Return to Transcripts main page


New Vote Totals Changing Picture in Arizona, Nevada, Georgia. Aired 6-6:30a ET

Aired November 5, 2020 - 06:00   ET


CHRIS CUOMO, CNN ANCHOR: Good morning. I am Chris Cuomo along with Don Lemon. It is 6 a.m. here in New York City.


While you were sleeping, the race for president changed. We have new information about the state of Georgia, information about Arizona, and the state of the race. Counting takes time, but we're getting new batches of votes, Don, and they're making a big difference.

DON LEMON, CNN ANCHOR: We certainly are, and people may just be waking up, but you and I have been up all night doing this, making sure we got the numbers correct. We wanted people to wake up and get the right information.

Hundreds of thousands of mail-in votes are still being counted in key battleground states. The big one including Pennsylvania, right? Georgia's largest county has about 7,500 absentee ballots left to count. So they have been counting throughout the night, and we have been covering it for you, and we'll continue to do it, Chris.

CUOMO: Beautiful people doing our work, volunteers, a lot of them. We've been watching them, working tirelessly, just to get a vote done for us. Beautiful demonstration of democracy.

So, what do you say? It's time to get caught up on all the newest results this Thursday morning.

So we begin with a key race alert. All right. We're going to begin with Georgia. Why? I'm going to go over to the Magic Wall with Phil Mattingly in just a moment. We have seen a change in the state of play here. If you went to bed before midnight on the East, you went to sleep, it was 30,000-something votes separating the two men. Now 18,540.

Just as important from that spread is where the change comes from and what it can mean, even with 96 percent of the estimated vote in.

Why do we care so much about this one state and its 16 electoral votes? Because the paths to getting to 270 are getting very narrow. Every bit matters.

Takes us to Pennsylvania, which frankly, may matter even more. And here's why. Twenty electoral votes. Eighty-nine percent of the estimated vote is in. The amount out still, again, remember, context. The amount of vote that we're waiting on comes from areas that could swing towards Biden so heavily that he could meet or beat the 164,414- gap separating Biden and Trump. And if that happens, if Joe Biden wins Pennsylvania, the race is over.

Now, let's take you through a couple other key race alerts, while I have you. Arizona, 11 electoral votes. Eighty-six percent of the vote is in. Now, this is an important opposite dynamic of the other races. Which is that Donald Trump is making ground on Joe Biden, OK? It's been happening all through the night. Why? Well, he won it last time. Maricopa County is the whole race. He did well there last time. And it looks like he's doing better with certain batches of votes this time. Why? We'll take you through it at the wall.

The gap right now stands at 68,390. That is quite a few lower than it was. And every time we've done new votes, Joe Biden is going the wrong direction there. If he loses Arizona, the state of the race changes, and so do the pathways. We'll take you through that in just a second.

Then, Nevada, six electoral votes. This is the easiest to get through, because nothing has changed, because they're not giving us information until later this morning. Very slim lead. It will come down to the biggest county. Clark County, which is where Las Vegas is. Biden should be doing strong results there, but we will see.

OK, now, let's look at the big wall: 253, 213. But that's going to change today. I'll tell you that right now. It is going to change today. How? Well, I can't answer that. I have to go to Phil Mattingly. He's at the Magic Wall.

It's good to see you. Thank you very much for being with me. It's great to be making history with you here and living it. One of the best parts of our job.

So when we look at Georgia, we just saw a change. Where were we, where are we and why?

PHIL MATTINGLY, CNN CORRESPONDENT: So we started this night at about a 31,000-vote lead for Donald Trump. And progressively, it has dropped over the course of the last 12 hours. It has dropped even more since we've been on television the last six or so.

And why has it dropped? Because of where the vote is outstanding, and those are generally places of strength for Democrats and for Joe Biden. It has almost been universally the case. When batches of votes have come in, the lead for Donald Trump has dropped. And that just happened again moments ago.

And the reason why, Fulton County. Fulton County is the largest county in the state. It is the home of Atlanta. You look at the margin here. Obviously, this is a Democratic stronghold. And with the batch of votes that just came in, Joe Biden netted out another 4,400 votes, bringing him to where he stands now.

So the big question in the state of Georgia, how much vote is left outstanding there, right? Ninety-six percent. You say that's not a ton of vote outstanding, 4 percent. Well, when you're talking about under 20,000 votes, and you're talking about where that vote is outstanding, I'll give you a hint. Right here, right here, a little bit right here, as well.


What's the commonality in all of those areas? Those are all blue areas. They're all still waiting for vote to come in.

CUOMO: What about all that red action?

MATTINGLY: Well, we'll take it down and actually show you what's outstanding.

CUOMO: A hundred and fifty-nine counties, right? So there are a lot of different little areas. So this is what, really, the true picture is.

MATTINGLY: This is what the true picture is. And so you're looking for areas of strength here. And if you're looking for areas of strength -- so this is taking it down to what's 83 percent reporting or less. This is where you look when there's this much vote in, when there's vote outstanding.

And you go right here, and you go to Clayton County. This is a Democratic stronghold. You look at the margin. You realize there's going to be a couple thousand votes there, given the size of it. You can move outside a little bit, as well. Move over into Savannah.

Look at the margin, a little bit tighter, but look at the margin. Eighty-seven percent reporting. There's going to be more vote there.

Now, you pointed out, there's some red counties here. So what's Donald Trump's prospects here? What's Donald Trump's prospects? Look at the size of the counties. Look at the size of the counties. Dodge County is the 87th largest county in the state. There's just not a ton of vote here.

And I think one of the big questions over the course of what we've seen in the last two days has been, even in red counties, even in counties that Donald Trump is winning and will win handily, when the mail-in vote comes in, it is traditionally leaning Democratic, even in those counties.

So what that all means is Joe Biden still, the way things stand, if he continues to win this vote that's outstanding at a rate of around 60 to 62 percent, he has a chance to overtake Donald Trump.

To give you some context here, the vote that was coming in out of Fulton County over the last couple of hours has been coming in at a rate of 80 percent to 20 percent Biden. That is above that 60 to 62 percent range.

Will that hold? That will dictate whether or not Joe Biden ends up overtaking Donald Trump in the state of Georgia, but there's a pathway right now for Joe Biden in Georgia.

CUOMO: So let's get the flavor of the moment with Nick Valencia. He is in this all-important county in Georgia.

Nick, we've been watching the women over your shoulder all night long. I think we lost one of them. I still see her coat, though, and her partner in crime is still there. They have been working all night long behind you. Amazing they stayed there all night.

So what does this information mean where you are? When three votes came in, what does that tell us about how much action we have coming out of your location?

NICK VALENCIA, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Well, it's their important work that shows us that this race is close and only getting closer here by the hour, Chris.

At 12 midnight, we knew that there was 20,000 absentee ballots that still remained to be counted by Fulton County. They've been able to make a considerable dent in that. As it stands right now, it's 6 a.m. Eastern, just 7,500 absentee mail-in ballots left to be counted.

What we don't know is the raw data. Who is this benefiting? Who are these votes going towards? We know, just from looking at the data, Phil Mattingly, you know, laying it out beautifully, that these mail- in ballots have benefited, by and large, Joe Biden. Will that continue to be the case?

The big question has been the same for the course of the last 24 to 48 hours. Are there enough Democratic votes on the table here in Georgia for Joe Biden to take this state and be the first Democratic presidential nominee to win the state since 1992?

We are still waiting for the secretary of state to get back into the office, to upload and have these numbers that they're working on here gathering, reflected in the overrule totals.

Before the secretary of state went to bed, they told us there was 90,000 absentee ballots across the state. We don't know if that is the current number. We don't believe it is, just because of all the work that they're doing here.

I mentioned, 20,000 absentee votes they started at midnight with. They're down to 7,500, doing a lot of work here. At that rate, we should get some more final tallies from this county around 7 a.m., 8 a.m. Eastern. But again, we are still going to have to wait until the secretary of state reflects that in the overall numbers -- Chris.

CUOMO: Nick, thank you very much.

I want to go back to the wall, but just one string of salient thoughts for one second here so you can get some context.

One, the people behind Nick have been killing themselves, and they've been doing it for us. OK? They are volunteers. They're just regular people, and they're doing these jobs that are crazy tedious and difficult. And Nick has been taking us through it all night long. And we appreciate them, and we asked them to reach out before. We see one is getting ready to leave finally. Imagine that, leaving your family all night long to do this.

Now, why is the count taking a long time? A, false premise, not taking that long. OK? We don't get results in elections as quickly as somebody suggested to you at the beginning of this process.

Now, one of the factors here that is new is we have a lot more mail-in vote than we've had before. Why? Pandemic. Tons of organizing. People being worried about going out.

And frankly, part of the swing here, Republicans aren't adverse to mail-in voting, but it doesn't help when the president of the United States is telling you not to do it. That will be part of the autopsy here.

So what's the other part? None of the states that we're looking at right now counts mail-in votes first, OK? Every one of the states we're looking at now, unless I'm wrong, counted day-of votes first. So you were always going to see a change in the count.


The president wanted you to believe that that was suspicious. It isn't. And he knew that when he told you.

So we're seeing a change in the state of play. And you believe that there are -- and Nick Valencia said the same thing -- there are enough votes to make a difference here.

So let's now reset here at the top of the hour with fitting this into our understanding of the state of play of the race.

MATTINGLY: So I want to bring up kind of the general map. And let's lay out where things stand right now. If you take a look at where things stand right now, every state you see that's not filled in is a state that we have not called, up to this point. You see states that are very tight: Pennsylvania, North Carolina, Georgia, Arizona, Nevada. We will go ahead and mark off for President Trump North Carolina. You made the point, it's a pretty sizable lead right now. It has held. There is no expectation at this point that that will be overcome by Joe Biden. Same with Alaska.

Where does that put things? Joe Biden, 253 electoral votes. Donald Trump, 231 electoral votes.

Let's go through where Joe Biden is leading right now. He's not leading in Pennsylvania, down by about 160,000 votes there. Votes still coming in.

Not leading in Georgia. That's narrowing right now. They'll see if they can close the gap.

He is leading in the state of Arizona. He is leading in the state of Nevada. If he just wins the state of Nevada and the state of Arizona, look at the number: 270 electoral votes.

Here's a caveat. Right now, we've been watching this throughout the course of the night. The state of Arizona has tightened. It has tightened tremendously over the course of the night. There is a new batch that we are waiting for. It's going to be a bit. We're not supposed to hear it until later tonight. Out of Maricopa County, biggest county in the state of Arizona. We will see what that batch holds for what the future is for that state.

CUOMO: That's a lot of time, by the way.

MATTINGLY: That's a lot of time.

CUOMO: I'm saying, why? Because time is a coefficient of how many votes they process, right? We have seen anecdotally here that the more time between reports, the more volume of votes when they do eventually report.

So if we're talking it's 6 a.m. in the morning east here to 9 a.m. at night or whenever when they come in, that's a long time. That could be a big batch of votes.

Is there -- is it a fair suggestion to say that, when they come out, that could be a dispositive amount of votes? Meaning, this is the state saying, We think this will render which way this state goes?

MATTINGLY: Well, the state won't make the judgement on that. I mean --

CUOMO: Right.

MATTINGLY: Our decisions desk will. But what we know in the state of Arizona, there's about 400,000 votes outstanding. What we saw over the course of this night is in -- they came out in chunks of 75,000 and 65,000 votes over the course of the night. We will see if they stay on that track or if there's a bigger batch over the course of the night that will allow the decision desk, whether it's ours --

CUOMO: So we'll know. We may know -- we may know tonight.

MATTINGLY: It's a possibility we will know tonight.

CUOMO: And Nevada, we will know more definitely today, because that's what the secretary -- secretary of state promised us when we started this yesterday.

MATTINGLY: There is no -- no longer any time that we can actually count on.

CUOMO: I know. It was -- it was Wednesday morning. Wednesday morning, the secretary of state --

MATTINGLY: It's Blursday at this point. It's officially Blursday.

CUOMO: Wednesday morning, the secretary of state of Nevada tweeted that they would have more information later today. And that is because they prefer to do a lot of counting first and then report multiple counties at once, yes?

MATTINGLY: We're waiting for Clark County, the biggest county. It's the biggest outstanding thing -- biggest outstanding vote batch that we're waiting for, will likely decide which way Nevada goes.

Now, I want to show you something else, too. Because I think this is really important.

CUOMO: Around noon, by the way.

MATTINGLY: Around noon. Around noon, East Coast time.

CUOMO: Right.

MATTINGLY: Nine a.m. their time.


MATTINGLY: So what happens if the new batches come in from Arizona, and they put President Trump ahead? The Trump campaign has said they believe they have a very real pathway in Arizona. What happens if that's the case?

Democrats dispute that pathway, but what happens if that's the case? What happens if the new Clark County batch comes in. Clark County is traditionally a Democratic county. But what happens if that goes to President Trump? Biden is only leading by 7,000 votes. Who knows? Put that up there. Where does that leave things: 253 to 248.

What happens if Donald Trump holds off Joe Biden in the state of Georgia? Joe Biden has a clear pathway there right now. But what happens if Donald Trump is able to scrounge up enough votes from those Republican counties?

This is probably the most important thing to pay attention to this morning. Donald Trump can win North Carolina. He can win Georgia, he can win Arizona, he can win Nevada. If Joe Biden wins the state of Pennsylvania, Joe Biden is above 273 electoral votes.

Now, there are multiple pathways for Joe Biden right now, but the straightest pathway is winning the state of Pennsylvania. That is what President Trump absolutely cannot allow to happen. And that is what the Biden campaign right now, as they look at the numbers in Pennsylvania, which we can get into in a little bit if we have time, that is the clearest pathway to 270.

CUOMO: Let's take a break. We'll come back to the wall and go through this. And the question I have not asked Phil Mattingly yet, which is amazing, because I have asked him everything that I have been able to think of twice.


So stay with us, and then we will figure out how long are we looking at until we know which way we're going to be heading, hopefully together? Stay with CNN.


(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP) JOE BIDEN (D), PRESIDENTIAL NOMINEE: Now after a long night of counting, it's clear that we're winning enough states to reach 270 electoral votes needed to win the presidency. I'm not here to declare that we've won, but I am here to report, when the count is finished, we believe we will be the winners.


CUOMO: Former VP Joe Biden there. Chris Cuomo, Phil Mattingly here at the Magic Wall.

His campaign team believes that they will win Pennsylvania.


I just got an email from President Trump, as a longtime friend and supporter, as it is addressed to me. I don't know how to make it stop. I've tried. Now, I just go with it. And it said there that he has won Pennsylvania, and he says this isn't just a rumor, because his campaign manager says it's true.

All right. Now, that and a token, that doesn't exist anymore, would get you on the subway.

The point is, we have to wait for the votes and the data. There is no question, as Phil has been explaining very well for a long time, if Pennsylvania goes for Biden, the race is over. That's not true if it goes for Trump.

However, let's talk to the state of play here and why 164,000-vote spread with 89 percent reporting is not necessarily dispositive of the result.

MATTINGLY: Well, let's start with two key factors. One, you go to about 10 to 12 hours ago, Donald Trump was ahead by over 700,000 votes. And progressively, over the course of hours on end, Joe Biden has eaten away a lot. Now at 164,000.

CUOMO: Because they counted day-of votes first.

MATTINGLY: So let me contextualize this for a little bit. If you recall, Wisconsin and Michigan, similar structure, right? You count day-of vote first. Day-of vote has been predominantly, heavily Republican.

Why? President Trump's turnout operation was outstanding.


MATTINGLY: I don't think anybody can argue with that. And President Trump urged his supporters to vote in person on election day.

For those three states -- Pennsylvania, Michigan, Wisconsin -- they counted election day vote first, and then they moved into mail-in ballots.

Why does that matter? Democrats heavily, heavily leaned into mail-in ballots.

What happened over the course of the count for Michigan and Wisconsin? It started off very Republican. And hour by hour by hour, as they counted the mail-in votes, Joe Biden made up ground, made up ground, made up ground, flipped the states blue. Both of those states have been called for Joe Biden right now.

So the big question, we have seen a similar scenario play out in Pennsylvania, up to this point. However, Joe Biden has not gotten over the top yet.

So the big outstanding question is, can he? Eighty-nine percent reporting, 11 percent outstanding, 164,000-vote lead for Donald Trump. What is out there for Joe Biden in the state of Pennsylvania?

The short answer, a lot. Start right here. This is the biggest county in the state. This is Philadelphia County. Twelve percent of the voting population lives in this county. You look at this margin right now, it's obviously a big Democratic stronghold. I'm going to tell you something. That margin is about to grow.

The vote total, 457,000, that is about to grow. And it is about to grow by a lot. Not 10 to 20,000. We're talking six figures here when the vote actually comes in.

That is history. Go back to 2016. Look at what Hillary Clinton had, 584,000. Turnout is better this time around. Should be somewhere around there, maybe even higher. Look at the margin. Right now, Biden is lower than that. Biden will match that or do better.

How do we know that? Compare and contrast 2016 to 2020. Throughout the state, as the mail-in ballots have come in, as they have been counted, even in Republican strongholds, Joe Biden has made up significant ground.

And the margins, even in Republican strongholds, have started to drop. They have dropped below what Donald Trump was putting up back in 2016 throughout the state.

So let's take a look at where there's significant outstanding vote. Right here, southeast Pennsylvania, and you include Bucks County, which is currently red. There is Democratic vote that's going to come in there, and it is likely to come in very big.

Right here, Allegheny County, home of Pittsburgh. There is Democratic vote there, and it is going to come in big.

The reality right now, as you look around, you say, OK, there's red counties here. There's red counties here. So that's got to be for President Trump, right? That's got to be for President Trump. And look at margins. Look at the margins in Crawford County. That's huge.

CUOMO: But not the vote volume.

MATTINGLY: That's huge. But here's the issue. We've seen this play out throughout the state, where Donald Trump, even in his strongholds, as the night has played on -- go here to Westmoreland County. Huge margin, huge margin running up big vote.

Earlier in the night, this was at 69 percent for Donald Trump. It has since dropped to 63 percent. Why? The Democratic mail-in ballots were counted. Now at 94 percent. Margin looks a little bit more what we were expecting it to be.

Move over even to Luzerne County. This was a huge county for President Trump back in 2016. He flipped this from President Obama. Over the course of the night, this margin was much bigger. It has shrunk as Democratic voters come in.

2016, where was it? Fifty-eight percent for President Trump. 2020, 56 percent. You say, that's not a lot. Well, when margins matter -- and margins matter huge in Pennsylvania for Republicans, particularly when you know Democrats are going to blow it out in the southeast and out in Allegheny County, all of a sudden, it becomes clear pathways are there for Joe Biden. The majority of the vote that's outstanding, just because it's vote by mail, is going to go towards Biden.

The big question now is, one, when is it going to come in?

CUOMO: Right. That's the big question.

MATTINGLY: We've been waiting for a while on that one. And when it comes in, what is the compilation of it? Is it -- is it 60, 70, 80 percent Biden or is it somewhere lower?


I will tell you right now, based on our calculations, what we've been kind of working with throughout the course of the night. If the remaining outstanding vote comes in somewhere between 60 and 62 percent, Joe Biden overtakes this. Joe Biden overtakes this.

And what we've been seeing is, when this vote comes in, the vote-by- mail comes in for Democrats, particularly in this state, it is coming in higher than that, regularly. So there's a pathway. We have to wait and see. There's a lot of vote outstanding. It's still being counted. We haven't gotten any updates in the last couple of hours.

But that's the reality of Pennsylvania right now, and that is crucial. If Joe Biden wins Pennsylvania, Joe Biden is over 270 electoral votes.

CUOMO: Now, here's the question. If things happen and there are projections and somebody wins, OK? It is not going to be over, because there will be a factor of people challenging the count legitimately, with a request for a recount.

The question is, which of the states that are in play right now are susceptible to a recount based on what we're seeing and what we think we will see?

MATTINGLY: So every state has different rules. And I think the big question right now -- that's why when we're looking at Pennsylvania, if Joe Biden overtakes President Trump, the question is, by how much?

CUOMO: Right.

MATTINGLY: By how much? What would trigger a recount in the state of Pennsylvania?

We know for a fact that Wisconsin is headed to a recount. Wisconsin is headed to a recount. It's a 1 percent rule. If the campaign asks for it, the losing campaign asks for it. President Trump either has asked for it or his campaign has been very clear that they are going to ask for it.

Check down in Arizona, as well. I think that's about 2,000 votes, I want to say, separation. Losing campaign can ask for it. We'll see. We'll see. A lot of votes still to come in. We've been talking about it. Four hundred thousand votes outstanding. So we'll see there.

So there's a couple of things at play. We know there's going to be at least one recount. Georgia is almost certainly headed to a recount, whoever wins. Whether Joe Biden makes up the difference right now or Donald Trump hangs on, it is going to be razor-thin. Georgia could head to a recount.

So the other factor here is, whoever clears 270 electoral votes, do they clear it to where the recount states don't even matter, right? You lock in 306 electoral votes or 290 electoral votes, and it doesn't matter if there's one state outstanding.

CUOMO: Right.

MATTINGLY: You're already above 270 no matter what. But it's definitely a factor because of how close these races are.

CUOMO: Right. And then it's time and drama. Because the chance that the vote comes back different is likely. Materially different, unlikely. But different, likely. And then that adds drama. Time and drama.

All right. So we're going to take a break. I've been waiting three hours to ask him that question, because I think it's going to become relevant. And I want you to be prepared for that.

Phil, thank you very much.

Quick break. A lot more content on the other side. We'll be right back.