It's the Friday before Election Day

By Meg Wagner, Melissa Macaya, Fernando Alfonso III and Veronica Rocha, CNN

Updated 8:05 p.m. ET, October 30, 2020
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10:28 a.m. ET, October 30, 2020

Texas 2020 early voting surpasses 2016 total voter turnout

From CNN's Ethan Cohen 

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 9 million people have voted in the key state of Texas, surpassing the state’s total turnout from the 2016 general election, with one more day of in-person early voting and Election Day voting to go. 

The high turnout so far accounts for about 53% of registered voters in the state. Total registered voters has grown 12% since 2016, or almost 1.9 million people.  

On Thursday, 432,634 people voted in person, bringing the total in-person votes to 8,062,615, according to the Texas Secretary of State’s website. Ballots-by-mail, which will continue to come in, account for 947,235 votes so far. 

Texas had 8.96 million ballots cast in the 2016 election.  

CNN's Jason Carroll reports:

9:26 a.m. ET, October 30, 2020

Why Democratic concerns about Latino support linger in the campaign's final days

From CNN's Eric Bradner, Gregory Krieg and Dan Merica

A sign points the way to an early voting location in Phoenix, Arizona, on October 16.
A sign points the way to an early voting location in Phoenix, Arizona, on October 16. Robyn Beck/AFP/Getty Images

Democrats are concerned about lower enthusiasm among Latino voters in the final days of the 2020 campaign, warning it could cause the party and its presidential nominee Joe Biden to come up short in key states on Election Day.

Latino voters make up large portions of the electorate in a number of crucial states, including two top battlegrounds — Arizona and Florida — as well as Texas, where Biden's campaign is mounting a late push, and Nevada, where President Trump is seeking to broaden his own map.

They are also a smaller, but important, part of the electorate in other critical areas, including Philadelphia, the biggest city in what could be the most important state on this year's electoral map.

And with polls consistently showing Biden with lower support among Latinos than Hillary Clinton had four years ago, party operatives, elected officials and activists — while crediting Biden with improving his standing since the summer, when concerns about his struggles with Latinos were at a peak — worry that a failure to effectively engage the community could hurt Democrats in close races up and down the ballot.

One particular concern: Trump's inroads with Latino men.

"The Latino men, specifically those 50-to-75-years-old, are no different than White males in suburban communities," said Philadelphia City Councilmember Maria Quiñones-Sánchez, a member of the Biden campaign's Pennsylvania Latino Leadership Council. "They're macho men and there's parts of Trump's personality that they like, and we needed to be able to have counter-messaging about how the family component of who they are is being attacked."

Another concern is Biden's on-the-ground engagement efforts. The coronavirus pandemic led his campaign to avoid door-to-door canvassing over the summer — a safety-focused decision that came at the cost of giving up many of the one-on-one meetings with potential voters who campaigns often don't reach.

The campaign has resumed canvassing in recent weeks, but some liberal organizers focused on reaching Latino voters worry the move came too late.

One red alarm for Democrats comes in Florida's Miami-Dade County, home to a huge Hispanic population where Republicans are besting Democrats in turning out those voters.

Read the full story here.

10:24 a.m. ET, October 30, 2020

Texas judge says record-breaking voting is result of "lowering the barriers to safe and secure voting"

From CNN's Adrienne Vogt


A record-breaking nearly 1.4 million people have already voted in Harris County, Texas, which includes Houston.

“Yesterday was our very first day of 24-hour voting in Harris County. So what we're seeing is what happens when you invest in lowering the barriers to safe and secure voting as opposed to investing time and effort in building obstacles,” Harris County Judge Lina Hidalgo said on CNNs “New Day.”

Hidalgo said the county has implemented drive-in voting, tripled the number of early voting locations and raised salaries for staff.

More than 4.6 million people cast their vote in Texas during the first seven days of early voting, according to state data.

Republican Gov. Greg Abbott’s order to limit mail-in ballot drop box locations to one per county was upheld on Tuesday.

“Nobody can say for sure what's going to happen on Election Day, but I will say don't sleep on Texas. We are in the hunt and people are energized like never before,” said Hidalgo, a Democrat. 


9:19 a.m. ET, October 30, 2020

Election Day is only 4 days away. Here's what you need to know.

From CNN's Zachary B. Wolf

A voter speaks with an election official, right, after casting his ballot during early voting in the 2020 presidential election on October 29 in Adel, Iowa.
A voter speaks with an election official, right, after casting his ballot during early voting in the 2020 presidential election on October 29 in Adel, Iowa. Mario Tama/Getty Images

It's the Friday before Election Day and President Trump and Democratic nominee Joe Biden are making three-state swings in the Midwest today.

Here are key things to know:

  • Ballots already cast: More than 80 million.
  • Things are getting more interesting in battleground states: Adam Levy from CNN's political unit has been closely tracking the early vote in key states — with information CNN gets from the firm Catalist, a data firm which has Democrats, issue organizations and academics as clients. Key point: Republicans are beginning to narrow the Democratic advantage in pre-Election Day voting in four key battleground states, where more than 12 million votes have already been cast. You can read the full story here.
  • Prediction models run possible scenarios. Biden wins in more of them: There are a number of prediction models out thee — from FiveThirtyEight and The Economist, among others — that suggest Biden is much more likely to win than Trump. CNN's Oliver Darcy talked to the data journalists behind them to ask why they're any better than they were in 2016, when they also said a Trump loss was more likely (although less likely than now). Here's Nate Silver to Darcy on this year's modeling: "We're not going out on any sort of limb here. We're just stating the obvious. Biden's pretty far ahead in polls and the candidate who's ahead in polls by a margin like that usually wins." Click here for John King's latest run through the magic wall. And make your own electoral map here.
  • On congressional races: House and Senate seats move toward Democrats — It's not just the presidential map that's getting more difficult for Republicans. CNN uses House and Senate ratings from Inside Elections, which is run by CNN contributor Nathan L. Gonzalez. What's changed: According to CNN's report, Democrats are now predicted to pick up a net gain of 14 to 20 seats in the House, and a net gain of four to six seats in the Senate, which would be enough to flip the chamber.

Read more here.

9:17 a.m. ET, October 30, 2020

Biden campaign will focus on Pennsylvania on final day before election

From CNN’s Jeff Zeleny

Democratic presidential nominee Joe Biden speaks at a drive-in campaign rally at Broward College on October 29 in Coconut Creek, Florida.
Democratic presidential nominee Joe Biden speaks at a drive-in campaign rally at Broward College on October 29 in Coconut Creek, Florida. Drew Angerer/Getty Images

The Biden campaign is making clear that Pennsylvania is their critical focus on the final day of the campaign, with Democratic nominee Joe Biden, running mate Kamala Harris and their spouses scheduled to campaign in all four corners of the state on Monday.

According to a campaign statement, the candidates will hold events "in the Keystone State to get out the vote while also discussing how to bring Americans together to address the crises facing the country and win the battle for the soul of the nation."

Biden is also set to campaign there on Sunday, where President Trump will also be blanketing the state.

9:57 a.m. ET, October 30, 2020

Trump and Biden will both campaign in Wisconsin and Michigan today in final stretch to Election Day

Analysis from CNN's Maeve Reston

Evan Vucci/Andrew Harnik/AP
Evan Vucci/Andrew Harnik/AP

Former Vice President Joe Biden and President Donald Trump went head-to-head in the swing state of Florida on Thursday, and will cross paths again today when they both campaign in Wisconsin and Minnesota.

Biden aims to shore up his leads in those Midwestern states and connect with the blue-collar voters that Hillary Clinton neglected in the waning days of her race with Trump four years ago.

If Biden is not able to flip the battlegrounds of Florida and North Carolina, he could potentially carve a path to the White House by rebuilding the Democrats' blue wall in the Rust Belt and capturing Wisconsin, Michigan and Pennsylvania, while holding Minnesota in the Democratic column.

Trump won those three Midwestern states by less than a percentage point in 2016, and Biden's kinship with the blue collar voters who live in working class towns like Scranton, Pennsylvania, where he lived as a young boy, was one of the major selling points to Democratic primary voters as he cultivated the image of "middle-class Joe."

While Trump has campaigned, both in 2016 and 2020, as a voice for the "forgotten men and women" who live in those communities, Biden has argued that the President ignored their needs while helping his wealthy allies — attempting to frame the race as Scranton versus Park Avenue.

But Trump has argued that Biden favored trade policies that sent jobs overseas and threw open the border to the detriment of working-class voters.

A key facet of Biden's success in 2020, however, is that he has cut into Trump's margins with White voters who do not hold a college degree — a trend he hopes to accelerate in the closing days of the campaign as he tends to those key Midwestern states.

Read more here.




9:07 a.m. ET, October 30, 2020

Here's why SCOTUS let some states count mail-in ballots received after Election Day but not others

From CNN's Ariane de Vogue

Getty Images
Getty Images

In the final days before the presidential election, the Supreme Court has been pelted with requests from parties in battleground states seeking last minute approval to change election rules, especially regarding whether mail-in votes can arrive after Election Day and still be counted.

The court, issuing some of the orders after hours, has navigated a minefield with justices seeking consensus and coherence where possible, hindered without the benefit of a full briefing schedule. The situation was complicated by the fact that emergency requests came in before and just after Justice Amy Coney Barrett took the bench.

On the face of it sometimes the orders seemed contradictory. In North Carolina, ballots can arrive up to nine days after Election Day. In Pennsylvania, ballots can arrive up to three days late — for now. And in Wisconsin, the court said ballots must be in by election night.

Some themes have emerged. It is now clear that four conservative justices are ready to take a sharp right turn when it comes to the power of state legislatures to set the rules for elections.

In addition, Chief Justice John Roberts served as swing vote at times, but still worked to preserve the court's institutional legitimacy, and the liberals on the bench again expressed their fear that the pandemic could disenfranchise voters in some states.

Read the full story here.