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Polling Opens in New Hampshire; Trump and Biden Make Appearances Today; Trump Says Decision in Pennsylvania Induces Violence; Tight Race in North Carolina. Aired 9:30-10a

Aired November 3, 2020 - 09:30   ET




ANDERSON COOPER, CNN ANCHOR: And welcome back to our continuing coverage of Election Day. You're looking at ballot cam in Milwaukee. We've been looking at polling places across the country of orderly, peaceful, long lines in some places, shorter lines in other places because so many people have voted early in Florida, for instance, when we checked in with our Randi Kaye in Broward County.

Polls are opening across New Hampshire. We're already seeing long lines at some polling places there. CNN's Polo Sandoval is in Londonderry, New Hampshire.

Polo, what's the scene?

POLO SANDOVAL, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Anderson, with roughly 20,000 registered voters according to the moderator who's running this polling location, that makes it one of the largest in the country. And when you look at the pictures behind me, it's hard to debate that. You have seen a steady flow of people stopping by this particular location. It is a long but quick moving line here. The folks are waiting for about 20 minutes or so to actually cast their ballot.

Remember, New Hampshire, early voting was only done via absentee. So if you live in New Hampshire and if you want to have your voice heard in person, then today is the day. And that is why we're seeing record numbers. Local officials expecting a large turnout.

These folks have been waiting outside. We have seen some flurries, we have seen cold temperatures, and yet people are determined to actually cast their ballot here.

We are seeing an average of about 12 ballots being processed a minute according to local officials. So far no issues. But, remember, there's a couple of political threads here. Obviously we are not in primary season, so it is a bit of a different game right now. But nonetheless, there are still four electoral votes here and they're up for grabs.

The last time that those went for the Republican presidential candidate, that was back in 2000. So the Trump campaign and the Trump administration certainly wants to change that trend. Ultimately, though, some of the polling that voters are seeing here showing Biden ahead. But, remember, four years ago, Anderson, it was only about a less than 1 percent difference at least Hillary Clinton winning by just under 1 percent. So it still remains an extremely competitive state today on Election Day.


COOPER: Do you have a sense of how long the wait times are at that location?

SANDOVAL: Yes, I'll step out of the picture so you can actually see some of the folks that are coming in. One woman told me that she waited about 20 or 30 minutes or so. But walking in here earlier this morning, Anderson, I also heard from one gentleman who said he's glad he did it.

It is -- things are moving very smoothly, actually. A lot of folks have been preparing for today, again, because in-person voting is reserved for today, on Election Day, so that's one of the main reasons why we're expecting to see potentially over 800,000 people cast their ballots by the end of the day. So that is one of the reasons why New Hampshire is certainly extremely busy today.

But, again, when you speak to some of the folks here in line as they wait to finally cast their ballot, in a very smooth way here, it seems that things are running very smoothly. Again, the average wait, about 20 or 30 minutes, but they are processing those ballots extremely quickly. Again, one official telling me about 12 a minute and they do have about 20,000 registered voters in this region.

So it is still going to be a long night. And yesterday they did get sort of an early start on processing the absentee ballots by doing what's called partial preprocessing, they opened that outer envelope and then just made sure that the affidavit envelope that contains the actual ballot that will be counted today was actually signed.

If it wasn't, then officials gave those voters an opportunity to rectify that and also many of those voters here in this part of New Hampshire and really throughout the state, they have an opportunity to actually register today as well. So the numbers that we're seeing, the estimates that we're seeing, they're likely going to be even greater before the end of the -- before the day is over.

COOPER: Yes, Polo Sandoval, appreciate you being there. You can see on the -- Polo is in New Hampshire. Also you see Strongsville, Ohio, on the right-hand side of your screen.

It is really heartening to see these images of just Americans showing up and voting despite all the anxiety and concern, the apprehension about what the day might look like in polling places around the country. So far what we are seeing are the scenes you're seeing, people, as they have every four years, there helping people to vote, long lines in some places, shorter lines in other places. There in New Hampshire, about a 20 minute wait according to one person that Polo spoke to. And, in the end, it all comes down to this, American citizens showing up and casting their vote. Despite all the talk, and all the threats, and all the drama, this is what it boils down to. And it's happening.

We'll take you live to North Carolina, a major swing state this election, where voters are lining up.


Plus, new reporting on what each candidate is doing tonight as the results come in.


COOPER: Both presidential candidates will make public appearances today before settling in to watch election returns. Joe Biden making two more stops in battleground Pennsylvania. The president has only one appearance next hour at an RNC office in Virginia.

Our Jessica Dean is in Philadelphia, where Biden will visit later today.

First CNN's John Harwood is at the White House ahead of the president's departure.

John, the White House has put up a -- we -- we saw this yesterday, a fence around the White House, something we haven't really seen, I don't know if it's ever happened before on Election Day.

JOHN HARWOOD, CNN WHITE HOUSE CORRESPONDENT: Anderson, they're girthing for potential difficulty on the streets of Washington, as many of the businesses are here, boarding up storefronts and that sort of thing. But this is going to be a low-key day for the president during the daytime. He's going to visit campaign workers in northern Virginia.

Tonight he's going to have a party. We expect perhaps 400 people crammed into the East Room of the White House. Public health authorities, of course, say this is not the time for mass gatherings, but this president lives for the cheers of the crowd. We've seen that over the last couple of days, ten rallies over Sunday and Monday where the president is playing a lot of political defense, but also simply basking in the adulation of his supporters.

At the same time, he recognizes the challenge of the position that he's in and he -- at those rallies was preemptively laying out some targets, people who have made his life difficult as if he was pre- offering excuses.


So he's going after Democrats, the media, China, LeBron James, Tony Fauci. And this morning, in an interview on Fox, he offered a new one, which is that he said that "Fox and Friends" -- or that Fox News, the network, had not been helping him as much as they had in the past, complaining about that. So that's an indication that this president understands which way the wind is blowing.

He's raised the question of legal challenges. He's raised the question of perhaps physical unrest if he thinks the ballot counting has gone on too long. The question that we're going to begin to find out the answer to tonight, though, Anderson, is whether or not he's close -- running close enough to Joe Biden for any of that to make a difference in the outcome.

COOPER: Jessica, we just saw Biden in Scranton, clearly a sign of just the importance of Pennsylvania today.

JESSICA DEAN, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Yes, absolutely, Anderson. And we've seen Joe Biden, his running mate, Kamala Harris, and both of their spouses here in Pennsylvania. Biden has been here since Sunday. He was here on Monday. And, of course, spending time here on Election Day.

And so Pennsylvania absolutely critical to the Biden campaign. And Joe Biden, of course, making that known as he spoke to union workers there in Scranton. That's part of the coalition they're trying to put together. He's also trying to win back white working class voters, voters who perhaps voted for President Trump in 2016, who might have voted for Joe Biden and Barack Obama in previous elections.

The campaign and Joe Biden really believe they can win some of those people back with a lot of his messaging that we've heard over the last months of this election, which includes that Park Avenue versus Scranton messaging that Joe Biden really sees himself as someone who understands every day Americans, working Americans, and promises to be their advocate should he go to the White House.

It's also important, Anderson, I think, to zoom out for a minute and realize that Joe Biden going back home to Scranton with his grandchildren, this is personal for him. It's very much Joe Biden at his heart. He loves Scranton. He talks about it all the time. For him to take his granddaughters there, who have never been there before, it was very important to him.

We also saw him going to mass earlier today. He and Jill Biden visiting the grave of his late son Beau Biden, who has been very present on the campaign trail in terms of Joe Biden speaking about him time and time again in his stump speech. So all of these threads coming together, both the personal and the political, here in these final hours.


COOPER: Jessica, thanks very much. Appreciate it.

In his final pitch to voters, President Trump warned that cheating in the key state of Pennsylvania could lead to violence in the streets. Of course he showed no evidence.

Well, we --


DONALD TRUMP, PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: And when the Supreme Court gave you an extension, they made a very dangerous situation. And I mean dangerous -- physically dangerous. And they made it a very, very bad -- they did a very bad thing for this state. They did a very bad thing for this nation.


COOPER: It was in a tweet last night right before his last campaign rally that he talked about the potential for violence in the streets. Of course, the idea that there is rampant voter fraud in Pennsylvania is just simply false. There is no evidence of that, nor has the president ever been able to find any evidence of that for all these claims that he has been making.

The president told reporters another baseless claim that the Supreme Court decision allowing Pennsylvania to count mail-in votes that arrive up to three days after the election will lead to cheating at a, quote, very high level and was, quote, very dangerous.

Joining me now, CNN's senior political analyst Kirsten Powers and Ryan Lizza.

Kirsten, it's so interesting to me today to watch sort of calm voting at ballot -- at, you know, polling stations across the country, people standing in line. After all the drama, after all the lies, after all the threats, all the, you know, anxiety, it comes down to American citizens taking time out of their day to stand on a line and to cast a ballot. It comes down to just a very simple act that seems to be going peacefully in all the places that we've been this morning.

KIRSTEN POWERS, CNN SENIOR POLITICAL ANALYST: Right. Exactly. And I think that what you have is the president who, when he talks about there's going to be violence, or this is very dangerous, the only reason that would happen is because he would be inciting it with the types of things that he's saying. By suggesting that following the law and counting ballots is somehow cheating, he's leading his followers and some of his voters to believe that if somehow he loses that it's only because the Democrats are stealing votes, right?


Never mind the fact that this is very common, that many states allow ballots to be counted after Election Day as long as they are postmarked on Election Day. But he continues with this drum beat of, you know, if I lose it's only going to be because they stole the election.

COOPER: Yes, Ryan, I mean, we know being a loser is the president's greatest fear. That's his greatest insult to somebody is that they're a loser. To Kirsten's point, I guess, if he, you know, can convince people or has an argument that, you know, it was -- it was a rigged election, then in his mind he's not a loser if, in fact, he does lose.

RYAN LIZZA, CNN SENIOR POLITICAL ANALYST: Yes. In the best case scenario, this is just rhetoric and we shouldn't take it literally or seriously and it's just Trump having a handy excuse for a loss. In the worst case scenario, it's something more grave and setting up some kind of post-election day argument that might be combined with some court challenges and, as he suggested last night, most ominously, might be suggested with pushing people to take to the streets and do something more rash.

You have to remember, this is a -- state Supreme Court decision in Pennsylvania, which was up -- was upheld by the U.S. Supreme Court with Chief Justice Roberts siding with the liberals.

And it was a classic, conservative, let the state -- you know, federalism, let the states decide this, the federal government shouldn't intervene, our state election -- our elections are state and county and locally run. So for the president to be -- and for the Republicans to be challenging this really does go against their conservative legal beliefs that they've talked about for quite a long time.

That aside, Trump has now added this ominous element of, you know, people should be doing something about that.


Kirsten, it also seems so clearly designed just to sow confusion and fear and potentially suppress the vote. Maybe convince some people who, you know, have concerns or anxiety about what might happen to stay home and not cast a ballot.

I mean it seems like such a blatant, obvious attempt at a voter suppression. And so many of the efforts that we've been seeing, whether it's Republicans in Texas who try to get 127,000 votes that had already been cast in pre-approved drive-thru voting areas in Harris County, tried to get those thrown out, which numerous judges, Republican judges, have said that's not going to happen.

POWERS: Right. I mean Trump only -- it's not just that he thrives in chaos, he only really survives in chaos. And so that's why he always -- he always creates this chaos wherever he goes.

And I think, you know, the Texas example is really an important one, you know, for everybody to understand, what the Republicans have been trying to do. I mean and they're trying to do this across the country wherever they can.

But the idea that you would take, you know, 100,000 votes and throw them away, you know, like that is so offensive. That should be so offensive to every single American. It is not just about Republicans versus Democrats. The idea that you would just -- that you would go to court to try to get perfectly valid ballots that were filled out thrown away.

And so the other thing I would take away from it, from a sort of political standpoint is, they obviously don't think that they can win fair and square. If they did, they wouldn't be doing these kinds of things. You wouldn't have, you know, Republican districts in Pennsylvania

going out of their way to not start processing ballots, you know, until tomorrow morning when you have all the other counties are processing them, you know, refusing help, saying, oh, we can't do it because we don't have enough people and they're told, well, we'll send you more people, we'll give you more money and they're like, no, they want to make -- they -- they believe those are Democratic ballots and so they don't want those to be counting on election night.


Ryan, no matter who wins this election, I mean the electoral map is changing.


COOPER: And we see that -- we've been seeing that each presidential election, but certainly this one as well.

LIZZA: Yes, you know, I just spent the last two weeks on the road covering some of these new Sun Belt swing states, Nevada, Arizona, Texas, Georgia and North Carolina. You know, usually at this point in an election, you're spending all your time in the Midwest and Florida.


But these other states are the -- are the future of -- they're the future competitive states in the United States. And they're changing in big ways. And we're -- we're seeing -- you know, if you look at the polls in Texas and Arizona, you're seeing this rebellion in the -- in the suburbs against Trump's behavior and mismanagement of the coronavirus pandemic. And I think that will be the basic story if Biden wins.

I don't think that means that Biden has some kind -- if he wins tonight that he's put together this new, unbreakable coalition. This is -- I think what we see in this election in 2016 is competitive elections for a while between the two parties with a whole new rash of states in the Sun Belt being the fulcrum.

COOPER: Yes, Ryan Lizza, Kiersten Powers, thanks very much. We'll check in with you throughout the day.

2020 could be the year of the youth turnout. A jump in turnout could tip the scales in battleground states. We'll take you live to Michigan, next.



COOPER: The race between Joe Biden and President Trump is tight in the battleground state of North Carolina. Polls there opened just a few hours ago.

CNN's Suzanne Malveaux is at a polling location in Charlotte, North Carolina.

Suzanne, what's it like?


Well, we're actually at Precinct 212 in Mecklenburg County. And there's been a steady stream, a lot of enthusiasm from voters since 6:30 in the morning.

I just want to take you really quickly through the process here. The first desk here as we're -- you see people are actually filling out an authorization to vote form. This is a state where no voter ID is necessary. So it's just name, address, you certify with your signature that you're 18 years old, that you're registered, that if you are a convicted felon you've served out your time, that you're able to vote.

You then go to the second banks here. This is where they have the poll books. The poll books actually have the names of those who have registered, but who have not voted in the precinct. Now, if your name is not here on that list, or if there's a discrepancy, simply go to the help desk there. You can see folks are in line and they're actually addressing some of those issues. If they can't be addressed, they'll get a provisional ballot nevertheless.

And then they simply just take it over here. This is where they're doing the voting itself. This is the ballot mashing machines. You simply put in the ballot, punch out on a screen with your selection. It spits it back out. And then you take it over here to the tabulators. It automatically scans and it drops it into that black box.

Joining me now is the chief judge of Precinct 212, Mark Enriquez (ph).

You and I have been up early, a couple cups of coffee now.


MALVEAUX: How is it going?

ENRIQUEZ: It's going to great. We're pleased with the turnout. It's been a steady flow. I think we're around 300 voters so far this morning. But a lot of people vote early here. We've had really good turnout for both mail-in and early voting. So I'm pleased with the number of people we have here this morning.

MALVEAUX: Any problems or discrepancies? I know that that was a real issue that things were not matching up or a concern that they wouldn't.

ENRIQUEZ: No, I'd say things are going pretty smoothly. I mean we've had a few people vote provisional. That happens each election where they're not in the book or we're having difficulty finding them. But, generally, things have gone quite smoothly.

MALVEAUX: You and I talked earlier about the concern, even anxiety, some of the workers here, about the provision that there is no requirement for mask wearing. Has that been an issue?

ENRIQUEZ: It has not come up this morning. I know some folks were worried about it. We're encouraging folks to have masks. We are providing people with masks if they don't have them, but it is not a requirement to vote. So -- but it has not come up. As far as I can tell, everyone's worn their mask. Most people have gotten in line with masks. So it has not been an issue so far this morning.

MALVEAUX: You even taped yours up a little I see.

ENRIQUEZ: I did. I was getting a lot of fog. So my wife helped me tape it up to minimize the fogging of the glasses.

MALVEAUX: All right, Judge, thank you so much. I really appreciate it.

And, Anderson, unlike some other states, North Carolina is expected to get out the provisional results at -- the unofficial results as early as 7:30 this evening. And that is because they have actually been tallying and counting those votes, those early votes coming in, and that's about 62 percent of all the registered voters of North Carolina.


COOPER: Hey, Suzanne, can you get some inside tips from that poll worker about how he tapes up his mask because I have the same problem with the fog on the glasses and it's -- it's something that's been a bane of my existence for the last several months. So any tips would be welcome.

MALVEAUX: There's an invention in there somewhere.

COOPER: There is.

MALVEAUX: Someone -- someone's going to get rich off of that, I tell you.

COOPER: I mean, I know. Somebody -- yes.

Suzanne Malveaux, appreciate you being there. It's nice to see things so normal, which is, that in itself is surprising in this day and age.

We're almost at the top of the hour. Polls are about to open in California, Idaho, Nevada and Oregon. Our special coverage, "Election Day in America," continues in 60 seconds.