The latest on the 2020 election

By Melissa Macaya, Meg Wagner, Veronica Rocha and Mike Hayes, CNN

Updated 10:34 PM ET, Mon October 12, 2020
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4:38 p.m. ET, October 12, 2020

Student "Poll Defenders" work to secure on-campus polling sites and community resources

From CNN's Rachel Janfaza

With only 22 days until Election Day and early voting underway, Poll Defenders, a group of students working to secure on-campus polling sites, drop boxes and satellite offices across the country, is announcing three new on-campus polling sites at New York University, University California (UC), Berkeley and Wake Forest University.

Poll Defenders is part of a joint initiative between MTV and the Alliance for Youth Organizing, and, according to organizers, the polling resources will reach more than 335,000 students across the country up until and on Election Day.

The participating students, known as Poll Defenders, have confirmed a total of 22 polling sites to support students and their communities in 10 states including locations at Florida State University, University of Michigan, University of Texas Austin, Georgia Tech, Columbia University & Barnard College, University of Nevada Reno, James Madison University, North Carolina Central University (NCCU), Alabama A&M University and more.

The sites are a result of the work of a number of student leaders including Izzy McMahon, a college senior, who helped solidify the one stop early voting site on-campus at Wake Forest. Earlier this fall, McMahon worked on voter registration efforts including creating a QR code to help students check their registration.

“These incredible students have been working tirelessly in recent months to ensure that 22 on-campus polling places will be open this election season, allowing students across the country to cast their ballots early and on Election Day without leaving their campuses," Vaughan Bagley, senior manager of Social Impact at ViacomCBS Entertainment & Youth Brands, told CNN. 

"MTV and our +1 the Polls partners are committed to continuing to support these Poll Defenders as we work to eliminate barriers and improve access to voting," she said.

3:04 p.m. ET, October 12, 2020

Protesters briefly interrupt Pence's Ohio speech

From CNN's Daniella Diaz

Vice President Mike Pence speaks at a campaign rally in Columbus, Ohio, on October 12.
Vice President Mike Pence speaks at a campaign rally in Columbus, Ohio, on October 12. Paul Vernon/AP

Vice President Mike Pence was interrupted by protesters today while giving a campaign stump speech in Columbus, Ohio.

There were a couple of interruptions by anti-Trump/Pence demonstrators early in the speech, and Pence stopped briefly while security intervened.

When the protesters were removed, Pence said, "Boy is it good to be back in the heartland. I tell you what, I come from a place with strong hearts and opinion ... This is a country that loves the proud heritage, past, present and future of the good old USA."  

At least one set of demonstrators were quiet and held signs saying "5K jobs lost in Lordstown."

Pence's speech touched on his support for law enforcement, the administration's coronavirus response, and tax cuts, among other topics.

On Judge Amy Coney Barrett, President Trump's Supreme Court pick, Pence said, "Now the Senate started their confirmation hearings this morning. All the senators were doing their opening remarks. Questioning will probably start tomorrow. The president said Democrats on the Judiciary Committee need to give Judge Barrett respectful and dignified hearing this time. But we have reason to be concerned.”

 

2:06 p.m. ET, October 12, 2020

Biden tested negative for Covid-19 today

From CNN's Arlette Saenz

Democratic presidential nominee Joe Biden talks to reporters before boarding a flight to Ohio on October 12 in New Castle, Delaware.
Democratic presidential nominee Joe Biden talks to reporters before boarding a flight to Ohio on October 12 in New Castle, Delaware. Chip Somodevilla/Getty Images

Democratic presidential nominee Joe Biden tested negative for Covid-19 today, the campaign told the press pool.  

From the campaign:

“Vice President Biden underwent PCR testing for COVID-19 today and COVID-19 was not detected.”

2:03 p.m. ET, October 12, 2020

Elections can be done safely during a pandemic, WHO says

From CNN's Amanda Watts

World Health Organization Health Emergencies Programme Director Michael Ryan talks during a Covid-19 press briefing at the WHO heardquaters in Geneva, on March 11.
World Health Organization Health Emergencies Programme Director Michael Ryan talks during a Covid-19 press briefing at the WHO heardquaters in Geneva, on March 11. Fabrice Coffrini/AFP/Getty Images

The World Health Organization said elections can be done safely during a global pandemic.

“We've seen many examples over the last nine months where elections have actually been held very safely and with appropriate measures,” Dr. Mike Ryan, executive director of WHO’s Health Emergencies Programme, said during a Monday briefing. But, “It takes effort," he added.

“You cannot reduce the risk to zero, but what you can do is identify and manage those risks, especially where in-person voting is the choice of the country,” Ryan said. 

While WHO doesn’t specify “what the proper choice is for the type of election they need to run – that is based on their own risk assessment,” Ryan said the organization does offer advice about how to reduce those risks during in-person elections.

He added that elections “are an essential part of our lives and they're absolutely central to how many societies live survive and thrive. They are a very important part of the cycle of life."

3:06 p.m. ET, October 12, 2020

White House chief of staff refuses to talk on camera while wearing a mask

From CNN's Kristin Wilson

White House Chief of Staff Mark Meadows speaks to the media during a break in the confirmation hearing for Supreme Court nominee Amy Coney Barrett before the Senate Judiciary Committee on October 12 in Washington, DC.
White House Chief of Staff Mark Meadows speaks to the media during a break in the confirmation hearing for Supreme Court nominee Amy Coney Barrett before the Senate Judiciary Committee on October 12 in Washington, DC. J. Scott Applewhite/AP

White House chief of staff Mark Meadows came briefly to the stakeout camera today. He moved back the mic stand but when he started to take off his mask but was asked by CNN to leave it on. He said, “Well I’m more than 10 feet away.”

Reporters insisted he keep on the mask and Meadows refused.

“Well, I'm not going to talk through a mask,” he said, and walked away.

Here's the complete exchange:

MEADOWS: Let me pull this away (pulls mic stand further from reporters) that way I can take this off.
CNN: No can you please keep it on?
MEADOWS: I’m more than 10 feet away.
CNN: No...
MEADOWS: (puts mask back on and begins to walk away) I’m not going to talk through a mask.

12:07 p.m. ET, October 12, 2020

Federal judge dismisses challenge to 7-day grace period for ballots in Minnesota

From CNN's Taylor Romine

A federal judge ruled Monday morning to maintain the 7-day grace period for accepting ballots in Minnesota, according to court documents.  

Judge Nancy E. Brasel denied a preliminary injunction for the lawsuit filed by Republican presidential electors James Carson and Eric Lucero, saying that neither plaintiff had the standing to claim personal injury by maintaining the extended deadline. Brasel also rejected the notion that electors would be injured by "last‐minute litigation over ballot eligibility” that could prevent certification of Minnesota's election results. 

"The prospect of hypothetical unlawful votes in the upcoming presidential election is not a harm unique to the Electors," Brasel said in her decision.  

She also noted that the claim that with the change of rules would cause "chaos and uncertainty will result," but said that the electors "alleged confusion and uncertainty is speculative at best."

The suit claimed that Secretary of State Steve Simon exceeded his authority in allowing the extended receipt deadline for ballots, and that the extension violated the congressional mandate that election day be held on Nov. 3. 

On Aug. 28, Simon issued to guidance to voters that allowed any ballot postmarked before or on Nov. 3 to be accepted within a week of Election Day. The guidance came after a lawsuit filed in May that argued that the strict adherence to the ballot deadline even when ballots were sent by Election Day "disenfranchises thousands of voters," according to the lawsuit. 

Brasel was nominated by Trump in 2018 and confirmed as a district judge on the US District Court for the District of Minnesota.

11:19 a.m. ET, October 12, 2020

Trump campaign manager back to work after Covid-19 diagnosis

From CNN’s Betsy Klein and Ryan Nobles

Campaign manager Bill Stepien is pictured alongside President Trump as he speaks with reporters aboard Air Force One on August 28.
Campaign manager Bill Stepien is pictured alongside President Trump as he speaks with reporters aboard Air Force One on August 28. Saul Loeb/AFP/Getty Images

Trump campaign manager Bill Stepien has returned to campaign headquarters after testing positive for coronavirus on Friday October 2. 

“I am back at headquarters in full accordance with CDC guidelines,” he told reporters at the beginning of a campaign briefing call.

He joked that he “appreciated the notes, flowers, and chocolates.”

10:49 a.m. ET, October 12, 2020

Barrett's faith "should not be considered" during hearing and focus should be on ACA, Biden says

From CNN’s Sarah Mucha

Democratic presidential nominee Joe Biden talks to reporters before boarding a flight to Ohio at New Castle County Airport in New Castle, Delaware, on Monday, October 12.
Democratic presidential nominee Joe Biden talks to reporters before boarding a flight to Ohio at New Castle County Airport in New Castle, Delaware, on Monday, October 12. Chip Somodevilla/Getty Images

As he boarded his plane to Ohio in Delaware, Democratic presidential nominee Joe Biden told reporters on the tarmac that Amy Coney Barrett’s faith “should not be considered” during her Supreme Court Justice confirmation hearing taking place this week.  

Instead, the Democratic nominee said the focus should be on health care.

“No one’s faith should be questioned,” he said. “But I tell you what, we're already in the midst of a real play here. Everyone knows in 28 days 20 million Americans may lose their health care. This nominee said she wants to get rid of the Affordable Care Act, the President wants to get rid of the Affordable Care Act."

"Let’s keep our eye on the ball. This is about whether or not in one – less than one month, Americans are going to lose their health insurance," he added.

Follow live coverage of Barrett's confirmation hearing here.

11:26 a.m. ET, October 12, 2020

Progressive group stages protest outside Capitol and Supreme Court ahead of Barrett's hearing 

From CNN's Rachel Janfaza

Organizers with Demand Justice protest outside the Supreme Court on Monday.
Organizers with Demand Justice protest outside the Supreme Court on Monday. Courtesy Demand Justice

As Judge Amy Coney Barrett's Supreme Court nomination hits the Senate floor Monday, Demand Justice, a progressive movement focused on restoring "ideological balance" to the Supreme Court, is ramping up resistance efforts to block Barrett's confirmation.

Ahead of Barrett's Senate hearing Monday morning, organizers with Demand Justice protested outside the Capitol and Supreme Court wearing hazmat suits with signs that said "No COVID Test No Hearing."

The organizers were joined by protestors from the Center for Popular Democracy, another progressive organization working to fight efforts to confirm a new Supreme Court justice ahead of the election.

Tonight, Demand Justice will host a virtual celebration in honor of the late Justice Ruth Bader Ginsberg featuring speakers including Hillary Clinton, House Speaker Nancy Pelosi, Stacey Abrams, Elizabeth Warren, Kirsten Gillibrand and Ayanna Pressley, as well as celebrities, artists and leaders such as Miley Cyrus, Demi Lovato, Jessica Biel, Gloria Steinem, Chelsea Clinton, Rosario Dawson, Chelsea Handler and more.

Demand Justice demonstrators gather outside the Capitol on Monday morning.
Demand Justice demonstrators gather outside the Capitol on Monday morning. Courtesy Demand Justice

According to organizers with Demand Justice, the star-studded line up will focus their remarks on Justice Ginsberg's dying wish to not be replaced until a new president is elected.

Demand Justice is also out with a new ad for digital Monday, which focuses on what the organization says are "broken promises" from Republicans who fought to withhold a Supreme Court nomination process in 2016 featuring audio from Sens. McConnell, Lindsey Graham, Thom Tillis, Joni Ernst and Ted Cruz, as well as PresidentTrump. 

"They don't care about being called hypocrites," the ad says, "they care about getting to take away healthcare, reproductive rights, civil rights."

The group has been responsible for projecting images with phrases such as "No more Trump justices," "Save Roe v. Wade," and "No Confirmation Until Inauguration" onto the Trump Hotel in Washington, DC.