Election Day 2020: Highlights from across the country

2020 Election

CHICAGO (NewsNation Now) — Here are some of the highlights from Election Day 2020:

3 a.m. – 2 small N.H. towns keep midnight voting tradition

– by Alexa Mencia

DIXVILLE NOTCH, N.H. — Two small towns in New Hampshire kept their decadeslong voting tradition alive, casting a handful of ballots just after midnight on Election Day.

Dixville Notch, near the Canadian border, announced that Democratic presidential nominee Joe Biden won the community’s five votes.

Just 12 miles away, the majority of votes in Millsfield, 16, went to President Donald Trump. Biden received five.

A third community with midnight voting, Hart’s Location, suspended the tradition this election because of coronavirus concerns. 

6 a.m. – Polls open on East Coast

– by Alexa Mencia

NEW YORK — From Maine to Virginia, voters are lining up as polls begin to open across the eastern U.S.

A handful of residents waited in the dark outside a polling site in Waterville, Maine, early Tuesday.

Voters line up at the Waterville Junior High School polling station before doors open during the election in Waterville, Maine, U.S. November 3, 2020. (REUTERS/Elizabeth Frantz)

In Virginia Beach, Virginia, NewsNation affiliate WAVY reported that long lines had already formed at multiple locations by at 6:30 a.m. ET.

Polls opened in Connecticut, Indiana, Kentucky, Maine, New Hampshire, New Jersey, Vermont and Virginia by 6 a.m. EST.

7 a.m. – Polls open in Midwest, southeastern US

– by Alexa Mencia

GRAND RAPIDS, Mich. — Residents in more than 15 states can now cast their ballots on Election Day.

Polls opened at 7 a.m. EST in Alabama, Delaware, District of Columbia, Florida, Georgia, Illinois, Kansas, Louisiana, Maryland, Massachusetts, Michigan, Missouri, Pennsylvania, Rhode Island, South Carolina and Tennessee.

In Grand Rapids, Michigan, many braved cold temperatures, waiting in lines outside for their turn to vote. NewsNation affiliate WOOD reported that voters at LaGrave Avenue Church maintained social distancing despite no markings on the ground.

Voters wait to cast their ballots at LaGrave Avenue Church in Grand Rapids, Michigan. (Photo courtesy of NewsNation affiliate WOOD/Justin Kollar)

Chicago set up drop boxes in special locations for Election Day, including the home of the Bulls and the Cubs. Voters who requested mail-in ballots can drop them off at the United Center and Wrigley Field Tuesday.

The city’s Board of Elections said that early voting already surpassed the record set in 2016, NewsNation affiliate WGN reported.

7 a.m. – Ohio county forced to check in voters using backup paper system

-by Alexa Mencia

COLUMBUS, Ohio — Voters in Ohio’s most populous county were being checked in with the state’s backup paper system as polls opened early Tuesday.

A Franklin County precinct official told NewsNation affiliate WCMH that the electronic registration system is down. Poll workers are checking in voters on paper, the official said.

The Ohio Secretary of State’s Office confirmed the issue early Tuesday.

“This morning we learned that the Franklin County Board of Elections was not able to upload all early in-person voting data into their electronic check-in system,” the office’s communications team stated on Twitter. “Because of this, they are shifting to paper pollbooks to check-in voters today.”

The office said every board of elections in the state was directed to have paper poll books as a backup.

The issue “will not impact the security or accuracy of today’s vote,” the office said.

8 a.m. – Voting gets underway in more states across Midwest, Southwest

-by Alexa Mencia

DES MOINES, Iowa — Polls have opened in a handful of states across the Midwest and southwestern US.

Voting kicked off at 8 a.m. EST in Arizona, Iowa, Minnesota, Mississippi, North Dakota, Oklahoma, South Dakota, Texas and Wisconsin.

In Iowa, roughly 1,200 polling sites opened Tuesday morning, which is down from the 1,450 in the 2018 election. Counties closed and consolidated some locations due to health concerns during the coronavirus pandemic, as well as budget issues.

8:30 a.m. – Biden begins Election Day by visiting son’s grave

by Alexa Mencia

Democratic presidential candidate former Vice President Joe Biden walks with his granddaughter Finnegan Biden into St. Joseph On the Brandywine Catholic Church in Wilmington, Del., Tuesday, Nov. 3, 2020. (AP Photo/Carolyn Kaster)

WILMINGTON, Del. — Before making a final campaign visit to Pennsylvania, Democratic presidential nominee Joe Biden visited the grave of his late son, Beau.

Biden, his wife, Jill, and their granddaughters stopped by the cemetery at St. Joseph On the Brandywine Catholic Church in Wilmington, Delaware, early Tuesday.

Beau Biden died of brain cancer in 2015.

Biden will visit Scranton and Philadelphia in Pennsylvania, before delivering remarks in Delaware Tuesday.

President Donald Trump is expected to spend Election Night in Washington, D.C.

9:30 a.m. – Computers down at all polling locations in Georgia county

by Alexa Mencia

SPALDING COUNTY, Ga. — A Georgia county located just south of Atlanta is reporting a technical issue at all of its polling locations.

Computers at all polling locations in Spalding County are down, according to the county sheriff’s office.

“The problem is being worked on and hopefully will be resolved quickly,” the sheriff’s office wrote in a statement on Facebook. “Until the issue is fixed, paper ballots are being used at all locations.”

Spalding County posted a statement on Facebook Tuesday morning, warning of longer waits as officials work to fix the problem. The county said provisional ballots are being delivered to every location.

10:30 a.m. – Voters briefly turned away from Texas site; Michigan officials resolve technical issues at 2 locations

by Alexa Mencia

AUSTIN — Voters were temporarily turned away from one polling site in Austin, Texas, due to voting machine issues Tuesday morning.

Williamson County reported connectivity issues between the print servers and ballot cards at polling location Pinballz Arcade, causing a delay of about an hour and 15 minutes. Poll workers briefly had to tell voters to find another place to cast their votes, NewsNation affiliate KXAN reported.

KXAN confirmed that the issues have since been resolved and voting has resumed.

Pinballz Arcade polling location in Austin, Texas, on November 3, 2020. (Photo courtesy of NewsNation affiliate KXAN)

In western Michigan, NewsNation affiliate WOOD-TV reported technical issues at two polling sites.

A tabulator was down at one location in Grand Rapids, resulting in ballots held in an “accessory slot” to be counted later. In Kent County, an electronic poll book was briefly causing some cast ballots to be tallied separately. The hardware issue has since been resolved, WOOD reported.

11 a.m. – First lady Melania Trump casts ballot in Florida

-by Alexa Mencia

PALM BEACH, Fla. — First lady Melania Trump cast her ballot in Palm Beach, Florida, Tuesday morning, after campaigning on behalf of her husband in the state during the final week of the presidential race.

Melania Trump voted at the Morton and Barbara Mandel Recreation Center, just three miles north of President Donald Trump’s Mar-a-Lago resort.

First lady Melania Trump arrives to vote at the Morton and Barbara Mandel Recreation Center, Tuesday, Nov. 3, 2020, in Palm Beach, Fla. (AP Photo/Jim Rassol)

The first lady had campaigned in Tampa several days ago.

11 a.m. – Michigan attorney general warns of robocalls aimed at suppressing votes in Flint

-by Alexa Mencia

FLINT, Mich. — Michigan’s attorney general is warning Flint residents of misleading robocalls aimed at suppressing votes.

Attorney General Dana Nessel said in a statement on Twitter that her office is receiving reports of multiple robocalls telling Flint residents to vote on Wednesday due to long lines.

“Obviously this is FALSE and an effort to suppress the vote,” Nessel wrote. “No long lines and today is the last day to vote. Don’t believe the lies! Have your voice heard!”

Michigan Secretary of State Jocelyn Benson also said her office has received reports of robocalls attempting to confuse voters in Flint.

“I want to ensure everyone who plans to vote in person understands they must do so — or be in line to do so — by 8 p.m. today,” Benson said. “Lines in the area and across the state are minimal and moving quickly, and Michigan voters can feel confident that leaders across state and local government are vigilant against these kinds of attacks on their voting rights and attempts at voter suppression, and we will be working quickly all day to stamp out any misinformation aimed at preventing people from exercising their right to vote.”

Benson encouraged any voters who spot misinformation to report it to the state

12 p.m. – Voting officially underway in all states

-by Alexa Mencia

HONOLULU — Election Day voting is officially underway in all states.

Voters in Hawaii could cast their ballots in person Tuesday starting at 12 p.m. ET, while voting in Alaska kicked off at 11 a.m. ET.

Tuesday’s ballot marked Hawaii’s first all-mail general election.

A record 407,190 voters cast ballots during the August primary, the first time the state used all-mail voting. They accounted for 51.2% of registered voters, the highest percentage to vote in a Hawaii primary election since 1996.

Hawaii voters also had the option of casting their ballots in person at a select few voter service centers in the weeks leading up to the election. Only about 5,000 people voted this way during the primary.

Those centers opened at 12 p.m. ET, and will close at midnight.

Democratic Gov. David Ige signed legislation switching the state to a vote-by-mail system last year before the coronavirus pandemic struck. Hawaii was the fifth state to adopt all-mail voting after Colorado, Oregon, Utah and Washington.

12:45 p.m. – An Election Day update from Houston

-by Markie Martin, Elyse Russo

HOUSTON —NewsNation’s Markie Martin is checking in with voters Tuesday at the last drive-through voting location in the Houston area.

On Monday, a federal judge rejected a Republican-led effort to invalidate nearly 127,000 votes cast at drive-through polling cites in Harris County. A lawsuit accused the country clerk of exceeding constitutional authority by allowing drive-through voting as an alternative during the pandemic.

1:10 p.m. – Absentee ballot-counting underway in Detroit

-by Ashley Ketz, Elyse Russo

DETROIT — NewsNation’s Ashley Ketz is in Michigan where she got a peek of workers counting absentee ballots at the TCF Center in Detroit. State laws prohibit ballots from being tabulated until Election Day.

Earlier Tuesday, Michigan’s attorney general warned Flint residents of misleading robocalls aimed at suppressing votes. There were also technical issues reported at two western Michigan polling places this morning, which have since been resolved.

1:45 p.m. – Pres. Trump visits campaign HQ in Virginia

by Elyse Russo

ARLINGTON, Va. —Supporters cheered and applauded President Donald Trump at his campaign headquarters, where he visited to thank dozens of staffers working to get him reelected.

“I think we’re set for tremendous success, and success is going to bring unity,” he said.

Watch a portion of his remarks in the player below:

2:15 p.m. – Nearly 102 million Americas cast votes before Election Day

by Elyse Russo

WASHINGTON — The latest tally of early voting in the U.S. shows that almost 102 million Americans cast their votes before Election Day, an eye-popping total that represents 73% of the total turnout of the 2016 presidential election.

The Associated Press tally reveals that the early vote in several states, including hotly-contested Texas and Arizona, has already exceeded the total vote of four years ago.

Early voting — whether in-person or by mail-in or absentee ballot — has swelled during the COVID-19 pandemic as voters have sought the safety and convenience it offers. The greatest gains have been witnessed in Kentucky, where almost 13 times as many voters cast their ballots early as in 2016.

2:30 p.m. – North Carolina will keep 4 polling places open longer, delaying results

by Elyse Russo

SAMPSON COUNTY, N.C. — The North Carolina State Board of Elections voted Tuesday to keep four polling places open longer because they opened late, which is expected to delay statewide reporting of results.

The longest delay (45 minutes) happened at the Plainview Fire Station in Sampson County. The Plainview precinct will remain open to voters until 8:15 p.m., which means statewide election results will not be reported until the last poll closes at 8:15 p.m.

North Carolina precincts were originally scheduled to close at 7:30 p.m.

2:55 p.m. – Ballot counting underway in Florida

-by Brian Entin, Elyse Russo

BROWARD COUNTY, Fla. — NewsNation’s Brian Entin got a look inside an elections warehouse in Broward County, Florida. Unlike some states that have to wait until Election Day to tabulate ballots, Florida officials have been counting ballots for weeks.

3:00 p.m. – Judge orders USPS to check for delayed ballots in key battlegrounds

-by Haley Townsend

WASHINGTON — A judge ordered the U.S. Postal Service to sweep some mail processing facilities Tuesday afternoon for delayed ballots and immediately dispatch them for delivery in election battlegrounds. Affected by the order are central Pennsylvania, northern New England, greater South Carolina, south Florida, Colorado, Arizona, Alabama and Wyoming as well as the cities of Atlanta, Houston, Philadelphia, Detroit and Lakeland, Florida.

U.S. District Judge Emmet Sullivan ordered postal officials to finish inspections by 3 p.m. and certify by 4:30 that no ballots were left behind.

3:40 p.m. – Biden addresses supporters in Philadelphia

by Elyse Russo

PHILADELPHIA — Former Vice President Joe Biden addressed supporters with a megaphone during a stop in Philadelphia.

“We’re going to have more people vote this year than any time in American history,” Biden said to a cheering crowd. More than 100 million Americans already cast their ballots before Election Day.

You can watch a portion of Biden’s speech in the player below:

4:08 p.m. – Arizona voting on Election Day, poll workers say ‘light traffic’ so far

-by Elizabeth Chmurak, Nancy Loo

PHOENIX — Arizona poll workers say they are seeing “light traffic” so far on Election Day. 2.6 million of Arizona’s 4.28 million registered voters cast their ballots before Nov. 3, NewsNation’s correspondent Nancy Loo reports.

At one Phoenix polling place, Loo reports no line with steady, light traffic and many voters opting for ballot drop boxes.

4:10 p.m. – Texas extends time for some polling places

-by Elizabeth Chmurak

EDINGBURG, Texas — Some polling places in South Texas will stay open an extra hour after laptop check-in issues Tuesday morning.

The Hidalgo County Elections Department announced that all 74 election polling locations will close at 8 p.m. CST Tuesday. According to a news release, ten polling locations experienced laptop check-in issues.

“Making sure our voters have the opportunity to cast their ballot is our utmost priority,” said Elections Administrator Yvonne Ramón.  “Extending the closure of the polls to 8 p.m. will provide that opportunity to the voters of Hidalgo County.”

At this time all 74 polling location laptops are fully operational, according to the county.

The Elections Department is working with the vendor to pinpoint the cause of the issue.

4:44 p.m. – Iowa ballot scanner jams from hand sanitizer

-by Elizabeth Chmurak

DES MOINES — A spokesperson for the Iowa Secretary of State says hand sanitizer on voters’ hands caused a ballot scanner to jam at a polling place in Des Moines.

Spokesperson Kevin Hall says some voters’ hands were moist when they handled the ballots and the buildup of sanitizer eventually caused the scanner to stop working.

The machine was fixed in about an hour.

To prevent another breakdown, poll workers moved the sanitizing station farther back in the line so voters’ hands would be dry when they first touched the ballots.

5:00 p.m. – Cybersecurity agency reports no apparent signs of any malicious activity so far

-by Elizabeth Chmurak

WASHINGTON — The cybersecurity agency at the Department of Homeland Security says the U.S. election so far has featured the usual technical glitches and routine issues but no apparent signs of any malicious cyber activity — at least not yet.

The Cybersecurity and Infrastructure Agency also says it’s too early to declare victory as polls near closing time around the nation Tuesday and with days of vote counting and certification ahead.

A senior agency official says, “It has been quiet and we take some confidence in that but we are not out of the woods yet.”

The official spoke on condition of anonymity to brief reporters about ongoing nationwide election monitoring efforts ahead of the release of any kind of official evaluation.

The official warned that local and state election systems could experience problems as results are reported, but the most likely cause would be from high demand put on the system as people overwhelm websites to check results.

5:40 p.m. – Police: 63-year-old man arrested for threatening to bomb polling place in Virginia

-by Elizabeth Chmurak

NORFOLK, Va. — Norfolk dispatch say they’ve received a report of a bomb threat Tuesday afternoon at Norfolk City Hall.

The call for the incident came in just before 3 p.m. at 1122 W. Princess Anne Road.

A 63-year-old man was arrested for the bomb threat by the Norfolk Fire Marshall.

Officials say the unidentified man is currently being detained and has a court appearance Wednesday.

5:45 p.m. – Printer errors reported in South Carolina

-by Elizabeth Chmurak

DORCHESTER COUNTY, South Carolina — More than 13,000 votes in one South Carolina county will have to wait to be counted because of a printing error.

Dorchester County Election Commissioner Todd Billman said at a news conference Tuesday that the mail-in ballots did not have the proper bars printed at the top so the scanner used to count the votes won’t register them. He says the error does not affect anyone’s vote.

The votes will have to be counted by hand and will not be counted Tuesday.

Billman says Dorchester County’s full results will be finished by the Friday deadline to certify returns.

5:52 p.m. – Countdown to polls closing in South Florida

-by Elizabeth Chmurak, Brian Entin

BROWARD COUNTY, Florida — Polls close in about an hour in South Florida. There is still a line of voters dropping off mail in ballots in Broward County, NewsNation correspondent Brian Entin reports.

Officials were expecting about 100,000 more voters at the polls in Broward County on Tuesday. More than 1.2 million people are registered to vote in Broward County. As of Election Day morning, 830,000 voters had showed up in person already or voted by mail.

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