2020 Election Live Updates: With Four Days Left, Trump and Biden Head for Swing States

Joseph R. Biden Jr. and President Trump, accompanied by Melania Trump, both campaigned in Florida on Thursday.
Credit…Erin Schaff/The New York Times; Doug Mills/The New York Times

With Election Day less than 100 hours away, the Trump and Biden campaigns are fanning out across the crucial swing states that are likely to decide the race. The president will campaign in Michigan and Wisconsin on Friday, while Joseph R. Biden Jr. heads for Minnesota, Wisconsin and Iowa.

Mr. Biden has already made the remarkably bold pronouncement that he would win Michigan, Wisconsin and Minnesota, three battleground states that could be his keys to victory. And his decision to add Iowa to his final campaign itinerary — along with Georgia, another state that Mr. Trump won handily in 2016 — is a further sign of confidence.

“I am not overconfident about anything,” Mr. Biden said earlier this week. “I just want to make sure we can earn every vote possible.”

The Friday events will follow a day of dueling campaign appearances in Florida, the most elusive prize in Tuesday’s election — and a state that recent polls suggest is effectively tied.

The rare convergence of the two men in the same city, Tampa, on the same day was one of the clearest signs yet that both candidates were far from confident of victory in Florida.

Though Mr. Biden has gained ground with the older voters who were once solidly part of Mr. Trump’s base, the president is immensely popular with conservative Republicans in Florida and has recently made inroads with Latinos. On Thursday, he sought to win over independents and moderates with allegations of corruption among Democrats, a line of attack that he has had difficulty making stick against Mr. Biden.

The release of data on Thursday showing record-breaking G.D.P. growth during the third quarter offered Mr. Trump an opening to tout a rare piece of good news in the campaign’s final stretch. But in Tampa, he spent only about five minutes on the economy, and he mocked Republicans who had repeatedly advised him to focus on his economic record instead of lashing out at enemies.

“They say, ‘Talk about your economic success. Talk about 33.1 percent, the greatest in history,’ Mr. Trump said in a speech, hours before Mr. Biden was set to appear at a rally across town. “Now, look, if I do, I mean, how many times can I say it?”

Mr. Biden was more disciplined as he continued to hammer the president’s handling of the coronavirus, in a state whose death toll from Covid-19 stands at more than 16,000. He also made a blunt appeal to Latinos, a demographic he has so far struggled to broadly galvanize, by discussing human rights abuses in Cuba and Venezuela.

“President Trump can’t advance democracy and human rights for the Cuban people or the Venezuelan people, for that matter, when he has praised so many autocrats around the world,” Mr. Biden said during a speech in Broward County, a Democratic stronghold.

The former vice president acknowledged the unique role the state would play in determining the winner. “If we win Florida, it’s game time, it’s over, it’s over,” he said while visiting an outdoor campaign office in Fort Lauderdale.

But, as with Mr. Trump, it was unclear whether his message would resonate with enough voters to help ensure a winning coalition.

Then-Vice President Joseph R. Biden Jr. and his granddaughter Finnegan Biden in 2013 at the Demilitarized Zone that separates the two Koreas. 
Credit…Chung Sung-Jun/Getty Images

In the waning days of the presidential race, former Vice President Joseph R. Biden is straying way off the traditional political map to chase votes: He delivered a closing argument in an op-ed published Friday by a prominent South Korean news agency.

In the article he submitted to Yonhap News Agency, Mr. Biden presented himself as someone who would be an unwavering ally to South Korea and an advocate for immigrants, seeking to draw a contrast between himself and President Trump.

Mr. Biden also suggested that the United States could learn from South Korea’s response to the Covid-19 pandemic, calling the South a “global leader in the fight against” the coronavirus.

At a stage in the campaign when candidates’ choices of where and how to spend their resources are intensely dissected, Mr. Biden’s submission of an op-ed to a foreign news agency was unusual. But the true intended audience may have been in the United States. According to the Migration Policy Institute, three swing states — Texas, Georgia and Pennsylvania — are among the 10 states with the largest populations of Korean immigrants.

The op-ed, which harkened back to Mr. Biden’s 2013 visit to the heavily armed Demilitarized Zone separating the South from North Korea, did not mention the North’s leader, Kim Jong-un, by name. But it echoed Mr. Biden’s past criticism of Mr. Trump’s collegiality with the dictator, and it denounced Mr. Trump’s threats to withdraw American troops from South Korea.

“Words matter — and a president’s words matter even more,” Mr. Biden wrote. “As President, I’ll stand with South Korea, strengthening our alliance to safeguard peace in East Asia and beyond, rather than extorting Seoul with reckless threats to remove our troops.” He said he would “keep pressing toward a denuclearized North Korea and a unified Korean Peninsula.”

Many South Koreans have been alarmed by Mr. Trump’s repeated questioning of the value of keeping 28,500 American troops in South Korea. He has demanded that South Korea contribute vastly more to the cost of the United States military presence there, and he has suspended major joint military exercises with the South, calling them too expensive.

A September survey of 1,002 South Korean adults by Korea Gallup found 59 percent of the respondents favoring Mr. Biden as the next American leader, compared with 16 percent who preferred Mr. Trump.

Voters lining up in Minneapolis on Tuesday.
Credit…Jim Mone/Associated Press

A federal appeals court ruled on Thursday that Minnesota election officials must segregate any ballots that arrive after 8 p.m. on Election Day, reversing the state’s seven-day grace period that had been in place for ballots postmarked by Election Day.

The ruling, which comes just five days before Election Day, could have a significant impact on voting in the state if any late arriving ballots are eventually not counted. As of Thursday night an estimated 578,000 absentee ballots that had been requested in the state had not been returned, based on figures from the U.S. Elections Project. Many of those ballots could already be in the mail, and voters can still return those ballots in person.

In a 2-to-1 ruling, the court said that the Minnesota secretary of state “extended the deadline for receipt of ballots without legislative authorization” and therefore the ballot extension did not have the proper legal authority.

“The consequences of this order are not lost on us,” the court wrote in an unsigned opinion. “We acknowledge and understand the concerns over voter confusion, election administration issues, and public confidence in the election.”

But, the court said, “we conclude the challenges that will stem from this ruling are preferable to a postelection scenario where mail-in votes, received after the statutory deadline, are either intermingled with ballots received on time or invalidated without prior warning. Better to put those voters on notice now while they still have at least some time to adjust their plans and cast their votes in an unquestionably lawful way.”

Judge Jane L. Kelly, in a dissenting opinion, said that the decision “will cause voter confusion and undermine Minnesotans’ confidence in the election process.” She said it also risks disenfranchising voters in Minnesota.

Elections officials in the state have been instructing voters who had not mailed their ballots by Oct. 27 to return them by drop box or to vote in person. But the decision still puts the fate of an unknown number of ballots at risk.

The court instructed elections officials to segregate and maintain all ballots that arrive after the 8 p.m. deadline.

Democrats in Minnesota decried the decision.

“In the middle of a pandemic, the Republican Party is doing everything to make it hard for you to vote,” Senator Amy Klobuchar, the senior senator from Minnesota and a Democrat, said on Twitter. “Stand up for YOUR rights: Vote in-person or take mail-in ballot directly to ballot box”

Judge Brent D. Shore in 2000, when he was chairman of the canvassing board of Duval County, Fla. Now the acting chairman, he resigned after it became known he was a Trump campaign contributor.
Credit…Ting-Li Wang/The New York Times

A judge in Florida resigned on Thursday as the acting chairman of the Duval County canvassing board — the panel charged with inspecting and tabulating mail-in ballots — amid criticism that he had made political donations to President Trump and displayed his campaign signs at his home.

The resignation of Brent D. Shore, a county judge who is a Republican, was confirmed by the county’s supervisor of elections, Mike Hogan, in an email to The New York Times. Mr. Hogan also serves on the board, which is made up of three members, one of whom must be a county judge, and two alternates.

Judge Shore was one of the alternates and had been filling in as the chairman of the panel, which has come under intense scrutiny in this year of record numbers of mail-in ballots. It was not the first time that the panel was in the glare of publicity. Twenty years ago, in 2000, the race between George W. Bush and Al Gore came down to Florida.

The judge presided as the board’s chairman then, when many Black voters in the county complained that their ballots had not been counted. This time, Judge Shore faced criticism for restricting photography and video recordings of the board’s counting and checking signatures on mail-in ballots. Efforts to reach the judge were not immediately successful.

Duval County, which includes Jacksonville, Florida’s largest city, could play a significant role in which presidential candidate wins this battleground state and its 29 electoral votes. Mr. Trump won the county by fewer than 6,000 votes in 2016.

Judge Shore had made at least six small-dollar contributions to Mr. Trump’s campaign this year totaling less than $200, federal campaign finance records show. This year, he has also contributed nine times to WinRed, a fund-raising platform created by the Republican National Committee, for a total of less than $200.

His resignation was first reported by The Florida Times-Union, which published photos of Trump campaign signs and stickers in the judge’s yard.

Under Florida’s Code of Judicial Conduct, judges are barred from contributing to candidates or political organizations.

A spokesman for the Florida Division of Elections did not immediately respond to a request for comment on Thursday but told The Times-Union that “displaying a candidate’s campaign signs” would disqualify someone from serving on a canvassing board.

Leave a Reply