The latest on the 2020 election

By Veronica Rocha and Melissa Mahtani, CNN

Updated 1:17 p.m. ET, November 23, 2020
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10:42 a.m. ET, October 22, 2020

More than 5.8 million votes have been cast in Texas

From CNN's Ashley Killough

Voters wait in line at a polling location on October 13 in Austin, Texas.
Voters wait in line at a polling location on October 13 in Austin, Texas. Sergio Flores/Getty Images

More than 5.8 million people have cast their vote in Texas, including the first nine days of early voting, according to data posted on the Texas Secretary of State website Thursday morning. That represents 34.65% of registered voters.

On Wednesday, 479,165 people voted in person, bringing the total in-person votes to 5,139,049. Cumulative ballots-by-mail so far this cycle were 736,635. 

Comparing early voting data from 2016 can be complicated for multiple reasons, in addition to the pandemic. Texas has three weeks of in-person early voting this cycle compared to two weeks in 2016. The state is also tracking early voting data from all 254 counties this cycle, but it only collected data from the top 15 most populous counties in 2016.

Still, when looking at the data from the first nine days of early voting in the top five most populous counties in both cycles, turnout has increased by 387,163 in those counties — an increase of about 18%. It's worth noting that those counties represent 42% of all registered voters.

The last day of early voting in Texas is Oct. 30. 

1:17 p.m. ET, November 23, 2020

There will be acrylic glass barriers between Trump and Biden at tonight's debate

From CNN’s Dan Merica

Clear dividers are seen on the debate stage as preparations are made for the final US Presidential debate at Belmont University on October 21 in Nashville.
Clear dividers are seen on the debate stage as preparations are made for the final US Presidential debate at Belmont University on October 21 in Nashville. Brendan Smialowski/AFP/Getty Images

There will be large acrylic glass barriers between the two podiums at tonight's final presidential debate in Nashville.

The barriers at the Curb Event Center in Nashville will remain in place tonight, at the recommendation of medical advisers from The Cleveland Clinic, according to Frank Fahrenkopf, chairman of the Commission on Presidential Debates.

The tall curved barriers appear to be the relative height of both President Trump and former Vice President Joe Biden.

9:57 a.m. ET, October 22, 2020

Trump disputes new Fox News polls

From CNN’s Betsy Klein

President Trump is railing against a new set of Fox News polls released Wednesday that show him trailing Democratic nominee Joe Biden in multiple states.

The President is calling his followers’ attention to polls that show he leads by 3 points in Ohio, per Fox News, and Biden is ahead by 12 points in Michigan, 5 points in Pennsylvania, and 5 points in Wisconsin.

Trump called the polls "totally FAKE."

"I am leading in all of the states mentioned, which you will soon see," he tweeted.

9:26 a.m. ET, October 22, 2020

Senate Judiciary Committee advances Supreme Court nominee Amy Coney Barrett

From CNN's Alex Rogers

Pool
Pool

The Senate Judiciary committee voted 12-0 on Thursday to advance the nomination of Judge Amy Coney Barrett to the Supreme Court, setting up her full Senate confirmation vote on Monday.

The 10 Democratic senators on the panel boycotted the vote, and filled their seats with pictures of people who rely upon the Affordable Care Act, drawing attention to an upcoming case on the health care law’s constitutionality. 

9:47 a.m. ET, October 22, 2020

This Ohio voter is heading to the polls early because he "didn't want to leave it to chance"

From CNN's Paul P. Murphy

There are 12 days until the general election and more than 40 million Americans have already cast ballots.

Voters like Christopher Skok are heading to the polls to vote early. On Thursday, Skok took the below picture while waiting in line to vote at the Franklin County Board of Elections in Columbus, Ohio.

"As a health care worker with irregular hours, I have to take advantage of the time I have off to vote," he said. "Generally, voting on voting day isn’t possible for me. It is also important to me to vote in person given all the uncertainty (though I don’t think it is merited) with mail-in voting. I didn’t want to leave it to chance."

9:00 a.m. ET, October 22, 2020

Senate Judiciary Committee will vote to advance Coney's nomination today

From CNN's Alex Rogers

The Senate Judiciary Committee will vote today to advance the nomination of Judge Amy Coney Barrett to the Supreme Court, despite a boycott by Democratic senators. Republicans are confident that they can push forward the nominee, setting up her confirmation by early next week.

Democrats on the panel plan to fill their seats during the vote with pictures of people who rely upon the Affordable Care Act, drawing attention to an upcoming case before the Court on the 2010 health care law's constitutionality.

"This has been a sham process from the beginning," wrote Senate Democrats in a statement. "Amidst a global pandemic and ongoing election, Republicans are rushing to confirm a Supreme Court Justice to take away health care from millions and execute the extreme and deeply unpopular agenda that they've been unable to get through Congress."

What we know about Coney: She will give conservatives a 6-3 majority on the Supreme Court, influencing a range of issues that could come before it, including Americans' personal privacy rights, campaign finance regulation, affirmative action in higher education, public aid for religious schools, environmental and labor regulations, the ACA and any potential disputes regarding the 2020 election. If Barrett is confirmed and serves as long as her predecessor, the late liberal Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg, she will sit on the court for nearly four decades.

About the vote: Under Senate Judiciary Committee rules, nine members of the panel, including two members of the minority party, must be present "for the purpose of transacting business."

But Republicans say Senate rule 26 supersedes the Judiciary Committee requirements. That rule says that "no measure or matter or recommendation shall be reported from any committee unless a majority of the committee were physically present."

9:39 a.m. ET, October 22, 2020

Trump will answer the questions he wants to answer, spokesperson says

From CNN’s Betsy Klein

Fox Business
Fox Business

White House director of strategic communications Alyssa Farah previewed this evening’s presidential debate, saying President Trump will answer the questions he wants to answer. 

Trump will work to “show the contrast” with Democratic nominee Joe Biden, Farah said during an appearance on Fox Business. 

Presented with a list of debate topics, Farah said:

“I'd say he's going to answer those topics but he's also going to, frankly answer, the questions he wants to. If we don't get to China, he's prepared to bring up China and Joe Biden's disastrous record on it. He's looking forward to talking about his economic recovery plans contrasted with Joe Biden's tax plan that's talking about you know tax rates of 60% for some Americans.” 

One topic Trump will be sure to bring up, Farah said, is Hunter Biden. 

“Whether it’s asked or he has the opportunity to bring it up, he’s going to get into this issue of Hunter Biden. The American people need to know if the Biden family in any way is beholden to China,” she said. 

Pressed on new polls, including Fox surveys that show Trump leading in Ohio but behind Biden in Pennsylvania, Wisconsin, and Michigan, she said the polls “model about where we were in 2016” and the White House is “confident in the multiple paths we have ahead.”

Trump will be holding “as many as two to three rallies a day” in the final stretch, with a closing argument focused on the economy, she said. 

She again reiterated optimism about a stimulus deal but offered little new details.

9:46 a.m. ET, October 22, 2020

Biden says he will put together a bipartisan commission to look at possible SCOTUS reforms

From CNN's Sarah Mucha 

Jim Watson/AFP/Getty Images
Jim Watson/AFP/Getty Images

Joe Biden said if he is elected president, he will put together a bipartisan commission to recommend potential reforms to the Supreme Court.  

“If elected what I will do is I'll put together a national commission of – bipartisan commission of – scholars, constitutional scholars, democrats, republicans, liberal, conservative, and I will ask them to over 180 days come back to me with recommendations as to how to reform the court system because it's getting out of whack, the way in which it’s being handled,” he said in a one-minute clip released from his interview with "60 Minutes'" Norah O’Donnell.

The Democratic nominee said that this goes beyond court packing and warned against the Supreme Court turning into a political football. “There's a number of other things that constitutional scholars have debated and I've looked to see what recommendations that commission might make,” he said.

WATCH:

9:42 a.m. ET, October 22, 2020

What CNN's latest polls show about the Biden-Trump race in Pennsylvania and Florida

From CNN's polling director Jennifer Agiesta

Getty Images
Getty Images

Former Vice President Joe Biden holds a lead in Pennsylvania and neither he nor President Trump leads in the critical state of Florida, according to new CNN polls conducted by SSRS.

The polls, which completed fielding two weeks before Election Day, find sizable minorities of voters saying they have already voted, with those voters breaking heavily for Biden in both states. Those who have yet to cast their ballots, though, break in Trump's favor, but not by as large a margin as Biden holds among those who have voted now.

In Florida, which has 29 electoral votes and is a critical battleground in the presidential race, 50% of likely voters say they back Biden, 46% Trump. The difference between the two is right at the poll's margin of sampling error, meaning there is no clear leader in the survey.

The Pennsylvania results show Biden well ahead in the state, which holds 20 electoral votes, with 53% of likely voters behind him and 43% backing Trump.

Across both surveys, Biden holds a double-digit advantage over Trump as more trusted to handle the coronavirus outbreak (54% Biden to 42% Trump in Pennsylvania and 53% Biden to 43% Trump in Florida), and the same is true for handling racial inequality in the US (58% Biden to 39% Trump in Pennsylvania and 54% Biden to 42% Trump in Florida).

In both states, he also has a small edge over Trump on handling nominations to the Supreme Court (51% to 45% in Pennsylvania, 50% to 46% in Florida). Biden is more often seen as the candidate who would unite the country rather than divide it (56% Biden to 39% Trump in Florida and 58% Biden to 35% Trump in Pennsylvania), and as caring more about people like you (55% Biden to 42% Trump in Pennsylvania and 52% Biden to 43% Trump in Florida).

In Pennsylvania, Biden's advantage also includes an edge on having a clear plan for solving the country's problems (50% Biden to 42% Trump) and keeping Americans safe from harm (51% Biden to 46% Trump).

In Florida, the margin on those two metrics is far tighter, with 49% saying Biden has a clear plan to solve the country's problems vs. 45% who say Trump does, and 49% that Biden will keep Americans safe from harm vs. 47% saying Trump will.

Trump holds a lead over Biden as more trusted on the economy in Florida, 51% say they prefer Trump vs. 46% Biden. In Pennsylvania, though, the two are near even on this question, 50% say they trust Trump more, 48% Biden.

The new polls are consistent with other high-quality polling in the two states in recent days. In Florida, a CNN Poll of Polls average shows Biden at 49% support in the state and Trump at 44%. The current average of high-quality polls in Pennsylvania also shows a Biden lead, with 52% on average behind the former Vice President and 43% backing the current president.

Read more about the polling here.