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More than 58 million Americans have already voted

Official White House Photo by Tia DufourBy LAUREN KING and LAUREN LANTRY, ABC NEWS

(WASHINGTON) — With nine days to go until Election Day, and President Donald Trump and former Vice President Joe Biden racing toward Nov. 3, voters are turning out in record numbers to cast their ballots early.

More than 58 million Americans have already voted in the 2020 election, reflecting an extraordinary level of participation and interest despite unprecedented barriers brought on by the coronavirus pandemic.

In the final weeks of campaigning, the president has continued to press as polls show him trailing nationally and in several battleground states key to his reelection hopes. The president had a campaign rally in New Hampshire Sunday to top off a weekend of events across multiple states, and Biden appeared at a virtual “I Will Vote” concert.

All 50 states plus Washington, D.C., have some form of early voting underway.

Here’s how the news developed Sunday. All times Eastern:

Oct 25, 11:20 pm
Biden appears at virtual ‘I Will Vote’ concert

Former Vice President Joe Biden appeared with some of his biggest celebrity supporters in a 2-hour online fundraiser geared toward voter mobilization.

The “I Will Vote” concert fundraiser was a mix of prerecorded and live performances, co-hosted by actor-comedian George Lopez and political strategist Ana Navarro.

“This is the most consequential election in a long, long, long time, and the character of the country in my view is literally on the ballot,” said Biden, who appeared live with his wife, Jill.

Making a pitch to Hispanic voters, Biden said that if elected, his administration would include “a lot” of Latinos.

“The Latino community can determine the outcome of the election,” he said. “Across the nation, 20% of the country, 24 of every 100 students in school today, is a Latino. We have to embrace and include and generate the kind of support they get.”

Celebrities from Cher and Jon Bon Jovi to Aloe Blacc and A$AP Ferg appeared at the event.

Oct 25, 11:23 pm
Pence holds rally after five in his inner circle test positive

Vice President Mike Pence weathered a storm to deliver a 40-minute speech at a campaign rally tonight in Kinston, North Carolina, standing in the rain as he delivered familiar attacks on his predecessor, Biden, and touted Trump’s handling of the coronavirus pandemic.

There was no social distancing in the roughly 200-person crowd, about half of whom were wearing masks. Pence made no mention of his chief of staff, Marc Short, or the four others in his inner circle who have tested positive for COVID-19.

Pence also said he predicts Judge Amy Coney Barrett will be confirmed during Monday’s Senate confirmation vote.

“Judge Amy Coney Barrett will be Justice Amy Coney Barrett,” Pence said. “We’re gonna fill that seat.”

Before the speech, Pence exited Air Force Two with a mask on and then removed the mask to deliver the address. After the speech, Pence did not go down to the rope line to personally greet supporters.

Oct 25, 11:24 pm
President, first lady greet children at White House Halloween event

Halloween at the White House looked slightly different this year as the president and first lady Melania Trump greeted children outside of the residence, but did not hand out any candy.

Supporters shouted, “We love you!” and “God bless you, Mr. President!” Another chanted, “Four more years!”

White House Chief of Staff Mark Meadows stood nearby, also greeting children. Neither Meadows nor the Trumps wore face coverings.

Oct 25, 6:17 pm
Over 58 million Americans have already voted

According to the United States Elections Project, an unprecedented 58,857,310 voters have already voted and at least 86,931,110 ballots have been requested in early voting states. Nationally, voters have cast 42.7% of the total votes counted in the 2016 general election.

In the key swing state of Florida, 40.6% of registered voters have already voted. Over five million ballots have been cast, two million of which were in-person.

In Pennsylvania, over one million ballots have been cast. In North Carolina, over three million voters have cast their ballots early. And over seven million Texans have already voted, which is over 80% of the total turnout in the state in 2016.

Oct 25, 5:11 pm
Trump signs pumpkin on campaign trail

After delivering remarks at a campaign rally in Londonderry, New Hampshire, Trump visited hundreds of supporters in Maine at the Treworgy Family Orchard on Sunday afternoon.

“I’m very impressed, and I’m very impressed with Maine, and I hope we’re going to do well,” Trump said.
He added, “It’s the biggest election our country’s ever had.”

With just six days before Halloween and nine days left on the campaign trail, Trump then signed a pumpkin and joked, “that’ll be on eBay tonight.” He said he planned to take a bag of apples back to the White House.

Oct 25, 4:45 pm
Ballot drop box set on fire in Boston

Boston police are asking for the public’s assistance in identifying the individual who set an election ballot drop box on fire in the area of 700 Boylston St. in the city.

The police department released a series of surveillance images and included phone numbers for anyone who can help them identify the individual in a news release.

Firefighters were called to the scene shortly after 4 a.m. on Sunday and found smoke coming from inside the drop box.

Secretary of the Commonwealth William Galvin has asked the FBI to investigate.

The drop box had last been emptied by the Boston Elections Department at 2:29 p.m. on Saturday, Galvin’s office said in a statement.

According to the Secretary of the commonwealth’s office there were 112 ballots in the dropbox and 87 were able to be processed, the others weren’t salvageable and those voters affected will be resent ballots.

Oct 25, 3:04 pm
Biden’s $100 million question

With a steady polling lead, a massive cash advantage and only nine days left to spend it, should Joe Biden go big or should he play it safe, following the hard-learned lessons of 2016?

In the final weeks of the general election, the Biden campaign has kept a steady focus on their six core battleground states of Pennsylvania, Michigan, Wisconsin, Arizona, North Carolina and Florida — all states Hillary Clinton lost in 2016. That focus is expected to continue as Election Day draws closer.

Biden’s campaign is entering the home stretch in a position to spend, compared to President Donald Trump and the Republican Party, which burned through $1.4 billion of the more than $1.6 billion raised over the last two years.

The former vice president’s campaign reported having $162 million in cash on hand by mid-October — nearly four times the $43 million in cash on hand the Trump campaign reported. Overall, Biden and the Democratic party report having $331 million in cash on hand by Oct 14, compared to Trump and the GOP’s $223.5 million.

The cash advantage is not lost on Biden’s team.

Oct 25, 2:41 pm
Harris continues campaign stops in Michigan

Sen. Kamala Harris was in Detroit at a drive-in church service event in Detroit this morning and just finished speaking with volunteers and organizers at a canvass kickoff event.

The Democratic vice presidential candidate is next headed to Troy, Michigan, to speak to volunteers and organizers at a canvass kickoff event there. Later she’ll participate in a “Vote Now” drive-in rally in Pontiac, Michigan, and will appear in a virtual “I Will Vote” concert with her husband Doug Emhoff.

Oct 25, 2:37 pm
Trump wraps New Hampshire rally

The president wrapped up his campaign rally shortly before 2:30 p.m., gave the crowd a few fist pumps as the Village People’s “Y.M.C.A” played and then Trump boarded Air Force One.

He’s heading back to Washington where he and first lady Melania Trump will host Halloween at the White House in the evening.

Oct 25, 1:35 pm
GOP shuts down Dem filibuster of Barrett nomination

In a key procedural vote Sunday afternoon, the Republicans shut down a Democratic filibuster of the Supreme Court nomination of Judge Amy Coney Barrett.

The vote was 51-48 and Sens. Lisa Murkowski, R-Alaska, and Susan Collins, R-Maine, voted with Democrats. Sen. Kamala Harris, D-Calif., did not vote because she is campaigning in Michigan.

Sunday’s vote moves Barrett closer to the final confirmation Monday night, less than two weeks before Election Day.

Oct 25, 1:17 pm
Schumer advises members to avoid congregating on Senate floor after reports of positive COVID-19 tests

Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer, in a “Dear Colleague” letter to Democrats Sunday morning, urged them to cast their votes on the Senate floor quickly and avoid congregating in the chamber following reports of Senate staff and members of the vice president’s team contracting the novel coronavirus.

The Senate convened Sunday afternoon to resume debate on Judge Amy Coney Barrett’s nomination to the Supreme Court ahead of Monday’s expected final confirmation vote.

Five individuals in Vice President Mike Pence’s orbit have tested positive for the coronavirus, including his chief of staff Marc Short and political aide Marty Obst. The vice president and his wife tested negative for the coronavirus Sunday morning.

Pence anticipates continuing his campaign schedule Sunday and said he will be in the Senate Monday for Barrett’s confirmation vote.

“While CDC guidelines would dictate contract tracing a quarantining be practiced, our colleagues and the Vice President have indicated that they do not intend to follow such protocols. The Vice President is maintaining his campaign schedule and, inexplicably, intends to preside over the Senate chamber tomorrow evening. Their carelessness with the health and safety of their colleagues and Capitol employees mirrors their carelessness with the health and safety of Americans during this crisis,” Schumer wrote.
 
“Therefore, considering the Republicans’ refusal follow CDC guidelines regarding quarantining and contact tracing, I would recommend that you not congregate in the Senate chamber today and that you cast your votes quickly and from a safe distance,” he continued.

Oct 25, 12:54 pm
What goes into the tallying process?

The last day to vote in the 2020 general election is Nov. 3. But ballots may not be counted for several days, if not weeks, after that date, experts said.

Due to an anticipated record amount of mail-in voting this election season, combined with ballot counts that won’t start until Election Day in most states, election officials across the country could be overwhelmed in some cases.

Deadlines for receiving mail-in ballots also extend past Nov. 3 in several states, all but making it a given that votes will be recorded in the days or even weeks after the election.

“I buy that we’re going to know quite a bit on election night … we could even get an election night call. Still, I would advise caution. If it does come down to the Midwest, we could be waiting for a long time,” Nate Silver, editor-in-chief of FiveThirtyEight, said on ABC’s This Week Sunday,

The issue of mail-in ballot receipt deadlines is also fraught with legal challenges — some of which are still playing out in court with less than two weeks to go until the general election.

Despite these new complexities, experts are confident voters’ ballots will be counted this election season.

Oct 25, 12:41 pm

Trump arrives in New Hampshire for rally

Air Force One touched down in New Hampshire a short time ago and was making its way over to the crowd of people waiting for the president’s campaign rally.

Oct 25, 12:16 pm

5 in Pence’s orbit test positive for the coronavirus

Five individuals in Vice President Mike Pence’s orbit have tested positive for the coronavirus, including his chief of staff Marc Short and political aide Marty Obst.

Devin O’Malley, press secretary for the vice president, announced Saturday in a statement that Short tested positive.

Sunday morning, multiple sources familiar with the matter told ABC News that in addition to an outside political ally of Pence’s four of his staffers have tested positive. One senior-level source stressed that the three of the staffers have been quarantining since the middle of this past week.

Oct 25, 10:31 am

Foreign efforts to undermine US election

ABC News Chief Justice correspondent Pierre Thomas said Russia appears to be “seeking direct access” to American voters to sow division and unrest.

Senior national security officials alerted the American public Wednesday that Iran and Russia have both obtained voter data in their efforts to interfere in the 2020 U.S. election.

Thomas said on ABC’s “This Week” Sunday that those efforts appear to be aimed at creating problems before the election and possibly just after Election Day “if we don’t quickly know a result.”

On Friday, U.S. officials told ABC News that systems containing election-related information from two counties in two separate states were successfully hacked by the Russian effort. While the FBI and Cybersecurity and Infrastructure Security Agency have seen no evidence that data has been altered, FBI and Homeland Security officials expressed concern that Russia “may be seeking access to obtain future disruption options, to influence U.S. policies and actions, or to delegitimize SLTT government entities.”

Iran is “aggressively pursuing the same goal,” Thomas said Sunday.

Director of National Intelligence John Ratcliffe said Wednesday that Iran was separately behind a series of threatening emails that were found to be sent this week to Democratic voters, which he said was “designed to intimidate voters, incite social unrest and damage President Trump.”

Alireza Miryousefi, spokesman for the Iranian Mission to the U.N., denied the allegations to ABC News.

Oct 25, 9:42 am

Talking with Pennsylvania voters

ABC’s “This Week” Co-anchor Martha Raddatz talked with voters from the battleground state of Pennsylvania, a must-win for Trump.

The president won the state in 2016, with a slim margin, and there are “worrisome signs” this year.

Tanya Siletsky is the kind of supporter the Trump campaign hopes will help him win the battleground state.

“I would say no,” she said on “This Week” on whether anything has given her pause about Trump. “All his policies I agree with 100%.”

Oct 25, 9:18 am

Trump, Biden favorability unchanged as 2020 race heads into final week: POLL

After two contentious debates and more than $1.5 billion in advertising, President Donald Trump and former Vice President Joe Biden enter the closing week of a bitter campaign with their favorability ratings relatively unchanged since at least the summer, according to an ABC News/Ipsos poll released Sunday.

Trump’s favorability is significantly underwater in the new survey, which was conducted by Ipsos in partnership with ABC News using Ipsos’ Knowledge Panel, with more than half of Americans — including more than half of men (53%), Americans over 65 (53%), and independents (57%) — viewing him unfavorably. The president’s favorability deficit stands at minus-22 in the poll, similar to where he stood on the eve of the 2016 election.

But unlike four years ago, when both Trump and  headed into November deeply unpopular – Trump’s favorability at 38% to 60% and Clinton’s at 42% to 56% in the final ABC News/Washington Post poll — Biden is seen significantly more favorably.

-ABC News’ Kendall Karson

Oct 25, 9:02 am

Back on the campaign trail

The candidates are fanning out across the country again Sunday with rallies, concerts and get out the vote events.

Sen. Kamala Harris, D-Calif., has the earliest start with drive-in church service event in Detroit. She’ll continue with afternoon canvas kickoff events, where she’ll speak to volunteers and organizers, in Detroit and Troy, Michigan. Then she has an evening drive-in rally in Pontiac before she and her husband Doug Emhoff deliver a taped message during the virtual “I Will Vote” concert.

Joe and Jill Biden are also scheduled to speak during the virtual concert at 8 p.m.

Trump will speak at an afternoon rally in Londonderry, New Hampshire.

Vice President Mike Pence will speak at a campaign rally in Kinston, North Carolina.

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