Editor’s note: This is a live account of Election 2020 updates from Tuesday, Oct. 20, as the day unfolded. It is no longer being updated. Click here for full coverage of the 2020 Election.

Every weekday until Election Day, 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:

  • Your ballot is due by Nov. 3. It can be returned via mail or a drop box in your area.
  • The last day to register to vote or update your information online or by mail is Monday. You can register in person during business hours at your county elections office through Election Day; check with your local office for details and COVID-19 safety protocols.
Jay Inslee, left, and Loren Culp, right.
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King County voter turnoutTrump pressures Barr to investigative BidensSeattle’s Proposition 110th Congressional DistrictElection resources2020 Election Guide

Live updates:

Trump taunts Lesley Stahl of ‘60 Minutes’ after cutting off interview

President Donald Trump abruptly cut off an interview with “60 Minutes” star Lesley Stahl at the White House on Tuesday and then taunted her on Twitter, posting a short behind-the-scenes video of her at the taping and noting that she had not been wearing a mask in the clip.

Trump then threatened to post his interview with Stahl ahead of its intended broadcast time Sunday evening, calling it “FAKE and BIASED.”

The spectacle of a president, two weeks from Election Day, picking a fight with the nation’s most popular television news program began Tuesday after Trump grew irritated with Stahl’s questions, according to two people familiar with the circumstances of the taping.

One person briefed on what took place said that Trump had spent more than 45 minutes filming with Stahl and her CBS News crew, and that the taping had not wrapped up when the president’s aides had expected it to.

So Trump cut the interview short and then declined to participate in a “walk and talk” segment with Stahl and Vice President Mike Pence, the people said.

It appeared that Stahl’s approach did not sit well with the president. Hours later, Trump said on Twitter that he was considering posting the interview with Stahl “PRIOR TO AIRTIME!” He described it as a “terrible Electoral Intrusion” and suggested that his Democratic opponent, Joe Biden, had been treated less harshly by journalistic interlocutors.

Read the full story here.

—The New York Times
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In an early vote deluge, nearly 18% of Washington voters have already returned ballots

An election worker hefts returned ballots into a sorting machine at the King County Elections office Tuesday in Renton. Election officials there said that 280,000 county ballots already had been returned. Washington state is one of five states, along with Colorado, Hawaii, Oregon, and Utah, that conduct elections entirely by mail-in voting. (The Associated Press / Elaine Thompson)
An election worker hefts returned ballots into a sorting machine at the King County Elections office Tuesday in Renton. Election officials there said that 280,000 county ballots already had been returned. Washington state is one of five states, along with Colorado, Hawaii, Oregon, and Utah, that conduct elections entirely by mail-in voting. (The Associated Press / Elaine Thompson)

Eager to have their say in a heated and historic 2020 election, Washington voters are rushing to send in their ballots at nearly three times the pace of four years ago.

As of Tuesday evening nearly 850,000 ballots — accounting for nearly 18% of registered voters — already had been received in Washington state.

That’s up from 266,000 votes — about 6% of voters — at the same point in 2016, according to the first statewide totals released by the Secretary of State’s office.

In King County, initial turnout was running at 16.8% — or more than 237,000 ballots. In Snohomish County it was 11.6% and in Pierce 10.3%.

The highest early vote returns by percentage were recorded in rural Ferry County — home to GOP gubernatorial candidate Loren Culp — where 48.3% of ballots already have been returned. That amounts to 2,246 votes.

Elections officials have predicted possible record turnout this year, possibly shooting past the 90% mark.

—Jim Brunner

Snohomish County reports a record in returned ballots after first weekend of voting

Snohomish County hit a record for early voting as residents returned 35,889 ballots over the weekend.

An additional 2,980 ballots were received in the mail Monday morning, according to the Snohomish County Auditors Office.

Ballots were mailed Thursday to about 500,000 registered voters in the county.

“It’s encouraging to see voters taking early action to vote and return their ballot. With interest high and the COVID-19 pandemic still spreading in our community, we need voters to act today to ensure everyone’s voice is heard while keeping each other safe and healthy,” County Auditor Garth Fell said in a prepared statement Tuesday.

The county is operating 30 drop boxes for ballots, and it has increased security around them, “to help ensure voters can access drop boxes without incident,” Fell said. So far, there have been no reports of intimidation or suppression.

Any instances of drop-box vandalism should be reported to elections@snoco.org with pictures, details and the location. Registered voters in the county who haven’t received their ballots by Tuesday should call the elections office at 425-388-3444.

—Joseph O'Sullivan

What’s at stake for you this election? We want to know.

It’s an election like no other in American history, perhaps the most consequential of our lifetimes.

As Nov. 3 approaches, we want to mark this historic moment by publishing your thoughts, in your words. Whether you’re liberal or conservative, wealthy or struggling to get by, voting for the first time or a seasoned political enthusiast, anxious for a change of administrations or believe America is on the right track, we want to hear from all corners of our cultural landscape.

Please answer the following question in 150 words or less: What is at stake for you this election, and what is your hope for the next four years, even if your candidate doesn’t win?

Deadline is 6 p.m. Friday, Oct. 23. We’ll publish a collection of responses online and in our Nov. 1 print edition and use your comments to fuel our reporting. 

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McConnell warns White House against making stimulus deal before election, sources say

WASHINGTON – Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell, R-Ky., told Senate Republicans on Tuesday that he has warned the White House not to make a big stimulus deal before the election, according to two people familiar with his remarks.

McConnell suggested that House Speaker Nancy Pelosi, D-Calif., is not negotiating in good faith with Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin, and any deal they reach could disrupt the Senate’s plans to confirm Amy Coney Barrett to the Supreme Court next week.

In a Bloomberg interview on Tuesday, Pelosi adamantly denied that she was stringing the White House along and said she wouldn’t be negotiating with the White House if she didn’t want a deal.

But McConnell’s remarks, made in a closed-door lunch with Senate Republicans, show the raw political calculations that both parties are dealing with two weeks before the November 3 elections. McConnell’s comments were confirmed by two people familiar with them who spoke on condition of anonymity to discuss them.

Read the full story here.

—Washington Post

Trump pressures Barr to investigate Bidens as election nears

In this March 23, 2020, file photo President Donald Trump moves from the podium to allow Attorney General William Barr to speak about the coronavirus in the James Brady Briefing Room in Washington. (Alex Brandon / AP, file)
In this March 23, 2020, file photo President Donald Trump moves from the podium to allow Attorney General William Barr to speak about the coronavirus in the James Brady Briefing Room in Washington. (Alex Brandon / AP, file)

WASHINGTON — President Donald Trump on Tuesday called on Attorney General William Barr to immediately launch an investigation of Democrat Joe Biden and his son Hunter, effectively demanding that the Justice Department muddy his political opponent and abandon its historic resistance to getting involved in elections.

With just two weeks to go before Election Day, Trump for the first time explicitly called on Barr to investigate the Bidens and even pointed to the nearing Nov. 3 election as reason that Barr should not delay taking action.

“We’ve got to get the attorney general to act,” Trump said in an interview on “Fox & Friends.” “He’s got to act, and he’s got to act fast. He’s got to appoint somebody. This is major corruption, and this has to be known about before the election.”

Julian Zelizer, a presidential historian at Princeton University, suggested that Trump’s pressure campaign on Barr has moved into uncharted territory for presidential politics.

Read the full story here.

—Associated Press

13th District state Rep. Tom Dent, up for re-election, has COVID-19

State Rep. Tom Dent, who is up for reelection, has COVID-19, he told NewsTalk-KIT Radio on Monday.

The Moses Lake Republican broke the news to show hosts Dave Ettl and Lance Tormey.

“I got this little, uh, little virus thing going on,” he said. “They call it COVID. I don’t recommend it. You will not like it.”

Dent, who coughed several times during the interview, went on to talk about his symptoms, saying he’s learned that the disease affects everyone differently.

“So far I think I’ve gone through every symptom anybody’s talked about,” he said. “And, you know, it’s crazy. It started out pretty benign in the beginning and then kind of started to go away and came back a little stronger. It’s played this game now, today will be day 15.”

Dent, 70, who is facing a challenge from Quincy Democrat Eduardo Castañeda Diaz, said he was recovering at home.

Dent is the second Washington lawmaker known to have tested positive for COVID-19. House Republican Leader J.T. Wilcox of Yelm, Thurston County, posted on Facebook in August that he had contracted the virus.

Read the full story here.

—Yakima Herald-Republic
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California attorney general seeks to compel GOP cooperation in ballot boxes investigation

SACRAMENTO, Calif. — California Attorney General Xavier Becerra on Tuesday sought a court order to force state Republican officials to turn over information about the party’s use of private drop boxes for collecting ballots in a handful of counties across the state.

Leaders of the California Republican Party have insisted the program has followed all applicable rules and regulations and have accused both Becerra and Secretary of State Alex Padilla of a partisan investigation.

Last week, Republicans and the two Democratic state officials criticized each other in a series of dueling public statements over the GOP‘s distribution of metal containers to party offices, churches and private businesses where voters could deposit their completed ballots.

Read the full story here.

—Los Angeles Times

Melania Trump nixes campaign trip due to cough from COVID

First lady Melania Trump pauses as she and President Donald Trump walk to board Marine One at the White House, Tuesday, Sept. 29, 2020, in Washington, for the short trip to Andrews Air Force Base en route to Cleveland for first debate against Democrat Joe Biden. (AP Photo/Carolyn Kaster)
First lady Melania Trump pauses as she and President Donald Trump walk to board Marine One at the White House, Tuesday, Sept. 29, 2020, in Washington, for the short trip to Andrews Air Force Base en route to Cleveland for first debate against Democrat Joe Biden. (AP Photo/Carolyn Kaster)

WASHINGTON — Melania Trump’s return to the campaign trail will have to wait.

The first lady has decided against accompanying President Donald Trump to a campaign rally Tuesday in Erie, Pennsylvania, because of a lingering cough after her bout with COVID-19, said Stephanie Grisham, her chief of staff.

It was to be Mrs. Trump’s first public appearance since recovering from the coronavirus, as well as her first time out on the campaign trail in more than a year.

The first lady’s announcement served as yet another reminder for the president that, as much as he wishes the virus would “just disappear” — as he has said — it remains a powerful presence in everyday life, including his.

Read the full story here.

—Associated Press

Altered photo shows Ice Cube, 50 Cent in ‘Trump 2020’ hats

An altered photo of rappers Ice Cube and 50 Cent in hats that appear to show support for President Donald Trump circulated widely on social media Tuesday, fueled in part by a tweet by Eric Trump.

“Two great, courageous Americans,” Trump’s son tweeted. He removed the tweet with a photo of the two rappers in hats saying “Trump 2020” after being called out by Ice Cube on Twitter.

In the original photo, both entertainers were wearing baseball caps with sports logos. Ice Cube’s hat says “Big3,” a reference to a 3-on-3 basketball league he co-founded, and 50 Cent wears one with the New York Yankees logo. Ice Cube shared the original photo on his Twitter account on July 6 to send a birthday message to 50 Cent.

“Happy birthday to the homie ⁦@50cent,” he tweeted with the photo.

The manipulated image was shared thousands of times on Twitter and Facebook since it began gaining attention on Monday.

Read the full story here.

Related: Guide to navigating social media during the election

—Associated Press
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Trump urges stimulus package bigger than $2.2 trillion as Senate GOP readies slimmer measure

WASHINGTON – House Speaker Nancy Pelosi and Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin were locked in last-ditch negotiations on Tuesday aimed at reaching an approximately $2 trillion economic relief package days before the Nov. 3 election as Senate Republicans prepared to advance a much narrower measure this week.

In a Bloomberg interview on Tuesday, Pelosi said she has insisted that the White House and Democrats bring forward their best offers by the end of the day so they can examine key differences for a final phase of negotiations.

She also said that if they are going to vote on a deal by the end of next week, they need to agree on specific language by the end of this week. She described herself as “optimistic” but said key differences remain, particularly on business liability protections and state aid.

“It isn’t that this day is the day we would have a deal,” said Pelosi, D-Calif. “It’s a day when we would have our terms on the table to be able to go to the next step. Legislation takes a long time.”

Read the full story here.

—Washington Post

King County shatters previous record for ballot returns in first five days

King County Elections picked up an estimated 164,000 ballots from drop boxes in the first five days they were open, shattering the previous record for the first five days of ballot returns.

That amount is 10 times that of the agency’s previous record: 16,015 ballots were turned in to drop boxes over the first five days of voting for the presidential primary election in March.

Because of the surge in returns, elections staff members are emptying all 73 drop boxes — which each have a bin that can hold about 5,000 ballots — twice a day, and ballots in higher-traffic drop boxes will be picked up several times per day, according to King County Elections.

Ballots were mailed to voters this past Wednesday. Typically, workers don’t start emptying drop boxes until the first Monday after ballots are mailed, but several drop boxes were already full by Saturday. Over the weekend, King County Elections received reports of at-capacity boxes at several locations in Seattle and on the Eastside. Some drop boxes had to be emptied more than once, including one in Ballard.   

—Paige Cornwell

Conservative radio host Rush Limbaugh says his lung cancer is terminal

Rush Limbaugh, shown in 2018, said on Monday, Oct. 19, 2020, that his  lung cancer is terminal.  (Doug Mills / The New York Times)
Rush Limbaugh, shown in 2018, said on Monday, Oct. 19, 2020, that his lung cancer is terminal. (Doug Mills / The New York Times)

Conservative talk radio giant Rush Limbaugh told his listeners Monday that the advanced lung cancer he announced this year is terminal.

Limbaugh, whose program is nationally syndicated, said he received lung scans last week that showed “some progression of the cancer” after it was previously reduced to a manageable level.

He described his illness as a roller coaster with many ups and downs.

“You measure a happy life against whatever medication it takes. And at some point you decide, you know, this medication may be working, but I hate the way I feel every day,” Limbaugh, 69, said on the air. “I’m not there yet. But it is part and parcel of this. It’s tough to realize that the days where I do not think I’m under a death sentence are over.”

Read the full story here.

—Washington Post
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Ballot returns increase in Pierce County

Pierce County Elections received 37,306 ballots Monday, three days after ballots were sent out.

The turnout is three times as high as the number of ballots returned by Oct. 19, 2016, when the agency had received 12,623, according to the Pierce County auditor.

The returned ballots were either mailed to Pierce County or turned in to the county’s 47 ballot dropboxes.

—Paige Cornwell

Seahawks coach Pete Carroll votes, encourages players to do the same

Voting has been a huge emphasis of the NFL this season, with the Seahawks having taken a day off practice during camp to make sure every player was registered, giving them time on that day to get registered if they were not.

Seahawks coach Pete Carroll ended his Zoom news conference Monday noting that he talked to the team again Monday about voting with the election now 15 days away, and that he had completed his ballot Sunday night.

“We took a showing of hands today and we’re working it here,’’ he said. “We’re not quite complete, the process is challenging if you haven’t done it yet. … I was able to get my vote out done last night, so I’m feeling pretty cocky about it, to tell you the truth.’

—Bob Condotta

Election officials prepare for voter intimidation threat

Election officials across the country have begun reviewing security plans at early and Election Day voting sites, strengthening ties with local law enforcement and training poll workers to prepare for voter intimidation tactics.

Since the Sept. 29 presidential debate, there has been surging concern over the prospect of voter harassment at the polls. But prior to President Donald Trump’s poll-watching invitation to a national television audience, there were incidents.

Philadelphia officials last month turned away a group of poll watchers sent by the Trump campaign to satellite election sites, where they are not permitted entry under Pennsylvania law. In Virginia, Trump supporters temporarily blocked an entrance to an early voting site last month, forcing officials to offer voters escorts to cast ballots. And in Minnesota, a private security company is recruiting former military members to guard polling places, alarming election officials with the prospect of unofficial armed guards who could intimidate or harass voters. Many voting experts say these actions are not legal.

Read the full story here.

—Stateline.org
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Boots on the ground: Here’s how South King County community members mobilize voters

Equipped with voter pamphlets and boxes of food Oct. 15, the Rev. Jimmie James, executive director of BEST (Being Empowered Thru Supported Transitions) talks with a man who was picking up food and who was formerly homeless about voting on local issues.  (Steve Ringman / The Seattle Times)
Equipped with voter pamphlets and boxes of food Oct. 15, the Rev. Jimmie James, executive director of BEST (Being Empowered Thru Supported Transitions) talks with a man who was picking up food and who was formerly homeless about voting on local issues. (Steve Ringman / The Seattle Times)

South King County has fewer registered voters than other parts of the county, and the Rev. Jimmie James is out to change that.

He and leaders of other community organizations are educating and registering voters who have been historically underserved — and their work is making a difference.

Take a neighborhood-by-neighborhood look at the number of registered voters in King County, and those who turned out to vote last year.

—Melissa Hellmann

Transit measure tests voters' willingness to boost sales tax

Buses on Third Avenue in downtown Seattle last week. (Ken Lambert / The Seattle Times)
Buses on Third Avenue in downtown Seattle last week. (Ken Lambert / The Seattle Times)

Seattle's Proposition 1 would hike the sales tax to fund bus service and other transit programs, as government budgets reel from the pandemic and fewer people commute. Here's what it would cost, and what it would buy.

—Heidi Groover

10th Congressional District

Beth Doglio, left, and Marilyn Strickland, 10th District race.  (Courtesy of the campaigns)
Beth Doglio, left, and Marilyn Strickland, 10th District race. (Courtesy of the campaigns)

Political action committees are pouring cash into a contest that highlights a split in the Democratic party.

See who's backing former Tacoma Mayor Marilyn Strickland and state Rep. Beth Doglio in the only race for an open congressional seat in Washington.

—David Gutman
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Catch up on the past 24 hours

Trying to buck up his campaign in its final stretch, President Donald Trump came out swinging Monday, attacking Dr. Anthony Fauci, the press and polls that show Democrat Joe Biden is ahead in key battleground states.

Presidential candidates' microphones will be muted during parts of Thursday's debate in an attempt to avoid the chaos and constant interruptions of the last face-off, although this may open the door to a new problem. The 90-minute debate will be broken up into six 15-minute segments, each on a different topic.

President Donald Trump and former Vice President Joe Biden, the Democratic nominee, clash at the first presidential debate in Cleveland on Sept. 29. (Doug Mills / The New York Times)
President Donald Trump and former Vice President Joe Biden, the Democratic nominee, clash at the first presidential debate in Cleveland on Sept. 29. (Doug Mills / The New York Times)

Will unofficial armed guards show up at the polls? Election officials across the U.S. are bolstering their defenses against voter intimidation, with illegal actions already popping up in several states. Here's the plan to keep voting secure in three Western Washington counties.

Mail that included ballots was stolen from Sammamish mailboxes late last week and discovered by package carriers on Friday, and more ballots that were unopened or incomplete were taken and put in other mailboxes in the Eastside city. The Sammamish Police Department said there is no evidence to suggest the thefts were politically motivated.

Floridians began early voting in much of the state Monday with no serious problems reported. Democrats have posted an early advantage in mail-in votes in the key swing state.

—Seattle Times staff

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.

For more information on your ballot, in any county, go to: myvote.wa.gov