USA TODAY’S coverage of the 2020 election continues this week after former Vice President Joe Biden won a bitterly fought election against President Donald Trump and states work to finish counting their remaining ballots. Nearly all states have been called at this point as the Trump campaign challenges the outcomes in many states. Biden meanwhile is continuing with his transition, meeting with advisors and world leaders and possibly naming staff in the days and weeks to come.
Be sure to refresh this page often to get the latest information on how things are going.
USA TODAY has live election information from across the country.
Georgia recount to begin Friday, run until Wednesday
Georgia’s hand recount and audit of the presidential race will begin at 9 a.m. Friday, state election officials said Thursday.
The recount will conclude at midnight on Wednesday, Nov. 18, said Gabe Sterling, voting implementation manager.
“This will be the largest hand recount and audit in United States history,” Sterling said.
He added that the biggest concern going in will be the potential for human error during the hand recount.
“Human beings are the most flawed part of the process,” he said. “The numbers will shift a bit (because of human involvement).”
Sterling said most of the changes usually come on the hand-marked paper ballots, with the absentee ballots being “the most problematic” due to the amount of human interaction with them.
″(Humans) will be the weak link. There’s no way to prevent it. We have to try and circumvent that,” he said.
Addressing claims that Georgia Secretary of State Brad Raffensperger is performing a hand recount and audit at the request of President Donald Trump or other Georgia Republican leaders, such as Sens. David Perdue or Kelly Loeffler, Sterling said those claims are the “farthest from the truth.”
“If it was 14,000 votes the other way, we would be doing the exact same thing,” he said.
“If we see a shift in 14-to-15,000 ballots, we have bigger issues to address (than just this election). We want to get it right. We want to make sure it is accurate. This is the reason and rationale for the audit.”
Sterling added that whatever came from the hand recount and audit would be the certified results for the election.
“The work on this audit will be done by the county workers. They are the boots on the ground,” he said. “We encouraged them to please stream (the hand recount and audit) so people can see the process.
“We are working to be as transparent as possible.”
– Savannah Morning News
Biden speaks with Pope Francis
President-elect Joe Biden, who will be the nation’s second Catholic president after John F. Kennedy, spoke to Pope Francis on Thursday.
According to a readout of the call, Biden expressed his desire to work with Francis to address issues like climate change and welcoming immigrants and refugees into the U.S.
Francis also congratulated and extended his blessings to Biden for winning the 2020 presidential election, according to the readout. Biden throughout the week has spoken with several world leaders.
Throughout the campaign, Biden often touted his Catholic faith. During his victory speech Saturday, Biden recited the Catholic hymn “On Eagle’s Wings.”
– Rebecca Morin
Trump warns of Democratic-run Senate – something that happens only if Biden and Harris take office
Does Donald Trump believe the end is near? Some of his tweets suggest yes.
Intentionally or not, Trump retweeted several items Thursday warning about the prospect of a Democratic-controlled U.S. Senate – something that can only happen if Joe Biden and Kamala Harris become president and vice-president.
“If the Democrats take control of the Senate, they want to turn America into a socialist state. The future of our country is at stake,” said Sen. David Perdue, R-Ga., one of several Georgia-related posts retweeted by Trump.
But Democratic control of the Senate only happens if Biden and Harris take office.
The Republicans are assured of 50 seats in the Senate that takes office in January. if Democrats win Jan. 5 runoffs in Georgia for two remaining Senate positions, they will also control 50 seats – a tie that can be broken by the vice president, who would have to be Harris if Democrats are to take control, as Trump fears.
Ronna McDaniel, chairwoman of the Republican National Committee, made a similar mistake on Wednesday. She tweeted, and then deleted, a post that described Harris as the “deciding vote” in a Democratic Senate.
Aides said Trump remains confident that he will prevail in lawsuits and election challenges, and that he will get a second term with Mike Pence as his vice president – and the tie-breaking vote in the Senate.
“I do think this ends up in President Trump’s favor,” campaign senior adviser Jason Miller told Fox Business Network.
– David Jackson
Pelosi: Republicans ‘engaged in an absurd circus’ and refuse to ‘accept reality’
Top congressional Democrats called on President Donald Trump and Republicans to accept the results of the election and move on in a Thursday press conference.
Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer, the top Senate Democrat, told reporters Republicans should “stop their shenanigans” about the election and that Republicans are “auditioning for profiles in cowardice.”
And House Speaker Nancy Pelosi said Republicans were “engaged in an absurd circus right now refusing to accept reality.” The delay in the presidential transition, they said, could make it harder to address the COVID-19 pandemic and the economic recession.
Trump has refused to concede the election, and most congressional Republicans have backed his efforts to wage legal challenges to the election result.
Asked about Democrats’ concerns about Trump’s refusal to concede, House Minority Leader Kevin McCarthy, the top House Republican, told reporters Thursday “every recount needs to be finished” and “every challenge needs to be heard.”
Despite the election results, both sides seem not to have budged on COVID-19 stimulus as a months-long impasse over more relief lingers. Pelosi and Schumer said they were at the same place as before the election and said they still supported the roughly $2.2 trillion Democratic plan, arguing Biden’s win gave them a mandate and a “better chance” to get a bill done before Biden is inaugurated and a new Congress was sworn in.
Republicans, on the other hand, said stimulus was needed before the end of the year but were still unlikely to support a larger bill. Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell, R-Ky., told reporters with improvements in the economy, he believed Congress needed to move on the roughly $500 billion plan Republicans had supported.
Democrats’ plan, however, was “not a place I think we’re willing to go,” he said.
– Nicholas Wu
Ohio GOP Gov. Mike DeWine: ‘Joe Biden is the president-elect’
After a vague statement Monday, Ohio Gov. Mike DeWine made his thoughts on the presidential election clear: former Vice President Joe Biden won.
“We need to consider the former vice president as the president-elect,” DeWine told CNN Thursday morning. “Joe Biden is the president-elect.”
Contrast that with DeWine’s statement Monday: “I congratulate Vice-President Biden,” he said. “When lawsuits have concluded and election results are certified, it is important for all Americans to honor the outcome.”
Calling Biden the president-elect might seem like a hair-splitting distinction, but it’s one few Republicans have made. On Monday, Ohio Republican Party leader Jane Timken told supporters in an email that the race wasn’t over.
“It is premature for Democrats and the media to call the race for Biden when there are many questions regarding fraudulent voting that have yet to be answered,” Timken wrote.
DeWine was the co-chair of Trump’s reelection committee in Ohio, a state the president won by 8 percentage points in final, unofficial results.
– Jessie Balmert, Cincinnati Enquirer
Ohio Gov. Mike DeWine:Republican says ‘Joe Biden is the president-elect’
GOP Sen. Lankford: ‘I will step in’ if Biden doesn’t start receiving briefings
Republican Sen. James Lankford said he’d “step in” if President-elect Joe Biden doesn’t start receiving official government briefings, which have not yet been given to him as he prepares to be sworn in Jan. 20.
Lankford, of Oklahoma, discussed the transition process with Tulsa radio station KRMG and host Russell Mills on Wednesday. When the issue of Biden not receiving briefings was raised, Lankford replied, “That should be resolved by Friday.” He said the U.S. General Services Administration can start certifying state election results Friday and that he, as a member of the Senate Oversight Committee, has “already started engaging in this area.” He noted President Bill Clinton made available briefings to then-Texas Gov. George W. Bush in 2000.
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“There’s nothing wrong with Vice President Biden getting the briefings to be able to prepare himself so that he can be ready. The president’s already getting those. There’s nothing wrong with the former vice president getting those,” he told KRMG. “If that’s not occurring by Friday, I will step in as well to be able to push and say ‘This needs to occur’ so that regardless of the outcome of the election, whichever way that it goes, people can be ready for the actual task.”
Biden has been declared the winner of the presidential election, though President Donald Trump and his campaign are alleging unsubstantiated voter fraud in a number of states. Over the coming weeks states will certify their election results.
– Sean Rossman
Biden names chief of staff, first White House official picked for administration
Ron Klain, a senior campaign advisor for Joe Biden and one-time top aide for the former vice president, is set to become the president-elect’s White House chief of staff, the Biden campaign announced Wednesday night.
Klain was Biden’s chief of staff when he was vice president and also served as chief of staff to vice president Al Gore. By tapping Klain to lead his White House, Biden has chosen a Washington veteran with experience fighting the Ebola outbreak just as the new president makes ending the COVID-19 pandemic his top priority.
The hire, the first made by Biden for his new administration, marks another step toward his White House transition as President Donald Trump contests election results with baseless claims of voter fraud.
– Joey Garrison, John Fritze and Savannah Behrmann
Trump endorses McDaniel for another term as Republican Party chairwoman
President Donald Trump sought to clear the political air Wednesday by endorsing Ronna McDaniel for another term as chairwoman of the Republican National Committee.
“With 72 MILLION votes, we received more votes than any sitting President in U.S. history – and we will win!” tweeted Trump, who is continuing his long-shot legal challenge to the election victory by Democrat Joe Biden.
McDaniel is expected to seek a third term as party chair when the RNC meets in January. She has been helping promote Trump’s lawsuits and election protests, even as many aides believe they will be unsuccessful.
The president’s endorsement should tamp down news reports that another Trump supporter – perhaps even his son, Donald Trump Jr. – might challenge McDaniel’s leadership. The younger Trump had denied any interest in running the RNC.
— David Jackson