Biden, Trump to rally on final day of elections race

  • US President Donald Trump is set to hold five rallies in four states – North Carolina, Pennsylvania, Michigan and Wisconsin – on the final day of campaigning.
  • His Democratic rival Joe Biden will spend most of the day in Pennsylvania with a stop in Ohio, while former President Barack Obama stumps for him in Georgia and Florida.
  • In the final days of campaigning, Trump and his surrogates have continually pushed baseless claims that votes counted after election day are evidence of malfeasance.
  • With just one day until election day, more than 95 million US citizens have already voted, far outpacing early voting in any past elections and accounting for 69.2 percent of all votes counted in 2016.

Hello and welcome to our continuing coverage of the US elections.

Biden holds first event of the day in Cleveland, Ohio

Biden held his only event outside of Pennsylvania in Cleveland, Ohio on Monday.

“When America’s heard, I believe the message is going to be loud and clear. It’s time for Donald Trump to pack his bags and go home. We’re done,” Biden said at a drive-in rally, kicking off his last full day of campaigning this election season. “We’re done with the chaos. We’re done with the tweets, the anger, the hate, the failure, the irresponsibility.”

Ohio Senator Sherrod Brown, a Democrat, told reporters he and other Democrats had lobbied the Biden campaign to send the candidate to the state in the final days of the race. Biden has focused his attention mostly on northern battlegrounds of Wisconsin, Michigan and Pennsylvania.

Obama won Ohio by 3 percentage points in 2012. Trump won the state by a margin of about 7 percentage points in 2016, although polls show a tight race in the current contest.

Democratic presidential candidate former Vice President Joe Biden speaks at a rally in Cleveland, Ohio [Andrew Harnik/The Associated Press]

Biden defends Fauci

Biden has defended Dr Anthony Fauci after Trump suggested he’d dismiss the nation’s top infectious disease expert after Election Day.

Biden has sought to keep the presidential campaign focused on the federal response to the coronavirus pandemic, which has killed more than 231,000 people in the US. Trump has used the race’s final hours to accuse Biden of wanting to force the country back into a lockdown to slow the spread of the virus.

During a rally that started late Sunday in Opa-locka, Florida, the Republican president expressed frustration that the surging virus cases remain prominent in the news, sparking chants of “Fire Fauci” from his supporters. Trump replied, “Don’t tell anybody, but let me wait until a little bit after the election”.

Trump, without evidence, calls his lag in the polls ‘suppression’

Trump, during his first of five campaign stops, criticised polls showing him trailing behind Biden, noting that polls also showed him trailing behind Hillary Clinton in 2016.

“They work magic and the amazing thing is they hang on to their jobs they do horribly,” Trump said of pollsters during the rally in Fayetteville, North Carolina.

Read Al Jazeera’s examination on whether we can believe the polls this time around here.

Glitches allow banned Facebook election ads to recirculate

Facebook has acknowledged glitches in enforcing its policy on removing misleading political advertising for the US election after a report revealed banned messages were being recirculated.

The social media giant, which has faced intense scrutiny over its handling of political misinformation, said it took action after a Wall Street Journal report showed loopholes allowing activist groups to repost ads that had been banned after third-party fact checks.

“When a fact-checker applies a rating, we apply a label and demote it while also rejecting it as an ad – this is true for all ratings,” a Facebook spokesperson told the AFP news agency. “We reviewed these ads and are taking action on those that violate our policies, while also working to improve how we find similar ads to those that were already rated.”

A report showed misleading political ads blocked by Facebook [Elise Amendola/The Associated Press]

Twitter outlines plan for candidates declaring victory before official results

Twitter Inc has outlined a plan for placing warning labels on tweets from candidates and campaigns that claim victory in advance of official results.

The move comes as the social network braces for what it has called an unusual election due to a high number of mail-in ballots that may cause a delay in final results. Concern has been further heightened in the final days of the by Trump and his surrogates, who have falsely suggested that votes counted after election day are somehow suspect. It is common practice in the US for states to reach their official tallies days after polls close.

Beginning on election night through the inauguration, Twitter said it would place warning labels such as “official sources called this election differently”, or “official sources may not have called the race when this was tweeted”. US-based accounts with over 100,000 followers and a significant engagement will also be considered for labeling, Twitter said.

In an updated blog, the company said it would consider state election officials and national news outlets such as ABC News, Associated Press, CNN and Fox News that have independent election decision desks as official sources for results. Their official Twitter accounts will be exempted from labeling, the company said.

Trump campaign ramps up false claims over vote count validity

The Trump campaign in the waning days of the presidential race have pushed the false narrative that votes counted after election day are evidence of malfeasance.

On Sunday, Trump slammed a Supreme Court ruling that allowed Pennsylvania to count mail ballots that arrive three days after election day if they are postmarked, meaning sent, by election day. Trump said: “We should know the result of the election on November 3rd. The evening of November 3rd. That’s the way it has been, and that is [the] way it should be”.

Earlier in the day, Trump senior campaign adviser, Jason Miller, predicted that early results would show Trump with an Electoral College victory, and if those results change in the following days as all votes are counted, it’s evidence of Democrats trying to “steal” the election.

The narrative pushed by the campaign is false on several counts.

Why Trump campaign claims on vote counting are false

First of all, while news organisations often project winners on election night – after determining that one candidate has an insurmountable lead based on partial vote counts – states never officially report final results on November 3 and there is no laws requiring them to do so.

States traditionally take time to officially “certify” their counts, which can include counting late-arriving mail ballots, provisional ballots or, in the case of extremely close races, recounts. This is part of the regular process of counting votes and has been throughout US history.

Furthermore, many states are not allowed to even begin counting ballots, including those that arrived by mail days before election day, until election day itself, slowing their ability to give speedy results.

Federal judge orders USPS to reinforce ‘extraordinary measures’ ballot delivery policy

The US Postal Service (USPS) must remind senior managers they must follow its “extraordinary measures” policy and use its Express Mail Network to expedite ballots ahead of Tuesday’s presidential election, under an order signed by a federal judge.

US District Judge Emmet Sullivan’s order on Sunday, to which the USPS agreed, said the postal service must reinforce its “special procedures” to ensure it “delivers every ballot possible by the cutoff time on Election Day”.

USPS will also reinforce to managers that “all ballots with a local destination must be cleared and processed on the same day or no later than the next morning for delivery to local offices, from now through at least November 7.”

With an unprecedented number of ballots cast by mail already recorded during the election season, attention has turned to USPS over fears ballots would not be delivered to election officials by state deadlines. While some key battleground states, notably Pennsylvania and North Carolina, allow ballots that are post-marked by election day to be counted if they arrive in the days following, many key states require mail ballots to arrive by the time polls close on election day.

Dow jumps more than 300 points as US markets brace for turmoil

Wall Street’s major stock indexes opened higher on Monday after their worst week since March as investors prepare for an eventful week surrounding Tuesday’s presidential election.

The S&P 500 – a gauge for the health of US retirement and college savings reports- was up 0.87 percent, while the tech-heavy Nasdaq Composite Index was up more than 1 percent.

Investor sentiment has been weighed down in recent weeks thanks to a sell-off in big tech, surging COVID-19 infections in the US and Europe, deadlocked talks between the White House and Congressional Democrats over a new round of fiscal stimulus and uncertainty surrounding the outcome of the US race for the Oval office.

All eyes will be glued on Tuesday night’s election climax although many expect there will not be a clear winner in the presidential race come Wednesday morning.

Read more here.

Wall Street’s main stock indexes bounced back on Monday after closing out their worst week since March [File: Andrew Kelly/Reuters]

Federal judge weighs bid to void 127,000 votes cast at drive-through sites in Texas

A federal judge in Texas will consider on Monday whether Houston officials should throw out about 127,000 votes already cast at drive-through voting sites in the Democratic-leaning area.

The lawsuit was brought on Wednesday by plaintiffs including state Representative Steve Toth and a conservative activist, Steve Hotze.

The Texas Supreme Court, a state court, on Sunday rejected a nearly identical bid by the same plaintiffs to halt drive-through voting in Harris County. The same court also previously denied similar challenges brought by the Texas Republican Party and the Harris County Republican Party.

Podcast: Could Latino voters help Trump win again?

For the first time in United States history, Latina, Latino, Latinx and Hispanic voters are projected to exceed the number of Black eligible voters in a presidential election, making this the largest ethnic minority voting group. Since launching his candidacy for the presidency in 2016, Donald Trump’s language towards the Latino immigrant community has been charged.

However, not all voters are focusing on immigration reform at the ballot box.

Al Jazeera’s The Take podcast hears from members of the community on what their key voting issues are, and what a Biden win, or a second Trump presidency, will mean to them.

Over 95 million people have voted early

The ballots cast in early voting represent 68.9 percent of all votes counted in 2016, although overall turnout is expected to be higher than four years ago.

Early voting has smashed 2016’s early voting total of 47.2 million [LM Otero/The Associated Press]

Trump says FBI should not investigate caravan that targeted Biden campaign bus

Donald Trump isn’t happy that the Federal Bureau of Investigation announced they are investigating a caravan of pro-Trump vehicles that surrounded a Joe Biden campaign bus on a highway in Texas last week.

“In my opinion, these patriots did nothing wrong. Instead, the FBI & Justice should be investigating the terrorists, anarchists, and agitators of ANTIFA, who run around burning down our Democrat run cities and hurting our people!” Trump tweeted late Sunday.

Biden wasn’t in the bus at the time, but his campaign cancelled events in Texas on Friday citing “safety concerns.”

Brexit ‘godfather’ Farage says Trump will win US election

Brexit Party leader Nigel Farage said that he felt Trump would win the US presidential election as his support base was so enthusiastic and he had gathered momentum in the final days of the campaign.

“He’s not just the president of the USA, he is a human dynamo,” Farage, whom Trump calls a friend, told Talk Radio from Pennsylvania. “I have never seen a support base as enthusiastic as they are for this man. These crowds chant ‘we love you’.”

“You can, if you want to, look at the opinion polls, look at the betting markets, look at the lead editorials of the global press and they will all tell you that its a slam dunk for Joe Biden. I do not believe it,” Farage said.

What is the Electoral College?

In the US, the president and vice president are not decided by which candidate receives the most votes overall in the country, even though US voters do directly select a preferred choice on their ballots.

Instead, it all comes down to Electoral College voters.

Under this state-based system, every state has a group of “electors” who are chosen in most cases by political parties in that state.

Learn more about the system here.

[Alia Chughtai/Al Jazeera]

A recap of Donald Trump’s closest 2016 victories

Among this year’s presidential battleground states are four that Trump won by extremely slim margins in 2016.

Here are the states he won by a slim margin four years ago.

Trump threatens to fire Fauci in rift with disease expert

Trump is suggesting that he will fire Dr. Anthony Fauci after Tuesday’s election, as his rift with the nation’s top infectious disease expert widens while the nation sees its most alarming outbreak of the coronavirus since the spring.

Speaking at a campaign rally in Opa-locka, Florida, Trump expressed frustration that the surging cases of the virus that has killed more than 230,000 Americans so far this year remains prominent in the news, sparking chants of “Fire Fauci” from his supporters.

Trump’s comments come after Fauci leveled his sharpest criticism yet of the White House’s response to the coronavirus and Trump’s public assertion that the nation is “rounding the turn” on the virus.

On last day, Trump and Biden scour battleground states

Trump will hunt for support in four battleground states on Monday: North Carolina, Pennsylvania, Wisconsin and Michigan, where he will hold two rallies.

His Democratic rival Joe Biden will focus on Pennsylvania and Ohio during the final day of campaigning in their long and bitter race for the White House.

Trump trails Biden in national opinion polls ahead of Tuesday’s Election Day. But the race is seen as close in enough swing states that Trump could still piece together the 270 votes needed to prevail in the state-by-state Electoral College that determines the winner.

Trump will wrap up his campaign in Grand Rapids, Michigan, the same place he concluded his 2016 presidential run with a post-midnight rally on Election Day.

Biden, running mate Kamala Harris and their spouses will spend most of Monday in Pennsylvania, splitting up to hit all four corners of a state that has become vital to the former vice president’s hopes.

Biden will rally union members and members of the Black community in the Pittsburgh area before being joined for an evening drive-in rally by singer Lady Gaga.

Biden also will make a detour to bordering Ohio, spending time on his final campaign day in a state that was once considered a lock for Trump, who won it in 2016, but where polls now show a close contest.

US campaign enters final day with country on edge

The US presidential campaign enters its final day with a last-minute scramble for votes by Donald Trump and Joe Biden, drawing to a close a race that has put a pandemic-stricken country on the edge.

A record of more than 93 million people have cast early ballots, including in-person and mailed votes, according to the nonpartisan US Elections Project.

As the hours count down on Monday and with polls showing him behind, Trump will repeat his marathon performance from the previous day with another set of rallies in key states.

Credit: Source link