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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10:48 a.m. ET, October 30, 2020

Biden's presidential campaign turns closing message speech into national ad

From CNN's Sarah Mucha and Arlette Saenz

Democratic presidential nominee Joe Biden speaks during a campaign event at the Mountain Top Inn and Resort on October 27 in Warm Springs, Georgia.
Democratic presidential nominee Joe Biden speaks during a campaign event at the Mountain Top Inn and Resort on October 27 in Warm Springs, Georgia. Drew Angerer/Getty Images

Joe Biden’s presidential campaign is turning his closing message speech delivered in Warm Springs, Georgia, into a TV and digital ad that will air nationally and across key battleground states in the final countdown to Election Day.  

The minute-long spot, titled “Indivisible,” features the Democratic nominee promising to act as a unifying leader, a theme that has been central to his campaign since its launch last year.  

“I'm running as a proud Democrat, but I will govern as an American president,” Biden is heard saying as the ad begins. “I’ll work with Democrats and Republicans. I’ll work as hard for those who don't support me as for those who do.”  

The ad showcases Biden promising to tackle the multitude of crises facing the nation, saying that his administration will act to get the pandemic under control, pass an economic plan, and make health care affordable and accessible to all Americans. Finally, Biden promises, “We’ll act to restore our faith in democracy and our faith in one another.” 

Biden chose the location of his closing message remarks intentionally. Warm Springs is where President Franklin Delano Roosevelt famously had his “Little White House,” which he would visit to use the therapeutic waters after suffering paralysis following a polio diagnosis. Biden has frequently cited Roosevelt as an inspiration, and he shared recently in an interview on Pod Save America that he’s reading “The Defining Moment,” a book by Jonathan Alter about Roosevelt’s first hundred days in office.  

 This new ad comes as Biden has poured money from his outsized war chest into a robust media campaign. Most recently, the campaign made a new eight-figure investment on Covid-related digital ads as the pandemic remains a top issue for voters, and it aired pricey spots during National Football League and Major League Baseball World Series games. 

Earlier in the week, the campaign also released a pair of closing message ads nationwide — one featuring Biden speaking direct to camera and another with Jill Biden talking about her husband. 

In the new ad, Biden closes by calling on Americans to appeal to their better angels: “With our voices and our votes, we must free ourselves from the forces that pull us apart, hold us down and hold us back. And if we do so, we will once more become one nation, under God, indivisible. A nation united, a nation strengthened, a nation healed.”   

10:36 a.m. ET, October 30, 2020

Pennsylvania attorney general says Trump is "trying to sow chaos and confusion" in election

From Mirna Alsharif

CNN
CNN

Pennsylvania Attorney General Josh Shapiro criticized the Trump administration for what he says are attempts to suppress mail-in votes in the state ahead of the election.

"Donald Trump is trying to sow chaos and confusion in the process," Shapiro said on CNN with Poppy Harlow and Jim Sciutto. "The good news is the voters are really drowning him out." 

Shapiro reported that over 2 million Pennsylvanians have voted so far and that the state's election laws clearly allow for ballots to arrive after election day and still be counted.

"This is a state election law that has been interpreted by our state's highest court, our Pennsylvania Supreme Court, that says if ballots are postmarked before the end of election day and received up to Friday at 5 o'clock, they can be counted," said Shapiro, adding that according to the Purcell Principle, federal courts "ought to give great deference to state law when it comes to these matters of election." 

Shapiro also said that "Donald Trump and his enablers" may try to their advantage to use the fact that ballots are set aside and then counted, but his job is "to make sure all ballots are defended."

"Every single time Donald Trump has gone to court to try and undermine the will of the people of Pennsylvania, we have fought back and won and if I have to do it again, whether at the US supreme court or the state supreme court, we'll do it and we'll win," he said.

Watch more:

10:26 a.m. ET, October 30, 2020

Biden says he's going to work for "every single vote up to the last minute"

From CNN’s Sarah Mucha

Democratic presidential candidate Joe Biden speaks to members of the media before boarding his campaign plane at New Castle Airport in New Castle, Delaware, on October 30.
Democratic presidential candidate Joe Biden speaks to members of the media before boarding his campaign plane at New Castle Airport in New Castle, Delaware, on October 30. Andrew Harnik/AP

As Democratic presidential nominee Joe Biden was boarding his flight from Delaware to Iowa ahead of his busy day on the trail, he briefly stopped to talk to press. 

Asked if his campaigning in Minnesota means they are concerned about the state, which Democrats won in 2016, Biden said he doesn’t take anything for granted. “No I’m not concerned,” he said.

"We’re gonna be in Iowa, we’re gonna be in Wisconsin, so I thought I’d stop in Minnesota. I don’t take anything for granted. We’re gonna work for every single vote up to the last minute," he added.

Biden heads to Des Moines, Iowa first, followed by a stop in St. Paul, Minnesota. He'll later campaign in Milwaukee, Wisconsin.

This will be his first three-state trip of the general election. 

10:25 a.m. ET, October 30, 2020

Why early election night results might look very different from the final outcome 

From CNN's Marshall Cohen

Election night will be an unusual experience this year. Early results that pop up shortly after the polls close might look very different from the final outcome, because of unprecedented levels of mail-in ballots and early voting due to the coronavirus pandemic.

Since the beginning of the pandemic, supporters of Democratic nominee Joe Biden have shown a strong preference for mail-in voting. Most of President Trump's supporters say they want to vote on Election Day. States count these different types of votes in very different ways.

As a result, in some of the most competitive states, early results may look too rosy for former Vice President Joe Biden, before falling back down to Earth and becoming more representative of the true outcome. In other states, Trump could see early leads that slowly narrow as more ballots are counted.

This won't be a sign of fraud or irregularities. Rather, it's just a reflection of how states count votes. Some states process early ballots first, and will report those early in the night, while others save them for last.

Here is a breakdown of what to watch for in the pivotal states:

  • Likely shift from red to blue: Some people call this the "red mirage" or the "blue shift," where early results favor Trump but later ballots even things out and might even put Biden ahead once all the results are tallied. This dynamic is expected in Pennsylvania and Wisconsin, where they don't process absentee ballots before Election Day. Early waves of results will likely come from ballots cast on Election Day and from outside the state's population centers, which are expected to favor Trump. As absentee ballots get counted late on Tuesday night and bigger cities report more of their votes, or even over the days that follow, the statewide vote count could shift in Biden's direction.
  • Likely shift from blue to red: Some people call this the "blue mirage" or the "red shift." This is when the first waves of results disproportionately favor Biden, only to be followed by more Trump-friendly ballots later on. This is most likely to occur in the states that start processing mail-ballots weeks before Election Day. The most critical states where experts believe this will happen are Florida and North Carolina. Election officials in these states say the first results to become public after the polls close will be large batches of absentee ballots and in-person early votes, which have been quite favorable to Democrats. As the night drags on, Election Day ballots will trickle in, helping Trump's margins. This dynamic is also expected in Texas, Ohio and Iowa, largely for the same reasons. They'll quickly post results from the historic levels of pre-Election Day voting, which likely helps Biden.

Read the full story here

9:41 a.m. ET, October 30, 2020

North Carolina voters have already cast 86% of total 2016 votes

From CNN's Dianne Gallagher

Voters wait in line to vote at a polling place at the Dr. Wesley Grant Senior Center on October 15 in Asheville, North Carolina.
Voters wait in line to vote at a polling place at the Dr. Wesley Grant Senior Center on October 15 in Asheville, North Carolina. Brian Blanco/Getty Images

As the final full day of early in-person voting begins in North Carolina, voters there have already cast 86% of the total number of 2016 votes. 

As of 5:00 a.m. ET on Oct. 30, state data shows 4,022,865 total votes. The early in-person voting period ends at 3:00 p.m. ET on Saturday.

That means roughly 56% of all currently registered voters in North Carolina have already voted in the 2020 election, four days before Election Day

The overwhelming number of early voters chose to vote in-person, with 3,200,004 in-person votes already cast. 

According to the State Board of Elections, more than 80% of the roughly 1.36 million people who requested an absentee by mail ballot have already voted — either by returning their ballot or by voting early in-person (therefore spoiling their absentee by mail ballot).

North Carolina requires ballots be postmarked before or on Election Day by 5:00 p.m. ET. The US Supreme Court allowed on Wednesday the state’s ballot receipt deadline extension. That means ballots postmarked by Election Day can be counted as long as they arrived by 5:00 p.m. ET on Nov. 12.

Election officials have said that, regardless of the ruling, voters should not wait until Election Day to mail back their ballot. 

On Thursday, Karen Brinson Bell, executive director of the State Board of Elections, said, “Please make sure your ballot is counted. Return it now.”

An absentee ballot can be returned in person at a "One Stop Absentee" early voting site through Oct. 31 at 3:00 p.m. ET. It can also be returned in person to the voter’s county board of elections office by 5:00 p.m. ET on Election Day. 

Note: The NCSBE website says there are 1,451,227 absentee ballot requests. They say 1.36 million represents individual voters; the 1.45million is total requests. Some voters sent multiple requests and/or invalid requests. 

11:36 a.m. ET, October 30, 2020

More than 7.8 million Floridians have voted so far

From CNN's Curt Devine

Voters wait in line to cast their early ballots at the Hialeah John F. Kennedy Library polling station on October 28 in Hialeah, Florida.
Voters wait in line to cast their early ballots at the Hialeah John F. Kennedy Library polling station on October 28 in Hialeah, Florida. Joe Raedle/Getty Images

Updated state numbers show that 7.8 million (7,822,033) Floridians have voted so far. That’s up by more than 400,000 from yesterday. 

Democrats still lead Republicans by about 160,000 votes (163,683). There are 3.1 million (3,130,430) total votes by Democrats and 2.97 million (2,966,747) total votes by Republicans. 

Republicans continue to win at in-person early voting. Nearly half a million (474,229) more Republicans than Democrats have voted in-person so far.  

The wildcard here is that 1.6 million (1,621,275) Floridians with no party affiliation have also voted already. 

Another 1.6 million (1,648,520) vote-by-mail ballots have been provided and not returned.

Drew Griffin reports:

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

CNN
CNN

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. 

Watch: