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Electionland 2020: How Election Day Went

Read Election Day coverage from ProPublica and Electionland partners.

This article is part of Electionland, ProPublica’s collaborative reporting project covering problems that prevent eligible voters from casting their ballots during the 2020 elections. Sign up to receive our biggest stories as soon as they’re published.

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Whether the GOP Can Stop Voters From Legally Fixing Rejected Mail-In Ballots Could Decide the Election Many states allow voters to fix and resubmit ballots rejected for technical reasons. It’s called “curing” votes, and the GOP is trying to prevent them from being counted because they could help Biden win. Read the story.

For the Postal Service, a Frantic Election Day Turns to Finger-Pointing the Day After Tuesday was “nuts” in the words of one USPS manager. Now the agency faces questions about whether it did what it should have to get mailed ballots delivered and counted. Read the story.

Philadelphia Denies Trump Campaign Allegation of Banning Republican Poll Watchers The city says that a widely viewed video of a GOP poll watcher being turned away was an isolated and quickly corrected incident resulting from confusion over the rule. Read the story.

ProPublica’s Electionland: The State of Election Day 2020 In a historic election shaped by a pandemic, mail-in voting and misinformation, election officials are scrambling to adapt. Here’s what ProPublica’s national reporters are seeing across the country. Read the story.

Robocalls Told at Least 800,000 Swing State Residents to “Stay Home” on Election Day. The FBI Is Investigating. A firm that tracks robocalls said more than 3 million calls were made on Nov. 3, which contained a cryptic message instructing people to “stay safe and stay home.” The tactics join other efforts to confuse voters this election cycle. Read the story

Misinformation Image on WeChat Attempts to Frighten Chinese Americans Out of Voting Chat groups on the Chinese-owned app are echoing right-wing extremists and spreading “categorically false” claims that the U.S. is mobilizing troops to quell riots. Read the story with KQED.

ProPublica’s Guide to 2020 Election Laws and Lawsuits Regardless of who wins the presidency, courtroom battles seem almost certain. Here’s a layperson’s look at the states and laws that may determine the outcome. Read the story.

Why Bush v. Gore Still Matters in 2020 The Supreme Court decision that handed the 2000 election to George W. Bush is widely believed not to be a precedent, yet it’s been cited in hundreds of federal and state cases since. It could play a role in this year’s election, too. Read the story.

Celebrities Spent Millions So Florida Felons Could Vote. Will It Make a Difference? Nearly 13,000 Florida felons could now be eligible to vote after a Michael Bloomberg-backed push to pay their court fines and fees. But many still don’t know they can legally cast a ballot. Read the story with The Tampa Bay Times.

Stories From Electionland Partners

Since October 30, our partners have produced nearly 80 stories using Electionland tips. Some highlights:

  • In Detroit, one COVID-positive voter nearly gave up after trying to find a location that would let him vote, but was finally able to cast his ballot. “I got kids, and I try to teach them the moral value of voting, showing their democracy and what America is built on,” he told the Detroit Free Press. In Omaha, Nebraska, COVID-positive voters were able to vote curbside. (Detroit Free Press, 3 News Now)
  • Two U.S. diplomats and their spouses stationed in Germany sent absentee ballots to Minnesota that never arrived, so they Fedexed replacement ballots in the hopes they’d arrive in time. “I’m a diplomat representing the United States government. And for me to have questions about why my ballot is not being received or counted makes it harder to do my job,” one of them told MinnPost. (Star Tribune, MinnPost)
  • Some voters who hadn’t received their absentee ballots traveled across the country to vote in person, including Texans driving from Washington, D.C., a Georgian driving from Massachusetts, a New Jerseyan flying from Florida, and a Coloradan flying from North Carolina. “It’s too important to sit this one out,” the Georgia voter told The Washington Post. “I had a sense of relief, just this huge sigh of relief, that I got it done.” (Texas Tribune, The Washington Post, Patch, The Denver Channel)
  • A reporter in Ohio helped a voter figure out what was happening with his absentee ballot and to ultimately plan to vote in person. (Julia Fair)
  • A Maine woman had to jump through some hoops in order to get her mail-in ballot and return it in time. (Bangor Daily News)
  • A planned Trump rally close to a New Jersey town’s ballot drop box raised concerns about voter intimidation, so authorities made sure voters were able to cast their ballots. (Patch)
  • An armed man was arrested in Charlotte, North Carolina for trespassing after he allegedly intimidated voters outside a polling place. (Patch)
  • A woman wearing a Trump tee-shirt allegedly attacked a New York City Council candidate outside a Brooklyn polling place. (Patch)
  • Some Ohio and Kentucky voters were concerned about getting turned away from polling places for wearing a Black Lives Matter shirt. (WKYU)
  • Some voters received threatening robocalls before and on Election Day, and some Dearborn, Michigan voters received texts with false information about how ballot sensors could affect their vote. (WNYC, Politico, Detour Detroit)
  • California officials are investigating a potentially fraudulent voting center in Orange County. (Voice of OC)
  • A power outage in Michigan briefly left a Flint polling place without electricity. (Detroit Free Press)
  • As often happens on Election Day, voting machine issues cropped up, from Connecticut to Louisiana, Rhode Island to New Jersey. (Providence Journal, The Advocate, The Hour, WSHU, Patch)

See a list of stories from partners and ProPublica here.

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