It's the Saturday before Election Day

By Fernando Alfonso III, CNN

Updated 10:53 p.m. ET, October 31, 2020
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10:43 a.m. ET, October 31, 2020

More than 90 million pre-election ballots cast in the US

From CNN's Adam Levy, Ethan Cohen and Liz Stark  

More than 90 million Americans have voted so far with three days left until Election Day, according to a survey of election officials in all 50 states and Washington, DC, by CNN, Edison Research, and Catalist.  

These votes represent almost 43% of registered voters nationwide. Fourteen states have seen more than half of their registered voters cast ballots already. 

As pre-Election Day voting surges nationwide amid the ongoing coronavirus pandemic, many states are reporting record turnout compared to last cycle.  

As of Friday, Texas and Hawaii surpassed its total turnout from the 2016 general election.   

Nationwide, the more than 90 million ballots already cast represents about 66% — almost two-thirds — of the more than 136.5 million ballots cast in the 2016 presidential election.    

Some context: So far, 35 states and Washington, DC, have crossed their halfway marks for total 2016 ballots cast, including 13 of CNN’s 16 most competitively-ranked states: Texas, Georgia, North Carolina, Nevada, Florida, Arizona, Colorado, Wisconsin, Maine, Iowa, Michigan, Minnesota, Nebraska.

About half of the votes already cast this cycle comes from those 16 key states, which will play a crucial role in determining who wins the presidency this year.  

Some voter information comes from Catalist, a company that provides data, analytics and other services to Democrats, academics and nonprofit issue-advocacy organizations and is giving insights into who is voting before November.  


10:24 a.m. ET, October 31, 2020

More than 9.6 million ballots cast during early voting in Texas

From CNN's Ashley Killough

More than 9.6 million people voted in the key state of Texas during the three-week early voting period that concluded Friday night. 

This marks a 7.8% increase in votes compared to the overall 2016 tally, with Election Day remaining and as voters continue to return their mail ballots.  

Some context: The high turnout so far accounts for about 57% of registered voters in the state. Total registered voters has grown 12% since 2016, or almost 1.9 million people.   

On Friday, 563,017 people voted in person, bringing the total in-person votes to 8,698,233, according to the Texas Secretary of State’s website. Ballots-by-mail, which will continue to come in, account for 971,013 votes so far. 

Texas had 8.96 million ballots cast in the 2016 election, or 59% of registered voters at the time.  

10:06 a.m. ET, October 31, 2020

Deadline to challenge mail-in ballot applications in Pennsylvania passes with few filings 

From CNN's Mark Morales, Katelyn Polantz and Kelly Mena

A key deadline for challenging voter eligibility in Pennsylvania passed Friday without either party challenging a single application for mail-in ballots in the state’s largest city of Philadelphia, an election official said Friday, cutting off a pathway to claim voter fraud.

“In Philly, we set out and voted on a procedure complying with the Pennsylvania election code for how to challenge those mail-in ballots whether they are absentee ballots or regular mail-in ballots and as of close of business today, we did not receive a challenge to any of them,” said Al Schmidt, Philadelphia County GOP commissioner. 

So far, Philadelphia has had over 400,000 mail-in applications for ballots. None were challenged, Schmidt said. They’ve gotten 325,000 of them back and all are expected to be counted at the Pennsylvania Convention Center starting at 7 a.m. on Election Day. About 1.1 million voters are expected to cast their ballot, according to election officials. Those ballots themselves could still face a legal challenge. 

The deadline offered an opportunity for Republicans, who have been falsely claiming widespread voter fraud over mail-in ballots, and others, to challenge voters whom they believed may have been requesting applications fraudulently. State law says the county would need challenges to voters' qualifications to receive absentee ballots before 5 p.m. on the Friday before the election.

Across the state in Allegheny County, Republicans did challenge 237 mail-in ballot applications, a small fraction of the more than 413,000 that were sent out, according to the Secretary of State’s office.

It was not immediately clear whether the Republicans mounted challenges in other counties around the state. Republicans in a press release Friday said the applications were challenged on issues with voter ID numbers. 

Scott Glover also contributed to this report.

10:33 a.m. ET, October 31, 2020

Roughly 8.3 million people have voted in Florida so far

From CNN's Curt Devine

Voters fill out their ballots in Miami on October 19.
Voters fill out their ballots in Miami on October 19. Joe Raedle/Getty Images

There have been 8,294,115 votes cast in Florida so far, according to state data.

Registered Democrats still lead registered Republicans by about 116,000 votes (116,051). But the margin of Democrats’ lead has steadily plummeted as Republicans have gained through early in-person voting. A week ago, Democrats led by nearly 400,000 votes (386,908).

Some context: The big question is what will happen this weekend on the final two days of early in-person voting in Florida.

Republicans have consistently out voted Democrats through early in-person voting, but some Democratic operatives have expressed confidence that their party could get a boost on Sunday.

The caveat to all of this is that 1.7 million Floridians with no party affiliation have also already voted.

8:41 a.m. ET, October 31, 2020

Key stats about Friday's record breaking Covid-19 day in the US

From CNN’s Haley Brink and Amanda Watts

As the presidential election approaches, the United States recorded 99,321 new Covid-19 cases on Friday, according to Johns Hopkins University. This is not only a record single day high for the US, but also the globe.

The US average of new cases per day is now at 78,738 – soaring well above the previous high we hit over the summer. This metric is up 24% from the previous week, university data shows.  

The top five all time highest single-days of new cases in the United States have happened in the last week.

On Friday, 14 states reported their record high single-day of new cases ever, according to Johns Hopkins University data: Colorado, Illinois, Iowa, Kansas, Maine, Minnesota, Missouri, Montana, North Dakota, Ohio, South Dakota, Utah, West Virginia, and Wyoming.

8:10 a.m. ET, October 31, 2020

Here's why early election night results could 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