USA elections 2020: Trump - Biden | Summary of 31 October

US Election 2020: LIVE

US elections latest: headlines

- Early voting brings over 1 million Black voters to Georgia polls

- Biden still ahead in polls

- Texas has already received more votes this year than the state's entire turnout for 2016

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trump

President Donald Trump gestures during a presidential campaign rally in Newtown, Pennsylvania on October 31, 2020. REUTERS/Tom Brenner TPX IMAGES OF THE DAY

Large US early voting surge as Trump, Biden make late push

A record 90 million Americans have voted early in the US presidential election, data on Saturday showed, as President Donald Trump and his Democratic rival Joe Biden campaigned across the country to try to sway the few remaining undecided voters.

The high number of early voters, about 65% of the total turnout in 2016, reflects intense interest in the contest, with three days of campaigning left.

Concerns about exposure to the coronavirus at busy Election Day voting places on Tuesday have also pushed up the numbers of people voting by mail or at early in-person polling sites.

The Republican president is spending the closing days of his re-election campaign criticizing public officials and medical professionals who are trying to combat the coronavirus pandemic even as it surges back across the United States.

Opinion polls show Trump trailing former Vice President Biden nationally, but with a closer contest in the most competitive states that will decide the election. Voters say the coronavirus is their top concern.

Republicans call for 100,000 Texas votes to be discounted

A state judge in Texas will hold an emergency hearing on Monday after a number of Republican activists expressed concern about unawful drive-in voting. The plaintiffs include conservative activist Steve Hotze and state representative Steve Toth. According to Reuters, they claim Harris County Clerk Chris Hollins, a Democrat, exceeded his constitutional authority by allowing drive-through voting as an alternative to walk-in voting during the coronavirus pandemic.

Given that Texas has recorded over 18,000 deaths due to covid-19 and is rapidly closing in on one million cases, the decision to allow voters to remain socially distant while voting would seem pretty uncontroversial. Yet with only days remaining Republicans are calling for those who took this logical, and in some cases neccessary, step to be disenfranchised. 

Recent polls suggest that Texas, a traditionally deeply conservative state, is very much in-play for the Democrats and Joe Biden has even appeared in the Lone Star State down the stretch. A poll conducted earlier this week by Public Policy Polling gave Biden a two percentage point advantage over Donald Trump with record-breaking numbers already turning out for early voting. 

Trump signs new energy legislation in build-up to the election

A key pillar of Donald Trump's campaign strategy in the final weeks before Election Day has been to paint himself as the candidate to project jobs in the energy sector, namely those related to the practice of fracking. In a tweet posted during the President's whistle-stop tour around four Pennsylvania events he was pretty eager to make a differentiation between himself and his presidential rival, as he did frequently in the second presidential debate.

Why now? in 2016 Trump took advantage of a growing discontent in a number of traditionally Democrat-voting states who were suffering from rising unemployment. Consecutive Barack Obama administrations looked to move America away from fossil fuels and into renewable energy, an unpopular move amongst many blue collar voters. The link Trump is drawing here is pretty clear

Trump would also go on to withdraw the US from the Paris Climate Accord which set targets for emmission reduction, amongst other things. His promise to reclaim 'AMERICAN ENERGY INDEPENDENCE' seems to be an extension of this policy, and his well-documented scepticism to climate change. 

Despite Trump's repeated, and incorrect, accusations, Biden has never said that he intends to end all fracking if he takes office. He has however called for a ban on the expansion of fracking. 

Texans Casts Their Vote On Last Day Of Early Voting In The State

Total number of votes cast in 2020 US election tops 90 million

With two and half days of campaigning still to go over 90 million Americans have already cast their votes as they look to avoid Election Day queues and concerns around delayed ballot-counting. That figures represents 66% of the total turnout from the 2016 presidential election, which was 136.5 million.

What does this mean? Are we guaranteed a truly historic turnout once all votes have been counted? Well, not neccessarily. The unique circumstance of this year's race (pandemic precautions, Election Day queues predicted, and fears around vote-counting) have seen more people than ever before choosing to vote early.

Having said that, some states seem certain to break turnout records having already beaten the total number of ballots recieved for four years ago. By Friday, Texas (pictured) and Hawaii had already surpassed 2016's turnout. 

There is evidence to suggest that the most competitive states are experiencing the highest pre-Election Day turnout. Of CNN's 16 most competitively ranked states, 13 of them have already recorded at least half of their total number of votes from 2016 (Texas, Georgia, North Carolina, Nevada, Florida, Arizona, Colorado, Wisconsin, Maine, Iowa, Michigan, Minnesota and Nebraska.)

Obama lays into Trump in Flint

Former President Barack Obama has been out in recent works to give his former running mate a boost in Flint, Michigan. Obama and Biden were both in attendance in Flint and will head to Detroit later today as they look to win over the working class, formerly industrial areas that Donald Trump turned Red in 2016. 

Four years ago Trump secure a victory of less than 0.2 percentage points to win a vital 16 Electoral Votes, flipping a state that had voted Democrat for six consecutive elections. Obama's personal criticism of Trump is particularly notable here, as the President's personality and self-portrayal as a man of the people is said to have been instrumental in his victory. 

Recent polls look good for the Democratic candidate with one conducted from 29-30 October by Public Policy Polling putting Biden 10 points ahead of Trump. However there is still an opportunity for Trump to stage another shock victory if he can maximise his support in more rural, 'Trump Country' areas of the state. 

John Sellek, a Republican strategist with Harbor Strategic Public Affairs in Lansing, said that the President needs to boost turnout amongst those currently unlikely to vote if he is to win relection: “That is how Trump wins Michigan,” he said, by “building bigger margins in those counties.”

Political placards vandalised in "acutely hostile political climate"

In many ways this election has been unlikely any other in American history with the electorate now more polarised than ever before. Evidence of that division can be seen up and down the country, in the damaged political signs that supporters use to show their affiliation every election season. 

AFP report that more of these signs than ever before are being damaged and destroyed, with campaign organisers on both sides complaining of pacards going missing. 

Democratic activist Steve Cickay estimates that between 2,000 - 3,000 Biden signs have been "stolen, thrown in the woods or defaced" in Bucks County, in the the hotly-contested swing state of Pennsylvania.

On the flip side, Republican-supporting Jack Worthington believes that around 25% of the 4,000 small pro-Trump signs that he installed in supporters' properties have been defaced or simply disappeared. He believes that the damage can actually strengthen their support, saying: "If [the opposition] spray paint them, I'm OK with that, because it just makes the other side look really bad,"

Biden campaign bus surrounded in Texas

Images from a staffer on Team Biden have just emerged, appearing to show a number of Trump-supporting vehicles surrounding the Democrat nominee's campaign bus while in Austin, Texas yesterday. According to The Daily Beast reporter Kelly Weill, the trucks "ambushed" the bus and attempted to slow it down while driving on the motorway.

The state is usually a Republican stronghold but recent polling figures have given the Democrats hope of flipping what is a deeply conservative state. A poll published today by Public Policy Polling actually gave Biden a two percentage point lead.

In recent weeks Biden, Harris and other leading Democrats have visited the Lone Star State in an attempt to 'expand the map'. It is a sign of confidence that they are campaigning in Texas with just days to go, and they will hope spokes the Republican campaign into spending time and resources there. 

U.S. President Donald Trump greets supporters as he departs the White House for campaign travel to Pennsylvania

Trump dishes out MAGA hats at the White House

The President departs Washington for Pennsylvania to begin a day-long enslaught of the 'Keystone State'. The most recent poll has Biden on 49% and Trump on 44% but most pollsters suggests that the gap between the two candidates is narrowing.

At this point four years ago, polls had Hillary Clinton comfortably ahead of Donald Trump in Pennsylvania and the President will hope that a late charm offensive can provoke a similar turnaround. 

Stanford study estimates Trump rallies caused 30,000 covid-19 cases

The report titled "The Effects of Large Group Meetings on the Spread of COVID-19: The Case of Trump Rallies" found that the President's fondness for large-scale public events may have caused a spate of new cases. Studying 18 Trump campaign rallies for the 2020 presidential election and comparing up to ten post-rally weeks for each event, they were able to predict how covid figures were affected by the events. 

The study continues: "Applying county-specific post-event death rates, we conclude that the rallies likely led to more than 700 deaths", adding that this number was not restricted to attendees. 

Despite the President's repeated claims that the US is "rounding the corner" on the virus, the reality is that the danger is far from over. Yesterday, 30 October, the US reported the highest number of new covid-19 cases since the pandemic began. The Washington Post reports that 98,000 new infections were recorded in a single day. 

 

Trump announces new stop in Rust Belt tour

The pressure is really amping up with less than 72 hours to go until Election Day and the battle for the Rust Belt is heating up. The President has just taken to Twitter to reveal a "special speech" in Pennsylvannia, which is of course Joe Biden's home state. 

Pennsylvania, along with the likes of Michigan and Wisconsin, was instrumental in Trump's 2016 victory as he unexpectedly broke through the 'Blue Wall' to flip a number of usually solidly-Democrat states. Trump will have a tougher time in 2016 however with Biden's history likely to chime with America's industrial Rust Belt region

No other details have yet emerged about the President's intentions in Pennsylvania but his cmapaign have arrange four rallies in the crucial state today. Unlike Biden, Trump has continued to employ his usual campaigning strategy of large-scale public events. With less than three days remaining the President is storming around the key states in the hope of mobilise his support and ensuring he can repeat the series of narrow state victories than won him the White House four years ago.

DT

In final days of campaign, Trump criticizes those fighting coronavirus

President Donald Trump is spending the closing days of his re-election campaign criticizing public officials and medical professionals who are trying to combat the coronavirus pandemic even as it surges back across the United States.

Campaigning in the Midwest on Friday, Trump delivered a closing message that promised an economic revival and a vaccine to combat the virus, which is pushing hospitals to capacity and killing up to 1,000 people in the United States each day.

But he also directed attacks beyond just his rival in Tuesday's election, Democrat Joe Biden. Trump falsely said doctors earn more money when their patients die of the disease, building on his past criticism of medical experts like Dr. Anthony Fauci, the country's top infectious diseases expert.

Ex-NFL player tweets Trump support, expected to appear with president at Green Bay rally

Brett Favre became the latest ex-athlete to declare his support for President Donald Trump, tweeting that the Republican nominee will have his vote on Friday. 

The former NFL quarterback and three-time MVP voiced his backing days after ex-golfer Jack Nicklaus shared a lengthy endorsement. 

Georgia

Black voters in Georgia break records at polls

As Georgia wrapped up weeks of early voting on Friday for the Nov. 3 election, Black voter turnout had far surpassed the level seen at the same time in 2016.

Some 1 million Black voters have already cast ballots this year, up from 712,000 this time four years ago, according to TargetSmart, a Democratic analytics firm.

It is part of a rush to the polls in Georgia. More than 3.8 million Georgians had already cast ballots as of 5 p.m. on Friday, compared to 4.1 million overall in the last presidential election.

Live US elections updates: welcome

Hello and welcome to our live coverage of the run-up to the 2020 presidential and congressional elections in the United States.

There are now just a few days to go until Election Day on 3 November, which will see President Donald Trump and Democratic challenger Joe Biden go head to head for the White House - although a record total of more than 70 million Americans have already voted.

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