The latest on the 2020 election

By Meg Wagner, Mike Hayes and Melissa Macaya, CNN

Updated 10:05 PM ET, Wed September 30, 2020
38 Posts
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7:48 p.m. ET, September 30, 2020

Biden greets supporters and criticizes Trump's debate performance on train tour

From CNN's Eric Bradner

Joe Biden and wife Dr. Jill Biden listen to supporters on a train campaign tour Wednesday, September 30, in Alliance, Ohio.
Joe Biden and wife Dr. Jill Biden listen to supporters on a train campaign tour Wednesday, September 30, in Alliance, Ohio. Alex Wong/Getty Images

Joe Biden saw some of his biggest crowds of the 2020 campaign today during an all-day train tour across eastern Ohio and western Pennsylvania.

In between eight stops, the former vice president and his wife Jill Biden sat in a nine-car Amtrak train his campaign chartered and spoke with supporters he had picked up along the way.

Biden also criticized President Trump's bombastic performance in their debate Tuesday night.

"What I saw last night was all about him. He didn't speak to you or your concerns or even the American people once," he said in Alliance, Ohio, where hundreds of supporters and pro-Trump protesters lined the train tracks.

In Pennsylvania, he greeted hundreds of people who lined the streets in Greensburg. He FaceTimed the widow of television's Mr. Rogers in Latrobe. He picked up an endorsement in New Alexandria from the International Union of Operating Engineers and toured its training school.

Some history: The trip harkened back to the daily Amtrak trips that are a foundational part of Biden's political identity.

After his wife and daughter were killed in a 1972 car crash, Biden made the 250-mile round trip between Wilmington, Delaware — where the Amtrak station is now named after him — and Washington, DC, daily, to tuck his two young sons in at night.

Biden has assailed Trump on class-based and economic terms, casting the 2020 race as pitting Scranton, his boyhood home in Pennsylvania, against Park Avenue in New York City, as he accused Trump of being out of touch with working-class Americans' economic concerns and focused only on the stock market and the interests of his wealthy friends.

"As soon as he got elected and inaugurated, he forgot the forgotten man," Biden said of Trump in Pittsburgh. "I don’t think he ever respected us in the first place."

7:19 p.m. ET, September 30, 2020

New York Board of Elections finalizes plan to fix ballot envelope error 

From CNN's Paul Murphy

The city of New York Board of Elections has finalized a plan to resend almost 100,000 new ballots to voters after a vendor printing error.

New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo previously objected resending new ballots and recommended only sending new envelopes.

Voters in New York's borough of Brooklyn should expect to begin receiving replacement ballots the week of Oct. 9, the board said in a news release. 

"Upon receipt of the second ballot package, voters will be instructed to destroy the contents of the previous absentee ballot package and use the corrected materials included in this mailing," the board said. "Affected voters who have returned their absentee ballot, will be instructed to fill out the replacement ballot and send it back in the provided envelope as soon as possible."

Earlier on Wednesday morning, Cuomo's office had interjected in the board's attempt to correct the error.   

“We don’t control the Board of Elections but our recommendation was that sending corrected envelopes will ensure that any person that got an erroneous envelope can still vote,” Cuomo senior adviser Rich Azzopardi told CNN in a statement. "There is nothing wrong with the actual ballots and sending 100,000 duplicate ballots seems to be an overcorrection.”

Reiterating the promises it made in an executive meeting on Tuesday, the board also said it would "ensure that the second ballot will be the only one that is counted."

5:46 p.m. ET, September 30, 2020

Federal judge dismisses Trump effort to stop mail-in voting in Montana

From CNN’s Andy Rose

A federal judge dismissed the Trump campaign’s effort to prevent Montana from allowing counties to issue mail ballots in the November election.

Judge Dana Christensen’s decision Wednesday is a victory for Gov. Steve Bullock, who is also running for US Senate.

“Central to some of the Plaintiffs’ claims is the contention that the upcoming election, both nationally and in Montana, will fall prey to widespread voter fraud,” wrote Christensen. “The evidence suggests, however, that this allegation, specifically in Montana, is a fiction.”

The judge wrote that the "plaintiffs have not introduced even an ounce of evidence supporting the assertion that Montana’s use of mail ballots will inundate the election with fraud,” and argued that stopping the mail-in ballots “would have profound, and most likely catastrophic consequences on the administration of Montana’s general election.”

An expert presented by the state said there is no evidence of even a single case of deliberate voter fraud in Montana in the past eight years.

The lawsuit was filed by the Trump campaign and Republican National Committee and joined by the Republican leaders in the Montana House and Senate. It argued that the mail-in ballots for voters who were not absentees amounted to changing election law without the consent of the legislature.

Montana Republican Party Executive Director Spenser Merwin said in a statement, “The state legislature has the sole authority to determine the time, place and manner of elections. Yet Governor Steve Bulock – the very person who the most to hain as a candidate on the ballot this November – unilaterally rewrote election laws in a broader effort to benefit his U.S. Senate campaign.”

Bullock said in a statement that he was pleased with the decision, adding that it "will enable hundreds of thousands of Montanans to vote safely – in person or by mail – this coming election."

"Montanans can rest assured that our local election administrators will preserve the security and integrity of the election process," the governor said in the statement.
5:42 p.m. ET, September 30, 2020

Biden raised nearly $10 million last night

From CNN's Arlette Saenz

Scott Olson/Getty Images
Scott Olson/Getty Images

Joe Biden’s campaign raised nearly $10 million from grassroots donors online between 9 p.m. and midnight on the night of the first presidential debate, a Biden campaign official said.

This came from over 215,000 donations during that three hour period, the campaign official said, adding that they had over 60,000 new donors.

The campaign announced last night that it’s single greatest online fundraising hour occurred during the 10 p.m.-11 p.m. hour during which they raised $3.8 million. The campaign official said 85% of the contributions during that hour were from mobile donations.

The campaign official also said that during the debate, they saw nearly 100,000 new supporter sign-ups to volunteer for the campaign.

4:28 p.m. ET, September 30, 2020

Pence: Trump "won that presidential debate hands down"

From CNN's Jason Hoffman

Vice President Mike Pence gave President Trump a glowing review of his debate performance, claiming Trump “won that presidential debate hands down,” becoming the latest administration or campaign official to offer effusive public praise of Trump’s debate showing.

“I said well, President Donald Trump's going to take our case to the American people. And he's going to take the fight to Joe Biden. ... And that's what he did. President Donald Trump knows how to fight for what we believe in, and he won that presidential debate hands down,” Pence said at the Faith & Freedom Coalition Policy Conference in Atlanta on Wednesday.

Despite all the praise in public, aides and allies of the President have privately worried about Trump’s performance in Tuesday’s debate.

CNN's Kaitlan Collins reported earlier Wednesday, in conversations with several people who work for Trump, advise him or support him, all acknowledged that Trump was too aggressive, touted few of his accomplishments and likely turned off the moderate voters he desperately needs. In private conversations, Trump's performance was described as obnoxious, unprepared and lacking a cogent line of attack on Biden, like he did with Hillary Clinton in 2016.

In a poll of debate viewers immediately after the debate ended, 60% said they felt Biden won and only 28% said they thought Trump won.

3:31 p.m. ET, September 30, 2020

Group of Democratic governors pledge "democracy will be delivered in this election"

From CNN's Kristen Holmes

A group of Democratic governors pledged to preserve the integrity of elections in their states and that “all votes cast in the upcoming election will be counted and that democracy will be delivered in this election.” 

In a statement Wednesday, 11 governors addressed President Trump’s recent comments on the presidential election, including his claims of ballots being thrown out and pushing his supporters to watch the polls closely. 

“Any efforts to throw out ballots or refuse a peaceful transfer of power are nothing less than an assault on American democracy. There is absolutely no excuse for promoting the intimidation or harassment of voters,” the statement said. “These are all blatant attempts to deny our constituents the right to have their voices heard, as guaranteed in the US Constitution, and to know the will of the people will be carried out.”

The group also addressed a recent report that indicated the campaign and Republican state officials could have state legislatures overrule the popular vote and appoint their own electors if results take too long to count. 

“All states must properly appoint electors in accordance with the vote. We will not allow anyone to willfully corrupt the democratic process by delegitimizing the outcome or appointing fraudulent electors against the will of the voters," the statement said.

Notably, the signing governors included several swing states: Michigan, Wisconsin, Minnesota, and Nevada. Of those governors, Michigan and Wisconsin have Republican state legislatures. 

“We recognize that democratically held elections are not an exercise in controlling power. By its very nature, democracy is an exercise in determining and honoring out the collective will of the American people, regardless of the outcome. Disenfranchising voters in order to retain power strikes at the very heart of this promise. We call on elected leaders at all levels, from both parties, to speak out loudly against such efforts in the weeks ahead," the statement said.

The full list of governors include:

  • Washington Gov. Jay Inslee
  • Oregon Gov. Kate Brown
  • California Gov. Gavin Newsom
  • New Jersey Gov. Phil Murphy
  • Wisconsin Gov. Tony Evers
  • Michigan Gov.  Gretchen Whitmer
  • Minnesota Gov. Tim Walz
  • Virginia Gov. Ralph Northam
  • Delaware Gov. John Carney
  • Nevada Gov. Steve Sisolak
  • New Mexico Gov. Michelle Lujan Grisham
3:50 p.m. ET, September 30, 2020

Trump again refuses to explicitly condemn White supremacists

From CNN's Jason Hoffman 

Carolyn Kaster/AP
Carolyn Kaster/AP

President Trump again refused to explicitly condemn White supremacists and claimed he does not know who the Proud Boys are, one day after telling the organization to “stand back and stand by.”

When asked if he condemned White supremacists, Trump said, “I’ve always denounced any form, any form of any of that, you have to denounce,” before repeating his call for his Democratic rival Joe Biden to denounce Antifa.

Trump also claimed to not know who the Proud Boys are, before saying they should “stand down.”

“I don’t know who the Proud Boys are. You’ll have to give me a definition cause I really don’t know who they are” Trump said before departing the White House on Wednesday. 

“I can only say they have to stand down, let law enforcement do their work… But again, I don’t know who Proud Boys are, but whoever they are they have to stand down, let law enforcement do their work.” Trump said as he left the White House for Minnesota. 

When asked if he misspoke when he told the group to “stand by” during Tuesday night's debate, Trump said “look, law enforcement will do their work. They’re gonna stand down, they have to stand down.” 

However Trump then pivoted to Antifa, saying “the problem is on the left and Biden refuses to talk about it, he refuses to issue to words law and order.”

At the debate Tuesday night, Trump said that the Proud Boys need to “stand back and stand by,” which led to members of the organization, a far-right collective that the Southern Poverty Law Center says is a hate group, to celebrate. Members of the Proud Boys have been at multiple 2020 Trump campaign rallies.

Biden did say he wants to see “law and order with justice” during the debate last night. While Trump continues to point to Antifa as a major threat, in reality, White supremacists will remain the most "persistent and lethal threat" in the United States through 2021, according to Department of Homeland Security draft documents.

Watch the moment:

5:56 p.m. ET, September 30, 2020

Trump claims he's getting "tremendous" reviews for Tuesday's debate

From CNN's Betsy Klein

Andrew Caballero-Reynolds/AFP/Getty Images
Andrew Caballero-Reynolds/AFP/Getty Images

President Trump claimed victory in Tuesday night’s presidential debate, telling reporters Wednesday that he was getting “tremendous reviews,” despite allies privately — and some publicly — acknowledging his poor performance.

“I thought the debate last night was great. We’ve gotten tremendous reviews on it,” he said as he departed the White House for Minnesota.

He continued, “But I thought it was a great evening, it was an exciting evening. I see the ratings were very high and it was good to be there, felt very comfortable and I appreciate all the good words.”

But as CNN's Kaitlan Collins reported earlier Wednesday, in conversations with several people who work for Trump, advise him or support him, all acknowledged that Trump was too aggressive, touted few of his accomplishments and likely turned off the moderate voters he desperately needs.

In private conversations, Trump's performance was described as obnoxious, unprepared and lacking a cogent line of attack on Biden, like he did with Hillary Clinton in 2016. 

“A disaster,” one adviser called it. 

Watch the moment:

3:10 p.m. ET, September 30, 2020

Trump plans to participate in next 2 debates, campaign says 

From CNN's DJ Judd

Patrick Semansky/AP
Patrick Semansky/AP

In a statement to CNN, Trump campaign communications director Tim Murtaugh confirmed President Trump plans to participate in the remaining two presidential debates. 

“President Trump controlled the entire conversation in the first debate and kept Joe Biden on his heels, looking weak and unable to defend his 47 years of failure in Washington,” Murtaugh told the network Wednesday. “Of course we are enthusiastic about the upcoming debates and look forward to them.”

Yesterday, CNN’s Sarah Mucha reported that Biden campaign deputy campaign manager Kate Bedingfield told reporters on a call following the chaotic debate that Biden was committed to doing the same. 

“We are going to the debates, yes,” Bedingfield said, committing to the final two presidential debates.