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Election could come down to 1775 votes


Key Points

  • Joe Biden is six Electoral College votes from making history.
  • A Biden win in any of North Carolina, Georgia, Nevada or Pennsylvania would be enough for victory.
  • See all our coverage here.
  • Sign up to our US Election Brief newsletter here.

Secret Service sends additional security detail to Biden in anticipation of a win

The Washington Post is reporting that the Secret Service will send additional security detail to Wilmington, Delaware, on Friday to help protect Joe Biden, an indication that he's preparing to come out and claim victory.

It says the move came after Biden's campaign alerted the Secret Service that their candidate would make a major speech as early as Friday.

Trump lead in Georgia less than 2000 votes

It's 1am in Georgia and Pennsylvania, and the vote count is painstakingly slow.

Both states remain on a knife-edge, but a trend of Joe Biden chasing down early leads to Donald Trump is continuing.

In Georgia, Trump's lead is just 1775 votes, according to The Associated Press. In Pennsylvania, Trump's lead is just 22,389, down from more than 40,000 a little more than two hours ago.

If Biden wins Pennsylvania, he is unbeatable. If Biden wins Georgia, Trump must clear the board of the remaining states in play plus Arizona, which The Associated Press has already called for the Democrat but where the President is making a late run.


Sanitiser and bad plumbing: hiccoughs, but no fraud

Poll workers in Derry, New Hampshire, learned the hard way earlier this year that hand sanitiser and paper ballots do not mix. So on Election Day, they carefully repositioned the tubs of sanitiser from the entrance of their polling place to the exit, hoping to keep voters from gunking up their ballots.

But their effort could not stop the woman who brought her own bottle of sanitiser and applied a heavy lather as she voted, dampening the paper so much that the ballot reader refused to accept it. When the soggy ballot was finally yanked out of the jammed contraption, there was no mistaking what had happened: everyone could see the voter's wet handprint on the paper.

"I don't know what it is about hand sanitiser, maybe it's the alcoholic content, but if you ever tried to pour hand sanitiser on nicer paper, it almost — I don't want to say it disintegrates, but it makes it weaker," said Tina Guilford, the top election official in Derry, who has come to learn how to process those accidentally sanitised ballots.

Vote counting in Pennsylvania. AP

In a year when interference by foreign governments, armed protesters and voter suppression were considered the main threats at the polls, some election day holdups were the result of everyday municipal malfunctions.

In Atlanta, the culprit was leaky plumbing. Inside a basketball arena converted into a polling place, the early-morning discovery that a burst pipe was leaking water into a room with absentee ballots delayed the count by a couple of hours.

Several polling places in Louisiana were running on generators after lingering power failures caused by Hurricane Zeta. Officials said there were no serious delays.

In south Texas, new laptops that had been distributed to polling sites before election day did not work, causing delays of up to 90 minutes.

In the battleground state of Wisconsin, the last few hundred votes went unreported for several hours because the Richland County clerk could not reach the clerk in the town of Willow, who had said she felt sick and then could not be reached. Willow's 274 votes were eventually reported.

In Green Bay, the count of absentee votes was briefly delayed while an election official ran over to City Hall to get more ink for the vote-counting machines.

The New York Times

False: fact check of Trump's claims

Here's one fact check of Donald Trump's spurious claims of electoral fraud at his White House appearance on Thusrday (Friday AEDT).

Twitter bans Bannon for 'heads on pikes' tirade

Twitter has banned an account used by Donald Trump's former advisor Steve Bannon after he called for the beheading of Dr Anthony Fauci and FBI Director Christopher Wray on his online talk show.

"I'd put the heads on pikes, right, I'd put them at the two corners of the White House as a warning to federal bureaucrats to either get with the program or you're gone," Bannon said during a tirade calling for Fauci and Wray to be fired.

As of Thursday evening (Friday AEDT), Bannon’s account was still active on Facebook, where the video calling for Fauci and Wray to be executed had been viewed nearly 200,000 times in ten hours. Late Thursday, Facebook said it had removed videos of Bannon's remarks for violating its policy on violence and incitement.

Republicans join condemnation of Trump's claims

Republicans joined other officials in swiftly condemning Donald Trump's latest false claims late Thursday (Friday AEDT) that he is being robbed of a reelection victory by fraudulent votes in decisive states where Joe Biden appears to be winning.

"There is no defence for the President's comments tonight undermining our Democratic process," Maryland Governor Larry Hogan, a Republican, tweeted shortly after Trump spoke from the White House briefing room.

"America is counting the votes, and we must respect the results as we always have before. No election or person is more important than our Democracy."

In televised remarks to reporters, Trump said, without providing any evidence of wrongdoing, "If you count the legal votes, I easily win. If you count the illegal votes, they can try to steal the election from us."

Senator Mitt Romney, the Republican 2012 presidential nominee, also tweeted a response to counter the president's messages over the past two days that states should cease counting votes.

"The votes will be counted," Romney said. "If there are irregularities alleged, they will be investigated and ultimately resolved in the courts. Have faith in our democracy, in our Constitution, and in the American people."

Democratic congresswoman and former CIA analyst Elissa Slotkin said it was time for elected officials from the local level to Trump's Cabinet to choose between "fealty to President Trump, or democracy." Senior Republican officials need to speak out against the president, she said, "to make clear they will not participate in attempts to thwart the will of the voters."

Daniel Dale of CNN, who has a large social media following after years of fact-checking Trump, tweeted, "I've read or watched all of Trump's speeches since 2016. This is the most dishonest speech he has ever given."

Los Angeles Times

Biden will be more nuanced on China: Bob Carr

Anrew Tillett

Former foreign ministers Julie Bishop and Bob Carr believe the likely next US president Joe Biden will be warmly disposed towards Australia and, while less aggressive, will maintain a firm stance on China.

Ms Bishop and Mr Carr both met Mr Biden in their official capacities when he was vice-president.

Both found him incredibly charming and across his brief, and believe Mr Biden is someone who values personal connections with fellow leaders.

"He was a politician's politician," Mr Carr said of his March 2013 meeting at the White House. "He is breezy, knowledgeable, and all about making friends."

Read Andrew Tillett's full story here.


The two reasons US pollsters were so wrong

Questions about the reliability of political polling emerged after expectations by pollsters and election modellers of an emphatic win by Joe Biden failed to emerge in Tuesday's election.

University of Sydney associate professor Salvatore Babones says the reason the polls may have been so wrong again boils down to two fundamental flaws in modern polling methods.

"The first flawed assumption is that the polls are unbiased," he told The Australian Financial Review's Tom Burton.

The second problem relates to how survey data is collected.

Read Tom's full story here.

Why Georgia is too close to call

Tens of thousands of still-uncounted ballots — many in counties where Joe Biden is leading — are what's making the Georgia contest between Donald Trump and Biden too early to call.

Trump and Biden are locked in a tight contest Thursday (Friday AEDT) to secure the 270 electoral votes needed to win the presidency. Georgia is a must-win state for Trump, who has a narrower path to victory than Biden.

Trump prematurely declared he was winning it early Wednesday morning, but his lead there had narrowed to fewer than 3,500 votes by Thursday evening.

State officials said on Thursday evening that 18,936 absentee ballots still needed to be counted in seven counties.

That does not include provisional ballots and absentee ballots that have to be “cured” before being scanned. Ballots cast before election day by military voters and citizens living overseas and received by 5 pm Friday also will be tallied.

Biden's vote margins grew after a handful of rural pro-Trump counties processed mail ballots cast in his favour.

There is a potential for the race to go a recount. Under Georgia law, if the margin between Biden and Trump is under half a percentage point of difference, a recount can be requested.


New COVID-19 cases top 100,000 again

The US topped 100,000 coronavirus cases again on Thursday, a troubling number as the country faces the prospect of a sustained increase in illnesses and deaths over the coming months.

As of Thursday at 6.30 pm eastern time (10.30am AEDT Friday), 106,414 cases had been reported in the country, bringing the total to 9.6 million, according to Johns Hopkins University Data.

The number of new infections has been surging across the country, including in many of the battleground states in the Midwest that were expected to play a critical role in the still-undecided presidential election.

Even as the number of cases has surged, testing is growing more slowly. According to the COVID Tracking Project, in the week through November 4, new cases increased 7.1 per cent, while tests increased 6.2 per cent.

The number of deaths from COVID-19 is also on the climb, topping 1,000 for the third day in a row on Thursday.


Summary | 1 Annotation
Secret Service will send additional security detail to Wilmington, Delaware, on Friday to help protect Joe Biden
2020/11/06 07:14