Joe Biden elected president

By Meg Wagner, Fernando Alfonso III, Melissa Macaya, Melissa Mahtani, Veronica Rocha and Amanda Wills, CNN

Updated 10:29 a.m. ET, November 8, 2020
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8:06 a.m. ET, November 7, 2020

Vote-counting continues today. Here's a glossary of terms you might hear throughout the day.

Luzerne County workers canvas ballots that arrived after closing of voting until Friday at 5 p.m. and postmarked by Nov. 3rd as vote counting in the general election continues, Friday, Nov. 6, in Wilkes-Barre, Pennsylvania.
Luzerne County workers canvas ballots that arrived after closing of voting until Friday at 5 p.m. and postmarked by Nov. 3rd as vote counting in the general election continues, Friday, Nov. 6, in Wilkes-Barre, Pennsylvania. Mary Altaffer/AP

As the count continues – and narrows in key states – election officials are starting to throw around technical terms most voters don’t usually hear. 

Here’s a quick glossary:

  • Absentee ballots: Traditionally, voters who could not get to a polling place for Election Day have been allowed to request early ballots, which were usually returned by mail. Today, the term can effectively be used interchangeably with mail-in ballots. Read CNN’s fact check here
  • Adjudication: Some ballots receive extra scrutiny in a process known as ballot adjudication. Though the intricacies of the process vary state by state, it typically involves a small panel of people reviewing a ballot to determine either the voter's intent or whether the ballot can be counted at all based on whether the voter was eligible to cast it. Read more here.
  • Curing: When a signature is missing or doesn't match the one on file, or there is another issue with how the voter completed the ballot, some states require officials to contact the voter so they can correct the mistake, a process known as "curing." Read more here.
  • Late-arriving ballots: Some states accept mail-in ballots that are delivered back to officials within a set window after Election Day, as long as they were postmarked by the election. Those ballots are legal to count as long as they arrive by each state’s deadline. See which states count postmarked ballots here.
  • Mail-in ballots. This is a blanket term for any ballot mailed to voters, though the completed forms can be returned by mail, to a dropbox or in person to officials or polling places. In three critical states – Pennsylvania, Michigan and Wisconsin – officials weren’t able to start processing any of these ballots until Election Day, which led to huge backlogs and slowed down the count. See when states started counting here.
  • Military ballots: In every election, a lot of votes come in late -- legally -- from Americans who are overseas or located outside their states of residence, including significant numbers of military service members and their families. Read more here.
  • Provisional ballots: Provisional ballots are cast when there's a question about a voter's eligibility, and are specially held for counting until officials are certain the vote should be accepted. Officials are required to allow anyone to cast a provisional ballot under the The Help America Vote Act of 2002,  and generally these ballots are kept separate from all other ballots while they are investigated by election officials and so are counted last. Read more here.
8:13 a.m. ET, November 7, 2020

It's just past 8 a.m. ET. Here's the state of the race in 4 key battleground states.

It's Saturday morning – four days after the election – and the race for the White House is still too close to call.

Ballots are still being counted in several key states that will determined the outcome of the presidential race.

Those states are: Arizona, Georgia, Nevada and Pennsylvania.

Joe Biden is currently leading in all four battleground states.

Based on the states CNN has projected so far, Joe Biden currently leads President Trump by 253 to 213 electoral votes.

A win in Pennsylvania would give him enough electoral college votes to win the presidency.

Remember: Either candidate need 270 electoral votes to win the presidency.

CNN's John Berman breaks down latest numbers:

8:04 a.m. ET, November 7, 2020

Pennsylvania's Allegheny County will report results in batches throughout today, official says

From CNN's Aditi Sangal

Election officials proceed with the counting of ballots at the Allegheny County elections warehouse on November 6, in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania.
Election officials proceed with the counting of ballots at the Allegheny County elections warehouse on November 6, in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania. Jeff Swensen/Getty Images

Allegheny County in Pennsylvania has about 20,000 ballots left to count, County Executive Rich Fitzgerald said today, adding that those results will start coming in batches starting later this morning or early afternoon.

“They'll begin this process a little after 9:00 a.m. and they’ll upload a certain batch, I don't know, maybe a few thousand at a time, every few hours,” he told CNN, explaining it will be similar to how it was done Friday.

On processing the 20,000 ballots, he said:

“[It's] painstaking because they have to be done by hand so they can match them up to make sure that those votes did not already get counted,” he explained.

Mail-in ballots in the county have been running about 80-20, with 80% for Joe Biden and 20% for President Trump, he told CNN.

There are also an estimated 17,000 provisional ballots to count that will be counted by early next week, Fitzgerald added.

Allegheny County executive discusses latest numbers:

7:40 a.m. ET, November 7, 2020

What to expect next in the 4 states that could decide the presidency

From CNN's Kevin Bohn

Gwinnett County workers continue to count absentee and provisional ballots at the Gwinnett Voter Registrations and Elections office on November 6, in Lawrenceville, Georgia.
Gwinnett County workers continue to count absentee and provisional ballots at the Gwinnett Voter Registrations and Elections office on November 6, in Lawrenceville, Georgia. Jessica McGowan/Getty Images

It's four days after the election and the race for the White House is still too close to call.

Ballots are still being counted in several key states that will determined the outcome of the presidential race.

Those states are: Arizona, Georgia, Nevada and Pennsylvania.

Here's what to expect from those four states today:

Pennsylvania 

  • There are 89,282 ballots left to count across the state, according to the state website.  
  • This is about 3.39% of all mail-in ballots cast. 
  • 101,421 provisional ballots were issued on Election Day, according to data from 55 counties provided to the Pennsylvania secretary of state. They are working on getting data on this and segregated ballots from all 67 counties. 
  • Philadelphia: Philadelphia election workers are still wading through the last 20,000 to 25,000 mail-in ballots, according to a city official. These ballots are the most difficult – a signature in the wrong place, or an envelope that has the wrong barcode scanned, mean they simply can’t go through them as quickly as the others. Workers prepped those ballots throughout the night and started counting them at 7 a.m. ET
  • Allegheny County: Election workers will resume at 9 a.m. ET. Today’s work will largely focus on the 29,000 ballots that were incorrectly issued. The return board needs to examine each of the ballots that may have been affected. They need to determine whether the original incorrect ballot was returned or whether the updated ballot was returned or if both were returned. The expectation is that only a small number of incorrect ballots were returned but they all still need to be verified. There is no update on how long the process could take and there is no decision on when the county will release new results when they return to work Saturday morning.

Georgia

  • There should be about 12,770 provisional ballots still outstanding statewide.  
  • As of the last report from the secretary of state, there were also 8,400 military and overseas ballots that could have been received by the state by 5 p.m. ET Friday. But it’s not clear how many were returned.
  • Fulton County: Around 3 a.m. ET, Fulton County reported results, adding to Joe Biden’s margin.
  • Gwinnett County: A total of 535 absentee by mail ballots that required a signature cure and 3 military/overseas ballots will be counted today.

Arizona

  • 173,000 ballots left to count statewide, according to the secretary of state.  
  • That includes 47,000 provisional ballots which cannot be counted until Tuesday.
  • The next known releases of votes are today at 11 a.m. ET and 9 p.m. ET.

Nevada 

  • Secretary of State Communications Director Jennifer Russell told CNN that there are 124,500 outstanding ballots in the state.  
  • There are 60,000 provisional ballots. 
  • 90% of the ballots to be counted are in Clark County.
  • The next known releases are today at 12 p.m. ET and 7 p.m. ET.

Based on CNN projections, Joe Biden currently leads President Trump by 253 to 213 electoral votes.

Remember: Either candidate need 270 electoral votes to win the presidency.

7:40 a.m. ET, November 7, 2020

Here are the recount rules in Georgia and Pennsylvania 

From CNN's Aditi Sangal

Election workers validate ballots at the Gwinnete County Elections Office on Friday, Nov. 6, in Lawrenceville, GA.
Election workers validate ballots at the Gwinnete County Elections Office on Friday, Nov. 6, in Lawrenceville, GA. Kent Nishimura/Los Angeles Times/Getty Images

Georgia and Pennsylvania are among six states where CNN has not yet projected a winner in the presidential race. Here’s what you need to know about how potential recounts would work there. 

There is no automatic recount in Georgia. A candidate has to request a recount after results are certified.

Here's how that process works:

  1. Counties have to certify their elections by Nov. 13 at the latest.
  2. Then the state conducts “a risk limiting audit.” 
  3. Then the state has to certify it election by Nov. 20 at the latest.
  4. Whoever comes in second place – be it Trump or Biden – can request a recount only after state certification and only if results are within 0.5%.

In Pennsylvania, there is an automatic threshold for a recount if candidates are within a margin of 0.5% or less. Democrats say this margin would grow as more ballots are counted.

Remember: In the history of the United States, it's very rare that a recount flips an election.

There could be votes in the single digits or even a few hundred, but the idea that there would be thousands of votes that would change an election is very unlikely, if not completely impossible, CNN’s Kristen Holmes explained.

CNN's Kristen Holmes explains the rules surrounding potential recounts:

7:24 a.m. ET, November 7, 2020

What to expect next in Philadelphia as election officials continue counting votes

From CNN's Kevin Bohn

Ballots are counted at the Philadelphia Convention center on November 6, in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania.
Ballots are counted at the Philadelphia Convention center on November 6, in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania. Chris McGrath/Getty Images

Philadelphia election workers are still wading through the last 20,000 to 25,000 mail-in ballots, according to a city official. 

These ballots are the most difficult – a signature in the wrong place, or an envelope that has the wrong barcode scanned, mean they simply can’t go through them as quickly as the others.

Workers have been prepping those ballots throughout the night and starting at 7 a.m. ET they will be reviewing, flattening them out and scanning the ballots.

It’s hard to project how many will be done Saturday because that depends how many are prepped overnight. The answer to that is not known yet. 

As far as provisional ballots, the city has 18,000 ballots that need to be dealt with, but that will happen next week. Those ballots – you get them for showing up to the wrong polling place, or not getting a mail-in ballot, or not turning your mail-in ballot to a polling place where you’re going to vote – have the most potential to drag since they each need to be verified through their Statewide Uniform Registry of Electors system to make sure no one is voting twice. These will take the most time and will be tackled starting next week. 

7:07 a.m. ET, November 7, 2020

If you missed Biden’s speech last night, here’s a recap

Democratic presidential candidate and former Vice President Joe Biden speaks in Wilmington, Delaware, on November 6.
Democratic presidential candidate and former Vice President Joe Biden speaks in Wilmington, Delaware, on November 6. Carolyn Kaster/AP

Democratic presidential nominee Joe Biden delivered remarks in WiIlmington, Delaware, last night as votes continue to be tallied in four key battleground states.

In a short address to the American people, which he had hoped would be a victory speech, Biden professed confidence that his win over President Trump would soon be declared.

"The people spoke – more than 74 million Americans – and they spoke loudly for our ticket. And while we're waiting for a final result, I want people to know we're not waiting to get work done," he said.

Biden acknowledged that waiting for votes to be counted in states with neck-and-neck races "can be numbing." But, he said, it's becoming clearer by the hour that a record number of Americans "chose change."

"I want you to know that I'll work as hard for those who voted against me as those who voted for me. That's the job," Biden said.

"We don't have any more time to waste on partisan warfare," he added.

The former vice president called for calm and patience at a moment of flaring national tensions, as Trump warns he will dispute the result of the election if he doesn't win.

In his speech Biden also painted a picture of a nascent administration that was already preparing to take on the pandemic and to help revive the economy on its first day in office.

"The numbers tell us a clear and convincing story. We are going to win this race," he said.

Biden's remarks capped a day of watching and waiting for his campaign, which is eager to see the former vice president declared the winner, as his lead grows in Georgia, Nevada and Pennsylvania and remains sizable in Arizona. If he wins all four states, he would earn 306 electoral votes. According to CNN's projections, Biden currently has 253 electoral votes – 17 shy of the 270 he needs to become president-elect.

You can watch Biden's full speech here.

CNN's Maeve Reston reacts to Biden's speech:

8:49 a.m. ET, November 7, 2020

White House chief of staff, who tested positive for Covid-19, was at many Trump Election Day events

From CNN's Aditi Sangal

White House Chief of Staff Mark Meadows (center) listens as US President Donald Trump speak during his campaign event at Miami-Opa Locka Executive Airport in Florida, on November 1.
White House Chief of Staff Mark Meadows (center) listens as US President Donald Trump speak during his campaign event at Miami-Opa Locka Executive Airport in Florida, on November 1. JLN Photography/Shutterstock

White House chief of staff Mark Meadows, who tested positive for Covid-19, was at a number of public events without a mask, including what was supposed to be an election night victory party for President Trump, CNN’s Ryan Nobles reports.

This comes just weeks after President Trump recovered from the virus himself. The White House hasn’t provided more details except that they’re contact tracing. 

While the election is on top of everyone’s minds, the coronavirus pandemic remains a serious threat in the country, with the US reporting more than 1,000 deaths for four straight days this week.

CNN's Ryan Nobles reports from the White House:

CORRECTION: This post has been updated with the number of coronavirus-related deaths in the US.

9:38 a.m. ET, November 7, 2020

CNN has not yet projected a winner in the presidential race. Here's why.

A Gwinnett County election worker looks over absentee and provisional ballots at the Gwinnett Voter Registrations and Elections office on November 6, in Lawrenceville, Georgia.
A Gwinnett County election worker looks over absentee and provisional ballots at the Gwinnett Voter Registrations and Elections office on November 6, in Lawrenceville, Georgia. Jessica McGowan/Getty Images

It's four days after Election Day, and CNN has not yet projected who will win.

Here's how CNN projections work: There's a team of dedicated statistical analysts that helps decide when CNN can make a call on election results, CNN's political director David Chalian explains. 

"All they do is, every single time vote comes in from one of these states, they plug it into their models and their formulas, trying to ascertain a very high level of confidence," in the results so that whoever is the number two person in these contests doesn't have a real possibility to overtake the number one person, Chalian said. 

The reason why CNN is not projecting the results in states like Georgia, Pennsylvania, Nevada and Arizona, "it's because of the math and getting to the highest level of confidence before any projection is made," Chalian added.

CNN's David Chalian explains how the network projects who will win the presidency: