Every weekday through Nov. 3, we’ll be posting live updates on candidates, voting and other political news in Washington and across the U.S.
What to know in Washington:
- Election Day is tomorrow. For information about what’s on your ballot, visit our voter guide and The Seattle Times editorial board’s endorsements.
- Return your ballot by 8 p.m. Tuesday to a drop box in your area. Here’s how to see whether it has been accepted, and here’s a peek inside the counting process in King County.
- It’s too late to register online or by mail, but would-be voters can still register in person until 8 p.m. Tuesday.
- Washington has already surpassed the total number of people who had voted by Election Day in 2016, and hundreds of thousands more ballots are expected to flood in. As of Saturday evening, nearly 3.3 million ballots have been returned in Washington, representing 67.6% of the state’s registered voters.
- Be on the lookout for misinformation, the secretary of state has warned. Here’s how to report emails and social media posts that look hinky.
What to know across the U.S.:
- Here’s a comparison of where Donald Trump and Joe Biden stand on hot issues.
- We might not know who the next president is on Tuesday night … or anytime soon. Key states aren’t expected to have complete (but still unofficial) totals for days or even weeks. But that’s no reason to panic: There are clear reasons the count may take longer than usual. In fact, we have never had final results on Election Day.
- This election will determine the makeup of Congress. Democrats seem to have a good chance at winning a Senate majority, and their control of the House is not in serious doubt. Senate Republicans are making a final push to keep control of the Senate, with or without President Donald Trump.
- Here’s an hour-by-hour guide to what to look for on Tuesday, along with a Q&A on what the nation might know and when.
Merkley, Perkins face off in Oregon Senate race
SALEM, Ore. — Democratic U.S. Sen. Jeff Merkley is running for reelection against Republican Jo Rae Perkins, who made national headlines this year for her support of the wide ranging and baseless QAnon internet conspiracy theory.
The race will decide whether Oregon Democrats continue to hold the state’s two U.S. Senate seats. Political experts predict reelection for Merkley due to Perkins’ lack of funding, name recognition and “extreme” views.
Merkley, 64, has served in the Senate since 2009. Prior to that he was a five-term member of the Oregon House of Representatives, serving as speaker of the house for two years.
The Democrat considered running for president in 2020 but chose to run for reelection to the Senate instead. Merkley was the only U.S. Senator to endorse Bernie Sanders in the 2016 Democratic presidential primaries
Described as one of the most liberal members of the Senate, Merkley has been outspoken about topics surrounding climate change and recently criticized President Donald Trump for suggesting forest management is to be blamed for wildfires. He has created legislation that aims to eliminate carbon emissions by 2050.
Merkley’s challenger, Perkins, is a staunch supporter of Trump, and ran for the Senate in 2014 and for the U.S. House in 2016 and 2018. She failed to win primary contests until this year when she won 49% of the Republican vote against three other challengers.
Have you experienced voting issues in Washington state? Let us know
Have you experienced any issues with voting in the Seattle area or Washington state? Have you witnessed any election-related irregularities? If so, please contact us at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Please include details, such as time and location. An editor will review your tip and you’ll be contacted if we’re able to pursue a story.
We also urge you to report serious irregularities to your local election office.
Trump rally goers accused of intimidating Oregon voters
SALEM, Ore. — A weekend rally was held in Oregon for President Donald Trump, with lots of flags and some attendees carrying guns.
Such a scene is not rare in America in the runup to the the election, but in this instance, a ballot drop box was nearby. It proved a troubling mix for some voters and underscored the tensions ahead of Tuesday’s election.
A coalition of rights groups told Oregon Attorney General Ellen Rosenblum and Secretary of State Bev Clarno in a letter Monday that they had received complaints on a hotline.
One voter attempted to drive to the drop box at a park in Springfield, but pickup trucks parked on either side of his car, said the letter from the coalition, which includes the American Civil Liberties Union of Oregon and the Oregon Justice Resource Center.
“The individuals from the trucks asked him to roll down his window and asked where he was going,” the coalition said. ”The voter was concerned for his safety and, rather than proceeding to the drop box, instead left without depositing his ballot.”
Another caller reported similar activity and noted that other voters turned away without using the drop box, the coalition said.
Voting in Washington ends Tuesday night. When can you expect to see election results?
OLYMPIA — In Washington, what will we know, and when will we know it?
If you’re a longtime Washington resident, you’re familiar with our drip-drip-drip of counting election results, which begins Tuesday night and continues for days.
The Nov. 3 general election shouldn’t be too different than usual, with initial election results posting shortly after 8 p.m.
Here’s how it goes: Each election office in Washington’s 39 counties will tally ballots that are ready to be counted and release those results shortly after 8 p.m.
The results will be posted on county election websites and will also be uploaded to the secretary of state’s voter-management system, which gives statewide totals.
State elections officials review the results they’ve been provided against what the county has posted to make sure they’re correct, according to a news statement by the Secretary of State’s Office. Here’s the secretary of state’s statewide results page.
Most counties will have their results posted on their websites before the Secretary of State's Office displays the statewide results. So if there’s local races you’re really interested in, hit that refresh on your county elections website. The King County election results can be found here, and Snohomish County's results will be here.
County election officials are estimating that election night will capture as much as 60% of Washington’s expected ballots cast, according to the Secretary of State’s Office.
More ballots will be processed and counted on Wednesday, Nov. 4. From there, Washington’s big counties post updated election results each day, while counties with fewer than 75,000 people must report updated results at least once every three days.
Since any ballot postmarked by Nov. 3 is considered on-time, elections officials will continue to receive, process and count ballots in the coming days.
Residents can still cast ballots between now and 8 p.m. Tuesday.
You can find a map of election ballot drop boxes and voting centers around the state here.
Campaigns make last push for votes in Alaska before election
JUNEAU, Alaska — The major candidates in Alaska’s U.S. Senate race are making their last push for votes ahead of Tuesday’s election, with the campaigns calling Alaskans and knocking on doors and the candidates holding last-minute rallies and stops.
Republican U.S. Sen. Dan Sullivan and independent Al Gross, who is running as the Democratic nominee, planned to wave signs Monday in Alaska’s largest city, Anchorage. Gross also planned an evening rally with volunteers via video conference. Both have attended events around the state in recent days to shore up support and fire up enthusiasm.
“There is so much on the line with this election, and we know it’s going to be very, very close,” Gross told supporters in his hometown and former place of residence, Juneau, on a “gnarly” Saturday, as rain fell and winds howled through an open-air pavilion.
“We feel very confident in where we stand with the Alaskan voters,” Sullivan campaign manager Matt Shuckerow said in an interview, citing internal polling numbers. But he said the numbers are only as good as people backing them up with votes.
As of early Monday, more than 150,000 voters had cast their ballots, most by absentee, according to the state Division of Elections. About 321,000 total votes were cast in Alaska during the 2016 presidential election, according to division statistics.
What to expect from Facebook, Twitter and YouTube on Election Day
SAN FRANCISCO — Facebook, YouTube and Twitter were misused by Russians to inflame U.S. voters with divisive messages before the 2016 presidential election. The companies have spent the past four years trying to ensure that this November isn’t a repeat.
They have spent billions of dollars improving their sites’ security, policies and processes. In recent months, with fears rising that violence may break out after the election, the companies have taken numerous steps to clamp down on falsehoods and highlight accurate and verified information.
We asked Facebook, Twitter and YouTube to walk us through what they were, are and will be doing before, on and after Tuesday.
What are Trump and Biden saying in voters' pamphlets? It depends on where you live
In the Washington state voters' pamphlet, President Donald Trump's candidate statement references Seattle's Capitol Hill Autonomous Zone. Meanwhile, Joe Biden mentions Bristol Bay in his candidate statement for Alaska voters.
Washington is one of the only states that provides a printed voters' pamphlet for elections, but others provide candidate statements on the state's elections website.
Trump's and Biden's statements vary state by state. Here's a look at how the presidential candidates are appealing to voters.
No specific threats on Election Day, Seattle Mayor Jenny Durkan says
The Seattle Police Department had no intelligence Monday afternoon to indicate any specific threats to the city on Election Day and following days, Mayor Jenny Durkan’s office said in a written update.
Meanwhile, the Police Department has restricted time off for officers this week to ensure adequate staffing and has provided additional demonstration management training, Durkan’s office said, apparently referring to the possibility of election-related unrest.
City staff have been providing information to private property owners to secure their properties, the mayor’s office said. They and city vendors will be on standby this week to board up windows, replace broken windows and remove graffiti at city-owned properties.
“The City’s goal is to protect residents’ sacred right to vote and ensure their vote is counted,” Durkan’s office said.
Nearly 80% of Seattle residents have already voted, the office said.
Widely shared photo of Biden without mask was taken in 2019
CHICAGO — President Donald Trump’s supporters have seized on a photo circulating on Twitter since late Sunday that shows Democratic presidential nominee Joe Biden not wearing a mask while he talks to a campaign staffer on a plane.
Why wasn’t Biden, who has made a point to put on a facial covering throughout the campaign, wearing a mask? Because the photo was taken in November 2019, before the first case of the new coronavirus was reported, and months before global health officials began urging people to wear masks in order to stop the spread of the virus.
The image was shared on Twitter by Trump’s former acting Director of National Intelligence Richard Grenell, where it was liked and shared from his account more than 50,000 times. Grenell, who currently serves as special presidential envoy for Serbia and Kosovo peace negotiations, was a U.S. ambassador to Germany for two years before resigning in June.
When contacted by The Associated Press, Grenell did not answer questions about whether he knew the image was old before sharing it with his 671,000 followers.
Pierce County vote total already exceeds that of 2016 presidential election
Pierce County voters have now returned more ballots this presidential election than they did in the 2016 election, according to County Auditor Julie Anderson.
As of Monday morning, the county had already received approximately 380,000 ballots from voters, of which 356,000 have already been processed, according to Anderson.
That compares to the 365,318 ballots cast in Washington’s second-largest county in the 2016 elections, according to the state Secretary of State’s Office.
Anderson said traffic is steady at the county’s drop boxes, and no instances of voter intimidation have been reported.
“We've been urging voters to take advantage of the sunshine and good weather ... and they are heeding the call,” she said.
Pierce County could see 85% turnout this year, which would mean about 480,000 ballots cast, according to Anderson.
Judge rejects GOP effort to throw out 127,000 Houston votes
HOUSTON — A federal judge on Monday rejected another last-ditch Republican effort to invalidate nearly 127,000 votes in Houston because the ballots were cast at drive-thru polling centers established during the pandemic.
The lawsuit was brought by conservative Texas activists who have railed against expanded voting access in Harris County, where a record 1.4 million early votes have already been cast. The county is the nation’s third largest and a crucial battleground in Texas, where President Donald Trump and Republicans are bracing for the closest election in decades on Tuesday.
U.S. District Judge Andrew Hanen’s decision to hear arguments on the brink of Election Day drew concern from voting rights activists, and came after the Texas Supreme Court rejected a nearly identical challenge over the weekend.
The ruling came in response to a lawsuit by conservative GOP activists who have filed a battery of court challenges over moves to expand voting options during the COVID-19 pandemic. The challenges have not involved Trump’s campaign.
Oregon governor puts National Guard on standby for election
PORTLAND, Ore. — Oregon Gov. Kate Brown on Monday put the National Guard on standby for a 48-hour period around Election Day and used her executive authority to activate a unified command of state troopers, sheriff’s deputies and Portland police to handle any protests.
Portland has seen near nightly protests for five months after the police killing of George Floyd in Minneapolis and many demonstrations end in vandalism, arson and violent clashes with officers. President Donald Trump’s call for a crackdown on protests in Democratic-led cities has attracted right-wing groups to the city for “law and order” rallies and pro-Trump events.
“We’ve seen firsthand what happens when free expression is fueled by hate,” the Democratic governor said. “We know that there are some people who might want to use peaceful election night protests to promote violence and property destruction,”
“I want to be very, very clear that voter intimidation and political violence will not be tolerated. Not from the left, not from the right and not from the center. Not this week, not any week in Oregon,” Brown said.
The unified command will begin at 5 p.m. Monday and end at 5 p.m. Wednesday. It can be extended if necessary, Brown said.
Polling places are latest front in battle over face masks
America’s fight over masks has reached a new front: polling places.
On Election Day, voters across the country will face varying rules about mask-wearing when they cast a ballot as officials try to balance public safety precautions amid a global pandemic with the constitutional right to vote.
Most states, even ones with broad mask mandates, are stopping short of forcing voters to use a face covering. Instead, they’re opting for recommendations to wear them while providing options for voters who refuse.
“We are asking everyone at the polls to observe social distancing inside and outside of polling places, and not to create disturbances about wearing or not wearing face coverings,” said Meagan Wolfe, chief elections official in Wisconsin, where a state mask mandate applies to poll workers but not voters.
Why dry weather around the nation this Election Day may boost Biden
John F. Kennedy won the 1960 presidential election by such a narrow margin that it’s easy to imagine how history might have turned out differently. What if Kennedy had lost a key endorsement or Richard Nixon had better prepared for the first debate? What if it had rained on Election Day?
Unusually heavy rainfall dampens turnout among less reliable voters, according to a 2007 study. These voters tend to favor the Democratic candidate, particularly when a Republican is in power. Nixon needed rain to keep these voters from going to the polls. He didn’t get it.
“In 1960, for instance, it was a remarkably clear day across the entire country. Had it rained that day, we probably would have had a Nixon presidency eight years earlier,” said Brad Gomez, a political scientist at Florida State University and lead author of the study, which simulated every presidential election from 1948 to 2000 under different weather. Researchers also found that rain in Pensacola, Fla., in 2000 may have cost Al Gore the presidency.
The study lent empirical backing to a maxim of campaign politics: Republicans should pray for rain. As recently as 2012, a poll from the Weather Channel found that Barack Obama supporters were more likely than Mitt Romney supporters to be deterred by rain.
But supporters of vice president Joe Biden may not have to worry about rain keeping their voters home.
Trump promises court fight over Pennsylvania absentee votes
WASHINGTON — President Donald Trump and his reelection campaign are signaling they will pursue an aggressive legal strategy to try to prevent Pennsylvania from counting mailed ballots that are received in the three days after the election.
The matter could find its way to the Supreme Court, especially if those ballots could tip the outcome in the battleground state.
The three-day extension was ordered by Pennsylvania’s top court. The Supreme Court refused to block it, but several conservative justices have indicated they could revisit the issue after the election.
Pennsylvania Secretary of State Kathy Boockvar, a Democrat, already has told local elections officials to keep the late-arriving ballots separate, but also to count them. She acknowledged that a post-election court fight could change that.
King County voter turnout reaches 75%
More than 1 million people have voted in King County, representing 75% of registered voters, as of Monday morning.
According to King County Elections, 1.07 million voters have returned their ballots. The agency projects an additional 70,000 ballots will be picked up from drop boxes today.
Across Washington, 3.3 million voters had turned in their ballots as of Saturday evening, according to the Secretary of State’s Office.
Merkel cautious on US vote comment, says she values science
BERLIN — German Chancellor Angela Merkel declined Monday to comment directly on the U.S. election, but said that she values the advice of scientists — hours after President Donald Trump took another shot at the top U.S. infectious disease expert.
Trump responded to supporters’ chants to “fire Fauci” during a rally in Florida early Monday by saying: “Don’t tell anybody but let me wait until a little bit after the election.”
Dr. Anthony Fauci, a leading member of the White House coronavirus task force, has clashed with Trump over his administration’s handling of the pandemic, which has so far killed more than 231,000 people in the United States.
Asked about her views on whether the leader of Germany’s close ally should heed the word of scientists, Merkel made clear she wouldn’t comment on the vote.
“I certainly won’t do that one day before the election in the United States,” she said.
But she added that “you know that simply because of my education as a physicist I naturally attribute great weight to scientific advice, and make use of it myself.”
Biden leads slightly in Pennsylvania with Florida a toss-up, polls show
As the presidential race enters its final days, competition remains fierce in two of the most important battleground states, with former vice president Joe Biden holding a slight lead over President Donald Trump in Pennsylvania and the two candidates in a virtual dead heat in Florida, according to two Washington Post-ABC News polls.
Among likely voters in Pennsylvania, Biden is at 51% to Trump’s 44%, and Libertarian Jo Jorgensen is at 3%. Biden was leading by 54% to 45% a month ago. While the shift is slight, Biden no longer holds a statistically significant advantage, given the four-point margin of sampling error that applies to each candidates’ support. Among all registered voters in the Keystone State, Biden is at 49% to Trump’s 45%, with Jorgensen at 3%.
In Florida, Trump is at 50% to Biden’s 48% among likely voters. Jorgensen registers at 1%. Last month, Trump was at 51% and Biden at 47 percent. Among registered voters in Florida, Trump stands at 49 percent with Biden at 47%. Last month among registered voters, Biden was at 48% and Trump at 47%. Those month-to-month shifts are not statistically significant.
Although there are other battleground states in play in these final days, many analysts see Florida and Pennsylvania as holding the keys to the outcome of the election. Trump won both states in 2016, but barely, taking Florida by just over one percentage point and Pennsylvania by less than one point.
A country ‘off balance:’ Worry and prayers as Washingtonians count down to a presidential election like none other
Retired Yakima teacher Bruce Whitmore was a 21-year-old college student facing the draft during the 1968 presidential election. He ticks off a seemingly endless list of what was happening then: racism, riots, poverty, assassinations of the Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. and Sen. Robert Kennedy after winning the California primary, the Vietnam War.
Part of a family that owned a mortuary in Buckley, a small Pierce County town in the Cascade foothills, Whitmore saw the bodies of classmates coming back from the war in caskets, and he was angry.
“Nobody kind of remembers that now,” said the 73-year-of father of eight.
And yet, on reflection, he said the current moment feels worse, with a presidential election taking place Tuesday in a nation so divided that some fear civil war. Whitmore blames the constant, in-your-face stream of information. “There’s no time to rest, no time to think,” he said.
Across Washington, from the urban Puget Sound region to the farm belt east of the Cascades and north toward the Canadian border, to stretches along the Pacific Coast where many make their living from the sea, Tuesday’s election arrives with a mounting sense of dread, anxiety and glimmers of hope. Many view it as the most important election of their lives. So much is on the line.
Washington voter turnout in 2020 on pace to set record, elections officials say
Washington is on pace to break its all-time voter turnout record, elections officials say, with ballots pouring in through the mail and drop boxes at an unprecedented pace.
As of Saturday evening, nearly 3.3 million people in the state had returned their ballots — already surpassing the number that had voted by Election Day in 2016.
That put early turnout at 67.6%, and with hundreds of thousands more ballots expected in the coming days, top elections officials predict 2020 turnout will break the previous state record of 84.6%, set in 2008.
“Oh, absolutely,” said Secretary of State Kim Wyman. “I do think we are going to probably be near 90%.”
King County Elections Director Julie Wise agreed — enthusiastically. “After 20 years in this industry, I have never seen anything like this," she said. "I am floating at this point. I am very, very, very excited.”
Ballots must be postmarked or deposited in official elections office drop boxes by 8 p.m. Tuesday. Wyman advises late voters to use drop boxes as soon as possible to avoid a last-minute rush.
How Washington’s senior communities and facilities have navigated the voting process in the face of COVID-19
The 65-and-older population has long been a civically involved group that politicians can count on as consistent voters.
But they're also among the most vulnerable to COVID-19, and the pandemic has necessitated restrictions at retirement communities and other long-term care facilities, including monthslong lockdowns.
Catch up on election news from over the weekend
Senate Republicans are trying to save their Senate majority, with or without President Donald Trump. It's a final election push against the onslaught of challengers in states once off limits to Democrats but now hotbeds of a potential backlash to President Donald Trump and his allies on Capitol Hill.
"This is not a time to be afraid." As Washingtonians try to keep their balance amid a presidential contest that's become deeply personal, a former Black Panther and Vietnam vet spoke with columnist Naomi Ishisaka about refusing to be immobilized by fear.
If you want to see how Washington is changing politically, don’t look to the races for governor or president — look to the Legislature. Far down the ballots from the big-ticket races, elections are playing out for 26 of the 49 state Senate seats, as well as 98 House seats. This year, a slew of hotly contested races could bring striking changes to a Legislature fated to reckon with the COVID-19 pandemic.
A federal judge in Washington has ordered sweeps of some Michigan and Wisconsin postal facilities for election ballots. The order requires the Postal Service to “make every effort to deliver those ballots by 8:00 PM local time on Election Day as required by Michigan and Wisconsin law, including by using Priority Mail Express and/or other extraordinary measures."
Police pepper-sprayed children as young as 3 at a march for voting rights in North Carolina, after insisting that demonstrators move off the street despite a permit authorizing their presence.
Trump is cheering supporters who swarmed a Joe Biden campaign bus on a Texas highway, an incident that caused the Democrats onboard to cancel the rest of that day's events. "These patriots did nothing wrong," Trump tweeted.
An election story that mentions neither Biden nor Trump: Will Portland's embattled mayor hang on? What will we learn about attitudes on guns, affirmative action and more? These are among the hot issues being watched across the nation.
2020 Election Resources
For more information about voting, ballot drop boxes, accessible voting and online ballots, contact your county elections office. Ballots are due by 8 p.m. on Nov. 3.
- King County: 206-296-8683 or st.news/vote-kingcounty
- Snohomish County: 425-388-3444 or st.news/vote-snocounty
- Kitsap County: 360-337-7128 or st.news/vote-kitsapcounty
- Pierce County: 253-798-8683 or st.news/vote-piercecounty
For more information on your ballot, in any county, go to: myvote.wa.gov
Most Read Local Stories
- Coronavirus daily news updates, May 11: What to know today about COVID-19 in the Seattle area, Washington state and the world
- King County plans to buy hotels to permanently house 1,600 homeless people
- Art Langlie, grandson of former Seattle mayor and governor, announces mayoral run
- 'Kitten Season' is coming to Puget Sound area. It's going to be a big year, thanks to the pandemic
- Fire crews battle blazes at Issaquah's Village West, Snohomish car repair shop