots
In a move that could signal the U.S. Supreme Court is one step closer to intervening in a fight over Pennsylvania’s grace-period for late-arriving mail ballots, Justice Samuel Alito on Friday ordered all counties to keep separate any ballots that came in after Nov. 3 and instructed state officials to explain by Saturday why the court should not step in.
Many, if not all counties, were already complying with his demands.
Alito’s order came in response to a state GOP filing earlier in the day which urged once again that the court to overturn a ruling by Pennsylvania’s highest court that allowed counties to count ballots received up until 5 p.m. Friday — as long as they had been postmarked by Election Day.
The justices had declined an earlier push seeking their intervention, but noted at the time that they might be open to considering the issue down the road.
So, Boockvar had advised counties to segregate — but still count — any mail ballots that came in after Nov. 3 so that if the U.S. Supreme Court were to take up the case they could be easily isolated. It is unclear whether they will be included in the final tally.
Republicans told the court Friday that Boockvar had been unable to verify that local election boards had been following that advice.
In his order, Alito noted that the court did not know until today there was a question over whether counties were complying with Boockvar’s guidance. But he stopped short of granting the GOP’s request that those ballots not be counted at all until the wider court could decide whether to weigh in on whether to take up the issue. Alito’s order gave the Department of State until 2 p.m. Saturday to file a response.
It’s unclear just how many ballots statewide might be cast into question should the court intervene in the case and decide to throw the ballots out.
“There was a lot of noise made by the Trump campaign that they’re taking us to the Supreme Court,” Pennsylvania Attorney General Josh Shapiro told CNN Friday. “But you’re talking about, maybe, several thousand ballots — not tens of thousands or hundreds of thousands…It is a relatively small number.”
Allegheny County starts processing 29,000 ballots impacted by printing error
Allegheny County has started processing the 29,000 ballots impacted by a printing error that make up the bulk of the outstanding vote in Pennsylvania’s second largest county, Elections Division Manager David Voye told reporters Friday evening.
Some voters were initially sent ballots not addressed to them before receiving properly printed ballots displaying their names. Voye said the county segregated all ballots mailed by the impacted voters to ensure that none of them accidentally vote twice.
“We’re going to segregate and not count the wrong ballot and make sure we count our corrected ballot,” Voye said.
He offered no estimate on how long it would take workers to process these ballots, noting that workers had not yet opened the outer envelopes, removed the security sleeves, or scanned these ballots.
Voye added that earlier Friday, the county processed around 3,000 damaged ballots and two thirds of the ballots received from members of the military.
Of those ballots, about 4,000 went to Joe Biden and about 1,000 were for President Donald Trump — increasing Biden’s lead in the state.
Anna Orso, Oona Goodin-Smith, Lauren Schneiderman, Raishad Hardnett
Hundreds rally outside the Convention Center as former Vice President Joe Biden takes the lead in Pennsylvania.
As the sun set, the crowd at the Pennsylvania Convention Center in Philadelphia grew to more than 500 people, with about 100 pro-Trump protesters separated by metal barricades. Inside, ballot counting continues
The dance party continued, and people on the “Count Every Vote” side held signs that read “Trump must concede” and “the people have spoken.” Some shouted “thank you, ballot counters!” The pro-Trump protesters chanted “stop the steal!” and “count every legal vote.”
Pa. is just starting to count as many as 100,000 provisional ballots
Virtually all of Pennsylvania’s mail and absentee ballots have been counted, Pennsylvania’s Secretary of State said Friday, but the process of tallying as many as 100,000 provisional ballots has just begun.
The complicated administrative procedures necessary to count provisional ballots means Pennsylvania’s full election results might take a little more time to learn.
“It took our county a day and a half to do a little over 8,000 mail ballots in June,” Jeff Greenburg, regional director at the National Vote at Home Institute and a former Mercer County elections director, said, “It took us two and a half days to do 650 provisionals, because of the labor intensive work that’s required.”
Provisional ballots are cast when a voter’s eligibility is in question. If a voter requested a mail ballot but did not receive one, or lost a ballot or the envelope it needed to be enclosed in to be counted, the person could request a provisional ballot at the polls on Election Day. There were also reports of voters who were told to use a provisional ballot even if they did try to deposit intact mail ballots.
Before county workers can count provisional ballots, they have to investigate each one to ensure the person submitting it is a registered voter and eligible to vote, and didn’t vote already. That information then has to be documented in a state web portal that allows the voter to see if their vote was counted. The process must be completed within seven days of an election.
Typically, provisional ballots are counted after all other votes.
Late-arriving mail ballots are being counted but will be segregated because they are subject to a pending U.S. Supreme Court case.
Va. men arrested near convention center in Philly face weapons charges
Two Virginia men who traveled to Philadelphia to “straighten things out” as the city tallied votes are facing weapons charges.
Joshua Macias, 42, and Antonio Lamotta, 61, both of Chesapeake, Va., are charged with carrying a concealed firearm without a license, a third degree felony, and carrying a firearm on public streets or public property, a misdemeanor offense, District Attorney Larry Krasner’s office reported Friday.
Macias cofounded a veterans for Trump group, and Lamotta is a member. The Hummer the two came to Philadelphia in was decorated with a sticker from the far right conspiracy movement QAnon. They were accompanied by another woman who was not charged.
When arrested Thursday night, Lamotta had a 9mm pistol holstered on his hip, and Macias had a handgun concealed under his jacket, police have said.
Philadelphia Police learned of the two men after someone in Norfolk, Va., tipped off the FBI that armed men in a silver Hummer were heading to Philadelphia.
Investigators found an AR-style rifle in the vehicle, along with about 160 rounds of ammunition, Krasner has said.
‘I love Philadelphia': Biden supporters in western Pa. react to flip in vote tallies
Joe Biden fans in rural western Pennsylvania said Friday they were excited for what they saw as an imminent victory for the former vice president.
Louis V. Mascherma, a Latrobe resident who was in Greensburg, Westmoreland County, on Friday afternoon and was wearing a Pittsburgh Penguins hat, said his excitement over Philadelphia’s role in Biden overtaking Trump in Pennsylvania has switched his sports allegiances.
“I love Philadelphia. From now on, I’m going for every Philly team,” said Mascherma, 58, a military veteran and retired Postal Service worker. “I’m going to get rid of this Penguins hat, and I’m going to get a Philadelphia Flyers hat.”
Mascherma said he’s confident Biden will survive any legal challenges Trump attempts and believes he’ll be a better president.
“He has empathy for people, for a poor man,” he said. “He’s going to get our allies back with us again. None of those communist Russia.”
Jeannette resident Leni Kozinko, said she believed Biden’s lead was safe but wanted the race to be called as soon as possible.
“I want it done because I want to know. I have to know,” Kozinko, 63, said. “I don’t see it changing.”
Kozinko said she is a lifelong Democrat but was especially motivated to vote against Trump after two of her aunts died of COVID-19.
“He did nothing about the coronavirus,” she said. “He’s in denial.”
Although Trump this year managed to turn out even more voters in the formerly Democratic rural Pennsylvania areas that delivered him the state in 2016, Democrats in places like Westmoreland County also showed up in greater numbers and into the president’s gains.
“It seems like there was a lot more Trump signs out than Biden signs, but my point of view was everyone that didn’t have a sign was a Biden supporter,” said Joe Brahosky, a Greensburg resident.
A retired union construction worker, Brahosky said he didn’t understand why so many in the region had turned to the Republican Party over the years given the GOP’s antagonism to organized labor.
“It beats me because I don’t know why any people would vote for someone who wants to take away our pensions and stuff,” Brahosky, 65, said while seated on his Harley Davidson in downtown Greensburg.
Pa. GOP again urges U.S. Supreme Court to toss late-arriving mail ballots
As Joe Biden’s lead over President Donald Trump in Pennsylvania grew Friday afternoon, state Republicans returned to the U.S. Supreme Court urging it overturn the state’s three-day grace period for late-arriving mail ballots and order, in the meantime, that none of those votes be added to the count.
The justices had declined an earlier push seeking their intervention before Election Day, but noted at the time that they might be open to considering the issue down the road.
The extension was authorized by Pennsylvania’s highest court in mid-September in a ruling that allowed counties to count ballots received up until 5 p.m. Friday — as long as they had been postmarked by Election Day.
Secretary of State Kathy Boockvar has advised counties to segregate — but still count — any mail ballots that came in after Nov. 3 so that if the U.S. Supreme Court were to take up the case they could be easily isolated.
But in its filing Friday, the Pennsylvania GOP argued it was unclear whether counties were following Boockvar’s instructions and insisted the ballots shouldn’t be added to any tally until the Supreme Court determined their validity.
“Given the results of the Nov. 3, 2020 general election, the vote in Pennsylvania may well determine the next President of the United States — and it is currently unclear whether all 67 county boards of elections are segregating late-arriving ballots,” the party’s lawyers wrote.
Trump has also urged the justices to intervene in the case — part of an overall bombardment of legal action seeking to cast doubt on the integrity of Pennsylvania’s vote.
But even if the Supreme Court were to take up the case, overturn the extended deadline and order votes that arrived between Election Day and Friday thrown out, the number of late-arriving votes has not been overwhelming so far.
Statewide, “it’s not a huge number,” Boockvar told CNN on Thursday, noting that some smaller counties had received none. Even in the state’s largest counties, she said, the numbers hovered at around 500 at most as of midday Thursday.
“Unless it’s super close, I don’t see this making or breaking this one way or the other,” Boockvar said. “But in the meantime, we’re going to be counting every ballot.”
Montco, Bucks offer updates on remaining outstanding ballots
The majority of Montgomery County ballots not yet counted are provisional ballots cast on Election Day, officials said Friday afternoon.
Those ballots total 6,200, according to county spokesperson Kelly Cofrancisco, and are mostly from voters who applied for mail ballots but cast provisional ballots because they were not sure if the county had received their mail vote. The county will check those votes and not count them if the voters' mail ballots were received.
“We are in the process of reconciling these ballots and making determinations as to whether they will be counted,” Cofrancisco said.
The county also has 1,005 ballots that officials received after 8 p.m. Tuesday. Although the Pennsylvania Supreme Court ruled that ballots received by 5 p.m. Friday can be counted, state officials have asked counties to segregate those ballots while a challenge to that ruling is pending before the U.S. Supreme Court.
Montgomery County also has about 2,700 military and overseas ballots, and can continue to receive more through Tuesday.
In Bucks County, officials released a statement Friday defending the vote-counting process. In a joint statement, the county commissioners said that attacks on the integrity of the election undermine the hard work of Bucks County employees and residents.
“They are men and women of all backgrounds, ages and party affiliations. They include newly hired employees and others who have worked for decades for Bucks County. The respect they deserve, and the debt of gratitude we own them, is beyond measure,” the statement said.
Bucks County had more than 4,000 mail ballots left to count as of Friday afternoon, according to state data.
No evidence two men arrested outside Convention Center are members of an extremist group, Krasner says
District Attorney Larry Krasner said he does not have evidence at this time that the two men who are expected to face firearms charges for carrying guns without proper permits outside the Convention Center, where ballots were being counted for the presidential election, are known members of an extremist group.
At this time we do not have indications that the story is bigger than these two individuals," Krasner said at a news conference Friday. He cautioned that this could be “a situation that may turn out to be nothing more than two people deciding to come to Philadelphia at a particular time for a somewhat unknown purpose.”
Philadelphia police arrested the two men last night after being notified people were on their way from Virginia to Philadelphia in silver Hummer with weapons and ammunition.
The back of the Hummer, which the men confirmed was theirs, had 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 Inquirer previously reported. Inside, Krasner said officers found an AR-style rifle with no serial number, and about 160 rounds of ammunition. That ammunition was loaded in the weapons, and in the car.
The two men, both residents of Chesapeake, Va., each also had a handgun, said Police Commissioner Danielle Outlaw. The names of the two men, 42 and 61-years-old, will not be released until charges are announced, officials said.
Police also reported seeing a third individual, a woman who seemed to be traveling with the pair, but has not been arrested.
Krasner said he expects to charge the men with illegal possession of firearms, but that there may be more charges, including possible criminal offenses under the election code. He stressed this is still an active investigation. Krasner noted that there was “no significant presence” of hate groups, white supremacists, or neo-Nazis yesterday and that the interactions he saw outside the Convention Center were “vocal,” but “did not appear to be violent.”
The preliminary arraignments for the men are expected either late Friday or early Saturday, Krasner said.
Philly police are investigating a bomb threat near the site of presidential vote counting
Police said they didn’t find any explosive devices at the Fashion District of Philadelphia in Center City, which was evacuated following a bomb threat Friday afternoon.
Police said mall security received two calls Friday from a person who said “a bomb was going to go off in the Fashion District.” Police and security officers began forcing people to evacuate as K9 officers responded.
The mall spans several blocks near the Convention Center, where election officials were still tallying votes Friday as demonstrators gathered on the street outside.
Republican leaders in Pa. continue to criticize handling of the election
While acknowledging they were not aware of any voter fraud, Pennsylvania’s Republican legislative leaders continued Friday to criticize the secretary of state’s handling of the election, saying legal challenges by the president’s campaign or others should be allowed to play out.
“We’re just very disappointed that we’re here in a very tight election with all these issues at play,” said Senate Majority Leader Jake Corman (R., Centre), joined by House Speaker Bryan Cutler (R., Lancaster). “There is this cloud over Pennsylvania, which we did not want.”
Corman did not fault Trump for “conspiracies” he said were circulating online about the election results, despite the president’s insinuations of fraud by a “corrupt Democrat machine.” He also did not address the refusal by the state’s GOP leaders to allow early counting of mail ballots, which counties were not permitted to begin tallying until Election Day, resulting in a slower timeframe for reaching a result.
Instead, he continued to blame Secretary of State Kathy Boockvar, whose resignation Corman called for on Tuesday. Republicans have targeted Boockvar over guidance she issued over how ballots should be processed, including instructions that counties could allow voters to correct deficient ballots.
Asked what role the Pennsylvania legislature would play in awarding electors, Corman — who previously suggested lawmakers could step in if there wasn’t a clean count of the popular vote — said that after the secretary of state certifies a winner, each party would have a chance to challenge the result. Then the governor will appoint electors submitted by the winning party, he said.
“That’s how I understand the law,” he said. “We will follow the law.”
Shapiro reelected as Pennsylvania attorney general
Democrat Josh Shapiro has won a second term as Pennsylvania’s attorney general, the top-ranking law enforcement position in the state.
Shapiro beat back a challenge from Republican Heather Heidelbaugh, a lawyer from Pittsburgh.
Shapiro is a former state lawmaker and Montgomery County commissioner. During his first term in office, he released a grand jury report into decades of child molestation by priests in the state’s Roman Catholic parishes.
Shapiro is widely viewed as a likely candidate for governor in two years.
An American tradition — accepting election results — in jeopardy
No matter how close the vote or contested the race, Americans traditionally have accepted the results of presidential elections.
“It’s unusual, globally,” said David Barker, director of the Center for Congressional and Presidential Studies at American University.
That tradition, however, could be in trouble this time around.
“I think this is the first time that this is going to be pushed to the limit,” he said.
“This might be the biggest mess in a presidential election,” said David Barrett, political science professor at Villanova University. “This is new.”
“Throughout most of American history, presidential elections tended not to be very close,” Barker said. “We’re in this aberrant period where the parties are really equal in terms of their power.”
The 2000 election between Republican George W. Bush and Democratic Vice President Al Gore wasn’t resolved until over a month after election Day. The outcome of the 2004 race between then President Bush and John Kerry wasn’t evident until the day after Election Day, and, in 2016, Republican Donald Trump won even though he lost the popular vote to Democrat Hillary Clinton. She did not contest the result.
In 2020, “the difference is that the GOP is actively encouraging people on their side not to accept it,” said Barker. The upshot is that many Trump supporters are likely to hold fast to his allegations of fraud.
Conversely, Biden supporters aren’t likely to take a Trump victory with equanimity.
“At some point the anger and frustration is going to boil over on the left,” Barker said, noting that Democratic presidential nominees have consistently outperformed their rivals in the actual voting. George H.W. Bush, in 1988, and his son George W., were the only two Republicans to win the popular vote in the last 32 years.
Ordinarily voters transition rather quickly from thoughts of politics to Thanksgiving and the holidays, said Barrett. “Most Americans are not political junkies,” he said. “In the past they just moved on with their lives.”
That might not be the case this time, Barker said: “There’s a real possibility that half the country refuses to accept this.”
Judge orders Pa. counties to keep some provisional ballots separate
A state appellate court judge on Friday ordered the segregation of all provisional ballots cast at the polls on Election Day by Pennsylvania voters who had submitted mail ballots that were rejected for deficiencies like missing signatures or secrecy envelopes.
The ruling, from Commonwealth Court Judge P. Kevin Brobson in Harrisburg, came after a hearing in which lawyers for two Republican congressional candidates and several GOP voters sued alleging some of those votes may have been illegally cast.
The ruling instructed Pennsylvania’s 67 counties to keep a separate tally of those votes as they continued their count, pending a further decision in the case.
At issue was a practice by several Pennsylvania counties, including Montgomery and Bucks, that alerted voters who had submitted flawed mail ballots that their votes were in danger of being thrown out.
Many of those counties offered voters the chance to correct the mistakes or to cast a provisional ballot at the polls on Election Day. Other counties released lists of those voters to the two political parties which may have alerted voters themselves.
Republican lawyers argued that guidance from Secretary of State Kathy Boockvar encouraging such activity violated the state’s election laws and they noted that not all counties had notified voters with problematic ballots.
Boockvar and the counties maintain that not only was this practice legal but it has been carried out with mail ballot voters in several past elections.
Kenney urges Trump to ‘put his big boy pants on’ and accept election results
At the current rate election results are coming, Mayor Jim Kenney said he believes former Vice President Joe Biden will be elected president of the United States.
“What the president needs to do is frankly put his big boy pants on, he needs to acknowledge the fact that he lost and he needs to congratulate the winner,” Kenney said. “Stop this, and let us move forward as a country.”
“I think what the President needs to do is to frankly put his big boy pants on. He needs to acknowledge the fact that he lost and he needs to congratulate the winner” pic.twitter.com/nMqHnaYcKW
Kenney also addressed President Donald Trump’s false claims of voter fraud in Philadelphia.
“While some including the president continue to spew baseless claims of fraud claims, for which his team has not produced one iota of evidence,” Kenney said, “What we’ve seen here in Philadelphia is democracy pure and simple.”
About 50 supporters of the Republican president gathered outside the Convention Center this week in a “stop the vote” protest, but about 400 supporters of Democratic presidential nominee Joe Biden rallied on the other side to support counting all votes — and the pro-Biden side soon turned into a dance party.
“What we’ve seen on the streets outside of this convention center was not anger or contention, but music dancing and celebration,” Kenney said. “As we predicted the voters and residents of Philadelphia ensures that our city shined as an example of how to run an election correctly.”
Trump’s Wisconsin campaign denies urging Pennsylvania supporters to mail late ballots
Were Wisconsin Republicans urging Trump supporters in Pennsylvania to mail in late ballots — even as the president levied baseless accusations of election fraud against the state’s Democrats?
According to the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel, Trump’s campaign in Wisconsin sent an email at 5:19 p.m. Thursday, “urgently” seeking volunteers to “make phone calls to Pennsylvania Trump supporters to return their absentee ballots.”
“These phone calls will help President Trump win the election!” according to the email, a screenshot of which was posted by the Journal Sentinel. The email listed two contacts, whom the newspaper identified as staffers for the Republican Party of Wisconsin.
A spokesperson for the Wisconsin GOP directed questions Friday to Trump’s Wisconsin campaign, which said it has been calling Pennsylvania voters to ask whether they had returned their absentee ballots, and if so, when.
“Unfortunately, some clickbait headlines have misled many. Trump Victory continues to fight for election integrity at every level as we ensure that every legal vote for President Trump and other Republicans is counted fairly and accurately as required by law,” said spokesperson Anna Kelly. “The e-mail in question was sent by an unaffiliated local group and any related social media posts have been taken down.”
While the Pennsylvania Supreme Court has said ballots received through 5 p.m. Friday can be counted, ballots must be postmarked by Election Day, or have no or illegible postmarks. The ruling did not apply to ballots postmarked after Election Day.
Trump’s campaign has asked the U.S. Supreme Court to overturn the ruling allowing late-arriving ballots to be counted.
About 40,000 ballots remain to be counted in Philly, election officials say
City Commissioner Lisa Deeley gives update on ballot count in Philadelphia on Friday, November 6, 2020.
It may take several days to finish counting upwards of 40,000 more ballots in Philadelphia, said City Commissioner Lisa Deeley.
During a Friday afternoon press conference, Deeley said about 2,000 to 3,000 ballots will be counted and updated later this afternoon.
After that, the remaining ballots fall into one of three categories: those that require review, provisional ballots, and U.S. military overseas ballots.
Deeley did not provide an estimate on how many ballots arrived after 8 p.m. on Election Day. They are not included in that 40,000 ballots remaining estimate, and have been segregated, following state guidance, Deeley said.
“This is by far the largest number of mail-in ballots in the city’s history,” Deeley said.
So far, they have counted 690,360 votes, of that 337,609 ballots by mail and 353,021 cast at a polling place.
“We’ll be done when we get done,” Deeley said. “We’ll continue to do, as we have been doing, ensuring that the ballots that we have are counted as quickly and as accurately as possible.”
Trump is doing better in Philly than four years ago
In this divided country, half of the internet fell in love with Philly Friday morning.
The city’s latest release of mail ballot tallies, made public just before 9 a.m., gave former Vice President Joe Biden his first, narrow lead over President Donald Trump in Pennsylvania, which has emerged as the predicted keystone swing-state.
Biden fans rejoiced with quick takes and triumphant memes about the City of Brotherly Love, while Trump supporters continued to grouse about unsubstantiated claims of fraud.
Trump is doing better in Philadelphia than four years ago, when he won 108,748 votes to Hillary Clinton’s 584,025 votes. Trump won two of the city’s 66 wards that year, the 26th Ward in South Philly and the 66th Ward in Northeast Philly.
While 2020 ballots are still being counted in Philadelphia, Trump has already logged 125,513 votes, compared to Biden’s 553,953 (as of 8:49 a.m. Friday.) Trump appears to be holding on to the 26th and 66th wards, and may add Northeast Philly’s 58th Ward as a win.
If that happens, expect blame to be cast on Democratic mixed-messaging during the campaign on issues like the economy and police funding, factors in play in South and Northeast Philly. Democrats in the U.S. House are already at odds over this, according to reports on raucous caucus meeting Thursday.
But even as a Republican, the always-conservative Van Drew managed to renew ties in Atlantic City he’d built up as a Democrat and get the support of area Republicans, in a district that voted for Trump in 2016. He also enlisted the services of Craig Callaway, a controversial Atlantic City Democratic operative and vote-by-mail organizer who had supported Kennedy in the primary.
Hundreds gather to push for Philly to ‘count every vote’
A mere 14 hours after a block party on 12th and Arch streets where votes were being counted dissipated Thursday night, it was up again Friday morning with hundreds gathered in the street.
About 30 people holding Trump 2020 signs stood near the Convention Center chanting, and they were separated by a line of police with bicycles from at least 200 people who gathered for a “Count Every Vote” block party organized by progressive groups in the city.
By 9 a.m., volunteers with the Working Families Party were handing out hundreds of yellow “Count Every Vote” sweatshirts and the anti-Trump group Refuse Fascism was chanting “the coup is underway.”
Here’s the pro-Trump side this morning, they’ve got signs that say “Bad Things Happen In Philly” and “Stop The Steal.” They’re separated from the “count every vote” side by a line of bike cops pic.twitter.com/EifkaQjWA7
Clergy members from POWER Interfaith gathered for a prayer circle, some acknowledging the Trump supporters across the street chanting “stop the cheat! Joe got beat!”
“They’re yelling at us, but we’re connecting with heaven,” said Bishop Dwayne Royster, POWER interim executive director. “I think we have the advantage.”
After a handful of clergy said prayers and Rev. Nicolas O’Rourke led the crowd in song, the Rev. Mark Kelley Tyler of Philadelphia’s historic Mother Bethel AME told of his Black ancestors who did not have the right to vote. He said he was born a year after the Voting Rights Act, becoming the first member of his immediate family born with the right to vote.
“My vote counts because they had no vote,” he said. "They had no voice. They were used, but God has kept us here for such a time as this. And now the children of our ancestors are speaking in Atlanta, in Detroit, in Las Vegas, in Phoenix, and in the birthplace of democracy, Philadelphia, Pennsylvania.
“We will not be silenced!” he said to hundreds cheering and applauding, and others who were weeping. “Our vote counts!”
Emotions were high outside the Pennsylvania Convention as a crowd of mostly Biden supporters gathered again Friday as Biden took the lead in the Commonwealth and appeared on the brink of winning the presidency.
Renee Wilson, 49, a laid-off hotel worker and a “COVID survivor” from South Philadelphia, was choked up as she talked about how she was feeling.
“This is amazing,” said Renee Wilson, 49, a laid-off hotel worker and a “COVID survivor” from South Philadelphia, noting she’d already cried a few times this morning. “This is what we needed. People who talk about Philadelphia being a bad place: look at the people here.”
She said it felt especially rewarding because she was part of a voter turnout effort called UNITE HERE!, which was made up of laid-off hotel workers and talked to 30,000 Philadelphians who did not vote in 2016 but said they were going to vote for Biden this year.
Beth Hare, 61, of Bryn Mawr, came out with her dog, Riley, who was wearing a “VOTE” sweater. “He’s nonpartisan,” she said. “He’s got red and blue” in the letters of the “VOTE” message painted on his back.
As for Hare, she said she was emotional to hear of Biden’s lead.
“I think this is history in the making,” said Hare. “I feel very emotional and hopeful and optimistic. All the emotions.”
West Philly reacts to Biden taking the lead in Pennsylvania
When updated votes were released Friday morning showing that Joe Biden had taken the lead in Pennsylvania, Brooke O’Harra and Sharon Hayes couldn’t help but scream for joy.
Their 9-year-old daughter, Alice, said she was upstairs when she heard the screams, and ran down to find her moms dancing in the living room.
The family knew the occasion could not be contained to their West Philadelphia home, so they texted neighbors and friends to head outside for a celebratory dance party. They blasted Diana Ross' “I’m Coming Out” while jumping and dancing together, relishing the possibility that Pennsylvania would go blue for Biden, and send him to the White House.
It was only 9:30 a.m., but the music electrified the block at 48th and Springfield Streets. Neighbors ran out of their homes to join the fun, and passersby walking their dogs couldn’t help but dance along.
“Philadelphia just put us over and I think we are really proud of it, especially after Trump said bad things happen here,” said O’Harra, 47. She called the massive, heavily-Democratic Philadelphia voter turnout “symbolic.”
As news broke of Joe Biden taking a slight lead over President Donald Trump in Pa., residents of West Philadelphia danced in the street.
O’Harra, the neighborhood block leader, said she and Hayes had been investing about 20 hours a week into educating and registering voters, and canvassing Philly neighborhoods. Earlier this year, when the coronavirus began, they hosted weekly dance parties, then they took a break after George Floyd’s death in May to tend to the community.
“I thought, if Pennsylvania turns blue, we’ll host a dance party right when it happens,” she said.
Biden hasn’t officially won Pennsylvania yet, but the approximately 100,000 mail ballots left to count are likely to favor Democrats.
“For me, to cross this threshold and to put Biden and Harris in the White House,” said Hayes, 50, “is to relieve the pressure” for local leaders like Representative Rick Krajewski and Councilwoman Jamie Gauthier “to build what we need for our communities.”
In the hours after polls closed Tuesday, President Donald Trump had held what appeared to be a strong “lead” in the partial results. At 2 a.m. Wednesday, he had more than 701,000 more of the counted votes than Joe Biden did. Trump had won 57% of the two-party vote counted at the time, with Biden taking the other 43%. That’s a gap of 14 percentage points.
But it was always an illusion.
A significant portion of the vote had not yet been counted, and as those votes were tallied in the days following, the gap eroded, and then disappeared.
By early Friday morning, Trump was up by just 18,000 votes. When new Philadelphia numbers came in shortly before 9 a.m., they were enough to narrowly put Biden in the top spot. That made it a greater than 14-point shift from early Wednesday to Friday morning. And that could grow, with data from the Pennsylvania Department of State suggesting there are more than 100,000 mail ballots still to be counted — along with an unknown number of provisional ballots — that are also likely to favor Biden.
Pennsylvania had way more mail ballots than ever before.
Counting those mail ballots takes a long time.
Democrats were much more likely to vote by mail than Republicans were.
Taken together, those facts meant the results released Tuesday skewed heavily in Trump’s favor because they were made up primarily of in-person results. As the mail ballots were counted, heavily favoring Biden, they shifted the numbers.
Georgia secretary of state says there will be a recount of the presidential race
Georgia state officials said Friday the state is headed to a recount for the presidential election as counties wrapped up counting the remainder of their absentee ballots.
“Right now, Georgia remains too close to call. Out of approximately 5 million votes cast, we’ll have a margin of a few thousand,” Secretary of State Brad Raffensperger said. “The focus for our office and for the county election officials, for now, remains on making sure that every legal vote is counted and recorded accurately. As we are closing in on a final count, we can begin to look toward our next steps. With a margin that small, there will be a recount in Georgia.”
Biden’s lead was within the vote margin that would allow a candidate to request a recount under Georgia law. A formal recount challenge probably will not be made until later in November. Under state law, candidates can request a recount if the margin is 0.5 percent or below, and they must do so within two business days of the statewide certification of results, set to take place by Nov. 20.
Gabriel Sterling, the state’s voter information system manager, said in a briefing on Thursday that a statewide recount would take about a week, and it would be unlikely to change the outcome of the race.
Biden overtook Trump in Georgia on Friday morning as the state’s Democratic-leaning counties wrapped up counting the remainder of their absentee ballots. Biden gained a lead after closing in on the vote gap since Tuesday night.
There are 8,899 requested overseas and military ballots that may arrive by the deadline Friday, plus provisional ballots left to count. As of Friday morning, 8,197 were still outstanding statewide.
Pennsylvania judges prepare for Republican lawsuits over the election
As a state court judge prepared to hear a challenge brought by GOP lawyers over how some Pennsylvania counties allowed voters to correct deficient mail ballots, a group of voting and civil rights group argued that the case should be rejected.
“Pennsylvanians have just voted in the midst of a pandemic, under recently amended laws expanding mail-in voting,” lawyers for the NAACP, Common Cause, League of Women Voters and the Black Empowerment Project wrote in an amicus brief. “It is both unsurprising and understandable that some voters, many voting by mail for the first time, would make honest mistakes.”
The lawyers called it “unconscionable” that the GOP wants to invalidate those votes, which they said were cast based on a good-faith interpretation of the law.
The case, being heard in Harrisburg, is one among a barrage of legal challenges brought by President’s Trump campaign in Pennsylvania as the state’s vote tally has slipped out of the president’s grasp.
On Friday morning, the campaign declared that the election was not over — and continued to claim that it had been deprived of “meaningful” access to monitor vote-counting.
The city of Philadelphia says it allowed observers to watch counting from a six-foot distance Thursday, in line with a state court ruling granting the campaign that level of access. While the campaign argued Thursday the city still wasn’t allowing enough access, a federal court judge that evening dismissed its motion to halt the city’s counting, instead telling lawyers to work out an agreement.
A state court judge on Friday morning ordered Republican lawyers and Northampton County to file briefs by 3 p.m. in the GOP’s appeal of an earlier court decision that found the county had acted properly when it released lists of voters with flawed mail ballots to representatives from both political parties. The county said it had done so to permit voters to fix mistakes before their votes were thrown out.
— Angela Couloumbis of Spotlight PA and Maddie Hanna
If the Pennsylvania race stays this close, with former Vice President Joe Biden taking a slight lead in this key battleground state, Pennsylvania Secretary of State Kathy Boockvar may need to order a recount.
Boockvar is legally required to order a recount if the winning margin of this race is 0.5% or less. Former Vice President Joe Biden is currently leading President Donald Trump in Pennsylvania by less than 7,000 votes, or 0.1%.
Boockvar would have to order this by 5 p.m. on Thursday, Nov. 12 with 24 hours notice given to each candidate. The recount would need to be completed by Nov. 24.
Voters can also trigger a recount in Pennsylvania counties, if requested by at least three voters who file affidavits alleging there was an error.
Delco officials say viral video was manipulated and taken out of context
A video circulating Friday on Twitter purports to show ballot counters in Delaware County “filling out” ballots in what some Republican pundits have called voter fraud.
But county officials said that interpretation is patently false, and uses a zoomed in snippet of the county’s livestream that strips out important context.
The counter depicted in the video snippet was being observed by poll watchers from both political parties, according to county spokeswoman Adrienne Marofsky, who added that those watchers aren’t shown in-frame because of the way the video has been manipulated.
In the video, the female ballot counter is transcribing ballots that had been damaged, and were unable to be fed into the counting machines, she said. A small number of the ballots the county received were in that condition, and had to have their information copied onto a blank ballot so the vote could be counted properly.
In a statement Thursday, the Delaware County Bureau of Elections said it had processed approximately 104,000 mail ballots as of Wednesday afternoon, with about 15,000 remaining.
Updated numbers are expected Friday afternoon, Marofsky said.
A close margin and a large number of outstanding votes are what’s making the Pennsylvania contest between President Donald Trump and Joe Biden too early to call.
The Democrat opened a lead of about 6,000 votes Friday morning over Trump, of more than 6.5 million votes cast — a lead of less than 0.1%. State law dictates that a recount must be held if the margin between the two candidates is less than 0.5%. There are tens of thousands of votes left to count.
Pennsylvania is among a handful of battleground states Trump and Biden are narrowly contesting as they seek the 270 electoral votes needed to win the presidency.
Trump, who held a 675,000-vote lead early Wednesday, prematurely declared victory in the state. The late counted ballots were overwhelmingly in Biden’s favor.
One reason the race tightened: Under state law, elections officials are not allowed to process mail ballots until Election Day. It’s a form of voting that has skewed heavily in Biden’s favor after Trump spent months claiming — without proof — that voting by mail would lead to widespread voter fraud.
There’s a possibility the race won’t be decided for days. If there is less than a half percentage point difference between Biden and Trump’s vote total, state law dictates that a recount must be held.
About 36,000 mail ballots left to count in Allegheny County
In western Pennsylvania’s Allegheny County, there are roughly 36,000 mail ballots left to count, a little more than 10 percent of the mail ballots the state’s second largest county received.
A review board is being sworn in this morning to consider 7,000 ballots with problems like missing signatures, incomplete declarations or torn security sleeves. The remaining 29,000 ballots were impacted by a mailing error and may not be reviewed, processed or counted until after 5p.m. today.
So far, Biden has captured 81 percent of the mail ballots cast in Allegheny County. President Donald Trump has won 59 percent of the votes cast across the county on Election Day.
Republican DeFoor wins Pa. auditor general race, defeating Democrat Ahmad
Republican Timothy L. DeFoor, a county controller in central Pennsylvania, has been declared the winner in the race for auditor general, defeating Democrat Nina Ahmad, a former deputy Philadelphia mayor.
DeFoor is Black and Ahmad was born in Bangladesh, so in January the state’s first elected “row officer” of color will begin work.
DeFoor, 58, the elected controller in Dauphin County, which includes Harrisburg, touts his experience as making him uniquely qualified for the office. He has spent three decades conducting governmental audits and fraud investigations for the state inspector general, the state attorney general and a large hospital system.
Toomey says Trump’s claims of large-scale fraud ‘are just not substantiated’
There is no evidence of widespread fraud in the election results, Republican Pennsylvania Sen. Pat Toomey said on Friday morning.
During an interview on NBC’s Today show, Toomey pushed back on outlandish remarks made by President Donald Trump, who has repeated baseless allegations of election fraud and falsely claimed he had already won the election at a White House news briefing Thursday night.
“The president’s allegations of large-scale fraud and theft of the election are just not substantiated. I’m not aware of any significant wrongdoing here,” Toomey said.
“This is the sort of thing you wish wouldn’t happen,” Toomey added. “But is there any evidence that I’m aware of that there is significant, large-scale fraud or malfeasance in Pennsylvania? Absolutely not.”
“The president’s allegations of large-scale fraud and theft of the election are just not substantiated. I’m not aware of any significant wrongdoing here.” -@SenToomeypic.twitter.com/QOXCn6PFpM
More vote counts expected from Philadelphia Friday morning
More vote counts from Philadelphia are expected within the next hour, Philadelphia City Commissioner Al Schmidt said Friday morning.
“We have been counting for the past several hours. And I expect you’ll see another update in the next hour or two,” Philadelphia City Commissioner Al Schmidt told CNN during the 6 a.m. hour.
Philadelphia City Commissioner Al Schmidt says that there are about 50,000 ballots yet to be counted. “We have been counting for the past several hours. And I expect you'll see another update in the next hour or two.” https://t.co/YgYvFceoZ1pic.twitter.com/CWlGpU6Raf
Georgia: Biden took the lead over Trump early Friday morning, and is now ahead by about 1,100 votes. About 10,000 mail ballots remain to be counted, mostly in Gwinnett County, a suburb of Atlanta, according to the Atlanta Journal Constitution.
Arizona: Trump has narrowed Biden’s lead to 47,000 votes, with at least 293,000 ballots remaining to count across the state. No new numbers are expected until 11 a.m. Eastern, when Maricopa County — the home of Phoenix and the state’s largest county — will update their election results.
Nevada: Biden continues to narrowly lead Trump by about 11,500 votes, with updated numbers expected around noon Eastern. At least 190,000 mail ballots remain to be counted, most from Clark County, the home of Las Vegas, according to the secretary of state.
Philly’s counting of mail ballots has been slowed by a Trump legal challenge
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.
Within hours of the order, the city appealed the ruling to the state’s top court, which has yet to decide whether it will resolve the matter. The counting of votes continues around the clock, but it will go slower unless that appeal is granted, said city commissioner Al Schmidt, one of Philadelphia’s three top elections officials.
“If we win the appeal, we can go full-tilt again,” Schmidt, the lone Republican on the elections board, said in an interview Thursday night.
With Biden seemingly closing in on victory, Trump steps up Pa. legal fights to challenge vote
With the White House on the line and Pennsylvania and its largest city in the spotlight, President Donald Trump escalated his legal fights over the state’s vote count Thursday, sending demonstrators from both sides of the political divide out onto city streets.
Amid a whirlwind of new lawsuits, the president’s campaign scored an early victory in court that briefly disrupted the tallying of ballots in Philadelphia and slowed it down even after the counting resumed.
But resume it did, and city elections officials continued their periodic updates to their published vote totals, with the number of outstanding mail ballots slowly but surely dropping from more than 120,000 Thursday morning to less than 50,000 by 10 p.m.
Police detain men after tip about vehicle with armed group heading to convention center
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.
Pennsylvania mail ballots are on the cusp of pushing Biden past Trump — and to the White House
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.
Biden had other paths to victory Thursday night even without Pennsylvania, as he was holding on to an advantage in Nevada and was also close to erasing Trump’s lead in Georgia. But with the race in Georgia in a dead heat even after almost all votes had been counted, the days-long wait for political resolution looked likely to be decided once and for all by Pennsylvania.
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.
“We continue to feel very good about where things stand,” Biden said in remarks from Wilmington late in the afternoon. “We have no doubt that when the count is finished, Senator Harris and I will be declared winners.”
Trump, meanwhile, falsely claimed he had already won at a White House news briefing where he took no questions but repeated the false allegations of election fraud he and his supporters have leveled since Tuesday night. “It’s really destroyed our system,” he said of the prevalence of mail voting in the election. “It’s a corrupt system.”