As election day nears, Trump tells Georgia rally he will win state

As election day nears, Trump tells Georgia rally he will win state

CLEVELAND (WJW) -- With only two days left until Election Day, many people are continuing to vote early across the country.

According to the U.S. Elections Project, 92,038,417 have already cast their ballot, including 2,854,258 here in Ohio.

Early voting hours

In addition to electing a president, voters will decide all 435 US House Seats and 35 US Senate races.

If you're one of the millions who has already cast a ballot, you can track it here.

10:30 p.m. headlines:

(AP) — President Donald Trump is expressing confidence that he already has victory in Georgia assured as he campaigns in the newly competitive battleground two days before Election Day.

Trump told thousands of supporters at a rally in northwestern Georgia that his aides told him he had the state “made.”

“They said sir you don’t have to come to Georgia. We have it made.”

He adds: “They said this morning, honestly, you can skip Georgia.”

The state, like much of the country, has seen record turnout in early voting, as Democrats aim to capture demographic changes to find a new pathway to the presidency through the state. Trump is wagering on a boom of Republican votes to help him overcome Democratic advantages in early voting.

He said in Rome: “Wait until you see what’s going to happen with the great red wave.”

8 p.m. headlines:

PHILADELPHIA (AP) — Joe Biden is spending the final days of the presidential campaign appealing to Black supporters to vote in-person during a pandemic that has disproportionally affected their communities.

He's betting that a strong turnout will boost his chances in states that could decide the election. President Donald Trump is aiming to blunt the effort by arguing that Biden and other Democrats have taken the support of Black voters for granted.

When the coronavirus pandemic reached America, Democrats spent months pushing their supporters to vote by mail. But their energy has shifted to urging Black supporters who have long preferred to vote in person or distrust voting by mail to get out on Tuesday.

6:30 headlines:

(AP) — President Donald Trump says he’s preparing for legal challenges to the counting of mail and absentee votes in Pennsylvania. Speaking to reporters in Charlotte ahead of a rally in Hickory, NC Trump says: "We’re going in the night of — as soon as the election is over — we’re going in with our lawyers.”

Trump has repeatedly attacked the Supreme Court in recent days for not blocking the counting of late arriving ballots for days after Election Day. Trump aides believe Democrat Joe Biden has a substantial lead in early ballots but are betting on strong Republican turnout Tuesday to pull off a win.

5:30 p.m. headlines:

(AP) — Joe Biden is denouncing disruptive demonstrations by supporters of President Donald Trump across the country.

Speaking at a canvass kickoff in the Philadelphia suburbs, Biden referenced a recent effort by Trump supporters to swarm a Biden campaign bus and drive it off the road in Texas. Trump tweeted a video of the caravan and declared, “I LOVE TEXAS!” Biden also referenced reports that Trump supporters shut down a major roadway in New Jersey.

“We’ve never had anything like this. At least we’ve never had a president who thinks it’s a good thing,” Biden said.

2:30 p.m. headlines:

DALLAS (AP) — The Texas Supreme Court has denied a Republican-led petition to toss nearly 127,000 ballots cast at drive-thru voting places in the Houston area. The state’s all-Republican high court on Sunday rejected the request from a state representative and two GOP candidates without explaining its decision. Their effort to have the Harris County ballots thrown out is still set to be taken up during an emergency hearing in federal court on Monday. Conservative Texas activists have railed against expanded voting access in Harris County, where a record 1.4 million early votes have already been cast.

12:30 p.m. headlines:

Democratic vice-presidential candidate Kamala Harris says Black voters are critical to defeating President Donald Trump and electing Joe Biden president.

But as the California senator arrived to campaign in Georgia on Sunday, she stressed that “we are not telling anybody they’re supposed to vote for us” and are working to “earn the vote.”

Harris is the first Black woman on a major party national ticket. A considerable part of her campaign time this fall has been focused on Black voters and in states with prominent Black populations.

Sunday marks her second trip to Atlanta in the campaign’s closing weeks. She will head to Pennsylvania on Monday.

Democrats haven’t won Georgia’s electoral votes since 1992 and Pennsylvania slipped away narrowly four years ago. But Black turnout in both states could tip the scales Tuesday.

Harris said it’s an “ongoing job” for the Democratic ticket to show Black voters that a Biden White House understands the “disproportionate impact” Black Americans have endured from the COVID-19 pandemic and longstanding economic and social inequities.

10:30 a.m. headlines:

LOS ANGELES (AP) — Tuesday's election will test if California voters are willing to move further to the left on taxes, race and crime and punishment. One ballot proposal would peel back four-decade-old protections for commercial and industrial property and impose as much as $12 billion in new taxes to benefit schools and local governments. Voters are also being asked to overturn a 1996 law that made it illegal for state and local governments to grant preferential treatment based on race or ethnicity. Two other ballot questions would eliminate cash bail and increase penalties for certain crimes.

9:15 a.m. headlines:

NEW YORK (AP) — Television networks are adding experts in election law to their election night coverage teams to prepare for legal challenges or irregularities that may come up during the vote. Veteran attorney Ben Ginsburg, a fixture on TV when he represented George W. Bush during the disputed 2000 vote count, will be working with CNN. CBS News has hired the founder of the Center for Election Innovation & Research, a former Justice Department lawyer. There's been a flurry of court cases involving how long states can count votes that have already reached the Supreme Court. CBS' expert, David Becker, says part of his job will be to bolster public confidence in the vote.

8:15 a.m. headlines:

WASHINGTON (AP) — Senate Republicans are fighting to save their majority and they're making a final election push against the onslaught of Democratic challengers. From New England to the Deep South, from the heartland to the West and even in Alaska, states that once were off limits to Democrats are now hotbeds of the backlash to President Donald Trump and his allies on Capitol Hill. Fueling the campaigns are the Trump administration’s handling of the COVID-19 crisis, shifting regional demographics and, in some areas, simply the chance to turn the page on the divisive political climate. Control of the Senate can make or break a presidency.

7:15 a.m. headlines:

BUTLER, Pa. (AP) — President Donald Trump is mounting one final test of whether the massive crowds that often show up at his signature rallies will translate into votes as he finishes the final 48 hours of his reelection campaign with a dizzying onslaught of events in the battleground states that could decide the race.

The president will hold five rallies in five states on Sunday alone. He'll hold seven more on Monday to close out the final full day of the campaign.

Down in the polls and at a cash disadvantage to his Democratic rival, Joe Biden, Trump is turning to rallies to help keep his message in front of voters. But it's unclear whether they will broaden his appeal beyond those already likely to vote for him. And the packed — often unmasked — crowds risk deepening the pandemic at a time when coronavirus cases are surging across the U.S.

But Trump, still relishing his late-stage upset in the 2016 campaign, sees his showmanship as a central element of his outsider appeal that he hopes will resonate again this year.

“Let me ask you, is there a better place to be anytime, anywhere than a Trump rally?” Trump asked a massive crowd Saturday in Butler, Pennsylvania, that responded in roaring approval.

With more than 91 million votes already cast, Trump and Biden are out of time to reshape the race. Instead, they're focusing on their base and making sure that any potential supporters have either already voted or plan to do so in person on Tuesday.

For Biden, that means paying close attention to Black voters who are a critical part of the coalition he needs to build to win. His team is confident in Biden's standing with women, college-educated voters and those who live in the suburbs.

But some Democrats worry that voters of color may not be excited about Biden and won't show up in force to support him, which could be devastating in fiercely contested battleground states like Pennsylvania and Michigan.

The challenge is exacerbated by the Democratic push this year to encourage voting by mail to prevent people waiting in long lines during a pandemic. But that runs counter to the tradition of some Black voters who prefer to vote in person on Election Day.

“Most Black voters in Philly have been skeptical of mail-in voting,” said Joe Hill, a veteran Democratic operative-turned-lobbyist from the city. “A lot of us have gotten our ballots already,” Hill said, but added, “Election Day has always been everything in Philadelphia.”

Biden will spend much of Sunday in Philadelphia encouraging voters to turn out. He'll participate in a “souls to the polls” event that's aimed at encouraging Black church congregations to organize and vote.

He held his first in-person campaign events with former President Barack Obama on Saturday in the predominantly Black cities of Detroit and Flint, Michigan. Obama will also campaign for Biden on Monday in Georgia and in South Florida, another area of potential concern if Latino voters sit out the election.

As the largest city in a state that could decide the presidency, Philadelphia has always held special significance for Biden. Just 30 miles from his longtime home in Wilmington, Delaware, Biden planted his campaign headquarters in Philadelphia before the pandemic forced most of his staff to work remotely.

The city gets intense focus because it’s such a deep trove of Democratic votes, especially non-white voters.

Democrat Hillary Clinton lost Pennsylvania by almost 45,000 votes four years ago even as she fell just 4,800 votes shy of Obama’s Philadelphia County total in 2012. Clinton’s bigger problem was that she lost ground to Trump in other parts of the state beyond Philadelphia and its suburbs.

According to an analysis by University of Florida professor Michael McDonald, a nonpartisan political data expert, almost 2.3 million Pennsylvania voters had returned absentee ballots as of Friday out of almost 3.1 million requested. That’s a statewide return rate of 74.2%.

Philadelphia’s return rate was a tick higher, at 74.6%, but it had the highest raw total of outstanding ballots, with more than 101,000. Statewide, registered Democrats maintained a solid advantage over Republicans on returned ballots: 1.54 million to about 520,000. In a separate analysis, the Democratic data firm TargetSmart found that more than 385,000 of the early Democratic voters didn’t vote at all in 2016.

Across the state in Pittsburgh, Democratic consultant Mike Mikus stressed that Philadelphia isn’t Biden’s only path to flipping Pennsylvania. Mikus noted that Trump won a Pittsburgh-area congressional district by nearly 20 percentage points in 2016 only to watch Democrat Conor Lamb win a special congressional election there a year later. Lamb won a full term in 2018 and is heavily favored again Tuesday.

Mikus said that trend will help Biden run up a wide margin in Allegheny County, the state’s second most populous.

“He’s got a real base, but there’s just no evidence that he’s done anything to reach anybody who didn’t already like him in 2016,” Mikus said, “and he’s lost people who weren’t sure about him but were willing to take the gamble. ... It’s not just about Philadelphia.”

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