Return to Transcripts main page


More Votes About to be Released in Nevada; Razor-Thin Margin Separates Biden, Trump in Uncalled States; Clark County, Nevada News Conference on Vote Count. Aired 1-1:30p ET

Aired November 5, 2020 - 13:00   ET



WOLF BLITZER, CNN ANCHOR: We're expecting more results out of Nevada at any moment now after Biden increased his lead there just a little while ago.

He also has made gains in Georgia and Pennsylvania, dramatically shrinking the president's advantage in those states. Right now, it is still too early to call races in states six states, and that includes Arizona, another battleground that could potentially close the deal for Biden.

The democrat looking to build on this 253 electoral votes to hit the winning 270. The president has 213 electoral votes, and he's launching multiple legal challenges right now as he sees his options narrowing and narrowing.

Let's get a key race alert now. Let's start in Georgia right now. 16 electoral votes, 98 percent of the estimated vote is in. Look at how close it is. Trump has a lead over Biden by 13,540 votes, 49.5 percent to 49.2 percent, very close in Georgia.

In Nevada, right now, 88 percent of the estimated vote is in. Biden's lead, 11,787, 49.4 percent to 48.5 percent.

We have got our reporters who are watching what's going on in Georgia and Nevada right now. Victor Blackwell is in Atlanta for us right now.

First of all, what are we learning, Victor, from the secretary of state?

VICTOR BLACKWELL, CNN CORRESPONDENT: So, Wolf, we just got the latest count of outstanding absentee ballots. And according to secretary of state, that number is 50,401. 50,401 ballots still outstanding across Georgia that still have to be counted, of course, with a margin so narrow between President Trump and former Vice President Biden. Those 50,000 give an opportunity to the Biden campaign.

The director of elections here in Fulton County just wrapped up a few moments ago in which they announced that the absentee ballot processing is complete. They have reported more than 145,000 ballots. They have 7,000 thereabout to go, it's approximate number. The next step of this is to go through adjudication of a few ballots that are still out there that have to be deciphered, the intent of the voter. The expectation is that there will be some potential overseas mailed-in ballots. Their deadline is 5:00 P.M. tomorrow.

We also know of that 7,000, there are 12,000 cured ballots, which means there was a missing signature or something wrong, that those will be added as well.

So, of the ballots that have already counted, there will be another 7,000 number, approximate number we're getting from Rick Barron, the executive director of elections here in Fulton County. But all the action that was happening in this room, they have finished processing the ballots, and now we're waiting for those few thousand to be added to the website, to the tabulation out of this county. Wolf?

BLITZER: significant number, 50,401 uncounted still, ballots still outstanding, uncounted ballots right now. And the Trump lead has gone down to, what, about 11,000 right now. Victor, we're going to get back to you. 13,000, I should say.

Sara Sidner is joining us from Las Vegas right now. What's the latest there, Sara?

SARA SIDNER, CNN NATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: We are awaiting a press conference from here in Clark County. This is where about 70 percent of the electorate is. And so this is very significant, as you might imagine, county with the vote.

We have noticed that they have started to update numbers. And we have seen a very slight change in numbers, 431,863 votes for Joe Biden and Donald Trump has 367,279 votes. We're talking about 53.1 percent for Joe Biden now and 45.1 percent for Donald Trump. That is just out of Clark County. We are watching their numbers very slowly start to tick up.

What we do not know and what still is outstanding are the mail-in ballots. And we're waiting to hear just how far they think they have gotten in his count. It has been very slow-going. They are in counting right now. But what we know is that they can be counting ballots here and more ballots can still come in all the way up to 5:00 P.M. on November 10th. So that is going to cause a long time.

They're going to count every single vote. So that is going to cause some delay in knowing exactly, officially, what the ballot count is because they're allowing votes that were put in the mail and stamped before or on November 3rd, as long as they make it here, as long as they make it into the hands of ballot counters by November 10th, 5:00 P.M., they still will be counted, so that is one of the things that is different here than in many other states.

But I've got to tell you, there are a lot of folks around here, there are people out here rallying, mostly on the side of Donald Trump, they want to get in. There were complaints of republicans here, just like in several other states, that they aren't being able to watch this process the way that they want to be able to watch the process happen. And they're talking about potentially filing lawsuits. I know that the GOP and Trump have filed a lawsuit over that particular thing.


We are hearing of another potential lawsuit as well.

But everyone is down trying to get a view of exactly what is going on and how the counting is going. And we are simply waiting here because, hopefully, in the next few minutes, we're going to get a new tally count, some new numbers that are coming forward here in Clark County.

BLITZER: Clark County, the largest county, Las Vegas in Nevada, about 200,000 uncounted votes in all of the state of Nevada. Sara, thank you very much. Victor, thanks to you as well.

We'll get back to you both. Let's go back to John King right now. Let's talk a little bit about Georgia and Nevada right now. And let's start off with Georgia right now. It is so close there. And there's still 50,000 or so outstanding ballots in Georgia. The margin, Trump is ahead by 13,540.

JOHN KING, CNN CHIEF NATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: He is. And that's such a smaller margin than it was just 24 and 30 hours ago, and that's the dynamic in the state of Georgia. And the question is, can Joe Biden continue this surge that has cut the president's lead now down to 13,540. The answer is it is mathematically possible. Joe Biden has to win at ballpark 63 percent, 63.5 percent of the remaining ballots.

And we know a lot of those remaining ballots, Victor just told you, they have several thousand more to count here in Fulton County. That's Atlanta and the suburbs around it. You see what's happening. I just said, Joe Biden has to get needs 63, 63.5. That's a ballpark figure of the remaining ballots while he's getting 72 percent in Fulton County. And he has been matching the metric he needs so far. That does not guarantee he matches it everywhere else as the other ballots come in, but you're watching it play here.

Another place here was Clayton County. They're now up to 93 percent. So they're getting there. But, again, look at what's happening here. Joe Biden needs 63, 64 percent of the outstanding ballots while he is getting 84 percent of the vote here in Clayton County.

Another place, Wolf, where we've been waiting for the ballots to come in, Atlanta metro is the biggest population center, and you see from the blue, the biggest source of Democratic votes by population and numbers. But if you come over here to Savannah and Chatham County, look at that, we're still at 87 percent there and Joe Biden is getting 57, 58 percent.

Now, again, in the mail-in ballots he has been doing better but here is here you get into the chess of where we are in the final moments here. Again, he needs 63 percent statewide of what we believe to be the outstanding ballots. Is he getting that in the outstanding ballots here? Is he just matching that? He's a little below. That as we wait for these results, that's the math we have to do.

Absolutely critical, the president needs to win this state. The president he needs to win Georgia and needs to win Pennsylvania. Just game over if he doesn't.

And so you look at these states here. Any path for the president to get to 270 includes Pennsylvania and Georgia. That's just a fact. And so you see that shrinking right now. So, of course, there's a great deal of apprehension in the Trump campaign.

Now, we will watch as the rest of these votes come in. Again, suburban Atlanta is where most of it has happened. You see DeKalb County now. Look at Joe Biden, 83 percent in suburban Atlanta and DeKalb here. They're up to 95 percent. So most of them are counted here. You come over here, 95 percent in Gwinnett, perhaps a few ballots left out there. Again, Fulton County is Atlanta, you come over here at Cobb County out, you see, they're all getting very, very close.

So there's a few thousand ballots here, several hundred somewhere else. But every time more ballots have come in, and Victor just said a few thousand in Fulton County, that will be interesting when we get the rest. When Fulton County says, full stop, we're done, what's that number there? That will give you a sense of whether Joe Biden has narrowed it enough as we get closer to the finish line.

BLITZER: 13,540-vote lead right now, it is very, very close.

Let's get some context on Georgia right now. David Chalian is joining us.

What are you learning, David?

DAVID CHALIAN, CNN POLITICAL DIRECTOR: Unbelievably close race. That 13,540-vote lead Donald Trump has over Joe Biden, 49.5 to 49.2 percent. 98 percent of the vote is in. But just as John was saying, as more vote comes in, the universe of uncounted ballots shrink. So now, we've learned, you heard Victor's report, we're down to 50,000 uncounted ballots in Georgia.

Well, we calculated what each candidate would need of the uncounted universe of votes in order to win the state. Joe Biden now only needs between 62 and 64 percent of those 50,000 uncounted ballots.

The votes that have been coming in, he has been winning more than that right now because of where they're coming from, Democratic areas. But now, it is only 62 to 64 percent. Donald Trump obviously has a much lower percentage because he is in the lead, he only needs 35 to 37 percent of the 50,000 uncounted votes to hang onto that lead in Georgia and keep that state red.

But Joe Biden's number is becoming very well within reach in terms of what we are seeing in the vote returns. The percentage he has been getting is ahead right now of that 62 to 64 percent he needs, Wolf.

BLITZER: And you know what else is interesting -- David, thank you very much -- John, of that 50,401 uncounted vote remaining in Georgia, we are told almost all of it is absentee ballots.

KING: Absentee ballots, where Joe Biden has been overperforming, the metric that he needs. And, again, the percentage Joe Biden needs has been shrinking because he has been overperforming it. And so that's just a fascinating dynamic here.

Again, Wolf, we're talking 13,000 votes, 13,000.


That lead was over 600,000 votes at one point. This is the mail-in ballots. And we know, again, we talked about this before the election, and now we're experiencing it, mail-in ballots take longer to count.

BLITZER: All right, stand by. I want to go to Nevada right now. The Clark County registrar is talking about the vote counting that's going on right there. Let's listen.

JOE GLORIA, CLARK COUNTY, NEVADA REGISTRAR OF VOTERS: -- on Election Day at the drop off locations and all vote centers in the election department, there were 34,743 ballots dropped off. The U.S. Postal Service, as of Election Day and yesterday, brought to us 4,208 ballots and there were 24,311 ballots that were pending when we stopped processing to get ready for Election Day. So that brings us to a total 63,262.

Today, staff is preparing to count and has already begun counting a little over 51,000 ballots that will be reported tomorrow prior to my 10:00 A.M. brief. It is important that everybody understand that there are also additional ballots that are pending, outside of what I just described. So I am briefly going to go through those.

The provisional ballots that were cast during early voting on Election Day, the first announcement that I need to make is that the posting that was placed on our website on election night and yesterday was incorrect. We determined our tabulation software was incorrectly duplicating those records. And so the 120,000 that you may have seen on our website is an incorrect number. That has been corrected. And the post that is out on our website now at is correct. And those provisional ballots number, a little over 60,000.

We have to coordinate very closely with the secretary of state. We are a bottom up, not top down voter registration jurisdiction. And so all 17 counties need to send information to the secretary because there's not one single database that we all draw from, we all have our own.

And so in coordinating with secretary of state, we are awaiting instructions from them on when to send a provisional listing up to them because we need to make absolutely certain that nobody who's casted a provisional ballot here in Clark County has done so in another county.

o we are waiting instructions from them on when to send that report so we can make that verification. Staff is still currently working on all of those provisional ballots to make determinations as to whether the voter was eligible to cast that provisional ballot. That work will be ready once we notify secretary of state, and it is an automated process to pass provisional ballots into the tabulation system.

We have a group of voters that are I.D.-required for one reason or another. The deadline for those voters to get back to us is Friday, November 6th at 5:00 P.M. So that is another group of ballots that we will need to put into the system once they have come in to provide their I.D.

The U.S. mail will continue to deliver. So starting tomorrow through next Tuesday, which is the last day for us to receive a mail ballot that's been postmarked November 3rd, we will continue to receive mail. So, again, those ballots are also separate from what I previously reported.

The cure process in Nevada, which is statutorily required for those voters who have been notified that they either did not sign their ballot or their signature did not match in our system, they have until Thursday, November 12th, to cure that ballot.

The last day that we can tabulate and send ballots into the system is November 12th. So, that night we will stay here until we are done entering ballots into the system because the statute clearly tells us that we must be done counting by that date.

With that information, hope that I've clarified a lot of the questions. We are anticipating to have the bulk of our mail ballots that have been received into the system by Saturday or Sunday. Those ballots that are coming in through the U.S. mail or that are being cured would be a small number and we will continue to put those in. But the bulk of ballots, we're hoping, will be read by Saturday or Sunday this weekend. And, again, we won't complete until November 12th with all of those other

ballots that serve as exceptions.

So, with that information, I have got a short period of time here where I can answer some questions from you. Go ahead.

REPORTER: I was just wondering (INAUDIBLE) here in Clark County. What is your response?


GLORIA: My response is that we are not aware of any improper ballots that are being processed.


GLORIA: Not directly that I am aware of.

REPORTER: And there's also some concern that Clark County is counting relatively slowly (INAUDIBLE). Is that the case here? Are you counting faster than 2016?

GLORIA: I think it is important for the entire country to understand that mail ballots on this scale is very new to the state in Nevada. We made a decision here to provide as much access as we possibly could as a result of the pandemic and so our process has run a little slower. We also have to make sure that our data is being updated because we need to prevent people from voting twice in the system. And so we have to scan those in as mail received so that it updates the database, so our in-person voters can't have voted twice.

We are still receiving information from the Election Day laptops. That will be complete today. So we're going to update and make sure that all of the information was downloaded from all 1,300 of those laptops that were used on Election Day to make sure that the automated system will reject mail ballots for somebody who has voted on Election Day.

So, our goal here in Clark County is not to count fast. We want to make sure that we are being accurate. The results in the state of Nevada obviously are going to be very important to the entire country and that is our number one goal.

REPORTER: What is the outstanding number one more time, the outstanding number?

GLORIA: I just went through the whole thing.

REPORTER: What's the total? What is the total?

GLORIA: Well, I went through a long process. How about we get together after this?

REPORTER: Why is it taking so long to count 70,000 a day?

GLORIA: I think I just answered that question.

REPORTER: You said it deliberately. But if you have the capacity, why aren't you doing it?

GLORIA: Because they're not available, sir. There are many steps in the process. So, the first process is that we run it through our AGILUS (ph) machine, then there are two manual processes, then it goes to the counting board, and then it goes to tabulation.


GLORIA: I need you to speak up, sir. I can't hear your question.


GLORIA: I did not say they were already counted. I said, today, the staff is prepared to count 51,000 ballots that are ready to be counted today. Those will be reported tomorrow at 10:00 A.M. right there.

Next, to you.

Folks, I really need you all to speak up. I cannot hear you.


GLORIA: Those are separate. And that's why I listed in my statement that those are separate from the numbers that are reported first.


GLORIA: I don't have that number with me. REPORTER: Mr. Gloria, could you summarize and help us all? How many ballots are left to count?

GLORIA: That's a number I can't give you. I can't predict to you what's going to come through the U.S. mail. So I deliberately went through all of these numbers and I was hoping that you all would take the information that I am providing. But there's a set number of ballots that we know are available to be processed, and that's the 63,000.

And then I mentioned all of the other additional ballots. So, again, we plan to be able to have counted the majority of our mail ballots by Saturday or Sunday. And then all of those other ballots that were statutorily limited, I can't count all the mail ballots until I have them. And we have to continue to accept them up until Tuesday, November 10th.

REPORTER: So, repeat the numbers so that we were clear. It was 63,262?

GLORIA: That is correct.

REPORTER: Correct? Thank you.

REPORTER: (INAUDIBLE). Is it possible that someone (INAUDIBLE).

GLORIA: I personally dealt with Ms. Stoke. She brought the claim to me, we reviewed the ballot, and in our opinion, it is her signature. We also gave her an opportunity to provide a statement if she wanted to object and provide a challenge to that. She refused to do so. A member of Nevada secretary of state's office investigation team also interviewed her, and they had no issue with the assistance that we tried to give her.


GLORIA: I have nothing else to comment on that.

Next question.


GLORIA: I can tell you that my wife and my mother are very concerned for me.


But we have security. We have law enforcement who are protecting us. I am concerned for the safety of my staff. We're putting measures into place to make sure that we have the security that's necessary. Again, we're going to begin to monitor the vehicles as they come into make sure that they should be here and that they're parking properly so that we don't prevent our employees from having an issue getting in and out of the facility.

Buy I feel safe, we're going to be okay. We're going to continue to count. We will not allow anyone to stop us from doing what our duty when counting ballots.

Yes, right there.

REPORTER: (INAUDIBLE). The state changed the rules when they decided to remain (INAUDIBLE) to every registered electorate of Nevada. And that was a violation of the old rules, plus (ph) that they cannot be allowed to observe closely all the (INAUDIBLE).

GLORIA: The first part of your question relates to action that was taken by the Nevada legislature. I don't make policy. I'm simply an administrator. So, the Nevada legislature acted in the summer and we carried through at exactly what they prescribed for us to do.

As far as your second issue, that issue has been litigated and the judge ruled in our favor.

Louder, please.


GLORIA: Those are reports that we're going to generate after the election once we start getting ready to do our canvas. So that's information that I will have available once we have done all of our work, counted all the ballots. And if we have enough proof, we'll be definitely going out to arrest these people because those are obviously illegal actions. But that's an activity that needs to take place once we have done counting and getting the canvas done.


GLORIA: Most of these voters have been notified and they actually voted, because they voted provisionally and were told they didn't have the I.D. that they needed in order to do that. These are also mail ballot voters who were notified that they needed to provide an I.D. on the envelope that's sent out to them and they failed to do so.

So they have been notified and the deadline is tomorrow at 5:00 P.M. I know that there are several people who are working to actively reach out to those voters and try to help them get in with that I.D.

There was a question over here. Yes, right there.


GLORIA: Well, it depends on the status of our mail ballot process. We are running shifts in certain areas. So we work any time bearing from 5:00 A.M. up to 10:00 or 11:00 at night. We don't run the 24 shifts that you see running in other states because the work that comes through on the mail ballot process is deliberate as it moves forward. And so we complete work that's done in each stage and then the next day, it carries forward to the next.

Again, I emphasize, what I am trying to report is that Clark County looks like we'll be able to count the majority of our mail ballots by Saturday or Sunday. However, there are other ballots, as a result of statutory requirements, that we'll have to continue to read because we have to take ballots in until next Tuesday.

REPORTER: Mr. Gloria, will you continue to have these briefings on Saturday and Sunday?

GLORIA: Absolutely. I will be here at 10:00 A.M. until we're done.

REPORTER: Mr. Gloria, you expect the (INAUDIBLE).

GLORIA: We are going to coincide with secretary of state. I think it is very important that as a state, all 17 of the counties working to coordinate with the secretary, who is our chief election officer. So, she has reported that she put out today at 9:00. We followed suit and we've reported today.

If the secretary makes a decision not to report from here on out, we are going to have to report. So if we have results to report, we will do it on a daily basis. as I mentioned. We're going to do a 10:00 A.M. brief to give you all an opportunity to ask questions. And our updates should be posted prior to that brief.

Right there.


GLORIA: Any individual who had an issue with their mail ballot should have contacted us prior to Election Day. We are here to help the voter.

I have been on many Zoom interviews, many media interviews, many organizational groups throughout the county, letting them know that if you have an issue with your ballot, whatever it may be, call 455-VOTE. However, they're past that process. The election is over. We're in the process of counting at this point.

Right there.



GLORIA: You know that's available on our website. I don't have that number right off the top of my head. But you can quickly see that on our website and our ENR report.

Right there.


GLORIA: I'm sorry, ma'am. I can't hear your. I'm hardly hearing and where and where else.


BLITZER: All right. We're going to continue to monitor that news conference out in Clark County. We're talking about Las Vegas in Nevada. Right now, 89 percent of the vote -- well, 88 percent in Clark County, but in Nevada, in general, 89 percent of the vote is in. There's still plenty of outstanding ballots out there. Biden maintains his lead by 11,438.

KING: And you heard the gentleman say, there are 50,000 ballots or so that they needed to count here in Clark County. The striking part, stunning part, frustrating part might be a word many people at home have is, he said it might be Saturday or Sunday before they are done. And there was no indication that they would report as they go. We are seeing this happen in Pennsylvania. We're seeing it happen in Georgia. It takes time to count all these mail-in ballots. We need to have grace. This is an unprecedented election.

But it does seem remarkable that we're having a conversation on Thursday about an election that was Tuesday, and the official says they're not going to count 50,000 ballots until Saturday or Sunday when we've seen in Pennsylvania they're counting millions, in Georgia, they're counting tens of thousands and they're moving it along.

But this is critical right here. Clark County, obviously, is the ball game for the most part, unless the election is incredibly close, but at 72 percent or more of the vote. So we're going to have to watch the vote there. And you see 53-45. Biden has a lead of 11,000. He wants to protect it. That's a Clinton state. He wants to hold it. But we might have to wait a while. If this comes down in Nevada, this might be election week in America.

BLITZER: Six electoral votes at stake in the state of Nevada.

We are following new numbers coming in from key battlegrounds, including Nevada and Pennsylvania, where President Trump's lead is narrowing. How long will the counting take? We'll talk with the secretary of state of Pennsylvania when we come back.