Trump and 17 states back Texas bid at Supreme Court

By Jan Wolfe and Andrea Shalal

WASHINGTON (Reuters) – President Donald Trump on Wednesday asked the U.S. Supreme Court to let him join a lawsuit by Texas seeking to throw out the voting results in four states, litigation that also drew support from 17 other states.

In a separate brief, lawyers for 17 states led by Missouri’s Republican Attorney General Eric Schmitt also urged the nine justices to hear the Texas lawsuit.

Trump on Wednesday vowed to intervene in the lawsuit though he did not provide details on the nature of the intervention including whether it would be by presidential campaign or the U.S. Justice Department.

Writing on Twitter, Trump said, “We will be INTERVENING in the Texas (plus many other states) case. This is the big one. Our Country needs a victory!”

The lawsuit, announced on Tuesday by the attorney general of Texas, Ken Paxton, targeted four states.

In addition to Missouri, the states joining Texas were: Alabama, Arkansas, Florida, Indiana, Kansas, Louisiana, Mississippi, Montana, Nebraska, North Dakota, Oklahoma, South Carolina, South Dakota, Tennessee, Utah and West Virginia.

The lawsuit was filed directly with the Supreme Court rather than with a lower court, as is permitted for certain litigation between states.

The Texas suit argued that changes made by the four states to voting procedures amid the coronavirus pandemic to expand mail-in voting were unlawful. Texas asked the Supreme Court to immediately block the four states from using the voting results to appoint presidential electors to the Electoral College.

Texas also asked the Supreme Court to delay the Dec. 14 date for Electoral College votes to be formally cast, a date set by law in 1887.

(Reporting by Andrea Shalal and Jan Wolfe; Editing by Tim Ahmann and Will Dunham)

Factbox: U.S. election: key tallies, undetermined states, certification deadlines

(Reuters) – Democrat Joe Biden won the Nov. 3 U.S. presidential election, beating Republican President Donald Trump after a longer-than-usual process of counting mail-in ballots that a record number of Americans relied on during the coronavirus pandemic.

Biden, who surpassed the 270 Electoral College votes needed to clinch the presidency on Saturday, ended with 306, Edison Research projected on Friday. Trump closed out the race at 232 Electoral College votes, according to Edison’s tally.

Votes, however, still need to be certified in most states and tallies are being challenged in several, including Michigan and Pennsylvania. At the same time, the Trump campaign has signaled it may seek a recount in Wisconsin.

Here are the key counts in the White House race, as of 3:25 p.m. EST on Friday (2025 GMT), as well as vote certification deadlines.

ELECTORAL COLLEGE: Biden 306; Trump 232

POPULAR VOTE:

Biden – 77,973,369; Trump – 72,654,368;

Biden leads by 5,319,001, or 5.3 million votes.

Biden – 50.8%; Trump 47.4%

VOTE CERTIFICATION DEADLINES:

Arizona – Deadline is Nov. 30

Georgia – Deadline is Nov. 20

Michigan – Deadline is Nov. 23

North Carolina – Deadline is Nov. 24

Pennsylvania – Deadline is Nov. 23

Wisconsin – Deadline is Dec. 1

(Reporting by Katanga Johnson; Editing by Tim Ahmann)

With final races called, Biden ends with 306 Electoral College votes, Trump 232: Edison Research

WASHINGTON (Reuters) – Democrat Joe Biden defeated President Donald Trump in the state of Georgia, while Trump won North Carolina, Edison Research projected on Friday as it called the final two states in the U.S. presidential race.

Edison Research said Biden had won 306 Electoral College votes to Trump’s 232. Biden had surpassed the 270 Electoral College votes needed to capture the presidency on Saturday.

(Writing by Tim Ahmann; Editing by Doina Chiacu)

No voting system deleted or lost votes in U.S. election: security groups

WASHINGTON (Reuters) – Election security officials have no evidence that ballots were deleted or lost by voting systems in this month’s U.S. election, two security groups said in a statement released on Thursday by the lead U.S. cybersecurity agency.

“There is no evidence that any voting system deleted or lost votes, changed votes, or was in any way compromised,” the groups said about the Nov. 3 election won by Joe Biden, a Democrat.

Republican President Donald Trump has repeatedly made unsubstantiated claims of electoral fraud and has yet to concede.

The groups, the Election Infrastructure Government Coordinating Council Executive Committee (GCC) and the Election Infrastructure Sector Coordinating Council (SCC), said the election was the most secure in U.S. history.

“While we know there are many unfounded claims and opportunities for misinformation about the process of our elections, we can assure you we have the utmost confidence in the security and integrity of our elections and you should too,” the groups said in the statement released by the Department of Homeland Security’s Cybersecurity and Infrastructure Security Agency (CISA).

CISA has drawn the ire of the Trump White House over a website it runs dubbed “Rumor Control” which debunks misinformation about the election, according to the three people familiar with the matter.

Top U.S. cybersecurity official Christopher Krebs, who worked on protecting the election from hackers, has told associates he expects to be fired, sources familiar with the matter told Reuters.

White House officials have asked for content to be edited or removed that pushed back against numerous false claims about the election, including that Democrats are behind a mass election fraud scheme. CISA officials have chosen not to delete accurate information.

The security groups said all the states with close results in the race have paper records of each vote, which can be counted if necessary.

(Reporting by Timothy Gardner; Editing by Lincoln Feast.)

Former felons among battleground Florida voters for the first time

By Simon Lewis

ST. PETERSBURG, Florida (Reuters) – Shikila Calder, 32, thought about voting early this year, but decided to save her vote – the first of her life – for Election Day on Tuesday.

“It made it special. It was exhilarating,” said Calder, one of potentially thousands of people with past felony convictions voting in a general election for the first time this year, after their rights were restored in a 2018 referendum.

Under Florida law, Calder had been denied the right to vote owning to a conviction for which she served time and repaid her debt to society a decade ago, she said after voting at a community center in the city of St. Petersburg.

“I have my voice back,” she said, a beaming smile visible in spite of her face mask. “I’m welcomed back into my community as a person and I don’t have that big label on me as a bad person.”

An amendment to Florida’s constitution was to restore voting rights to an estimated 1.4 million felons in the battleground state, ahead of the crucial election between Republican President Donald Trump and Democratic nominee Joe Biden.

But far fewer former felons were voting on Tuesday after the Republican-led Florida Senate passed a law last year requiring that only those who had paid all legal fines, fees and restitution associated with their convictions could register to vote.

The law was challenged by voting rights groups, which argued the law disproportionately impacted African Americans, who are more likely than whites to have felony convictions and more likely to owe financial obligations.

The U.S. Supreme Court rebuffed the challenge in July, leaving the law in place.

Donors, including NBA star LeBron James and billionaire Michael Bloomberg, have been helping to pay off former felons’ fines so they could vote, but it is unclear how many were able to register ahead of Tuesday’s election.

The Florida Rights Restoration Council, a campaign group that fought for the constitutional amendment, was expected to release an estimate of how many were able to vote.

Calder, who is black, said she has paid all obligations related to her sentence.

She said she voted for Biden because she trusted former President Barack Obama’s vice president to improve education and tackle racism in America.

Since serving prison time, Calder has trained as a phlebotomist and works at a St. Petersburg hospital.

“I don’t regret my past because it made me who I am today,” she said.

(Reporting by Simon Lewis; Editing by Dan Grebler)

After a campaign like no other, Americans rendering final verdict at polls

By Trevor Hunnicutt and Doina Chiacu

WILMINGTON, Del./WASHINGTON (Reuters) – Americans cast votes on Tuesday in the bitterly contested presidential race between incumbent Donald Trump and challenger Joe Biden after a tumultuous four years under the businessman-turned-politician that have left the United States as deeply divided as at any time in recent history.

Voters lined up at polling places around the country casting ballots amid a coronavirus pandemic that has turned everyday life upside down. Biden, the Democratic former vice president who has spent a half century in public life, has held a strong and consistent lead in national opinion polls over the Republican president.

But Trump is close enough in several election battleground states that he could piece together the 270 state-by-state Electoral College votes needed to win the election.

Trump is hoping to repeat the type of upset he pulled off in 2016 when he defeated Democrat Hillary Clinton despite losing the national popular vote by about 3 million ballots. Trump is aiming to avoid becoming the first incumbent U.S. president to lose a re-election bid since George H.W. Bush in 1992.

It is possible that it could be days before the result is known, especially if legal challenges focused on ballots sent by mail are accepted in the event of a tight race.

There was a sense of anxiety among voters and concern about possible unrest after a campaign with heated rhetoric. There were buildings boarded up in anticipation of possible protests, including in Washington and New York City. A new fence was erected around the White House.

Polls opened in some Eastern states at 6 a.m. EST (1100 GMT). The most closely watched results will start to trickle in after 7 p.m. EST (2400 GMT) when polls close in states such as Georgia.

Biden made another appearance on Tuesday morning in the pivotal state of Pennsylvania. Speaking to supporters using a bullhorn in Scranton, the city where he was born, Biden returned to some of his familiar campaign themes, promising to unite Americans and “restore basic decency and honor to the White House.”

Appearing on Fox News on Tuesday morning, Trump said the crowds he saw on Monday during his frenetic last day of campaigning gave him confidence that he would prevail.

“We have crowds that nobody’s ever had before,” said Trump, who has been criticized by Democrats for holding packed rallies in defiance of social-distancing recommendations during the pandemic. “I think that translates into a lot of votes.”

The voting caps a campaign dominated by a pandemic that has killed more than 231,000 Americans and put of people millions out of work. The country this year also was shaken by protests against racism and police brutality.

Biden, who has framed the contest as a referendum on Trump’s handling of the pandemic, promised a renewed effort to combat the public health crisis, fix the economy and bridge America’s political divide.

Trump has downplayed the pandemic, saying the country is “rounding the corner” even as numerous states set single-day records of new infections in the final days of the campaign.

More than 99 million Americans voted early either in person or by mail, motivated not only by concerns about waiting in lines on Election Day amid the pandemic but also by extraordinary levels of enthusiasm after a polarizing campaign.

The record-shattering total is nearing three-quarters of the total 2016 vote, according to the U.S. Elections Project at the University of Florida. Experts predict the vote could reach 160 million, exceeding the 138 million ballots cast in 2016.

While there were long lines in some places, in many states lines were shorter, perhaps a reflection of the massive early vote.

In McConnellsburg, Pennsylvania, about a dozen voters lined up, bundled in jackets and hats on an unseasonably chilly morning.

“He’s a bit of a jerk, and I appreciate that,” Martin Seylar, a 45-year-old welder who had just finished his shift, said of Trump, his preferred candidate. “He doesn’t get everything that he says done, but the way I see it is he’s trying, versus where everybody else blows smoke at us.”

In Detroit, Republican voter Nick Edwards, 26, cast a ballot for Biden but voted for Republican candidates for Congress.

“Honestly, decency in the White House,” Edwards said when asked about his main concern. “When someone leads the party, they need to hold those values, as well. I don’t think Trump encompasses that.”

Some crucial states, such as Florida, begin counting absentee ballots ahead of Election Day and could deliver results relatively quickly on Tuesday night. Others including Pennsylvania, Michigan and Wisconsin are barred from processing the vast majority of mail ballots until Election Day, raising the possibility of a prolonged vote count that could stretch for several days.

U.S. stocks opened higher on Tuesday, as investors wagered that Biden would prevail and usher in fresh stimulus spending.

CONTROL OF CONGRESS AT STAKE

Voters on Tuesday will also decide which political party controls the U.S. Congress for the next two years, with Democrats pushing to recapture a Senate majority and expected to retain their control of the House of Representatives.

Trump, 74, is seeking another four years in office after a chaotic first term marked by the coronavirus crisis, an economy battered by pandemic shutdowns, an impeachment drama, inquiries into Russian election interference, U.S. racial tensions and contentious immigration policies.

Trump, looking tired and sounding hoarse after days of frenetic campaigning, struck a decidedly less belligerent tone on Tuesday than he did on the trail over the weekend. He was expected spend most of Tuesday at the White House, where an election night party is planned for 400 guests, all of whom will be tested for COVID-19.

Biden, 77, is looking to win the presidency after a five-decade political career including eight years as vice president under Trump’s predecessor, Barack Obama. He mounted unsuccessful bids for the Democratic presidential nomination in 1988 and 2008.

Biden started his day at St. Joseph on the Brandywine, his Roman Catholic church near Wilmington, Delaware, where he spent some time at his son Beau’s grave with Beau’s daughter, Natalie. Beau Biden died of cancer at age 46 in 2015.

The two candidates have spent the final days barnstorming half a dozen battleground states, with Pennsylvania emerging as perhaps the most hotly contested. Biden will have made at least nine campaign stops in Pennsylvania between Sunday and Tuesday.

Biden’s polling lead has forced Trump to play defense; almost every competitive state was carried by him in 2016.

(Reporting by Trevor Hunnicutt in Scranton, Pennsylvania, and Doina Chiacu in Washington; Additional reporting by Steve Holland and Susan Heavey in Washington; Michael Martina in Detroit; Nathan Layne in McConnellsburg, Pennsylvania; and Daniel Trotta; Writing by Joseph Ax and John Whitesides; Editing by Paul Thomasch)

‘You are no longer my mother’: How the election is dividing American families

By Tim Reid, Gabriella Borter and Michael Martina

LOS ANGELES (Reuters) – When lifelong Democrat Mayra Gomez told her 21-year-old son five months ago that she was voting for Donald Trump in Tuesday’s presidential election, he cut her out of his life.

“He specifically told me, ‘You are no longer my mother, because you are voting for Trump’,” Gomez, 41, a personal care worker in Milwaukee, told Reuters. Their last conversation was so bitter that she is not sure they can reconcile, even if Trump loses his re-election bid.

“The damage is done. In people’s minds, Trump is a monster. It’s sad. There are people not talking to me anymore, and I’m not sure that will change,” said Gomez, who is a fan of Trump’s crackdown on illegal immigrants and handling of the economy.

Gomez is not alone in thinking the bitter splits within families and among friends over Trump’s tumultuous presidency will be difficult, if not impossible, to repair, even after he leaves office – whenever that is.

In interviews with 10 voters – five Trump supporters and five backing Democratic candidate Joe Biden – few could see the wrecked personal relationships caused by Trump’s tenure fully healing, and most believed them destroyed forever.

Throughout his nearly four-year norm-smashing presidency Trump has stirred strong emotions among both supporters and opponents. Many of his backers admire his moves to overhaul immigration, his appointment of conservative judges, his willingness to throw convention to the wind and his harsh rhetoric, which they call straight talk.

Democrats and other critics see the former real estate developer and reality show personality as a threat to American democracy, a serial liar and a racist who mismanaged the novel coronavirus pandemic that has killed more than 230,000 people in the United States so far. Trump dismisses those characterizations as “fake news.”

Now, with Trump trailing Biden in opinion polls, people are beginning to ask whether the fractures caused by one of the most polarizing presidencies in U.S. history could be healed if Trump loses the election.

“Unfortunately, I don’t think national healing is as easy as changing the president,” said Jaime Saal, a psychotherapist at the Rochester Center for Behavioral Medicine in Rochester Hills, Michigan.

“It takes time and it takes effort, and it takes both parties – no pun intended – being willing to let go and move forward,” she said.

Saal said tensions in people’s personal relationships have spiked given the political, health and social dynamics facing the United States. Most often she sees clients who have political rifts with siblings, parents or in-laws, as opposed to spouses.

NEIGHBOR VS NEIGHBOR

Trump’s election in 2016 divided families, tore up friendships and turned neighbor against neighbor. Many have turned to Facebook and Twitter to deliver no-holds-barred posts bashing both Trump and his many critics, while the president’s own freewheeling tweets have also inflamed tensions.

A September report by the non-partisan Pew Research Center found that nearly 80% of Trump and Biden supporters said they had few or no friends who supported the other candidate.

A study by the Gallup polling organization in January found that Trump’s third year in office set a new record for party polarization. While 89% of Republicans approved of Trump’s performance in office in 2019, only 7% of Democrats thought he was doing a good job.

Gayle McCormick, 77, who separated from her husband William, 81, after he voted for Trump in 2016, said, “I think the legacy of Trump is going to take a long time to recover from.”

The two still spend time together, although she is now based in Vancouver, he in Alaska. Two of her grandchildren no longer speak to her because of her support for Democrat Hillary Clinton four years ago. She has also become estranged from other relatives and friends who are Trump supporters.

She is not sure those rifts with friends and family will ever mend, because each believes the other to have a totally alien value system.

Democratic voter Rosanna Guadagno, 49, said her brother disowned her after she refused to support Trump four years ago. Last year her mother suffered a stroke, but her brother – who lived in the same California city as her mother – did not let her know when their mother died six months later. She was told the news after three days in an email from her sister-in-law.

“I was excluded from everything that had to do with her death, and it was devastating,” said Guadagno, a social psychologist who works at Stanford University, California.

Whoever wins the election, Guadagno is pessimistic that she can reconcile with her brother, although she says she still loves him.

UNCERTAIN POST-TRUMP WORLD

Sarah Guth, 39, a Spanish interpreter from Denver, Colorado, said she has cut several Trump-supporting friends out of her life. She could not reconcile herself to their support for issues such as separating immigrant children from parents at the southern border, or for Trump himself after he was caught on tape bragging about groping women.

Guth and her Trump-voting father did not speak to each other for several months after the 2016 election. The two now do speak, but avoid politics.

Guth says some of her friends cannot accept her support for a candidate – Joe Biden – who is pro-choice on the question of abortion.

“We had such fundamental disagreements about such basic stuff. It showed both sides that we really don’t have anything in common. I don’t believe that will change in the post-Trump era.”

Fervent Trump supporter Dave Wallace, 65, a retired oil industry sales manager in West Chester, Pennsylvania, is more optimistic about feuding families in a post-Trump world.

Wallace says his support for Trump has caused tensions with his son and daughter-in-law.

“The hatred for Trump among Democrats, it’s just amazing to me,” Wallace said. “I think it’s just Trump, the way he makes people feel. I do think the angst will decrease when we’re back to a normal politician who doesn’t piss people off.”

Jay J. Van Bavel, a professor of psychology and neural science at New York University, said this “political sectarianism” has become not only tribal, but moral.

“Because Trump has been one of the most polarizing figures in American history around core values and issues, people are unwilling to compromise and that is not something you can make go away,” Van Bavel said.

Jacquelyn Hammond, 47, a bartender in Asheville, North Carolina, no longer speaks to her Trump-supporting mother Carol, and is also discouraging her son from speaking to her.

She said she would like to heal the relationship, but believes that will be difficult, even if Trump loses the election.

“Trump is like the catalyst of an earthquake that just divided two continents of thought. Once the Earth divides like that, there’s no going back. This is a marked time in our history where people had to jump from one side to the other. And depending on what side you choose, that is going to be the trajectory for the rest of your life,” she said.

Hammond said she first realized her relationship with her mother was in trouble shortly after the 2016 election when she defended Clinton while driving with her mother.

“She stopped the car and told me not to disrespect her politics. And if I don’t want to respect her politics, I can get out of the car.”

Bonnie Coughlin, 65, has voted mostly Republican all her life, except in 2016 when she backed a third party candidate. This time she is all in for Biden, even holding a small rally for him on the side of a highway near Gilbertsville, Pennsylvania.

Raised in a Republican, religiously conservative family in Missouri, she says her relationships with her sister, father and some cousins – all ardent Trump supporters – have soured.

Coughlin says she still loves them, but “I look at them differently. It’s because they have willingly embraced someone who is so heartless and just shows no empathy to anyone in any circumstances.”

She added: “And if Biden wins, I don’t think they will go quietly into the night and accept it.”

(Reporting by Tim Reid in Los Angeles, Gabriella Borter in Raleigh, N.C. and Michael Martina in Detroit; Additional reporting by Elizabeth Culliford in London; Editing by Ross Colvin and Daniel Wallis)

With one day left, Trump and Biden search for last-minute support in key states

By Steve Holland and Trevor Hunnicutt

OPA-LOCKA, Fla./WILMINGTON, Del. (Reuters) – U.S. President Donald Trump hunts for support in four battleground states on Monday while Democratic rival Joe Biden focuses on Pennsylvania and Ohio during the final day of campaigning in their race for the White House.

The Republican Trump trails Biden in national opinion polls ahead of Tuesday’s Election Day. But the race in swing states is seen as close enough that Trump could still piece together the 270 votes needed to prevail in the state-by-state Electoral College that determines the winner.

Trump, aiming to avoid becoming the first incumbent president to lose re-election since fellow Republican George H.W. Bush in 1992, will hold five rallies on Monday in North Carolina, Pennsylvania, Wisconsin and Michigan.

He won those states in 2016 against Democrat Hillary Clinton, but polls show Biden is threatening to recapture all four for Democrats.

In a year that has seen much of American life upended by the coronavirus pandemic, early voting has surged to levels never before seen in U.S. elections. A record-setting 94 million early votes have been cast either in-person or by mail, according to the U.S. Elections Project, representing about 40% of all Americans who are legally eligible to vote.

Trump will wrap up his campaign in Grand Rapids, Michigan, the same place he concluded his 2016 presidential run with a post-midnight rally on Election Day.

Biden, running mate Kamala Harris and their spouses will spend most of Monday in Pennsylvania, splitting up to hit all four corners of a state that has become vital to the former vice president’s hopes.

Biden will rally union members and African-American voters in the Pittsburgh area before being joined for an evening drive-in rally in Pittsburgh by singer Lady Gaga.

He also will make a detour to bordering Ohio, spending time on his final campaign day in a state that was once considered a lock for Trump, who won it in 2016, but where polls now show a close contest.

Former President Barack Obama, whom Biden served as vice president for eight years, will hold a get-out-the-vote rally in Atlanta on Monday before closing out the campaign in the evening with a rally in Miami.

Biden has wrapped up the campaign on the offensive, traveling almost exclusively to states that Trump won in 2016 and criticizing the president’s response to the coronavirus pandemic, which has dominated the race.

Biden accuses Trump of giving up on fighting the pandemic, which has killed more than 230,000 Americans and cost millions of jobs. Polls show Americans trust Biden more than Trump to fight the virus.

During a frantic five-state swing on Sunday, Trump – who was impeached by the Democratic-led House of Representatives last December and acquitted by the Republican-controlled Senate in February – claimed he had momentum.

He promised an economic revival and imminent delivery of a vaccine to fight the pandemic.

Dr. Anthony Fauci, the top U.S. infectious diseases expert, has said the first doses of an effective coronavirus vaccine will likely become available to some high-risk Americans in late December or early January.

Trump, who has often disagreed with Fauci publicly, suggested early on Monday he might fire him as director of the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases after the election.

A ‘TERRIBLE THING’

Trump again questioned the integrity of the U.S. election, saying a vote count that stretched past Election Day would be a “terrible thing” and suggesting his lawyers might get involved.

Americans have already cast nearly 60 million mail-in ballots that could take days or weeks to be counted in some states – meaning a winner might not be declared in the hours after polls close on Tuesday night.

“I don’t think it’s fair that we have to wait for a long period of time after the election,” Trump told reporters. Some states, including battlegrounds Pennsylvania and Wisconsin, do not start processing mail-in votes until Election Day, slowing the process.

Trump has repeatedly said without evidence that mail-in votes are prone to fraud, although election experts say that is rare in U.S. elections. Mail voting is a long-standing feature of American elections, and about one in four ballots was cast that way in 2016.

Democrats have pushed mail-in voting as a safe way to cast a ballot in the coronavirus pandemic, while Trump and Republicans are counting on a big Election Day in-person turnout.

Both campaigns have created armies of lawyers in preparation for post-election litigation battles.

“We’re going in the night of – as soon as the election is over – we’re going in with our lawyers,” Trump told reporters without offering further explanation.

The attorneys general of Michigan and Pennsylvania, both Democrats, challenged Trump’s rhetoric on Twitter.

“The election ends when all the votes are counted. Not when the polls close,” Michigan Attorney General Dana Nessel wrote.

In a sign of how volatile the election could be, buildings for blocks around the White House were boarded up over the weekend. Federal authorities planned to extend the perimeter fencing around the White House to by several blocks, encompassing the same area fenced out during this summer’s protests against racism and police brutality, according to U.S. media.

To help ensure mail-in ballots are delivered in a timely fashion, a U.S. judge on Sunday ordered the U.S. Postal Service to remind senior managers they must follow its “extraordinary measures” policy and use its Express Mail Network to expedite ballots.

A federal judge in Texas on Monday will consider a Republican request to throw out about 127,000 votes already cast at drive-through voting sites in the Democratic-leaning Houston area.

The FBI, meanwhile, is investigating an incident in Texas when a pro-Trump convoy of vehicles surrounded a tour bus carrying Biden campaign staff. The caravan, which Trump praised, prompted the Biden campaign to cancel at least two of its Texas events, as Democrats accused the president of encouraging supporters to engage in acts of intimidation.

(Reporting by Steve Holland in Opa-Locka, Florida, and Trevor Hunnicutt in Wilmington, Delaware; Writing by John Whitesides; Editing by Scott Malone and Alistair Bell)

A Most Critical Election and Decision – An Urgent Message from Jonathan Cahn

America hangs at the precipice.  2020 has been a most pivotal year and now we stand at the precipice, approaching the most pivotal election of our lifetime – the moment of decision.  It will determine the future of this nation and even of the world.

It will either extend the window of grace America has to return to the Lord – or it will shut that window and seal its departure from God and its progression to judgment.  For those who know the biblical template of national judgment as I have written of in The Harbinger, the danger of judgment coming to America is very real.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Z8f1jz55tZo

We have never been divided as we are now – so much so that our very national fabric is now in danger of unraveling.  The issues before us in this election have never been as stark.  One agenda seeks to uphold biblical morality – the other will oppose it.  One agenda seeks to uphold the life of the unborn – the other seeks to expand their murder.  One agenda seek to protect religious freedom and the preaching of the Gospel – the other will ultimately seek to bring it to an end.   We have never been at such a dangerous and critical moment.

If we do nothing to oppose the darkness, to shine the light, then we will be accountable before God, for the fate of the lost, for the next generation, and for the blood of millions.   If you are able to vote – Vote!

But beyond voting at the ballot box, the most powerful thing we can do is to vote in the presence of God with your prayers and intercession.

Therefore, I am compelled to call for a Day of Prayer and Fasting on the exact day of decision – November 3, 2020.  Let us make this election day, the day of God’s election – the Day of Prayer and Fasting.

One month ago millions of believers came before the Lord in prayer according to 2 Chronicles 7:14.   It has been a season of prayer, a call from the Lord.  Let us now seal it all on the day of this most critical election.   Spread the word, spread this article, tell your friends, your pastors, your loved ones, commit that day in your homes, on your jobs, in your churches, your fellowships, to humble ourselves, to pray, to seek His face, and to turn from our evil ways, that He will hear from heaven and answer us.

Let us pray that in all these things, the will of God will be done, and that He will elect to government those of His choosing, and that no matter what it takes, revival will come to this land.

Jonathan Cahn

Strong retail sales boost optimism before U.S. election, but it may be short lived

By Jonnelle Marte

(Reuters) – In an ordinary presidential election, Friday’s retail sales report would have been a dream for an incumbent like Republican President Donald Trump. Headline sales topped expectations by a wide margin and spending was up from August in all but one of the major categories.

Still, this is no ordinary election. Despite the gains seen in September, spending in key sectors that suffered massive job losses during the pandemic, such as restaurants and clothing stores, remain deeply below last year’s levels.

The report from the Commerce Department offered a reminder that millions of Americans are still out of work, leaving them with less money to spend on dinners out or new outfits. Without a vaccine or effective treatment, many consumers also hesitate to head out to stores or restaurants where they may be exposed to the virus.

On the one hand, the retail report showed that overall retail spending is now above pre-pandemic levels. That is a sign that some people may have spent the $300 supplement the federal government temporarily added to unemployment benefits. Other people may have boosted spending after being called back to work.

If more people continue to see their finances improve, that could bode well for the economy and for the overall outlook people carry when they vote in the Nov. 3 election.

But some economists are also questioning whether the increase in spending seen in September will continue with virus infections rising, job growth stalling and government aid fading.

Enhanced unemployment benefits and direct cash payments distributed as part of the CARES Act made it possible for jobless Americans to boost spending and pad their savings. But much of those savings were spent in August after the supplement to unemployment benefits expired, according to a study released Friday by the JPMorgan Chase Institute.

The White House and Congress have yet to reach a deal on another package. Job growth is also slowing and the number of Americans filing new claims for jobless benefits reached a two-month high last week.

“The progress we’ve made, which has been better than expected, may be slowing,” said John Briggs, head of strategy for the Americas at NatWest Markets. “I don’t know how much it hurts Trump’s chances, but I don’t see how it can help him.”

(Reporting by Jonnelle Marte; Editing by Andrea Ricci)