2020 Latest: Georgia confident votes being properly counted

Top Republican officials in Georgia say they are confident the secretary of state will ensure that ballots are properly counted.

Posted: Nov 4, 2020 9:14 AM
Updated: Nov 6, 2020 12:36 PM

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(Nov. 6) 3:30 p.m.

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Top Republican officials in Georgia say they are confident the secretary of state will ensure that ballots are properly counted.

The statement Friday from GOP Gov. Brian Kemp and others came a day after President Donald Trump alleged without any details or evidence that election officials are trying to “steal the election” from him.

Trump said Thursday that the “election apparatus in Georgia is run by Democrats,” even though the top election official is a Republican whom he endorsed.

Democrat Joe Biden was leading Trump in Georgia by about 1,500 votes midday Friday. The Associated Press has not called the race for either candidate yet.

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(Nov. 6) 3:10 p.m.

The federal agency that oversees U.S. election security is pushing back at unsubstantiated claims of voter fraud without mentioning that President Donald Trump is making unfounded allegations about the vote count.

A new statement from the Cybersecurity and Infrastructure Security Agency notes that local election offices have detection measures that “make it highly difficult to commit fraud through counterfeit ballots.”

CISA, a component of the Department of Homeland Security, published the statement Friday on a section of its website devoted to dispelling rumors. It said it was countering a rumor about the role of DHS and CISA in the printing of ballots and auditing of results. Neither agency has a role in printing or auditing ballots. CISA principally helps local and state election departments protect themselves against cyberattacks.

CISA also put out a statement noting that the systems and processes used to tabulate votes and certify results “are protected by various safeguards that help ensure the accuracy of election results.”

The agency has been urging the public for weeks to be patient during the counting of results, which was slower this year in large part because of COVID-19 and the large number of mail-in ballots. It has made no comment on Trump saying without evidence that the ballot-counting process is unfair and corrupt.

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(Nov. 6) 8:50 a.m.

Democrat Joe Biden is now leading President Donald Trump in the battleground state of Pennsylvania.

By Friday morning, Biden overtook Trump in the number of ballots counted in the state, which Trump must win to have a shot at reelection. Biden now holds a nearly 6,000-vote advantage.

The contest is still too early for The Associated Press to call. Votes in the state are still being counted.

Trump’s lead dwindled after Election Day when state officials began processing mail-in ballots, a form of voting that has skewed heavily in Biden’s favor after Trump spent months claiming — without proof — that voting by mail would lead to widespread voter fraud.

If there is less than a half percentage point difference between Biden’s and Trump’s vote totals, state law dictates that a recount must be held.

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4:40 a.m.

Democrat Joe Biden is now leading President Donald Trump in the battleground state of Georgia.

By Friday morning, Biden overtook Trump in the number of ballots counted in the battleground, a must-win state for Trump that has long been a Republican stronghold. Biden now has a 917-vote advantage.

The contest is still too early for The Associated Press to call. Thousands of ballots are still left to be counted — many in counties where the former vice president was in the lead.

An AP analysis showed that Biden’s vote margins grew as counties processed mail ballots cast in his favor.

There is a potential that the race could go to a recount. Under Georgia law, if the margin between Biden and Trump is under half a percentage point of difference, a recount can be requested.

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6:15 p.m.

A legal effort in Nevada by President Donald Trump’s campaign and state Republicans to try to stop the count of mail ballots in Las Vegas is over.

A document submitted in an appeal pending before the state Supreme Court says the campaign, state GOP, Democrats and attorneys for the state have reached a settlement requiring Clark County election officials to supply “additional observation access” at a ballot processing facility in Las Vegas.

The state high court declined on Election Day to stop the count based on an appeal of a state judge’s decision not to stop processing mail ballots in Las Vegas and surrounding Clark County -- a Democratic stronghold in an otherwise red GOP state.

In an order released Monday, Judge James Wilson Jr. in Carson City said he found neither the state nor Clark County had done anything to give one vote preference over another.

Nevada Democrats accuse Republicans of trying to suppress voting in the state’s most diverse area.

Trump campaign representatives said Thursday that they intended to file another complaint in U.S. District Court in Las Vegas to try to stop the counting of what state campaign co-chair Adam Laxalt called “improper votes.” That lawsuit was not immediately filed.

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6 p.m.

President Donald Trump is set to make his first public appearance since the early morning hours after Election Day.

The White House says Trump will deliver remarks at 6:30 p.m. Thursday from the press briefing room. It was unclear if he would take questions.

Trump last appeared in public early Wednesday, when he falsely declared victory over Democrat Joe Biden in the presidential race. Trump has also publicly called for vote counting to stop by citing baseless allegations of fraud and misconduct.

The presidential race has not yet been called because neither Trump nor Biden has yet collected the requisite 270 Electoral College votes.

Biden’s victories in Michigan and Wisconsin have put him in a commanding position to win the presidency, but Trump has showed no sign of giving up.

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5:50 p.m.

The Trump campaign and Republican National Committee have asked an Arizona judge to let them join a lawsuit that alleges vote tabulation equipment in metro Phoenix was unable to record a voter’s ballot because she completed it with a county-issued Sharpie pen.

They argued that anecdotal accounts of potential tabulation errors resulting from Sharpies demands further review and that they should be allowed to participate in the lawsuit because it will likely affect their interests in the tabulation of votes.

The lawsuit seeks a court order for all Maricopa County voters whose ballots were rejected as a result of using a Sharpie to be given a chance to fix their ballots. It also asks for such voters to be able to be present while election officials count their ballots.

The Arizona Democratic Party earlier asked to join the lawsuit, arguing that Democratic voters could be disenfranchised if the woman who filed the lawsuit was able to challenge a voter’s intent in making ballot choices without knowing the applicable standards.

A judge is holding a hearing Thursday in Phoenix in the lawsuit by Phoenix-area voter Laurie Aguilera, who also alleged ink from the marker bled through the back side of her ballot and that poll workers refused her request for a new ballot.

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2:25 p.m.

Joe Biden is getting virtual briefings on the coronavirus pandemic and its economic fallout from panels of experts, sticking to a routine he’s had since March, even as the outcome of the presidential race remains in doubt.

The former vice president traveled Thursday afternoon to a theater in downtown Wilmington, Delaware, where his campaign has set up a makeshift studio. He and his running mate, California Sen. Kamala Harris, often sit facing large screens while experts participate by video conference.

Biden has held similar public health and economic briefings about once a week since March while criticizing President Donald Trump’s administration for the federal government’s response to a pandemic that has killed more than 230,000 Americans.

Journalists traveling with Biden were not allowed inside the briefing but saw him as he entered the theater. He did not take questions.

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2 p.m.

The Arizona Democratic Party has asked a court to let it participate in a lawsuit that alleges vote tabulation equipment in metro Phoenix was unable to record a voter’s ballot because she completed it with a county-issued Sharpie pen.

A judge is holding a hearing Thursday in Phoenix in the lawsuit by voter Laurie Aguilera, who also alleged that ink from the marker bled through the back side of her ballot and that poll workers refused her request for a new ballot.

Aguilera is seeking a court order for all Maricopa County voters whose ballots were rejected as a result of using a Sharpie to be given a chance to fix their ballots. She also is asking for such voters to be able to be present while election officials count their ballots.

The Democrats say the lawsuit is based on the unconfirmed account of one voter and her request to monitor ballot processing could throw the processing of ballots in Arizona’s largest county in disarray.

In a court filing, the party says Democratic voters could be disenfranchised if Aguilera and others were able to challenge a voter’s intent in making ballot choices without knowing the applicable standards.

Arizona election officials have said voting with a Sharpie would have no impact on the votes being recorded by a tabulation machine.

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1:55 p.m.

As the nation awaits results from Nevada, Clark County Registrar Joe Gloria says it could take until Saturday or Sunday before the state’s largest county finishes tallying mail-in ballots that have been returned.

Gloria said Thursday at a press conference: “Our goal here in Clark County is not to count fast. We want to make sure that we’re being accurate.”

Gloria says Clark County has at least 63,262 ballots left to count, including 34,743 returned in drop boxes on Election Day and 4,208 returned via the U.S. Postal Service. But as mail-in ballots postmarked by Election Day continue to trickle in, Gloria said he had no way of knowing the total number of outstanding ballots.

He says, “That’s a number that I can’t give you. I can’t predict to you what’s going to come through the U.S. mail.”

Gloria says the fact that Nevada’s six electoral votes could push Democrat Joe Biden beyond the 270 electoral vote threshold needed to win the presidency reaffirmed the need to not rush the count.

He said the last day to count ballots is Nov. 12.

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1:30 p.m.

A Michigan judge has dismissed a lawsuit by President Donald Trump’s campaign in a dispute over whether Republican challengers had access to the handling of absentee ballots.

Judge Cynthia Stephens noted that the lawsuit was filed late Wednesday afternoon, just hours before the last ballots were counted. She also said the defendant, Secretary of State Jocelyn Benson, was the wrong person to sue because she doesn’t control the logistics of local ballot counting, even if she is the state’s chief election officer.

The Associated Press called the Michigan presidential election for Democrat Joe Biden on Wednesday evening. Trump won the state in 2016.

The lawsuit claimed Benson, a Democrat, was allowing absentee ballots to be counted without teams of bipartisan observers as well as challengers. She was accused of undermining the “constitutional right of all Michigan voters ... to participate in fair and lawful elections.”

Benson, through state attorneys, denied the allegations. Much of the dispute centered on the TCF Center in Detroit where pro-Trump protesters gathered while absentee ballots were being counted.

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11:45 a.m.

A judge in Georgia has dismissed a lawsuit by the state Republican Party and President Donald Trump’s campaign that asked him to ensure a coastal county was following state laws on processing absentee ballots.

Chatham County Superior Court Judge James Bass did not provide an explanation for his decision Thursday at the close of a roughly one-hour hearing. The county includes the heavily Democratic city of Savannah.

The suit had raised concerns about 53 absentee ballots that poll observers said were not part of an original batch of ballots. County elections officials testified that all 53 ballots had been received on time.

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(Nov. 5) 10:38 a.m.

Arizona state officials say there are about 450,000 ballots still to be counted in the Western battleground.

The AP says it is monitoring that vote count as it comes in. The AP has called the presidential race in Arizona for Democrat Joe Biden.

AP executive editor Sally Buzbee says: “The Associated Press continues to watch and analyze vote count results from Arizona. We will follow the facts in all cases.”

Biden holds a 2.35 percentage point lead over Trump in Arizona, an advantage of about 68,000 votes.

The vast majority of the ballots yet to be counted are from Maricopa County, the most populous area of the state.

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(Nov. 5) 9:40 a.m.

With Joe Biden edging closer to unseating him from the White House, President Donald Trump says he wants to put a halt to vote counting.

The extraordinary statement by an incumbent president to voice support for ceasing the count of legally cast votes came in a Thursday morning tweet, saying only: “STOP THE COUNT!”

Elections are run by individual state, county and local governments. Trump’s public comments have no impact on the tallying of votes across the country.

So far, the vote count across the country has been conducted efficiently and without evidence of any misconduct, despite Trump’s public complaints.

Trump’s comments come as his campaign has filed legal action in several states to try to stop vote counting, claiming a lack of transparency. Still, Trump’s campaign has held out hope that continued counting in Arizona could overcome a Biden lead in the state.

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(Nov. 4) 7:10 p.m.

President Donald Trump's campaign and the Georgia Republican Party have filed a lawsuit against the Chatham County Board of Elections asking a judge to order the county to secure and account for ballots received after 7 p.m. on Election Day.

State party chair David Shafer said in a statement Wednesday night that they planned to sue in a dozen counties.

The lawsuit alleges that a Republican observer watched a poll worker take unprocessed absentee ballots from a back room and mix them into processed absentee ballots waiting to be tabulated.

In Georgia, ballots must be received by 7 p.m. on Election Day in order to count. Chatham County contains Savannah and leans Democratic.

A woman who answered the phone at the Chatham County Board of Elections offices declined to comment.

Georgia is among a handful of states that The Associated Press has not called. In the race to the 270 electoral votes needed to win the presidency, Democrat Joe Biden currently has 264 while Trump has 214.

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5:56 p.m.

Democrat Joe Biden has carried Michigan and its 16 electoral votes, further dismantling Donald Trump’s Rust Belt wall of support that helped deliver him the presidency four years ago.

The flip from red back to blue was a huge blow to Trump, whose victories in Michigan, Wisconsin and Pennsylvania in 2016 sent him to the White House. Biden also carried Wisconsin, though Pennsylvania hasn’t been called yet.

Biden's victory in Michigan pushes him to 264 Electoral College votes, six short of the 270 needed to win the White House. Trump is at 214 electoral votes. Nevada, which has six electoral votes, is among the states Democrat Hillary Clinton won in 2016 that hasn't yet been called.

Biden’s campaign had particularly focused on turning out Black voters in Detroit, who failed to show up for Democrat Hillary Clinton in the numbers that Barack Obama received during his two presidential bids.

Despite needing to win Michigan, Trump took frequent swipes at the state’s Democratic governor, Gretchen Whitmer, who was the target of an alleged kidnapping plot that was foiled by federal law enforcement. Chants of “Lock her up!” toward Whitmer echoed at Trump’s rally, and he railed against the governor on Twitter for her cautious approach to the coronavirus pandemic.

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5:20 p.m.

The top elections official in Nevada’s most populous county says more results will be released Thursday morning that include mail-in ballots received on Tuesday and Wednesday.

Clark County Registrar of Voters Joe Gloria said at a news conference Wednesday afternoon that he did not yet know how many ballots had been received but uncounted in the Las Vegas area.

Early results showed Democrat Joe Biden with a slim lead over President Donald Trump in Nevada, but it was too early to declare a winner in the race Wednesday with a large number of ballots yet to be counted.

The Nevada secretary of state’s office initially said a new batch of results would be released Thursday morning. But Deputy Secretary of State for Elections Wayne Thorley said in a text message that the state would likely release some additional results Wednesday afternoon but that he did not know how many would be included.

Gloria said he would be holding daily 10 a.m. news conferences until all ballots were counted, including provisional ballots that were cast by voters taking advantage of same-day registration, electronic ballots sent to overseas voters or ballots for disabled voters.

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5:15 p.m.

The Associated Press has not yet declared winners of the presidential contests in Pennsylvania, Georgia, North Carolina or Michigan.

President Donald Trump, however, has prematurely declared that he has carried the states.

Trump tweeted Wednesday that he has “claimed, for Electoral Vote purposes, the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania (which won’t allow legal observers) the State of Georgia, and the State of North Carolina, each one of which has a BIG Trump lead.”

“Additionally, we hereby claim the State of Michigan if, in fact,” he says, “there was a large number of secretly dumped ballots as has been widely reported!”

Trump has been trying for months to undermine public confidence in the election if he does not win.

Trump’s Democratic challenger, Joe Biden, currently has 248 electoral votes, while Trump has 214. It takes 270 to win the presidency.

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4:55 p.m.

President Donald Trump’s campaign has accused a Michigan election official of failing to ensure that challengers and bipartisan observers watch the processing of absentee ballots.

The Republican campaign filed a lawsuit Wednesday seeking to stop the count, which was mostly centered in Detroit, until Democratic Secretary of State Jocelyn Benson allows more inspectors. There was no immediate response from a Court of Claims judge.

The Associated Press has not yet called Michigan.

Trump’s allies chanted, “Stop the count!” inside TCF Center, where ballots were being handled. The Detroit elections department was expected to finish counting absentee ballots by Wednesday evening.

Democratic Attorney General Dana Nessel says, “Michigan’s elections have been conducted transparently, with access provided for both political parties and the public, and using a robust system of checks and balances to ensure that all ballots are counted fairly and accurately.”

More than 3 million absentee ballots were cast in Michigan in the first major election since a new law made them available to any voter. But local election clerks couldn’t start counting them until after polls closed Tuesday.

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4:20 p.m.

Joe Biden says he’s not ready to declare victory as vote counting continues in the presidential election, but he says, “When the count is finished, we believe we will be the winners.”

The Associated Press hasn’t called the presidential race. Biden currently has 248 electoral votes, while President Donald Trump has 214. It takes 270 to win the presidency.

Biden addressed reporters Wednesday afternoon from Wilmington, Delaware, alongside his running mate, California Sen. Kamala Harris.

Biden says, “Every vote must be counted.” He added, “We the people will not be silenced.”

Biden also tried to sound like a president-elect, promising to reach out to political opponents and insisting that the presidency “itself is not a partisan institution.”

Biden did not take questions. President Donald Trump’s reelection campaign has filed lawsuits in Pennsylvania and Michigan as ballots continue to be counted in both states.

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3:35 p.m.

President Donald Trump’s campaign says it’s suing to temporarily stop the vote count in Pennsylvania, claiming lack of “transparency.”

Justin Clark, Trump’s deputy campaign manager, said in a statement Wednesday that the campaign is “suing to stop Democrat election officials from hiding the ballot counting and processing from our Republican poll observers.” He said the campaign wants “to temporarily halt counting until there is meaningful transparency and Republicans can ensure all counting is done above board and by the law.”

Clark also said the campaign would seek to intervene in an ongoing Supreme Court case involving the deadline for receiving mail-in ballots.

There have been no reports of fraud or any type of ballot concerns out of Pennsylvania. The state had more than 3.1 million mail-in ballots that take time to count, and an order allows them to be counted up until Friday if they are postmarked by Nov. 3.

The Associated Press has not yet called Pennsylvania. Democrat Joe Biden currently has 248 electoral votes, while Trump has 214. It takes 270 to win the presidency.

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2:16 p.m.

Joe Biden has defeated President Donald Trump in battleground Wisconsin, securing the state’s 10 electoral votes and reclaiming a key part of the blue wall that slipped away from Democrats four years ago.

The Associated Press called Wisconsin for Biden after election officials in the state said all outstanding ballots had been counted, save for a few hundred in one township and an expected small number of provisional ballots.

Trump’s campaign has requested a recount. Statewide recounts in Wisconsin have historically changed the vote tally by only a few hundred votes; Biden leads by .624 percentage points out of nearly 3.3 million ballots counted.

The victory for Biden bumps him up to 248 electoral votes, while Trump has 214. It takes 270 to win the presidency.

In 2016, Trump won Wisconsin by fewer than 23,000 votes, a breakthrough that along with wins in Michigan and Pennsylvania helped hand him his first term in the White House. Democrats were determined to reclaim Wisconsin, a state that before Trump hadn’t gone for a Republican since Ronald Reagan in 1984.

NATIONAL & STATEWIDE ELECTION RESULTS

2:02 p.m.

President Donald Trump’s campaign says it has filed a lawsuit trying to halt the vote count in battleground Michigan.

The latest counts gives Trump’s Democratic challenger Joe Biden a small lead, but the race is still too early to call.

Trump campaign manager Bill Stepien says in a statement Wednesday that the campaign “has not been provided with meaningful access to numerous counting locations to observe the opening of ballots and the counting process, as guaranteed by Michigan law.”

He says a suit was filed Wednesday in the Michigan Court of Claims “to halt counting until meaningful access has been granted.”

Michigan is a critical battleground state that helped deliver Trump the presidency four years ago, along with Wisconsin and Pennsylvania. Neither Wisconsin or Pennsylvania has been called yet.

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