With one day until election day, Californians have already returned more than 11 million ballots, more than half the total that were mailed out. More than 95 million ballots have been cast across the U.S. President Trump and Joe Biden are looking for votes in states where the race is close.
Read the Chronicle’s 2020 Voter Guide: Your essential resource to understanding the ballot measures, propositions and races that Bay Area voters are deciding. Plus, see Chronicle Editorial Board endorsements here.
Latest updates from today:
3:30 p.m. Speier calls Trump’s threat on Fauci ‘dictator-like behavior’: Criticism over President Trump’s threat to fire the government’s top infectious disease expert during a global pandemic continued to reverberate Monday afternoon. Rep. Jackie Speier, D-San Mateo, rushed to the defense of Dr. Anthony Fauci after Trump suggested he would fire Fauci following the election. “He CAN’T unilaterally fire Dr. Fauci, a lifelong civil servant who is protected by laws meant to prevent exactly this kind of dictator-like behavior,” Speier tweeted. Fauci is director of the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases.
3:14 p.m. Bay Area faith, labor, community leaders plan ‘massive’ post-election protest: Faced with what could be the most unusual election in modern history, Bay Area leaders are planning a “Protect Democracy” demonstration in Oakland from 12 to 3 p.m. on Wednesday. Bay Resistance, formed in 2016 to mobilize against the Trump administration, will celebrate unprecedented election turnout while calling on counties nationwide to count every vote, organizers said. The event will be at Frank Ogawa Plaza outside Oakland City Hall.
3:06 p.m. Trump calls extension on mail ballots ‘physically dangerous’: President Trump suggested Monday that physical violence could result from allowing states to count late mail-in ballots. Trump said the U.S. Supreme Court erred in allowing Pennsylvania to count mail-in ballots received three days after election day if postmarked on election day. “They made a very dangerous situation, and I mean dangerous, physically dangerous,” Trump told a campaign rally near Scranton, Pa. “You have to have a date. You can’t extend dates. The danger that could be caused by that extension, and especially when you know what goes on in Philadelphia, and it’s been going on for years.” Trump also singled out Pennsylvania Gov. Tom Wolf, a Democrat, saying, “We have a lot of eyes on the governor and his friends.”
2:58 p.m. Obama wails on Trump in Florida: Former President Barack Obama, sleeves rolled up and barnstorming the South on Monday, tried to shore up Florida’s Latino vote for his former vice president Joe Biden. In Miami he continued to let loose with derision aimed at President Trump, noting the president’s “obsession with crowd size.” “Did no one come to his birthday party when he was a kid?” Obama laughed. “Trump cares about feeding his ego.” Obama won the state’s Latino vote in 2012, but Trump has made inroads among the diverse Latino population. Biden will return to more normal leadership, “kindness and responsibility,” Obama vowed, instead of insulting people who don’t agree with him, and retweeting conspiracy theories: “It’s not normal behavior,” he said of Trump.
2:44 p.m. Californians lead nation in early vote: Californians have returned more ballots already than any other state ahead of Tuesday’s election. As of Monday afternoon, California had 11.2 million ballots cast, according to tallies by the U.S. Elections Project. The closely watched state of Texas also saw a big cache of pre-election day votes, 9.7 million, and battleground Florida had just under 9 million cast as of Monday.
2:28 p.m. Democracy, 2020 style: Federal authorities were expected to surround the White House grounds perimeter with a “non-scalable” fence in preparation for Tuesday’s election, as law enforcement and other agencies prepare for possible protests surrounding the election, a knowledgeable source told CNN. The fence is the same type that was put up during protests this summer and will include Lafayette Square. NBC White House reporter Geoff Bennett tweeted that 250 National Guardsmen have been put on standby in the city.
2:11 p.m. Complaint alleges S.F. pols, unions, try to buy BART board seat: BART labor unions and San Francisco politicians have poured thousands of dollars into a contentious BART district race in Contra Costa, prompting a complaint to the Fair Political Practices Commission. Pleasant Hill resident Jack Weir’s complaint accuses BART Board Director Bevan Dufty and labor unions of concealing the source of contributions to Jamie Salcido, who is challenging incumbent Debora Allen and is backed by four board progressives and BART unions. Allen has clashed with progressives by calling for budget cuts and a more robust police force.
2:02 p.m. Gaga brings star power to Biden campaign: Lady Gaga joined Democratic presidential hopeful Joe Biden on the campaign trail in Biden’s hard-fought home state of Pennsylvania on Monday, lending her superstardom to the effort to unseat President Trump. The two arrived Pittsburgh with the platinum haired singer wearing a black face mask that said “Vote.”
1:25 p.m. Newsom raises $8 million for Biden ticket: Gov. Gavin Newsom has raised more than $8 million for the Democratic presidential ticket, Joe Biden and Kamala Harris, Politico reports. The report, based on a summary of Newsom’ activity that Politico received, states he has raised about $11.6 million for campaigns during the 2020 cycle. Trump still uses Newsom’s words in a bid to bolster his own campaign, showing rallygoers video of Newsom and other governors thanking the president for federal COVD-19 aid.
12:45 p.m. Federal judge says Texas drive-through ballots count: A federal judge in Texas has rejected a Republican-led effort to throw out about 127,000 votes cast at drive-through locations in the Democratic-leaning Houston area. The ruling will likely be appealed, but it allows for those ballots to be counted on election day Tuesday, The Texas Tribune reports. U.S. District Judge Andrew Hanen ruled following a similar ruling on Sunday by the Texas Supreme Court. President Trump leads Democrat Joe Biden in Texas, typically a GOP stronghold, by about 1.6%, according to Real Clear Politics’ polling average.
12:10 p.m. Obama mocks Trump’s ‘COVID spreader’ tour: Former President Barack Obama said Monday that his successor is on a “COVID spreader tour,” mocking President Trump’s massive, crowded, largely mask-free rallies. “He’s going around spreading COVID,” Obama said during a rally for his former vice president Joe Biden in Atlanta. “He’s like a carrier because he cares more about having big crowds than he does about keeping people safe.” Obama spoke as Trump stood before thousands more densely-packed supporters in Biden’s hometown of Scranton, Pa. A Stanford study of 18 earlier Trump rallies concluded they led to 30,000 coronavirus infections and possibly 700 deaths.
12:08 a.m. Can Trump fire Fauci? Technically no: President Trump found a big applause line from backers when he suggested Monday that he might fire Dr. Anthony Fauci, the government’s top infectious disease expert. As chants of “Fire Fauci” rose from a Florida rally, Trump replied, “Don’t tell anybody, but let me wait until a little bit after the election.” But Trump cannot directly fire Fauci. Dr. Francis Collins, director of the National Institutes of Health and Fauci’s direct boss, has that power. Collins told CNN he “could not imagine” carrying out an order to fire Fauci, whom he’s called a “national treasure.”
12:01 p.m. Progressive groups push Facebook to police results disinformation: Advocacy groups plan to pressure Facebook to limit the spread of false information about election results once the polls close. Dozens of groups in the Protect the Results coalition plan a Thursday protest outside Facebook’s Menlo Park headquarters. The coalition includes progressive groups such as Indivisible and Black Lives Matter, who want Facebook to block candidates or campaigns from declaring victory on the social platform “before the final election results are in.” Similar protests are planned in dozens of cities nationwide.
11:53 a.m. Detractors’ false hit on Biden mask-wearing is unmasked: A bogus claim inferring Joe Biden is a hypocrite in insisting that face masks are needed to stop coronavirus spread — a posture regularly mocked by his maskless election rival President Trump — relied on a photo of Biden from 2019, before the coronavirus even emerged from China, Politifact and Associated Press factcheckers found. The picture spreading on social media shows Biden on airplane talking to an aide without a face mask. “Washington, DC phony!” read a tweet from former acting national intelligence director Richard Grenell, with the 2019 photo. “@JoeBiden doesn’t wear a mask on a plane – but wears one OUTSIDE!?”
10:49 Tense Georgia county to station police at every polling place: Fulton County, Georgia’s largest, will have police officers at each of the 255 voting locations Tuesday to protect votes and voters, elections director Richard Barron said Monday. The extra safety precautions aim to reassure residents that it will be safe to come to the polls during one of the most contentious elections in modern memory, the Washington Post reports. “We’re just trying to be proactive,” Barron said at a news conference.
10:40 a.m. Sen. Harris pitches to labor vote in Pennsylvania with superlative promise: Democratic vice presidential nominee Kamala Harris of California talked up Joe Biden’s labor credentials during a Monday stop in northeastern Pennsylvania. She and Biden, she said, “will probably have the most pro-labor administration we’ve seen in a long time.” Harris made her remarks in Luzerne County, her first of three stops in battleground Pennsylvania on Monday.The region, a former anthracite coal mining hub, backed Republican Donald Trump in 2016 after previously supporting Democrat Barack Obama and his then-running mate Joe Biden.
10:30 a.m. Biden calls Trump ‘a disgrace’ for claiming doctors inflate virus deaths: Democratic challenger Joe Biden criticized President Trump on Monday for suggesting doctors have inflated the COVID-19 deaths for monetary gain. “I’m serious, man,” Biden said during a Cleveland rally. “This guy is a disgrace.” Trump repeated the false claim at a rally last week, saying, “You know, our doctors get more money if somebody dies from COVID.” Factcheck.org and the American College of Emergency Physicians have labeled his claim baseless and false.
10:15 a.m. How social media giants will handle election and aftermath: After 2016, when Russians misused Facebook, YouTube and Twitter to inflame American voters with divisive messages, the companies have invested in security, policies and processes to ensure that Tuesday’s election isn’t a repeat. The New York Times asked each for a rundown of what they’ve done and will do to keep that interference out.
10:03 a.m. Florida senator predicts Latino voters will bring it home for Trump: Sen. Rick Scott, R-Fla., predicted Monday that his state’s all-important Latino vote is “going to be a game changer” that will swing the hard-fought state’s 29 electoral votes to President Trump. Latino voters are a key part of Trump’s challenger Joe Biden’s coalition, and Scott told CNN that ultimately the issue is “who’s going to get their vote out.”
9:59 a.m. Mountain athletes harness fame for voting influence: A unique cohort of social media influencers has emerged as a political compass for young Americans: mountain athletes. Around Lake Tahoe and across the West, professional skiers, snowboarders, rock climbers and mountaineers are urging their tens of millions of online followers to vote in the presidential election, and to support congressional candidates with progressive agendas on climate change and land use. Read The Chronicle’s story here.
9:45 a.m. Trump suggests Biden would leave presidency quickly: President Trump insinuated Monday that Democratic challenger Joe Biden could die or otherwise leave office quickly if elected. Trump didn’t elaborate, but suggested that Biden’s running mate, Sen. Kamala Harris of California, could become president in short order, repeating a startling claim he’s made on a previous occasion. “You know what’s going to happen,” Trump said during a rally in Fayetteville, N.C. “Kamala will be put in that position very quickly. And she’s more liberal than crazy Bernie.”
9:40 a.m. Judge blocks GOP lawsuit to stop early vote counting in Nevada: A Nevada judge has rejected a Republican-led effort to pause early vote counting in Clark County, CNN reports. Nevada’s largest county, which encompasses Las Vegas, is Democrats’ key base of support in the battleground state. GOP lawyers challenged the county’s ballot signature-matching software and its rules for election observers. Democrat Joe Biden holds a narrow lead, averaged at 3.6% over President Trump in Nevada, according to Real Clear Politics.
9:20 a.m. Record spending on California props: Wealthy individuals, corporations, organized labor and other well-funded interests have poured more than $785 million into the 12 yes-or-no propositions on this year’s California ballot, a record-breaking sum, the Los Angeles Times reports. The Times compared their fundraising to the historical record and found that four of the 10 most expensive campaigns ever are happening now — led by Prop. 22, the most expensive in California history. It’s backed by Uber and Lyft which want rules for app-based companies that allow workers to be independent contractors but receive limited number of job benefits.
9:13 a.m. Bloomberg antes up big in Florida: Former New York mayor Mike Bloomberg added $500,000 to TV spending in the Miami market over the weekend, after early vote and vote-by-mail numbers showed concern for Democrats in Florida, the Washington Post reports, citing a person familiar with the buy.The ad from Bloomberg’s political action committee, Independence USA, features former president Barack Obama’s praise of Biden at Miami rally.
8:59 a.m. Gavin Newsom hits the trail, from Zoom to Reno: Gov. Gavin Newsom says he’s as busy as ever campaigning for California Democrats, pandemic or not. Newsom has conducted multiple daily Zoom calls for candidates from congressional hopefuls to city council contenders, he told reporters. His Monday plans included a virtual phone bank and rally for Todd Gloria, who is locked in a tight San Diego mayoral battle. Newsom has tapped his donor list to help U.S. Senate candidates in swing states, such as North Carolina and Maine, that could flip control of the chamber. “Across the spectrum, we’ve been very active in the political space as advocates for the causes we believe in,” Newsom said as he voted last week. He made a rare in-person appearance Sunday in Reno, where he spoke to campaign volunteers canvassing for presidential nominee Joe Biden.
8:46 a.m. Legal warfare poised to begin: Both Democrats and Republicans say they are ready for a legal battle royale over Tuesday’s election, with thousands of lawyers on standby, the Associated Press reports. The litigators are prepared to march into court to make sure ballots get counted, or excluded, and to fight over signature matches, late-arriving absentee votes, drop boxes, secrecy envelopes and any other schemes alleged or real that are brought before judges. The two sites already have battled such issues in the election run-up. But legal fights could take on urgency if a narrow margin in a state will decide the election.
8:35 a.m. Federal court takes up critical Texas ballot challenge case: After the Texas Supreme Court on Sunday denied a GOP effort to throw out more than 120,000 votes cast at drive-through locations in largely Democratic Houston, a hearing on a nearly identical federal suit was scheduled Monday before a U.S. District Court judge, the New York Times reports. Democrats were hopeful that the ruling from the state court, which leans conservative, would bode well in the federal case in the courtroom of Judge Andrew S. Hanen who was appointed by President George W. Bush.
8:28 a.m. Final polling analysis shows Biden ‘clearly favored: With the usual caveats that polls can be off, the poll analysis site FiveThirtyEight forecast Monday that Joe Biden has a 90% chance of defeating President Trump in Tuesday’s election. “But remember, that doesn’t mean there isn’t still a path for Trump,” the forecst said. “He needs a big polling error in his favor, but bigger polling errors have happened in the past.” The 10 percent chance the forecast gives Trump “is roughly the same as the odds that it’s raining in downtown Los Angeles. And it does rain there,” the forecast said.
8:15 a.m. Trump’s latest attack on Fauci draws Biden defense: Presidnt Trump’s suggestion that he might fire Dr. Anthony Fauci fed into Democratic challenger Joe Biden’s strategy to focus the election in large part around Trump’s handling of the coronavirus pandemic. Biden on Monday tweeted “We need a president who actually listens to experts like Dr. Fauci,” who is the government’s top infectious disease expert and a respected public health voice around the world. Trump has repeatedly diminished Fauci, even calling him a “disaster,” while Fauci increasingly has joined the broader public health community’s criticism of the nation’s course on the pandemic.
8:01 a.m. Final full campaign day has campaigns in a frenzy: In their last chance to make their case to the voters, President Trump and Democratic rival Joe Biden again were storming battleground states that will determine the winner in Tuesday’s election. Trump was to sprint through five rallies, from North Carolina to Wisconsin. Biden was spending most of his time to Pennsylvania, where a win would leave Trump with an exceedingly narrow path to victory; Biden also was dipping into Ohio, a show of confidence in a state where Trump won by 8 percentage points four years ago.
7:55 a.m. S.F. supervisor races see vitriol, huge cash flows: The outcome of Tuesday’s election could change the political makeup of San Francisco’s most powerful political body, the Board of Supervisors, currently dominated by progressive supervisors. That could help Mayor London Breed, who now has few moderate allies among the 11 supervisors. Read The Chronicle’s story from Trisha Thadani.
7:43 a.m. Get ready to wait: There’s nothing unusual about an election that takes a long time for the votes to be counted, contrary to President Trump’s insistence that a winner be known in the presidential race Tuesday night. In 2018, the last California congressional contest wasn’t decided until nearly a month after the election. It took six weeks to determine the winners in two New York congressional races this summer. So as you settle in election night, this guide from The Chronicle’s John Wildermuth will help you make sense of the numbers.
7:35 a.m. Californians return more than 11 million ballots: California’s early voting saw 11,236,035 ballots cast as of Monday morning, the U.S. Election Project statistics showed. Democrats returned 5.8 million ballots and Republicans and no-party-preference voting groups each returned nearly 2.7 million.
7:20 a.m. Early vote tops more than 95 million: Americans who have already cast their ballots for Tuesday‘s election numbered close to 95,028,000 as of Monday morning, according to tracking by the U.S. Election project, as voter enthusiasm continued on a historic trajectory. Presidential contender Joe Biden urged his supporters to vote at polling places or drop their ballots in approved boses rather than mailing them now so close to the election, and President Trump continued calling on backers for a massive in-person turnout.
7:07 a.m. Trump suggests he might fire Fauci: President Trump suggested at a Florida campaign rally Sunday that he might fire Dr. Anthony Fauci, the federal government’s top infectious disease expert. Remarks from Trump that that the country was “rounding the turn” on the pandemic — as cases rise in more than 40 states — prompted cries of “fire Fauci” from the crowd, to which Trump said “thanks for the advice,” and “let me wait until a little bit after the election, please.” Fauci’s critiques of the federal government’s response to the pandemic, which has killed more than 230,000 Americans, has made him the target of antagonism from Trump and his supporters.
6:36 a.m. Stocks rebound: Coming off the stock market’s worst month since March, shares rebounded Monday morning, with the Dow up more than 1% in the first minutes of trading. Volatility remained high, driven by election uncertainty and continued high coronavirus cases.
Updates from Sunday, Nov. 1:
9:25 p.m. Trump caravan in Marin City angers residents: A caravan of Trump supporters that started Sunday morning in Santa Rosa made its way to Marin City, a majority-minority community in mostly white Marin County. Witnesses said some members of the caravan hurled racial epithets at residents. “If this is what is happening on November 1st, then what is going to happen on the 3rd or 4th?” asked one witness. The Chronicle’s J.K. Dineen has the story.
8:22 p.m. Youthful San Francisco marchers protest Trump: Hundreds of students rallied in downtown San Francisco on Sunday in a final push to bring out the vote and, they hope, once and for all dispatch President Trump from office. Read the story from The Chronicle’s J.K. Dineen.
8:03 p.m. Here are the Bay Area bigwigs who raised huge sums for Biden: A list of Joe Biden’s top fundraisers released over the weekend reveals a who’s who of Silicon Valley tycoons and Bay Area big shots. Among them are Reid Hoffman, co-founder of LinkedIn; venture capitalist Ron Conway; Sen. Dianne Feinstein; philanthropists Susie Tompkins Buell and Vanessa Getty; and more. Read the details here.
6:11 p.m. Trump tweets support for Biden/Harris bus disruption: Responding to news that the FBI is investigating a caravan of Trump-flag-bedecked vehicles that surrounded a Biden campaign bus in central Texas, President Trump tweeted that “in my opinion, these patriots did nothing wrong” and the FBI should instead investigate terrorists and anarchists. In response, the Martin Luther King Foundation tweeted: “Encouraging supporters to resort to violence and intimidation against an opponent is dangerous, inhumane and not reflective of what will move this nation in a more just, peaceful direction.”
3:36 p.m. Alameda County sees more than half a million voters already: Alameda County election officials report 6,800 walk-in voters cast their ballots on Halloween, and Sunday was expected to match the number. The weekend voters added to an average of 30,000 mail-in ballots that have been either posted or dropped off at the vote centers. In all, some 556,000 people had voted in Alameda County by Sunday morning. “We have not seen any election that looks like this,” said Tim Dupuis of the county registrar of voters’ office.
3:23 p.m. Biden vows Trump will not steal election: Democratic presidential nominee Joe Biden on Sunday lashed back in response to a report that President Trump will declare victory early on Tuesday if he has a lead: “My response is the president is not going to steal this election,” Biden told reporters while campaigning in Philadelphia, according to The Hill. His comments came after Axios reported that Trump privately said he intends to declare victory prematurely if early returns favor him — though mail-in ballots counted after Tuesday might hold the results of key battleground states.
3:19 p.m. Trump moves up rally for Florida curfew, but was running late: President Trump’s fifth and final rally on Sunday in Opa-locka, Fla., was moved to 9:30 p.m. after being scheduled to kick off at 11:30 p.m., which posed a potential problem for local officials. To try to slow the spread of the coronavirus, Miami-Dade County has a nightly curfew that begins at midnight, the New York Times reported. Trump, however, was already running late in his schedule by the middle of Sunday afternoon.
3:05 p.m. California, 21 states to continue count after election day: Despite President Trump’s flawed insistence that “We should know the results of the election on Nov. 3. That’s the way it’s been and that’s the way it should be,” the electorate should anticipate ballots will be counted for a week or longer, The Chronicle’s John Wildermuth reports. California and 21 other states, including battlegrounds like Pennsylvania, North Carolina, Ohio and Texas, will tally mail ballots that arrive after the election, as long as they are postmarked by election day. “We’d rather get it right than get it fast,” Secretary of State Alex Padilla said. Ballots counted after election night, many from last-minute younger or occasional voters, tend to favor Democratic candidates.
2:55 p.m. Trump rails against Texas court decision: President Trump on Sunday blasted as “ridiculous” and “terrible” a Texas Supreme Court decision that denied a GOP effort to toss out nearly 127,000 ballots cast at drive-through voting places in Hays County. In comments to reporters while campaigning in North Carolina, Trump also railed against states that allow ballot counting and receipt after election day, a practice common in many states. “I don’t think it’s fair we have to wait a long period of time after the election,” he said, appearing to lay groundwork for his post-election strategy to deny rival Joe Biden a victory. “We don’t want to be in a position where he’s allowed every day to watch ballots come in,” Trump said, giving he impression he anticipates the late count would favor Biden.
2:30 p.m. Fury and flames in toxic election season: Across the nation, political signs have been set ablaze, cars have been vandalized and neighborhood scuffles and shouting matches have proliferated in the waning days of the most toxic election season in more than half a century, the Washington Post reports. Fear of retaliation has spread, squashing the political exchange that fuels a thriving democracy, experts say. Some people have taken down political yard signs and quit social media in fear of being physically targeted. The victims are often political minorities: blue voters in red states and red voters in blue states, the Post reports.
2:27 p.m. Weekend voters turn out in Bay Area: Thousands of people voted in person over the weekend at Bay Area vote centers that opened Saturday and allowed ballots to be cast at any location in a county, not just neighborhood polling places on election day, as is tradition. “This is the highest in the city’s history for this point in the election cycle,” the director of the San Francisco Department of Elections said. Read more from The Chronicle’s Sam Whiting.
1:37 p.m. Longtime beacon of democracy now prompts foreign warnings: New Zealand is warning its citizens visiting the U.S. to avoid areas where election and inauguration protests and rallies may occur. “Political activity including rallies and protest activity can be expected in the lead up to the election and the Presidential inauguration,” the Oct. 27 advisory from the foreign affairs and trade ministry said. It cited potential for a heavy “police and/or National Guard presence,” even noting that “police measures have, at times, included the use of rubber bullets, and/or pepper spray to disperse crowds.”
1:17 p.m. Trump tries to blunt Biden appeal to Black voters: As Democrat Joe Biden in Philadelphia and his running mate Sen. Kamala Harris on Sunday sought to energize Black supporters to vote on election day, President Trump tried to blunt the effort by arguing that Democrats have taken Black voters’ support for granted. “Show Joe Biden and the Democrat Party what you think of their decades of betrayal and abuse,” Trump told a rally Sunday north of Detroit. Black voters are crucial to Biden’s success, and his campaign has tried to reverse the drop in Black turnout from 2012 to 2016 that contributed to Trump’s victory over Hillary Clinton.
1:03 p.m. Texas high court rules against GOP on ballots: The Texas Supreme Court on Sunday denied a Republican-led petition to toss nearly 127,000 ballots cast at drive-through voting places in the Houston area.The state’s all-Republican high court rejected the request from GOP activists and candidates without explaining its decision. The effort to have the Harris County ballots thrown out is still set to be taken up during an emergency hearing in federal court on Monday. A record 1.4 million early votes have already been cast in the county, the nation’s third largest and a crucial battleground in Texas, where Republicans are bracing for the closest election in decades on Tuesday.
12:34 p.m. California mail votes top 10 million: More than 10 million Californians now have cast their ballots by mail, with the total as of late Saturday standing at 10,579,368 ballots, according to tracking by the U.S. Elections Project. In the Democratic-majority state, the breakdown so far is 5.5 million Democratic ballots, 2.4 GOP ballots, and 2.5 sent in by people with no party affiliation.
11:58 a.m. Pennsylvania anticipates tenfold increase in mail-in ballots: Pennsylvania Secretary of State Kathy Boockvar said Sunday that 2.4 million Pennsylvanians have already sent in their ballots, with total mail-in vote expected to be 10 times as many as in 2016. “I want to be clear that elections have never been called election night,” with military and overseas ballots allowed to be cast for a week after election day, she told NBC’s “Meet the Press.” She said she expects, however, the “overwhelming majority” of ballots in the critical battleground state “will be counted within a matter of days” after Tuesday.
11:50 a.m. Trump said to be planning premature victory announcement: Axios is reporting that President Trump has told confidants he’ll declare victory on Tuesday night if it looks like he’s “ahead,” according to three sources familiar with his private comments. That’s even if the Electoral College outcome still hinges on uncounted votes. The strategy feeds into a Trump effort to claim that mail-in ballots counted after Nov. 3 in some states — a legitimate count expected to favor Democrats — are evidence of election fraud, Axios reports.
11:32 a.m. FBI probing freeway incident in Texas: The Texas Tribune reports that the FBI is looking into a Friday incident in which a caravan of trucks and vehicles waving Trump flags surrounded and followed a Biden campaign bus driving on a Hays County freeway. A law enforcement official confirmed the probe to the newspaper.
11:21 a.m. Biden barnstorms crucial Pennsylvania: Joe Biden’s two campaign events Sunday in the all-important swing state of Pennsylvania underscore the significance of the Rust Belt state that helped deliver President Trump the White House four years ago. Biden holds a slight lead in the state, new Washington Post-ABC News polling indicated Sunday. Biden and top surrogates — his wife Jill, Sen. Kamala Harris and her husband, Doug Emhoff — also will fan out across the state on Monday. Trump’s path to victory would narrow considerably without the state. He’s held numerous rallies there, and plans a Monday campaign event in Scranton, Biden’s hometown.
11:04 a.m. Breed goes on attack against Gascón in L.A.: San Francisco Mayor London Breed has served up a blistering election-eve hit on George Gascón, the former San Francisco police chief and district attorney now running to be district attorney in Los Angeles County. Breed tells Los Angeles voters to consider “both his poor record as a D.A. and his lack of character as a public servant.” In an opinion piece for the Los Angeles Sentinel, she further wrote that he has demonstrated “how little actual Black lives matter to him … Gascón was bad for San Francisco and he would be bad for L.A.” Read the story from The Chronicle’s Phil Matier here.
10:05 a.m. Ohio governor predicts Trump narrow win: Ohio Gov. Mike DeWine predicted on Sunday that President Trump will win his state “by a couple of points,” a much narrower margin than Trump’s victory there in 2016. DeWine said on CNN’s “State of the Union,” he expects election night vote counting will reveal the winner. Polling averages complied by FiveThirtyEight show a dead heat in the state.
9:50 a.m. Black voters crucial to Biden, Harris says: Sen. Kamala Harris says Black voters are critical to defeating President Trump and electing Joe Biden. But as the California senator who is Biden’s running mate arrived in Georgia on Sunday, she stressed that “we are not telling anybody they’re supposed to vote for us” and are working to “earn the vote.” Democrats haven’t won Georgia’s electoral votes since 1992 and Pennsylvania slipped away narrowly four years ago. Black turnout in both states could tip the scales in Tuesday’s election.
9:27 a.m. RNC chair says ‘we don’t want any harm,’ when asked about Trump’s video retweet: After President Trump retweeted a video of vehicles flying Trump flags surrounding a Biden campaign bus and appearing to try and force it off a busy Texas freeway, the chairwoman of the Republican National Committee said Sunday: “Certainly we don’t want harm and we shouldn’t be hurting other people.” Ronna McDaniel told CBS “Face the Nation” that “The president would not endorse that.” Trump on Saturday tweeted out a video of the incident, with the words, “I LOVE TEXAS!” The Biden campaign then canceled two Texas events in a safety precaution, the New York Times reported. Trump laughed about the incident at a Saturday campaign rally in Pennsylvania, saying, “Anybody see the picture of their crazy bus driving down the highway, they are surrounded by hundreds of cars, they are all Trump flags all over the place.”
9:06 a.m. Fauci draws Biden-Trump comparison: Dr. Anthony Fauci, the nation’s top infectious disease expert says when it comes to the pandemic, he believes Democratic presidential contender Joe Biden “is taking it seriously from a public health perspective,” while President Trump is “looking at it from a different perspective” which is “the economy and reopening the country.” He made the comments in a Washington Post interview. White House spokesman Judd Deere responded by accusing Fauci of deciding “to play politics” right before Tuesday’s election. Deere says Fauci is “choosing to criticize the president in the media and make his political leanings known.” Fauci has said that in his decades of public service, he’s never publicly endorsed any political candidate.
8:43 a.m. Biden reveals big-bundler donors: Democratic presidential candidate Joe Biden released a list of 817 top fundraisers, so called bundlers, who gathered at least $100,000 for his campaign and for joint party operations, including big names from California. The list released Saturday night showed the most Biden bundlers by far were in California, which had 195, followed by New York with 112. The list includes Silicon Valley names, including LinkedIn co-founder Reid Hoffman and venture capitalist Ron Conway, and Hollywood producer Jeffrey Katzenberg, along with prominent figures from the legal world, Wall Street and Biden associates, news accounts revealed.
8:26 a.m. Trump adviser denies Trump attacked doctors: Jason Miller, senior adviser to President Trump’s reelection campaign, on Sunday defended Trump’s suggestion that doctors inflate COVID-19 death counts for monetary gain. “I don’t think he was attacking anybody at all,” Miller said on ABC’s “This Week.” “He was talking about how Americans want to get back to work.” Interviewer George Stephanopoulos Pressed him about Trump’s comments to rallies that, “Our doctors get more money if somebody dies from COVID, you know that right? … When in doubt, choose COVID. It’s true.” Miller said without elaboration ‘there have been a number of reports out there” raising questions about billing. Physician organizations have condemned Trump’s comments.
8:20 a.m. Final sprint in battleground states: In their final pushes to Tuesday’s election Democrat Joe Biden was traveling to to Philadelphia Sunday, and President Trump scheduled five rallies across the Rust Belt and Southeast. Polling conducted by The New York Times and Siena College shows Biden ahead in Pennsylvania, Wisconsin, Florida and Arizona.
7:41 a.m. Walk the Vote on election day: San Francisco residents will participate in a national “walk the vote” parade Tuesday, starting at 7 a.m. to “deliver their ballot to the ballot box safely, securely and without the need to wait in a long line,” the organization Walk the Vote said. Parade organizers plan a masked, socially distanced walk from 2 Marina Blvd., coinciding with similar events planned in 47 states. The parade aims to encourage and highlight the importance of voting.
7:29 a.m. Willie Brown says Black voters will bring it for Biden: Willie Brown, the former San Francisco mayor and California Assembly speaker, is predicting that Black America will turn out for presidential contendetr Joe Biden like they did for former President Barack Obama, despite Democrats’ angst that Biden may not be generating the Black and Latino support he needs. Brown, a Chronicle columnist, says his ear to the ground hears from Black business and civic leaders from around the country, and they are focused on economic issues more than criminal justice issues. “This is middle-class Black America talking, and they are the ones who vote,” Brown wrote Sunday.
7:16 a.m. Vote is on track for 100 million ballots before Tuesday: More than 92 million Americans now have cast ballots for Tuesday’s election, the U.S. Election project shows, in a historic early turnout that underscoring voters’ determination despite voting challenges caused by the pandemic. The early turnout as of Saturday already matched roughly 65 percent of total votes cast in 2016.
Updates from Saturday, Oct. 31:
7:28 a.m. Time off to vote, volunteer a Silicon Valley perk: With generous time-off policies, sometimes specifically designated for civic engagement, some tech employers are channeling political urges by making it easier for employees to get out the vote, volunteer for campaigns or just cast their ballots Tuesday. The Chronicle’s Chase DiFeliciantonio reports.
5:51 p.m. Steve Kerr visits drop-off station at Chase Center: Golden State Warriors coach Steve Kerr greeted voters at a drop-off ballot location at the Chase Center on Saturday morning, after submitting his own vote, the Associated Press reported. He doled out “I voted” stickers, in Warriors blue, and said: “We’re trying to remind everybody not only of the importance of voting, but we’re trying to make it as easy as possible to exercise your vote.”
4:38 p.m. Elected officials, health workers get out the vote in Oakland: California State Senator Nancy Skinner, Contra Costa Supervisor John Gioia, and Alameda County Supervisor Wilma Chan joined leaders and members of Service Employees International Union Local 2015, which represents 400,000 nursing home and home care workers in California, at the union’s office in Oakland for drive-in phone banking Saturday. The union said 25 people called voters in California and Pennsylvania.
4:13 p.m. First lady praises president’s handling of coronavirus: Melania Trump, speaking at a West Bend, Wisc., campaign rally, said the country has made great progress in the fight against COVID-19. “I watched Donald continue to work hard to keep people informed and calm, to protect our economy and make hard and unpopular decisions to do all he could to keep us all safe,” she said, saying that Democrat Joe Biden wants to make the country operate out of fear of the coronavirus. The first lady has been back on the campaign trail in the past few days after recovering from her own bout with the virus.
2:39 p.m. Mail vote count soars across the country: More than 90 million people already have voted across the county, with the election still days away, according to figures compiled by the U.S. Elections Project. In Texas and Hawaii, the number of early voters has already surpassed the total turnout in 2016 and six other states have 90% or more of the turnout in the last presidential election: Montana (96%), Washington (93%), New Mexico (93%), Georgia (93%), North Carolina (91%) and Tennessee 90%.
12:04 p.m. Presidential hopefuls barnstorm battleground states: With the clock running out on Tuesday’s election, President Trump and Joe Biden, along with their running mates and surrogates, were making their pitches Saturday in the states that could decide the presidency. Biden was joining former President Obama for two drive-in rallies in Michigan, while Kamala Harris, his running mate, was in Florida. Trump had four stops planned for Pennsylvania, while his wife, Melania Trump, will be in Pennsylvania and Wisconsin. Vice President Mike Pence has a pair of events in North Carolina.
10:39 a.m. Early vote keeps climbing in California: More than 45% of the state’s registered voters already have returned their ballots for next Tuesday’s election, according to information compiled by Political Data Inc. Those 9.8 million ballots represent two-thirds of the total votes cast in the 2016 election. The report shows that 51% of Democrats have returned their mail ballots, compared to 42% of the state’s Republicans and 37% of independents and minor party members.
6:46 a.m. What’s missing from Trump’s closing: Donald Trump ran on focused message in 2016 of what he would do as president: He’d be the voice of “the forgotten men and women of this country” whose jobs had been exported by “unfair trade deals,” which he would get rid of. He would bring back manufacturing jobs and build a wall on the southern border, paid for by Mexico, to keep out undocumented immigrants. This year, that tightly targeted pitch has devolved into a spray of grievances, fear-mongering and goofiness. Chronicle senior political writer Joe Garofoli has the story.
Updates from Friday, Oct. 30
5:40 p.m. Ballots missing in Pennsylvania county: Pennsylvania Secretary of State Kathy Boockvar said she has asked postal authorities to investigate why some ballots mailed by a Pittsburgh-area county never arrived. The state, with its 20 electoral votes and centrist streak, is perhaps the most crucial battleground of 2020. President Trump narrowly won it in 2016, and Democrat Joe Biden has a narrow lead in the polls there now. An unknown number of ballots weren’t received by voters in Butler County, population 188,000, which leans Republican. The county’s elections director told CNN that it has received more than 10,000 calls from voters who haven’t received mail ballots they requested.
5:11 p.m. Bay Area braces for potential election night unrest: Bay Area businesses are boarding up their windows and city officials are drafting emergency plans and scrapping vacation days in anticipation of unrest after the polls close Tuesday. “Given events of this past spring and summer, it is not an unexpected precaution,” said Karin Flood, executive director of Union Square Business Improvement District. San Francisco police have canceled discretionary days off for officers. Read the story here.
4:30 p.m. Trump balks at Minnesota crowd limits: President Trump criticized Minnesota officials who put restrictions on large gatherings because of a surge in coronavirus cases. During a rally in Rochester, Trump thanked thousands of supporters who gathered outside the event despite a state public-health order limiting gatherings to 250 people. “As you know, there are 25,000 people who wanted to be here tonight,” Trump said. “I want to thank the thousands of people outside who were barred from entry by radical Democrats.” Democratic challenger Joe Biden held a dueling rally in St. Paul on Friday, where he said Trump “has waived the white flag and surrendered to this virus.”
3:46 p.m. Expect a few changes if you vote in person: For people who choose to vote in person on Tuesday, Bay Area polling places and voting centers will work a bit differently this year. For coronavirus safety precautions, the state has urged counties to direct traffic flow, provide hand sanitizer, disinfect booths frequently, and enforce mask-wearing and social distancing, among other measures. Curbside drop-off also will be big. Here’s what you need to know.
3:18 p.m. Walmart returns guns, ammo to store shelves: Walmart began restocking guns and ammunition on store shelves Friday, a day after the retailer said it had moved those items to secure storage areas in anticipation of possible social unrest or looting on election day. “As the current incidents (of social unrest) have remained geographically isolated, we have made the decision to begin returning these products to the sales floor today,” the company said in a statement. Walmart said it sells guns in only about half its stores, generally where there are large numbers of hunters and sport shooters.
3:14 p.m. Stock market predictor signals Biden, narrowly: If the stock market is any indicator, Democrat Joe Biden could beat President Trump by a hair. Traditionally, the incumbent party tends to hold the White House if the market is up in the final three months before the election. Wall Street’s so-called Presidential Predictor, a measure driven by the S&P 500 index, suggests Biden could win narrowly — the index is down 0.04% since July 31. Much of the loss came in the past week, the market’s worst since March. The S&P predictor has accurately projected the winner in 20 of the last 23 presidential elections. The predictor was last incorrect in 1980, when Ronald Reagan defeated Jimmy Carter.
1:52 p.m. Trump says ‘doctors get more money’ for COVID deaths: President Trump falsely suggested Friday that doctors have a financial incentive to inflate the number of coronavirus deaths, even if a patient might have died of another illness. “You know, our doctors get more money if somebody dies from COVID, you know that right?” Trump said during a rally in Waterford Township, Mich. “When in doubt, choose COVID. It’s true.” FactCheck.org, a nonpartisan outlet, has called Trump’s claim, which he’s repeated at several recent rallies, a “baseless conspiracy theory.” The American College of Emergency Physicians called his assertion “reckless and false.” Trump was hospitalized and treated for COVID-19 earlier this month. Nearly 230,000 Americans have died of the virus, and the number of new cases has increased by more than 40% nationwide over the last two weeks.
12:48 p.m. Biden jabs Iowa Sen. Ernst over crop price fail: Democratic presidential candidate Joe Biden criticized Iowa GOP Sen. Joni Ernst over her failure to accurately quote crop prices in a recent debate. “You think that’d be fairly basic,” Biden said during a rally Friday in Des Moines. “That’s like my not knowing where the Delaware River was back home.” Ernst fumbled the question in a recent debate, when she was asked to provide the break-even price for soybeans. Her Democratic challenger, Theresa Greenfield, accurately quoted the price of corn. Biden called Greenfield the “real deal.” The race, in which Greenfield has a narrow lead in the polls, could determine which party controls the Senate next year.
12:33 p.m. Record 22 million Californians registered to vote: The secretary of state’s office released its final pre-election update on voter registration Friday, reporting that a record 22,047,448 Californians, or 87.9% of all those eligible, were registered to vote as of Oct. 19. That’s an increase of more than 2.6 million people from the same point in 2016. More than 46% of voters registered as Democrats, while about 24% registered as Republicans and 24% had no party preference.
12:26 p.m. Google denies allegations of bias in Prop. 24 searches: Google said Friday that accusations it created a biased algorithm to direct voters to arguments against Proposition 24 are inaccurate. “These allegations are false, misleading, and conveniently ignore the fact that Google Search provides features that make neutral ballot measure text readily available, right on the results page,” a spokesperson said in an email. On Friday morning, data-privacy advocates accused Google of trying to hamper support for Prop. 24, which would expand the state’s digital privacy law. Prop. 24 isn’t the only initiative where Google has been accused of creating biased search results. Tom Kemp, a former tech executive and blogger, wrote this week that Google searches prioritized pro or con arguments from the state voter guide for seven of the 12 state ballot measures, as Politico reported. A Google spokesperson said the secretary of state’s office has control over the voter guide “snippets” that appear in search engine results. Kemp wrote Thursday that state election officials have removed the snippets from search results altogether.
11:53 a.m. Prop. 16 fight heats up over Ward Connerly comments: The final days of a ballot measure campaign to overturn California’s ban on affirmative action have been turbocharged by comments about white nationalism made by Ward Connerly, the driving force behind the 1990s law. Connerly, who is Black, was quoted this week as saying that white nationalists were “super patriots” and that he considered himself to be a “super patriot” as well. In an interview with The Chronicle, he denied sympathizing with white nationalism and said he was unfamiliar with the concept. The Chronicle’s Alexei Koseff has the story.
11:40 a.m. Trump plans 14 rallies in closing days: President Trump has a full schedule over the campaign’s final days, with 14 rallies in battleground states. Trump plans large rallies in states he won four years ago: Pennsylvania, Wisconsin, Michigan, Iowa, Georgia, North Carolina and Florida. Democratic challenger Joe Biden has announced far fewer events in the final days. On Saturday, Biden will campaign in Michigan with former President Barack Obama. Biden is also expected to visit Pennsylvania on Sunday and Monday. The different pace speaks to the candidates’ divergent approaches to the coronavirus pandemic. Trump has continued to boast about his large rallies, where thousands of supporters have crowded together, often without wearing masks. Biden has largely held drive-in rallies, where peop
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