2020 Latest: Biden says ‘no one’ will take US democracy away

Political
Donald Trump, NAT Trump

President Donald Trump speaks in the East Room of the White House, early Wednesday, Nov. 4, 2020, in Washington. (AP Photo/Evan Vucci)

WASHINGTON (AP) — The Latest on the presidential campaign (all times local):

7:55 p.m.

Democrat Joe Biden says, “No one is going to take our democracy away from us.” His comment came after President Donald Trump’s unfounded claims that Democrats were trying to “steal” the presidential election from him.

In a Thursday evening tweet, Biden says, “America has come too far, fought too many battles, and endured too much to let that happen.”

The nation is waiting to learn whether Biden or Trump will collect the 270 electoral votes needed to capture the presidency. Biden’s victories in Michigan and Wisconsin have put him in a commanding position, but Trump has showed no sign of giving up.

Speaking earlier Thursday from the White House, Trump did not back up his claim about Democrats with any details or evidence. State and federal officials have not reported any instances of widespread voter fraud.

The ballot-counting process across the country has been running smoothly, and the count is ongoing in several battleground states.

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HERE’S WHAT YOU NEED TO KNOW ABOUT THE PRESIDENTIAL RACE:

Democrat Joe Biden is pushing closer to the 270 Electoral College votes needed to carry the White House, securing victories in the battlegrounds of Wisconsin and Michigan and narrowing President Donald Trump’s path.

Read more:

— Biden pushes closer to victory as Trump presses legal threats

— With another Florida loss, Democrats begin second guessing

— EXPLAINER: States still in play and what makes them that way

— Trump sues in 3 states, laying ground for contesting outcome

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HERE’S WHAT ELSE IS GOING ON:

7:10 p.m.

A federal judge has denied a bid by President Donald Trump’s campaign to stop the vote count in Philadelphia over observer access, urging the two sides to instead forge an agreement.

U.S. District Judge Paul S. Diamond suggested each party be allowed 60 observers inside a hall at a downtown convention center where the final ballots are being tallied. As the hearing unfolded Thursday evening, President Donald Trump and former Vice President Joe Biden were locked in a tight battle for the 20 electoral votes in Pennsylvania.

Diamond, an appointee of President George W. Bush, chastened the lawyers as both sides bickered about who was following the rules and reminded them they are officers of the court.

“Really, can’t we be responsible adults here and reach an agreement?” the exasperated judge asked. “The whole thing could (soon) be moot.”

Republicans went to court Thursday afternoon to complain that election officials in the Democratic-led city were ignoring a state court order they’d won earlier in the day to give them a closer view of ballot processing.

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7:05 p.m.

The Associated Press has not declared a winner in the presidential race, with a number of battleground states still too early to call.

But President Donald Trump is renewing his unfounded claims that Democrats are trying to “steal” the election from him. He did not back up his claim with any details or evidence. State and federal officials have not reported any instances of widespread voter fraud.

Trump spoke from the White House briefing room on Thursday, unleashing harsh criticism of pre-election polling that showed him trailing Democrat Joe Biden and claiming without evidence that the ballot-counting process is unfair and corrupt. He also renewed his criticism of widespread use of mail-in balloting in the pandemic.

The ballot-counting process across the country has been running smoothly, and the count is ongoing in several battleground states.

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6:15 p.m.

A legal effort in Nevada by President Donald Trump’s campaign and state Republicans to try to stop the count of mail ballots in Las Vegas is over.

A document submitted in an appeal pending before the state Supreme Court says the campaign, state GOP, Democrats and attorneys for the state have reached a settlement requiring Clark County election officials to supply “additional observation access” at a ballot processing facility in Las Vegas.

The state high court declined on Election Day to stop the count based on an appeal of a state judge’s decision not to stop processing mail ballots in Las Vegas and surrounding Clark County — a Democratic stronghold in an otherwise red GOP state.

In an order released Monday, Judge James Wilson Jr. in Carson City said he found neither the state nor Clark County had done anything to give one vote preference over another.

Nevada Democrats accuse Republicans of trying to suppress voting in the state’s most diverse area.

Trump campaign representatives said Thursday that they intended to file another complaint in U.S. District Court in Las Vegas to try to stop the counting of what state campaign co-chair Adam Laxalt called “improper votes.” That lawsuit was not immediately filed.

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6 p.m.

President Donald Trump is set to make his first public appearance since the early morning hours after Election Day.

The White House says Trump will deliver remarks at 6:30 p.m. Thursday from the press briefing room. It was unclear if he would take questions.

Trump last appeared in public early Wednesday, when he falsely declared victory over Democrat Joe Biden in the presidential race. Trump has also publicly called for vote counting to stop by citing baseless allegations of fraud and misconduct.

The presidential race has not yet been called because neither Trump nor Biden has yet collected the requisite 270 Electoral College votes.

Biden’s victories in Michigan and Wisconsin have put him in a commanding position to win the presidency, but Trump has showed no sign of giving up.

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5:50 p.m.

The Trump campaign and Republican National Committee have asked an Arizona judge to let them join a lawsuit that alleges vote tabulation equipment in metro Phoenix was unable to record a voter’s ballot because she completed it with a county-issued Sharpie pen.

They argued that anecdotal accounts of potential tabulation errors resulting from Sharpies demands further review and that they should be allowed to participate in the lawsuit because it will likely affect their interests in the tabulation of votes.

The lawsuit seeks a court order for all Maricopa County voters whose ballots were rejected as a result of using a Sharpie to be given a chance to fix their ballots. It also asks for such voters to be able to be present while election officials count their ballots.

The Arizona Democratic Party earlier asked to join the lawsuit, arguing that Democratic voters could be disenfranchised if the woman who filed the lawsuit was able to challenge a voter’s intent in making ballot choices without knowing the applicable standards.

A judge is holding a hearing Thursday in Phoenix in the lawsuit by Phoenix-area voter Laurie Aguilera, who also alleged ink from the marker bled through the back side of her ballot and that poll workers refused her request for a new ballot.

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4:30 p.m.

Democrat Joe Biden says he feels “very good” about the outcome of the presidential election and is telling his supporters to “stay calm” as votes continue to be counted.

Biden delivered brief remarks Thursday at a theater in downtown Wilmington, Delaware. He says, “It is the will of the voters — no one, not anyone else — who chooses the president of the United States of America.”

President Donald Trump’s campaign has pursued legal efforts to halt the vote counting in some states and is seeking a recount in Wisconsin.

Biden says that “the process is working” and “we’ll know very soon” the outcome of the election. Biden and his top campaign officials have expressed confidence about the vote but have been careful to emphasize the need for every ballot to be counted.

Biden’s running mate, California Sen. Kamala Harris, stood next to him as he spoke.

The Associated Press has not called the presidential race yet because neither Biden nor Trump has secured the 270 Electoral College votes needed for victory. Several key states remain too early to call — Pennsylvania, Georgia, North Carolina and Nevada.

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3:35 p.m.

A federal judge in Washington, D.C., has ordered the U.S. Postal Service to perform twice daily sweeps of processing centers in states with extended ballot receipt deadlines to check for mail-in votes and to expedite them for delivery.

Thursday’s order will remain in place until the end of states’ windows for accepting ballots.

According to court records, a similar order by the same judge earlier this week found just 13 ballots in a search of 27 processing hubs in several battleground areas.

Elections officials in key battleground states are continuing presidential vote counting. Democrat Joe Biden is urging patience, while President Donald Trump is pursuing his legal options.

Several key states are too early to call — Pennsylvania, Georgia, North Carolina and Nevada.

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2:25 p.m.

Joe Biden is getting virtual briefings on the coronavirus pandemic and its economic fallout from panels of experts, sticking to a routine he’s had since March, even as the outcome of the presidential race remains in doubt.

The former vice president traveled Thursday afternoon to a theater in downtown Wilmington, Delaware, where his campaign has set up a makeshift studio. He and his running mate, California Sen. Kamala Harris, often sit facing large screens while experts participate by video conference.

Biden has held similar public health and economic briefings about once a week since March while criticizing President Donald Trump’s administration for the federal government’s response to a pandemic that has killed more than 230,000 Americans.

Journalists traveling with Biden were not allowed inside the briefing but saw him as he entered the theater. He did not take questions.

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2 p.m.

The Arizona Democratic Party has asked a court to let it participate in a lawsuit that alleges vote tabulation equipment in metro Phoenix was unable to record a voter’s ballot because she completed it with a county-issued Sharpie pen.

A judge is holding a hearing Thursday in Phoenix in the lawsuit by voter Laurie Aguilera, who also alleged that ink from the marker bled through the back side of her ballot and that poll workers refused her request for a new ballot.

Aguilera is seeking a court order for all Maricopa County voters whose ballots were rejected as a result of using a Sharpie to be given a chance to fix their ballots. She also is asking for such voters to be able to be present while election officials count their ballots.

The Democrats say the lawsuit is based on the unconfirmed account of one voter and her request to monitor ballot processing could throw the processing of ballots in Arizona’s largest county in disarray.

In a court filing, the party says Democratic voters could be disenfranchised if Aguilera and others were able to challenge a voter’s intent in making ballot choices without knowing the applicable standards.

Arizona election officials have said voting with a Sharpie would have no impact on the votes being recorded by a tabulation machine.

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1:55 p.m.

As the nation awaits results from Nevada, Clark County Registrar Joe Gloria says it could take until Saturday or Sunday before the state’s largest county finishes tallying mail-in ballots that have been returned.

Gloria said Thursday at a press conference: “Our goal here in Clark County is not to count fast. We want to make sure that we’re being accurate.”

Gloria says Clark County has at least 63,262 ballots left to count, including 34,743 returned in drop boxes on Election Day and 4,208 returned via the U.S. Postal Service. But as mail-in ballots postmarked by Election Day continue to trickle in, Gloria said he had no way of knowing the total number of outstanding ballots.

He says, “That’s a number that I can’t give you. I can’t predict to you what’s going to come through the U.S. mail.”

Gloria says the fact that Nevada’s six electoral votes could push Democrat Joe Biden beyond the 270 electoral vote threshold needed to win the presidency reaffirmed the need to not rush the count.

He said the last day to count ballots is Nov. 12.

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1:30 p.m.

A Michigan judge has dismissed a lawsuit by President Donald Trump’s campaign in a dispute over whether Republican challengers had access to the handling of absentee ballots.

Judge Cynthia Stephens noted that the lawsuit was filed late Wednesday afternoon, just hours before the last ballots were counted. She also said the defendant, Secretary of State Jocelyn Benson, was the wrong person to sue because she doesn’t control the logistics of local ballot counting, even if she is the state’s chief election officer.

The Associated Press called the Michigan presidential election for Democrat Joe Biden on Wednesday evening. Trump won the state in 2016.

The lawsuit claimed Benson, a Democrat, was allowing absentee ballots to be counted without teams of bipartisan observers as well as challengers. She was accused of undermining the “constitutional right of all Michigan voters … to participate in fair and lawful elections.”

Benson, through state attorneys, denied the allegations. Much of the dispute centered on the TCF Center in Detroit where pro-Trump protesters gathered while absentee ballots were being counted.

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11:45 a.m.

A judge in Georgia has dismissed a lawsuit by the state Republican Party and President Donald Trump’s campaign that asked him to ensure one county was following state laws on processing absentee ballots.

Chatham County Superior Court Judge James Bass did not provide an explanation for his decision Thursday at the close of a roughly one-hour hearing. The county includes the heavily Democratic city of Savannah.

The suit had raised concerns about 53 absentee ballots that poll observers said were not part of an original batch of ballots. County elections officials testified that all 53 ballots had been received on time.

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11:40 a.m.

Joe Biden’s campaign is expressing optimism at the ultimate result of the election but warning supporters to “stay patient and stay calm” as vote counting continues.

Biden campaign manager Jen O’Malley Dillon said Thursday on a briefing call with reporters that “the story of today is going to be a very positive story” for their campaign, but cautioned that as the counting continues, “we need to allow it to get done and get done well.”

She says the campaign expects their lead to fluctuate in some states as more votes come in.

O’Malley Dillon also charged that legal challenges by President Donald Trump’s campaign to halt vote counting in some states and seek a recount in Wisconsin are a “flailing strategy” that are an “attempt to distract and delay” from the results of the election.

The Associated Press is not calling the presidential race yet because neither candidate has secured the 270 Electoral College votes needed for victory. Several key states were too early to call — Pennsylvania, Georgia, North Carolina and Nevada.

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10:38 a.m.

Arizona state officials say there are about 450,000 ballots still to be counted in the Western battleground.

The Associated Press says it is monitoring that vote count as it comes in. The AP has called the presidential race in Arizona for Democrat Joe Biden.

AP executive editor Sally Buzbee says: “The Associated Press continues to watch and analyze vote count results from Arizona. We will follow the facts in all cases.”

Biden holds a 2.35 percentage point lead over Trump in Arizona, an advantage of about 68,000 votes.

The vast majority of the ballots yet to be counted are from Maricopa County, the most populous area of the state.

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This item has been corrected to show that 450,000 ballots, not 375,000 ballots, still need to be counted.

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9:40 a.m.

With Joe Biden edging closer to unseating him from the White House, President Donald Trump says he wants to put a halt to vote counting.

The extraordinary statement by an incumbent president to voice support for ceasing the count of legally cast votes came in a Thursday morning tweet, saying only: “STOP THE COUNT!”

Elections are run by individual state, county and local governments. Trump’s public comments have no impact on the tallying of votes across the country.

So far, the vote count across the country has been conducted efficiently and without evidence of any misconduct, despite Trump’s public complaints.

Trump’s comments come as his campaign has filed legal action in several states to try to stop vote counting, claiming a lack of transparency. Still, Trump’s campaign has held out hope that continued counting in Arizona could overcome a Biden lead in the state.

Find AP’s full election coverage at APNews.com/Election2020.

Copyright 2020 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.

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