In Trump Coal Country, Economy Isn’t Only Worry: Election Update

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(Bloomberg) — American voters — at least, those who’ve not yet cast ballots — go to the polls Tuesday to choose between President Donald Trump and Democratic nominee Joe Biden and cast votes in U.S. House and Senate races and state and local elections.

Other developments:

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In Trump Coal Country, Economy Isn’t Only Worry

Long lines snaked out of several voting places in Westmoreland County, Pennsylvania, about 40 miles east of Pittsburgh, one of the areas that delivered Trump victory in 2016 and could be critical to his winning (or losing) this year.

Roughly two-thirds of Westmoreland voted for Trump in 2016, as did pretty much all of southwest Pennsylvania, save for Pittsburgh. For most of the 20th century the county was solidly for Democrats, fueled by a once-strong labor union machine of coal miners and coke processors. Westmoreland first voted for a Republican presidential ticket in 2000 and hasn’t changed course since.

For some voters, the economy wasn’t top of mind.

“The biggest thing for me is I have eight children, so I don’t kill babies,” said Sonya Carren, 50, who chose to vote in person (for Trump) because she feared a ballot sent by mail would get lost.

“I’m pro-life,” she said. “I just can’t vote for anything or anyone who doesn’t support that.”

Korey Thornton, 36, a barber from Greensburg, said his vote for Biden was a response to the “hate and bigotry” he saw in the Trump administration. — Brentin Mock

Iowa National Guard Prepared for Any Violence in Midwest (12:29 p.m.)

The Iowa National Guard has been asked to prepare to be called to any possible violence this week in three Midwestern states, according to officials familiar with the situation.

Iowa National Guard infantry and military police units have been instructed to prepare to respond to unrest this week in Iowa, Minnesota and Wisconsin, the officials said.

National guard soldiers and airmen are also scattered in states, including Wisconsin, Nebraska and Tennessee, in plain clothes to support polling places while surveying for hints of civil unrest. However, in most regions those guardsmen will be acting as poll workers and will not be armed. — Jennifer Jacobs and Kartikay Mehrotra

Whitmer Warns Residents About Misleading Robocalls (12:09 p.m.)

Michigan Governor Gretchen Whitmer tweeted about reports that residents in Flint are receiving robocalls spreading misinformation about voting.

“We received reports that an unknown party is purposefully spreading misinformation via robocalls in Flint in an attempt to confuse voters,” Whitmer said. “Let me be clear — if you plan to vote in-person, you must do so, or be in line to do so, by 8PM today.”

An unknown robocaller has placed calls to millions of Americans in recent weeks warning them to “stay safe and say home,” according to the Washington Post.

Whitmer said lines across the state are “minimal and moving quickly” and that government officials will “work quickly to stamp out misinformation trying to prevent Michiganders from voting.” — William Turton

Columbus-Area Polling Sites Face Longer Wait Times (11:14 a.m.)

All 324 Franklin County polling locations in presidential battleground Ohio are facing longer wait times today because the county had to drop its online poll books and resort to paper files.

The county, home to Columbus, made the switch at 5:30 a.m. Tuesday after election officials couldn’t determine that the electronic poll books were properly uploading, Franklin County Board of Elections spokesman Aaron Sellers said.

Recent polls have put Trump and Joe Biden in a dead-heat in bellwether Ohio. But a Biden victory likely would require big Democratic voter turnout in deep blue Columbus, the nation’s fourteenth largest city.

If poll books don’t align with votes that could also affect recount, with the misaligned precincts not being included in a re-tally. Sellers said there is no indication the paper poll books have created any documentation issues thus far. — Alex Ebert

USPS Finds Ballot Delays in Battleground States (10:58 a.m.)

The U.S. Postal Service reported delays in delivering ballots to election officials in three closely divided states that could swing the U.S. election: Michigan, where ballots must arrive today to be counted, and in parts of Pennsylvania and North Carolina.

The cohort of ballots in transit remains large. In Pennsylvania, about 683,000 ballots had been requested by voters and not yet returned to election officials as of Nov. 2, and in Michigan the corresponding figure was about 476,000, according to the U.S. Elections Project that tracks early voting. In Pennsylvania and North Carolina, ballots can be accepted in coming days if they are postmarked by Election Day.

Workers were sick from Covid-19 in Michigan and central Pennsylvania, the Postal Service said in an explanation of slow ballot delivery demanded by U.S. District Judge Emmet Sullivan in Washington D.C.

Video: Trump and Biden make last campaign stops just before polls open—Here’s what they said (CNBC)

Trump and Biden make last campaign stops just before polls open—Here’s what they said
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On Oct. 31 in both the Detroit and Philadelphia areas, about 78% of ballots sent by voters reached election authorities within the service’s guideline of 1-to-3 days for delivery, the service told Sullivan in a Nov. 2 filing. Other areas with on-time delivery less than 80% that date included central Pennsylvania and Greensboro, North Carolina, according to the USPS data filed with the court.

Daily figures may not be reliable, and the service scores don’t include ballots that are handled locally without being shipped to large processing centers, which are delivered the same day with a near 100% success rate, the USPS said in the filing. It said “extraordinary measures” are in place to deliver ballots. — Todd Shields

First Lady Casts Ballot, Sans Mask, in Florida (10:43 a.m.)

First Lady Melania Trump visited a Palm Beach polling station Tuesday morning to cast her ballot in the way her husband has urged his supporters to: in person.

© Photographer: Joe Raedle/Getty Images North America First Lady Melania Trump Casts Her Vote In The 2020 Presidential Election

Melania Trump leaves after casting her vote at a polling center in Palm Beach, Florida, on Nov. 3.

Photographer: Joe Raedle/Getty Images

She was the only person not wearing a mask at the polling center. She waved and smiled to reporters. When asked why she didn’t vote with the president last week, Trump said she’d wanted to vote on Election Day. — Kathleen Hunter

Biden Says Middle Class Built U.S., Not Wall Street (9:50 a.m.)

Biden returned to his childhood hometown of Scranton, Pennsylvania, on Tuesday morning and made another appeal to working-class voters.

Speaking to a group of canvassers, Biden said he wants to restore “basic decency and honor” and unite a country he said has fractured under the Trump administration.

“The middle class built this country. Wall Street didn’t build it,” he said, speaking through a mask and using a bullhorn.

Biden also explained that he calls Scranton, where he lived until he was in the fourth grade, home because it’s “where I learned all my basic values.” He said that “money does not determine your wealth,” that it’s a basic responsibility to “look out for the other guy,” and that “a job is about a lot more than a paycheck.” — Elizabeth Wasserman

DHS Says No Sign Foreign Meddling Is Successful (8:59)

Acting Homeland Security Secretary Chad Wolf said there’s “no indication” foreign actors have successfully meddled in the 2020 election.

Wolf, a Trump appointee, told reporters in a briefing Tuesday morning that officials remained on “high alert” for interference by foreign actors, including Russia, China and Iran.

“We have no indication that a foreign actor has succeeded in compromising or

affecting the actual votes cast in this election but we do remain on high alert,” Wolf said.

The federal government is “utilizing all the tools we have available to make sure that Americans can cast their ballots and know that they will count,” he said.

Trump has repeatedly challenged the U.S. intelligence community’s finding that Russia sought to influence the 2016 election in his favor.

DHS estimates that 105 million Americans have already voted and expect the total number of voters this election to reach 150 million. — Alyza Sebenius

Biden Plans Remarks If Media Calls Race, Axios Says (8:36 a.m.)

Biden plans to address the nation as its president-elect if news organizations declare that he has secured enough electoral college votes to win, Axios reported Tuesday, citing Biden campaign advisers.

Biden plans to make remarks even if Trump is challenging the results in court, according to Axios, which said Biden could also begin quickly naming members of his transition team. — Kate Hunter

Trump Says He’ll Declare ‘When There’s Victory’ (8:11 a.m.)

Trump started his morning activities calling into the “Fox & Friends” program and was asked about Democratic concerns that he may declare victory prematurely before mail-in votes are counted in key states.

“At what point will you declare victory,” one of the hosts, Steve Doocy, asked.

“When there’s victory,” Trump replied. “I think we’ll have victory. But only when there’s victory. I mean, there’s no reason to play games. I look at it as being a very solid chance of winning here.” — Saleha Mohsin and Emma Kinery

Biden Starts Day With Mass at Local Church (7:32 a.m.)

The Democratic challenger started his day with an Election Day mass near his Delaware home.

Joined by wife Jill Biden and two granddaughters, the visit to St. Joseph on the Brandywine was the first stop of a day that also includes a few final events in the key battleground of Pennsylvania.

Biden’s son Beau, who passed away in 2015, is buried in the church’s cemetery. After leaving church, the Bidens walked to Beau’s gravesite.

Biden is slated to travel to his childhood hometown of Scranton and then to Philadelphia before returning home to await election results. — Jennifer Epstein

Polls Open With Nearly 100 Million Votes Cast (6 a.m.)

Polls are scheduled to open at 6 a.m. in seven U.S. states, the beginning of an Election Day that many expect to come and go without a declared winner because of millions of as-yet uncounted ballots that were cast in early voting.

Heavy turnout is expected in many areas, even though by early Tuesday morning, about 99 million ballots – roughly 72% of the total in 2016 — had already been cast as early votes or mail-in or absentee ballots.

Voter surveys have been relatively lopsided in the handful of states that are opening polls earliest this morning: Trump has led convincingly in Indiana and Kentucky, while Biden has led in Connecticut, Maine, New Jersey, New York and Virginia.

Over the next hour, a number of states where the race is tighter are scheduled to open their polls – including North Carolina, Ohio, Florida, Georgia, Michigan and Pennsylvania. — John Voskuhl

Five Votes for Biden in New Hampshire (12:15 a.m.)

Voting and the counting of ballots got underway just after midnight Tuesday in the tiny community of Dixville Notch in northern New Hampshire near the Canadian border. Biden received five votes to none for Trump. The entire proceeding, broadcast live by WMUR-TV, took just a few minutes.

The results, while followed by political observers every four years, do not indicate, let alone foretell, anything about the election’s outcome. In 2016, Hillary Clinton received four votes in Dixville Notch, Trump two; Gary Johnson, an independent candidate, one. And someone wrote in the name of Mitt Romney, the Republican nominee in 2012. — John Harney

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