LAS VEGAS — Early results showed Joe Biden with a slim lead over President Trump in Nevada, but it was too early to declare a winner in the race Wednesday with a large number of ballots yet to be counted.

The top elections official in the most populous county said more results will be released Thursday morning that include mail-in ballots received on Tuesday and Wednesday.

Clark County Registrar of Voters Joe Gloria said at a news conference Wednesday afternoon that he did not have a number for how many ballots had been received but uncounted in the Las Vegas area.

A man leaves the polling place where about 100 mostly masked northern Nevadans were waiting to vote at Reed High School in Sparks about two hours before the polls closed Tuesday. Associated Press/Scott Sonner

The Nevada Deputy Secretary of State for Elections Wayne Thorley said in a text message earlier Wednesday that the state would likely release some additional results that afternoon but did not immediately respond to a message mid-afternoon inquiring if more results would be coming.

Election officials in Washoe County, which includes Reno, were planning to hold their own news conference Wednesday but it wasn’t clear if they planned to release more results.

In Las Vegas, Gloria said he would be holding daily 10 a.m. news conferences until all ballots were counted, including provisional ballots that were cast by voters taking advantage of same-day registration, electronic ballots sent to overseas voters or for disabled voters.

With presidency in reach, Democrats grapple with disappointment

WASHINGTON — Democrats went into Election Day hoping to reclaim the White House and majorities in both chambers of Congress in a victory that would demonstrate an unmistakable repudiation of President Trump and a Republican Party remade in his image.

It didn’t work out that way.

More than 12 hours after polls closed, Biden held a narrow lead in some key states with hundreds of thousands of votes yet to be counted, and he has a comfortable advantage in the national popular vote. But as of midday Wednesday, there was no clear Democratic wave.

Republicans held key Senate seats that Democrats hoped to flip, and the GOP may ultimately shrink the Democrats’ House majority. And even if Trump were to ultimately lose, the closeness of the presidential contest raised the prospect that a Biden presidency would have difficulty enacting progressive priorities or quickly move past the divisive politics of the Trump era.

Democrats will move forward “limping and bleeding with a huge warning about the voters they are repelling from the party,” Meghan McCain, a Republican who was critical of Trump, predicted on Twitter.

While Trump’s critics were deeply disappointed that the hoped-for blue wave never materialized, Biden’s allies encouraged the political world to step back and see the big picture. Dan Pfeiffer, a former aide to President Barack Obama, posted a message to Democrats on Medium entitled, “Biden is winning, act like it.”

“The Republicans are already trying to neuter his ability to govern by casting aspersions about how he won,” Pfeiffer wrote. “We cannot let them do that. The stakes are too damn high.”

Indeed, should Trump lose, no matter the margin, he would be the first incumbent president to fail to win reelection since 1992. Biden has already flipped two states Trump carried four years ago, Arizona and Wisconsin, and held a modest lead in at least one other, Michigan, as he moved toward rebuilding the Democrats’ so-called “Blue Wall.”

Trump campaign files lawsuit to try to stop Michigan ballot count

President Trump’s campaign says it has filed a lawsuit trying to halt the vote count in battleground Michigan.

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Democratic election challengers arrive at the central counting board as ballots are counted into the early-morning hours Wednesday in Detroit. David Goldman/Associated Press

The latest counts gives Trump’s Democratic challenger Joe Biden a small lead, but the race is still too early to call.

Trump campaign manager Bill Stepien says in a statement Wednesday that the campaign “has not been provided with meaningful access to numerous counting locations to observe the opening of ballots and the counting process, as guaranteed by Michigan law.”

He says a suit was filed Wednesday in the Michigan Court of Claims “to halt counting until meaningful access has been granted.”

Michigan is a critical battleground state that helped deliver Trump the presidency four years ago, along with Wisconsin and Pennsylvania. Neither Wisconsin or Pennsylvania has been called yet.

Trump campaign says it will request recount in Wisconsin, even as tallying continues

President Trump’s campaign manager Bill Stepien says the president plans to “immediately” request a recount in the battleground state of Wisconsin, where the race remains close.

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An election worker takes a break Wednesday in Milwaukee at a central counting facility. Stephen Groves/Associated Press

In Wisconsin, if a race is within 1 percentage point, the trailing candidate can force a recount.

Stepien says in a statement Wednesday: “The President is well within the threshold to request a recount and we will immediately do so.”

The fate of the United States presidency is hanging in the balance, with Trump and his Democratic challenger, Joe Biden, battling for three familiar battleground states — Wisconsin, Michigan and Pennsylvania — that could prove crucial in determining who wins the White House.

In the race to the 270 electoral votes needed to win, Biden had 238 while Trump had 213 by midday Wednesday as the counts continue.

Scattered protests in U.S. cities, but no wide unrest seen

WASHINGTON — Scattered protests took place from Washington, D.C. to Washington state in the hours after polls closed, but there were no signs of widespread unrest or violence linked to the U.S. election.

The outcome of the hard-fought contest for the presidency remained undecided Wednesday, stirring worries that prolonged uncertainty could yet spark conflict.

But overnight demonstrations in cities including Seattle, Washington and New York remained largely peaceful.

In Washington, more than 1,000 people protesting President Donald Trump converged on Black Lives Matter Plaza on Tuesday night, just a block from the White House, while hundreds more marched through downtown, sometimes blocking traffic and setting off fireworks.

Protestors shouted “Whose streets? Our streets!” and “If we don’t get no justice, they don’t get no peace!”

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People march on the night of the election in Seattle, Tuesday, Nov. 3. AP Photo/Ted S. Warren

Groups of teenagers danced in the street as onlookers cheered. Large banners, including one reading “Trump lies all the time,” were unfurled.

At one point, the marchers stabbed the tires of a parked police van to flatten them.

Hundreds of people marched in anti-Trump demonstrations in Portland, Oregon, and Seattle, with several arrested.

“This is what democracy looks like,” protesters chanted in Portland, where organizers said the demonstration would be peaceful and that regardless of the presidential election result, they would continue protesting in support of racial justice. The sheriff’s office said some protesters were openly carrying guns.

Oregon Gov. Kate Brown had put the National Guard on standby, since Portland has seen almost nightly protests since the death of George Floyd under a Minneapolis police officer’s knee in May.

Portland Mayor Ted Wheeler said on Twitter that there would be “no tolerance for any violence, intimidation or criminal destruction,” and that people should be “safe while using their voice to advocate for their perspective.”

In Seattle, police said they arrested several people, including someone who put nails in a road and another who drove over a barricade and into a police bike lane. No one was injured.

Hundreds of businesses in cities across the U.S. boarded up their doors and windows ahead of the election, fearing the vote could lead to the sort of violence that broke out after Floyd’s death.

“Some people would like to cause mayhem and trouble,” Washington Mayor Muriel Bowser said earlier in the day. She said she had never seen so many businesses being boarded up: “That all saddens me.”

Push to relax drug laws gains big victories on state ballots

A nationwide push to relax drug laws took a significant step forward Tuesday as five more states legalized marijuana for adults and voters made Oregon the first state to decriminalize the possession of small amounts of street drugs such as cocaine, heroin and methamphetamine.

The drug measures were among 120 proposed state laws and constitutional amendments that were on the ballot in 32 states. They touched on an array of issues that have roiled politics in recent years — voting rights, racial inequalities, abortion, taxes and education, to name a few.

But none directly dealt with the dominant theme of 2020 — the coronavirus pandemic. That’s because the process to put measures on the ballot began, in most cases, before the virus surged to the forefront.

The Oregon drug initiative will allow people arrested with small amounts of hard drugs to avoid going to trial, and possible jail time, by paying a $100 fine and attending an addiction recovery program. The treatment centers will be funded by revenues from legalized marijuana, which was approved in Oregon several years ago.

“Today’s victory is a landmark declaration that the time has come to stop criminalizing people for drug use,” said Kassandra Frederique, executive director of the Drug Policy Alliance, which backed the measure.

Sheldon Smith

Sheldon Smith, center, holds the photographs of his children Deshawn Smith, 11, left, and Trinitee Smith, 13, both suffering from sickle cell anemia, during an Initiative 65 rally in Ridgeland, Miss. Smith and his wife Keishawna Smith believe their children would benefit from medical marijuana treatment for pain management. Initiative 65 would amend the Mississippi Constitution to allow the prescription by a doctor of up to 5 ounces (142 grams) of marijuana per month for people who suffer from more than 20 medical conditions. AP Photo/Rogelio V. Solis, File

The proposal was endorsed by the Oregon Democratic Party, as well as some nurses and physician associations. The Oregon Republican Party had denounced the drug decriminalization measure as radical, and some prosecutors called it reckless.

Oregon voters also approved a measure making the state the first to legalize the therapeutic use of psychedelic mushrooms.

Voters in New Jersey and Arizona approved measures legalizing marijuana for adults age 21 and older. In New Jersey, the Legislature now will have to pass another measure setting up the new marijuana marketplace. The Arizona measure also allows people convicted of certain marijuana crimes to seek expungement of their records. The passage of the measure signaled a change of attitudes, after Arizona voters narrowly defeated a legal pot proposal in 2016.

South Dakota on Tuesday became the first state where voters authorized both recreational marijuana and medical marijuana via two separate initiatives in the same election. The legalization of recreational marijuana was approved by voters in Montana, and medical marijuana won approval in Mississippi.

Read the full story here.

Nation looks on as vote counting proceeds in Pennsylvania

HARRISBURG, Pa. — Legal challenges and a mountain of uncounted ballots promised a long watch Wednesday to find out who the people of Pennsylvania chose as president, even as a host of other major races in the state — including for several congressional seats, statewide officers and the legislature — stayed unresolved.

Voters turned out in large numbers for an election that produced few of the glitches some had feared. But the state’s decision to greatly expand mail-in voting means it could still be days before it’s clear whether President Trump repeated his surprise Pennsylvania victory from four years ago or whether native son Joe Biden would collect its 20 electoral votes.

“What’s most important is that we have accurate results and that every vote is counted, even if that takes a little longer,” Democratic Gov. Tom Wolf said after polls closed. “So I’m urging Pennsylvania to just to remain calm, be patient, stay united on election night and in the days ahead.”

An election worker in Philadelphia scans ballots Tuesday at the Pennsylvania Convention Center. Associated Press/Matt Slocum

Republicans and a voter filed a federal lawsuit accusing officials in suburban Philadelphia’s Montgomery County of illegally processing mail-in ballots before Tuesday for the purpose of allowing voters to fix problems with their ballots.

A federal judge in Philadelphia set a hearing for Wednesday morning on the bid to stop the count of 49 ballots that were amended and returned there.

But the state’s highest court has not prohibited counties from allowing voters to fix their ballots, said Kelly Cofrancisco, a county spokesperson.

“We believe in doing whatever we can to afford those who have legally requested and returned a ballot a fair opportunity to have their vote count,” Cofrancisco said.

South Carolina Republican Lindsey Graham wins 4th Senate term

COLUMBIA, S.C. — Republican Lindsey Graham of South Carolina has secured a fourth term in the U.S. Senate.

The incumbent defeated Democratic challenger Jaime Harrison, an associate chairman of the Democratic National Committee.

Republican U.S. Sen. Lindsey Graham reacts after marking his ballot electronically for the general election, Tuesday in Seneca, S.C. Graham won a fourth Senate term. Associated Press/Richard Shiro

Harrison’s massive fundraising broke records in the race, allowing the challenger to dominate airwaves and mount a significant ground effort. Some polling in the campaign’s closing weeks showed a head-to-head race.

But Graham mustered support across South Carolina, where all statewide offices are held by Republicans and support for President Donald Trump remains strong.

As chairman of the Senate Judiciary Committee, he occupied a national television platform for days during the confirmation hearings for Supreme Court Justice Amy Coney Barrett.

The competition between Graham, 65, and Harrison, 44, turned into South Carolina’s most expensive race ever, with both candidates posting record fundraising.

As of the end of the third quarter, Graham had brought in $58 million, his third-quarter haul of $28 million being the largest ever posted by a Republican Senate candidate in a quarterly filing period.

Harrison raised $57 million in the third quarter alone, shattering all quarterly fundraising records for any Senate candidate, amassing a war chest of $86 million over the course of the race.

Democrat Hickenlooper unseats incumbent in Colorado Senate race

DENVER — Democrat John Hickenlooper has defeated Republican Sen. Cory Gardner in one of the closest-watched Senate races in the nation.

Gardner was widely seen as one of the most vulnerable Republicans because Colorado had shifted strongly to the left since his election to the Senate in 2014. Hickenlooper is a popular former two-term governor who relentlessly tied Gardner to President Donald Trump during the race.

Gardner struggled to distinguish himself from the president. He touted a sweeping public lands bill he coauthored, a national suicide prevention hotline he launched and various federal goodies he secured for Colorado. But none were enough to escape from Trump’s shadow.

Democrats have won every statewide race since Gardner’s election, with the exception of a board of regents position in 2016.

The election caps a four-year push by Democrats in Colorado, a state that was once known for its status as an evenly divided partisan battleground but has become reliably Democratic under Trump.

Gardner, 46, has been something of the last of his kind, a relic of a barely red-leaning state in which rural and urban areas had equal sway.

Gardner noted on the campaign trail that he was the only statewide elected official not from the fast-growing Denver metropolitan area. Instead, the smooth-talking, sunny-demeanored senator hailed from the small town of Yuma in the state’s rural eastern plains and bemoaned how Hickenlooper catered too much to Denver by, for example, vowing to cut fossil fuel production.

Gardner’s vulnerability in the state was a magnet to more than a dozen Democrats who lined up to challenge him last year as the state’s most prominent member of their party, Hickenlooper, instead mounted a quixotic bid for the presidential nomination. Hickenlooper, who was notoriously uninterested in the mechanics of legislation while he was governor, had said repeatedly he didn’t want to be a senator.

Pennsylvania emerges as online misinformation hotspot

A single voting machine jammed for just minutes Tuesday morning at a precinct in Joe Biden’s hometown of Scranton, Pennsylvania – but misleading posts on Facebook and Twitter claimed multiple machines there were down for hours.

Pennsylvania emerged as a hotspot for online misinformation on Election Day. Facebook and Twitter scrambled to take down false posts about polling locations in Scranton, Philadelphia and beyond to minimize the spread of misinformation and prevent it from sowing doubt about the election process.

Misleading claims about voting in the key battleground state were shared thousands of times on Facebook and Twitter — even reaching their way to the Twitter feed of the president’s son, Donald Trump Jr.

Volunteers from Ithaca, N.Y., hand out free cookies to voters in Scranton, Pa., on Tuesday. One voting machine jammed for minutes Tuesday morning at a precinct in Scranton, Joe Biden’s hometown, but misleading posts on Facebook and Twitter claimed multiple machines there were down for hours. Associated Press/Mary Altaffer

“The fact that we are unlikely to know the result of that pivotal race tonight means that any incidents will receive disproportionate attention because there won’t be a resolution to the race,” said Emerson Brooking, a disinformation fellow at the Atlantic Council’s Digital Forensic Research Lab, a Washington think tank.

Results in the closely watched state might be delayed because of the surge of mail-in ballots this year, even though that delay doesn’t indicate a problem with the vote.

Conservative social-media influencers and websites spread a video purporting to show voting machine outages in the Scranton Cultural Center at the Masonic Temple throughout the late afternoon and evening. In fact, just one machine had only briefly been jammed and was restored within minutes Tuesday morning, Lackawanna County spokesman Joseph D’Arienzo said.

Twitter and Facebook also removed a false post from an Instagram user who claimed to be discarding hundreds of ballots cast for Trump while working at a polling place in Erie County.

“The person making the statements does not work in any way with Erie County or have any part of Erie County’s election process,” the Erie County Board of Elections Chair Carl J. Anderson III said in a statement. “In fact, the individual is not a registered voter and is not believed to be a resident of Erie County, Pa.”

Senate leader Mitch McConnell wins 7th term in Kentucky

Republican Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell has won a seventh term in Kentucky.

McConnell is the chief ally of President Trump in Congress and the longest-serving Republican Senate leader in history.

The 78-year-old McConnell defeated Democrat Amy McGrath in the election Tuesday. McGrath is a retired Marine combat pilot who challenged him as a political outsider.

McConnell touted his leadership post as a political asset for Kentucky. As Trump’s top ally on Capitol Hill, McConnell led efforts to defend Trump during his impeachment acquittal in the Senate. He also worked with Trump on a tax overhaul and orchestrated Senate confirmation of more than 200 judicial appointments by the Republican president, including Amy Coney Barrett to the Supreme Court.

It was McGrath’s second loss since 2018, when she was defeated in a congressional race.


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