Election 2020 live updates: Texas early voting shatters total of all 2016 ballots

3dfoto/iStockBy LIBBY CATHEY, ABC News

(WASHINGTON) — With four days until Election Day, and President Donald Trump and former Vice President Joe Biden racing toward Nov. 3, more than 82 million Americans have already cast their ballots — an early voting record.

Friday brings both Trump and Biden to Minnesota and Wisconsin, revealing how crucial the states are to both campaigns, with the contest overshadowed by coronavirus cases rising there and in nearly every battleground state.

The president’s aggressive, defensive strategy — visiting states he won in 2016 including a first stop in Michigan Friday afternoon — comes as polls show him trailing nationally and in swing states key to his reelection hopes. Vice President Mike Pence returns to Arizona for a pair of rallies in Flagstaff and Tucson.

Biden will see his busiest travel day to date of the general election. With a stop in Iowa too, it’s the first time the former vice president has made plans to campaign in three states in one day for the 2020 cycle. Running mate California Sen. Kamala Harris is in Texas as Democrats play offense and sense an opportunity to snatch the GOP-stronghold for the first time in more than four decades.

Here is how the day is developing Friday. All times Eastern:

Oct 30, 5:56 pm
In Arizona, crowd chants ‘lock her up’ after Pence says Pelosi ‘has got to go’

At his first of two stops in Arizona on Friday, Vice President Mike Pence threw his support behind congressional candidates and told Arizonans to elect them so House Speaker Nancy Pelosi, D-Calif., can be removed from her post.

“So right after you reelect President Donald Trump for four more years and right after you reelect Sen. Martha McSally to the United States Senate, we all need you to send Paul Gosar, Congressman Markwayne Mullin and Tiffany Shedd to a new Republican majority in the House of Representatives, and retire Nancy Pelosi once and for all. Out! She has got to go,” Pence said at the outdoor rally in Flagstaff.
That caused some supporters to chant “lock her up!”

Mullin, it should be noted, is not on the ballot in Arizona, but represents Oklahoma’s 2nd Congressional District.
McSally, who is competing in one of the most-watched Senate campaigns this cycle, introduced Pence. The vice president said it was “an honor” to share the stage with her, and that she has “emerged as one of the greatest champions” for Republicans.
On the coronavirus, Pence said that a vaccine is “just a short time away.” He acknowledged that COVID-19 cases are increasing in the state, which reported 1,565 new cases Friday.  
“And as we see cases rise, particularly across the heartland and even somewhat here in Arizona,” he told of the crowd of about 500, the majority of whom were not wearing masks or social distancing. “I want to assure you, we’re going to continue to move heaven and earth to make sure that our doctors and nurses, and here in Arizona and everywhere in America, that every family has access to the health care that we’d want any member of our family to have.”  
-ABC News’ Justin Gomez

Oct 30, 4:17 pm
ABC’s race ratings update: Texas is now a toss-up in campaign’s final days

With only four days until Nov. 3, Texas has moved this week in Biden’s favor — shifting from lean Republican to a toss-up, according to ABC’s race ratings.

Here’s where the race to 270 currently stands: Biden – 290; Trump – 125; Toss-up -123.

Click here for ABC’s interactive electoral map, which is updated weekly.

-ABC News’ Kendall Karson

Oct 30, 3:56 pm
Trump mocks COVID-19 public health precautions at Minnesota rally

Trump kicked off his rally in Waterford Township, Michigan, by commenting on the cold weather but saying he felt “very warm in this group” before confidently declaring, “Four days from now, we’re going to win this state and we’re going to go on to win four more great years in the White House.”

An ABC News/Washington Post [poll] () out this week shows Biden narrowly ahead of Trump among likely voters in Michigan, 51% to 44%.

Speaking to the packed crowd of mostly maskless supporters, Trump mocked the size of Biden’s crowds when compared with his, saying “nobody shows up.”

He also took aim at Biden’s running mate, and though he regularly mispronounces Kamala Harris’ name, Trump added the false claim that Harris can’t pronounce her own name either.

At one point the president called out to Fox News’ Laura Ingraham, who was present and expressed disbelief that she was wearing a mask — though coronavirus cases are rising in Michigan and nearly every other battleground state.

“Where is Laura? Where is she? I can’t recognize you. Is that a mask? No way. Are you wearing a mask? I’ve never seen her in a mask. Look at you. She’s being very politically correct. Whoa!” Trump said.

Ahead of more rallies in Wisconsin and Minnesota, Trump complained that local officials in Minnesota are “scamming” him by not allowing his campaign to hold a rally of more than 250 people in order to adhere to the state’s COVID-19 restrictions.

“You know what, that maybe will give us the final victory. We haven’t won Minnesota since 1972, OK?” Trump said. “That’s not good odds, but we are very popular because I helped with that disaster in Minneapolis.”

-ABC News’ Jordyn Phelps

Oct 30, 3:55 pm
Harris praises record voting in Texas, says it’s still not time to ‘let up on the pedal’

Harris’ first stop in Texas was Fort Worth, where she gave remarks to a socially distanced and masked crowd of about 300 supporters outside of First St. John’s Cathedral — her presence in the state significant as she’s the first Democrat vice presidential candidate to campaign there since 1988.
After the state shattered its 2016 voting record this morning, Harris praised the more than nine million votes already cast in Texas — but reminded the race isn’t over yet.

“Today is the last day of early voting in Texas and you all have been doing your thing! What did I hear? Was it 9 million people have voted so far?” Harris said. “Now, we know this is no time to let up on the pedal though, right?”
Urging Texans to vote whether early or on Election Day, she repeated her mantra that voting is one of the best ways to “honor the ancestors,” paying special tribute to the late Congressman John Lewis.

“John Lewis lived a life that was about a commitment to fighting for equal rights and civil rights, and it was fight that was born out of being a patriot and loving our country,” she said. “Knowing the best way we achieve our ideals, is to fight for those ideals, to do it in every way by standing up, showing up and speaking up — so we must vote to honor the ancestors.”

Though winning the state’s 29 electoral college votes is a longshot for the party, some Democrats sense an opportunity to snatch the GOP-stronghold for the first time in more than four decades, while others warn the campaign should stay focused on states Clinton narrowly lost in 2016.
“You are strong, you have power, and at election time, that power will be through your vote. And you will tell them when they ask that you elected Joe Biden the President of the United States,” Harris said closing her remarks. “Thank you Fort Worth, and God bless Texas.”

-ABC News’ Averi Harper

Oct 30, 11:18 am
COVID-19 election battleground state tracker

As the country enters what many scientists are calling a new wave of the coronavirus pandemic and the presidential candidates make their final pitches to voters in battleground states, here’s an update of the COVID-19 situation in 13 states ABC News rates as competitive for the presidential election (either toss-ups, leaning Democrat or leaning Republican).

Eight battleground states — Iowa, Michigan, Minnesota, North Carolina, Ohio, Pennsylvania, Texas and Wisconsin — are experiencing a rise in all three metrics: cases, hospitalizations and deaths.

Rate of positivity:

Increased in 12 states: Arizona, Florida, Georgia, Iowa, Minnesota, Michigan, North Carolina, Nevada, Ohio, Pennsylvania, Texas, Wisconsin

Current hospitalizations:

Increased in 10 states: Arizona, Georgia, Iowa, Minnesota, Michigan, North Carolina, Ohio, Pennsylvania, Texas, Wisconsin

Daily deaths:

Increasing in eight states: Iowa, Michigan, Minnesota, North Carolina, Ohio, Pennsylvania, Texas, Wisconsin

Decreasing in four states: Arizona, Florida, New Hampshire, Nevada

Oct 30, 10:24 am
Biden departs for 3-state tour, says he’s not taking ‘anything for granted’

Just before he boarded his plane with his granddaughter, Maisy, the former vice president took a quick question from the press about why he was visiting Minnesota, a state Democrats won by 2.5 points in 2016, and if that signaled concern about the state.

“No, I’m not concerned. 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 til the last minute,” Biden said.

Biden will now head out for Iowa — a state Trump won in 2016 by nearly 10 points and one Biden hasn’t seen since the Iowa caucuses — his first of three stops in the Midwest Friday.

Oct 30, 10:15 am
Texas shatters 2016 voting record on last day of early voting

Texas has shattered its voting record with four days to go until Nov. 3, reporting 9,009,850 votes already cast as of Friday morning, beating the state’s all-time record of 8,969,226 votes cast in 2016.

In a final push to encourage early voting, Harris County, the state’s most populous county which includes Houston and the surrounding area, kept eight locations open for 24 hours. The 24-hour period started Thursday morning. Between 7 p.m. Thursday and 7 a.m. Friday, 10,250 people voted there.

Harris County Clerk Chris Hollins tweeted late Thursday that the county — home to roughly 4.7 million people — had surpassed its entire voter turnout from 2016 with nearly 1.4 million votes already cast.

Friday is the final day Texans can vote early in the 2020 election. It comes as California Sen. Kamala Harris takes to the GOP-stronghold for the day as Democrats sense an opportunity — though a long shot — to win the state’s 38 electoral votes.

Oct 30, 9:38 am
Overview: Trump, Biden battle for the Midwest as COVID-19 cases rise

Heading into the final weekend before Election Day, both candidates are doing a final blitz through the battleground states they hope will determine the outcome of the race in their favor — but the barnstorming comes as coronavirus cases rise in every competitive state they’re vying for.

Friday brings the candidates to Minnesota and Wisconsin — revealing the importance both campaigns are placing on those states. Trump also stops in Michigan — where Biden will campaign on Saturday with former President Barack Obama — and Biden will also take to Iowa — a state he hasn’t seen since the Iowa caucuses and one that Trump took in 2016 by nearly 10 points.
Trump’s and Biden’s campaign events in the homestretch have also illustrated their different outlooks on the coronavirus pandemic, with Trump insisting to packed crowds of mostly maskless supporters that the virus is disappearing, while Biden has acknowledged the pandemic will continue even if he’s elected and has repeatedly thanked his supporters for wearing masks and social distancing at his drive-in rallies.

But Trump’s rally in Minnesota Friday afternoon may change that trend and force the president to face the realities of the pandemic.

In the first time the campaign has limited attendance at a rally in accordance with local COVID-19 guidelines, the Trump campaign will allow just the first 250 people in line to attend Trump’s rally in Rochester, Minnesota, due to restrictions by the governor to control the virus, which the campaign called “free speech-stifling.”

The weekend blitz comes after the candidates converged in Florida Thursday to court the Latino vote and in which each offered conflicting realities of COVID-19 at their dueling rallies down the I-4 corridor. The weather threw both of them curve balls by the evening with Biden’s second Florida rally being cut short due to rain and Trump’s North Carolina rally also scrapped due to weather.

The vice president and vice-presidential candidate, too, are out on the trail with Republicans on offense — defending the map that led them to victory in 2016 — and Democrats seeking to expand theirs.
California Sen. Kamala Harris travels in Texas as Democrats play offense and sense an opportunity to snatch the GOP-stronghold for the first time in more than four decades. Vice President Mike Pence, meanwhile, has two rallies in Arizona — a state Trump won in 2016 by four points.
With just four days to go and more than 82 million votes already cast, time is running out for Trump and Biden to sway voters.

Oct 30, 9:32 am
Biden to ‘barnstorm’ Pennsylvania in final days

Biden’s campaign has announced that he will be spending at least part of the last 72 hours in the 2020 race in Pennsylvania — an indication of just how important Democrats believe the Keystone State will be in determining a winner.

On Sunday, Biden will travel to Philadelphia to “discuss bringing Americans together to address the crises facing the country and win the battle for the soul of the nation.”

On Monday, Biden and former second lady Jill Biden, along with Sen. Kamala Harris and her husband Doug Emhoff, plan to “barnstorm” the state, spreading out across all the four corners.
Biden’s speech on Sunday offers a bit of a full circle moment for the former vice president, who held his “campaign launch rally” in Philadelphia on May 18, 2019, and laid out his campaign vision for unifying the country in the remarks just under a month after launching his third run for president.

Pennsylvania is by far the state Biden has visited the most in the 2020 general election and one that holds a particular importance to him.
“I’m going to win Pennsylvania. It’s a matter of a great deal to me, personally as well as politically,” Biden told reporters Monday.

Trump will take to Pennsylvania Saturday for three rallies, and he’s still planning to barnstorm nearly a dozen events in the final 48 hours across states he carried in 2016.
FiveThirtyEight currently places Pennsylvania as the likeliest “tipping-point state” in its forecast or the state that could determine the winner of the Electoral College.

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