Trump to meet Michigan lawmakers in bid to overturn electoral defeat

By Joseph Ax

(Reuters) – President Donald Trump will meet with Republican leaders from Michigan at the White House on Friday as his campaign pursues a bid to overturn the Nov. 3 election following a series of courtroom defeats.

The Trump campaign’s latest strategy, as described by three people familiar with the plan, is to convince Republican-controlled legislatures in battleground states won by President-elect Joe Biden, such as Michigan, to set aside the results and determine Trump the winner.

“The entire election frankly in all the swing states should be overturned and the legislatures should make sure that the electors are selected for Trump,” Sidney Powell, one of Trump’s lawyers, told Fox Business Network on Thursday.

Biden, a Democrat, won the election and is preparing to take office on Jan. 20, but Trump, a Republican, has refused to concede and is searching for a way to invalidate the results, claiming widespread voter fraud.

The Trump team is focusing on Michigan and Pennsylvania for now, but even if both those states flipped to the president he would need another state to overturn its vote to surpass Biden in the Electoral College.

Such an extraordinary event would be unprecedented in modern U.S. history. Trump not only would need three state legislatures to intervene against vote counts as they stand now, but then also have those actions upheld by Congress and, almost certainly, the Supreme Court.

Michigan’s state legislative leaders, Senate Majority Leader Mike Shirkey and House Speaker Lee Chatfield, both Republicans, will visit the White House at Trump’s request, according to a source in Michigan.

The two lawmakers will listen to what the president has to say, the source said. Shirkey told a Michigan news outlet earlier this week that the legislature would not appoint a second slate of electors.

“It’s incredibly dangerous that they are even entertaining the conversation,” Michigan Governor Gretchen Whitmer, a Democrat, told MSNBC. “This is an embarrassment to the state.”

SOUNDING THE ALARM

Biden, meanwhile, is due on Friday to meet Democratic leaders in Congress, House of Representatives Speaker Nancy Pelosi and Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer after spending most of the week with advisers planning his administration.

Nationally, Biden won nearly 6 million more votes than Trump, a difference of 3.8 percentage points. But the outcome of the election is determined in the Electoral College, where each state’s electoral votes, based largely on population, are typically awarded to the winner of a state’s popular vote.

Biden leads by 306 electoral votes to Trump’s 232 as states work to certify their results at least six days before the Electoral College convenes on Dec. 14.

Legal experts have sounded the alarm at the notion of a sitting president seeking to undermine the will of the voters, though they have expressed skepticism that a state legislature could lawfully substitute its own electors.

Trump’s lawyers are seeking to take the power of appointing electors away from state governors and secretaries of state, and give it to friendly state lawmakers from his party, saying the U.S. Constitution gives legislatures the ultimate authority.

ROMNEY CRITICIZES TRUMP

Even though election officials have not reported any major irregularities, most prominent Republicans have remained devoted to their leader or quietly acceded. But a few Republicans, including senator and former presidential candidate Mitt Romney, have spoken out.

“Having failed to make even a plausible case of widespread fraud or conspiracy before any court of law, the president has now resorted to overt pressure on state and local officials to subvert the will of the people and overturn the election,” Romney said in a statement on Thursday. “It is difficult to imagine a worse, more undemocratic action by a sitting American president.”

Other Republican senators including Ben Sasse and Joni Ernst called on Trump to offer proof.

Trump’s attempts to reverse the outcome via lawsuits and recounts have met with little success.

The Georgia Secretary of State on Friday confirmed that Biden won the state after a manual recount and an audit were conducted.

“The numbers reflect the verdict of the people, not a decision by the secretary of state’s office or courts, or of either campaigns,” Georgia Secretary of State Brad Raffensperger, a Republican and Trump supporter, told reporters.

Despite the setbacks, the Trump campaign has not abandoned its legal efforts.

Rudy Giuliani, the president’s personal lawyer, said on Thursday he planned to file more lawsuits, accusing Democrats of masterminding a “national conspiracy” to steal the election, though he offered no evidence to support the claim.

Biden called Trump’s attempts “totally irresponsible” on Thursday, though he has expressed little concern they will succeed in preventing him from taking office on Jan. 20.

(Reporting by Joseph Ax in Princeton, New Jersey; Additional reporting by Michael Martina in Detroit, Jarrett Renshaw in Wilmington, Delaware, Karen Freifeld in New York and Jan Wolfe and Doina Chiacu in Washington; Editing by Lincoln Feast, Daniel Trotta, David Clarke and Chizu Nomiyama)

Options dwindling, Trump faces likely setback in Georgia recount

By Andy Sullivan and Susan Heavey

WASHINGTON (Reuters) – The U.S. presidential election battleground state of Georgia is expected on Thursday to affirm Joe Biden’s victory over Donald Trump after a painstaking recount, which would deal yet another setback to the president’s attempts to cling to power.

Georgia’s top election official, a Republican, has said the manual recount of almost 5 million votes is unlikely to erode Biden’s initial 14,000 winning margin by enough to hand Trump victory in the state.

That would leave Republican Trump with a dwindling number of options to overturn the results of an election in which Democrat Biden won 5.8 million more votes nationwide. Barring a series of unprecedented events, Biden will be sworn in on Jan. 20.

In the state-by-state Electoral College that determines the winner, Biden has captured 306 electoral votes to Trump’s 232, well ahead of the 270 needed for victory. The winner in each state is awarded that state’s electoral votes, a number roughly proportional to the population.

Flipping Georgia’s 16 votes would still leave Trump at least two closely contested states away from overturning Biden’s victory. Georgia officials say they expect to release results on Thursday ahead of a certification deadline on Friday.

In Pennsylvania, where Biden won by 82,000 votes, the Trump campaign is asking a judge to declare him the winner there, saying its Republican-controlled legislature should choose the state’s slate of 20 Electoral College voters.

In Wisconsin, the Trump campaign has paid for a partial recount, even though election officials there say that will likely only add to Biden’s 20,000-vote advantage in a state that carries 10 electoral votes.

‘A DEEPER PROBLEM’

Trump’s campaign has filed lawsuits in a number of other states, including Michigan, with scant success so far.

Those legal motions, sprinkled with factual errors, have been dismissed by Biden’s campaign as “theatrics” that are not based on sound law.

Several prominent law firms have pulled out of the operation, leaving Trump’s personal lawyer Rudy Giuliani to spearhead the efforts.

Trump said on Twitter on Thursday that lawyers would discuss a “viable path to victory” at a news conference at noon ET (1700 GMT).

State and federal election officials, as well as outside experts, say Trump’s argument that the election was stolen from him by widespread voter fraud has no basis in fact.

However, it does appear to be affecting public confidence in American democracy. A Reuters/Ipsos opinion poll released on Wednesday found about half of Republicans believe Trump “rightfully won” the election.

Arizona’s top election official, Democrat Katie Hobbs, said she and her family had been getting violent threats and urged Trump to stop casting doubt on the result, in which he lost by just over 10,000 votes.

“(The threats) are a symptom of a deeper problem in our state and country – the consistent and systematic undermining of trust in each other and our democratic process,” Hobbs said in a statement.

Trump, who has largely stayed in the White House and kept out of public view since the election, has no public events scheduled for Thursday.

His administration has so far refused to recognize Biden as the winner, which has held up funding and security clearances to ease the transition from one president to another ahead of the Jan. 20 inauguration.

Biden said on Wednesday that the delay was preventing his team from planning a new assault on surging coronavirus infections, which is straining the U.S. healthcare system.

(Writing by Andy Sullivan and Daniel Trotta; Editing by Ross Colvin, Lincoln Feast and David Clarke)

Trump campaign abandons parts of Pennsylvania election lawsuit

By Jan Wolfe

(Reuters) – U.S. President Donald Trump’s campaign on Sunday dropped a major part of a lawsuit it brought seeking to halt Pennsylvania from certifying its results in the presidential election, narrowing the case to a small number of ballots.

In an amended complaint filed in federal court, the Trump campaign dropped a claim that election officials unlawfully blocked observers from watching the counting of mail-in ballots in Philadelphia and Pittsburgh.

The pared-down lawsuit now focuses on a claim that Democratic-leaning counties unlawfully allowed voters to fix errors in their mail-in ballots in violation of state law. Officials have said the dispute affects a small number of ballots in the state, where Democrat Joe Biden is projected to win by more than 60,000 votes.

Pennsylvania officials have asked a judge to toss Trump’s lawsuit, saying the election observers were allowed to assess the processing of mail-in ballots and that all of the state’s counties were permitted to inform residents if their mailed-in ballots were deficient, even if it was not mandatory for them to do so.

In Pennsylvania’s populous Montgomery County, less than 100 voters fixed ballots with technical errors, a county official testified at a court hearing on Nov. 4.

The Trump campaign continues to seek a court order blocking the Pennsylvania secretary of state from ratifying the result.

Biden clinched the election after news media and Edison Research called him as the victor in Pennsylvania, putting him over the 270 electoral votes needed to win. Edison Research said on Friday that Biden had won 306 Electoral College votes to Trump’s 232.

Trump on Sunday briefly appeared to acknowledge that Biden’s victory, but then recanted and claimed he would soon file fresh challenges. His campaign has filed a string of long-shot lawsuits in several battleground states.

On Twitter on Sunday, Trump said many cases being filed were not from his campaign.

“Our big cases showing the unconstitutionality of the 2020 Election, & the outrage of things that were done to change the outcome, will soon be filed!,” he tweeted.

Legal experts say the lawsuits have little chance of changing the outcome of the election. A senior Biden legal adviser has dismissed the litigation as “theatrics, not really lawsuits.”

Pennsylvania is due to certify the election results on Nov. 23.

(Reporting by Jan Wolfe; Editing by Lincoln Feast.)

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)

Sullivan wins re-election in Alaska, giving Republicans 50 seats in Senate: Edison Research

WASHINGTON (Reuters) – U.S. Republican Senator Dan Sullivan of Alaska won re-election, Edison Research projected on Wednesday, leaving control of the Senate to be determined in January by two runoff elections in Georgia.

Sullivan, 55, defeated Al Gross, an independent who ran as a Democrat in an election that some political analysts had seen as a potential opportunity for Democrats to capture a Republican seat.

Coming a day after Republican Senator Thom Tillis won re-election in North Carolina, Sullivan’s victory confirms that Democratic hopes of winning a majority of seats, and with it the power to support Democratic President-elect Joe Biden’s agenda, will come down to two Georgia elections scheduled for Jan. 5.

With Biden’s White House victory, Democrats need to pick up three Republican Senate seats to hold 50 Senate seats, with Vice President-elect Kamala Harris wielding the tie-breaking vote.

Biden has surpassed the 270 Electoral College votes needed to defeat Republican incumbent President Donald Trump.

Democrats won Republican seats in Arizona and Colorado in last week’s election. But they lost a seat in Alabama, reducing their gain to a single seat.

In Georgia, Republican Senators David Perdue and Kelly Loeffler face challenges from Democrats Jon Ossoff and Raphael Warnock, respectively.

(Reporting by Mohammad Zargham and Susan Heavey; Editing by Mike Collett-White)

China, Russia hold off on congratulating Biden; U.S. allies rally round

By Cate Cadell and Dmitry Antonov

BEIJING/MOSCOW (Reuters) – China and Russia held off congratulating U.S. President-elect Joe Biden on Monday, with Beijing saying it would follow usual custom in its response and the Kremlin noting incumbent Donald Trump’s vow to pursue legal challenges.

Democrat Biden clinched enough states to win the presidency on Saturday and has begun making plans for when he takes office on Jan. 20. Trump has not conceded defeat and plans rallies to build support for legal challenges.

Some of the United States’ biggest and closest allies in Europe, the Middle East and Asia quickly congratulated Biden over the weekend despite Trump’s refusal to concede, as did some Trump allies, including Israel and Saudi Arabia.

German Chancellor Angela Merkel on Monday called for the European Union and United States to work “side by side,” holding up Biden as an experienced leader who knows Germany and Europe well and stressing the NATO allies’ shared values and interests.

Beijing and Moscow were cautious.

“We noticed that Mr. Biden has declared election victory,” China’s foreign ministry spokesman Wang Wenbin told a daily media briefing. “We understand that the U.S. presidential election result will be determined following U.S. law and procedures.”

In 2016, Chinese President Xi Jinping sent congratulations to Trump on Nov. 9, a day after the election.

Relations between China and the United States are at their worst in decades over disputes ranging from technology and trade to Hong Kong and the coronavirus, and the Trump administration has unleashed a barrage of sanctions against Beijing.

While Biden is expected to maintain a tough stance on China — he has called Xi a “thug” and vowed to lead a campaign to “pressure, isolate and punish China” — he is likely to take a more measured and multilateral approach.

Chinese state media struck an optimistic tone in editorials, saying relations could be restored to a state of greater predictability, starting with trade.

KREMLIN NOTES TRUMP’S LAW SUITS

The Kremlin said it would wait for the official results of the election before commenting, and that it had noted Trump’s announcement of legal challenges.

President Vladimir Putin has remained silent since Biden’s victory. In the run-up to the vote, Putin had appeared to hedge his bets, frowning on Biden’s anti-Russian rhetoric but welcoming his comments on nuclear arms control. Putin had also defended Biden’s son, Hunter, against criticism from Trump.

“We think it appropriate to wait for the official vote count,” Kremlin spokesman Dmitry Peskov told reporters on a conference call.

Biden cleared the threshold of 270 Electoral College votes needed to win the White House on Saturday, four days after the Nov. 3 election. He beat Trump by more than 4 million votes nationwide, making Trump the first president since 1992 to lose re-election.

Asked why, in 2016, Putin had congratulated Trump soon after he had won the Electoral College and beaten Democrat Hillary Clinton, Peskov said there was an obvious difference.

“You can see that there are certain legal procedures that have been announced by the current president. That is why the situations are different and we therefore think it appropriate to wait for an official announcement,” he said.

Peskov noted that Putin had repeatedly said he was ready to work with any U.S. leader and that Russia hoped it could establish dialogue with a new U.S. administration and find a way to normalize troubled bilateral relations.

Moscow’s ties with Washington sank to post-Cold War lows in 2014 when Russia annexed Crimea from Ukraine. Biden was serving as vice president under President Barack Obama at the time.

Relations soured further over U.S. allegations that Moscow had meddled in the 2016 U.S. presidential election to try to tilt the vote in Trump’s favor, something the Kremlin denied.

(Additional reporting by Brenda Goh, Tony Munroe and Lusha Zhang in Beijing; Darya Korsunskaya and Gabrielle T├ętrault-Farber in Moscow; Sabine Siebold in Berlin; Editing by Nick Tattersall and Catherine Evans)

Which states could tip U.S. election and when will they report results?

(Reuters) – Democratic candidate Joe Biden’s margins over Republican President Donald Trump in Pennsylvania and Georgia grew on Friday, as the vote counts in five battleground states trickled in.

To capture the White House, a candidate must amass at least 270 votes in the Electoral College. Edison Research gave Biden a 253-214 lead over the incumbent.

Here is the state of play in the five states. The vote counts are supplied by Edison Research.

PENNSYLVANIA (20 electoral votes)

Biden has a lead of 13,558 votes, or a 0.2 percentage point margin, as of 2 p.m. ET (1900 GMT) Friday, with 96% of the estimated vote counted. Under Pennsylvania law, a recount is automatic if the margin of victory is less than or equal to 0.5 percentage point of the total vote.

In Philadelphia, the state’s largest city, about 40,000 ballots remained to be counted, the majority of them provisional and military ballots, according to Pennsylvania’s election commissioner, who said the final count could take several days.

Friday is the last day that Pennsylvania can accept mail-in ballots postmarked on or before Election Day.

GEORGIA (16 electoral votes)

Biden is ahead of Trump by 1,554 votes as of 2 p.m. ET (1900 GMT) Friday, with 99% of votes counted according to Edison. Trump needs both Pennsylvania and Georgia to win a second term.

Brad Raffensperger, Georgia’s secretary of state, said he expects the margin to be just a few thousand votes, which would trigger an automatic recount. A recount must wait until Georgia’s results are certified, expected on or before Nov. 20.

About 9,000 military and overseas ballots were still outstanding and could be accepted if they arrive on Friday as long as they were postmarked Tuesday or earlier.

ARIZONA (11 electoral votes)

Biden has 50.0% versus Trump at 48.6%, a lead of 43,779 votes, with 93.0% of the expected vote tallied as of 2 p.m. (1900 GMT).

Maricopa County, which includes heavily populated Phoenix, has 142,000 early ballots left to count, as well as some provisional ballots. Biden has a 3.2 percentage point lead in the county, with 92.2% of the estimated vote counted.

The majority of Maricopa’s votes could be tallied as soon as Saturday, said Megan Gilbertson, the communications director for the county’s elections department.

NEVADA (6 electoral votes)

Biden led Trump by 20,137 votes, or 1.6 percentage points, with about 8% of the vote left to be counted.

The state’s biggest county, Clark, which includes Las Vegas, has 63,000 ballots remaining to be counted. The next update of the vote count is expected at around 7 p.m. ET (0000 GMT) and the majority of mail-in ballots is expected to be counted by Sunday.

NORTH CAROLINA (15 electoral votes)

Trump led by 76,737 votes, or 1.4 points, with about 5% of the vote left to counted.

State officials have said a full result would not be known until next week. The state allows mail-in ballots postmarked by Tuesday to be counted if they are received by Nov. 12.

(Reporting by Leela de Kretser and Tiffany Wu; Editing by David Clarke and Leslie Adler)

Timeline: Which states could tip U.S. election and when will they report results?

(Reuters) – The outcome of the U.S. presidential election hung in the balance on Thursday as five swing states continued to count their ballots.

To capture the White House, a candidate must amass at least 270 votes in the Electoral College.

Edison Research gave Democratic challenger Biden a 243 against 213 lead over Republican President Donald Trump in Electoral College votes. Other networks said Biden had won Wisconsin, which would give him another 10 votes.

Results in Pennsylvania (20 electoral votes), Georgia (16), North Carolina (15), Arizona (11) and Nevada (6) remained uncertain as of Thursday afternoon, according to Edison Research.

ARIZONA

Biden led by 2.4 percentage points as of Thursday afternoon, or more than 68,000 votes, with about 14% of the vote left to be counted.

More results from densely populated Maricopa County, which includes Phoenix, were not expected until 7 p.m. local time (9 p.m. EST, 0200 Friday GMT), the county elections department said.

There were at least 275,000 ballots in the county left to be counted, the elections department said. Biden was leading by 4 percentage points in the votes counted so far, indicating he was in a strong position to maintain his lead.

GEORGIA

Trump held onto to a lead of 0.3 percentage points, or 12,835 votes, with 2% percent of the vote left to be counted.

Counting was continuing on Thursday afternoon, with just 47,000 outstanding ballots, Georgia Secretary of State Brad Raffensperger said in a press conference.

NEVADA

Biden led Trump by 11,438 votes, or 0.9 percentage points, with about 12% of the vote left to be counted.

The state’s biggest county, Clark, expected to count the majority of its mail ballots by Saturday or Sunday, but would continue to count certain ballots after the weekend, according to its registrar, Joe Gloria.

All properly received ballots will be counted for up to nine days after the election, but the exact number left to be counted was unknown, said Nevada Secretary of State Barbara Cegavske.

The outstanding votes are mail-in ballots and those cast by voters who registered to vote at polling place on Election Day, she said.

NORTH CAROLINA

Trump led by more than 76,000 votes, or 1.4 points, with about 5% of the vote uncounted.

State officials have said a full result would not be known until next week. The state allows mail-in ballots postmarked by Tuesday to be counted if they are received by Nov. 12.

PENNSYLVANIA

Trump led by 1.7 percentage points, or more than 108,000 votes, with 8% of the vote outstanding.

About 370,000 ballots were still in the process of being counted on Thursday, according to the Department of State’s website, giving Biden a chance to catch Trump if enough of them were from Democratically friendly areas such as Philadelphia. Pennsylvania Secretary of State Kathy Boockvar said she expected the “overwhelming majority” to be counted by the end of Thursday.

Philadelphia County reported more than 252,000 ballots were cast by mail but did say how many remained to be counted.

A final count may not be available until at least Friday as Pennsylvania can accept mailed-in ballots up to three days after the election if they were postmarked by Tuesday.

(Reporting by Daniel Trotta and Julia Harte; Editing by Scott Malone and Daniel Wallis)

Explainer: U.S. election lingo, from naked ballots to a red mirage

By Tom Hals

WILMINGTON, Del. (Reuters) – Every U.S. presidential election has its own lingo, like the “hanging chads” on voting cards in Florida that led to a landmark court battle in 2000. Below is some of the jargon used in the days leading up to the Nov. 3 election pitting President Donald Trump against his Democratic challenger Joe Biden.

NAKED BALLOTS

Sixteen states, including Pennsylvania, require voters to return mail ballots in a special “secrecy” envelope. Ballots that don’t arrive in the envelope will be considered “naked” and might be disqualified. Celebrities including Naomi Campbell, Chris Rock and Sarah Silverman disrobed in a video to promote proper voting procedures, “the least sexy thing a completely naked person can say,” according to actor Josh Gad, who also stripped for the video by activist group Represent.Us. The group, which has promoted anti-corruption resolutions in U.S. cities, says it does not endorse either candidate.

RED MIRAGE/BLUE SHIFT

Fearing crowded polling places amid the coronavirus pandemic, a record number of Americans, particularly Democrats, cast mail-in ballots this year, and counting them could take days. As a result, initial results on Election Day may show Republicans, indicated by red on election maps, holding large leads in battleground states such as Pennsylvania, which counts mail-in ballots received three days after Nov. 3. As ballots are tallied in the ensuing days, that “red mirage” could fade, giving way to a “blue shift.” Experts see a possible “blue mirage” and “red shift” in Florida and North Carolina, which process mailed-in ballots before Election Day.

SPOILED BALLOTS

Ballots that are improperly marked can be rejected as spoiled. Trump said in an Oct. 27 Twitter post that the phrase “can I change my vote” was trending on Google and urged Americans to submit a new ballot for him. Some states allow voters to request a new absentee ballot but first they have to request their original ballot be marked as spoiled. Following Trump’s tweet, Google data showed a spike in searches for “spoiled ballots.”

DUELING ELECTORS

A candidate becomes president by securing the most “electoral” votes rather than a majority of the national popular vote. The Electoral College system allots electors to the 50 states largely based on their population, and the candidate who wins the popular vote in a state generally gets its electors. But legal experts say Trump could try to convince Republican lawmakers in closely contested states to approve the Republican slate of electors based on early vote tallies. As more ballots are counted, Biden might eventually be certified as the winner of the same state. The result: Dueling electors and an outcome that could be determined by Congress.

COURT PACKING

Republicans confirmed Amy Coney Barrett as a Supreme Court justice on Oct. 26 to replace the late Ruth Bader Ginsburg, a hero to many for her advocacy for women’s issues. Democrats had argued Ginsburg’s seat should be filled after the election and in response to Barrett’s confirmation some have suggested that a Biden Administration could expand the court beyond its traditional nine justices. The idea surfaced briefly in the late 1930’s and was criticized as “court packing.” Biden has said he will establish a bipartisan commission to consider changes to the court system, which he said is “getting out of whack.”

POLL WATCHERS

The Republican National Committee is mobilizing thousands of supporters to monitor early voting sites and ballot drop boxes, looking for irregularities such as people dropping off multiple ballots in states where that generally is not allowed. This marks the first presidential election in nearly four decades in which the Republicans can engage in “ballot security” activities without prior review and approval from the Department of Justice. Some voting rights advocates worry that gun-toting groups might show up outside polling places and intimidate voters.

(Reporting by Tom Hals in Wilmington, Delaware; Editing by Noeleen Walder and Daniel Wallis)