Live Election Day coverage: A quick look at where the presidential election stands

Today is the day. It’s Election Day and President Donald Trump and Democratic nominee Joe Biden will now wait for the votes to be counted. Today’s election may result in changes in Congress, where Democrats want to regain control of the Republican-led Senate and Democrats hope to expand their advantage in the House. USA TODAY will have live election results.

Refresh this blog all day for updates as the candidates make their final pushes. USA TODAY will have live coverage from the presidential election and all of the marquee races from around the country and will be monitoring the voting process for any issues as Americans continue to turn out in record numbers. 

New Hampshire goes for Biden

Joe Biden was projected to win New Hampshire, capturing a state that some had considered competitive earlier in the year and where President Donald Trump campaigned in as recently as last month.

NBC and CBS called the state for Biden.

New Hampshire, with four electoral votes, was considered a potential battleground earlier this year – and it was a place where some Republicans hoped to expand the map for Trump. But polling throughout the fall consistently put Biden ahead in the Granite State by double digits.

Democrat Hillary Clinton narrowly won the state in 2016, drawing votes from Manchester, Concord and Dover while Trump ran up the score in central and northern counties.

The president campaigned in Manchester, N.H., on Oct. 25, drawing a large crowd to the city’s airport for an outdoor rally.

Trump has held a special relationship with New Hampshire since he won the state in the 2016 GOP primary after losing Iowa to Ted Cruz days earlier.

John Fritze

President Donald Trump picked up a win in Kansas.

President Donald Trump has picked up wins in Kansas and Missouri. Trump also won Utah, according to CBS News and NBC News. Meanwhile, Democratic nominee Joe Biden has won New Hampshire, according to CBS News and NBC News. Utah and New Hampshire are not included in the electoral college total below.

Trump had already secured Nebraska, Louisiana, Wyoming, North Dakota, South Dakota, Kentucky, West Virginia, Indiana, South Carolina, Oklahoma, Tennessee, Mississippi, Alabama and Arkansas.

Biden earlier won Colorado, the District of Columbia, New Mexico, New York, Virginia, Vermont, Rhode Island, New Jersey, Massachusetts, Maryland, Illinois, Delaware and Connecticut.

That gives Biden 131 electoral college votes and Trump 108 after 10:30 p.m. Either candidate will need 270 electoral college votes to win the election.

Savannah Behrmann, Jeanine Santucci 

Voter turnout in Florida exceeds 2016 levels

Voter turnout surpassed 2016 levels in the battleground state of Florida, where President Donald Trump has been leading former Vice President Joe Biden in the early vote tallies.

All eyes are on Florida tonight with its 29 electoral votes that could make or break the election for either candidate. The race so far has not been called, but Trump is favored to win.

At least 61.9% of Florida’s eligible voting population has voted in this year’s presidential election, compared to 56.9% that cast ballots four years ago, according to a USA TODAY data analysis.

Ninety-one percent of votes were counted as of 9:45 p.m. Eastern. That’s 10.9 million ballots out of an eligible voting population of 17.5 million. In 2016, the state tallied 9.4 million ballots out of an eligible voting population of 16.6 million.

USA TODAY’s analysis looks at Associated Press data on votes counted and an estimate of the eligible voting population from the U.S. Elections Project.

Besides Florida, only three other states so far have surpassed its 2016 voter turnout – Kentucky, North Carolina and Tennessee.

With 93% percent of its ballots counted, 57.4% of eligible voters turned out in the Bluegrass State this year compared to 56.1% in 2016. In North Carolina, 60.5% of voters cast ballots compared to 60.2% four years ago. And in Kentucky it was 48.8% compared to 48.6% in the last election. Both states have counted more than 84% of its votes.

Trump was called the winner in Kentucky and Tennessee and is expected to win North Carolina.

— Erin Mansfield, Dian Zhang

GOP gets Senate win in Alabama 

Senate Republicans scored an expected victory in ruby-red Alabama, where GOP contender Tommy Tuberville, the former Auburn University football coach, defeated Democrat Doug Jones.

Jones won this seat in a 2017 special election against Republican Roy Moore, the former chief justice of the Alabama Supreme Court. Moore was dogged by allegations that he pursued sexual relationships with four teenage girls when he was in his early 30s.

The Alabama contest was long seen as a bright spot for Republicans as they seek to keep control of the Senate. 

Graham, Cornyn keep GOP Senate seats 

Republican Sen. Lindsey Graham defeated Democratic challenger Jaime Harrison in the South Carolina U.S. Senate race, surviving the political fight of his life and securing a fourth term.

The Associated Press projected Graham beat Harrison, a former chairman of the state’s Democratic Party who raised record-setting money from Democrats nationally.

Although South Carolina is reliably red, Harrison made the contest competitive, capitalizing on the left’s deep desire coast-to-coast to unseat Graham. The incumbent senator became one of Trump’s most loyal soldiers in the Senate despite regularly criticizing Trump during the 2016 presidential primary.

But the seat was always seen as an uphill fight for Democrats and not a key pick up or Democrats to gain control of the Senate.

Meanwhile, Sen. John Cornyn fended off a tough challenge to keep his Senate seat from Democrat MJ Hegar, according to ABC and NBC, diminishing Democratic hopes for a blue wave in Texas.

Cornyn’s seat was rated as leaning Republican and Democrats acknowledged the uphill battle in winning in Texas, a monster state with 38 electoral votes. The state hasn’t been blue since 1976 with Jimmy Carter at the presidential level and Democrats haven’t held a Senate seat since 1993 with Sen. Bob Krueger, who was appointed to the seat.

The win shrinks the routes for Democrats in taking the Senate majority and shifts the focus to a number of other battleground states, including Arizona, Maine, Iowa and North Carolina, in order to keep aspirations alive for liberals eager to take the chamber.

Colorado gives Democrats first Senate pick up of the night 

The first Democratic pick up of the night came in Colorado, where John Hickenlooper, the state’s former governor, defeated Republican incumbent Sen. Cory Gardner, according to NBC and Fox.

Colorado has shifted in Democrats favor since Gardner was first elected in 2014. He only won that race by a 1.9% margin, and he was seen as one of the most vulnerable Senate Republicans in this election cycle. Trump’s unpopularity in the state served as an anchor on Gardner as he fought for a second term; he consistently lagged Hickenlooper in the polls and in fundraising.

Arizona, other western states wrap up voting

Another slew of states finished voting at 9 p.m. ET, including the pivotal battleground of Arizona, as ballot counting continued in a handful of other states that will ultimately decide the presidential election.

Arizona, Colorado and parts of Michigan that had not already closed ballot boxes shut down their voting locations and began tallying results.

Democrat Joe Biden held early leads in several of the most closely watched battlegrounds, including North Carolina and Pennsylvania. Trump got off to a narrow, early lead in Florida. But given the huge share of Americans who voted early due to the coronavirus pandemic, experts cautioned against reading much of anything into the earliest results.

Observers in both campaigns were closely watching the key Arizona swing county of Maricopa – which includes Phoenix and its suburbs. That county narrowly went for Trump in 2016, and so did the state – with its 11 electoral votes.

Trump and Biden each picked up early and predictable state calls, with Trump projected to win Kentucky, Tennessee, Mississippi and Alabama –among others — and Biden quickly locking down a slew of reliably blue states in the Northeast, including his home state of Delaware, but also Massachusetts and New Jersey.

But the country was still hours away – at best – from even beginning to assess the outcome in states like Pennsylvania, Michigan and Arizona that will decide the contest.

— John Fritze

A look at the voting surge 

Voter turnout surged nationwide this year, with the number of ballots cast in the 2020 presidential election surpassing the 2016 tally in at least 196 counties across eight states as of 8:40 p.m. on Election Day.

In Florida, a battleground state where the race has not yet been called, 50 of 64 counties reporting have seen higher turnout this year than in the previous presidential election four years ago, according to a USA TODAY analysis of data from The Associated Press.

In Kentucky, where Trump is the projected winner, 54 of 85 counties reporting had higher voter turnout. In red-leaning Indiana, 33 of 63 reporting counties have surpassed 2016 levels. Twenty-three of 126 counties reporting in Virginia, where Biden is expected to prevail, surpassed their 2016 totals.

Here is the situation with high turnout in four other states:

  • 19 of 97 reporting counties in Georgia
  • 15 of 35 reporting counties in Texas
  • 1 of 42 reporting counties in Tennessee
  • 1 of 2 reporting counties in New Jersey

The numbers reflect the turnout for each county. They do not include other states that are reporting high turnout, such as Texas, where, even before Election Day, early votes in 2020 surpassed all votes cast in 2016. Rhode Island is also reporting higher voter turnout than its previous records set in 2008.

Joshua Douglas, a law professor at the University of Kentucky, said turnout is high nationwide because President Donald Trump has inspired people to vote for him and against him.

“The second reason is that in most places we made it easier to vote, and what we know is that if we enact pro-voter reforms that make it easier to vote, voters show up,” Douglas said.

Only five states — Indiana, Louisiana, Mississippi, Tennessee, and Texas — did not allow voters to use the coronavirus pandemic as a reason to vote by mail. Some states, such as Vermont, mailed absentee ballots to every active voter without requiring an application.

 Erin Mansfield and Matt Wynn

President Donald Trump tries to hold onto Trump States in the South

Donald Trump’s people still felt good about things as of 8 p.m., but acknowledge they are struggling to hold early reporting states essential to their victory strategy: Florida, Georgia, and North Carolina.

Those are all states Trump carried four years ago, and losing any one of them would likely make it impossible for Trump to prevail given his challenges in states like Michigan and Wisconsin, officials said.

Campaign officials said they are focusing now on Florida, Georgia, and North Carolina. Secure those states first, they said, and then they’ll worry about places like Pennsylvania, Ohio, Michigan, Texas, and Arizona.

David Jackson

McConnell gets re-elected 

Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell cinched to re-election in Kentucky, despite facing a fierce and well-funded challenge from Democrat Amy McGrath, a fighter pilot who Democrats hoped would unseat the longtime GOP leader.

Trump takes South Carolina 

The Republican nominee on Tuesday was awarded its nine electoral votes.

Trump handily won the state in 2016 over Democrat Hillary Clinton. South Carolina hasn’t voted for a Democratic presidential candidate since Jimmy Carter in 1976.

Joe Biden’s victory in the South Carolina primary in February started a wave of wins that helped cement his status as Democrats’ presidential nominee. South Carolina Republicans didn’t hold a primary, an early sign of their support for Trump’s reelection.

Associated Press

Virginias split between Trump, Biden 

West Virginia, a reliably Republican state that has not backed a Democratic presidential candidate since Bill Clinton in 1996, has been placed in President Donald Trump’s column, according to the Associated Press.

The state, where nearly 68% of voters backed Trump in 2016, has five electoral votes. Trump last traveled to the state in 2019 for a fundraiser. He held a rally there ahead of the midterm elections in 2018.

Former Vice President Joe Biden has won the state of Virginia, which has shifted more liberal in recent years. He adds 13 electoral votes to his tally.

John Fritze, Jeanine Santucci 

Survey: 1 in 3 voters ‘not confident’ ballots will be counted fairly

Only about two-thirds of voters are confident that ballots will be counted fairly, while nearly one-third are “not too confident” or “not at all confident,” according to a major survey by The Associated Press.

President Donald Trump has railed repeatedly against the illegitimacy of mail-in voting, despite voting absentee himself in Florida. But officials from both parties encouraged absentee voting for anyone concerned about lines or health risks during the COVID-19 pandemic.

Election experts say there is little evidence of fraud in voting because of security measures governing how absentee ballots are submitted and reviewed. But concerns linger among voters after Trump repeatedly highlighted the potential for fraud.

About one in four voters are “very confident” their ballot will be counted fairly and 44% are “somewhat confident,” according to the AP VoteCast survey of voters for this election.

But about one in four voters are “not too confident their ballot will be counted fairly and 7% are “not at all confident,” according to the survey.

When the terms were changed slightly, about one in four voters described themselves as “very confident” that their votes will be counted accurately, while about three in four are “less confident,” according to the survey.

About three in four voters said racism is a “very” or “somewhat serious” problem in U.S. society, compared to more than one in five that say it is “not too serious” or “not at all,” according to the survey.

Bart Jansen

Kentucky, Vermont, Indiana among first calls

There is always drama on election night. But not all states can deliver it.

Kentucky, Vermont and Indiana were among the first states called for President Donald Trump or Democrat Joe Biden, just minutes after their polls closed.

Vermont, among the most liberal states in the nation, predictably went to Biden, according to the Associated Press. By contrast, deeply red Kentucky was called almost immediately for Trump, according to the AP.

Two networks — CNN and NBC — called Indiana for Trump.

—  John Fritze

AP survey: Voters seek ‘major changes’ in criminal justice

After racial justice protests roiled the country this year, two-thirds of voters think the criminal justice system needs a “complete overhaul” or “major changes,” according to a major survey of voters by The Associated Press.

The death of George Floyd in police custody in Minneapolis on May 25 sparked protests nationwide, which spread after other confrontations with police from coast to coast.

President Donald Trump campaigned as the law-and-order president, supporting police as protests occasionally turned violent with arson, burglaries and shootings. Federal authorities cleared a path June 1 with batons and tear gas for Trump to walk from the White House to a nearby church to hold a Bible aloft.

Democratic nominee Joe Biden supported peaceful protests while denouncing violence. He urged greater training for police to calm tense confrontations, while dismissing proposals from more progressive supporters to defund police.

The AP VoteCast survey of voters in the election that ended Tuesday found about one in four think there should be a “complete overhaul” of the criminal justice system and nearly half think there should be “major changes.” Another one in four think there should be “minor changes.”

 — Bart Jansen

COVID, economy and racial injustice top issues for voters, exit polls show

Early exit polls both nationally and in key battleground states show voters casting their ballots today have rated the COVID-19 pandemic, economy and racial injustice are among the issues most important to them, according to exit polls from NBC, CNN and the Morning Consult.

The exit polls, while a helpful examination of voter mindset, are a little different this year as millions of voters cast their ballots via absentee and by mail and news outlets cautioned these polls could not be as indicative of the electorate as previous years.

NBC’s early exit polls show that 34% of voters nationwide rated the economy as the issue that mattered most to their vote, followed by racial inequality with 21%, the coronavirus pandemic at 18% and tied for fourth at 11%, health care and crime and safety.

Exit polls conducted by the Morning Consult asked Biden and Trump voters what were the leading issues that motivated them, finding 93% of Biden supporters rated controlling COVID-19 spread as very important, compared to 59% of Trump voters.

The issue was the top for Biden supporters, followed by unifying the country and a host of healthcare issues, reducing racial inequality then climate change.

The top issue for Trump voters, the exit poll found, was protecting the U.S. from terrorism with 83% of voters rating it very important, followed by economic recovery, lowering the unemployment rate, lowering taxes and lowering healthcare costs.

CNN’s early exit polls similarly showed that the economy and coronavirus pandemic were top of mind.

About one-third of voters rated the economy as the most crucial issue that loomed over their vote, followed racial inequality (1 in 5 voters) then the coronavirus pandemic (1 in 6 voters).

While the emphasis on the economy could be good news for Trump, who has boasted about the need for states to reopen and diminished the severity of the pandemic, CNN noted that even while the economy was top of mind for voters, a majority of voters said the priority should be containing the COVID-19 pandemic over rebuilding the nation’s economy.

Christal Hayes

Pandemic tops voters’ concerns

The pandemic was foremost on voters’ minds, according to a survey of the electorate conducted by the Associated Press.

Forty-two percent said it’s the most important issue facing the country, by far the highest response to the question. Twenty-seven percent picked the economy, which is related.

Nearly all – 95% – said the federal government’s response to the pandemic was a factor in deciding how to vote. The same share said the economic downturn was also factor. That’s a slightly higher share than said the same of protests over police violence (92%) or Supreme Court nominations (90%).

And more voters disapprove of President Donald Trump’s handling of the pandemic than approve: 58% to 42%.

By contrast, 74% approve of how Dr. Anthony Fauci, director of the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases, has addressed the pandemic. And 61% think their governor has done a good job.

Maureen Groppe

Republican Massachusetts Gov. Charlie Baker leaves ballot blank for presidential race

Massachusetts Gov. Charlie Baker, a moderate Republican critical of President Donald Trump, passed on the presidential race altogether when he cast his ballot.

“I blanked it,” Baker told reporters in Boston, according to multiple media outlets, choosing neither Trump, Democratic nominee Joe Biden nor a third-party candidate.

Baker, a second-term governor, this past year slammed Trump over his response to the coronavirus pandemic and after the president called governors “weak” when protests over race erupted this summer.

Baker refrained from voting for president in 2016, as well. But outside of his resistance to Trump, Baker has remained loyal to the Republican Party, endorsing U.S. Sen. Susan Collins, R-Maine, for example, in her tight Senate race this year.

The Boston Globe reported that Baker previously indicated he would support Republican candidate Kevin O’Connor for Senate in his longshot race against Sen. Ed Markey, D-Mass.

— Joey Garrison

More:‘Nowhere to be found’: Governors blast Trump after he tells them they are ‘weak’ on phone call

If you haven’t voted yet, these are your final hours to do it

You last hours to vote in the 2020 election have arrived — if you aren’t among the more than 100 million Americans who have already done so — with polls set close in Kentucky and Indiana at 6 p.m. EST (though the portions of those states on Central Standard Time will stay open another hour after that).

Six more states start to close their polls at 7 p.m. EST — including the battlegrounds of Florida and Georgia — followed by Ohio and West Virginia 30 minutes later.

North Carolina also closes most of its polls at 7:30 p.m. EST, but because four of the state’s 2,660 voting precincts opened late, officials won’t begin releasing that swing state’s results until 8:15 p.m.

The biggest block of states, which includes Michigan and Pennsylvania, stops voting at 8 p.m. EST. Arkansas closes its polls at 8:30 p.m. EST, with more closures at the top of every hour until voters in Alaska get their last chance to cast their ballots at 1 a.m. EST.

As the polls close the results will begin to roll in but the winner in many states likely won’t be known on election night due to the massive increase in mailed-in ballots amid the coronavirus pandemic.

However, results may be known late Tuesday in two critical states: Florida and North Carolina, which both began processing mailed-in ballots before Election Day.

— William Cummings

Pence goes on a radio and TV tour as Harris campaigns in Detroit on Election Day

Democratic vice presidential nominee Sen. Kamala Harris campaigned in Detroit Tuesday afternoon as Vice President Mike Pence took to the airwaves on the last day of campaigning

“The path to determining who will be the next president of the United States, without question, runs through Michigan,” Harris said in Detroit.

“I’m just here to remind people in Detroit that, that they are seen and heard by Joe and me, and also that they may actually decide the outcome of this race,” she told reporters.

Biden and Harris today:Biden goes to church, Scranton home on Election Day; Harris hits Detroit – live updates

Michigan, which Democratic nominee Hillary Clinton narrowly lost in 2016, is a top battleground in this year’s election.

Pence, on the other hand, did several radio and TV interviews with stations in Wisconsin, Pennsylvania, and Florida, including local conservative talk radio and Spanish media in Florida.

Hitting familiar campaign themes, Pence told WISN, a Milwaukee talk radio station, “the choice is clear” and accused Biden of being “overtaken by the radical left.”

– Nicholas Wu

‘We’ve got a long day’: Handful of candidates make final push for Georgia Senate seats

Georgia is hosting two hotly contested Senate races this election, making for an extra intense final push to get voters to the polls in that state.

Incumbent Republican Sen. David Purdue held an election eve rally in an airport hanger outside of Atlanta, with his giant red-and-blue campaign bus serving as part of the backdrop. His Democratic challenger Jon Ossoff made two Election Day stops at polling places in Atlanta to greet voters and thank them for turning out.

“VOTE. VOTE. VOTE,” Ossoff tweeted. He also urged any Georgians experiencing problems at the polls to call the state’s voter protection hotline.

But most voters reported relatively short wait times and no hiccups, according to the Atlanta Journal Constitution.

The second Senate race is a special election with multiple candidates. Incumbent Sen. Kelly Loeffler, a Republican, faces a challenger from her own party in Rep. Doug Collins, as well as a bevy of other contenders, including the Rev. Raphael Warnock, a Democrat and pastor.

A Georgia surprise?:Will Georgia voters deliver Biden an election surprise? What we know about the tight race

Georgia Senate races:Georgia has two contested Senate races in a rare twist. Both could be headed to a runoff.

Warnock held two final get-out-the-vote events on Tuesday, including one with Stacy Abrams, a rising Democratic star who narrowly lost a bid for Georgia governor in 2018.

Meanwhile, Loeffler made her closing argument on Monday during two rallies with Nikki Haley, the former South Carolina governor and Trump’s first Ambassador to the United Nations.

Collins made a similar last-minute push for votes, albeit without Haley’s star power. “We’ve got a long day,” Collins said in a video message posted on campaign’s Twitter account Tuesday. “If you’ve already voted, thank you so much. If you’ve already voted for us and you took somebody with you, thank you even more.”

– Deirdre Shesgreen

Trump, Biden will be home on Election Night

As the election returns pour (or dribble) in Tuesday night, President Donald Trump and former vice president Joe Biden will be where most Americans are: at home.

In Biden’s case, that means Wilmington, Delaware, the place from which he commuted to Washington, D.C., during his 36 years in the Senate.

In Trump’s case, it means the White House and the Eisenhower Executive Office Building next door – places that government ethics watchdogs say should not house political events.

Trump campaign officials had planned a party at his Trump International Hotel, just down Pennsylvania Avenue from the White House, but that would have violated District of Columbia COVID-19 limits on crowd sizes. So the event will be held at the White House with Trump’s family, staff and supporters in attendance.

“We will be together,” White House press secretary Kayleigh McEnany told Fox News.

The Trump campaign’s election night “war room” will be in the adjacent government office building, two aides said, speaking on condition they not be named discussing internal planning. There, vote totals will be monitored to determine if the campaign is hitting its get-out-the-vote targets.

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Ethics groups such as Citizens for Responsibility and Ethics in Washington (CREW) say Trump once again will be using government property illegally for political purposes, just as he did in August during the Republican National Convention.

The president said on “Fox & Friends” early Tuesday morning that he would not declare victory prematurely because “there’s no reason to play games.”

Biden, in Scranton, took note of earlier reports that Trump might do just that. Because he won the tiny town of Dixville Notch, New Hampshire, early Tuesday morning, the Democratic nominee quipped, “Based on Trump’s notion, I’m going to declare victory tonight.”

Declaration or not, Biden is expected to address supporters in Wilmington. He will be accompanied vice presidential nominee Sen. Kamala Harris of California and their spouses, Jill Biden and Doug Emhoff.

– Richard Wolf

Maine Sen. Collins: It could take a week to know state’s results

Republican Sen. Susan Collins, considered one of the most vulnerable incumbents in the Senate, said it could take a week to know the results of the election in Maine, where she is in a tight race with Democratic challenger Sara Gideon.

“I hope that when people look at my record … that I’ve never missed a roll call vote. It’s over 7,400 now,” Collins said Tuesday in an interview with conservative radio host Hugh Hewitt.

A poll released last week by Colby College in Waterville, Maine, showed Collins trailing by 4%, at 43% vs. Gideon’s 47%. A combined 7% of voters are supporting Independent candidates Lisa Savage and Max Linn.

Maine Senate race:Maine’s tight race between Susan Collins and Sara Gideon could tip Senate to the Democrats

Maine election:How a congressional race in Maine could play a key role in the presidential election

Democrats hope to flip Collins’ seat as they seek to gain control of the Senate, where Collins has built a career as a middle-of-the-road politician and a key swing vote. Collins voted to confirm Justice Brett Kavanaugh to the Supreme Court in 2017 but voted against confirming Justice Amy Coney Barrett, earning her criticisms from both sides of the aisle.

“I make a point of working across the aisle. I take the approach that I’m there representing the people of Maine, working for them and for our country … that’s what I like to do,” Collins said. “I think I’ve been very successful at that.”

If Collins wins, she’ll be next in line to be chair of the Senate Appropriations Committee, one of the most consequential and powerful committee posts in the Senate.

If neither Collins nor Gideon gets 50% of the vote, a ranked-choice voting method, in which voters will rank candidates based on preference, will determine the winner.

– Kristine Phillips

A record 100.2 million people voted early in the presidential election between President Donald Trump and Democratic challenger Joe Biden as voters head to the polls on Election Day. 

Figures are according to the U.S. Elections Project, which tracks early voting and mail-in ballots returns in states. The tally crossed the century-mark Tuesday morning. 

It includes 35.7 million in-person early votes and 64.6 million ballots cast by mail. The number will continue to grow as more votes cast before Tuesday are publicized by states.

Voter turnout 2020:Early voting tops 100 million ballots cast

The massive early voting turnout puts the U.S. on track to likely surpass 150 million voters overall for the election, which would mark the highest turnout of eligible voters by percentage in a presidential election since 1908. That year Republican William Howard Taft defeated Democrat William Jennings Bryan with 65.7% of the voting-eligible population participating.

In 2016, 47 million people – the previous early voting record – voted before Election Day in the presidential election between Trump and Democrat Hillary Clinton. Overall, 138.8 million people, 60.1% of the voter-eligible population, voted in 2016.

– Joey Garrison

Election Day for the candidates: Biden went to church. Trump went on ‘Fox & Friends’

How the two presidential candidates chose to spend Election Day only served to illustrate their vast differences.

Joe Biden, the Democratic nominee and former vice president, began the day at his Roman Catholic church with his wife, Jill, and two granddaughters. The visit underscored the fact that if elected, he would be just the second practicing Catholic in the White House, after John F. Kennedy.

After holding 14 rallies in three days that wrapped up in the wee hours Tuesday, President Donald Trump phoned in to his favorite morning TV show from the White House and said he is “feeling very good” about his reelection chances.

But even while predicting victory, Trump spent part of the interview disparaging Biden, former President Barack Obama, and congressional Democrats who he said have been “mean” to him during his term in office.

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At midday, the president was en route to his national campaign headquarters in Arlington, Virginia, where he planned to spend about an hour speaking with staff and volunteers. That was to be his only live event of the day.

Biden, meanwhile, flew to his birthplace of Scranton, Pennsylvania, where he stopped by his childhood home and signed the living room wall.

“From this house to the White House with the grace of God,” he wrote.

For the remainder of the day, Biden planned to make a second stop in Pennsylvania, perhaps the most important state on the map, by visiting Philadelphia before heading home to Wilmington, Delaware, where he will watch the election results Tuesday night.

Trump planned to conduct more media interviews by telephone in the afternoon before watching the returns come in at the White House. He told Fox & Friends that he would not declare victory prematurely because “there’s no reason to play games” as states take time counting votes, including mail-in ballots.

But the president did have a prediction: that he would win more than the 306 electoral votes he won in 2016.

– Richard Wolf

Election Day voting hiccups in Pennsylvania

Several voter and polling problems were reported Tuesday in Pennsylvania, a critical swing state President Donald Trump won by just 44,000 votes in 2016 and where polls show Joe Biden has been leading.

In Philadelphia, voters in a predominantly Black precinct reported showing up at their designated polling place, only to be told they were at the wrong one. One voter, Gilbert Fuller, a 63-year-old Black man, told the York Daily Record that he showed up at his designated polling place, a recreation center, three hours before polls opened Tuesday morning. A sign at the center instructed him to vote at a nearby elementary school. He went, only to learn he was supposed to vote at the center.

In Erie County, Democratic Party Chairman Jim Wertz reported several issues at polling places, according to the York Daily Record. For example, poll workers at a polling site in Erie were unsure how to start a new voting equipment, leading to a delay in opening, while impatient voters shouted obscenities. Similar situations were reported at other polling places in the city, Wertz said.

The final week in polls:Trump eats into Biden’s leads in Arizona, North Carolina, Nevada and Pennsylvania

Both Trump and Biden have spent significant amounts of time in the Keystone State, which election experts and pollsters have said is critical in both candidates’ chances of winning the presidency. Biden leads in Pennsylvania by almost 4%, according to USA TODAY’s average of averages, which is based on data from RealClearPolitics and FiveThirtyEight.

During a campaign stop Monday in Luzerne County, Trump, who has claimed without evidence that massive voter fraud is under way, delivered an ominous warning to the state’s Democratic governor.

“We’re all watching you, governor,” Trump said of Gov. Tom Wolf. “We have a lot of friends with eyes on you.”

Wolf later tweeted that Pennsylvania voters “will not be intimidated.”

“You can watch us count every vote and have a fair election,” Wolf said.

–York Daily Record and Kristine Phillips

House Democrats say they’re set to gain seats, warn of ‘Election Week

House Democratic leaders appeared confident they would expand their majority but warned of delays in election results across the country.

Speaking to reporters, Rep. Cheri Bustos, D-Ill., the chairwoman of House Democrats’ campaign arm, and House Speaker Nancy Pelosi declined to put a number on how many seats they might gain tonight but said they would defend the gains Democrats made in 2018 and could flip districts previously thought to be in safe Republican territory. Bustos pointed to close races in Montana, the Austin, Texas, suburbs, and in Little Rock, Arkansas.

“I think we are going to see some wins in these deep red districts that over time you’re going to see going from ruby red to purple to even blue,” said Bustos, who herself represents a district won by President Donald Trump in 2016.

Democrats were ready for any “skullduggery the president may try to introduce into this,” Pelosi said, though Bustos warned, “this is an Election Day that may end up looking like an Election Week.”

Independent forecasters give Democrats the edge in the race for the House. The nonpartisan Cook Political Report predicted Democrats would gain about 10-15 seats.

– Nicholas Wu 

GOP pollster: Election will come down to Florida, N.C., Ohio

Longtime conservative pollster Frank Luntz said the presidency could come down to three swing states: Florida, North Carolina and Ohio. And President Donald Trump needs to win all three.

“If Trump wins all three, he’s in this. If Biden wins even one of those three, it’s Biden’s presidency,” Luntz said in an interview with CNBC Tuesday.

Pennsylvania, where both candidates have spent a significant amount of time campaigning, could also be consequential and the results of the election could very well come down to the Keystone state, Luntz said. But because Pennsylvania doesn’t allow election officials to begin pre-processing ballots until the morning of Election Day – while other swing states have changed their rules in response to a record number of mail-in voters – results in Pennsylvania will take days to be finalized.

Polls show that Biden’s lead has tightened since October, both nationally and in battleground states.

According to USA TODAY’s average of averages, which is based on data from RealClearPolitics and FiveThirtyEight, Biden leads by razor-thin margins in Florida, North Carolina and Ohio.

Luntz has focused his polling on swing voters. These are voters who voted for Trump in 2016, but have switched to Biden in 2020 because of the president’s failure to contain the coronavirus pandemic and his combative relationship with his administration’s own medical experts. Luntz also polled swing voters who voted for Hillary Clinton in 2016, but have switched to Trump in 2020 because they believe the economy is improving under the president’s watch.

– Kristine Phillips 

Democrats up by 115k votes in Florida heading into Election Day

The Tuesday morning update from the Florida Division of Elections shows that nearly 9.1 million people voted by mail through Monday evening, or at early voting locations.

That’s a voter turnout of 63% before the polls opened Tuesday. Florida’s 29 electoral votes are key to a victory for both sides. Polls heading into Election Day showed Democrat Joe Biden leading President Donald Trump in the Sunshine State.

Democrats led by 115,416 ballots when the polls opened, but Republicans are expected to have a stronger Election Day turnout. How strong the GOP push is, and how independents break, will be crucial factors in the race.

Florida’s voter turnout hit 75% in 2016. The record is 83% in 1992.

– Zac Anderson 

The final week in polls:Trump eats into Biden’s leads in Arizona, North Carolina, Nevada and Pennsylvania

DHS officials: Election is secure, no indication of foreign influence on early voting

Department of Homeland Security officials said Tuesday there was no indication that foreign interference had compromised early voting and reaffirmed that the American election system was secure.

But acting DHS Secretary Chad Wolf also called for the public’s “patience,” indicating that mail-in ballots and other early voting tabulation could extend beyond Tuesday.

“Voters should be patient while waiting for the outcome,” Wolf said, speaking from DHS’ Cybersecurity and Infrastructure Security Agency headquarters. “This process may require time.”

Election results:It’s Election Day. Take a breath. Here’s when you’ll start seeing results and what to expect

While President Donald Trump has suggested that he might declare victory before the vote is counted, Wolf said election system authority rests with the states.

“Elections are run by the states,” Wolf said. “We’ll rely on… local election officials.”

Christopher Krebs, chief of DHS’ cyber unit that monitors for possible system intrusions, said the vote is “secure” though he cautioned that “we are not out of the woods yet.”

He referred to earlier actions by Russia and Iran to obtain voter registration information in an attempt to undermine voter confidence.

Iran had used the information to send threatening emails to potential voters. The emails falsely represented the senders to be affiliated with the Proud Boys, a far-right group with a history of violence who were pushing for Trump’s reelection.

Krebs cited the incident as an example of how federal authorities have improved their capacity to detect and quickly identify foreign actors attempting to disrupt the election.

– Kevin Johnson

Battleground states:These are the 12 states that will determine the 2020 election

From India, with love

Vice presidential candidate Sen. Kamala Harris’ supporters in her family’s ancestral village in India gathered at a temple to hold special prayers aimed at boosting the Joe Biden-Harris ticket, according to a Reuters video crew who visited the area this week.

Harris is the daughter of Jamaican and Indian immigrants and she is the first Black American to be selected as a vice presidential candidate of a major party, as well as the first Indian American woman in this role.

The battle for the House:Will Democrats expand their control in the House? Here are the races and surprises to watch

According to Reuters, a local politician in Thulasendrapuram, in India’s South East, conducted an “abhishekam” in the presence of about 20 villagers. The practice involves pouring milk over a Hindu idol while religious verses are recited.

A separate Hindu fringe group hundreds of miles north in Delhi, joined a priest wearing saffron robes to conduct fire rituals and chant verses aimed at helping to secure President Donald Trump’s victory, according to Reuters. Members of Hindu Sena (Hindu Army) held up pictures of Trump with Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi, with whom he has a close political relationship.

– Kim Hjelmgaard

The fight for the Senate:Can Republicans hold on to the Senate majority? Here’s how Democrats could win control from the GOP.

The results are in for 2 New Hampshire towns that historically vote after stroke of midnight

Two tiny New Hampshire communities that vote for president just after the stroke of midnight on Election Day have cast their ballots, with one of them marking 60 years since the tradition began.

The results in Dixville Notch, near the Canadian border, were a sweep for former Vice President Joe Biden who won the town’s five votes. In Millsfield, 12 miles to the south, President Donald Trump won 16 votes to Biden’s five.

Normally, there would be a big food spread and a lot of media crammed into a small space to watch the voting, Tom Tillotson, town moderator in Dixville Notch, said last week. But that’s no longer possible because of the coronavirus pandemic. It’s also hard to observe the 60th anniversary of the tradition, which started in November 1960.

– Associated Press

New Hampshire:Joe Biden wins small New Hampshire town that historically votes after stroke of midnight

People line up outside a polling place to vote in the 2020 general election in the United States, Tuesday, Nov. 3, 2020, in Springfield, Pennsylvania.

Voting officially begins on Election Day

Polls have officially opened for Election Day voting, with several East Coast states beginning voting before dawn Tuesday. Nearly 100 million votes were cast before Election Day, leading many experts to wonder how high turnout will be.

The hours of operation for polling sites vary by state and time zone. Anyone who is in line to vote by the time polls close on Tuesday has the right to vote, but it is important to make sure that your local polling place does not close earlier than the official time listed for each state.

Almost two dozen states also allow same-day voter registration, meaning that it is still possible to cast a ballot on Election Day even if you have not previously registered to vote.

– Matthew Brown 

Election Day voting:Here’s when the voting polls open and close in every state

Candidates return home after final blitz of campaign rallies

President Donald Trump president returned to Washington around 2:30 a.m. EST on Election Day following a final blitz of campaign rallies in four states on Monday.

Trump declared he would win Michigan “so easily” as he wrapped up a midnight gathering in Grand Rapids. Vice President Mike Pence also attended the rally.

Trump’s Democratic opponent Joe Biden spent his last final night of campaigning in western Pennsylvania. Speaking at a drive-in rally in Pittsburgh, Biden said: “I have a feeling we’re coming together for a big win tomorrow!”

His running mate, Sen. Kamala Harris, signed off for the night just after midnight EST on Twitter, urging voters to get a good night’s sleep.

“Take a breath,” she said. “We got this.”

– Kim Hjelmgaard

For Iran, Election Day means mock the vote

Iran’s supreme leader became the first major international voice Tuesday to weigh in on Election Day. In a televised address, Ayatollah Ali Khamenei mocked the presidential vote and repeated baseless claims pushed by President Donald Trump about voter fraud.

“If you look at their own situation, it’s lovely to watch. The incumbent president, who is supposed to hold the elections, says this is the most-rigged U.S. election throughout history,” Khamenei said, failing to note that individual states run the vote.

Khamenei criticized the vote as Tehran marked an anniversary of the 1979 U.S. Embassy hostage crisis that saw 52 American diplomats and citizens held hostage for 444 days.

His claim that Iran is indifferent as to who wins the U.S. vote comes after Trump pulled the U.S. out of a nuclear deal between Iran and world powers and reimposed sanctions that have crushed Iran’s economy, prevented it from openly selling its crude oil abroad and led to shortages of consumer goods and essential medicines.

‘Clear but unspoken preference’:As America votes, the world watches with bated breath

Former Vice President Biden has said he would consider re-joining the 2015 nuclear deal that was negotiated by the administration he served in under former President Barack Obama.

While Khamenei insisted the U.S. vote “was none of our business” he also appeared to revel in the anxiety the election has caused amid concerns the outcome could spark social discord, especially if either side attempts to declare victory before results are fully tabulated.

“Such an empire will not last long. It’s obvious that when a regime reaches this point, it will not live for much longer and will be destroyed,” Khamenei said, referring to the U.S. “Of course, some of them if they take office will destroy America sooner, and some others if elected will cause America to be destroyed a bit later.”

– Kim Hjelmgaard

Democratic presidential candidate former Vice President Joe Biden walks with his granddaughter Finnegan Biden into St Joseph On the Brandywine Catholic Church in Wilmington, Delaware, on Election Day.

It’s Election Day in America. 

More than 97 million Americans have voted nationwide before voters even began to head to the polls today, according to numbers compiled by @electproject. This represents more than 45% of registered voters nationwide. 

Twenty-two states, plus the District of Columbia, offer same-day voter registration. Some of those include swing states of Iowa, Michigan, Minnesota, Nevada and Wisconsin.

Voters who are in line by the time the polls close on Tuesday are entitled to vote, however. Local polling places may close earlier than what is listed below for respective states.

More:Here’s when the voting polls open and close in every state

President Donald Trump’s and Democratic nominee Joe Biden’s campaigns held some of their last events last night, pitching themselves to voters with just hours left in the 2020 election. 

Both campaigns found themselves focusing their efforts on key swing states – Michigan, North Carolina and Pennsylvania among them – in the final day of the campaign. The contests could determine the outcome of the presidential election. 

Former President Barack Obama stumped for Biden in Miami, Florida, to rally Latino voters in the critical battleground state after some data suggests Democrats lacking with the demographic there.

Election 2020: All eyes will be on these 6 states on Election Day. Here’s what we know.

Voting updates:

  • We may not know who won the presidential election tonight. That does not necessarily mean anything is broken, fraudulent, corrupted or wrong. The AP explains.

  • A federal judge said Monday that he will not invalidate almost 127,000 votes cast in drive-thru lanes in Texas’ Harris County, the county that includes Houston and is the largest in Texas by population. 

  • Biden’s lead in USA TODAY’s average of averages, which is based on data from RealClearPolitics and FiveThirtyEight, reached double-digits on Oct. 12, but has since fallen back to a 7.5-percentage point lead. 

The presidential election isn’t the only critical race happening today. Here are the races to watch as Democrats and Republicans battle across the country over control of the Senate. 

Where are the candidates today?

Biden will travel to Scranton and Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, Tuesday. He will spend election night in his home state of Delaware. 

Trump will have his election night party in the East Room of the White House, where approximately 400 people have reportedly been invited.