At the Lehigh County Government Center on Monday, we got an up-close look at the fight for every last vote playing out at absentee ballot counting facilities across Pennsylvania.
Soon after ballot counting began, the first “naked ballot” — a mail-in ballot that was not placed in its mandatory secrecy sleeve by the voter — was discovered by a poll worker. Throughout the day, Lehigh’s county clerk, Timothy Benyo, read the numbers of each naked ballot to legal volunteers from both parties, who then reported them to their party offices.
The issue of which ballots are processed could determine who wins Pennsylvania. Stephen W. Zakos and Drummond B. Taylor, serving as legal volunteers for the Democratic Party, said they fed the numbers to a “chase team” that tried to get voters to come down and cure their defective ballots — i.e. place them in secrecy envelopes — before the polls closed at 8 p.m.
But Ed White, a legal volunteer for the Republican Party, argued that the naked ballots were not eligible to be cured, since the State Supreme Court ruled in September that they should be disqualified.
Reid Epstein in Madison, Wis.
So far Biden is outperforming Clinton’s numbers in Houston and Dallas, but if he is to win the state he probably needs to exceed 2016 by more than he is doing right now.
See Texas results
Annie Karni in Washington
Democrats are stunned to see the Texas suburb of Williamson County go blue in a presidential election. Beto O’Rourke flipped it in his losing challenge to Senator Ted Cruz.
See Texas results
Reid Epstein in Madison, Wis.
Georgia’s Cobb County has counted about a third of its votes so far — if Biden’s lead comes close to holding, it will cement the suburban shift away from Republicans.
See Georgia results
BANGOR, Maine — With coronavirus cases spiking across the country, watch parties in states with two of the night’s most closely watched Senate seats looked a little different.
At an event for Senator Susan Collins of Maine, a Republican incumbent facing the toughest race of her career, staff members decked out a hotel ballroom with campaign signs, and leaned individual letters spelling S-U-S-A-N in a patriotic font. “Uptown Girl” by Billy Joel blared in the background as a few campaign workers and confidants milled around in a private room, waiting for results to come in.
Ms. Collins’s Democratic opponent, Sara Gideon, was hosting her own modest affair in a Portland hotel. The race, which is rated a tossup by most political handicappers, could be decided in the coming days by ranked-choice voting, which allows voters to indicate a second choice in the event that no candidate attains 50 percent of the vote and their first preference is eliminated.
In Iowa, Senator Joni Ernst, a Republican, and her Democratic challenger, Theresa Greenfield, are holding election night press events at hotels around the block from each other in Des Moines.
The alcohol has arrived at Ms. Ernst’s event, and some attendees were beginning to arrive in “Make America Great Again” face masks. Both parties featured American flags, and in the case of Ms. Ernst, a screen playing cable news.
Jeremy Peters in Birmingham, Mich.
We should have more results out of Michigan soon. Detroit’s early-vote counting is moving along. So far Oakland County is the only one to report much (and it’s not a lot).
See Michigan results
Astead Herndon in Milwaukee
If there’s a good sign for Biden, he’s outperformed Clinton in Florida outside of Miami-Dade. He needs the swing to Trump to be localized to Cuban-Americans in South Florida.
See Florida results
Annie Karni in Washington
Trump campaign officials are excited that they appear to be over-performing with Hispanic voters in Florida, compared to 2016.
See Florida results
Michael Cooper in New York
The other swing-state data coming in: On Election Day, Pennsylvania, Ohio and Minnesota all set records for the most new coronavirus cases they’ve reported in a single day.
Senator Mitch McConnell, the Kentucky Republican and majority leader known for his take-no-prisoners tactics, was elected to a seventh term Tuesday, defeating Amy McGrath, a Democrat who struggled to gain ground despite an outpouring of financial support from her party’s supporters around the nation.
Mr. McConnell campaigned back home on how he had used his position as one of the most powerful figures in Washington to deliver benefits for Kentucky — a consistent theme over his decades in the Senate — and portrayed Ms. McGrath as too liberal and inexperienced for the conservative state.
“I give Kentucky the opportunity to punch above its weight and bring home big wins we would not otherwise get if we had a rookie senator,” Mr. McConnell said in a statement in the closing days of his campaign, noting that he had “steered” more than $17 billion to Kentucky projects since his last election.
His victory, as called by The Associated Press, came as Mr. McConnell fought to keep the title of majority leader, which has been under threat as Democrats push to claim control of the Senate in competitive races around the country.
Ms. McGrath, a former Marine combat pilot, assailed Mr. McConnell for focusing on exerting his power in Washington, arguing that it came at the expense of taking care of Kentuckians, and for failing to deliver a pandemic relief package before Congress left for the election.
Despite raising more than $80 million, Ms. McGrath, who lost a House election bid in 2018, trailed Mr. McConnell in polls throughout the race. Some Democrats said they believed that Charles Booker, an African-American state legislator from Louisville who lost the primary to Ms. McGrath, would have made a stronger challenger, but defeating the majority leader in a year with President Trump on the ballot was always going to be difficult.
WEST ALLIS, Wis. — As she stepped outside to help a voter with curbside voting, Linda Gesbeck, the chief election inspector for a polling site at Nathan Hale High School, in West Allis, Wis., glanced at the line of voters stretching from the school to far as she could see.
At least 200 people were waiting outside the front doors, with more cars pulling up every few moments.
“I’ve never seen anything like this — it’s been like this all day,” said Ms. Gesbeck. As of about 3:30 p.m., more than 1,200 people had voted, she said. “I’ve seen elections where we’ve had only 58 people vote — I like this better.”
Polls in Wisconsin close at 8 p.m.
Tom Dobernig, 59, said he’d waited an hour and a half. A retired firefighter who now works at Home Depot, Mr. Dobernig, who is white, said he’d been a lifelong Democrat and had voted enthusiastically for Barack Obama, but now felt the party had changed and become too accepting of violence and crime. This time he voted for President Trump, he said.
“I would never vote for Joe Biden for anything,” he said.
West Allis is a large industrial suburb that blends into Milwaukee, and in its heyday after World War II, it was home to numerous factories and foundries. The city, long known for its melting pot of immigrants, enjoyed plenty of labor union members, who typically voted for Democrats.
“So did police and firefighters,” said Mr. Dobernig, adding, “I’m not so sure of that anymore.”
Donald Trump visited West Allis for a campaign rally in April 2016, and drew loud applause when he promised to punish Carrier Corp., a local air-conditioning factory, for moving jobs to Mexico.
One man, 55, who works in maintenance and who would not give his full name, said he believed in Mr. Trump’s hard-nosed tactics. “He’s increased jobs — he’s not a people person, but he’s definitely a businessman.”
Apollo Jackson, 26, who is Black, said he had voted for Joseph R. Biden, citing increasing racism in the area. “When I’m shopping, nobody looks like me, but all eyes are on me,” said Mr. Jackson. “I’m voting because I want my voice to be heard.”
Luke Broadwater in Des Moines
The Postal Service said in an afternoon filing it had delivered every delayed ballot from the Miami-Dade facility, where backed-up mail caused much concern over the weekend.
See Florida results
MINNEAPOLIS — As expected, most Black voters on the North Side of Minneapolis said they were voting for Joseph R. Biden Jr. But if he wins, they won’t simply cheer for him. They will expect him to bring change to their communities.
“Democrats face that anyway — all the years of promise, then once they take office things kind of slow down,” said Josup Moore, a 41-year-old entrepreneur who is Black and voted for Mr. Biden. “My concern is that maybe he just doesn’t dig deep enough after what took place.”
With anguish from the police killing of George Floyd still fresh in their minds, some Black residents said the next president needed to take urgent and aggressive steps to eradicate racial injustices. Some said that President Trump only made things worse for Black people, but that Mr. Biden would have to prove he had what it took to make things right.
“I don’t think Trump cares about it,” Jerome Shannon, who is 42 and Black, said of police brutality. “Maybe Biden will try to do something about it or at least speak on it. I think he’s going to at least try to get something done to where both sides are happy.”
The electoral fate of Mr. Biden in Minnesota, which has gone Democratic in every presidential race since 1976, rests on voters like Mr. Moore and Mr. Shannon. Four years ago, President Trump was able to make the state more competitive than it had been in decades, thanks in large part to massive victories in rural areas. The Democratic path to victory means running up massive margins in the Twin Cities, the most populous part of the state.
Stephanie Saul in Atlanta
The early exit polling data from Georgia suggests that Trump managed to bring around 10 percent of Black voters into his column.
See Georgia results
Elaina Plott in Columbus, Ohio
With the early vote in, Biden has a lead over Trump in Ohio’s Delaware County, a G.O.P. stronghold. Delaware County is heavily suburban, and no Democrat has won it since 1916.
See Ohio results
Lisa Lerer in Orlando, Fla.
It may not hold, but seeing a Democrat up early in Texas is kind of shocking. Whether Biden wins or not, that state is changing fast — largely because of the shifting suburbs.
See Texas results
Astead Herndon in Milwaukee
Biden is getting the margins statewide that his campaign hoped for in Florida. It’s that very bad Miami-Dade County return that has swung the state toward Trump.
See Florida results
Trip Gabriel in Butler County, Pa.
Pause for a moment to consider that Virginia was called for Biden less than an hour after polls closed. It was a swing state not long ago, won by George W. Bush in 2004.
See Virginia results
Luke Broadwater in Des Moines
Democratic donors spent more than $100 million opposing Senator Mitch McConnell of Kentucky, and he wins in one of the quickest-called races of the night.
See Kentucky results
The polls in 21 states and the District of Columbia are now closed. The final polls have closed in Florida, as have all or most polls in three other important swing states: Michigan, Pennsylvania and Texas.
Polls also closed in Alabama and Maine, which have competitive Senate races. In Alabama, Senator Doug Jones, a Democrat, faces an uphill battle against Tommy Tuberville, a Republican. And in Maine, Sara Gideon, a Democrat, is trying to unseat Senator Susan Collins, a Republican.
Alicia Parlapiano in Washington
Officials in Pennsylvania and Michigan say that counting mail ballots — and therefore most results — could take until Nov. 6.
Hiroko Masuike/The New York Times
Stephanie Keith for The New York Times
Juan Arredondo for The New York Times
Benjamin Norman for The New York Times
Desiree Rios for The New York Times
From a march to the polls in Brooklyn to voting booths lining a gymnasium in Queens, here’s a look at Election Day as experienced in all five boroughs.
MIAMI — Joseph R. Biden Jr.’s campaign never expected to do as well in Miami-Dade County, Fla., as Hillary Clinton, who won the county by about 30 percentage points in 2016.
But Democrats certainly did not expect early results having Mr. Biden ahead of President Trump by only about 9 percentage points, a stunningly narrow margin for a Democrat in the liberal county.
Miami-Dade is the most populous county in Florida, and the favorable early result for Mr. Trump could be insurmountable for Mr. Biden, even if he does better in the rest of the state, as early results suggest. Mr. Trump is already running some 120,000 votes ahead of his Miami-Dade totals in 2016, when he won Florida by less than 113,000 votes.
The huge Republican turnout in the county also boosts the two challengers in the 26th and 27th congressional districts, which flipped to Democrats in 2016.
Mr. Trump made repeated trips to the Miami area during his presidency, promoting a hard-line policy toward Cuba and Venezuela. Republicans made big inroads with newer Cuban-American voters, who have paraded for weeks in caravans across town.
Election Day at Dodger Stadium had a gameday feel. Voters — many of them fans of the new World Series champions — cast their ballots in the upper deck, while in the parking lot a mariachi band welcomed Californians of all ages. Many of the visitors dressed in Dodger blue T-shirts and hats, and celebrated the opportunity to vote at the home of their favorite team.
“This is the fourth time I’ve voted for the president and it’s a new experience,” said Misael Herrera, 37, who had come from La Puente, just east of downtown Los Angeles. “I’ve always had to go to a community center that’s only a couple miles from my house.”
Steve Villeda of Inglewood said his decision to make Dodger Stadium his polling place was in part the result of the way the coronavirus had kept fans from visiting the stadium this season. “I’m a big-time Dodger fan,” he said. “The reason why I came here was to vote, and also because I missed the stadium.”
Carlie Hanson, a 20-year-old from Wisconsin who now lives in Van Nuys, passed out pizza and water bottles to voters with three of her friends. All of them said they were voting in their first presidential election.
Byron Donalds, a member of the Florida state legislature, won the state’s 19th Congressional District, ensuring that there will be at least one Black Republican in the House after Representative Will Hurd, Republican of Texas, retires at the end of the year.
After the 2018 midterm elections brought in a wave of historic Democratic candidates, House Republicans sought to improve the diversity of their party ranks. But Mr. Hurd’s announcement that he would retire was a blow to the party, leaving the conference without a sole Black member.
Mr. Donalds easily won the 19th district with close to 60 percent of the vote by 7:45 p.m. on Tuesday. He will replace Representative Francis Rooney, a former ambassador to the Holy See and one of several Republicans who will retire at the end of the year.
Representative Tom Emmer of Minnesota, the chairman of the House Republican campaign arm, applauded Mr. Donalds as “a conservative leader who will never stop fighting for Floridians and their values.”
A burst pipe at an N.B.A. arena where workers have been counting absentee ballots in Georgia’s most populous county has delayed the tally there by at least four hours, officials said.
The pipe burst at State Farm Arena in Fulton County, home of the Atlanta Hawks and an early voting location, where workers have been counting absentee ballots, elections officials said.
The officials confirmed that no ballots had been damaged by the leaking water. About 86,000 absentee ballots had been processed out of a total of about 130,500, officials said.
“We will be reporting results from early voting, Election Day and absentee ballots counted up until today,” Jessica Corbitt, a county spokeswoman, said in an email. “There are still absentee ballots to be counted.”
Fulton County, home to Atlanta, and more than one million people, is considered a critical battleground for Democrats hoping to flip Georgia, a traditionally red state, and win two Senate seats that could determine control of the chamber.
President Trump won Georgia by five points in 2016, but polls have shown him in a close race with Joseph R. Biden Jr. in the state, which has undergone a political transformation fueled by growing diversity, young voters, suburban women alienated by Mr. Trump and minorities energized by Stacey Abrams’s 2018 bid to become the country’s first Black female governor.
Georgia, which last voted for a Democrat for president in 1992, represents a significant prize, with 16 electoral votes.
Just past a grain elevator on the way to Louisburg, Kan., Trump 2020 signs adorn long driveways, and giant Trump banners flap from pickup trucks whizzing by.
The roughly 4,500 people who live in Louisburg, a rural city 40 miles south of Kansas City, have one polling place, the Louisburg United Methodist Church.
A man in a gray “God, Guns and Trump” T-shirt headed to the line to vote, which was spilling toward the highway. Available parking was overflowing into an adjacent field.
About half the voters in line were wearing face coverings, which are optional in Miami County, Kan.
Melissa Wheeler had a mask on. As a special-education teacher, she said, she was mostly interested in a bond issue that would bring school improvements. But she said she was also concerned about the effect of the behavior children witnessed this year.
“I worry about how adults behave will influence future voters,” she said.
Greg Rohrer, who supports President Trump, said he wanted to keep the economy and stock market exactly the same and credits Mr. Trump with the prosperity. Mr. Rohrer works in construction and said his work hadn’t slowed at all during the pandemic.
“He is going to get re-elected,” he said.
Jan Vohs said she was anxious about results and would be watching on television.
“I want everything to stay the same, especially who is in the White House,” she said.
Ms. Vohs said she believed Democrats were not being honest about who they were voting for.
“They say they are voting for Biden, but they are really voting for Harris,” she said.
Lexi Dechant, 19, traveled from the main campus of the University of Kansas, in nearby Lawrence, to vote in her first presidential election.
“Obviously it was a good experience, but there was a lot of negativity around the campaign,” she said. “But I am glad I did and grateful that I have the opportunity.”
As the first results are reported, The Times is offering live estimates of three battleground states. The chart, known as “the needle,” analyzes incomplete results to show who is on track to win an election.
See the election needles here, and read about how they work and what to expect.
DONNA, Texas — The small town of Donna, Texas, about 10 miles north of the state’s border with Mexico, has long been a Democratic stronghold. But voters and volunteers who were electioneering outside the community’s busiest polling place at an elementary school on Tuesday evening said they were more energized than ever because President Trump’s attacks against immigrants had felt personal.
Connie Castro, a slight, 79-year-old retired school cafeteria worker wearing a Biden-Harris mask, said she had been pulling 12-hour shifts as a volunteer directing traffic outside the polling site because she could not bear to stay home.
“This is the mother of all elections,” she said. Ms. Castro said that Mr. Trump’s often-insulting comments about migrants had reminded her of some of the treatment she had faced as a child, when she moved with her parents and eight siblings to work the fields in more than a dozen states, picking sugar beets in Montana and tomatoes in Ohio. When the family moved to pick cotton in North Texas, she said, they faced the worst of the discrimination.
On the rare occasions when her parents had enough money to go to a restaurant, she said, the experience was often ruined as soon as they walked in the door, when she recalled the proprietor might declare, “No Mexicans allowed.” For a time, she was the only person in her family who spoke English, which meant she had to translate some of the disdain that her family faced for her parents.
In Mr. Trump’s rhetoric, she said, she has heard echoes of those comments. “You never forget those experiences,” she said. “Never.” She became tearful talking about the separations of migrant families that occurred during Mr. Trump’s presidency, and said the most painful moment for her was the image of a little girl crying at the feet of a border agent that went viral on the internet and became a cover of Time magazine.
“It tore my heart apart,” Ms. Castro said, wiping away tears. She said it was in thinking of that child that she began to look forward to Election Day and doing whatever she could to help vote Mr. Trump out of office. “I thought, I will do it for you, mija,” she said, referring to that child and using the Spanish word for “my daughter.”
COLUMBIA, S.C. — Polls closed at 7 p.m. in South Carolina, which this year is an unexpected battleground state in the fight for control of the Senate as the Democrat Jaime Harrison seeks to keep Senator Lindsey Graham, the chairman of the Senate Judiciary Committee, from winning a fourth term.
Mr. Harrison’s campaign began as an unlikely long shot in a reliably red state, but his campaign sought to transcend party lines, and — fueled by a bitter Supreme Court nomination fight — it captured broader interest than many in the state expected. National support from Democrats helped the campaign shatter fund-raising records and helped Mr. Harrison dominate the state’s airwaves.
“This is a guy that we used to respect,” Mr. Harrison said of his opponent Tuesday. “This is not the same Lindsey Graham. This is a Lindsey Graham that only talks about Democrats and Republicans or progressives and conservatives, and I talk about South Carolinians and Americans.”
Mr. Graham and his allies have sought to portray Mr. Harrison as a radical-liberal protégé of Senator Chuck Schumer, the minority leader, and House Speaker Nancy Pelosi.
“His problem is an issues problem,” Drew McKissick, the chairman of South Carolina’s Republican Party, said of Mr. Harrison. “This is a conservative state. Republicans outnumber Democrats. Conservatives outnumber liberals.”
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