It's the day before Election Day

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

Updated 11:09 PM ET, Mon November 2, 2020
17 Posts
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10:20 a.m. ET, November 2, 2020

About 127,000 votes are at stake in a challenge to drive-thru voting ballots in Harris County, Texas

From CNN's Aditi Sangal

About 127,000 ballots already cast are at stake after a group of Republicans filed a petition seeking to halt drive-thru voting in Harris County, Texas, and block ballots that were cast during early voting from being tabulated until the court issues an order.

“We followed Texas election code to the T. We [consulted] with the Texas secretary of state in setting up drive-through voting, and our plans are public for many months. Now, more than 100,000 Texans have cast their ballots in this way. This is completely legal,” said Harris County clerk Chris Hollins who has defended drive-thru voting.

Some background: A federal judge set a hearing for Monday morning to hear the challenge, in what marks another attempt to dismantle drive-thru voting after the Texas Supreme Court ruled earlier that it could proceed. 

Hollins explained what the drive-thru voting setup is like.

“We were allowed to have polling places inside buildings and inside movable structures, and that's what set up. These are large tent structures that you can drive into and cast your ballot,” he told CNN. “You cast your ballot on machines in the exact same way that folks who walk in to other voting centers do. It's completely legal.”

However, if the court rules against counting these drive-thru ballots, Hollins says officials are “prepared to marshall all county resources, including emergency response technology, to reach out to all 127,000 of potentially affected voters.”

“We do have tomorrow Election Day and we’re going to do whatever we can to get them out there and make sure that their voices are heard and that their votes are counted,” he added.

4:34 p.m. ET, November 2, 2020

More than 95 million ballots have been cast

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

More than 95 million Americans have voted nationwide so far with one day left until Election Day, according to a survey of election officials by CNN, Edison Research, and Catalist.  

These votes represent more than 45% of registered voters nationwide. 18 states and Washington, DC 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.  

Texas and Hawaii have already surpassed their total turnout from the 2016 general election. In 8 more states, the pre-election vote represents at least 90% of their 2016 total vote — Montana, Washington, North Carolina, Georgia, Nevada, Florida, New Mexico and Tennessee.  

Nationwide, the 95.5 million ballots already cast represents 70% of the more than 136.5 million ballots cast in the 2016 presidential election.  

36 states and Washington, DC have crossed their halfway marks for total 2016 ballots cast, including 14 of CNN’s 16 most competitively-ranked states — Texas, Georgia, North Carolina, Nevada, Florida, Arizona, Colorado, Wisconsin, Maine, Iowa, Michigan, Minnesota, Nebraska and Ohio.

A little less than 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.  

Here's a breakdown of pre-election votes cast so far by state:

10:06 a.m. ET, November 2, 2020

Wisconsin reaches 62% of 2016 turnout with in-person early voting

From CNN's Casey Tolan

People wait in line to cast their ballots outside Tippecanoe Library in Milwaukee, Wisconsin, on October 20.
People wait in line to cast their ballots outside Tippecanoe Library in Milwaukee, Wisconsin, on October 20. Kamil Krzaczynski/AFP/Getty Images

Wisconsin reached 62.8% of its 2016 general election turnout as the state wrapped up in-person early voting this weekend, new data released by the state Elections Commission on Monday showed.

As of Monday morning, at least 1,886,533 voters had cast early ballots in Wisconsin. That’s 62.8% of the 2016 general election turnout, and 51.2% of the state’s total registered voters.

Slightly more than a third of the early votes, 644,843, were cast in person, while the rest were cast by mail. There are still 174,507 absentee ballots in the state that have yet to be returned, although some of those voters may have decided to cancel their mailed ballots and vote early in person instead.  

In-person early voting finished Sunday in the state’s largest cities, Milwaukee and Madison, while most of the state’s smaller municipalities had already stopped early voting on Friday. All absentee ballots have to be delivered by 8 p.m. local time on Election Day. 

Dane County, a Democratic stronghold that includes the state capital Madison, still leads the state in early turnout rates, with 63.6% of registered voters casting a ballot.

The GOP-heavy suburban Milwaukee counties of Ozaukee, Waukesha and Washington are at 63.1%, 62.9% and 58.4%, respectively. Milwaukee County, the state’s most populous, is at 56.4% of registered voters, and many rural counties are far lower, as low as 21.3%. 

Wisconsin doesn’t have partisan voter registration so no party breakdown is available. 

10:04 a.m. ET, November 2, 2020

Twitter will label premature claims of election victory

From CNN’s Brian Fung

Signage is displayed outside of Twitter headquarters in San Francisco, California, on July 16.
Signage is displayed outside of Twitter headquarters in San Francisco, California, on July 16. David Paul Morris/Bloomberg via Getty Images

Twitter will apply a warning label to tweets by US political candidates, campaigns and other highly visible accounts that attempt to claim victory before official results have been declared, the company said Monday. 

"Beginning on election night through the inauguration, we will label some Tweets that make claims about election results," Twitter said in a blog post. "We will be prioritizing the presidential election and other highly contested races where there may be significant issues with misleading information based on the below criteria."

In addition to US candidates and campaigns, the policy will apply to Twitter accounts with more than 100,000 followers.

It will also extend to tweets that are receiving a high level of engagement, which is defined as 25,000 or more likes or retweets. 

Twitter also said it will consider an election result official when two separate national news outlets declare a winner. The list of news outlets Twitter is relying on includes ABC News, the AP, CBS News, CNN, Decision Desk HQ, Fox News and NBC News. 


10:01 a.m. ET, November 2, 2020

McEnany brushes off reports about Trump being prepared to declare victory on Election Night

From CNN's Ali Main and Jason Hoffman

White House Press Secretary Kayleigh McEnany speaks with reporters at the White House in Washington, DC, on October 23.
White House Press Secretary Kayleigh McEnany speaks with reporters at the White House in Washington, DC, on October 23. Alex Edelman/AFP/Getty Images

Appearing again on Fox in her personal capacity as a Trump campaign adviser from Miami-Dade County on Monday morning, White House press secretary Kayleigh McEnany brushed off reports that President Trump is prepared to declare victory on Election Night if he is close to 270 electoral votes, even if large numbers of ballots have yet to be counted.

Asked if there has been talk about this, McEnany responded, "No. What that is is that is the Joe Biden crowd knowing that they are on the brink of defeat, making things up and peddling it in the press. This President is prepared to win resoundingly."

However a senior Trump campaign adviser told CNN's Jim Acosta Sunday, that the Trump campaign plans to be very aggressive on Election Night and is prepared to declare victory if the President is close to the 270 electoral votes needed to win reelection.

Pressed further on the campaign's strategy on handling the period of time when key states like Pennsylvania will continue to count ballots after Nov. 3, she said, "we believe that Americans deserve to know the victor of the election on Election Night," falsely claiming that this process would be "subject to fraud."

Per a CNN fact check, there is no requirement that the result of the election be announced on the night of Election Day and states. When we do know the winner that night, it is not because complete results have been tabulated by election authorities; it is because media outlets have used the available data to make a projection.

Vote tallies always change after Election Day as absentee ballots and provisional ballots get counted; results that are publicly reported on election night are always "unofficial" and "preliminary." The official, final count is typically certified weeks later.

McEnany also confirmed that the President would spend Election Night at the White House. Asked whether she and the President would be together celebrating if he wins, McEnany responded, "Yes. We'll be there at the White House in DC."

 How networks would handle Trump declaring victory prematurely:

9:41 a.m. ET, November 2, 2020

Nearly 9 million Floridians have voted during early voting

From CNN's Curt Devine

Voters line-up to cast their ballots during early voting at the Alafaya Branch Library in Orlando, Florida, on October 30.
Voters line-up to cast their ballots during early voting at the Alafaya Branch Library in Orlando, Florida, on October 30. Ricardo Arduengo/AFP/Getty Images

Nearly 9 million Floridians — 8,974,896 — voted during the state’s early voting period, state data updated Monday morning show.

That’s about 94% of the total votes in the 2016 election, when about 9.6 million people voted in Florida. This also means that during Florida’s early voting period, about 62% of the state's registered voters, about 14.4 million, have already cast their votes through mail-in ballots and in-person voting.

Registered Democrats now lead registered Republicans by about 108,000 votes.

This is up by about 13,000 since Sunday morning, which shows that for at least one day Democrats held off gains that Republicans have consistently made over the last two weeks through early in-person voting.

About 1.9 million people with no party affiliation have also voted already in Florida.

9:45 a.m. ET, November 2, 2020

Take President Trump's popularity in Pennsylvania seriously, lieutenant governor says

From CNN's Aditi Sangal


President Trump enjoys an "inherent level of popularity" in various parts of Pennsylvania, Lt. Gov. John Fetterman said, adding that it may not be fully captured in polls but "you have to take that seriously."

With a retweet of a Trump rally Sunday, the Pennsylvania state official urged voters to get their ballots in, saying the President is popular in the state regardless of what the polls say.

“The President has undertaken an unprecedented engagement of small county Pennsylvanians through a level of barn storming that I can't recall another candidate has done before,” he told CNN. “There's a lot that I don't think can be captured fully in polling.”

"It's a message to my fellow Democrats," he added Monday. "You shouldn't be sitting on your mail-in ballots at all. There's no reason to. You don't use the mail, at this point it's too close to the deadline. You need to deliver it to a secure dropbox and make sure you bank your vote.”

Fetterman also emphasized that voters must drop off their ballots or vote in person Tuesday instead of mailing it.

“You just are risking having your vote potentially be nullified if you don't bank your mail-in ballot today.”


9:56 a.m. ET, November 2, 2020

Federal authorities to put back "non scalable" fence around White House today

From CNN's Kevin Bohn and Paul LeBlanc

 The sun rises over the White House on November 1 in Washington, DC.
The sun rises over the White House on November 1 in Washington, DC. Samuel Corum/Getty Images

Beginning today, federal authorities are expected to put back into place a “non scalable” fence around the entire perimeter of the White House, the same type of fencing that was put up during the protests this past summer, a source with knowledge of the matter confirmed to CNN.

The fence, as it did this summer, will also encompass the Ellipse and Lafayette Square. The fence will go down 15th St. to Constitution Ave. and then over to 17th and then up to H St., across H by Lafayette and then come down 15th St, according to the source.

This move comes as law enforcement and other agencies are preparing for possible protests surrounding the election.

Washington, DC, Police Chief Peter Newsham warned the District’s City Council last month there was wide expectation of some type of civil unrest following the election.

A pedestrian passes work being done to board up a Pret A Manger restaurant along K Street on October 30.
A pedestrian passes work being done to board up a Pret A Manger restaurant along K Street on October 30. Jacquelyn Martin/AP

Many businesses in the downtown DC area in the proximity of the White House have boarded up doors and windows in the last couple of days in anticipation of possible protests.

During this past summer some businesses saw their windows smashed and other property damage by protesters.

NBC first reported the new fencing. The Secret Service did not respond to a request for comment.

Read more here.


9:09 a.m. ET, November 2, 2020

Here's how to stay safe while voting in person

From CNN's Sandee LaMotte

Voting in person is a cherished right for many Americans — and for people concerned that their ballot might be lost in the mail, delivering their mail-in or absentee ballot may be their preferred option this year.

Standing in long lines at the polling center with people who may or may not be wearing masks, often inside buildings without good ventilation, certainly raises your risk of catching Covid-19.

But there are things you can do to reduce risk if you vote in person:

  • Check your polling station: What's the level of protection that will be in place at your assigned polling station? You should know in advance, for example: If you'll be spending the majority of your wait standing outside or if masks are required of both voters and poll workers. You also want to vote at a location that has a separate point of entry and exit to minimize crowds forming in the space. Any time spent indoors should be minimized. The safest locations will be school gymnasiums, community recreation centers, convention centers and large parking lots, according to the Brennan Center and the Infectious Diseases Society of America guidelines.
  • Vote at less busy times of the day: Even though people are still working from home, most people are likely to vote before or after work or at lunch time. If you can aim for mid-morning or early to mid-afternoon, you may encounter fewer lines. You may also encounter fewer people if you vote early in the window of opportunity your state provides for early voting. Stay in touch with local friends on Facebook or a neighborhood site like Nextdoor. People will often post updates about crowds at different times of the day, which can be used to plan your trip.
  • Carefully choose your mask: Be picky about your mask. Studies have shown that cotton masks with two or three layers of fabric are more protective than single-ply masks or bandanas. In fact, a recent study found bandanas and gaiter masks to be least effective in protection.
  • Vote alone: Unless you have a disability that requires assistance, vote alone, experts say. This is not the year to bring your children or other non-voting family members to the voting location.
  • Come prepared: Along with that highly protective mask, you should bring tissues and hand sanitizer with at least 60% alcohol or disinfecting wipes, the CDC says.

Read more here.