2020 election
December 14, 2020

The Electoral College will vote Monday, formalizing President-elect Joe Biden's win in the Nov. 3 election. The electors will meet in their respective state capitals and Washington, D.C., to cast paper ballots. (Nevada electors are meeting virtually this year.) Biden will likely receive his full 306 electoral votes and President Trump will get 232. The process is typically a largely ceremonial formality, but it is getting increased attention this year because Trump has not conceded, claiming falsely that massive fraud cost him the election. Biden plans to address the nation Monday night on "the Electoral College vote certification and the strength and resilience of our democracy."

After the electors vote, their ballots will be delivered to the president of the Senate by Dec. 23, though there is no penalty if a state misses that deadline. Congress will meet in a special joint session on Jan. 6 to count the electoral votes. Vice President Mike Pence will preside over the count, making him the eighth U.S. vice president charged with announcing that the ticket he ran on lost the election. The last vice president put in that awkward position was Al Gore in 2001.

Biden defeated Trump by more than 7 million votes and 4.5 percentage points, but under the Electoral College system, the winner of the popular vote does not always win the presidency. Gore narrowly won the popular vote and lost the Electoral College, while Trump lost the popular vote by nearly 3 million ballots in 2016 but still won the election. Peter Weber

November 7, 2020

Hillary Clinton, who lost the election to President Trump in 2016, celebrated the victory of former Vice President Joe Biden and his running mate, Kamala Harris, in a tweet on Saturday morning:

Around the world, other leaders also chimed in. "Congratulations, @JoeBiden and @KamalaHarris," tweeted Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau. "Our two countries are close friends, partners, and allies. We share a relationship that’s unique on the world stage. I'm really looking forward to working together and building on that with you both." Irish premiere Michael Martin added, "I want to congratulate the new President Elect of the USA Joe Biden. Joe Biden has been a true friend of this nation throughout his life and I look forward to working with him in the years ahead."

Anne Hidalgo, the mayor of Paris, kept it simple: "Welcome back, America!" she wrote. Jeva Lange

November 5, 2020

President Trump's team may want to revise their search for a "James Baker-like" figure to lead his legal war.

As absentee votes have been counted over the past few days, Trump's re-election chances have turned narrower and narrower, leading his campaign to mount legal fights to stop the count of votes in several swing states. Trump's team was also reportedly looking for someone like Baker, who led former President George W. Bush's successful 2000 presidential election recount in Florida, to lead that effort. But the actual Baker says Trump's current approach is all wrong.

While Trump's campaign may have some legitimate legal concerns with the nationwide count, calling for a full stop of the count isn't the way to handle them, Baker told The New York Times. "We never said don't count the votes," Baker explained of his 2000 effort versus Trump's. "That's a very hard decision to defend in a democracy."

Baker went on to outline the "huge differences" between Bush's Florida fight and what's ahead for Trump. "For one thing, our whole argument was that the votes have been counted" over and over again "and it's time to end the process," Baker said. That's not what he heard from Trump, Baker added. He particularly had a problem with Trump's team trying to throw out drive-through votes cast in his hometown of Houston, even though Baker said he did personally vote for Trump. Kathryn Krawczyk

November 5, 2020

The Trump campaign is continuing to lose its legal campaigns around the country.

Thursday afternoon marked the end of Republicans' challenge to mail-in votes in Montgomery County outside Philadelphia, where the GOP wanted to invalidate absentee ballots that were "cured" after they were submitted. And in the already-called Michigan, a judge threw out another Trump campaign complaint looking for more oversight over the ballot count there.

In Pennsylvania and much of the country, people who submit ballots early are allowed to fix, or "cure," their ballot if an elections official finds a problem with it — a missing signature or an unsealed envelope, for instance. Republicans filed a lawsuit Wednesday challenging the legitimacy of those fixed ballots, arguing Pennsylvania's Supreme Court had already decided those ballots can't be counted. But U.S. District Court Judge Timothy Savage was clearly skeptical in a Wednesday hearing, Politico reports.

The Montgomery County case was especially consequential given that it's a heavily Democratic area where votes could tip the whole state of Pennsylvania — and thus the whole presidential race — into Democratic nominee Biden's favor. But the GOP withdrew its case Thursday afternoon in one of several losses to its legal challenges around the country, with no cured ballots coming down with it.

Michigan meanwhile already went in Biden's favor Wednesday night, but the Trump campaign still launched a lawsuit to challenge the count of ballots in the battleground state. Trump's team demanded Secretary of State Jocelyn Benson allow poll watchers to view ballot counting and hand over video of ballot drop boxes around the state. But a Michigan judge determined Thursday that Benson had already allowed "meaningful access" for poll watchers, and that there was no legal basis for the surveillance, the Detroit Free Press reports. Kathryn Krawczyk

November 5, 2020

A judge has quickly dismissed at least one of the Trump campaign's attempts to stop vote counting in still-uncalled states.

President Trump's campaign and Georgia's GOP filed a petition Wednesday challenging vote counts in Savannah's Chatham County, alleging some absentee ballots that arrived too late were being counted. Chatham County Superior Court Judge James F. Bass quickly threw out the petition and the campaign's request to stop the count Thursday morning as Georgia continues to work out its close presidential race, the Atlanta Journal-Constitution reports.

Republican election watchers testified Wednesday that they'd seen Chatham County officials counting a stack of 53 ballots they claimed came in after 7 p.m. Election Day, the cutoff for ballots to arrive in the state. But the Republicans showed no proof those ballots actually came in late, leading Bass to invalidate their request. Chatham County still has 17,000 absentee ballots left to count as of Thursday morning, of about 60,000 still uncounted throughout the state; Trump will have to win an estimated one-third of them to hold his lead and capture Georgia.

Meanwhile the Trump campaign filed a lawsuit in Nevada on Thursday challenging the legality of absentee ballots there. The campaign and Nevada's Republican Party contend about 10,000 people voted in the state even though they don't live there, writes The Nevada Independent. Nevada did mail ballots to voters out of state, including overseas and military voters and students at distant colleges.

Trump's campaign is also waging lawsuits in Pennsylvania and Michigan challenging the legality of votes there. Vote counting in Philadelphia briefly paused Thursday morning, but resumed after the Trump campaign agreed to a compromise on where they could stand to watch the vote tally. Kathryn Krawczyk

November 5, 2020

While Democratic nominee Joe Biden is poised for 2020 victory, President Trump can still turn it around.

Alaska, Georgia, Nevada, North Carolina, and Pennsylvania have yet to report enough votes to discern a winner. Arizona remains contested as well, though Fox News and The Associated Press have projected it to go to Biden. Just a win in Pennsylvania or any combination of two of the other states, save Alaska, would be enough to push Biden over the edge.

Pennsylvania is mandatory

When to expect it: Officials say they believe they'll have most votes counted by Friday

Trump needs to win Pennsylvania if he wants to be re-elected. As of Thursday morning, he's leading the count with 50.4 percent of the vote to Biden's 48.3 percent with 91 percent of votes reported. But the counties with the most votes yet to be counted — those surrounding Pittsburgh and Philadelphia — lean Democratic, as do the absentee votes that are taking longer to count than in-person votes. If the pattern of returns we've seen so far holds, Biden will end up with 50.3 percent of the vote to Trump's 48.5, The New York Times estimates.

Alaska and North Carolina

When to expect it: North Carolina won't finalize results until Nov. 12

With Pennsylvania giving Trump 20 electoral votes, he'll arrive at 234, and likely bring in another three from Alaska, bringing him to 237. Trump's next most likely win would come from North Carolina, where he has 50.1 percent of the vote to Biden's 48.7 percent with 95 percent of votes reported. North Carolina's 15 electoral votes would put Trump at 252, and the Times puts him at an 86 percent chance of winning the state. Problematic for Trump is that most of the counties with the most votes left to report — Orange, Forsyth, Cumberland, and Buncombe — lean heavily in Biden's favor.

Turning the tide in Georgia

When to expect it: Absentee ballot counting will continue through Thursday, and perhaps late into the evening, officials say

Trump also has a chance of retaining the traditionally red state of Georgia and its 16 electoral votes; His total would then be 268. Trump will need to win an estimated one-third of the votes still outstanding to hold his tiny 15,000-vote, .3 percent lead there, the Times says. That means Atlanta's suburbs would need to massively shift in the president's favor, as they hold most of the state's uncounted votes but have overwhelmingly voted for Biden so far.

Nevada or Arizona Finish it Off

When to expect it: More Nevada results came in starting at noon Thursday, and will continue to be counted slowly over the next week

Arizona or Nevada would then be enough to put Trump over the edge, but both states look tough for the president. He may have a slightly better shot in Nevada, as Arizona already leans Biden enough that Fox News and the Associated Press called it for him, but Trump will need to perform better than he has so far as votes continue to be counted in Las Vegas' Clark County, where Biden has an eight-point margin with 82 percent of votes counted so far. Analysts say early updates on Thursday make it more likely the state goes to Biden.

If Trump loses Nevada, he'll need to bring in about 60 percent of Arizona's outstanding vote to win the presidency. Kathryn Krawczyk

November 5, 2020

Puerto Rico has once again voted to become a state. What happens next is up to Congress.

With 95 percent of the island's vote in, 52 percent of Puerto Rico's voters said they'd like to be admitted to the U.S. as a state, while 48 percent disagreed. But with Republicans likely retaining control of the Senate, the non-binding referendum likely won't make it to shore.

Puerto Rico has voted twice before in the past decade to become a statehood, though 2017's vote had a miniscule 23 percent turnout because opposers boycotted the vote. Just over half of voters showed up this year to vote on statehood and the island's next governor; A pro-statehood candidate has a narrow lead as votes are still being counted.

The statehood vote will now be up for Congress to act upon. But Republicans are poised to keep control of the Senate and don't support what they see as the likely creation of two new Democratic Senate seats. Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.) explicitly warned Democrats would grant Puerto Rico and Washington, D.C., statehood when campaigning this fall, even though the Republican National Committee's platform has supported Puerto Rican statehood in the past. Kathryn Krawczyk

November 4, 2020

Sen. Gary Peters (D-Mich.) will narrowly retain his seat, NBC News and Politico project.

With 98 percent of the vote reporting, Peters beat Republican John James by about 60,000 votes — a 49.6 percent margin to James' 48.5 percent. Peters' projected victory comes after Democratic presidential nominee Joe Biden was projected to win Michigan as well.

President Trump won Michigan in 2016, but Sen. Debbie Stabenow (D-Mich.) defeated James in 2018. A loss for Peters would've negated the second of Democrats' two flipped seats in the Senate. Kathryn Krawczyk

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