Nov. 2, 2022 US election coverage

By Adrienne Vogt, Aditi Sangal, Elise Hammond and Maureen Chowdhury, CNN

Updated 1:14 p.m. ET, November 4, 2022
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3:49 p.m. ET, November 2, 2022

How election officials are boosting security to prepare for the midterms 

From CNN’s Fredreka Schouten 

A mail ballot drop box is displayed outside Philadelphia city hall on October 24.
A mail ballot drop box is displayed outside Philadelphia city hall on October 24. Ed Jones/AFP/Getty Images

In the months and weeks leading up to the midterm, officials charged with administering the elections have boosted security for their staff, polling places and voters, as baseless conspiracy theories about fraud continue to swirl around the 2020 election and the one now underway. 

In Madison, Wisconsin, where a top election official faced death threats in the aftermath of the 2020 election, officials have redesigned the city clerk’s office, adding cameras, locking doors and covering the windows with white paper, said city attorney Michael Haas. In addition, a new city ordinance establishes a fine of up to $1,000 for disorderly conduct directed at election officials. 

In Colorado, meanwhile, a new state law – the Vote Without Fear Act – prohibits carrying firearms at polling places or within 100 feet of a ballot drop box. And in Tallahassee, Florida, officials have added Kevlar and bullet-resistant acrylic shields to the Leon County elections office, said Mark Earley, who runs elections in the county. 

As CNN reported in September, the concerns about threats and harassment are so great that federal officials are now offering de-escalation training to local and state officials to help avert violence at the polls. 

Tina Barton, a former election official in Michigan who sits on the Committee for Safe and Secure Elections, said election officials are deploying a bevy of tactics to secure the elections – from installing cameras and lighting at drop boxes to adding GPS and other tracking devices to ballot bags to monitor their movement on Election Day. 

“We certainly are in territory that we have not navigated in the past,” Barton said. 

Barton said election officials are deploying a bevy of tactics to secure the elections – from installing cameras and lighting at drop boxes to adding GPS and other tracking devices to ballot bags to monitor their movement on Election Day. 

Election officials in North Carolina issued what they described as their “most comprehensive” guidance to local elections officials for maintaining order at polling places this fall. It reinforces that it’s a crime to interfere with voter or election workers. The North Carolina State Board of Elections has also developed a guide for local law enforcement to help officers identify and respond to voter intimidation. 

In Leon County, Florida, Earley said his staff has received active-shooter training as part of their preparations in recent election cycles. But he said it has taken on “more significance since January 6,” referring to the 2021 attack on the US Capitol. 

Keep reading here.

3:06 p.m. ET, November 2, 2022

Have you experienced voting issues? Send us your stories

From CNN staff

Are you having difficulty registering or voting, whether in person or by mail? Are you worried about receiving or returning your mail-in ballot or ballot drop-off box? Do you believe you have seen or received disinformation relating to voting information or the election? Do you have any other concerns around your experience voting?

Tell us your story below. We may follow up on some responses for upcoming stories.

More information on important voting dates is available here. For the latest reporting from CNN on the 2022 midterms, click here.

If you are unable to see the form below, click here.

3:43 p.m. ET, November 2, 2022

In book promo video, Pence says he was "always loyal" to Trump but in the end, "came on difficult times"

From CNN's Kristen Holmes

Leah Millis/Reuters
Leah Millis/Reuters

Former Vice President Mike Pence addressed the deep rift between him and former President Trump during a promotional video for his new book, “So Help Me God.”

“I was always loyal to President Donald Trump. He was my president. And he was my friend,” Pence said while touting the book ahead of its Nov. 15 release. “We forged a close personal relationship. But in the end, came on difficult times.”

The promotional clip comes as both men have begun to lay the groundwork for a potential 2024 presidential run.

Pence has traveled the country supporting Republican candidates in the midterms and used the opportunity to separate himself from the former President and criticize Trump’s attempts to overturn the 2020 election.

Last month, Pence declined to say whether or not he would vote for former President Trump should he run in 2024.

More on their relationship: Pence drew Trump’s ire after resisting pressure from the former President and his allies to block Congress from certifying the 2020 election. The hearings from the House select committee investigating the deadly Jan. 6 riot revealed details of the intensity of the pressure campaign that was put on Pence and footage aired during the final hearing showed the former vice president working with Democrat House Speaker Nancy Pelosi and other lawmakers to make sure that the election was certified despite the violent riot. 

2:21 p.m. ET, November 2, 2022

Biden will speak the day after the midterm elections, White House says

From CNN's Kevin Liptak

President Joe Biden will deliver remarks the day after the midterm elections, the White House said, though it didn't commit to him answering questions.

"You’ll certainly hear from the President. He will give remarks. I don’t know yet what it will look like," Karine Jean-Pierre, the White House press secretary, said Wednesday.

Past presidents have traditionally held news conferences the day after midterm elections. They have produced noteworthy moments, such as when then-President Barack Obama acknowledged a "shellacking" for Democrats in 2010.

Obama held news conferences following midterm elections in 2010 and 2014. Former President Donald Trump held a news conference after midterms in 2018. And former President George W. Bush held news conferences after the midterm elections in 2002 and 2006.

Jean-Pierre said she didn't want to "get ahead of" what Biden might do following the first midterm elections if his presidency.

"You will certainly hear from the President after Election Day," she said.

2:14 p.m. ET, November 2, 2022

These have been the most expensive House races — each spending tens of millions of dollars

From CNN's David Wright

Democrat congresswoman Elissa Slotkin speaks in Lansing, Michigan, on Tuesday.
Democrat congresswoman Elissa Slotkin speaks in Lansing, Michigan, on Tuesday. Rebecca Cook/Reuters

House races in Michigan, Nevada and Virginia top the list of ad spending in the final push before the midterms – between Labor Day and Election Day – including future reservations over the last couple of days.

Leading the list is Michigan's 7th Congressional District, where Democratic Rep. Elissa Slotkin faces a tough reelection campaign against GOP challenger Tom Barrett. The race has drawn over $30 million in ad spending since Labor Day – nearly as much as has been spent in statewide US Senate races in Florida, Colorado and Washington over the same period. Democrats have outspent Republicans by about $18.5 million to $11.7 million there. 

The second most amount of spending happened in Nevada's 3rd Congressional District. Vulnerable Democrat, Rep. Susie Lee, is facing reelection in the expensive Las Vegas media market. The race has been consistently among the most expensive races throughout the cycle, and campaigns and outside groups from both parties have combined to spend over $26 million. Democrats have a narrow advertising edge there in the Labor Day to Election Day period, leading $13.3 million to $12.9 million. 

In third place is Virginia's 7th Congressional District, featuring Democratic incumbent Rep. Abigail Spanberger. That race has also drawn just over $26 million, and Democrats also have a narrow edge on the air in the Labor Day to Election Day stretch, $13.9 million to $12.2 million. 

The list of the most expensive House races is littered with Democratic incumbents in tough reelection fights, reflecting the defensive crouch that Democrats find themselves in as they battle to retain their majority.

Others at the top of the spending list include:

  • Pennsylvania's 7th District with Rep. Susan Wild
  • Maine's 2nd District with Rep. Jared Golden
  • Minnesota's 2nd District with Rep. Angie Craig
  • New Hampshire's 1st District with Rep. Chris Pappas
  • California's 47th District with Rep. Katie Porter. 
2:00 p.m. ET, November 2, 2022

Analysis: These 5 numbers from CNN's new poll could signal a tough midterm ahead for Democrats

Analysis from CNN's Chris Cillizza

A new CNN national poll paints a very grim portrait of the electorate for Democrats, with any number of warning signs that suggest the 2022 midterms are shaping up to be very tough for their side.

These are some of the statistics that are particularly troubling for Democrats with just six days left before the election:

  • 42%: That's President Joe Biden's job approval rating among likely voters in the new poll, down from 46% in a CNN poll completed in September and early October. Even more concerning for Democrats should be the fact that while just 17% of likely voters strongly approve of the job Biden is doing, a whopping 47% strongly disapprove — a major passion gap.
  • 61%: That's the number of likely voters who say that Biden hasn't paid enough attention to the most important problems facing the country. Just 39% say that Biden has the right priorities. For context, in a poll conducted by CNN just before the 2018 midterm elections — where Democrats gained a net of 40 House seats — 40% of total respondents said Trump had the right priorities for the country.
  • 51%: That's the number of likely voters who say the economy is the key issue in determining their vote. Abortion — at 15% — is the only other issue that ranks in double digits. Concerns about the economy bodes poorly for the party in power, especially when you consider ongoing concerns about inflation and the price of gas. Meanwhile, Republicans have been hammering away for months at what they describe as Biden's poor handling of the economy. Among likely voters who say the economy is their top concern, 71% say they plan to support the Republican candidate in their House district. 
  • 28%: That's how many likely voters say things are going "very" or "fairly" well in the country. More than 7 in 10 (72%) say things are going "pretty" or "very" badly. This suggests that this is an electorate hungry for a course correction, which, given that Democrats control the White House, House and Senate should be very good news for Republicans.
  • 75%: Three quarters of likely voters say the economy is in the midst of a recession. Whether the economy is headed for a recession is a matter of debate, but what is not up for debate is how voters are perceiving economic conditions.

The picture that emerges from the poll is an electorate deeply concerned about the state of the economy and not at all convinced that Biden is concentrating on it as much as he should. The poll also reveals that the anti-Biden voters are far more passionate than the pro-Biden voters, a mismatch that often predicts a turnout disparity.

The poll, in sort, reads like something close to a worst-case scenario for Democrats. And with less than a week until Election Day, it’s not at all clear what they can do to change it.

1:56 p.m. ET, November 2, 2022

Obama and Booker defend Mandela Barnes’ values in tight Wisconsin Senate race

From CNN's Eric Bradner, DJ Judd and Omar Jimenez

Former President Barack Obama attends a rally with Wisconsin Gov. Tony Evers and senate candidate Mandela Barnes in Milwaukee on October 29.
Former President Barack Obama attends a rally with Wisconsin Gov. Tony Evers and senate candidate Mandela Barnes in Milwaukee on October 29. Daniel Steinle/Reuters

Top Democrats, including former President Barack Obama and New Jersey Sen. Cory Booker, are rushing to the defense of Mandela Barnes after months of attacks questioning the Wisconsin Senate nominee’s values and labeling him “different.”

Barnes, the Democratic lieutenant governor, is challenging Republican Sen. Ron Johnson in one of the most competitive races on the midterm map. A months-long barrage of GOP ads seeking to define Barnes’ image has largely defined the race and prompted the late Democratic push-back.

Johnson, in a recent CNN interview, questioned why Barnes “has such grievances against this country.” 

“He doesn’t particularly like Wisconsin. He doesn’t particularly like this country,” Johnson said.

Booker, who campaigned with Barnes on Tuesday, said he had watched television in Milwaukee on Monday night and saw “more nasty, mean lies” in television advertisements targeting Barnes “than I’ve heard in any other state that I’ve visited.” 

If he wins next week, the 35-year-old Barnes, Wisconsin’s first Black lieutenant governor, would be the first Black person to represent the Badger State in the Senate.

Countering the ads he said he’d watched, Booker said Barnes is “such a positive person.” 

“He’s candidate of hope. He sees a new horizon and new visions for our country of promise and possibility.  And so I’m not going to give too much attention to the dark. I’m going to talk about the light that Mandela is going to bring,” he said. 

Booker’s message echoed what Obama had said Saturday at a rally with Barnes and Democratic Gov. Tony Evers, who is up for reelection.

Obama compared Barnes to himself — saying that Barnes’ rivals had stoked fears that “just because Mandela’s named Mandela, just because he’s a Democrat with a funny name, he must not be like you, he must not share your values.” 

“It sounds pretty familiar, doesn’t it?” Obama said. 

He compared the GOP campaign against Barnes to "birtherism," the false and racist conspiracy theory advanced by former President Donald Trump that Obama was not born in the United States. 

“Mandela, get ready to dig up that birth certificate,” Obama joked. 

More on the race: Johnson entered the race as one of the least popular incumbent senators up for re-election this year. But a crush of ads connecting Barnes-backed policies to rising crime rates and citing his previous comments aligning with progressive calls to “defund the police” have dented the Democratic nominee’s favorability ratings, too. It has also played out in advertising wars.

Johnson made similar attacks on Barnes as in ads Wednesday in Chippewa Falls, saying that the Democratic lieutenant governor “is demonstrating his contempt and disdain for America, certainly for law enforcement, and quite honestly for Wisconsinites.”

Pressed by CNN after the event on how he squared hitting Democrats for engaging in personal attacks while labeling his opponent as “somebody who doesn't like this country particularly,” the Wisconsin Republican defended his rhetoric, telling CNN, “Well that’s the truth.”

“So, you do have to convey the truth to people, you know, particularly in an election, and the election is a choice between two people,” Johnson said. “And unfortunately, the truth is that the left are the ones that are dividing this nation, it’s the left that is angry. We're concerned, we're trying to save this nation, we're trying to heal and unify it. It's President Biden, as much as he promised that was his number one goal, has done the exact opposite. So that's just the truth.”
1:29 p.m. ET, November 2, 2022

Biden offered a preview of Wednesday's speech on democracy at fundraiser in Florida

From CNN's Kevin Liptak and Phil Mattingly

President Biden speaks at a campaign event for former Florida Gov. Charlie Crist in Miami on Tuesday.
President Biden speaks at a campaign event for former Florida Gov. Charlie Crist in Miami on Tuesday. Robert Bell/ Images/AP

While President Joe Biden has not made a defense of democracy a centerpiece of his midterms argument, the topic has been a feature of his thinking this political season and has emerged more in his off-camera conversations with Democrats.

The day before his speech in Washington, Biden warned a group of Democratic donors in Florida that “Democracy is on the ballot” this year — and offered something of a preview of his message for a day later.

“How can you say that you in fact care about democracy when you deny the existence of a win? The only way you could win is either you win or the other guy cheated,” he said at the event, held in an oceanfront backyard of a mansion in Golden Beach, Florida.

“This has not happened since the Civil War. It sounds like hyperbole, but it hadn't happened since then, as bad as it is now,” he said.

Biden’s Civil War reference hardly appeared coincidental; he was seen this week carrying a copy of historian Jon Meacham’s new book “And There Was Light: Abraham Lincoln and the American Struggle,” which explores how America’s 16th president confronted secession and threats to democracy.

Meacham is an informal adviser to Biden and has helped write some of his most high-profile speeches.

In his remarks at the Florida fundraiser, Biden noted the attack on Paul Pelosi and said it was hardly surprising given Republicans’ rhetoric. The attack on the husband of the House speaker is one of the reasons Biden decided to deliver Wednesday’s speech, officials said, though plans had been in the works for a while.

"Look at the response — the so-called response — from Republicans, making jokes about it and/or saying, ‘Well, you know, it's not because of what's being said and not said,’” Biden said of the assault.

“When they hear every single day these outrageous lies -- these outrageous lies across the board about everything,” Biden said. “How can you be surprised?”

“The guy purchases a hammer to kneecap the ... number two in line ... [to] President of the United States of America. And nobody on that party condemns it for exactly what it is,” he said.

1:47 p.m. ET, November 2, 2022

80-year-old Philadelphia Democrat says she's concerned for future generations as she casts her ballot 

From CNN's Kit Maher in Philadelphia

Pam Riley poses for a photo in Philadelphia on Wednesday.
Pam Riley poses for a photo in Philadelphia on Wednesday. Courtesy Kit Maher

Pam Riley says she is glad she’s old.

“I guess, I’m glad I’m 80 years old, because I don’t have to see this much longer. But it’s a world that’s not sustainable, and I don’t know what we do,” Riley, a registered Democrat, told CNN in Philadelphia on Wednesday.

Heading into the midterm elections, Riley's view of the country, isn’t optimistic — but it's not completely hopeless either. 

“I think this country is kind of on the wrong track, because everything is so focused on your stocks and bonds, how much money you have. I don’t feel completely hopeless, but I don’t feel good. I just don’t feel good. I’m glad I’m not younger,” Riley said.

When asked what words come to mind when she thinks about America, Riley said, “scary.” 

For the 20-year Philadelphia resident and former college teacher, the most important issues to her when it comes to the polls are poverty and inequality. 

“How many people in this country don’t eat? That’s a major issue,” Riley said.

“I’m not worried about myself,” Riley added. “I would like to know how the society can increase prices so much that just the average person with the average job has a problem. I don’t know how we got to this place and I don’t know how we get out of it."

“You have to have enough people who care that a certain percentage of the population is doing without or even starving,” she told CNN. “When I was younger it seemed like people were more generous.”

Riley has already voted for Democratic gubernatorial nominee Josh Shapiro and Democratic Senate hopeful John Fetterman. She says she agrees with more of what the party stands for — but she added that she would vote Republican, depending on the candidate. 

“I would vote for a Republican, but it would have to be a one-off. It would have to be someone I really thought was better than the Democratic candidate, but I would do it,” Riley said.