US election 2020: Trump campaigning in five states as Biden heads to Philadelphia – live updates

 

Powered by Guardian.co.ukThis article titled “FBI confirms it is investigating Biden bus incident – as it happened” was written by Helen Sullivan (now); Amanda Holpuch , Bryan Armen Graham and Martin Belam (earlier), for theguardian.com on Monday 2nd November 2020 06.01 UTC

6.00am GMT

That’s it from me, Helen Sullivan for today. Thanks for following along – we’ve launched a new US politics blog at the link below. I’ll be teleporting over to the global coronavirus blog here so long:

Updated at 6.01am GMT

5.53am GMT

Almost an hour past Miami-Dade’s coronavirus curfew, Trump has finished speaking but has taken his time leaving – he danced and clapped along to the song “YMCA” as usual.

Updated at 5.56am GMT

5.49am GMT

Summary

Trump is still speaking – I’m keeping an ear out for anythinf he hasn’t said many times before – but in the meantime here is a summary of the last few hours for those of you just tuning in:

A reminder that if there’s something I’ve missed you can find me on Twitter @helenrsullivan.

  • Trump threatened to fire Dr Fauci. At Opa-Locka airport in the Miami area, a “Fire Fauci” chant broke out when Trump defended his handling of coronavirus. Anthony Fauci, a highly respected member of his coronavirus task force, has been increasingly critical of Trump’s handling of the virus. In response to the “Fire Fauci” chant, Trump said: “Don’t tell anybody, but let me wait until a little bit after the election.”
  • Trump broke a curfew at rally in Miami-Dade county. Trump spoke until well after midnnight in Miami-Dade county, breaking a coronavirus cufew intended to mitigate infections.
  • A “non-scalable” fence will be erected around the White House compound – report. “A federal law enforcement source tells NBC that beginning tomorrow, crews will build a “non-scalable” fence to secure the WH complex, Ellipse and Lafayette Square,” NBC White House correspondent Geoff Bennet tweeted.
  • The FBI confirmed on Sunday that it was investigating the Biden bus incident, in which a convoy of vehicles flying flags in support of President Donald Trump’s re-election bid surrounded a bus carrying campaign staff for Democratic challenger Joe Biden on a Texas highway.
  • Harris: Election results ‘will determine our moral direction for years to come’. Kamala Harris said in remarks recorded for a Biden campaign virtual gospel concert Sunday evening that the election results “will determine our moral direction for years to come.” Neither Harris nor Obama mentioned Trump at the event, but alluded to the president’s sometimes racist rhetoric and divisive policies.
  • Donald Trump denied he plans to declare victory prematurely on election night, hours after Axios reported that he was. Standing on an airport tarmac at Charlotte Douglas International Airport in North Carolina, Trump was asked about the report. “No, no, that’s a false report,” he said.
  • The Trump administratuon is “woefully behind” when it comes to stockpiling gloves and that the country’s Strategic National Stockpile, NBC News reported.
  • Biden in Philadelphia: ‘We’re seeing race-based disparities in every aspect of this virus’. Biden participated in a “souls to the polls” event, where he said “Every single day we’re seeing race-based disparities in every aspect of this virus,” shouting to be heard over the blaring car horns. He declared that Trump’s handling of Covid-19 was “almost criminal” and that the pandemic was a “mass casualty event in the Black community.”
  • Donald Trump’s campaign rallies may have led to 30,000 additional confirmed cases of Covid-19, and likely resulted in more than 700 deaths overall, according to a Stanford University paper posted online this weekend.
  • The Texas supreme court denied a challenge to 127,000 votes cast via drive-thru in Harris County. Republicans have claimed in state and federal court that the votes should be considered illegal because voters used drive-thru polling sites.
  • Axios, citing three anonymous sources, said Donald Trump plans to ignore the actual results of the election and declare victory if the early results show him “ahead.” Analysts were quick to point out that a person can say “I win” as many times as they want, but it doesn’t make it true.

Updated at 6.27am GMT

5.34am GMT

Trump threatens to fire Dr Fauci

More on Trump threatening to Fire Dr Fauci. At Opa-Locka airport in the Miami area, a “Fire Fauci” chant broke out when Trump defended his handling of coronavirus. Anthony Fauci, a highly respected member of his coronavirus task force, has been increasingly critical of Trump’s handling of the virus.

In response to the “Fire Fauci” chant, Trump said: “Don’t tell anybody, but let me wait until a little bit after the election.”

5.26am GMT

Here is the clip of Trump threatening to fire Dr Fauci:

5.21am GMT

Trump has again defended the supporters who surrounded Biden’s campaign bus, saying that they ‘escorted’ the bus:

Updated at 5.23am GMT

5.17am GMT

Crowd chants ‘Fire Fauci!’ and Trump responds ‘let me wait ’til a little bit after the election’

As trump criticised the US top infectious diseases expert Dr Anthony Fauci, the crowd began to chant, “Fire Fauci! Fire Fauci!”.

Trump responded: “Don’t tell anybody, but let me wait ‘til a little bit after the election, please. I appreciate the advice.”

Updated at 5.18am GMT

5.15am GMT

Trump just said “we could tay here all night.”

“I could stay here and tell you stories all night,” he continues.

5.07am GMT

Trump breaks curfew at rally in Miami-Dade county

Trump is speaking past a coronavirus cufew intended to mitigate infections as a Stanford University study shows his campaign rallies may have led to 30,000 additional confirmed cases of Covid-19, and likely resulted in more than 700 deaths overall.

The new research analyzed data following 18 Trump rallies held between 20 June and 22 September.

Updated at 5.53am GMT

5.01am GMT

Trump and is supporters are now officially out after the Miami-Dade curfew cutoff of midnight.

Trump hasn’t mentioned it, but he has just said, “Is there any place you’d rather be than at a Trump rally?”

Updated at 5.02am GMT

4.59am GMT

“Biden is a globalist who spent four years… sacrificing American blood and treasure in endless foreign wars,” says Trump.

He goes on to stress that he is “an outsider”.

“If I don’t sound like a typical Washington politician it’s because I’m not a politician,” he says.

4.55am GMT

Trump has taken the stage with seven minutes left to the county curfew:

Updated at 4.56am GMT

4.47am GMT

Back to Miami – there are just ten minutes left before Miami-Dade’s coronavirus curfew comes into effect.

The county (the same one in which Trump is due to speak any moment) has a countywide curfew from midnight to 6am every day as a precaution against coronavirus infections.

Updated at 4.52am GMT

4.43am GMT

Here is that clip from earlier on Sunday, when Trump said he’s preparing for legal challenges to the counting of mail and absentee votes in Pennsylvania.

Speaking to reporters in Charlotte ahead of a rally in Hickory, North Carolina, Trump said, “We’re going in the night of – as soon as the election is over – we’re going in with our lawyers.” Trump has repeatedly attacked the Supreme Court in recent days for not blocking the counting of late arriving ballots for days after election day:

4.37am GMT

Back at the Trump rally in Miami:

4.36am GMT

Trump is preparing to land in Miami. As we wait for him to take the stage, here is more on the incredible early voting figures. 8% more Texans have already voted this year than the total last year.

According to the latest YouGov poll, Trump leads by 2% in Texas:

More on Texans voting early from our story last week:

The numbers are propelling what is historically one of the lowest voter turnout states to the top of the nation’s leaderboard in terms of the sheer number of people who have voted thus far. That groundswell of participation is even more striking in context, as democratic hurdles remain ever-present at the polls while fears of Covid-19 also loom large:

Updated at 4.39am GMT

4.28am GMT

Here useful thread on the timing of the election for Australians – the complete thread can be found on Twitter.

4.25am GMT

Trump has tweeted about the second ammendment, or the right to bear arms, saying, falsely, that Biden will repeal this. A reminder that Trump is sayning this in a year where Americans have bought 17m guns – more than any other year – and even Walmart has taken guns off its shelves ahead of the election over fears of unrest.

Citing “the current unrest”, Walmart removed guns and ammunition from display in stores last week, as a “precaution” against theft if stores are robbed, the Wall Street Journal reported. The retailer did not confirm when firearms and ammunition would be put back on display but said that customers could continue to buy guns and ammunition by request.

4.13am GMT

Stepping away from that rally for a moment: The number of people who have voted early in the US this year has passed 93.2m.

The total number of people who voted in 2016 was 138.8m. This means roughly 67% of the total voter turnout for 2016 has already voted this year:

4.11am GMT

Here is a clip of DeSantis speaking just now:

4.04am GMT

More from DeSantis in Florida:

3.59am GMT

Florida governor Ron DeSantis has taken the statge, too.

He just said: “We are not going to allow Kamala Harris to be the president of the United States.”

“When we had the riots, we didn’t waste any time, I called up the national guard and said it’s not going to happen here.”

Kimberley Guildfoyle was first opening act – she spoke about her Puerto Rican heritage and ended her speech with the same refrain from her now infamous RNC speech: “The best is yet to come.”

3.57am GMT

Back to Miami, where the Guardian’s Southern Bureau Chief is at the Trump rally.

US senator for Florida Marco Rubio has just spoken:

3.55am GMT

And on the topic of polls – and, specifically, FiveThirtyEight polls, the website’s editror Nate Silver published a worthwile piece this evening in the US on how Trump could still win.

Here’s some of what he has to say:

The reasons that President Trump’s chances in our forecast are about 10 percent and not zero:

  • As in 2016, Trump could potentially benefit from the Electoral College. Projected margins in the tipping-point states are considerably tighter than the margins in the national popular vote.
  • More specifically, Joe Biden’s lead in Pennsylvania — the most likely tipping-point state, according to our forecast — is solid but not spectacular: about 5 points in our polling average.
  • Without Pennsylvania, Biden does have some paths to victory, but there’s no one alternative state he can feel especially secure about.
  • While a lot of theories about why Trump can win (e.g., those about “shy” Trump voters) are probably wrong, systematic polling errors do occur, and it’s hard to predict them ahead of time or to anticipate the reasons in advance.
  • There is some chance that Trump could “win” illegitimately. To a large extent, these scenarios are beyond the scope of our forecast.
  • There’s also some chance of a recount (about 4 percent) or an Electoral College tie (around 0.5 percent), according to our forecast.

3.48am GMT

Data journalism website FiveThirtyEight published its latest polling moments ago. It has Biden far, far ahead – by 8.6 points.

Polling has of course let us down in the past – but this margin is huge even compared to Clinton in 2016. Two days out from the election she was 2.8 points ahead.

3.42am GMT

Trump will be speaking live in Miami in just under an hour’s time – my colleague Oliver Laughland is on the ground and will be bringing us the latest:

3.39am GMT

Harris: Election results ‘will determine our moral direction for years to come’

Harris used remarks recorded for a Biden campaign virtual gospel concert Sunday evening to frame this election year as “a time to honestly grapple with what our faith requires of us” and “what it means to live the values it teaches,” AP reports.

She said the results “will determine our moral direction for years to come.”

Neither Harris nor Obama mentioned Trump, but alluded to the president’s sometimes racist rhetoric and divisive policies.

3.32am GMT

Speaking of ballots – Trump said at his rally in Rome that “Everything has to be counted by the evening of our election day…If they want more time, let them put their ballots in early”.

As the Associated Press’s Zeke Miller points out, vote-counting always takes longer than election day:

3.27am GMT

US 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 US judge.

Reuters: 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.”

A US Postal Service post office in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania on 14 August 2020.
A US Postal Service post office in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania on 14 August 2020.
Photograph: Rachel Wisniewski/Reuters

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.”
Sullivan, of US District Court in Washington, on Friday had ordered USPS to adopt “extraordinary measures” at numerous processing locations to ensure the timely delivery of millions of ballots before Tuesday’s presidential election.

Updated at 3.35am GMT

3.18am GMT

Here are the latest YouGov poll results – they show Biden with a lead of 4% in North Carolina and 8% in Pennsylvania.

He leads by 2% in Florida and 1% in Georgia.

Trump leads by 2% in Texas:

3.09am GMT

Here is what that Trump rally in Georgia was like for one CNN reporter:

Updated at 3.25am GMT

3.07am GMT

Today’s US elections podcast focusses on the voters who are sticking with Trump:

3.03am GMT

A reminder that you can get in touch on Twitter @helenrsullivan.

3.01am GMT

As Trump wraps up in Atlanta, my colleague Oliver Laughland has just arrived at the Trump rally in Miami – where Trump is due to speak in two hours’ time.

Florida has been a reliable bellwether in recent elections. The southern state has a diverse population, but is generally conservative-leaning and has a high proportion of older voters. Both camps will see this as a must-win state – and Biden currently leads by 1.9 points in the polls.

2.54am GMT

White House to erect ‘non-scalable’ Fence – report

NBC White House correspondent reports, citing an unnamed federal law enforcement source, that starting on Monday 2 November, a “non-scalable” fence will be erected around the White House compound.

2.47am GMT

FBI confirms it is investigating Biden bus incident

Here is what we know so far about the FBI confirming on Sunday that it was investigating the incident in which a convoy of vehicles flying flags in support of President Donald Trump’s re-election bid surrounded a bus carrying campaign staff for Democratic challenger Joe Biden on a Texas highway.

“FBI San Antonio is aware of the incident and investigating,” special agent Michelle Lee, a spokeswoman for the Federal Bureau of Investigation in San Antonio, told Reuters in an email. “No further information is available at this time.”

Speaking about the incident on the campaign trail on Sunday in Philadelphia, Biden said: “We’ve never had anything like this. At least we’ve never had a president who thinks it’s a good thing.”

Neither Biden nor his running mate, Senator Kamala Harris, was aboard the bus. The Texas Tribune reported that its passengers included Democratic US House of Representatives candidate and former Texas state Senator Wendy Davis.

Updated at 5.08am GMT

2.42am GMT

New Orleans’ Democratic mayor and Louisiana’s Republican secretary of state argued Sunday over who’s responsible for providing generators if some polling places didn’t have electricity on Election Day, AP reports, but by the end of the day it appeared all polling stations would have power.

Mayor LaToya Cantrell said Sunday that up to 11 precincts in the city could still be without power Tuesday, nearly a week after Hurricane Zeta took down power lines. She said Secretary of State Kyle Ardoin and his commissioner of elections, Sherri Wharton Hadskey, “are refusing to provide support for generators” for those precincts.

“In failing to fulfill its duty, the Secretary of State’s office risks disenfranchising Orleans residents and threatens to suppress the vote,” Cantrell said in a news release.

An election campaign sign sits in a tree as Hurricane Zeta sweeps through New Orleans, Louisiana, US on October 28, 2020.
An election campaign sign sits in a tree as Hurricane Zeta sweeps through New Orleans, Louisiana, US on October 28, 2020.
Photograph: Kathleen Flynn/Reuters

Ardoin responded in his own news release Sunday: “It is unfortunate that politicians like Mayor Cantrell … have responded to Hurricane Zeta by trying to score cheap political points instead of being part of any solution.”

Cantrell said the Secretary of State’s office “has taken the unprecedented position” that the city of New Orleans must use its employees and money to provide generators for polling places.

Ardoin issued a statement Saturday saying that Louisiana polling places without power would receive generators for Election Day, but it did not specify whether providing the generators would be a state or local responsibility. A spokesman for Ardoin’s office did not immediately provide a response to questions about it from The Associated Press on Sunday.

Later Sunday, the city issued a statement saying that Energy New Orleans was now estimating that three polling stations could be without power Tuesday — down from the 11 earlier estimated. Portable generators and lighting for two of the locations was being provided by the Governor’s Office of Homeland Security and Emergency Preparedness and the Secretary of State’s Office, and Entergy New Orleans would provide the generator for the third site, the statement said. Entergy would transport and operate the generators provided by the state to the other two locations, the city said.

The city was expecting that all original polling places would be in operation come Tuesday.

2.38am GMT

New Yorker staff writer Jelani Cobb on Trump’s response to the Biden bus incident:

2.35am GMT

According to the Covid Tracking Project, the US reported 74,000 new coronavirus cases on Sunday – 10,000 more than a week earlier.

Updated at 2.36am GMT

2.30am GMT

“You people are going to vote mostly on election day?” says Trump to cheers from the crowd.

“That’s called the red wave”

“This is going to be the most important election in my opinion because our country can never be a socialist country in my opinion.”

He then promises to “mass distribute the vaccine in just a few short weeks”. This vaccine does not yet exist.

Then he tells a bizarre story:

When his 14-year-old son Baron tested positive for coronavirus, he says, the doctor said he would be fine, because he is such a strong young man.

A few minutes later, Trump says, he asked how Baron was doing and the doctor said he was all better.

2.24am GMT

Trump is talking about the Hunter Biden laptop story.

“Adam Schiff says the laptop was created by Russia. We are so screwed up,” says Trump.

Then he starts talking about his MAGA hat – which he’s wearing because there’s “a lotta wind”. He had wanted to show off is hair, he says.

Updated at 2.32am GMT

2.19am GMT

The Hill journalist John Kruzel reports that a federal judge has ordered that from Monday 2 November to Wednesday 4 Novemner, the US Postal Service must “provide daily updates on the alleged election mail backlog at the Miami-Dade Country Post Office”:

2.16am GMT

Trump arrives in Atlanta, GA

We’ll bring you the latest:

2.11am GMT

Strategic National Stockpile ‘runninng dangerously low’ on gloves – reports

NBC News reports that the Trump administratuon is “woefully behind” when it comes to stockpiling gloves and that the country’s Strategic National Stockpile – which is itself meant to the the country’s last resort for the crucial personal protective equipment – is “running dangerously low”:

[Health and Human Services] set a goal to have on hand a 90-day supply in the stockpile, or 4.5 billion gloves. But as of this week it had 2 million, according to department officials.

The department estimates the current demand to be at 8.7 billion a month, or 104 billion gloves per year.

Updated at 5.40am GMT

2.04am GMT

Here are some photos of election night 1984, when Reagan won, in the USA Today newsroom:

1.55am GMT

Here is Arizona Republican Party chairwoman Dr Kelli Ward on how Trump is doing with suburban women – some of whom, she says, have veeb “brainwashed” by the media:

Updated at 1.57am GMT

1.52am GMT

Harris in Georgia: ‘Honour the ancestors’ by voting

Kamala Harris was in Georgia, a longtime Republican stronghold that Democrats believe could flip if Black voters show up in force.

She encouraged a racially diverse crowd in a rapidly growing Atlanta suburb to “honor the ancestors” by voting, invoking the memory of the late civil rights legend, longtime Rep. John Lewis.

Presidential Nominee Senator Kamala Harris speaks during a drive-in campaign event at the Infinite Energy Center on November 01, 2020 in Duluth, Georgia.
Presidential Nominee Senator Kamala Harris speaks during a drive-in campaign event at the Infinite Energy Center on November 01, 2020 in Duluth, Georgia.
Photograph: Justin Sullivan/Getty Images

1.46am GMT

Biden hasn’t responded to Trump’s recent comment on the supporters who surrounded one of the Democratic nominee’s campaign buses.

But he did just tweet this:

1.43am GMT

Biden in Philadelphia: ‘We’re seeing race-based disparities in every aspect of this virus’

Joe Biden is in Philadelphia today, as he focusses in his final days of campaign on appealing to Black supporters to vote in-person.

Philadelphia is the largest city in Pennsylvania – which is emerging as the most hotly contested battleground in the closing 48 hours of the campaign, AP reports.

Biden participated in a “souls to the polls” event that is part of a nationwide effort to organize Black churchgoers to vote.

“Every single day we’re seeing race-based disparities in every aspect of this virus,” Biden said at the drive-in event, shouting to be heard over the blaring car horns. He declared that Trump’s handling of Covid-19 was “almost criminal” and that the pandemic was a “mass casualty event in the Black community.”

1.40am GMT

As early voting closes in New York City, the board of elections have published the numbers:

1.34am GMT

Some reaction now to Trump’s defence of the Biden bus incident:

1.31am GMT

As Trump tweets his support of those “patriots” other Trump supporters have blocked main roads in New York and New Jersey, according to the New York Times.

The Times reports that, “Caravans of President Trump’s supporters blockaded the Mario M. Cuomo Bridge and the Garden State Parkway on Sunday, snarling traffic on two of the busiest highways in the New York metropolitan area just two days before Election Day.”

Democrat state senator David Carlucci, who represents Rockland County, responded on Twitter, calling the behaviour “aggressive, dangerous and reckless”:

Updated at 1.32am GMT

1.22am GMT

Trump defends people behind Biden bus incident

Trump has just tweeted again about the Biden bus incident, saying, “In my opinion these patriots did nothing wrong.”

Trump also suggested the FBI should stop investigating the incident, in which his supporters were seen surrounding a Biden campaign bus in Texas, which led Democrats to cancel an event there.

The president’s tweet came hours after the FBI confirmed that it was “aware of the incident and investigating.”

Updated at 3.21am GMT

1.16am GMT

This interview with a nurse in Montana is well worth watching if you haven’t seen it.

“You know at first, I hesitate to tell you this but I was the nurse for the very first patient that passed from Covid in our hospital. I thought I’ve seen this before,” says nurse Joey Traywick. “I’ll come back and check on her regularly. At that point she was moderately lucid. And I came back to the room at one point and she had passed. By herself. And I thought I’m never going to let that happen again.”

He has since been with 23 patients when they have died from coronavirus.

“I’m a good nurse. And the nurses that I work with are good nurses, but we are broken.”

“I’m broken. And my colleagues are broken. And people say It’s not that big a deal and I want to take them by the collar and say, ‘You don’t know what you’re talking about.”

1.06am GMT

Hi, Helen Sullivan joining you now from Sydney, where it is already Monday, 2 November – and therefore a day out from the election. Yikes!

I’ll be bringing you the latest from accross the US for the next few hours.

Please do get in touch with news from your part of the country, questions, comments and anything you think may be of interest to other readers.

Twitter: @helenrsullivan
Email: helen.sullivan@theguardian.com.

Updated at 1.09am GMT

12.56am GMT

Bloomberg reports on the mixed-messaging about Covid-19 inside the White House:

Donald Trump told his then-chief of staff, Mick Mulvaney, to “stay the hell home” from a trip to India in February because he didn’t want to be around Mulvaney and his lingering cough, according to people familiar with the trip. Even before the virus, Trump was known to dart to the other side of the room if someone sneezed. He used medical wipes labeled “not for use on skin” to scrub his hands, along with the ever-present Purell.

Yet at the White House he shunned one of the simplest and most effective ways of preventing transmission – wearing a mask. “Take that fucking thing off,” he demanded more than once to aides who showed up wearing masks in the early days of the virus, when he’d been told they weren’t a fail-safe. “It doesn’t look good.”

12.34am GMT

Fascinating opinion piece in the Washington Post by leading Republican election lawyer, Benjamin L Ginsberg.

Ginsberg writes that Trump’s last-minute attempt to challenge the ballots of individual voters unlikely to support him is as “un-American as it gets.

These are painful words for me to write. I spent four decades in the Republican trenches, representing GOP presidential and congressional campaigns, working on Election Day operations, recounts, redistricting and other issues, including trying to lift the consent decree…

The truth is that over all those years Republicans found only isolated incidents of fraud. Proof of systematic fraud has become the Loch Ness Monster of the Republican Party. People have spent a lot of time looking for it, but it doesn’t exist.

As he confronts losing, Trump has devoted his campaign and the Republican Party to this myth of voter fraud. Absent being able to articulate a cogent plan for a second term or find an attack against Joe Biden that will stick, disenfranchising enough voters has become key to his reelection strategy.

12.14am GMT

American voters with limited English proficiency could be decisive in battleground states, but are not getting the support they need to vote, according to an analysis by Philadelphia public radio station WHYY:

Language support guaranteed under Section 203 of the Voting Rights Act kicks in when a critical mass of voters requires it. The law says that officials should offer translated election-related information, and bilingual poll workers, if their election jurisdiction (typically states and counties) has at least 5 percent eligible voters or 10,000 voters — whichever is less — with limited English proficiency in a single language group.

Pennsylvania isn’t the only state where thousands of such “language minority” voters are left to fend for themselves because they live in jurisdictions where section 203 does not apply. The gaps in language support are wider than the 2016 presidential victory margins in Nevada, Wisconsin, Michigan, Minnesota and New Hampshire, according to our analysis of Census data. Across the country, that’s about 2.7 million eligible voters. And this year, even more American citizens could be disenfranchised by language barriers as vote-by-mail goes mainstream in an unprecedented way.

On the ground reality suggests that the scenario may be more drastic than what the data alone indicates. Election officials have failed to translate ballots, recruit bilingual poll workers and distribute multilingual voter education materials even in jurisdictions where the law does apply, says James Tucker, a voting-rights attorney and expert on language-minority groups’ right to the ballot.

11.55pm GMT

In Donald Trump’s denial that he will declare victory prematurely, he also threatened to deploy his team of lawyers to challenge the results.

“We’re going to go in the night of, as soon as that election’s over, we’re going in with our lawyers,” Trump said.

He continued to say he opposed the supreme court decision to allow ballots to be counted even if they arrive after election day.

A professor of law and political science at UC Irvine, Rick Hasen, said the suggestion Trump would pursue a “scorched-earth litigation strategy” was preferable to Trump declaring the race early.

“Frankly it beats the alternative (which was Trump just declaring victory even if the race was too early to call),” Hasen tweeted.

11.35pm GMT

Trump denies he will declare election victory prematurely

Donald Trump has denied he plans to declare victory prematurely on election night, hours after Axios reported that he was.

Standing on an airport tarmac at Charlotte Douglas International Airport in North Carolina, Trump was asked about the report. “No, no, that’s a false report,” he said.

Trump then quickly moved on to talk about his opposition to ballots being counted after election day.

“I think it’s a terrible thing when ballots can be collected after an election,” Trump said. “I think it’s a terrible thing when states are allowed to tabulate ballots for a long period of time after the election is over.”

He continued: “I think it’s terrible that we can’t know the results of an election the night of the election. … We’re going to go in the night of, as soon as that election’s over, we’re going in with our lawyers.”

Again I will highlight this New York Times article: We Have Never Had Final Results on Election Day.

Trump responds to the question around the 1:22 mark in this video:

Updated at 11.35pm GMT

11.16pm GMT

“It was less licence to kill and more dramatic licence,” write the Guardian’s Martin Belam and Libby Brooks, regarding Donald Trump’s claim that the late Sean Connery assisted him in securing the land for a golf course in Scotland:

In 2008 Connery is reported as saying of the project: “During tough economic times, this is a major vote of confidence in Scotland’s tourist industry and our ability to rise to the challenge. I look forward to seeing a new gem in the north-east that is good for Aberdeenshire and good for Scotland.”

But Martin Ford, the Aberdeenshire councillor who was chair of the planning committee that initially refused Trump’s application to build the resort, told the Guardian: “Mr Connery was not involved in the due process that led to the granting of planning permission for a golf resort at Menie. He did not submit a letter of representation to the council, appear at the planning hearing, or at the public local inquiry.”

Ford added: “Opinions offered in press articles are not material considerations in decisions on planning applications.”

11.01pm GMT

Evening summary

An employee of the West Bloomfield Township Clerks office sorts absentee ballots by precinct and ballot number at the West Bloomfield Clerks office on October 31, 2020 in West Bloomfield, Michigan.
An employee of the West Bloomfield Township Clerks office sorts absentee ballots by precinct and ballot number at the West Bloomfield Clerks office on October 31, 2020 in West Bloomfield, Michigan.
Photograph: Jeff Kowalsky/AFP/Getty Images

10.35pm GMT

Sobering read in Politico about how Donald Trump could win re-election, despite consistent polling in Joe Biden’s favor.

Jeff Roe, the Republican strategist who steered Ted Cruz’s 2016 presidential campaign, told Politico: “For as bad as all this shit is, you can certainly see how he could win.”

It’s a big “if” resting on a tower of uncertainties — explosive Republican turnout on Election Day, including among new, same-day registrants; tepid enthusiasm for Biden, especially among young people of color; disruptions at polling places that depress Democratic turnout; legal victories related to ballot counting; and a full-on embrace of Trump by the few voters who remain undecided.

Trump will need most or all of those things to happen in multiple states to engineer a victory, according to interviews with more than a dozen Democratic and Republican strategists and campaign officials. But as they run their final simulations of the Electoral College map, they see a credible — if distant — opportunity for a surprise.

10.11pm GMT

In 2017, two former officials linked to the office of New Jersey’s governor at the time, Chris Christie, were sentenced for using their power to close lanes on the George Washington Bridge in 2013 in an act of political revenge known as Bridgegate.

Traffic has stopped in New Jersey again for political reasons: a motorcade of Donald Trump supporters stopping their vehicles on the Garden State Parkway.

Officials at the New Jersey Turnpike Authority, which runs the Parkway, confirmed the event took place to the news website NJ.com.

9.44pm GMT

Donald Trump’s administration did not take the most basic steps to track a Covid-19 outbreak at the White House and has in general provided little information about its spread among senior government officials including the president.

But the New York Times has just revealed it had geneticists determine the genetic sequence of viruses that infected two of its journalists believed to have been exposed in their work covering the White House. The Times reports:

The White House has not disclosed any effort to conduct similar genetic testing, but the study’s results show that it is still possible, even weeks after positive tests. Additional sequencing could help establish the path of the virus through the White House, the role of a possible super-spreading event for Judge Amy Coney Barrett and the origin of an outbreak among the staff of Vice President Mike Pence in the last week or so.

9.30pm GMT

Scenes from the final weekend before election day

In Tampa, Florida, voters cast their early ballots in the 2020 US presidential election at a public library. Early vote totals in the 2020 US presidential election have passed 90 million, nearing two-thirds of 2016 turnout.
In Tampa, Florida, voters cast their early ballots in the 2020 US presidential election at a public library. Early vote totals in the 2020 US presidential election have passed 90 million, nearing two-thirds of 2016 turnout.
Photograph: Peter Foley/EPA
In West Bloomfield, Michigan, an employee of the West Bloomfield Township Clerks office checks to see if the absentee ballots are at the right clerks office and has a signature on October 31, 2020. More than a third of registered voters in Michigan, 2.6 million people, have already cast a ballot, according to Michigan secretary of state Jocelyn Benson.
In West Bloomfield, Michigan, an employee of the West Bloomfield Township Clerks office checks to see if the absentee ballots are at the right clerks office and has a signature on October 31, 2020. More than a third of registered voters in Michigan, 2.6 million people, have already cast a ballot, according to Michigan secretary of state Jocelyn Benson.
Photograph: Jeff Kowalsky/AFP/Getty Images
People cast their ballot at the Pantages Theatre in Hollywood, California on October 30, 2020.
People cast their ballot at the Pantages Theatre in Hollywood, California on October 30, 2020. The theatre was supposed to be hosting a run of Hamilton, but has been closed for months because of the pandemic.
Photograph: Robyn Beck/AFP/Getty Images

Updated at 9.30pm GMT

9.11pm GMT

More from Adam Gabbatt in Trumbull county, Ohio – one of nine counties which flipped from voting for Barack Obama in 2008 and 2012 to backing Trump in 2016:

Trump, more than Biden, desperately needs to win here given his reported struggles elsewhere in the mid-west. Happily, his supporters think he will.

“It’s going to be a landslide. An absolute landslide,” said Sean Delaney. He was carrying a particularly big flag which had a drawing of two guns on it.

“You can hear the horns. This is crazy.”

Delaney rubbished polling which suggests Trump will not win in a landslide.

“It’s gonna be just like last time. He’s gonna blow it out of the water. I think the media is misrepresenting it.”

Christy Conde stood next to Delaney. She is a rare – at least in terms of people I’ve met – Trump supporter who was happy to criticize the president.

“I like Trump even though I don’t like Trump. He’s so tacky. The debates were a debacle, he doesn’t know how to shut up,” Conde, 45, said.

As a lifelong Democrat, what Conde does like about Trump is that under him manufacturing jobs “are coming back”. Rust Belt states such as Ohio have suffered in recent decades as manufacturing and steel plants, and coal mines, have shut down.

Trump has claimed he “brought back 700,000 [manufacturing] jobs”, which is a lie, and suggested Obama and Biden “brought back nothing”. Neither of those things are true, but among some, at least, it seems like that doesn’t matter.

8.49pm GMT

At a rally in Iowa today, Donald Trump said that it is unusual for the US to not get election results on election night – even though it is very much normal. This comes after reports that Trump plans to declare victory before the election is called if it looks like he’s ahead.

The president may also want to read the New York Times article: We Have Never Had Final Results on Election Day.

8.27pm GMT

Important opinion piece in CNN by election law experts Richard Pildes and Richard Hasen about concerns the news media and social media might overplay routine election mistakes:

With commentators floating the possibility of a Constitutional crisis, a civil war, breaches in our electronic voting machines and other worst-case scenarios, hyper-vigilant voters and the media must be careful not to undermine our elections by giving excessive play to typical, Election Day problems or hastily spreading viral posts before the facts are verified.

In our polarized, frayed-nerves society, there’s a serious possibility that minor issues will be blown out of proportion and cast in sinister terms, especially on social media.

Our advice (to both voters and the media) is to slow down, take everything you see or hear with a grain of salt until it is fully vetted, and keep a balanced perspective on the problems that do emerge.

We can say with near-certainty given what has happened in past elections, for example, that there will be reports of an electronic voting machine “flipping” votes from Trump to Biden or vice versa. A voter will choose one candidate on the touch screen, but the machine will record it as selecting another. This is typically the result of a calibration error and can be easily fixed by rebooting the machine. But a grainy social media video of a vote flip from one candidate to another can feed into the worst fears of an organized effort to steal or hack the election.

8.09pm GMT

More on the effort by some Republicans in Texas to void more than 100,000 votes which have been cast in Harris County. A state court denied the challenge, which is also being heard in federal court.

The Republicans are arguing the votes should not count in the election because they were cast at drive-thru polling stations. Buzzfeed’s Molly Hensley-Clancy visited one of these polling sites yesterday and said officials were surprised by the legal challenge because Republicans had been involved in the conception and design of the drive-thrus:

“The official told me that the drive-through centers had been especially helpful for parents with young kids,” Hensley-Clancy tweeted. “Parents told him it was so much easier to vote when the kids were buckled in and occupied in the back seat.”

7.50pm GMT

A controversial member of Donald Trump’s coronavirus task force, Scott Atlas, apologized this morning for doing an interview with a news outlet registered as an agent of a foreign government in the US, RT.

RT has close ties to the Russian government and is seen by some as Russian propaganda. The former CIA director, James Clapper, called it: “a mouthpiece of Russian governmental propaganda.”

Atlas, who has no background in infectious diseases, has misleadingly called into question the efficacy of masks and social distancing and has supported the purposeful contraction of the virus by young people to create so-called “herd immunity”.

7.34pm GMT

Trump plans to declare victory before election is called – reports

Axios, citing three anonymous sources, is reporting that Donald Trump plans to ignore the actual results of the election and declare victory if the early results show him “ahead.”

Trump has privately talked through this scenario in some detail in the last few weeks, describing plans to walk up to a podium on election night and declare he has won.

For this to happen, his allies expect he would need to either win or have commanding leads in Ohio, Florida, North Carolina, Texas, Iowa, Arizona and Georgia.

In response to a request for comment, Trump campaign’s communications director, Tim Murtaugh, told Axios: “This is nothing but people trying to create doubt about a Trump victory. When he wins, he’s going to say so.”

7.23pm GMT

The Guardian’s Adam Gabbatt is reporting from Ohio ahead of the election:

Roadside flag-waving seems like a political tradition as old as time. There’s a bunch of Trump-supporters here in Warren, Ohio, doing it right now.

They’re getting a few honks as they waggle their MAGA flags around, but… what exactly are they hoping to achieve?

“That’s a good point,” said Harold Mechling, 75. He’s holding a ‘Trump 2020’ sign which is a little tattered – a legacy, Mechling said, of him flying it on several boat trips.

“I guess I do this to support that good man. [Trump].”

Mechling, dressed in a black leather jacket, black jeans, and black cowboy boots, is here with his wife, Debbie Mechling. She has brought a big speaker and is playing a song that is transparently a rip off of the Village People hit ‘YMCA’. The lyrics have been changed to M, A, G, A, and the flag-wavers are having a nice dance to the tune.

Warren is in Trumbull county, one of nine counties which flipped from voting for Barack Obama in 2008 and 2012 to backing Trump in 2016. It was places like this that helped Trump win Ohio by eight points last time round, but recent polls have the president neck-and-neck with Joe Biden.

Updated at 7.23pm GMT

6.58pm GMT

The Texas supreme court has just denied a challenge to 127,000 votes cast via drive-thru in Harris County. Republicans have claimed in state and federal court that the votes should be considered illegal because voters used drive-thru polling sites.

The federal challenge remains and will be considered in an emergency hearing on Monday. Two previous federal challenges tried to block drive-thru voting, but this challenge seeks to void votes cast at drive-thru polling sites.

Austin American-Statesman reporter, Chuck Lindell, has been closely following this case, as well as other legal challenges to voting in Texas.

6.37pm GMT

Just as Joe Biden announced he would travel to Ohio the day before the election – an indication his campaign thinks he has a chance to win the state – the state’s governor guessed Donald Trump would be declared the winner there.

This morning, the state’s Republican Governor, Mike DeWine, told CNN’s State of the Union: “I think the president wins Ohio. I think it’s going to be a close vote. I think he wins by a couple points probably.”

Though it is likely vote counts will be delayed in battleground states because of the increase in mail-in votes, DeWine guessed that we’ll know who won Ohio on election night.

“We count our early votes right at 7:30,” DeWine said. “So, you’re going – the first votes you’re going to get are all the early votes. They’re going to come in probably before 8:00. And you’re going to see some big numbers there. And I think that will give us some indication of how Ohio is going.”

And despite Trump’s claims that votes which arrive after election day shouldn’t be counted, DeWine said Ohio counts any vote which arrives within 10 days of the election, as long as its postmarked before election day. Absentee ballots can also can be submitted in a drop box required at each of the 88 county boards of elections.

“We have got a very open voting,” DeWine said. “It’s a system that has worked.”

6.11pm GMT

The Guardian’s world affairs editor, Julian Borger, writes on Donald Trump and Joe Biden’s sprint through campaign rallies in battleground states with just over 48 hours to go until voting concludes.

The president began his morning in Michigan and Biden was due to appear in Pennsylvania today. Julian reports:

In Michigan, Trump repeated some of the messages that worked in 2016, highlighting the impact of globalisation on the car industry.

“I gave you a lot of auto plants, so I think we’re even,” he told a crowd at a wind- and rain-swept rally in the town of Washington.

One new car plant has been announced since Trump took office, while Michigan car and vehicle part manufacturing jobs had fallen by 2,400 even before the Covid-19 pandemic struck. Employment in the sector is down more than 18,000 in the state, according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics.

Biden has also just announced he will be in Ohio on Monday.

5.42pm GMT

A number of readers have pointed out there may be more than appears to the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette’s decision to endorse a Republican presidential candidate for the first time since 1972.

In 2018, the editorial boards of the Post-Gazette and the Toledo Blade merged when the Pittsburgh paper ended its daily print run. The result under editorial page editor Keith Burris and publisher John Robinson Block is a distinct right-ward shift in the paper’s politics, culminating with Saturday’s endorsement of Donald Trump.

As one commenter put it: “Out-of-state investors buy Primanti Bros, fire all the chefs & line cooks, reopen with an all-vegetarian menu, and proclaim “this establishment, open since 1933, is convinced: no more meat!”. Did some sort of persuasion take place? Nah, the new owners just kept the old signs.”

Block made headlines during the 2016 election cycle for a Facebook photo in which he shared a gushing post after hanging out on then-candidate Trump’s jet.

5.20pm GMT

Biden campaign senior adviser Anita Dunn expressed confidence ahead of this week’s election in an appearance on ABC’s This Week with George Stephanopoulos, saying the Democratic candidate’s map has “expanded” in the final run-up to Tuesday.

“As we’ve got closer to the election, instead of the number of contested battleground states shrinking, which is normally what you see at this point in a campaign, George, you know that, the number has actually expanded so that we are now campaigning also in Georgia, in Iowa, in Ohio. Senator Harris was in Texas on Friday,” Dunn said. “Our map has expanded as we move closer to election day.

“And the Trump campaign – obviously, they’re going to say they feel good. They’re going to say they feel like they can carry everything they did in 2016. But if you look at the enormous enthusiasm that we’ve seen in the early vote, these record-setting early vote numbers, people are going to vote.”

Dunn also took objection to Trump campaign senior adviser Jason Miller’s refusal to address the US president’s unfounded assertion that doctors are inflating Covid-19 deaths for money.

“I actually just have to say I’m astonished that Jason Miller spent as much time as he did without ever saying that the doctors who are on frontlines in this coronavirus crisis that this country faces, that without ever defending them and without ever basically saying, no, they’re not in it for money,” Dunn said. “These people have been risking their lives since the beginning of this crisis. Frontline workers and doctors, nurses, the people who work in these hospitals, have been risking their lives. They didn’t have adequate protective gear at the beginning. No one really knew how it spread. They have been out there every day many of them working double shifts.”

She added: We saw for the first time over 100,000 new cases in one day this week. A thousand people a day dying on average now. Jason Miller and the Trump campaign may feel that that’s virtually no one but there are a thousand families in this country who lost someone yesterday. There are a thousand more that will lose someone today. And those are not virtually nobodies.”

4.58pm GMT

Donald Trump’s campaign rallies may have led to 30,000 additional confirmed cases of Covid-19, and likely resulted in more than 700 deaths overall, according to a Stanford University paper posted online this weekend.

The new research analyzed data following 18 Trump rallies held between 20 June and 22 September, three of which were indoors.

Dr Amesh Adalja, an infectious disease expert at Johns Hopkins Center for Health Security, said the Stanford paper was “suggestive” of spread from the events, but not definitive because it was not based on an investigation of actual cases. That would help confirm whether participants were exposed to the virus at the event, rather than other places where transmission is rampant.

Minnesota public health officials have attributed four Covid-19 outbreaks and more than 25 cases to Trump rallies held in the state in September and October.

An additional 11 state health departments contacted by Reuters said they had not been able to trace infections to the rallies, although some, including Michigan and Wisconsin, have determined that individual people who later tested positive for Covid-19 were present at Trump campaign events.

4.35pm GMT

Pollsters from either side of the political spectrum gave their takes on Tuesday’s election during a panel discussion on NBC’s Meet the Press.

Democratic pollster Jeff Horwitt said “it’s going to be very hard” for Donald Trump to overcome Joe Biden’s six-point battleground state lead.

“It’s going to be very hard for a couple of reasons,” Horwitt said. “One, is unlike 2016, this is really a referendum on Donald Trump. We’ve had four years of the Trump presidency. We know what it is like, we’ve seen it, we’ve lived through it. And for the first three years, we wondered what an unconventional president, how he would address a crisis not of his own making. And in his fourth year of his presidency, we know, and the verdict is not, not good when we have 40%, who can approve of the job he’s doing in handling Covid-19.

“And then, you know, the other thing is that the numbers really have been stable in terms of the trial lead at 10 points now. It was 11 and 14 in debates. There’s been no movement to really suggest that Donald Trump is making, making ground. And the last point is Joe Biden. Joe Biden is net positive, his personal ratings have improved over time, which was not the case in 2016, while Donald Trump remains net negative.”

Republican pollster Bill McInturff said the outcome will come down to states with “huge numbers of white, non-college who’ve not yet voted”.

“Look, they’re a volatile group, but I think the other thing to look at is who has not voted,” McInturff said. “Among the roughly three out of 10 people who say they have not voted yet, they’re voting for Donald Trump by almost 30 points. And the states to look at – and you focused on the right thing, which is white, non-college – look at the states with huge numbers of white, non-college who’ve not yet voted: Pennsylvania, Michigan, Ohio and Wisconsin. And this election is going to come down to those states again.

“And just like we’ve seen historic early vote, I think we’re going to see a historic vote. I think another thing to remember is like ’04, like 2012, those are two incumbent races, Bush and Obama, where you give smart people a lot of time, a lot of money to change the composition of the electorate. The Republican Party’s done a good job of registering new people in these states and they have devoted a year to try to increase turnout in rural and with white, non-college in these states, and I think these states are going to get very, very close.”

4.12pm GMT

A CBS News/YouGov poll finds Joe Biden is entering Tuesday’s election as the clear favorite of voters who have already cast their ballots early, while Donald Trump is leading among those who plan to vote on the day.

CBS News
CBS News estimates Trump is doing, on average, over 30 percentage points better among likely election day voters than early voters.
Photograph: CBS News

Some other key findings from CBS News:

• So we took our baseline state model estimates from our initial polling, which sums to Biden holding an Electoral College lead heading into Election Day, and also estimated what it would take for each candidate to ultimately win.

• We estimate from our polling that Mr. Trump is doing, on average, over 30 percentage points better among likely Election-Day voters than early voters. We know the approximate size of the early vote so far, and we vary the potential size of the Election-Day vote to explore two scenarios.

• In our Republican-surge scenario, the size of the Election-Day vote is relatively large, so given that these voters break for Mr. Trump, it mitigates Biden’s early-vote edge, and Mr. Trump inches out close wins in enough states to go over 270. (We increased the size of the Election-Day vote by an average of seven points in this scenario, while keeping vote preference among early voters and Election-Day voters fixed.)

• But it doesn’t take much for this to break big the other way. If some of the people planning to vote on Tuesday decide not to show up, and the size of the Election-Day vote decreases by an average of three points from our initial estimates, the net result is pretty dramatic. Given Biden’s overall preference leads, nearly all the competitive states either flip to Biden or stay in his column, giving him a comfortable win.

• In our baseline scenario, Biden has a narrow Electoral College edge with many states toss ups.

3.51pm GMT

In an appearance on ABC’s This Week with George Stephanopoulos, Trump campaign senior adviser Jason Miller refuses to be pinned down when asked to answer for the US president’s assertion that doctors are inflating Covid-19 deaths for personal enrichment.

“I’m not going to get into the – the billing aspects, of which there have been many reports on. There have been all sorts of independent things pointing to that,” Miller said. “But the fact of the matter is people want to get their life back to normal. They’re tired of the lockdowns. You look at these Democrat-run states like Pennsylvania, Michigan, Wisconsin. We’re seeing this on the campaign trail with the rallies. People are tired of these lockdowns. They want to safely re-open.”

When asked about the campaign’s clearest path to 270 electoral votes, Miller points back to the so-called Democratic blue wall in the Rust Belt that Trump crumbled four years ago.

“Well, we feel very good,” Miller said. “We think that President Trump is going to hold all of the Sun Belt states that he won previously. And as you look to the upper Midwest, Joe Biden has to stop President Trump in four out of four states; Pennsylvania, Michigan, Wisconsin, Minnesota. If President Trump wins just won of those in three of the four that he won last time, he will be a re-elected president.”

3.26pm GMT

Donald Trump is plotting a second-term purge of his cabinet if he prevails in Tuesday’s election, according to a very normal story on Politico this morning.

Administration officials are already vetting names of health care experts for the top jobs at the Centers for Disease Control, Food and Drug Administration, the Department of Health and Human Services, Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services and National Institutes of Health, according to two Republicans close to the White House.

Major overhauls are also expected in intelligence and national security posts at the FBI, CIA and Pentagon.

More from Politico:

The shift would amount to a purge of any Cabinet member who has crossed the president, refused to mount investigations he has demanded, or urged him to take a different, more strict tack on the coronavirus response.

The evictions could run the gamut from senior health officials to much of the national security leadership. Already, the White House and administration officials have started to vet names of health care experts who could take over the agencies running many elements of the government’s pandemic response and overseeing the country’s health insurance system, according to two Republicans close to the White House. And the president is eying a remake of leadership at the FBI, CIA and Pentagon, exasperated with what he perceives as unwillingness to investigate his preferred subjects or take on the government’s “deep state.”

This personnel overhaul of the Trump Cabinet at the start of a second term would mirror the turnover his administration has already experienced during his first four years. Of the 23 Cabinet-level posts in the Trump White House, only seven officials lasted all four years. Many, including Secretary of State Rex Tillerson, Environmental Protection Agency chief Scott Pruitt and Health and Human Services Secretary Tom Price, had public and contentious departures. And it would represent a fully unencumbered Trump, no longer constrained by political considerations or pushback from Congress.

“I can only imagine the score-settling Trump would undertake if he won,” said one Republican close to the White House about the potential Cabinet shakeup.

3.01pm GMT

And that’s it from me in London. I will leave you with this clip of Barack Obama’s basketball skills, and hand you over to Bryan Armen Graham in the US…

2.55pm GMT

North Carolina police pepper sprayed and arrested attendees at a get-out-the vote rally

North Carolina police pepper sprayed and arrested attendees at a get-out-the vote rally because participants blocked the roadway without authorization, authorities said on Saturday.

The “I Am Change” march to the polls was organized by the Reverend Greg Drumwright and began as a march from a local church to the courthouse. Drumwright said the group was permitted to stand in the square outside the Alamance county courthouse and was escorted through the streets by the police. He also said that the group had “no intention” of having the rally in the street.

“We are fed up with this kind of treatment in Alamance county and in Graham city,” Drumwright said in a Facebook live video following the altercation. “Both of those law entities … colluded to suppress peaceful organizers, who were here not only to vote today, but to call an end to system oppression and racial disparages.”

A woman’s eyes are washed from pepper spray deployed by police at a Get Out The Vote march in Graham, North Carolina.
A woman’s eyes are washed from pepper spray deployed by police at a Get Out The Vote march in Graham, North Carolina.
Photograph: Anthony Crider/Reuters

Lindsay Ayling, a graduate student and anti-racism activist who participated in the rally, said police used teargas indiscriminately and without reason on the crowd, including on children.

“The police were looking for excuses to use pepper spray and arrest members of the crowd,“ she said.

Read more here: North Carolina police pepper spray protesters at get-out-the-vote march

2.51pm GMT

One thing you can do in the aftermath of the election is join in our election results special on Wednesday 4 November. It is an online event that starts at 2pm if you are in New York, or 7pm if like me you are in London.

Guardian journalists Jonathan Freedland, Kenya Evelyn, David Smith and Sarah Churchwell will be discissing the results – or possibly the lack of them. You can find out more about the event and book tickets here.

2.47pm GMT

Jim VandeHei brings us his zen-like plans for having a calm and relaxing election night on Axios. His key points include:

  • Vote and then chill, it’s going to be ages until you get the result.
  • Brace for the possibility of the “Red Mirage”Tom McCarthy wrote about this for us yesterday.
  • Don’t share social-media posts that aren’t from a source you trust and know well. It isn’t clear if this recommendation is also directed towards at least one of the candidates.
  • Expect that President Trump may refuse to accept results.
  • Don’t hyperventilate about court cases – wait until there are verdicts and appeals to appraise their significance.
  • Brace yourself for 78 days of drama and turmoil from 4 November through the inauguration.

Hmmmm, I had been hoping for some time off after the election…

Read more here: Axios – A safe, sane way to navigate election night — and beyond

2.32pm GMT

One notable feature of the campaign has been several publications breaking with tradition to either back a Democratic nominee when you usually expect them to lean to the Republican ticket – or to indeed make presidential endorsements when they usually don’t. But the Trump campaign are making a lot of noise this morning about the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette opting for a Republican for the first time since 1972.

It is not always the most flattering of endorsements, it must be said:

We share the embarrassment of millions of Americans who are disturbed by the president’s unpresidential manners and character — his rudeness and put-downs and bragging and bending of the truth.

None of this can be justified. The president’s behavior often has diminished his presidency, and the presidency. Most Americans want a president who makes them proud.

However they are bullish about his economic and trade record, and extremely scathing of his opponent.

The Biden-Harris ticket offers us higher taxes and a nanny state that will bow to the bullies and the woke who would tear down history rather than learning from history and building up the country.

It offers an end to fracking and other Cuckoo California dreams that will cost the economy and the people who most need work right now. “Good-paying green jobs” are probably not jobs for Pittsburgh, or Cleveland, or Toledo, or Youngstown.

It offers softness on China, which Mr. Trump understands is our enemy.

Mr. Biden is too old for the job, and fragile. There is a very real chance he will not make it through the term.

Read it here: Pittsburgh Post-Gazette – The man and the record

2.27pm GMT

Nina Lakhani has been in Allentown, Pennsylvania for us. Biden campaigns in the state today and Monday, and Trump drops by Scranton tomorrow as part of his last day of campaigning too. She’s been finding that the levels of hunger in the state have hit thier highest level since the pandemic’s start:

Charles Bennicoff hasn’t worked since last winter. He’s an experienced landscape gardener but the mom-and-pop business he worked for in Allentown, Pennsylvania, cut its staff after losing most of their contracts during the pandemic.

Bennicoff, 50, now relies on a food pantry for a few bags of groceries every couple of weeks to supplement the food stamps and social security his mentally ill wife receives. He still picks up the occasional odd job but doesn’t qualify for unemployment benefits because the landscaping job was cash in hand.

It’s the first time the couple have needed food aid since recovering from drug addiction and homelessness about 20 years ago, and Bennicoff is struggling to stay positive.

“Covid has taken a toll, emotionally and financially. There’s a thousand people dying every day because of the president’s lies, and I can’t just shrug that off. I have tears in my eyes every night,” said Bennicoff.

Hunger is rising in Pennsylvania, with the demand for food aid at its highest level since the start of the pandemic, according to new figures obtained by the Guardian.

Read more here: ‘The numbers floored me’: hunger in Pennsylvania hits highest level since pandemic’s start

2.20pm GMT

With two days to go, Joe Biden holds a commanding national lead over Donald Trump in the polls. But it isn’t national poll leads that decide who ends up in the White House – it is the electoral college votes of swing states.

Chris Kahn and John Whitesides note for Reuters that Biden’s national lead over the Republican president has stayed relatively steady in recent months as the public health crisis has persisted. He is ahead 51% to 43% in the latest Reuters/Ipsos poll taken 27-29 October.

And in a new national poll from NBC News today while Biden’s lead has narrowed slightly by their reckoning – down from 11 points to 10 points since two weeks ago.

But Trump is still close to Biden in enough state battlegrounds to win the grand prize.

“This is the most competitive election I could imagine if you’re down 10 points nationally,” Republican pollster Bill McInturff of Public Opinion Strategies told NBC News.

In polls, Biden repeatedly earns higher marks than Trump on his ability to handle the coronavirus pandemic, and about 30% of Americans say their vote this year is primarily driven by their perception of who would be better at handling the crisis.

But will that be enough to hand in the electoral college votes?

Today’s NYT/Siena College numbers have Biden leading by 11 points in Wisconsin, six in Arizona and Pennsylvania, and by three points in Florida. Three points is well within a polling margin of error, moving Florida into toss-up territory.

A separate ABC/Washington Post poll out today gives Biden a similar seven point lead in Pennsylvania, a state where he will be campaigning today and tomorrow. They give Trump a slight edge in Florida, 50-48.

Not looking so good for Biden is Iowa, where any hopes the Democratic nominee had that he could make that race competitive look to have faded. The Des Moines Register report that:

Trump has taken over the lead in Iowa as Biden has faded. The president now leads by 7 percentage points over Biden, 48% to 41%. In September’s Iowa Poll, the candidates were tied at 47% to 47%.

Turn-out is looking extremely high – although whether that’s a blue wave building to sweep Trump out of office and the Democrats into power across all branches of government, or it’s a silent endorsement of Trump that the polls haven’t measured is anybody’s guess.

You can keep your eagle-eye on the latest numbers in eight crucial swing states with our US elections poll tracker.

2.14pm GMT

Donald Trump has made the claim that former James Bond actor Sean Connery assisted him in getting planning applications passed in Scotland. It was announced yesterday that Connery had died, aged 90.

In a series of tweets, two days prior to the US election, Trump paid tribute to the much-loved actor, saying that he was “highly regarded and respected in Scotland and beyond”.

However, it is the eye-opening claim that Connery stepped in and shouted “Let him build the damn thing” about a big development that is likely to raise eyebrows in Connery’s homeland.

The president claims that “everything went swimmingly” with his development plans after initially “having a very hard time getting approvals”.

The pair did know each other. Connery and Trump were photographed together at several events in New York, including the Johnnie Walker Dressed to Kilt fashion show in the early 2000s.

Updated at 2.27pm GMT

2.03pm GMT

The founding editor of Jacobin magazine and Guardian US columnist Bhaskar Sunkara writes for us this morning, saying that America is a failing state and establishment politics can’t solve the crisis.

In 2020, America has shown itself to be exceptional in the worst possible ways. No other rich country has such a poor public health infrastructure or such a tattered social safety net. America’s levels of both police violence and violent crime find their closest peers in countries like Venezuela and South Africa, not Canada and Germany. And even Cuba and Bosnia and Herzegovina beat the world’s only superpower in infant mortality and other key social indicators.

In the most powerful country on Earth, 29.3 million people say that they “sometimes” or “often” do not have enough to eat. Forty million Americans are impoverished, according to the UN. Half a million are homeless. And all this was true before the full brunt of the pandemic’s economic recession hit.

Given these stark figures, the relative stability of the United States is a wonder. The country has maintained popular suffrage and democratic institutions (for white males, at least) for two centuries and married that form of government with a dynamic capitalist economy capable of creating vast wealth. In fact, American business owners have managed to avoid even the rise of a major social-democratic or labor party; in the US, demands for economic justice are filtered through – and watered down by – a centrist Democratic party and a byzantine system of government deliberately designed to limit popular passions. But perhaps that muzzling is reaching its limit.

Read more here: Bhaskar Sunkara – America is a failing state. And establishment politics can’t solve the crisis

1.50pm GMT

Secretary of state Mike Pompeo has tweeted out this morning in defence of journalists, saying “they often face threats, attacks, or murders that often go unpunished”. He goes on to “call on all governments to investigate and redress these crimes.”

There might be more than a few journalists with questions for him about the behaviour of the president of the US in this regard.

A report earlier this year found that Donald Trump and his administration’s attack on the press “dangerously undermined truth and consensus in a deeply divided country.”

The report is based on interviews with nearly 40 journalists, academics, media lawyers, and press freedom advocates. [It] cited a long list of examples of Trump demeaning the press. These include Trump belittling reporter’s questions on the Justice Department investigating journalists’ sources, calls for changes in libel laws to punish reporting he dislikes, and ending the White House daily press briefings for more than a year.

“Trump devoted increasing amounts of time to angrily denouncing the press at his large rallies of ardent supporters around the country, encouraging the boisterous crowds to react. He regularly pointed to the mass of reporters, photographers, and videographers penned up in the raised press section behind the crowd, prompting people to turn around, boo, and shout things like, ‘CNN sucks,’” the report reads.

It additionally highlights journalists and news organizations he dislikes receiving threats, like when CNN was sent a package-bomb by a supporter.

And of course, Republican congressman Greg Gianforte was fined just 5 and spared jail after pleading guilty to assaulting the then-Guardian reporter Ben Jacobs in 2017.

1.40pm GMT

It looks like Scott Atlas took Fauci’s criticism’s of his views on the coronavirus task force really well overnight.

1.34pm GMT

Speaking of the Trump administration response to coronavirus, the president has just baselessly tweeted that Joe Biden wants to lockdown the country for years.

It has not gone without notice that while there has been good progress on some vaccines, the administration has not hit its promise of having 100 million doses of Coronavirus vaccine ready to go by the end of October.

1.26pm GMT

‘We’re in for a whole lot of hurt’ – Dr Anthony Fauci predicts 100,000 Covid cases a day in winter and rising death tolls

“We’re in for a whole lot of hurt,” Dr Anthony Fauci told the Washington Post in a hard-hitting interview published on Saturday night, three days out from election day, immediately angering the Trump White House.

“It’s not a good situation. All the stars are aligned in the wrong place as you go into the fall and winter season, with people congregating at home indoors. You could not possibly be positioned more poorly.”

More than 9.1m cases of Covid-19 have been recorded in the US and more than 230,000 people have died. Daily case counts vary but agree that on Friday the US set a world record for cases in a single day, at between 99,000 and 100,000.

Donald Trump has been regularly claiming the US is “rounding the corner”. On Friday he made the baseless claim that doctors were rewarded financially if people died of Covid. His challenger, Joe Biden, who leads most national and battleground state polls, is staging fewer events and, unlike Trump, observing Covid protocols.

Fauci told the Post Biden was “taking it seriously from a public health perspective”. Trump, he said, was “looking at it from a different perspective … the economy and reopening the country.”

Fauci, 79 and the director of the National Institute for Allergy and Infectious Diseases since 1984, serving six presidents, is immensely popular with the public and largely seen as safe from being fired. But the Post also reported that “at one point during the interview, Fauci said he needed to be careful with his words because he would be blocked from doing appearances in the future”.

Fauci was critical of a controversial outsider brought into the coronavirus taskforce by Trump. Scott Atlas, a Stanford neuroradiologist and Fox News contributor, favours ending public health restrictions and pursuing “herd immunity”.

“I have real problems with that guy,” Fauci said. “He’s a smart guy who’s talking about things that I believe he doesn’t have any real insight or knowledge or experience in. He keeps talking about things that when you dissect it out and parse it out, it doesn’t make any sense.”

Updated at 1.26pm GMT

1.08pm GMT

Back to the coronavirus pandemic, Gov. Michelle Lujan Grisham said at the weekend that the spread of coronavirus is out of control in New Mexico, as she urged residents to stay home and avoid gathering with others.

“Please do your part to protect yourself and your fellow New Mexicans by celebrating a COVID-SAFE Halloween,” the Democratic governor’s office said in a Facebook post. “Stay home. Do not gather with others.”

State officials on Saturday reported 592 additional known virus cases and 11 additional deaths but said the case data for the day was incomplete due to a technical problem.

“Due to a technical disruption of the electronic laboratory reporting system, the following data reflects only a partial total for today’s case update,” state officials said in a statement. “The delayed results will be included in the state’s reporting as soon as they are received and confirmed.”

The additional cases and deaths reported Saturday increased the state’s totals to 46,490 cases and 1,018 deaths.

Here’s the latest nationwide figures according to the Johns Hopkins University, as of this morning. Montana, Wyoming, South Dakota and Alaska continue to be the states showing the most alarming rises in cases.

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1.02pm GMT

Rachel Bitecofer, one of Project Lincoln’s senior advisers and a sometime contributor to this website, is letting her election nerves show.

1.01pm GMT

Donald Trump has often referenced his ‘beautiful’ wall on the US-Mexico border, but I don’t imagine he was thinking of it being decorated like this when he said it.

Aerial view of demonstrators preparing to burn a pinata depicting US president Donald Trump.
Aerial view of demonstrators preparing to burn a pinata depicting US president Donald Trump.
Photograph: Guillermo Arias/AFP/Getty Images

Reuters report that protesters in Mexico burned effigies of Donald Trump and a border patrol agent yesterday while condemning the administration’s immigration policies and urging Americans to reject Trump at the ballot box on Tuesday.

Aerial view of a protest Playas de Tijuana, Baja California state, on the border with the US.
Aerial view of a protest Playas de Tijuana, Baja California state, on the border with the US.
Photograph: Guillermo Arias/AFP/Getty Images

A few dozen migrant activists marched to the beach fence separating Mexico from the United States at the border city of Tijuana chanting, “Trump, we won’t pay for your wall,” then set fire to a crude, besuited effigy of the president on a stick.

An effigy of Trump is burned during the protests.
An effigy of Trump is burned during the protests.
Photograph: Joebeth Terríquez/EPA

“We’re calling on people to vote against Trump and in favor of hope. Biden has promised us a humanitarian migration reform, we’ll be watching to ensure the promises are kept this time,” said Hugo Castro, a Mexican-American migrant activist.

12.48pm GMT

Lauren Boebert, who has generated plenty of column inches as she runs for Congress, has been having a slow motion spat on Twitter with her Democratic opponent for Colorado’s 3rd Congressional District, Diane Mitsch Bush.

Boebert yesterday boasted that she had been endorsed by South Dakota’s Gov. Kristi Noem.

Bush made a joke in a familiar online meme-format, suggesting that perhaps Boebert was confused about the geography of where she was standing for election.

Boebert has made it clear this morning that she didn’t find it particularly funny.

Which is slightly surprising, as given that Boebert is one of the Congressional candidates who have given some credence to the QAnon conspiracy theory, you’d think she’d be more in favor of internet memeology.

12.39pm GMT

The Trump team has ten rallies planned in the next 48 hours. Facing what appears to be a narrow path to re-election, the president is to make stops in seven states likely to prove pivotal in deciding if he will remain in the White House for four more years, or whether he will become the first president since the senior George Bush failed in a bid for a second term in 1992.

It is his campaign’s busiest stretch, reports Steve Holland for Reuters. The Republican incumbent aims to generate enough momentum to drive an overwhelming turnout by his supporters. He will finish the two-day blitz with a late-night rally on Monday in Grand Rapids, Michigan, the same location where he finished his campaign in 2016.

Weighing down Trump is a rising number of coronavirus infections. Trump has continually played down the virus and says his opponents are using it against him. He’s even gone on the attack against the very doctors who have been trying to save the lives of the Americans who have been hospitalised with Covid.

At a rally on Saturday in Newtown, Pennsylvania, Trump seemed to lament his close race with Biden, who he considers a weak opponent.
“This could only happen to me,” Trump said. “How could we be tied?”

Some Republicans are pessimistic about Trump’s chances, believing he has too many states where his back is up against the wall, fearing the 90 million who have cast ballots early suggest a wave building against the president.

But Trump and his team believe polls undersell the Republican’s level of support, arguing many of his backers do not want to admit as much to pollsters and that, thanks to a strong Republican get-out-the-vote effort, the incumbent will win.

12.29pm GMT

ABC/Washington Post poll: Florida remains toss-up, Biden leads slightly in Pennsylvania

Gary Langer at ABC News brings us more on the final few polls of election season. He says there’s been little change from September in the two critical swing states of Florida and Pennsylvania.

The pandemic versus the economy defines the presidential contest in two key battlegrounds, with Florida holding firm to its toss-up status while Joe Biden leads slightly in Pennsylvania in the season’s final ABC News/Washington Post polls.

There’s little change in either state. In Florida, Donald Trump has 50% support among likely voters to Biden’s 48%; it was 51%-47% in an ABC/Post poll Sept. 20. Trump won the state by 112,911 votes out of more than 9.4 million cast in 2016.

In Pennsylvania, the race stands at 51%-44%, Biden-Trump, a 7-point advantage for the Democrat; that compares with a 9-point margin late last month. Here, Trump’s 2016 win was even narrower: 44,292 votes out of nearly 6.2 million cast.

The president finishes his busy day with an 11pm rally in Florida today. Biden is on the campaign trail in Pennsylvania both Sunday and Monday.

Read more here: ABC News – Florida maintains toss-up status while Biden leads slightly in Pennsylvania

12.25pm GMT

A slightly left field pitch for the presidency from the Joe Biden team here…

12.21pm GMT

Newsweek bring us a report on events outside Attorney General William Barr’s house last night, where it seems that pro-Trump demonstrators rocked up to protest that Barr hasn’t done enough to lock up Joe Biden in the run-up to the election.

Protesters carrying Trump flags picketed Attorney General William Barr’s home on Saturday because they believe he isn’t doing enough to bring former Vice President Joe Biden to justice.

President Donald Trump has referred to Biden as a criminal and said he and his son, Hunter Biden, are part of an “organized crime family.” This is due in part to unsubstantiated allegations about the Bidens’ business dealings with foreign countries.

Social media users also shared photos of the scene, with one picture featuring a white horse. AP journalist Mike Balsamo reported that the Department of Justice had said Barr went out to speak to the picketers.

“Let me tell you something, Joe Biden is a criminal and he’s been a criminal for a long time, and you’re a criminal and the media for not reporting it,” Trump told reporters on 20 October.

Read more here: Newsweek – Protesters with Trump flags swarm William Barr’s home demanding he ‘lock up Joe Biden’

12.15pm GMT

It was a grey autumn Saturday earlier this month at a Republican rally just outside Youngstown, Ohio – a once prosperous city in the heart of America’s rustbelt, embedded in a region that flipped to Donald Trump in 2016.

What started as a casual political gathering, however, descended into a full-throated confrontation that encapsulated the stark divisions that underscore this seminal election, and perhaps the state of the country as a whole.

A bashed up red Chevy pickup daubed in handmade “Dump Trump” signs pulled up slowly. And a lone protester, Chuckie Denison, a former factory worker at a local General Motors plant that closed last year, jumped out to berate the assembled crowd.

“Two-hundred-and-twenty-thousand Americans have died under Trump. And our jobs have gone.” he shouted. “And all we ask is for somebody to represent all of us.”

I’d come to Youngstown because Donald Trump had made direct promises to the people living here; to restore a failing economy and bring back manufacturing jobs after years of decay. But poverty and jobless rates continue to soar here.

In that crowd of Trump supporters were people who had worked at the same plant as Denison, and others who had lost their jobs during the pandemic. And yet they still believed Trump would bring stability to their lives.

“He’s probably paid,” said one Trump supporter – dismissing Denison, who had been accosted by a number of the flag wavers. Within minutes, Denison’s signs were ripped from his truck and he was sent away in a whirlwind of abusive language.

You can read more of Oliver Laughland’s Anywhere But Washington conclusions here: On my travels, I saw a vision of two Americas – but which one will triumph?

12.13pm GMT

Ever since the 15th amendment granted Black men the right to vote, southern states have found myriad ways to walk back this basic tenet of democracy. From white primaries to poll taxes, to literacy tests and recent voter roll purges, voter suppression has always been a defining characteristic of American elections. Roopa Gogineni brings us today this incredible gallery of photography documenting voter suppression in Georgia.

11.41am GMT

Very different tenors in the opening social media salvos from each campaign this morning…

11.39am GMT

Here’s a reminder that the election system in the US is incredibly decentralised, and there’s a huge state-by-state variation in whether mail-in ballots that arrive after Election Day are counted if they are postmarked that they were sent on 3 November or before.

In some cases, a long deadline for them to arrive, like until 20 November in California or 23 November in Washington, is not that important. It’s unlikely that a late flurry of mail-in ballots is going to tip the result in those solidly Democratic states.

However, this year Iowa, North Carolina and Ohio could be interesting, as the election may be very tight there. And there’s going to be a legal question mark hanging over the count in Pennsylvania and Minnesota, where as mentioned earlier, legal action could yet disqualify mail-in ballots that arrive after Election Day.

Here’s a quick run-down of the deadlines for each state that does allow ballots to arrive after 3 November.

  • Texas (4 November)
  • Virginia (Noon on 6 November)
  • Kansas (6 November)
  • Kentucky (6 November)
  • Massachusetts (6 November)
  • Pennsylvania (6 November – subject to legal challenge)
  • Iowa (9 November)
  • North Dakota (9 November)
  • West Virginia (9 November)
  • Minnesota (10 November – subject to legal challenge)
  • Mississippi (10 November)
  • Nevada (10 November)
  • New Jersey (10 November)
  • New York (10 November)
  • North Carolina (12 November)
  • Alaska (by 13 November)
  • District of Columbia (13 November)
  • Maryland (13 November)
  • Ohio (13 November, result not announced til 28 November)
  • Illinois (17 November)
  • Utah (17 November)
  • California (20 November)
  • Washington (23 November)

11.26am GMT

As a journalist you always love it when someone gives you a cracking quote, and Amie Parnes must have been thrilled when a Democratic strategist told her that “We’re all fucking nervous as shit” about the election. But columnist Bill Nemitz writes for the Portland Press Herald this morning that he feels strangely less anxious the closer the election approaches – thanks to “the pendulum effect”.

As surely as the pendulum had swung toward what was once unthinkable – a Black family occupying the White House – it swung back. The racism that still festers across this land, coupled with the anger across blue-collar America that it had been taken for granted and left behind long enough, gave us first the tea party and then, alas, Donald Trump.

These are perilous times. We’ve had violence in the streets. We’ve had political paralysis. We have a president whose utterances grow more bizarre, more detached from reality, by the day. And yes, we have a resurgent pandemic.

Yet, as we hurtle toward this climactic moment, I’m more excited than exhausted. I believe in my gut that the pendulum is moving once again, away from the hate and animosity that have defined the past four years and toward an essential goodness that has always guided this country in theory if not always in practice.

Read it here: Portland Press Herald – Bill Nemitz: It’s almost here – a banner day for the USA

11.16am GMT

Jan Wolfe and Makini Brice at Reuters bring us this quick run-through of some of the key lawsuits fought over how to run Tuesday’s election. They highlight – some of which remain to be resolved with two days to go:

Texas drive-through voting: US District Judge Andrew Hanen in Houston on Monday will consider whether votes already cast at 10 drive-through voting sites in the Houston area should be rejected. The lawsuit was brought by conservative Steve Hotze and state Representative Steve Toth. They accused the county clerk of exceeding his constitutional authority by allowing drive-through voting as an alternative to walk-in voting during the coronavirus pandemic.

Texas ballot drop-off sites: Republican officials and Trump’s campaign have argued, without evidence, that the boxes could enable voting fraud. The state’s highest court ruled that Governor Greg Abbott could limit drop-off sites for ballots. “The plaintiffs complain that limiting early hand-deliveries of mail-in ballots to one office per county requires more travel time for some voters. But this ignores the other options for casting their ballots that these voters have,” the court wrote. The three justices who issued the decision are Republicans.

Minnesota ballot deadline extension: A federal appeals court said Minnesota’s plan to count absentee ballots received after Election Day was illegal, siding with Republicans. “However well-intentioned and appropriate from a policy perspective in the context of a pandemic during a presidential election, it is not the province of a state executive official to re-write the state’s election code,” the majority wrote. The court instructed Minnesota election officials to identify and “segregate” absentee ballots received after 3 November. Those ballots would not be counted if a final judgment is entered in the Republicans’ favor.

Wisconsin mail-in ballot count: Wisconsin election officials cannot count mail-in ballots that arrive after Election Day, a conservative majority of the supreme court ruled on 26 October. Liberal Justice Elena Kagan dissented, saying the majority’s decision would “disenfranchise large numbers of responsible voters in the midst of hazardous pandemic conditions.”

Florida restrictions on ex-felons: A court ruled in September that Florida could require felons to pay fines, restitution and legal fees they owe before they regain their right to vote. By a 6-4 vote, it reversed a lower court ruling that the measure amounted to an unconstitutional poll tax. Five of the six judges in the majority were appointed by Trump. Nearly 900,000 Floridians with felony convictions will be unable to vote in the election because of the decision

North Carolina ballot extension: The supreme court on Thursday left in place North Carolina’s extension of the deadline to receive mail-in ballots. The state election board opted to allow absentee ballots postmarked by Election Day to be counted if they arrived up to nine days later. The justices denied a request from Republican state lawmakers to put on hold the agreement.

Pennsylvania mail-in ballot extension: The Pennsylvania supreme court ruled in September that officials could accept mail-in ballots three days after the election, as long as they were postmarked by Election Day. The supreme court denied a request from Pennsylvania Republicans to review the decision on an expedited basis – but could still revisit the dispute and rule on it after the election.

Pennsylvania “naked ballots”: Republicans prevailed on one issue at Pennsylvania’s high court. Interpreting a state law, the court said officials must throw out “naked ballots” that arrive without inner “secrecy envelopes.” Democrats have warned the ruling could lead to more than 100,000 votes being thrown out.

11.02am GMT

There’s an argument that the climate crisis has not been high enough up the agenda during the US election, with the extreme weather that the country has already suffered this year. And when it does get mentioned, it is often in terms of a negative economic impact on jobs, rather than as a positive to avoid disasters.

While it isn’t heading for the US, tropical storm Eta formed in the Caribbean on Saturday evening, headed toward the coast of Nicaragua and Honduras, which it is expected to lash with heavy rain and hurricane-strength winds in the coming days. It is expected to gather to hurricane strength on Monday.

Eta is the 28th named Atlantic storm this season, tying the 2005 record for named storms – and hurricane season still has a month to go.

Authorities in Louisiana are still in the process of clearing up after hurricane Zeta, which hit this week, causing what Gov. John Bel Edwards says was “catastrophic” damage.

Crews work on restoring power in Louisiana.
Crews work on restoring power in Louisiana.
Photograph: Matthew Hinton/AP

10.55am GMT

Some background on that Trump tweet I mentioned earlier, where he had called for Facebook to reinstate a group which had 23,000 members called ‘N.J. Women for Trump’. NJ.com reported about it yesterday:

Priscilla Confrey, co-director of New Jersey Women For Trump, says Facebook did not send her any notifications about the removal or explain why the group was removed [on Saturday morning].

Facebook does affix warning labels on posts they deem problematic, and Confrey says in the last two weeks Facebook had flagged certain posts, including those related to Covid-19. When that happens, Confrey said she simply deletes those post rather than have them appear.

“People are really, really mad,” Confrey says. “When you have that many people and they’re shut down, they feel silenced.”

“It was a lot of work over the past year for a private group to just be shut down without notification,” Confrey says. “Three days before Election Day? That is absolutely appalling. I just think these companies, these social media groups, have too much power. They offer to you to open up a group on their social media platform, and you could have 30,000 members, and they shut it down without telling you anything.”

Trump tweeted out the NJ.com story overnight, demanding that Facebook restore the group.

10.44am GMT

Our Guardian America editor John Mullholland writes for us this morning, saying that as welcome as it might be in some quarters, a win for Joe Biden would only scratch the surface of America’s afflictions

Getting rid of Trump might be one thing, fixing America is another. If the president loses, there will be much talk of a new normality and the need for a democratic reset. Hopes will be voiced for a return to constitutional norms. There will be calls for a return of civility in public discourse and a healing of the partisan divide that scars America. All of that is as it should be. But it ought to come with a recognition that America was broken long before it elected Trump and his departure would be no guarantee that the country will be mended. Many of the systemic issues that afflict the US predate Trump.

His ugly and dysfunctional presidency has distracted from many of the fundamentals that have beset America for decades, even centuries. But they remain stubbornly in place. If he does lose, America will no longer have Trump to blame. Two two-term Democratic presidents over the past 30 years have not significantly affected the structural issues that corrode US democracy and society, and race is always at their heart. The past few months have drawn further attention to the systemic racism and brutality that characterise much policing. But racism in the States is not confined to the police. In fact, it is not confined at all.

Read more here: John Mulholland – A win for Joe Biden would only scratch the surface of America’s afflictions

10.36am GMT

Biden leads latest polls in Wisconsin, Arizona, Pennsylvania & Florida

New polling numbers out today, and it is mostly a good outlook for the Biden campaign – to the extent that we are going to believe the polls, anyway.

Wisconsin appears out of reach for Trump and likely to return to the Democratic side of the ledger. Arizona and Pennsylvania each give Biden a solid but not solidified six-point lead. And Florida is, well, Florida. Leaning to Biden by three points, the Sunshine state is once again headed to a photo finish

That’s Don Levy, Director of the Siena College Research Institute, who have published the numbers in conjunction with the New York Times this morning.

Biden leads by 11 points in Wisconsin, six in Arizona and Pennsylvania, and by three points in Florida. Those were all Trump victories in 2016. The NYT/Siena College poll makes it as:

  • Arizona: Biden 49% – Trump 43%
  • Florida: Biden 47% – Trump 44%
  • Pennsylvania: Biden 49% – Trump 43%
  • Wisconsin: Biden 52% – Trump 41%

10.22am GMT

Here’s a bit more on that incident with the Democratic party campaign bus incident in Texas. The Washington Post reports:

Biden’s campaign said in a statement that cars with Trump signs and flags surrounded its bus on the way from San Antonio to Austin. The bus was on Interstate 35, it said, when cars pulled in front of the bus and slowed, attempting to “stop the bus in the middle of the highway.” Campaign staff called 911, according to the statement, getting help from law enforcement to reach their destination. Video captures a white SUV and a truck colliding behind the Biden bus.

Donald Trump then appeared to add encouragement to this behavior. He tweeted a video of flag-bearing cars surrounding a Biden campaign bus on the road, with the message “I LOVE TEXAS!”.

Texas should be a resoundingly safe win for the Republicans, although Democrats seem to think that polling shows it may be in play, and Mike Bloomberg has pumped cash into an ad campaign in support of Joe Biden in the state. The number of early voters there has already exceeded 2016’s turn-out.

The cancelled event was due to be held in the parking lot of the Texas American Federation of Labor and Congress of Industrial Organizations building.

Tariq Thowfeek, the Biden campaign’s comms director in Texas, said:

Rather than engage in productive conversation about the drastically different visions that Joe Biden and Donald Trump have for our country, Trump supporters in Texas today instead decided to put our staff, surrogates, supporters, and others in harm’s way.

10.11am GMT

Here’s a bit more on where we can expect to see the candidates out and about on the last couple of days.

Today Donald Trump is visiting:

  • Washington, Michigan
  • Dubuque, Iowa
  • Hickory, North Carolina
  • Rome, Georgia
  • Miami, Florida

He’s then got a similarly busy schedule for Monday, where the president is planning to swing by:

  • Fayetteville, North Carolina
  • Scranton, Pennsylvania
  • Traverse City, Michigan
  • Kenosha, Wisconsin
  • Grand Rapids, Michigan

Mike Pence and Trump family members are also expected to be out and about campaigning in Arizona, Florida, North Carolina, New Hampshire and Ohio, over the next two days.

The Joe Biden campaign is at a slightly more staid pace. Today the Democratic nominee is visiting Philadelphia. His campaign have said he is expected to “discuss bringing Americans together and to address the crises facing the country”. Parts of Philadelphia were under curfew earlier in the week as the city saw protests over the police shooting of Walter Wallace Jr as he had a mental health crisis.

Biden will also campaign in Pennsylvania tomorrow.

10.02am GMT

Hi, and welcome to Sunday’s coverage of the US election – two days before election day arrives at last. Donald Trump will be in Michigan, Iowa, North Carolina, Georgia and Florida – his last rally doesn’t start until 11pm. Joe Biden targets one place: Philadelphia in Pennsylvania. Here’s a catch-up on where we are…

Updated at 11.51am GMT

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