Countdown to the midterms: 1 day out

By Meg Wagner, Veronica Rocha, Brian Ries, Jessie Yeung and Sophie Tatum, CNN

Updated 1:26 p.m. ET, November 6, 2018
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9:24 p.m. ET, November 1, 2018

A judge rules that Georgia officials can't reject absentee ballots over mismatched signatures

From CNN’s Curt Devine

A federal judge knocked down a motion from Georgia's Republican gubernatorial nominee Brian Kemp against a previous temporary restraining order that changes the way election officials handle absentee ballots in the state.

US District Court Judge Leigh Martin May rejected Kemp’s arguments point by point and concluded the "injunction ensures that absentee voters who are unable to vote in person and whose applications or ballots are rejected based on a signature mismatch will still have the opportunity to have their votes counted in the upcoming election.”

Kemp, Georgia's secretary of state, also filed an emergency motion Tuesday with the 11th Circuit Court of Appeals. He argued, “the district court issued a preliminary injunction that requires 159 Georgia counties to make immediate, significant changes to those longstanding procedures right in the middle of an ongoing statewide general election,” which he said threatens to “disrupt the orderly administration of elections.”

Last week, May, the judge, ordered that Georgia election officials stop rejecting absentee ballots with voters' signatures that do not appear to match those on record.

Why this matters: Kemp is the Republican running for governor against Democratic former state Rep. Stacey Abrams. In a recent debate, Abrams accused Kemp, who has been the secretary of state for eight years, of creating “an atmosphere of fear around the right to vote in the state of Georgia.”

In total, election officials in Georgia have rejected 157 absentee ballots for signature mismatch issues, according to state data analyzed by CNN last Wednesday. More than 881,000 absentee ballots have been cast.

Gwinnett County has also faced criticism from voting rights activists who say the rejections disproportionately affect minority voters. The county has rejected more than 600 absentee ballots as of last Wednesday, though only a small fraction of those were tossed for signature mismatches. Others were rejected for missing birthdates, address discrepancies and other reasons.

1:50 p.m. ET, October 31, 2018

Why Oprah is hitting the campaign trail tomorrow

From CNN's Evan Semones

Media icon Oprah Winfrey will hit the campaign trail this week for Georgia Democratic gubernatorial candidate Stacey Abrams.

Winfrey will participate in two town hall events with Abrams -- one in Marietta and one in Decatur -- on Thursday to aide her campaign in what has become a highly competitive, closely watched race.

"Oprah Winfrey has inspired so many of us through the years with her unparalleled ability to form real connections and strengthen the bonds of family and community," Abrams said in a statement Wednesday. "I am honored to have Oprah join me for uplifting and honest conversations with voters about the clear choice before us in this election and the boundless potential of Georgians."
1:12 p.m. ET, October 31, 2018

GOP campaigns asked Trump to steer clear of Nevada and Arizona

From CNN's Jeff Zeleny

President Trump speaks at a campaign rally Friday, Oct. 19, 2018, in Mesa, Arizona.
President Trump speaks at a campaign rally Friday, Oct. 19, 2018, in Mesa, Arizona. (AP Photo/Matt York)

As President Trump kicks off an 11-rally tour in the final six days of the midterm election campaign, he is focused on expanding Republican control of the Senate — without jeopardizing it.

He will pay two visits to Florida, Missouri and Indiana, all home of key Senate races, in addition to stops in Montana, West Virginia and Tennessee. (He also visits Ohio and Georgia.)

But two states noticeably absent from his itinerary: Arizona and Nevada, which are among the most competitive races and the best chance for Democrats to pick up GOP-held Senate seats (as our new CNN polls today illustrate).

Here's why: Two Republican officials involved in shaping the President's political travel tell CNN that Republicans in both Arizona and Nevada asked the White House to steer clear of those states in his final swing. Both states were on an early list of places Trump hoped to hit, officials say, but were taken off the final schedule because a presidential visit wasn't seen as helpful to Rep. Martha McSally in Arizona and Sen. Dean Heller in Nevada. 

"He's been very helpful rallying his base, but he's not helpful there now," one Republican official directly involved in the races said. "We asked him to go elsewhere."

The President visited Arizona and Nevada earlier this month. But in the final stretch, he is largely focusing on Trump-friendly red states, rather than battlegrounds like Nevada and Arizona.

Trump's closing message on immigration — particularly his call to end birthright citizenship — is seen by Republicans in both states as detrimental to their message, officials said, with the prospect of rallying Independents and Democrats.

Watch more:

12:06 p.m. ET, October 31, 2018

These are the seats that are up for election on Tuesday

Election Day is less than one week away, and voters will cast their ballots in a slew of races.

Here's which seats are up:

  • All 435 seats in the House of Representatives
  • Thirty-five seats in the 100-member Senate
  • Governorships in 36 states

Here's what that breakdown looks like:

11:41 a.m. ET, October 31, 2018

So far, more women have voted than men

From CNN's Aaron Kessler and Annie Grayer

With exactly one week until Election Day, at least 20 million people across the country have already cast their ballots for the midterms as of Wednesday morning.

CNN is partnering with Catalist, a data company that works with Democrats and others, to compile counts of ballots cast before Election Day, either early in-person or by mail.

Votes coming in from seven critical states show that more women than men have voted.

The early vote is also predominantly older in the seven states — although a higher percentage of early voters are often older.

11:21 a.m. ET, October 31, 2018

Election Day is on a Tuesday. Here's why.

From CNN's Holly Yan

Voting booths are setup at the Yuengling center on the campus of University of South Florida as workers prepare to open the doors to early voters on Oct. 22.
Voting booths are setup at the Yuengling center on the campus of University of South Florida as workers prepare to open the doors to early voters on Oct. 22. Joe Raedle/Getty Images

Why are federal elections always in November, and always on Tuesdays? It all comes down to weather, harvests and worship.

Back when voters traveled to the polls by horse, Tuesday was an ideal day because it allows people to worship on Sunday, ride to their county seat on Monday and vote on Tuesday — all before market day, Wednesday.

And the month of November fit nicely between harvest time and brutal winter weather (which can be especially bad when you're trudging along by horse and buggy).

The tradition stuck, even though many voters now travel by horsepower instead of live horses.

10:46 a.m. ET, October 31, 2018

3 ways Tuesday's midterms could play out

From CNN's Doug Criss

This election is essentially a referendum on President Trump.

Depending on what voters decide to do with Congress, Trump may approach the last two years of his current term with the wind at his back or headwinds to his face.

So what happens if ...

  • The Republicans win the House and Senate? Trump would be emboldened. He would say, once again, that he and his party proved the pollsters wrong. The threat of new House or Senate investigations into members of his administration would be greatly reduced. Trump and his party would push hard for more items on their wish list: Money for the border wall; completely dismantling Obamacare and perhaps a second tax cut. And a GOP-controlled Senate would confirm more conservative judges to the federal bench — which may end up being Trump's biggest legacy.
  • The Democrats win the House and Senate? This would be the nightmare scenario for Trump. The Democrats would take full advantage of the "checks and balances" of the Constitution. A Democratic Senate might force Trump to nominate more middle-of-the-road judges, and his "Make America Great Again" agenda would be dead in the water in the House.
  • The Democrats win the House and the Republicans keep the Senate? This legislative mix is considered the most likely result of the midterms. But there are still areas where the two sides could get things done together. A lot of House Democrats represent districts that are close to Trump's position on trade, so some political deals could get done there.

10:11 a.m. ET, October 31, 2018

More than 20 million votes have been cast so far

From CNN's Aaron Kessler and Annie Grayer

A voter exits a polling place during early voting at the Bordeaux Branch of the Nashville Public Library on Tuesday.
A voter exits a polling place during early voting at the Bordeaux Branch of the Nashville Public Library on Tuesday. Photo by Drew Angerer/Getty Images

As of today, at least 20,067,826 votes have been cast early or by mail nationwide, according to data collected by Catalist.

CNN is partnering with Catalist, a data company that works with Democrats and others, to compile counts of ballots cast before Election Day, either early in-person or by-mail.

So what does that mean? Read up on what early voting numbers do — and don't — tell us here.

12:19 p.m. ET, October 31, 2018

President Trump is holding 11 rallies in 6 days

From CNN's Betsy Klein

President Trump is holding 11 rallies across eight states in the final days before the midterm election, the White House said. 

The President wanted to commit to an “unprecedented amount of political travel” and “eclipse his predecessors,” according to person familiar with his thinking.

Here's where Trump is rallying:

  • Tonight: Fort Myers, Florida
  • Tomorrow: Columbia, Missouri
  • Friday: Huntington, West Virginia; and Indianapolis, Indiana
  • Saturday: Bozeman, Montana; and Pensacola, Florida
  • Sunday: Macon, Georgia; and Chattanooga, Tennessee
  • Monday: Cleveland, Ohio; Fort Wayne, Indiana; and Cape Girardeau, Missouri