Biden Expands Lead in Pennsylvania: Election Update
(Bloomberg) -- Democratic nominee Joe Biden overtook President Donald Trump in Pennsylvania, a state that offers all the Electoral College votes Biden would need to win. But the race remained in doubt as Trump and his supporters lodged unsupported charges of voter fraud there and in other states.
Biden Expands His Lead in Pennsylvania
Biden expanded his lead over Trump in Pennsylvania over to more than 27,000 votes, with totals reported from Allegheny County that included a mix of overseas and military votes, as well as ballots that were held because of a vendor’s error.
County Executive Rich Fitzgerald announced the tally of the 9,288 additional votes, with 7,300 going to Biden and 1,875 for Trump in Allegheny, a largely Democratic county that continues to count its outstanding ballots.
“That’s a pretty substantial gain,” Senator Bob Casey, a Pennsylvania Democrat, said on CNN. “Every time there’s a new report, Joe Biden’s gaining votes and adding to the margin.”
Trump Gains Ground on Biden in Arizona (9:48 p.m.)
Trump is narrowing the gap in Arizona and trails Biden by fewer than 30,000 votes in the state.
Maricopa County, which includes Phoenix, released the results of about 73,000 ballots Friday evening, with Trump shrinking the margin in the county from about 60,000 to 53,500, but mail-in ballot updates Friday appeared to make Biden’s hold on the state more secure.
The county had about 77,000 early ballots and 15,000 provisional ballots left to count, according to the Elections Department. Maricopa County plans to release more results on Saturday at 11 a.m. eastern time, at which point almost all ballots will be counted. -- Brenna Goth
Biden’s Lead in Nevada Continues to Grow (7:18 p.m.)
Biden’s lead is up slightly to 22,657 votes, or 1.8 percentage points, in Nevada, according to new numbers released by the Secretary of State. That reflects an additional 8,713 votes released by Clark County, home to Las Vegas and to the majority of the ballots that remain unprocessed.
The county released about 31,000 ballots earlier in the day, also favoring Biden. As of Friday morning it had tens of thousands of ballots awaiting processing, Registrar Joe Gloria said.
On the pace of counting, Gloria said, “Our priority here is to make sure that we’re accurate in what we’re doing, so we’re not interested in moving as fast as we can.” He said he expects the bulk of ballots that are in hand to be counted by Sunday, and the county plans to continue posting results over the weekend.
But under state law, mail-in ballots received by county clerks through Nov. 10 also count, and the state’s final canvass is on Nov. 16, after which official results will be released. -- Laura Bliss and Sarah Holder
Here’s the Timeline for More Results Friday (6:52 p.m.)
As the workweek ends in the eastern U.S., the counting of ballots continues. Here are some expected releases of information for Friday evening, all times Eastern:
Around 6:30 p.m., Pennsylvania’s heavily Democratic Allegheny County is supposed to release results of almost 7,000 ballots, including some received from military members and others that were damaged, according to CNN. The county was able to resume counting at 5 p.m. after taking a legally mandated pause. Results from elsewhere in the state may also continue to come.
Before 7 p.m.: More results from Nevada’s Clark County will be released, according to Joe Gloria, the county’s registrar of voters. Gloria said there are still about 63,000 ballots from Clark County, which contains Las Vegas, to count, and results will continue to be released over the weekend.
9 p.m.: Arizona will release more data from Maricopa County, according to Secretary of State Katie Hobbs. Trump has slowly been chipping away at Biden’s lead in the state, though it’s unclear if there are enough votes outstanding for him to catch up. The Associated Press and Fox News have both called the state for Biden.
Counties in Georgia also may have more numbers to share. -- Laura Davison
RNC Alleges Detroit Counting Irregularities (6:05 p.m.)
The Republican National Committee has referred allegations of vote-counting irregularities in Detroit to the U.S. Attorney’s Office for the Eastern District of Michigan after the key swing state was called for Biden.
RNC Chairwoman Ronna McDaniel said at a Friday news conference that the main counting site at Detroit’s TCF Center didn’t have enough Republican poll watchers monitoring the tally and that some weren’t allowed back after leaving for a break. McDaniel said one poll watcher was told to backdate ballots and that software glitches turned some Republican votes to Democrat votes in jurisdictions outside Detroit. McDaniel also called on Secretary of State Jocelyn Benson to cooperate, saying “the people of Michigan deserve an open and transparent process.”
Benson’s office issued a statement saying that a clerk in Antrim County caused a small number of party-affiliation switches on ballots -- but it wasn’t the result of a widespread software glitch. In Detroit, it said, the city had observers from both parties in the counting area at all times. The city did not backdate any ballots; the dating changes were done to fix clerical errors in a manner that was agreed to by Republican observers, Benson’s office added in the statement.
Detroit City Clerk Janice Winfrey also defended the count, saying challengers should have stated their concerns during the process, “as the law calls for them to do.” The U.S. Attorney’s Office declined to comment.
Detroit’s handling of vote tallying has come under scrutiny in the past. A state audit of the city’s performance during the 2016 presidential election found a “multitude of human errors” but “no evidence of pervasive voter fraud.”
Chris Thomas, a former Michigan elections director who was a consultant to Detroit and in the room at the TCF Center, pushed back against McDaniel’s allegations, saying absentee ballots weren’t back-dated. “Responsible officials should avoid denigrating the election process without verifying their information,” said Thomas, who served in both Republican and Democratic administrations, in a statement. -- David Welch and Gabrielle Coppola
Biden Expands His Margin in Georgia (5:40 p.m.)
Biden’s lead in Georgia jumped to 4,235 votes Friday afternoon as the state focused on counting mail-in, provisional, military and overseas ballots.
The expansion more than doubled his previous margin of 1,544 votes. Biden had previously trailed Trump by hundreds of thousands of votes, but surpassed the president’s vote total early Friday morning. -- Laura Davison
Provisional Votes Add to Pennsylvania Suspense (5:06 p.m.)
Biden held a 14,725-vote advantage over Trump in Pennsylvania as of 4:30 p.m. local time. Yet the Associated Press and television networks were holding off on calling a winner in the state that may decide the presidential election. One reason: provisional ballots.
Those are ballots cast by voters whose eligibility is in doubt and require verification before they are counted. The breakdown between Trump and Biden voters isn’t clear. More than 85,000 provisional ballots were cast as of this morning, but that’s a partial count, according to a spokesperson for Secretary of the Commonwealth Kathy Boockvar. Pennsylvania’s Republican House Speaker Bryan Cutler said on a call with reporters there could be as many as 100,000.
The Associated Press said one reason it delayed calling a winner in Pennsylvania was provisional ballots still to be reviewed and counted or rejected. Although that laborious process may continue into next week, the state’s total vote count may be sufficient to call the race much sooner.
“Under state law, county boards of election must individually adjudicate each provisional ballot and assess within seven days of an election whether they meet the standards for counting,” Boockvar’s office said in a statement. “The counties will do so by verifying the voter was registered to vote in the precinct in which the ballot was cast, and that the voter did not cast a mail-in ballot prior to requesting the provisional ballot at the polling place.”
One reason so many provisional ballots were cast was that many voters requested mail-in ballots but later opted to vote in person, according to Suzanne Almeida, interim executive director of Common Cause Pennsylvania. They were required to cast a provisional ballot unless they brought in their mail-in ballot for cancellation. -- Mark Niquette
Special Ballots May Be Crucial in Georgia (4:12 p.m.)
Provisional ballots, along with votes from Georgia residents overseas and military members overseas or stateside, will take on heightened importance as the margin in Georgia hovers around 1,500 votes.
These ballots, which are still being tabulated, could determine the winner in Georgia – or at least the winner of the initial count. Secretary of State Brad Raffensperger has already said the race is likely to be subjected to a recount.
About 13,000 provisional ballots were cast statewide in Georgia, Gabriel Sterling, the state’s voting systems implementation manager, said at a press conference Friday.
Prospective voters might be asked to cast provisional ballots if, for example, they arrived at a polling place without proper identification or were supposed to vote in a different precinct. Those ballots require extra vetting before they can be counted, and a portion are generally not accepted. Fulton County, which contains most of Atlanta, approved 3,603 of the 4,869 provisional votes cast.
The state will accept military and overseas ballots until 5 p.m. Friday, so long as they were postmarked by Election Day. Sterling said there were 8,410 military and overseas ballots potentially left to be counted, assuming would-be voters mailed them in.
Counties in Georgia are also still processing about 4,000 mailed ballots, Sterling said. -- Laura Davison, Margaret Newkirk and Michael Sasso
With Biden Up, Pennsylvania Tally Grinds On (2:22 p.m.)
Biden’s mounting lead in Pennsylvania -- and talk that the state may well give him the presidential election -- haven’t ended the laborious task of counting the state’s remaining ballots.
Heavily Democratic Philadelphia expects to post results for about 2,000 to 3,000 additional mail-in and absentee ballots later in the afternoon and continue counting about 40,000 outstanding ballots that could take several days to tally, Commissioner Lisa Deeley said at a news conference Friday at the Pennsylvania Convention Center.
Those include mail-in and absentee ballots that take additional time to review; provisional ballots, which are cast by voters whose eligibility has been questioned and are held for as long as seven days after the election while voter eligibility is determined; and military and overseas ballots, she said.
Commissioner Al Schmidt estimated that Philadelphia has about 500 ballots so far that were mailed before the election and arrived after the polls closed. Those are being segregated pending possible litigation at the U.S. Supreme Court about whether they should be counted.
Philadelphia Mayor Jim Kenney told reporters that Trump needs to “put his big boy pants on” and acknowledge that “he lost. He needs to “congratulate the winner – just as Jimmy Carter did, just as George H.W. Bush did, and frankly just as Al Gore did and stop this and let us move forward as a country.” Kenney said there’s “not one iota of evidence” of fraud. -- Mark Niquette
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