It’s Thursday, October 29, 2020. Election Day is five days away. Have questions, comments, or tips? Email me.
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The Supreme Court voted Wednesday to allow two key battleground states to continue receiving absentee ballots for several days after Election Day. Both decisions were rejections of Republican challenges to more lenient mail-in voting rules.
In Pennsylvania, the justices let stand a state Supreme Court ruling that set the deadline for election officials to receive absentee ballots for November 6, three days after Election Day.
In North Carolina, the justices sided with the U.S. Court of Appeals for the 4th Circuit in upholding the decision of the state elections board to allow absentee ballots to be accepted through November 12, nine days after Election Day.
Justices Samuel Alito, Clarence Thomas, and Neil Gorsuch objected in both cases. Justice Amy Coney Barrett, who took office on Tuesday, opted not to participate in either case. In both Pennsylvania and North Carolina, ballots must still be postmarked by Election Day in order for them to be counted.
Joe Biden held comfortable leads in a series of battleground state polls released in the past 24 hours. Here are the latest polls:
- Florida: Biden 51%, Trump 47% (NBC/Marist)
- FiveThirtyEight average: Biden 49%, Trump 47%
- Michigan: Biden 49%, Trump 41% (New York Times/Siena)
- FiveThirtyEight average: Biden 51%, Trump 43%
- Georgia: Biden 50%, Trump 45% (Monmouth)
- FiveThirtyEight average: Biden 48%, Trump 47%
- Wisconsin: Biden 48%, Trump 43% (Marquette Law School)
- FiveThirtyEight average: Biden 52%, Trump 43%
President Trump won all four of these states in 2016, by margins ranging from 0.23% (Michigan) to 5.1% (Georgia). Of the four, Florida is most critical to his re-election: without the state’s 29 electoral votes, he has almost no realistic path to 270 electoral votes.
Two prominent election forecasters declared the presidential race in Texas to be a “tossup.” Cook Political Report changed its rating in the state from “Lean Republican” to “Tossup,” while Inside Elections moved it from “Tilt Republican” to “Tossup.” Both ratings reflect a newfound competitiveness for a state that has voted for Republican presidential candidates in every cycle since 1980.
The RealClearPolitics polling average in Texas currently shows Trump leading by a slim margin, 48% to 45%. Democrats in the state have urged the Biden campaign to invest more resources there; vice presidential candidate Kamala Harris will be making a visit on Friday. The Lone Star State boasts 38 electoral votes; like Florida, a Democratic win there would effectively block Trump from any possible route to the White House.
Coronavirus cases are continuing to spike across the United States and Europe. “In the U.S., more than 71,000 people a day are testing positive on average, up from 51,000 two weeks ago,” according to the Associated Press. “Cases are on the rise in all but two states, Hawaii and Delaware, and deaths are climbing in 39 states, with an average of 805 people dying in the U.S. per day, up from 714 two weeks ago.”
France and Germany both announced new nationwide lockdowns on Wednesday. President Trump has continued to downplay the recent surge, promising that the U.S. is “rounding the corner” of the pandemic. Meanwhile, Dr. Anthony Fauci expressed support for a national mask mandate for the first time in a pair of interviews on Wednesday. Joe Biden, who pledged on Wednesday to “let science drive our decisions” if elected, has previously called for a mask mandate, although it is unclear if a president would have the authority to impose one.
Miles Taylor, the former chief of staff at the Department of Homeland Security, announced that he was the anonymous author of a book and op-ed blasting President Trump. The New York Times op-ed, in which the author declared himself to be part of “a quiet resistance within the administration,” sent shockwaves through Washington when it was published in September 2018. Taylor, who has been harshly critical of Trump in his own name since endorsing Biden in August, made the disclosure in a Medium post on Wednesday.
“This low-level, disgruntled former staffer is a liar and a coward who chose anonymity over action and leaking over leading,” White House press secretary Kayleigh McEnany said in response. “Never even heard of him,” President Trump wrote on Twitter, echoing many commentators who criticized the New York Times for labeling Taylor a “senior administration official” in the op-ed, even though he was just a policy adviser at DHS at the time.
All times Eastern.
President Donald Trump will hold campaign rallies in Tampa, Florida (1:30 pm), and Fayetteville, North Carolina (6:30 pm). He will also participate in a “troop engagement” in Fort Bragg, North Carolina (5:15 pm).
- Vice President Mike Pence will hold campaign rallies in Des Moines, Iowa (1:30 pm), and Reno, Nevada (5 pm).
- Second Lady Karen Pence will hold a campaign event in Edinboro, Pennsylvania (1:30 pm).
- Ivanka Trump will campaign in Pennsylvania, holding events in Blue Bell (12:30 pm) and Waymart (3:30 pm).
- Donald Trump Jr. will hold campaign events in Manchester, New Hampshire (3:30 pm), and Bangor, Maine (5:30 pm).
- Eric Trump will campaign in Michigan, holding an event in Lansing (2:30 pm) and an “Evangelicals for Trump” event in Grandville (6 pm).
- Tiffany Trump will hold a “Breakfast with Tiffany” event in Birmingham, Michigan (9 am), and a “MAGA Meet-Up” event in Holland, Ohio (1 pm).
- Lara Trump will participate in a “Women for Trump” bus tour, visiting a field office in Bolivia, North Carolina (4 pm).
Democratic presidential nominee Joe Biden will campaign in Florida, holding drive-in events in Broward County (1:30 pm) and Tampa (6:30 pm).
- Democratic vice presidential nominee Kamala Harris will participate in a virtual “Divine Nine mobilization event” to engage members of Black fraternities and sororities (5 pm), a virtual fundraiser, and a “Fighting for a Living Wage” rally hosted by Vermont Sen. Bernie Sanders (8 pm).
- Dr. Jill Biden will campaign in Michigan, holding canvass launches in Lansing (1:30 pm) and Westland (3:25 pm). She will also hold a virtual roundtable hosted by UNITE Here Florida, the hospitality workers’ union (10:30 am).
- Doug Emhoff will campaign in Ohio, holding an “early vote rally” in Columbus (1:30 pm) and a drive-in “GOTV rally” in Akron (3:35 pm).
Green Party presidential nominee Howie Hawkins will hold a virtual meet and greet with supporters in Steuben County, New York (3 pm).
All times Eastern.
The Senate is not in session.
The House is not in session.
- House Speaker Nancy Pelosi will hold her weekly press conference (10:45 am).
The Supreme Court is not in session.
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