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Florida 2020 election results: Trump projected winner

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President Trump has won Florida, CBS News projects. Democratic presidential candidate Joe Biden won in the densely populated Miami-Dade, Broward, Fort Lauderdale, Seminole, Osceola, Hillsborough, Duval, Alachua, Leon and Gadsden counties, but it was not enough to overcome Mr. Trump's dominance in the rest of the state.

With 29 electoral votes at stake, Florida arguably had the most electoral votes to offer of the states viewed as toss-ups heading into Election Day

Mr. Trump visited Florida at least 16 times this year and on Sunday night — two days before Election Day — he held a rally at Miami's Opa-Locka Airport, 65 miles south of his Florida residence in Mar-a-Lago. Biden, who was forced to cancel a trip to the state in March due to the coronavirus, has made four trips to the state since he became the Democratic nominee, the last one to Tampa.

Florida has supported the winner of the presidential election since 1996, most infamously in 2000, when George W. Bush finally prevailed over Al Gore following intervention by the U.S. Supreme Court.

 

USPS: No new undelivered ballots found in sweep of South Florida mail facilities

New details have emerged on a judge's order that the U.S. Postal Service sweep facilities across the country, including South Florida.

A federal judge says he wanted to make sure that no mail-in ballots are left uncounted.

He gave the postal service until 4:30 p.m. to finish the sweep and report back.

The Princeton Post Office in Southwest Miami-Dade reports postal managers searched 180,000 pieces.

Read more at CBS Miami

 

Messages about Antifa and civil unrest in Miami are "fake," says Miami police chief

Miami Police Chief Jorge Colina is warning the public that fake messages have been posted on social media claiming that Antifa is in Miami to disrupt Election Day and cause civil unrest.

"There is quite a bit of anxiety about some misinformation put out and we have businesses boarding up because they are afraid about what can happen," said Chief Colina in an exclusive interview with CBS Miami's Peter D'Oench. "There are some text messages and posts that are circulating, one of which says that Antifa has arrived in Miami for example and that they're checking in to hotels and you should get supplies. This is fake."

Colina added, "If you have received that, there is zero credibility to any message you may have received in that form. We checked with other cities and they have been receiving the same messages and what they do is take out the name Miami and put in other names like Chicago or Washington, D.C."

Read more at CBS Miami

 

Election Day

Florida crosses two time zones, so although the first polls begin to close at 7 p.m. ET, the last polls, which are in the Florida Panhandle, close at 8 p.m. ET. Mail ballots must be received by 7 p.m. on November 3, and in-person early voting took place from October 19 through November 1. 

State law allows for counties to begin processing and counting ballots 22 days before an election. In some Florida counties, election officials have been counting votes since October 15, but the results will not be announced until Election Day. In Miami-Dade for example, the results from the mail-in ballots that were received before Election Day will be announced at 7 p.m.  

The chances are good that voters will know on election night where Florida's 29 electoral votes will be going. Nearly 9 million voted early — about 64% of registered voters in the state.

By LaCrai Mitchell
 

State of the race

In 2016, Donald Trump won 58 of Florida's 67 counties. According to exit polls, voters 65 and older made up 21% of the state's electorate in the 2016 general election and Mr. Trump won among this group by 17 points — 57% to 40%. CBS News' October 25 poll shows that Biden had president is now leading Biden among this group by 9 points.  

In Florida, there were four counties that voted for former President Obama twice and then voted for Mr. Trump in 2016. Three of the four pivot counties directly neighbor areas that are traditionally considered Democratic. Additionally, there are two counties in the state that voted for Mr. Obama in 2008, Republican Mitt Romney in 2012, before choosing Mr. Trump in 2016. 

The three largest counties in the state by population — Miami-Dade, Broward, and Palm Beach County — are considered Democratic strongholds. In the last 20 years, all three counties have backed the Democratic nominee.

GOP strategists point out that even if Republicans don't win the area, they can cut into the Democrats' historical edge in the region. In 2018, Democratic Senator Bill Nelson lost his Senate contest against then-Governor Rick Scott, after winning Miami-Dade with 9 points fewer than Hillary Clinton did in 2016. 

Miami-Dade, where 69.4% of the population is Latino, is also a case study in another key voting bloc in Florida. In 2016, there were more than two million registered Hispanic voters in the state, 16% of Florida's total registered voters at the time. Pew Research found that while 62% of Latino voters in Florida voted for Hillary Clinton, 54% of Cuban voters voted for Mr. Trump, compared to the 26% of non-Cuban Latino voters who voted for him. While Biden maintained a 27-point lead among Latino voters in Florida in the latest Battleground Tracker poll, University of Miami Political Science Department Chair Gregory Koger says if Mr. Trump can shrink the margin of his loss in Miami-Dade, "that would help him a lot." 

In 2016, exit polls showed Mr. Trump won among men by 9 points — 52% to 43% — but the latest CBS News' poll in the state shows Biden cutting into his lead among this group; he had just a two-point advantage going into the election, 49% to 47%.  

Among White college voters — a group Mr. Trump won by 27 points in 2016 — Biden could be on track to outperform Clinton and edge out Mr. Trump by one point, according to CBS News' October 25 Battleground Tracker poll found. In 2016, White college voters made up more than a third of Florida's electorate. Exit polls showed Mr. Trump won this group 62% compared to Clinton's 35%. The latest CBS News polling showed Biden leading 49% to 48%. 

Mr. Trump was also trailing Biden among women voters — 46% to 50% — in the latest CBS News poll. In 2016, exit polls showed that he lost to Hillary Clinton among this group by the same margin of 4 points.  

By LaCrai Mitchell
 

The issues

Coronavirus  

By November 1, Florida had reported over 800,000 coronavirus cases and nearly 50,000 hospitalizations. On September 25, 2020, GOP Governor Ron DeSantis announced that the state would enter Phase 3 reopening, effectively allowing for restaurants and businesses to open at full capacity and prohibiting any local COVID-19 emergency ordinances from limiting restaurants to be under 50% full as a safety measure. The order also suspended the collection of fines related to enforcing COVID-19 restrictions. The coronavirus pandemic slammed Florida's economy, costing hundreds of thousands of jobs to be lost since the start of the pandemic. Year-over-year data showed that from September 2019 through September 2020, 451,100 jobs were lost in the state. Tourism took a massive hit, with 20 million visitors kept away by the virus this year, according to a report by Visit Florida.

Health care & Social Security 

Florida is one of 14 states that has not expanded Medicaid and according to the Kaiser Family Foundation the failure to expand Medicaid has left nearly 400,000 adults in the coverage gap in Florida. Throughout the general election cycle, healthcare and Social Security were regular topics of discussion for Democrats who argue that Mr. Trump will be bad for both. During a press briefing in August, Mr. Trump announced he'd defer payroll taxes to provide economic relief amid the coronavirus pandemic, though few companies chose to participate. 

Gun Control 

Two years ago, Florida's gun laws were thrust into the spotlight after the Marjory Stoneman Douglas' school shooting that left 17 dead and was the catalyst for a movement led by students to reform gun laws in the state and the country. One of the resulting measures was a "red flag" law which is still controversial in the state.

Under the law, police may file a request with a civil court to ask that a person who has made threats or has serious mental illness to order the temporary surrender of his or her firearms to police. Within two weeks, a hearing is held during which the judge will decide whether to take the person's weapons away for a year. 

Climate Crisis 

In 2018, the Union of Concerned Scientists conducted a study on rising sea levels and concluded that by 2045, nearly 64,000 homes in Florida will face flooding every other week. Half of those will be in South Florida, where overdevelopment on coastlines continues to be a problem. 

According to NPR, one Florida Keys neighborhood was flooded for at least three months in 2019. The state also has a history of hurricanes.

By LaCrai Mitchell
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