It's the Friday before Election Day

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

Updated 8:05 p.m. ET, October 30, 2020
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1:06 p.m. ET, October 30, 2020

Trump will hold rallies in 7 states in final days of election

From CNN’s DJ Judd

President Donald Trump walks towards Air Force One at Andrews Air Force Base, Maryland, on October 30.
President Donald Trump walks towards Air Force One at Andrews Air Force Base, Maryland, on October 30. Susan Walsh/AP

President Trump is planning to hold rallies in seven states in the final stretch before Election Day Tuesday.

He’s holding rallies in Pennsylvania, Michigan, Iowa, North Carolina, Georgia, Florida and Wisconsin — all key battleground states.

 

12:47 p.m. ET, October 30, 2020

Harris will travel to Georgia and North Carolina Sunday

From CNN’s Jasmine Wright 

Democratic vice presidential nominee Kamala Harris speaks to the media as she arrives at Phoenix airport ahead of a campaign rally in Phoenix, Arizona on October 28.
Democratic vice presidential nominee Kamala Harris speaks to the media as she arrives at Phoenix airport ahead of a campaign rally in Phoenix, Arizona on October 28. Ariana Drehsler/AFP/Getty Images

Democratic vice presidential nominee Kamala Harris will travel to Georgia and Goldsboro and Fayetteville, North Carolina, on Sunday, according to the campaign.

Earlier today, CNN reported that Democratic presidential nominee Joe Biden, Harris and their spouses are scheduled to campaign in all four corners of Pennsylvania Monday ahead of Election Day.

12:45 p.m. ET, October 30, 2020

Georgia secretary of state says voting is running smoothly, despite storm and new voting machines

From CNN’s Carly Ryan and Jason Morris

CNN
CNN

Georgia Secretary of State Brad Raffensperger expressed confidence in the state’s voting process despite complications posed by Hurricane Zeta earlier in the week. Though the storm left over 1 million Georgians without power, Raffensperger said only one polling place remains without power.

“We had obviously seen a slowdown with voting with the storm yesterday, but today there will likely be a new record in Georgia with early voting," he said.

In June, the state rolled out a new $100 million touchscreen voting system to much confusion. Primary voters reported waiting for hours as poll workers tried to grasp the system’s components. But Raffensperger said during this election, the system has only provided voters with more confidence.

“We’re not having any challenges with the system,” he said.

Raffensperger also contended that voter rejection has not been a problem in the state. The scanning of mail-in ballots has already started, and each ballot is looked over by an adjudication committee composed of a Republican, Democrat and an election official.

So far, he said, the rejection rate has been less than 1%, a historic low for the state and a relative low compared to other states in the region.

“Y’all will be worried about what’s happening in other states, not what’s happening in Georgia," he said.

The secretary also touched on what he sees as the strength of decentralized election systems, saying the localized elections enhance election security and are better positioned to meet local needs. He said he will be announcing an election reform package that will be “voter centric.”

“Those advocating for a nationwide standard do not understand how elections work,” Raffensperger said.

At least 3.6 million Georgians have cast ballots so far. Though over 350,000 mail-in ballots remain unreturned, Raffensperger said he expects the highest turnout ever in an American election. 

“We have more available options to vote than nearly any other state in America — it's a plain fact," he said.

12:35 p.m. ET, October 30, 2020

Trump laments his rally's crowd size limit

From CNN's Ali Main

President Donald Trump speaks to the press as he departs the White House in Washington, DC, on October 30.
President Donald Trump speaks to the press as he departs the White House in Washington, DC, on October 30. Andrew Caballero-Reynolds/AFP/Getty Images

President Trump lamented the 250-person limit his campaign announced for his Friday rally in Rochester, Minnesota, which is in accordance with guidance from the state's health department. He claimed that 100 times that amount of people wanted to attend.

"We're having a problem with some people in Minnesota," the President told reporters as he left the White House en route to rallies across the Midwest.

The campaign blamed “the free-speech stifling dictates” of the Minnesota governor and attorney general for the cap in a statement on Thursday. Guidance from the Minnesota Department of Health calls for no more than 250 people at events, as long as social distancing can be maintained.

"25,000, people want to be there, and they say you can only have 250 people, so they thought I'd cancel. But I'm not canceling," Trump said, adding that these supporters in Minnesota want to come to his rally because they're "angry at the riots" and Rep. Ilhan Omar, a frequent target of the President.

On the protests that turned violent following the death of George Floyd in Minneapolis in late May, Trump claimed the people of Minnesota "know that I stopped [the riots,] but I stopped after them was requested...it was very late. They should have requested it two weeks earlier," repeating an attack on Minnesota Gov. Tim Walz.

However, Walz — not Trump — was the one who deployed the Minnesota National Guard to quell the violence. The governor first activated the guard on May 28, more than seven hours before Trump publicly threatened to deploy the guard himself.

The President predicted that Minnesota would "flip" for the first time since 1972. Hillary Clinton defeated Trump in the state by less than two points in 2016.

Some background: Minnesota reported three Covid-19 outbreaks related to Trump campaign events held in September. One of those events, a Trump rally in Bemidji, had at least 2,000 people in attendance according to a CNN producer who was there.

12:24 p.m. ET, October 30, 2020

Trump says he doesn't know if he's allowed to use his hotel for Election Night party

From CNN's Betsy Klein and Ali Main

The Trump International Hotel is seen in Washington, DC, on January 15.
The Trump International Hotel is seen in Washington, DC, on January 15. Eva Hambach/AFP/Getty Images

President Trump sought to downplay a report in the New York Times that he would no longer attend an Election Night party at his Trump International DC Hotel, placing blame on gathering restrictions from Washington, DC, Mayor Muriel Bowser that largely adhere to guidelines from the US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

“We haven’t made a determination. We have certain rules and regulations. You know, Washington, DC, is shut down. The mayor shut it down. So we have a hotel, I don’t know if we’re allowed to use it or not, but I know the mayor has shut down Washington, DC, and if that’s the case we’ll probably stay here or pick another location,” Trump told reporters as he departed the White House Friday for a trio of rallies.

He added, “I think it’s crazy. Washington, DC, is shut down.”

CNN had previously reported that Trump had planned to watch returns from the White House and to potentially drop by the hotel party.

Asked about the planned party, Bowser said her office would be in touch with the hotel, the city’s licensee. She also railed against the administration for what she described as “(flaunting) scientific evidence and common sense” during the Amy Coney Barrett Supreme Court swearing-in ceremony held earlier this week at the White House.

Trump also wouldn’t say Friday where he’d be traveling on Election Day when asked. “I’ll give you that answer in the next couple of days,” he said.

The President went on to tout enthusiasm for his crowds.

12:45 p.m. ET, October 30, 2020

The President met with Lil Wayne yesterday. Here's how Trump said it went.

From CNN's Maegan Vazquez 

From Lil Wayne/Twitter
From Lil Wayne/Twitter

President Trump said Friday that rapper Lil Wayne was the one who requested a meeting with him, telling reporters that the meeting went “very well.”

“He wanted a meeting. He’s a really nice guy. Really an activist in a really positive way,” Trump told reporters on the White House South Lawn. “And he asked for the meeting and we had the meeting and, as you saw, the meeting went very well.” 

On Thursday, Lil Wayne tweeted a photo of himself and the President giving a thumbs up.

11:59 a.m. ET, October 30, 2020

More than 1.5 million absentee ballots received in Minnesota in record early voting

From CNN's Taylor Romine

Minnesota has received 1,581,193 absentee ballots for the general election as of Friday, according to data posted by the secretary of state's office.

This leaves about 388,000 absentee ballots that were requested but not yet received with four days until Election Day. 

The absentee ballots that haven't been received play an important role, since a federal appeals court ruled last night that any ballots received after 8 p.m. local time on election night must be segregated from the total count. 

At this time, it's unclear if the late ballots will be counted in election results, but the courts may clarify this in the coming days.

The previous high was 689,722 ballots in the 2016 general election. As of Friday, 1,969,728 ballot applications were requested, compared to 742,021 in 2016.  

The state has a little over 3.5 million registered voters as of Oct. 1, but this number could change as voters can register in person through Election Day. Of those registered so far, approximately 44% have voted as of today.

12:55 p.m. ET, October 30, 2020

Trump campaign's cash scramble leads Ivanka Trump to Michigan

From CNN's Betsy Klein

Ivanka Trump, President Trump's daughter and White House adviser, speaks during a campaign event for her father on October 27 in Miami, Florida.
Ivanka Trump, President Trump's daughter and White House adviser, speaks during a campaign event for her father on October 27 in Miami, Florida. Joe Raedle/Getty Images

President Trump's daughter and White House adviser Ivanka Trump has been making a last-ditch effort in the final days before the election to raise money for the cash-strapped Trump campaign.

On Friday, just four days before Election Day, she headlined a fundraiser event in Detroit, Michigan, ahead of the President’s rally in Waterford Township, Michigan, a Trump political aide told CNN.

She has headlined eleven events since Sunday and is expected to remain on the campaign trail through Election Day.

President Trump’s campaign heads into the final days before the campaign significantly financially outgunned by the Biden campaign.

Trump campaign officials insist they have the resources to compete effectively, with advertising on television nationally and in a dozen states. And they say their ground operation will help them prevail Nov. 3. But with questions about potential legal battles in key battleground states after the election, it is clear there are efforts to line the coffers.

Ivanka Trump’s events this week have taken critical time away from in-person campaigning as a top surrogate. Friday’s haul brings Trump’s fundraising total for her father’s campaign to over $13 million just this week, and $38 million since August, the aide said.

There were roughly 30 attendees at the Friday event, which raised $3 million for the Trump campaign. The event was also attended by GOP chairwoman Ronna McDaniel. 

Earlier this week, she traveled to Mountain View and Beverly Hills, California, for a trio of high dollar fundraisers Sunday evening and Monday, respectively.

She participated in three events that raised $10 million total, the a political aide said, over two days. The Sunday event in Mountain View was an hourlong “fireside chat” at a private home.

In Beverly Hills on Monday, she attended a small private fundraising lunch at Spago and another “fireside chat” at a private home in Beverly Hills, where there were about 50 attendees, per the aide.  

Those private events come as the White House coronavirus task force has warned states, including California, against holding small gatherings that can lead to community transmission. The Michigan event appeared to follow local guidelines, which place a cap on indoor gatherings at 50 people.

11:24 a.m. ET, October 30, 2020

Michigan secretary of state ready to deploy extra poll workers if Covid-related shortages arise

From CNN's Annie Grayer

A sign is seen outside one of the Satellite Voting Center at Adams-Butzel Recreational Complex in Detroit, Michigan on October 15.
A sign is seen outside one of the Satellite Voting Center at Adams-Butzel Recreational Complex in Detroit, Michigan on October 15. Salwan Georges/The Washington Post/Getty Images

With four days to Election Day and Michigan reaching the most Covid-19 cases they’ve ever had in a single day on Thursday, the secretary of state is ready to deploy extra election workers at the last minute in case certain areas face a shortage as the result of people needing to quarantine or testing positive for the virus.

“We are now focused on building a reserve pool of 1,500 workers who can be deployed across the state on Election Day in the event there are any last-minute worker changes or shortages,” Michigan Secretary of State spokesperson Tracy Wimmer told CNN.

This pool of reserve workers comes after the secretary of state has already recruited more than 30,000 election workers through their Democracy MVP program.

While various jurisdictions across Michigan have faced at least some cancelations from Election Day poll workers due to the pandemic, none say they are worried about being understaffed at this point.

The City Clerk of Fredonia Township, which is a small township in Calhoun County located southwest of the city of Marshall, told CNN that three of her election inspectors are in quarantine after being exposed to Covid-19 and one has since tested positive. 

Despite the three workers in quarantine, Clerk Cathy Combs said she is not worried about not having enough staff on Election Day.

“I think people are stepping up to the plate” Combs told CNN Thursday. “In fact I had someone come in today, that would like to get trained and work.” 

About an hour north in Kent County, which includes Grand Rapids, Elections Director Gerrid Uzarski for the county told CNN that “some” poll workers were quarantining after being exposed to Covid-19 and would no longer be working on Election Day.

Uzarski shared that he did not have an exact number of those in quarantine. On top of those quarantining, he added that “some” other poll workers have decided that they do not want to risk coming into work on Election Day because of the rising cases across the state.