Election 2020 live updates: Biden is first candidate in US history to cross 80M votes

Savannah Behrmann, USA TODAY
·12 min read

USA TODAY'S coverage of the 2020 election continues this week as states certify their vote counts after President-elect Joe Biden's victory in the hard-fought presidential race. President Donald Trump has yet to concede the race as Biden and Vice President-elect Kamala Harris prepare to take office in January.

Be sure to refresh this page often to get the latest information on the election and the transition.

Biden crosses 80 million vote threshold, first candidate to do so in history

President-elect Joe Biden surpassed 80 million votes, the most votes a candidate has received in U.S. history.

He exceeded President Barack Obama’s record by more than 10 million votes, when the former president won the 2008 election with more than 70 million votes.

Neither Obama in 2012, nor President Donald Trump or Democratic candidate Hillary Clinton in 2016, broke this number.

Trump also broke Obama’s 2008 record by surpassing 73 million votes this election, but still fell short of Biden.

The nonpartisan Cook Political Report on Tuesday indicated that the Biden/Harris ticket had gained roughly 51% of the popular vote with 80,070,466 ballots, while Trump/Pence received 47.1 percent with 73,890,413.

The record-breaking numbers are an attestation to how many more Americans participated in the election compared to previous elections. Additionally, the number of voting-eligible Americans has grown, as did voter enthusiasm.

Because some municipalities are still counting ballots, Biden’s record-breaking win could continue to grow. For example, Maine just reported its military and overseas ballots, which Biden won by nearly 80%, and there are still outstanding ballots in New York and California.

– Savannah Behrmann

Biden can now receive President’s Daily Brief; transition team talking to every federal agency

The Trump administration has cleared the way for President-elect Joe Biden to begin receiving the same daily intelligence briefings that President Donald Trump receives.

“Following the statutory direction of the Presidential Transition Act, ODNI will provide requested support to the transition team,” according to a ODNI spokesperson. “This afternoon the White House approved ODNI to move forward with providing the PDB as part of the support to the transition.”

The briefing is a top-secret document that includes national security and intelligence assessments.

Speaking to reporters on Tuesday, Biden said he has not started intelligence briefings but would soon.

This comes a day after Emily Murphy, the head of the General Services Administration, said she'll allow Biden to begin his transition to the White House. The GSA holds the keys to transition funds and tools, but Murphy had delayed issuing an official determination recognizing Biden's win, as the Trump campaign filed a flurry of lawsuits challenging the results.

Additionally, a day after the GSA ascertainment, the Biden transition team is now communicating with all federal agencies.

– Deidre Shesgreen and Savannah Behrmann

Trump pardons 'lucky' Thanksgiving turkey

This time there were no jokes about recounts and fair elections.

President Donald Trump emerged from the White House briefly on Tuesday to partake in an annual holiday tradition – the pardoning of the National Thanksgiving Turkey – but passed up an opportunity to use the ritual as a commentary on the presidential election earlier this month.

President Donald Trump pardons Corn, the National Thanksgiving Turkey, in the Rose Garden of the White House, Tuesday, Nov. 24, 2020, in Washington, as first lady Melania Trump watches.
President Donald Trump pardons Corn, the National Thanksgiving Turkey, in the Rose Garden of the White House, Tuesday, Nov. 24, 2020, in Washington, as first lady Melania Trump watches.

Trump, with first lady Melania Trump at his side, used the Rose Garden ceremony to grant a full pardon to a lucky gobbler named Corn and to celebrate the soaring stock market and the “strength, loyalty and faith” of Americans amid the deadly coronavirus pandemic.

“What we’ve endured and been able to endure, with the vaccines now coming out one after another – it’s an incredible thing that happened,” he said in a rare public appearance since losing the presidential election to Joe Biden earlier this month.

Trump’s serious tone was a marked a contrast to his previous turkey pardonings, which he used to make light of his political situations.

Read the full story.

– Michael Collins

Arizona Republican Gov. Ducey: 'Joe Biden did win Arizona'

Arizona Republican Gov. Doug Ducey acknowledged Tuesday that Democrat Joe Biden carried Arizona, nearly three weeks after the Associated Press called the state for Biden and nearly two weeks after several other major news outlets did.

During a Tuesday morning appearance on Phoenix station KTAR's "The Mike Broomhead Show," Ducey said he expected the state to certify Biden's win and all other election results Monday.

"I've said several times: Arizona is a good government state," Ducey said. "I trust our election system. There's integrity in our election system. Joe Biden did win Arizona."

Ducey previously had declined to recognize the president-elect's Arizona victory. Less than a week ago he said he would accept the results only after all related lawsuits were resolved.

– Maria Polletta (Arizona Republic)

Arizona Gov. Doug Ducey: 'Joe Biden did win Arizona'

Nevada Supreme Court certifies Joe Biden’s election victory

The Nevada Supreme Court made President-elect Joe Biden’s election win official Tuesday, becoming the latest battleground state in the past day to certify election results that all but end President Donald Trump’s long-shot path to overturn the election.

The unanimous certification by the seven nonpartisan justices sends results to Democratic Gov. Steve Sisolak that will deliver six electoral votes from Nevada to Biden.

It comes after Pennsylvania certified Biden’s win there earlier Tuesday and one day after Michigan certified Biden as the winner.

Biden won Nevada by 33,596 votes, 50.1% to 47.7%.

Nevada was one of a handful of states that Democrat Hillary Clinton won in 2016 that the Trump campaign targeted with resources to try to flip.

The Supreme Court’s action received added scrutiny as Trump levels baseless claims of voter fraud to falsely claim the election was stolen from him.

Nevada was one of nine states that automatically mailed absentee ballots to all 1.82 million active registered voters, a move that garnered unsuccessful legal challenges from the Trump campaign. The Trump campaign later tried to stop the counting of the record 1.4 million votes cast in the election as part of a wide range of unsuccessful lawsuits targeting Nevada and other states the president lost.

– Joey Garrison and Associated Press

Trump touts market, avoids election in brief appearance

President Donald Trump touted the record 30,000-point milestone on the Dow Jones Industrial Average as a “sacred number” during a brief and sudden visit in the White House briefing room Tuesday.

The president took no questions during remarks that lasted under two minutes and never mentioned the election. He was joined by Vice President Mike Pence.

“We’ve never broken 30,000,” the president said. “That’s a sacred number – 30,000. Nobody thought they’d ever see it.”

Trump walked off the podium without responding to questions about whether he would concede the Nov. 3 election. His appearance came a day after his administration began the formal transition process to usher President-elect Joe Biden in office.

The Dow traded above 30,000 points for the first time, Trump said, because of progress on the COVID-19 vaccine. Others pointed to the General Services Administration formally beginning the transition to Biden, a sign of a peaceful transfer of power. Other analysts said investors were encouraged by Biden's selection of Janet Yellen, the former Federal Reserve chair, as his Treasury Department secretary.

– John Fritze

Asian American lawmakers push for Asian Americans in Biden’s Cabinet

Members of the Congressional Asian Pacific American Caucus called on President-elect Joe Biden Tuesday to include Asian Americans and Pacific Islanders in his Cabinet and administration as his transition team rolls out its first Cabinet picks.

Rep. Judy Chu, D-Calif., the caucus chairwoman, told reporters the Asian American community had “made a difference" in key battlegrounds across the country, and it was “worrisome that for the first time in 20 years, there may not be a single Asian American nominated to the Cabinet."

“We cannot ensure every communities having their needs met if they do not have a seat at the table,” she said.

She mentioned several potential Asian American contenders for Cabinet positions including:

  • Sen. Tammy Duckworth, D-Ill., for Defense secretary

  • Former Surgeon General Vivek Murthy for secretary of Health and Human Services

  • California Labor Secretary Julie Su for secretary of Labor

  • Chief trade counsel of the House Ways and Means Committee Katherine Tai for United States Trade Representative

  • Former Democratic presidential candidate Andrew Yang for Commerce secretary

The Caucus sent a letter to Biden on Nov. 21 urging him to include Asian Americans in his Cabinet, but had not yet received a response, Chu said. Biden's transition team did not respond to a request for comment.

– Nicholas Wu

Pennsylvania certifies election results finding Joe Biden the winner

Pennsylvania Gov. Tom Wolf on Tuesday announced his state certified its election results, ensuring that its 20 Electoral College votes will be awarded to President-elect Joe Biden.

“Today, @PAStateDept certified the results of the November 3 election in Pennsylvania for president and vice president of the United States,” Wolf tweeted Tuesday morning. “As required by federal law, I’ve signed the Certificate of Ascertainment for the slate of electors for Joe Biden and Kamala Harris.”

The certification took place as President Donald Trump and his legal team continue to challenge the results by alleging widespread fraud in Philadelphia without proof. Biden is leading Trump by more than 81,000 votes.

A Pennsylvania federal court on Saturday denied Trump's request to block certification of the state's election results to give his lawyers time to find evidence to support their claims of a fraudulent election system and improper ballot counting.

Trump in PA: In scathing ruling, judge dismisses Trump campaign's effort to overturn election results in Pennsylvania

In a scathing ruling, U.S. District Court Judge Matthew Brann criticized the Trump campaign's lack of evidence to support its argument to potentially disenfranchise every voter in the commonwealth who cast a ballot – nearly 7 million.

That prompted Sen. Pat Toomey, R-PA., a Trump supporter, to recognize Biden as the winner of the Keystone State in the Nov. 3 election.

“With today’s decision by Judge Matthew Brann, a longtime conservative Republican whom I know to be a fair and unbiased jurist, to dismiss the Trump campaign’s lawsuit, President Trump has exhausted all plausible legal options to challenge the result of the presidential race in Pennsylvania,” Toomey said in a statement Saturday.

– Ledyard King and Kevin McCoy

Most Republicans would vote for Trump in 2024, poll says

Most Republican voters would vote for President Donald Trump in a 2024, according to a POLITICO/Morning Consult poll.

Asked who they would vote for if the 2024 Republican primary was held today, 53% of Republican and Republican-leaning independents said they would for Trump. Voters also said they would vote for Vice President Mike Pence, who came in second with 12%, and the president’s son, Donald Trump Jr. received 8% of support.

None of the other options, which included Sens. Ted Cruz of Texas and Tom Cotton of Arkansas, received more than 4% of support from Republican voters.

The poll released Tuesday comes a day after Emily Murphy, the head of the General Services Administration, said she would give President-elect Joe Biden access to the transition funds and resources after withholding them from Biden and his team.

Trump tweeted his support for Murphy after her decision on Monday, also saying that “I am recommending that Emily and her team do what needs to be done with regard to initial protocols and have told my team to do the same.”

The poll of nearly 2,000 voters occurred Nov. 21-23 with a margin of error of 2 percentage points.

– Sarah Elbeshbishi

Trump to take part in turkey pardon as GSA begins Biden transition

The White House turkey pardon on Tuesday is likely to garner attention as all eyes will be on President Donald Trump after the administrator of the General Services Administration said she would allow President-elect Joe Biden to begin his official transition.

More: Trump administration clears the way for President-elect Biden's transition to officially begin

The official turkey pardoning ceremony at 2 p.m. EDT will be the president's first public event in days. Trump has been mostly out of the public eye since losing the election earlier this month.

The GSA letter marked a formal recognition by the Trump administration that Biden won the Nov. 3 election, even though the president has refused to concede and continues to make baseless allegations of voter fraud.

In a pair of tweets, Trump took credit for Murphy's decision, saying he greenlit the transition because it was in the "best interest of our country." But he also said he would continue contesting the results.

Trump has used previous turkey pardons to make light of his current political situation. Last year, in the midst of the House's impeachment inquiry, Trump cracked jokes about efforts to impeach him. In 2018, he joked abut Democrats issuing the turkey subpoenas.

Trump will issue a presidential pardon to the turkeys, Corn and Cob, at a ceremony in the Rose Garden, as part of the annual holiday tradition that was made official in 1989 under former President George H.W. Bush.

Biden's transition website is now government domain

As one of the first signs of the GSA's ascertainment of the election, president-elect Biden's transition website now exists under a government top-level domain.

The Biden team now has buildbackbetter.gov, which redirects to the existing transition website.

--Savannah Behrmann

This article originally appeared on USA TODAY: Election 2020 updates: Biden crosses 80M vote threshold