Nov. 7, 2020, 11:23 p.m. ET
Nov. 7, 2020, 11:23 p.m. ET
Recognition…Ruth Fremson / The New York Times
As the 2020 election count continues, many of the most watched states that could decide the presidential race still have stacks of tentative ballot papers that have yet to be rated.
Temporary ballots (also known as "affidavits" in some states) are used when a person cannot be confirmed as eligible to vote at a particular polling station. In some cases, they are used because a registered voter came to the wrong district. They are also sometimes used when a person's information does not match the information on voter registration lists, or when a voter does not provide a locally required form of identification.
Some states also require the use of a tentative ballot when a voter who requested a postal or postal vote appears in person to vote – a group that may be larger this year due to the coronavirus pandemic.
Preliminary ballot papers require additional work on the part of electoral officials to ensure that they are eligible to count, so counting usually takes longer. Provisional ballots typically make up a relatively small percentage of the votes cast in a given election, and outlets have historically held races without waiting for them to be counted.
Given the tight races in a number of states, this year election analysts are taking a closer look at the number of tentative ballots remaining in key states.
Officials in Pennsylvania, where fewer than 30,000 votes currently separate President Trump and Joe Biden, said they could have nearly 100,000 such ballots. In Nevada, where the margin is 22,000, the state's most populous county announced on Friday that it had more than 60,000 preliminary ballots to process.
Nov. 7, 2020, 11:08 am ET
Nov. 7, 2020, 11:08 am ET
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In the six states where the New York Times has not yet scheduled the presidential race, all eyes and headlines are on the elections.
Biden is getting closer and closer to victory. He now leads in states with more than 300 votes. Why wasn't the race for president not declared?
Recognition…Anne Raup / Anchorage Daily News, via Associated Press
As of Saturday morning, only 56 percent of Alaska's voters' ballots had been counted, less than any other state.
There's no question who will get the state's three electoral votes – President Trump leads and the state has voted for a Republican in every presidential election since 1964 – but its slow count has linked Alaska to the five states that have close races have stopped most news outlets from projecting a winner (Pennsylvania, Georgia, Arizona, Nevada, and North Carolina).
Two factors appear to be responsible for the slow count: the state's late deadline for postal ballot papers, and a process to ensure voters do not vote twice.
In Alaska, postal ballot papers can arrive for most voters up to 10 days after election day, provided they are postmarked by election day.
Election officials will also have to wait for paper voter history records to be sent out of the districts to ensure no one votes twice. Only then can a district's ballot papers be opened and counted, Tiffany Montemayor, a spokeswoman for the state's electoral department, said in an email.
"This will take some time given the geographic extent of Alaska," she said.
Nov. 7, 2020, 9:17 am ET
Nov. 7, 2020, 9:17 am ET
Recognition…Eric Thayer for the New York Times
There was a subset of the political world that felt vindicated by the presidential race: Democrats who worked for Hillary Clinton. The proximity of the Biden-Trump race suggests that the 2016 election result may have had less to do with Ms. Clinton's political weaknesses than with Mr. Trump's political strengths.
In some states where Mr. Biden has managed to shoot, such as Wisconsin, his win was by a narrow margin of about 20,000 votes. Four years ago, Ms. Clinton lost the state by about 22,000. A possible victory with more than 300 votes would look like a breakout for Mr Biden, but it would also obscure the fact that in some of the most critical states the race was still only won by a hair.
Mr Biden has not received the broad margins that many liberals had hoped for. The silver lining for some former Clintonworld members, as they put it, the 2016 Democratic nominee couldn't go down in history as the political version of Bill Buckner who blew up the 1986 World Series for the Red Sox by hitting a ground ball let go through his legs.
"His electoral strength in 2016 had less to do with Hillary Clinton's shortcomings as a candidate or with her campaign than with Trump's own appeal to a broad section of the population," said Stuart Appelbaum, President of the Retail, Wholesale and Department Stores Union and a member of the Executive Committee of the DNC said of Mr. Trump. "We as Democrats have to understand that and do it more effectively in the future."
Philippe Reines, a former top advisor to Ms. Clinton in both the Senate and the State Department, was even more blunt. "Hillary owed more than a couple of excuses for evaluating her campaign," Reines said. Jennifer Palmieri, who served as communications director for the 2016 Clinton campaign, said the current election gave a new perspective to the race four years ago.
"There is only so much you can do to improve the larger armed forces," said Ms. Palmieri. "When I see young Latino and African Americans advocating for Trump in ways they didn't do in 2016, I can't fault the Biden campaign's African American radio program." It's a symptom of a major change. "
Michael D. Shear in Washington
Trump tweeted more unsubstantiated allegations of electoral irregularities on Saturday morning, focusing his anger on Pennsylvania, where a loss would seal his fate as a year-old president.
Recognition…Erin Schaff / The New York Times
On Saturday morning on the east coast, Joseph R. Biden Jr.'s leadership in Georgia had surpassed 7,000 votes, but the race there and in some other key states that could decide the next president remained inappropriate. In a short speech late on Friday evening, Mr Biden was confident that he would prevail.
With some but not all of the major counties planning to report the number of additional ballots on Saturday, there was an expectation that a winner could be announced soon. But when that could happen is still unclear.
Here things stand in the four key states where additional results could be achieved on Saturday.
Arizona: Maricopa County, which includes Phoenix, is expected to release its next report on Saturday at 11:00 p.m. Eastern. Officials there said that almost all of their early ballots would be counted by that time and only a smaller number of tentative and other ballots would be left. Mr Biden led President Trump with 29,861 votes early Saturday.
Georgia: The Foreign Minister said on Friday that a recount would be inevitable due to the close gap between the presidential candidates. Mr Biden slightly increased his lead to over 7,000 overnight, but a recount remains no less likely.
Nevada: The numbers continue to speak for Mr Biden, who is at the top with 22,657 votes. Clark County officials, where tens of thousands of ballot papers remain to be counted, plan to publish results twice a day in the future.
Pennsylvania: Mr Biden leads President Trump. The remaining postal ballots are expected to favor the Democrats, and some counties may report updated results on Saturday. Philadelphia officials said the census there could take a few more days.
Recognition…Eric Baradat / Agence France-Presse – Getty Images
As day 4 of the US elections turned to day 5 on Saturday, the race for the president seemed to slow down.
News anchor Don Lemon read text messages from his friends over the Georgia Count on CNN. Foreign newspapers wrote with a touch of annoyance about the unchanged nightly balance sheet. Boxes were behind fences on a livestream from Philadelphia's vote counting website and not a single person moved.
"New results from Georgia," the Guardian reported early Saturday, "and – they're basically saying the same thing."
Saturday morning could bring some crucial news: Pennsylvania could leave the recount area if the margin widened, and Arizona and Nevada should cast new votes. While Joseph R. Biden Jr. had taken the lead 24 hours earlier by guiding the nightly ballot papers in Georgia, the early morning hours of Saturday seemed comparatively quiet. Nothing changed and no one was quite sure when it would be.
"It feels like just a long day," said Mr. Lemon.
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WASHINGTON – Twitter on Saturday flagged all of President Trump's early morning tweets as controversial and potentially misleading after making unsubstantiated claims about election irregularities.
In a number of offices, Mr. Trump focused on Pennsylvania, where a loss of state would seal his fate as a year-old president. Mr Trump was around 28,000 votes behind former Vice President Joseph R. Biden Jr. when he tweeted.
Within an hour, Twitter had posted a warning label on all four tweets stating that the content of its allegations "may be misleading about an election or other civil litigation."
Twitter has become increasingly aggressive when it comes to reporting Mr. Trump's false statements, despite the fact that in the days since election day the president has been spreading false stories about "illegal ballots" and calling for local officials in several states to get ballots prematurely no longer count.