Headlines: November 3, 2020
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On a momentous election day in the United States with a nation on the edge, voters who had not yet cast their ballots early headed to the polls. There were reports of long lines of voters waiting to cast their ballots in Arizona, Georgia, and elsewhere but such phenomena are common on Election Day. What is not common is the fact that more than 100 million ballots were cast before November 3rd, a record-breaking number. USA Today explained that the number includes, “35.7 million in-person early votes and 64.6 million ballots cast by mail.” It is estimated that total turnout could exceed 150 million, which by percentage of population has not happened since 1908. In the states of Texas, Washington, Hawaii, and Montana, turnout has already exceeded 2016 levels.
The very first official results of the 2020 election showed 100% sweep for Democratic nominee Joe Biden. The tiny town of Dixville Notch in New Hampshire which has five eligible voters that include Republicans, cast all five votes at midnight and all of them for Biden. Meanwhile Arizona, a state that generally votes Republican appeared to swing toward Democrats if polls are to be believed. Still, Biden’s lead over Trump in the states of Arizona, North Carolina, Nevada and Pennsylvania narrowed in the immediate lead up to the election. Biden lead fell from double digits in October to 7.5% ahead of the election – still a healthy margin. A Republican pollster explained that the presidential election has come down to three swing states—North Carolina, Florida, and Ohio—and that Biden would need to win only one of those to win the election.
As votes are cast the battle over whose ballots will count is in full swing. President Trump and the Republican Party have premised a White House victory on declaring a result prematurely and then legally challenging the legitimate counting of all votes. The pandemic shifted the way Americans vote and in Harris County, Texas, where 120,000 voters cast their ballots by car, county officials have now shut down the Covid-safe voting mechanism fearful that the state Republican Party will try to invalidate the votes. Harris County is home to Houston and leans heavily Democratic. Although the state Supreme Court and a federal court ruled against the GOP’s attempt to invalidate drive-through votes, the case heads to an appeals court and County officials, worried about endangering more votes, simply took down the drive-through option on election day. Meanwhile the US Postal Service announced that the pandemic and staffing shortfalls impacted the delivery of absentee ballots to voters in Detroit, greater Michigan, and central Pennsylvania. Huffington Post explained that, “If too many absentee ballots arrive late to election officials, it could easily tip the outcome of the race.” Given that Democrats were more likely to use the postal service to send in their ballots, the Biden campaign is making a last-minute push to urge voters to hand-deliver their ballots on election day.
Trump spoke to his favorite news outlet on Election Day, Fox News, attempting to obscure his intention to declare victory if vote counts show he is prematurely ahead of Biden. The President has announced that he will remain at the White House on election day and host a large partisan campaign party inside the taxpayer-funded residence. Meanwhile Joe Biden will hold a final rally in Pennsylvania before heading to his hometown of Scranton. Biden, who has touted his science-based approach to tackling the pandemic, has promised he would retain the nation’s foremost infectious diseases expert in his government post, Dr. Anthony Fauci. Trump recently threatened to fire Fauci. Biden said during a campaign stop, “the first step to beating the virus is beating Donald Trump,” and added, “We’re done with the chaos, we’re done with the tweets, the anger, the hate, the failure, the irresponsibility.”
In monitoring election integrity federal authorities said early on Tuesday morning that there were no anomalies to report. U.S. Cybersecurity and Infrastructure Security Agency director Christopher Krebs said, there was “some early indication of system disruption,” but did not give any details. He added that he has, “confidence that the vote is secure, the count is secure and the results will be secure.” Misinformation has plagued election authorities across the nation. Trump has been spewing a firehose of misinformation about voting to try to set the stage for election theft and on the eve of the election, Twitter and Facebook flagged Trump’s post that falsely claimed a Supreme Court decision on mail-in voting in Pennsylvania amounted to “rampant” fraud. It is not clear if the social media giants will ban Trump from their platforms if he decides to prematurely declare himself reelected before all the results are in. Meanwhile Axios reported that Mr. Biden has a plan in place to assert control if he wins the Presidency regardless of Trump’s false claims. Learning from the 2000 election when Democratic nominee Al Gore conceded to Republican George W. Bush too easily, the liberal party is taking no chances. Biden apparently intends to, “begin forming his government and looking presidential — and won’t yield to doubts Trump might try to sow.”
Across the nation, retailers have boarded up their windows in anticipation of violence as Trump deploys an “Army for Trump” to watch polls and foment chaos. In Grand Rapids, Michigan, Jewish gravestones in a 100-year old cemetery were desecrated with spray painted words reading “Trump” and “MAGA.” The Justice Department on Monday announced it would be sending its staff to 44 jurisdictions in 18 states to ensure compliance with federal voting laws. But independent organizations denounced the move as a partisan attempt at delivering the election for Trump. Kristen Clarke, president and executive director of the Lawyers’ Committee for Civil Rights Under Law said in a statement, “This Justice Department has been missing in action for nearly four years as communities of color have faced voter suppression, voting discrimination, and rising levels of voter intimidation…This plan appears to be nothing but a thinly-veiled effort to deploy federal government personnel to communities in so-called ‘battleground states.’”
In other news Trump’s conservative appointee Amy Coney Barrett took her place among the nine justices of the Supreme Court this week. Among the cases the court will hear this week is one where a Catholic charity is claiming the right to refuse to allow a child to be placed in foster care with a same-sex couple. Meanwhile a federal judge has just blocked a Trump rule that bans green card applicants from accessing public services.
And that does it for our news headlines. Visit www.RisingUpWithSonali.com to watch a livestream for our special election coverage on November 3rd from 3-5 pm Pacific, 6-8 pm Eastern. You can also listen to the broadcast on KPFK in Southern California, KPFA in the Bay Area, or watch it nationwide on Free Speech TV.