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Biden leads as vote count continues in key battleground states

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CBS News: 2020 America Decides 48:58

Follow Saturday's updates here

Joe Biden declared that "we're going to win this race" in a late-night address on Friday. The address came after a rollercoaster day that began with Biden taking the lead in two key states — but as vote counts trickled in throughout the day, there was not yet enough information to project a winner.  

Biden urged faith in the counting process, as President Trump continued to baselessly claim that the election was being stolen from him. 

"Democracy works — your vote will be counted," Biden said. "I don't care how hard people try to stop it. I will not let it happen. People will be heard. Our journey is toward a more perfect union"

Much of the focus was on Pennsylvania's 20 electoral votes, enough at this stage to win Biden the presidency. Biden surpassed the president in Pennsylvania Friday morning, and as of 11 p.m. ET led by more than 28,000 votes. But with more than 6.5 million ballots already counted and nearly 100,000 ballots still outstanding, the lead was too small to declare a winner for the state.  

CBS News still considers GeorgiaPennsylvania and North Carolina toss-ups, while Nevada is likely Democratic and Arizona is leaning toward Biden. President Trump made up ground in Arizona, while Biden slightly expanded his lead in Nevada.  

Mr. Trump spent the day out of public view but vowed not to concede. His team selected David Bossie, a longtime political adviser, to lead the effort to challenge the results in several states.

The balance of power in the Senate is 48 to 48, with the vice president able to break a tie. Control of the Senate may not be determined until January, since both Georgia Senate elections are likely to go to a runoff. 

Find results for all races in the CBS News Election Center, and updates from key states here:


Biden's lead increases to 28,000 in Pennsylvania

Biden's lead in Pennsylvania increased late Friday night to more than 28,000. It's estimated there are 86,000 ballots left to be counted. 

According to CBS News elections and surveys director Anthony Salvanto, President Trump would need 63% of the remaining vote to overtake Biden. 

By Caroline Linton

Biden declares "we're going to win this race"

Joe Biden declares "we're going to win this race" as final votes are counted 07:35

Biden took the stage at Chase Center in Wilmington, Delaware, for a late-night address Friday to the nation. He declared "look at the national numbers: We're going to win this race with a clear majority of the nation behind us."

"We don't have a final declaration, a victory yet, but the numbers tell us a clear and convincing story: we're going to win this race," Biden said with Senator Kamala Harris on stage to his right. 

Biden ran through some of the numbers that look promising for him in states like Georgia and Pennsylvania. 

"We've rebuilt the blue wall," Biden said, speaking of "heartland" states like Wisconsin and Michigan. He also touted victories in Arizona, which has been won by a Democrat in 24 years, and Georgia, which has been won by a Democrat in 28 years. 

Biden also urged patience, as the nation closes the third day of counting votes without a declared winner. 

APTOPIX Election 2020 Biden
Democratic presidential candidate former Vice President Joe Biden speaks Friday, Nov. 6, 2020, in Wilmington, Delaware. Carolyn Kaster / AP

The former vice president said voters "made it clear" they want the country to come together. 

Biden said he's been holding meetings on the pandemic and economic crisis. On "day one," a Biden administration would move forward to do everything possible to halt COVID-19, he said. 

"I want people to know we're not waiting to get the work done," Biden said. 

The former vice president urged "calm," and said every vote will be counted.

By Kathryn Watson

Biden leading Trump by just under 30,000 votes in Arizona

Updated results from Maricopa County in Arizona show Biden leading Mr. Trump with just under 30,000 votes in the state.

Although Mr. Trump won the latest batch of ballots released by the county, it was not enough to overcome Biden in the state. Biden now has a lead of 29,861 votes, or 0.9%.

According to county officials, there are 72,000 early ballots left to process and tabulate, 15,000 provisional ballots left to process and 5,000 early ballots left to verify.

By Grace Segers

Nevada court denies Trump-backed motions

Federal District Court Judge Andrew Gordon, an Obama appointee in Nevada, has denied a Trump campaign-backed request to force Clark County to stop using a signature verification system to help process mail ballots.

"Public interest is not in favor of disrupting the completion of the processing and counting of the ballots," Gordon said, adding that there was "an interest in not disenfranchising" potentially hundreds of votes "against one improper ballot."

The plaintiffs had requested a change to ballot processing to address unsubstantiated claims of potential voter fraud and other other changes to ballot counting observation in Clark County.

The ballot processing change would have dramatically slowed tabulation in the battleground state's most populous county. 

"Ms. Stokke, it appears to me, could have repaired her harm by filing a provisional ballot with an affidavit," Gordon said in his ruling, referring to Jill Stokke, one of the plaintiffs. "There's no evidence that a human review would have done it better," Gordon added, pointing out that manual review had reached the same conclusion – that Stokke's signature matched the signature file.

"Let me be clear that I'm not deciding this case on a technicality," Gordon said in concluding his ruling, after noting there were other areas where the plaintiffs had fallen short.

"The plaintiffs have not come to the court at this point, with the sufficient legal showing and a sufficient evidentiary basis to get what is required to obtain the extraordinary relief of an injunction," said Gordon.

By Alexander Tin

Alito orders Pennsylvania officials to segregate and separately count late-arriving ballots

Acting on a request from the Republican Party of Pennsylvania, Justice Samuel Alito temporarily ordered Pennsylvania election officials to segregate ballots received between November 4 and November 6 and count them separately.

Alito also referred the issue to the full court.

In his brief order, Alito said the court "was not informed that the guidance issued on October 28, which had an important bearing on the question whether to order special treatment of the ballots in question, had been modified."

By Melissa Quinn

Biden to speak Friday night regardless of whether race is called

 Joe Biden is planning to address the nation tonight in Delaware about his growing lead — even if news outlets have yet to project him the winner, according to people familiar with his plans.

Aides spent Friday making preliminary plans for him to speak on Friday night on the presumption that he would be over the 270 electoral votes needed to clinch the White House. But now, one aide familiar with Biden's remarks tonight says the former vice president will speak out "not to declare victory but to give the kind of update he's done previously — with even more enthusiasm.  Last time he was before the press he trailed in Georgia, he trailed in Pennsylvania, he had a single digit lead in Nevada. But now, with Biden holding the advantage in those states, Biden plans to tout more progress."

The people familiar with Biden's plans requested anonymity because they weren't authorized to speak publicly about the matter.

Ed O'Keefe, Bo Erickson, Tim Perry and Nikole Killion 


Biden spent day with family

With a winner of the presidential race yet to be declared, a Biden campaign official said the former vice president spent Friday with his family, meeting with aides and watching results.

It's unclear how Mr. Trump spent his day, since he had no public events on his schedule. A Marine, however, was posted outside the West Wing, an indication the president was in the Oval Office. Mr. Trump also sent several tweets about the election.

Nikole Killion and Melissa Quinn 


Trump is angry and disappointed in allies

The president is angry and disappointed that more of his allies are not rallying to his side on TV or in the streets, CBS News has learned.  He has been watching a lot of TV, making calls, and dividing his time Friday between the Oval Office and the White House residence. 

While the campaign is touting its legal fight, there is still no centralized strategy and there is a recognition by aides that this is all something that should have been thought out months ago, but nobody wanted to have that conversation with the president. 

Top aides met at campaign headquarters today, and as for next steps in litigation — unless something significant is uncovered in another big state— they will file for recounts where eligible and ask to preserve ballots — all the things any good lawyer would do for their client in this situation. 

But this all comes down to Pennsylvania and Mr. Trump's margin there will reveal whether he has any shot at a court challenge. 

By Kathryn Watson

At least 100,000 provisional ballots were cast in Pennsylvania

 A spokesperson for the Pennsylvania Department of State said that 55 counties have reported they issued a total of 101,421 provisional ballots to voters at the polls Tuesday. Most counties only began counting provisional ballots today.

Provisional ballots are used at the polls when a voter's eligibility is in question. These ballots are more frequently challenged and take longer to get through, and must also be checked against those who voted by mail. Some voters may have requested absentee ballots, but then voted in person using a provisional ballot.

By Grace Segers

Michigan House speaker stresses candidate with most votes wins state's electors

Lee Chatfield, a Republican who serves as the speaker of the Michigan House of Representatives, vowed Friday that the presidential candidate who receives the most votes in the state will win its 16 electoral votes.

"Nothing is more important than integrity in our election system. Every single legal vote needs to be counted. Because this is America and that's what we do!" Chatfield tweeted. "And let me be very clear: whoever gets the most votes will win Michigan! Period. End of story. Then we move on."

Chatfield's pledge comes after conservative radio host Mark Levin suggested Republican-controlled state legislatures should usurp the will of voters and themselves choose the electors who will cast their ballots when the Electoral College convenes December 14. 

By Melissa Quinn

Fact-checking Trump's claims on poll watchers

President Trump delivered an error-filled speech from the White House on Thursday, inaccurately claiming Joe Biden's electoral lead is the result of a far-reaching conspiracy mounted by the media, Democrats and "big tech" designed to deny him another four years in the White House, and alleging he is the winner of the election even though he trails in electoral votes and in several key states where a winner has yet to be called.

Mr. Trump also beat the familiar drum that the election is rife with voter fraud, though he failed to put forth any evidence to support his claims.

While alleging the election has been rigged against him, the president made several incorrect claims that election officials in Pennsylvania and Michigan were attempting to count votes behind closed doors, denying access to his campaign's observers.

Read more here on Mr. Trump's allegations about poll watchers, many of which are unsubstantiated.

By Melissa Quinn

Biden up almost 40,000 votes in Arizona

Biden currently has a lead of 39,769 votes in Arizona, as new results have trickled in slowly on Friday. There are around 250,000 outstanding ballots which remain to be counted.

By Alexander Tin

Pennsylvania secretary of state says majority of absentee ballots have been counted

Pennsylvania Secretary of State Kathy Boockvar said Friday afternoon that the vast majority of absentee ballots have been counted, and the counting process has begun for provisional ballots.

"Pennsylvania counties have been incredibly hard at work canvassing all the ballots to provide accurate results as quickly as possible following best practices and responsibilities pursuant to state and federal law," Boockvar said in a statement. "We are very thankful to all the election officials working extremely long hours to make our democracy work and ensure that every qualified voter's vote is counted safely and securely."

Under state law, county boards of election must individually adjudicate each provisional ballot and assess within seven days of the election whether they meet the standards for counting.

By Grace Segers

Georgia election official says "we will know the final universe of numbers by today"

Georgia election officials give update 24:09

Biden leads Georgia by a razor-thin margin of 1,585 votes, but incoming ballots could still sway final results, according to state election officials. The state's total number of ballots is expected to be known by the end of Friday.

"We will know the final universe of numbers by today," said state election official Gabriel Sterling at a press conference Friday afternoon.

"Yes, Biden's ahead by 1,585 votes, that could change in the next few days given the universe of votes that are out there," Sterling said. "He could extend his lead, it could stay the same, or President Trump could come back into the lead. There's still time and a universe of ballots that could allow for that."

At least 4,000 ballots are left to be counted in the state, as well as 18,000 outstanding overseas and military ballots that would have to arrive today to be counted, and 13,012 provisional ballots that still need to be reviewed. 

Georgia counts for 16 electoral votes. Biden currently leads with 253 votes, just 17 away from victory, while Mr. Trump trails with 213.  

By Audrey McNamara

Pennsylvania Republicans turn to Supreme Court over late-arriving ballots

The Pennsylvania Republican Party is asking the U.S. Supreme Court to order Secretary of State Kathy Boockvar and county boards to segregate mail-in ballots that arrived after 8 p.m. on Election Day and before 5 p.m. on November 6 and to not take any other action related to them.

The Pennsylvania Supreme Court extended the deadline for mail-in ballots to be received and counted by three days, and the U.S. Supreme Court left that extension untouched over the objections of the Trump campaign and GOP.

While Boockvar has already ordered Pennsylvania's counties to segregate mail-in ballots received within the three-days after Election Day, the state GOP believes the ballots should not be separately tallied.

"In short, an order from the court is badly needed," the Republican Party of Pennsylvania wrote in its filing to Justice Samuel Alito. Alito handles emergency applications arising from the 3rd U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals. "But given some county boards' refusal to confirm that they are segregating ballots and the secretary's changing guidance, an order requiring segregation of ballots may not suffice to preserve RPP's appellate rights."

"RPP therefore now asks the court for an order directing Respondents Secretary of State Boockvar and the county boards of elections, pending certiorari review or further order of the Court, to log, to segregate, and otherwise to take no further action related to any mail-in or civilian absentee ballots received after the General Assembly's received-by deadline," the Republicans continued.

The Republican Party of Pennsylvania warned that if county boards count and don't separate late-arriving ballots, "it could become impossible for this Court to repair election results tainted by illegally and untimely cast or mailed ballots."

The case may not matter, however, if Biden's lead over Mr. Trump exceeds the number of ballots received within the three-day window.

By Melissa Quinn

Two men headed to convention center where ballots are being counted arrested in Philadelphia

Two people were arrested Thursday night after the Philadelphia Police received a tip that armed men in a Hummer from Virginia were coming to the convention center in Philadelphia where ballots are being counted. Police Commissioner Danielle Outlaw told reporters on Friday that the two men each had a handgun, and there was an AR-style rifle in their car. The Hummer had QAnon decals on its back window.

District Attorney Larry Krasner cautioned that there was no indication of a larger plot afoot to disrupt the ballot-counting process. He also said that there was "no significant presence" of hate groups or white supremacists at the convention center yesterday.

"We do not have indications that the story is bigger than these two individuals," Krasner said.

By Grace Segers

Reince Priebus says Arizona could be "psychological lift" for Trump campaign

Reince Priebus says Arizona could be "psychological lift" for Trump campaign 09:38

CBS News political analyst and former Trump White House chief of staff Reince Priebus said Friday that the Trump campaign may be looking to Arizona as the president continues to trail Joe Biden three days out from the election. Biden leads the state with 50% of the vote to Mr. Trump's 48.6%, and CBS News has yet to call it for either candidate.

"I think getting some sort of ray of sunshine here by reversing Arizona I think would be a psychological lift for the campaign," Priebus said.  

Arizona, which holds 11 electoral college votes, which would not make a winning difference for either candidate as of Friday afternoon. Biden currently has 253 electoral votes, 17 shy of winning, while Mr. Trump has 213. Nevertheless, Priebus said Arizona would be important to Trump's campaign as it forges ahead with vote count battles it has started in other battleground states. 

Biden has overtaken Trump in Pennsylvania and Georgia. He has 49.4% of the vote in Pennsylvania compared to Mr. Trump's 49.3%, and margins are so small in Georgia that the secretary of state says a recount will be necessary. Priebus called the contests in Georgia and Pennsylvania, "opportunities for the (Trump) campaign."

Arizona last backed a Democrat for the White House in 1996. However, Mr. Trump won the state with just a slim 3-point margin in 2016, smaller than the nearly 10-point lead posted by decades of Republican White House hopefuls in the state.

Asked how he would describe the mood inside the White House right now, Priebus, who said he recently spoke to the president, said "there's some confidence on the campaign's side that this election in Arizona is going to swing one one or two thousand votes either way."

"The campaign's view is that they're going to get Arizona back on track and then they're going to fight it out in Georgia and Pennsylvania," he said.

By Audrey McNamara

Trump campaign taps David Bossie to spearhead legal challenges

A senior Trump campaign official confirmed to CBS News that the campaign will name adviser David Bossie to lead the effort to challenge the results in several states. Bossie served as the deputy campaign manager on Mr. Trump's 2016 campaign, and is the longtime head of the conservative group Citizens United.

The news was first reported by The New York Times.

The decision to pick Bossie was led by White House senior adviser Jared Kushner and guided by Jason Miller.

A Trump 2016 official close to Bossie noted his selection will be "interesting" as he has "zero experience in that space."

Bossie's name has been floated for the next Republican National Committee chair, a position he is believed to be interested in.

By Nicole Sganga

Trump issues statement demanding a full count, says he won't give up fighting

President Trump, through his campaign, issued a statement Friday insisting the American people "deserve to have full transparency into all vote counting and election certification," even though campaigns have the ability to have representatives watch the ballots be counted. 

"We believe the American people deserve to have full transparency into all vote counting and election certification, and that this is no longer about any single election," Mr. Trump said in his statement. "This is about the integrity of our entire election process. From the beginning we have said that all legal ballots must be counted and all illegal ballots should not be counted, yet we have met resistance to this basic principle by Democrats at every turn. We will pursue this process through every aspect of the law to guarantee that the American people have confidence in our government. I will never give up fighting for you and our nation."

The ballots that are being counted now are legal ballots that were cast according to the law, and there are plenty of measures in place to make sure that is the case. The Trump campaign has not presented any credible evidence of widespread voter fraud.

By Kathryn Watson

Washington secretary of state warns unsupported claims of voter fraud "erode confidence in our democracy"

Washington Secretary of State Kim Wyman, a Republican, warned of the dangers of pushing unsubstantiated claims of voter fraud and urged Americans not to "undermine to integrity of our elections" while elections officials continue to count votes.

"Prematurely casting doubt or making sweeping claims of fraud without citing any evidence does nothing but erode confidence in our democracy," Wyman said in a statement. "At the end of the day, voters decide elections, not candidates."

Wyman said those awaiting an outcome in the presidential race should give elections officials the needed time to process and count ballots and advised them to not "jump to conclusions just because it takes time to determine the outcome of an election."

"As the chief elections officer for a state that has been conducting vote-by-mail elections for nearly 10 years, I can tell you processing mail-in ballots takes time, and there are numerous processes in place to ensure the results accurately reflect the way people voted," she said.

By Melissa Quinn

Philadelphia mayor says Trump "needs to acknowledge the fact that he lost"

Philadelphia Mayor Jim Kenney, a Democrat, said during a press conference on Friday that Mr. Trump "needs to put his big boy pants on, acknowledge the fact he lost, and he needs to congratulate the winner, just as Jimmy Carter did, just as George H.W. Bush did, and frankly just as Al Gore did."

Top City Commissioner Lisa Deeley also estimated that about 40,000 ballots remain — those that need review, provisional ballots, and military ballots — and will take several days to get through. An update is expected with 2,000 to 3,000 more ballots counted this afternoon.

The city is also counting mail ballots received after Election Day, but not postmarked before it. They are segregating those ballots because of a case before the Pennsylvania Supreme Court, and would not say how many there are.

By Zak Hudak

GOP senators push back on Trump's unsubstantiated claims election is rife with fraud

At least two Republican senators, Mitt Romney of Utah and Ben Sasse of Nebraska, pushed back on unsupported and inaccurate claims made by Mr. Trump at the White House on Thursday that the presidential election is rigged and Joe Biden's lead is the result of a conspiracy designed to rob him of a second term in the White House.

Sasse urged Mr. Trump and his legal team to put forth evidence of voter fraud to support their unsubstantiated claims, warning "voter fraud is poison to self-government, so these are major allegations."

"If the president's legal team has real evidence, they need to present it immediately to both the public and the courts," the Nebraska Republican said. "In the meantime, all legal votes need to be counted according to relevant state laws. This is our American system and it works."

Romney, meanwhile, was more forceful in condemning Mr. Trump, saying his error-filled comments on the election were wrong and only meant to provoke tensions.

"The president is within his rights to request recounts, to call for investigation of alleged voting irregularities where evidence exists, and to exhaust legal remedies — doing these things is consistent with our election process," he said. "He is wrong to say that the election was rigged, corrupt and stolen — doing so damages the cause of freedom here and around the world, weakens the institutions that lie at the foundation of the Republic, and recklessly inflames destructive and dangerous passions."

By Melissa Quinn

Officials in Nevada give election update

Officials in Clark County, Nevada, are giving an update Friday on the election, as Joe Biden's lead in the state widens. It was scheduled to start at 10 a.m. local time (1 p.m. ET).

Watch it live: 

CBS News Live Live


Georgia secretary of state holds news conference

Georgia Secretary of State Brad Raffensberger is scheduled to hold a news conference Friday at 3 p.m., after saying earlier in the day that the state is headed toward a ballot recount.

Raffensberger told reporters earlier that a recount is likely due to the small margin between former Joe Biden and President Trump, who both have 49.4% of the vote with 95% of the ballots counted. The state mandates a recount if the difference between the candidates is under 0.5%.

Watch it live:  

CBS News Live Live

Larry Kudlow has spoken with Trump and says he intends to "fight"

Top White House economic adviser Larry Kudlow told Fox News he has spoken to the president, and Mr. Trump intends to "fight," but he conceded he's unsure of what that entails. 

"I don't know about the 'bitter end.' I don't know what that means, but I did speak to him this morning, and I believe he intends to fight for what he believes in, and he intends to fight what he perceives to be, um, some non-legal problems, that's the way I'll phrase it. I'm not the lawyer," Kudlow said. 

Mr. Trump has been complaining that the election is being stolen from him, backing up his accusations with false or inaccurate statements. 

On CNBC earlier Friday, Kudlow said, "We abide by the rule of law and so will this president." 

By Kathryn Watson

Biden campaign preparing a primetime speech if race called by Friday evening

The Biden campaign is preparing a primetime speech for Biden if the race is called in his favor by this evening, several campaign sources tell CBS News. Biden currently has 253 electoral votes by CBS News' count — 17 short of the 270 needed to win.

Biden has only given a few brief remarks to the public since Election Day. If he speaks Friday evening, it would be his first major speech since Election Day. Biden and his campaign have expressed confidence that he will win enough states to push him over 270 electoral votes.

Bo Erickson and Grace Segers


Pelosi calls Biden "president-elect," though he has not yet reached Electoral College threshold

Pelosi calls Biden "president-elect" before the results are in 01:26

House Speaker Nancy Pelosi referred to Joe Biden as "President-elect Biden" during her address to reporters on Friday, though the outcome of the election has not yet been projected. Biden currently has 253 Electoral College votes — just 17 shy of winning the election — but he has yet to reach the 270 votes required. 

"President-elect Biden has a strong mandate to lead, and he'll have a strong Democratic House with him, and many Democrats in the Senate," Pelosi said Friday. "This has been a life or death fight for the fate of our democracy, as he says, the soul of our country."

The former vice president is leading in Pennsylvania, Georgia, Arizona and Nevada, but margins remain extremely close. If Biden is victorious in Pennsylvania, which has 20 electoral votes, he will surpass 270. 

Pelosi acknowledged that Democrats did not perform as well as they had hoped to in this election. The party held on to its majority in the House, but didn't see the same wave of victory they achieved in 2018, when Democratic candidates flipped 40 red districts blue.

"We did not win every battle in the House, but we did win the war," she said. 

By Audrey McNamara

Pelosi calls Biden "president-elect," though he has not yet reached electoral college threshold

 House Speaker Nancy Pelosi referred to Joe Biden as "President-elect Biden" during her address to reporters on Friday, though the outcome of the election has not yet been projected. Biden currently has 253 electoral college votes — just 17 shy of winning the election — but he has yet to reach the 270 votes required. 

"President-elect Biden has a strong mandate to lead, and he'll have a strong Democratic House with him, and many Democrats in the Senate," Pelosi said Friday. "This has been a life or death fight for the fate of our democracy, as he says, the soul of our country."

The former vice president is leading in Pennsylvania, Georgia, Arizona and Nevada, but margins remain extremely close. If Biden is victorious in Pennsylvania, which has 20 electoral votes, he will surpass 270. 

Pelosi acknowledged that Democrats did not perform as wll as they had hoped to in this election. The party held on to its majority in the House, but didn't see the same wave of victory they achieved in 2018, when Democratic candidates flipped 40 red districts blue.

"We did not win every battle in the House, but we did win the war," she said. 

By Audrey McNamara

Biden's lead in Georgia widens to 1,579 votes with about 4,000 votes left to be counted

Georgia secretary of state says state heading for a recount 18:26

Joe Biden's lead in Georgia has grown to 1,579 votes. With such a thin margin, however, the state remains too close to call. 

Georgia Secretary of State Brad Raffensperger said Friday that "out of approximately 5 million votes cast" in the state, it will come down to a "margin of a few thousand," requiring a recount.

"The focus for our office, and for the county election officials for now remains on making sure that every legal vote is counted and recorded accurately," Raffensperger said. "As we are closing in on a final count, we can begin to look toward our next steps. With a margin that small, there will be a recount in Georgia."

According to Raffensperger, there are over 4,000 ballots still outstanding, many in Atlanta's Gwinnett County. Additionally, he said 8,890 military and overseas absentee ballots sent to voters have yet to be returned. If postmarked by Election Day, those ballots can be accepted up until today.

"Interest in our election, obviously, goes far beyond Georgia's borders," he said. "The final tally in Georgia at this point has huge implications for the entire country."

By Audrey McNamara

New vote totals show Biden in the lead in Nevada

New vote totals from Clark County, Nevada show Biden maintaining his lead in the state. Biden currently leads by over 22,000 votes. Clark County is the most populous county in the state, and encompasses Las Vegas, which reliably votes Democratic.

By Grace Segers

CBS News projects Mark Kelly will win Senate race in Arizona

Democrat Mark Kelly has defeated incumbent Republican Senator Martha McSally in the Arizona Senate race, CBS News projects. This is the second Republican-held seat that Democratic candidates have flipped this year, with Democrat John Hickenlooper also defeating GOP Senator Cory Gardner in Georgia.

Kelly is leading McSally by 3 percentage points with 91% of votes counted. Kelly, a former astronaut, is the husband of gun control activist Gabby Giffords, who was shot while serving as a congresswoman in 2011.

Democrats and Republicans are now deadlocked with 48 seats each in the Senate. The Senate race in North Carolina between incumbent GOP Senator Thom Tillis and Democrat Cal Cunningham is still too close to call. The two Senate races in Georgia are both likely to advance to runoff elections, meaning that the final partisan balance of the Senate may not be known until January.

By Grace Segers

Nancy Pelosi seeks reelection as speaker of the House

Nancy Pelosi is seeking reelection for her position as speaker of the House, after Democrats maintained their majority in this year's elections with only a few losses. Pelosi sent a personalized letter to each Democratic member asking for their support, saying that Democrats now had a "mandate" with a majority in the House and with former Vice President Joe Biden likely to win the presidency.

In her letter, Pelosi said she wanted to "harness the extraordinary vision, values and vibrancy of our Caucus to secure the progress that the American people deserve."

"In that spirit, I am writing to request your support to be re-elected as Speaker. I do so with the utmost respect for the diverse viewpoints of our Democratic Caucus, the gravity of this role and the urgency of the challenges ahead," Pelosi said.

Pelosi's appeal comes after several Democratic members angrily confronted her in a heated caucus-wide call on Thursday. Several members, including Representative Abigail Spanberger, said liberal catchphrases like "defund the police" hurt more moderate representatives in their reelection races. They complained that Republicans were able to tie them to "socialism" because of the party's more left-wing members.

Read more here

By Grace Segers

USPS finds over 1,700 ballots in Pennsylvania

The U.S. Postal Service found over 1,700 ballots in facilities in Pennsylvania on Thursday. The ballots were discovered during sweeps for election mail ordered by a federal judge.

Under state law, these ballots would count as long as they don't have a postmark after November 3. Any ballots postmarked by Election Day and received during a three-day extension — ending November 6 — must be counted. State Republicans opposed the extension

Biden took the lead in Pennsylvania for the first time Friday morning. The former vice president is now ahead of Mr. Trump by 5,587 votes, or 0.1%, in the state, not including mail-in ballots received after Election Day but within the extension. He now has 49.4% of the Pennsylvania vote, compared to Mr. Trump's 49.3%, with 95% of votes counted. 

Pennsylvania's crucial 20 electoral college votes would put Biden beyond the necessary 270 votes to win. Biden currently has 253 electoral college votes; Mr. Trump trails with 213.

The USPS blew through a deadline to sweep facilities for mail-in ballots earlier this week. The order, issued by U.S. District Judge Emmet G. Sullivan, was meant to trigger sweeps of facilities in six key battleground states: Pennsylvania, Michigan, Georgia, Texas, Arizona and Florida. Some of the 12 districts included in the order have legislation against accepting ballots after midnight on election night.

Audrey McNamara and Zak Hudak 


Georgia secretary of state says there will be a recount

Georgia secretary of state says state heading for a recount 18:26

Based on how close the count is, Georgia's secretary of state said Friday there will be a recount in the Peach State. 

"There will be a recount in Georgia," said Georgia Secretary of State Brad Raffensperger.

Biden has inched ahead in Georgia, taking just a 1,098-votes lead over Mr. Trump as of Friday morning.

"The final tally in Georgia at this point has huge implications for the entire country," Raffensperger said. 

Read more here.

By Kathryn Watson

Nevada attorney general says Trump campaign's voting fraud complaint is "garbage"

Nevada Attorney General Aaron Ford gives update on votes in battleground state 05:41

Nevada's attorney general said officials in the state have not seen evidence of voter fraud while dismissing the Trump campaign's attempt to file a federal lawsuit to force officials to stop counting what the White House claims are "improper votes."

"This six-page complaint they filed late last night is, in a word: garbage," Attorney General Aaron Ford said on "CBS This Morning" Friday. "It just goes to show the last-ditch efforts these guys are going to go to to try and derail this election to their benefit."

Nevada joined a list of battleground states under legal attack when Mr. Trump's surrogates and state Republicans announced they plan to sue. Other legal challenges have been presented in Pennsylvania, Michigan and Georgia. 

Current results show former Vice President Joe Biden holding very slight leads in Pennsylvania and Georgia.

"When you take a look at the list that [the Trump campaign] presented… one of the first things that pops out is that there are a lot of military addresses on that list. What the cover letter says is that it appears these people may have improperly cast mail-in ballots," Ford said.

He called the list "pure speculation," and said neither the "Republican secretary of state" nor "17 county registrars" have reported any evidence of widespread fraud.

Asked about when the state may have a final count, Ford pointed to a November 12 deadline which all Nevada county registrars "have to meet."

"I do know that we're going to be getting results in today as well," Ford said. "We will have a better picture of what the results look like sometime around nine, 10 o'clock today."


Trump general counsel: "The election is not over"

Matt Morgan, the Trump campaign's general counsel, released a statement on Friday morning saying "the election is not over" after Biden pulled ahead in Georgia and Pennsylvania.

"Biden is relying on these states for his phony claim on the White House, but once the election is final, President Trump will be re-elected," Morgan said.

The Trump campaign has brought several lawsuits forward to challenge votes it considers disputed, but the lawsuits in Michigan and Georgia have been tossed. 

By Grace Segers

Fact-checking Trump's voter fraud claims

Mr. Trump took to Twitter Thursday night claiming he would easily win the election with "legal" votes cast, and claimed observers were not allowed to do their job. Twitter flagged the post for being misleading. 

Vladimir Duthiers takes a look at Arizona and Pennsylvania's processes to debunk the president's claim

Fact-checking Trump's voter fraud claims 01:59

Biden takes the lead in Pennsylvania

Biden pulled ahead by around 5,000 votes in Pennsylvania Friday morning, with an influx of mail-in ballots counted from the heavily Democratic Philadelphia. 

If Biden wins Pennsylvania, that would give him the 20 electoral votes he needs to win the presidency and push him to 273 electoral votes. Biden needs 270 electoral votes to win.

By Grace Segers

Over 8,000 ballots remain to be counted in Georgia

Georgia Secretary of State Brad Raffensberger announced Friday there were approximately 8,197 ballots still outstanding in the state as of 8:15 a.m. ET.

  • Floyd County: 444 
  • Gwinnett County: 4,800
  • Laurens County: 1,797
  • Taylor County: 456

Raffensberger also said an additional approximately 8,900 military and overseas absentee ballots have been sent out to requesters but not yet returned. These ballots may be accepted within three days of Election Day if postmarked by November 3. 

By Grace Segers

McConnell obliquely responds to Trump's false claims about illegal voting

In a tweet on Friday morning, Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell obliquely responded to Mr. Trump's false claims that "illegal" votes are being counted.

"Here's how this must work in our great country: Every legal vote should be counted. Any illegally-submitted ballots must not. All sides must get to observe the process. And the courts are here to apply the laws & resolve disputes. That's how Americans' votes decide the result," McConnell said, without adding that this is what is currently happening in several states.

Thousands of legally-cast absentee ballots in several states are still being counted. Mr. Trump falsely claimed in remarks filled with inaccuracies on Thursday that illegal ballots were being counted, and wrongly said that poll watchers were not present in Philadelphia. 

Some Republicans have pushed back against Mr. Trump's false claims, while others have defended him. McConnell is in the category of Republicans who are neither criticizing nor outright supporting the president's claims.

By Grace Segers

Biden inches ahead of Trump in Georgia

Democratic presidential nominee Joe Biden took an ever-so-slight lead over President Trump in Georgia when Clayton County announced its latest results early Friday. 

Biden had been steadily catching up, and the county that was part of the congressional district of the late civil rights icon John Lewis put him ahead.

According to elections data from the county, Biden added 1602 votes and Mr. Trump 223, leaving Biden with a remarkably thin statewide lead of  917 votes.  

Georgia hasn't voted for a Democrat for president since it went for Bill Clinton in 1992.

By Brian Dakss

Trump's lead shrinks to 463, as Clayton County, part of John Lewis' home district, hopes to put Georgia over the top for Biden

A little after 10:30 p.m. Thursday, with 14,097 votes left to count in Georgia, Mr. Trump's lead over Biden had evaporated to a mere 1,775 votes, and the prospect of the Democrat surpassing him seemed inevitable.
The two counties with the largest number of ballots left to count were Gwinnett, with 4,800 ballots and Clayton, with 4,355. By 2 a.m., some counties had ceased counting for the night — but not Clayton County, part of the home district of the late John Lewis, where Biden is winning roughly 85% of the vote to Mr. Trump's 14%. With 95% of its vote in, Clayton County was still turning in batches of votes, a couple hundred at a time and some people, including former senator Claire McCaskill, seemed pleased by the idea that it was a county represented by the late civil rights icon that just might put Biden over the top in Georgia.    

Clayton County Supervisor of Elections Shauna Dozier told CNN that as of 1:27 am, Clayton County had 3,500 absentee ballots to count out of 30,000 absentee ballots that had been accepted in the county. 

"We're going to stay here until every single absentee ballot is counted," Dozier told CNN. " We're doing our best to get every vote counted," she continued, adding that she believes the county will be completed within hours and asks the community for patience.

Dozier said that in 2016, Clayton County received 3,170 absentee ballots and in 2020 had almost 10 times more 30,000 absentee ballots.

By 3:39 a.m., Mr. Trump's margin had shrunk again, to 463 votes. 

By LaCrai Mitchell

Trump's lead in Pennsylvania shrinks to 26,319 votes

Mr. Trump's lead in Pennsylvania shrunk to 26,319 votes as of Thursday night.

Biden has pulled ahead in two longtime Democratic strongholds in Pennsylvania that Mr. Trump flipped in 2016. Biden is up by just over 1,300 votes in Erie, which Mr. Trump won by 1,957 in 2016. Biden leads by just over 850 votes in Northampton, which Mr. Trump won by 5,464. 

By Zak Hudak
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