One day ahead of Election Day, over 94 million people have already cast their ballots — more than two-thirds of the total number of ballots cast in 2016.
In Graham, North Carolina, police arrested eight people and unleashed pepper spray during a peaceful get-out-the-vote rally and march, which planned to end at an early voting site. The participants started at a Black church and stopped at a Confederate monument opposite the county courthouse to honor George Floyd and Black lives, before law enforcement officers in riot gear attempted to clear them out. Officers then started pepper-spraying the crowd that included young children and elderly people. North Carolina Governor Roy Cooper and rights groups condemned the police action. We’ll have more on this after headlines with the event’s organizer, Rev. Greg Drumwright.
The Texas Supreme Court on Sunday denied a Republican request to invalidate nearly 127,000 drive-thru votes cast in Harris County. Harris County set up 10 drive-thru polling sites for early voting, which ended Friday, and Election Day, to make voting easier and safer for Texans during the pandemic. However, the outcome of the case is still not guaranteed as the Republican plaintiffs also filed suit in federal court, which is set to hear the case this morning.
One of the plaintiffs is Steven Hotze, a coronavirus and QAnon conspiracy theorist, who said “the deep state could have been the ones that orchestrated this whole viral problem with the virus.” During the racial justice uprising this summer, Hotze told Texas Governor Greg Abbott in a voicemail he should order the National Guard to kill protesters; he said, “shoot to kill the son of a bitches. That’s the only way you restore order. Kill ’em.”
Joe Biden campaigned in the battleground states of Michigan and Pennsylvania over the weekend, blasting President Trump over his handling of the coronavirus pandemic and the climate crisis. This is Biden speaking at a socially distanced drive-in rally in Philadelphia on Sunday.
Joe Biden: “This is the most important election of our lifetimes. We’re at an inflection point. So we have to vote like we never did before. Every day — every day is a new reminder of how high the stakes are, of how far the other side will go to try to suppress the turnout.”
Axios is reporting President Trump plans to declare a premature victory Tuesday night if he is ahead of Joe Biden in early returns. Election forecasters say vote counting after Election Day will likely favor Biden — particularly in Pennsylvania — even if Trump holds an early lead. Trump denied the reports Sunday but told reporters he opposed counting ballots after November 3.
President Donald Trump: “I think it’s a terrible thing when people are — or states are allowed to tabulate ballots for a long period of time after the election is over.”
Trump also suggested he expects to win any election cases that land before the Supreme Court. This is Trump at a packed campaign rally in Pennsylvania on Saturday.
President Donald Trump: “If we win on Tuesday or — thank you very much, Supreme Court — shortly thereafter.”
On Sunday, senior Trump campaign adviser Jason Miller came under fire for suggesting Democrats could attempt to “steal” the election by counting ballots after Election Day. Miller spoke with ABC News.
Jason Miller: “If you speak with many smart Democrats, they believe that President Trump will be ahead on Election Night, probably getting 280 electoral, somewhere in that range. And then they’re going to try to steal it back after the election. We believe that we will be over 290 electoral votes on election night. So, no matter what they try to do, what kind of hijinks or lawsuits or whatever kind of nonsense they try to pull off, we’re still going to have enough electoral votes to get President Trump reelected.”
The FBI is investigating after motorists with Trump 2020 flags surrounded and harassed a Biden campaign bus driving down a Texas highway. Video shows one truck swerving into a car reportedly full of Biden campaign workers. Trump defended the drivers, tweeting “these patriots did nothing wrong” and that the FBI should instead investigate antifa. Meanwhile, hundreds of Trump supporters in their cars blocked traffic on the New Jersey Turnpike and the Mario Cuomo Bridge in New York on Sunday.
Coronavirus cases in the United States topped 9.2 million as scientists warn the virus is spreading at a faster rate than before and hospitals will be pushed beyond capacity. On Friday, nearly 100,000 new cases were reported — the highest single-day number of cases recorded for any country.
A Stanford University study found that Trump rallies between June 20 and September 30 may have led to over 700 COVID-19 deaths and 30,000 new cases. Trump has repeatedly discouraged and mocked mask wearing, while continuing to hold events with tightly packed crowds, with minimal mask wearing, in coronavirus hot spots.
At a rally in Florida Sunday, Trump suggested he could fire top infectious disease expert Dr. Anthony Fauci after the election.
Trump supporters: “Fire Fauci! Fire Fauci! Fire Fauci! Fire Fauci! Fire Fauci! Fire Fauci! Fire Fauci! Fire Fauci! Fire Fauci! Fire Fauci!”
President Donald Trump: “Don’t tell anybody, but let me wait ’til a little bit after the election.”
This comes after The Washington Post reported Fauci said the pandemic would only get worse in the U.S. and that Joe Biden’s campaign “is taking [the pandemic] seriously from a public health perspective,” while Trump is prioritizing “reopening the country.”
In immigration news, an investigation by Reveal and the Los Angeles Times shows both the Obama and Trump administrations detained tens of thousands of migrant children for longer periods of time than previously known. The report reveals over 25,000 migrant children were detained for more than 100 days in the past six years. Nearly 1,000 children were in shelters for more than a year.
In related news, The New York Times reports the U.S. has been deporting unaccompanied children from Central America and other countries to Mexico, violating a diplomatic agreement that requires the U.S. to deport them to their home countries, where they may be able to reunite with family.
In Poland, an estimated 150,000 people rallied in Warsaw Friday to protest against a court decision banning nearly all forms of abortion. The protests were the biggest since the Solidarity movement of the 1980s.
Kasia Kowalska: “I am a woman. I am a mother. I have a daughter. And I think I am here not only for myself but also for my daughter, so that she can live in better times. I want the best for her and for everyone. I think it’s important for everyone who lives in Poland.”
In Ivory Coast, at least 12 people were killed during protests Saturday as voters headed to the polls. Anti-government protests intensified in the weeks leading up to the election as opponents say President Alassane Ouattara’s bid for a third term is a violation of the constitutional two-term limit. As early results show Ouattara in a commanding lead, opposition leaders are calling for a “civilian transition” from his government. Al Jazeera reports at least 30 people were killed in pre-election violence.
In Hong Kong, authorities have arrested eight opposition politicians over their roles in resisting a controversial new security law that gives China sweeping powers over Hong Kong. The eight were part of contentious parliamentary hearings last May where they opposed a bill that critics say criminalizes free speech and protests, and erases any autonomy Hong Kong once held. This is Wu Chi-wai, chair of Hong Kong’s Democratic Party.
Wu Chi-wai: “We think this is completely unacceptable, and the government has fabricated pretexts and used groundless charges to suppress the opposition voice in the Legislative Council meeting.”
Meanwhile, calls are growing for China to release 12 activists arrested at sea in August after they allegedly tried to reach Taiwan from Hong Kong by boat. Lawyers hired by families of the 12 prisoners say they’ve been harassed by Chinese authorities and have not had any access to their clients.
In the Philippines, at least 16 people died and 1 million were evacuated as Super Typhoon Goni, the world’s strongest typhoon this year, ripped through the island of Luzon Sunday. Goni is the 18th typhoon to hit the Philippines in 2020. Climate change is causing more intense and more frequent tropical storms in the Philippines, with mass deforestation, mining and intensive farming further compounding the deadly effects of extreme weather.
In Turkey, rescue workers are continuing to search for survivors in the western city of Izmir after a 7.0 magnitude earthquake hit the Aegean Sea Friday, killing at least 80 people in Turkey and two people in Greece. Nearly 1,000 people were injured and at least 20 buildings destroyed.
The veteran Middle East reporter and author Robert Fisk has died in Dublin at the age of 74 after a suspected stroke. Fisk spent decades writing for the British newspaper The Independent, where he covered the Iranian revolution; civil wars in Algeria, the Balkans, Lebanon and Syria; U.S. sanctions against Iraq and the U.S.-led invasion in 2003. Fisk wrote extensively about the Soviet and U.S. invasions of Afghanistan, and interviewed Osama bin Laden three times in the 1990s — one of the few Western journalists to do so. This is Robert Fisk speaking on Democracy Now! in 2008, just one month ahead of the presidential election.
Robert Fisk: “And we start talking, using phrases like 'victory.' We should be talking about phrases like 'justice for the people of the Middle East.' If you have justice, you can build democracy on it, and then we can withdraw all these soldiers. We’re always going — promising people in the Middle East democracy and packages of human rights off our supermarket shelves, and we’re always arriving with our horses and our Humvees and our swords and our Apache helicopters and our M1A1 tanks. The only future in the Middle East is to withdraw all our military forces and have serious political, social, religious, cultural relations with these people. It’s not our land.”