As election news pours in, stay tuned to The Chronicle's live blog for up-to-date news on the key local, N.C. and national races.
Biden, Harris give victory speeches
11/7/20 9:39 p.m.
Joe Biden and Kamala Harris addressed the nation Saturday night in the new president-elect’s hometown of Wilmington, Delaware. Biden thanked the American people for turning out in record numbers to make his victory possible, and he emphasized his commitment to rebuilding and healing the nation.
"I sought this office to rebuild the soul of America, to rebuild the backbone of this nation, the middle class and to make America respected around the world again," Biden said.
The president-elect listed his priorities for the next four years, including tackling climate change and racial injustice, but stressed that his first battle will be against a pandemic that has killed more than 230,000 Americans.
“Our work begins with getting COVID under control. We cannot repair the economy, restore vitality, or relish life’s most precious moments—hugging our grandchildren, our children, birthdays, weddings, graduations, all the moments that matter most to us—until we get it under control,” he said.
Harris took the stage before Biden and thanked the American people for ushering in “a new day in America.” She reflected on the historical importance of her election as the first woman in the office of vice president, as well as the first Black or South Asian person in the position.
“But while I may be the first woman in this office, I will not be the last. Because every little girl watching tonight sees that this is a country of possibilities,” Harris said.
Neither Harris nor Biden referenced Donald Trump’s name or directly mentioned that he had not yet conceded the election, but both spoke of the importance of protecting democracy.
“America’s democracy is not guaranteed. It is only as strong as our willingness to fight for it,” Harris said.
Get The Chronicle straight to your inbox
Signup for our editorially curated, weekly newsletter. Cancel at any time.
Joe Biden elected president
11/7/20 4:47 p.m.
News organizations including the Associated Press and CNN projected at around 11:30 a.m. Saturday that Biden had won Pennsylvania, and thus the presidential race.
Biden will enter office with a vision for liberal governance, including plans to implement a coordinated national response to COVID-19, invest in green energy, expand Obamacare, implement criminal justice reform and undo Trump’s immigration policies. During the campaign, Biden offered the promise of a return to normalcy after four years of chaotic governance under President Donald Trump.
His running mate, Senator Kamala Harris (D-Calif.), is the first woman, the first Black person and the first person of Indian descent elected vice president.
-Chris Kuo and Anna Zolotor
Biden takes the lead in Pennsylvania and Georgia
11/6/20 11:29 a.m.
On Friday morning, Joe Biden pulled ahead of Donald Trump in Pennsylvania and Georgia. In Pennsylvania, he now has a narrow lead of 9,000 votes after additional mail-in ballots from Democratic counties were counted. Biden sits at 253 electoral votes, according to most major media outlets. so Pennsylvania’s 20 votes would usher him into the White House. (Fox News and the Associated Press have called Arizona for Biden, putting him at 264 votes.)
Biden also has a small lead of about 1,600 votes in Georgia, and the Georgia secretary of state said on Friday that there will be a recount given the razor-thin margin. As the votes in swing states were being counted, Trump called for the counting to stop and made false claims of voter fraud.
Students reflect on tense election, criticize Trump's false comments
11/5/20 12:30 p.m.
On Wednesday, students were looking back on a strange Election Day and waiting for more results.
Sophomore Nick Datto said he was feeling emotionally drained from election night. He expressed surprise at how close the race was.
"I feel like I [was] only really emotionally prepared for Nov. 4. Thus, looking at days or a week of more waiting seems really draining. I am also feeling surprised at the country's opinions," Datto said.
Datto, who phone banked for progressive candidates during this election cycle, said he wanted to be more optimistic about the result. No matter who wins, he said, Duke students need to be more active and engaged in political issues.
"An election doesn't do much at the moment. It's about pushing throughout an administration for certain policies and ideologies. Elections are a good way to contribute, but I feel like they're a small piece of a larger picture," Datto said.
On the other spectrum, sophomore Dan King also said he felt stressed about the election. However, he felt cautiously optimistic about the end result for Joe Biden.
"The election has been really tensed and stressful, but Biden looks favored to win. I think it's just a matter of how much he wins by. I'm optimistic about it," King said.
Datto criticized false claims that Donald Trump has made as election results trickle in, including claiming victory in battleground states that major media outlets have yet to call. He said it should be a universally held value that all votes count.
King said he had cautioned voters and students about the comments, and called them "dangerous to democracy."
"I think it is very irresponsible that the president is trying to undermine the result of the election, especially when over 70 million Americans have voted for Joe Biden," he said.
Faculty discuss election at Wednesday event
11/5/20 12:30 p.m.
Professors discussed the ongoing presidential contest at a Wednesday afternoon panel, touching on polls, media coverage and more.
While the election mostly went smoothly, Judith Kelley, dean of the Sanford School of Public Policy, said that this political race has violated the norms that sustain democracy.
“Many things went right yesterday, and many things can still go right in terms of following all rules and processes to stay peaceful. But I think no matter who wins this election, the loser, in some way, is our democracy itself,” Kelley said. “It’s certainly taking a beating, in that many of the norms that underlie what a democracy is have been tested and even violated in the more recent times.”
John Aldrich, Pfizer, Inc./Edmund T. Pratt, Jr. university distinguished professor of political science, explored some of the inaccuracies in polls this election cycle. He suggested that complications in identifying likely voters and shy Trump voters—those who do not disclose their intention to vote for Trump to friends, family and pollsters—made polling difficult.
Students watch election closely
11/5/20 12:15 p.m.
Our reporters talked to students Wednesday evening about their thoughts on a tense presidential contest. Read what they have to say in earlier posts on this blog, or check out the full story.
Photos: Election Day 2020 in Durham
11/5/20 3:02 a.m.
On Election Day 2020, Nov. 3, associate photography editors Lydia Sellers and Henry Haggart went into Durham to capture the scene. The City of Durham urged its residents to mail in votes through signage posted throughout the city, and voting centers on Election Day had shorter lines than usual. But for those who did vote in-person, Durham aimed to make voting as accessible as possible, with both free Lyft and Spin scooter rides to the polling centers and handouts of snacks and masks at the centers.
Duke Students for Biden leaders give thoughts on nail-biter presidential race, NC results
11/5/20 2:31 a.m.
Duke Students for Biden has hosted virtual events and helped get out the vote this fall. Now its leaders are following results in a harrowing presidential race, the outcome of which is still not certain.
When Co-Chair Daniel Marshall went to bed Wednesday morning, he said, “the only thing that it seemed like we were walking away with was a defeat for our democracy.”
But Marshall, a sophomore, awoke to find that Joe Biden’s standing had improved in Michigan and Wisconsin and that it was too early to tell who would win.
“I think that was kind of inspiring,” Marshall said. “I think we’ve got to be hopeful for the future. Because why not?”
Right now, Marshall said people who oppose Trump’s reelection should focus on making sure all ballots are counted.
Co-Chair Rahul Krishnaswamy pointed out that Democratic Gov. Roy Cooper won reelection in North Carolina and that Biden has already won more votes nationwide than any other presidential candidate in history.
“People did their work, and our work paid off. It’s just that the other side did their work too,” said Krishnaswamy, a senior.
But Krishnaswamy acknowledged that Democrats went into the night hoping to win Senate and House seats but have so far lost seats in the House and—despite a current net gain of one Senate seat—have fallen short in some Senate races that they hoped to win. He argued that to win future elections, Democrats should focus more on outreach to a traditional base of farmers and union workers.
Marshall said it was disheartening to see the result of the N.C. treasurer race, in which Duke professor Aaron “Ronnie” Chatterji lost to incumbent Republican Dale Folwell, as well as other Democratic losses. But despite those disappointments—and his fatigue after waking up early to keep watching results come in—he struck an upbeat tone.
“We’ve just got to keep pushing,” he said. “Keep fighting the good fight.”
Students await election results with mixed feelings
11/4/20 12:12 a.m.
Left and Right-leaning Duke students alike are awaiting the results of the U.S. presidential election with bated breath.
Sophomore Wyatt Gildea, a Democrat who said that he is more moderate in his views, said that he isn’t surprised that North Carolina appears to be leaning toward President Donald Trump.
Gildea attributed his suspicion of polls that predicted a Biden victory in North Carolina to the fact that he is from a conservative area near Asheville, N.C.
“I had just seen no change in my conservative friends and family members. There was nobody who voted for Trump in 2016 who wasn’t going to vote for him again. So I was really expecting it to not be a blowout [for Biden] at all,” Gildea said.
Gildea said that he is now cautiously optimistic about the national results of the presidential election.
Likewise, sophomore Darren Janz said that election night was “pretty underwhelming” for the Democratic Party.
“I think what the Democrats got wrong was that we underestimated the loyalty to Trump,” Janz said. “We thought that Biden would be able to bring back the voters who had previously voted Democrat but then flipped to Trump in 2016, and that didn’t really happen.”
However, Janz said that Democrats also gained a few victories, including N.C. Gov. Roy Cooper’s re-election. He predicted that runoff elections in Georgia in January will impact whether the party gains control over the Senate
Janz said that it is “pretty clear Biden’s going to win” the election, and that the outcomes of his presidency would be determined by control of Congress.
Sophomore Eliot Merriner, a Republican, said that although he was invigorated by the excitement of the election last night, he woke up exhausted and now doesn’t think the results of the presidential election will be finalized for a while.
“I’ve seen enough evidence on both sides that the election is close enough, it’s going to be contested. I feel like we’re just kind of in this weird twilight zone of not knowing who the president” will be, Merriner said.
Despite the presidential election being up in the air, Merriner said that he is overall very pleased with the Republican Party’s performance in North Carolina.
“I think, looking at the results, Republicans performed much better than they were expected to, given the polling going into the election,” he said.
-Anna Zolotor and Nadia Bey
Presidential update: Race may not be called in NC for another week
11/4/20 10:52 p.m.
Democratic nominee Joseph Biden Jr. has now won more popular votes than any other presidential candidate in history-- but he hasn’t yet secured a victory in the electoral college.
As of 7:15 p.m., Joe Biden is ahead in the presidential race with at least 253 electoral college votes compared to President Donald Trump’s 213 votes. Biden is leading the popular vote by a margin of 2.5%, more than three and a half million votes.
Fox News and the Associated Press declared Biden the winner of Arizona late Tuesday night and early Wednesday morning respectively, but CNN, The New York Times and other outlets have not yet announced a winner in the key swing state. With Arizona included in Biden’s total, he has 264 electoral votes.
Georgia, Nevada, North Carolina, Alaska and Pennsylvania have not yet been called.
Trump is likely to win Alaska and North Carolina. The President holds a significant lead in Pennsylvania, but the remaining votes, which may not be completely counted until Friday, are expected to lean heavily blue and may be enough for Biden to take the lead.
Biden currently leads in Nevada, and many of the remaining votes are either mail-in or from metropolitan areas expected to favor Biden. However, state officials will not provide updates until Thursday at 12:00 p.m. EST.
Trump currently leads in Georgia, but Biden has a good chance of overtaking him with the remaining five percent of the vote, much of which is from in and around Atlanta.
Ninety-five percent of votes have been counted in North Carolina, with Trump leading Biden by 1.4%, or approximately 76,000 votes. However, because of a potentially large number of uncounted absentee and provisional ballots, the election is still too close to call.
Mail-in ballots postmarked before Nov. 3 but received before Nov. 12 will still be counted, so the race is unlikely to be called in North Carolina for another week. There are still about 116,000 absentee ballots that were requested and have not yet been received by the Board of Elections, but a significant fraction of those could be people who refrained from voting or decided to vote in-person.
Provisional ballot votes also have not yet been counted, nor do we know how many were cast. In 2016, there were 61,000 provisional ballots in North Carolina.
DKU students chime in
11/4/20 10:18 p.m.
While their American peers wait to learn the outcome of the presidential race, Duke Kunshan University students from across the world are also closely watching the election.
“This Election Day caused me a more drastic emotional fluctuation than the one I experienced 4 years ago,” wrote junior Nathan Cao, who is from China, in a message to The Chronicle. Watching the results in Michigan and Wisconsin, Cao said he “really felt the world turned upside down when suddenly they became blue on my screen.”
Sophomore Joe Zhou took a stab at analyzing the state of the race.
“I think right now it is leaning towards Biden since late votes are [mail-in] votes that favors him and that's why Michigan and Wisconsin flipped blue, good news,” Zhou wrote in a message.
First-year Darpan Barua, from Bangladesh, wrote in a message, “This election has been watched by people around the world. It's really amazing to see how big of an influence the US has, such that its nail-biting election has been followed by millions. The turn around when Biden started leading in Wisconsin and Michigan was really fun to see.”
Map: North Carolina's U.S. House results
11/4/20 8:21 p.m.
Although the presidential and U.S. Senate races are still in limbo, the Associated Press has called all 13 House races. Here's a map of the districts (with new boundaries after recent court-ordered redistricting), showing the results, with Democrats picking up two seats:
-Graphic by Evelyn Shi
If Trump goes to the courts, how would it work?
11/4/20, 2:08 p.m.
With the result of the presidential race continuing to be too close to call, President Donald Trump declared early on Wednesday his plan to go to the Supreme Court to attempt to stop ballot counting, with an unclear legal path to doing so.
Guy-Uriel Charles, Edward and Ellen Marie Schwarzman professor of law and co-director of the Duke Law Center on Law, Race and Politics, said at a Wednesday afternoon media briefing that election results could be contested under state or federal law.
To challenge election results, a claim must first be filled in a smaller court, either at the state or federal level. The party filing the claim would have to search for specific violations in election procedures, most likely before the results of the state in question have been finalized, Charles said
Charles predicted that the Trump campaign would most likely take a “two-tier approach,” filling both in state and federal court.
The strategy each party decides to take “depends on where they think it is in their best interest to file these lawsuits,” Charles said. “Getting some extra votes or getting the proposed change [in different states] will then cause a different outcome in the election and can then turn the election in their favor.”
If a party decides to file a challenge to results in contested states or call for a recount, Charles said it will likely happen before results are officially certified.
The Trump campaign plans to ask for a recount in Wisconsin, where Democratic nominee Joe Biden leads slightly. Candidates who are within 1% of the winner in the state can request a recount there.
-Bea De Oliveira
Why NC's presidential race hasn't been called
11/4/20, 10:22 a.m.
Donald Trump leads by about 76,700 votes in the N.C. presidential race as of Wednesday morning, according to the state Board of Elections, but the Associated Press explains that there are about 200,000 mail-in ballots left to count. Those ballots have heavily favored Biden.
As long as mail-in ballots are postmarked by Election Day, state election officials have until Nov. 12 to count them.
Duke professors told The Chronicle before the election that the presidential race could take a long time to be called.
"It’s pretty likely or probable that we won’t know who won on election night,” said Mac McCorkle, professor of the practice in the Sanford School of Public Policy and director of Duke’s Polis: Center for Politics, before the election.
McCorkle said at the time that it looked like much of the vote in North Carolina would be in early on election night. As of Wednesday morning, The New York Times reported that 95% of the vote had been reported in the state.
This post has been updated to clarify that the explainer on why North Carolina hasn't been called was by the Associated Press. An earlier version implied it was written by The News & Observer, which picked up the story.
President Vincent Price writes to the community
11/4/20, 9:28 a.m.
With North Carolina's presidential and Senate contests still to close to call, President Vincent Price wrote in a Wednesday morning email to the Duke community that "the uncertainty we are seeing in our political system will not disrupt our vital missions of teaching, research, and patient care." He continued that Duke's primary concern is the safety and well-being of the community.
Duke's president noted that whatever the outcome of the race, some members of the community will be pleased while others will be disappointed and upset.
"Though we may sometimes disagree, we do so at Duke in the spirit of our shared values of respect, trust, inclusion, discovery and excellence," Price wrote, linking a webpage describing those core values. "Open and meaningful conversations about the opportunities and challenges ahead may lead us to see beyond our differences to discover that we have more in common than we thought."
Price concluded by speaking to the hardship that the community has faced this year.
"We’ve been through much together over the past year. I am confident that we will continue to meet our challenges with the same wisdom and strength that the Duke community has been demonstrating every day," he wrote. "I am proud to be with you."
Stay tuned for more election coverage from The Chronicle
11/4/20, 4:55 a.m.
After a long election night, we're still waiting on results in North Carolina's presidential and U.S. Senate races.
In the days to come, our reporters will continue to cover the elections and how they impact the Duke and Durham communities. Stay tuned to this blog for breaking news, photos and the community's thoughts on the results.
Presidential and U.S. Senate races too close to call as Trump and Tillis lead
11/4/20, 4:43 a.m.
President Donald Trump and Senator Thom Tillis have the edge in North Carolina, but the race isn't over yet.
Blue Devils see mixed results in races around the country
11/4/20, 4:07 a.m.
Several faculty and alumni won reelection in congressional races around the country, while graduate student Anjali Boyd leads in the race for Durham Soil and Water Conservation District supervisor. Professor of Political Science Michael Munger lost the race for N.C. House of Representatives District 34, and Aaron “Ronnie” Chatterji, the Mark Burgess & Lisa Benson-Burgess distinguished professor at Duke’s Fuqua School of Business and a professor in the Sanford School of Public Policy, lost to Republican incumbent Dale Folwell in the race for North Carolina treasurer.
Price wins reelection, Republicans hold 8-5 lead in North Carolina House delegation
U.S. Rep. David Price and Rep. G.K. Butterfield, Democrats representing North Carolina’s 4th and 1st Congressional Districts, respectively, are both projected to win reelection by the Associated Press.
Price represents Durham under the House map used in the 2020 election, although the county was split between Price and Butterfield’s districts under the old map used in 2018. Going into the night, both were expected to cruise to reelection in the heavily Democratic districts.
Price is also a tenured professor in the Sanford School of Public Policy.
Elsewhere in the state, Democrats Deborah Ross and Kathy Manning and Republicans Greg Murphy, Virginia Foxx, David Rouzer, Richard Hudson, Dan Bishop, Patrick McHenry, Madison Cawthorn and Ted Budd also had races called in their favor by the AP. Democratic Rep. Alma Adams ran unopposed for her seat in the 12th district, leaving Republicans with an 8-5 advantage in the North Carolina House delegation.
Short lines, 'good energy' at Durham polling places today
Durham voters headed to polling places to cast their ballots Nov. 3, marking the end of a long election cycle.
One Durham resident, Iffat Allam, had been greeting voters outside of the W.I. Patterson Recreation Center in Durham since 6:20 a.m. on Tuesday, but nearly 12 hours later, her energy and enthusiasm had yet to fade.
“I don’t feel tired,” she said. “I’m full of energy.”
Mark Robinson becomes NC's first Black lieutenant governor, defeats Yvonne Holley
Republican Mark Robinson won the open seat for NC lieutenant governor against Democrat Yvonne Holley. The race was significant because whoever won would become North Carolina's first Black lieutenant governor.
NC Gov. Roy Cooper wins reelection
11/1/20 10:15 p.m.
As the super close presidential and senate races tilt Republican, Gov. Roy Cooper is projected to win reelection against Lt. Gov. Dan Forest. Cooper defeated incumbent Pat McCrory in 2016 when Trump won the state as well.
House Update: Price wins reelection, other North Carolina race also called
The Associated Press has called North Carolina's 4th Congressional District race—which includes Durham—for Democrat David Price. Price, a tenured professor in the Sanford School of Public Policy, currently leads his race against Republican Robert Thomas by just over 45%, 72.59% to 37.53%. The race was rated "Solid Democrat" by the Cook Political Report.
Elsewhere in North Carolina, the AP also called the 11th district for 25-year-old Republican Madison Cawthorn, in a race that was rated "Lean Republican" after Republican Mark Meadows stepped down from the seat to become Donald Trump's chief of staff.
A scene from a Durham polling site
“Would you like a snack?”
Wearing a “Good Vibes” sweatshirt, Victor Canales, 30, stood near the exit of the polling site at Lakewood elementary school. Whenever a voter emerged from the building, he invited them to take a snack from his spread of chips, oranges, Welch’s fruit snacks and KIND bars. He also offered them surgical masks.
He’s a volunteer with Poder NC Action, an organization that seeks to elect candidates that are “pro-Black, pro-Latinx, pro-LGBTQ, and pro-Choice.” This is Canales’s fifth stop at Durham County polling sites.
“I’m a little nervous, because there’s a lot on the line,” he said.
He said he hopes that whoever gets elected supports the undocumented community and the BIPOC communities—“the people that are struggling the most right now.”
The Lakewood site was quiet, with no lines outside the building. Canales said the other sites he visited were “really slow.” He attributed this to the large number of early voters.
-Chris Kuo. Photo by Henry Haggart.
NC reports votes at 8:15 p.m.:
11/1/20 8:23 p.m.
With delays at certain polls, no early vote counts were released until 8:15 p.m. There are around 3.2 million votes counted so far, around 45% of the total votes cast.
Governor: Roy Cooper 56.5%, Dan Forest 42.1%
President: Joe Biden 55.6%, Donald Trump 43%
Senator: Cal Cunningham 53.44%, Thom Tillis 42.6%
New at 7:30 p.m: Most NC polls close now.
Ten precincts have extensions, the latest going until 8:15 pm.
Update on NC polling site delays
11/1/20 7:17 p.m.
Most polling sites in North Carolina close at 7:30 p.m., but the N.C. Board of Elections extended voting times at a handful that got off to a delayed start this morning. Ten total precincts received extensions, with the latest precinct going until 8:15 p.m.
In North Carolina, results from early voting and mail-in voting can start being released when polls close. Due to the extensions, no voting counts will be released until 8:15 p.m., so anxious North Carolina voters will have to wait an addition 45 minutes until they start learning results.
A look at the polls today
11/1/20 6:48 p.m.
A voter checks in at the 5th precinct voting site in Durham at the WI Patterson Community Center.
-Photo by Henry Haggart
All eyes on NC senate race
11/1/20 5:30 p.m.
All eyes are on the North Carolina Senate race. Along with races in Maine and Iowa, this race could determine whether Democrats gain control of the Senate (Republicans hold a 53 - 47 majority). The contest between Republican incumbent Thom Tillis and Democratic challenger Cal Cunningham has become the most expensive Senate race in U.S. history—and the most expensive congressional race, period. Candidates and outside groups spent more than $233 million on advertising alone, according to Advertising Analytics.
Will Cunningham find victory despite the news of his affair? Or will Tillis eke out a win on the coattails of President Trump? Most polls aggregated by FiveThirtyEight show Cunningham with a single digit lead over Tillis. Sabato’s Crystal Ball at the University of Virginia recently changed their rating of this race from “Toss-up” to “Leans-Democrat.”
Will Democrats flip redrawn House districts in NC?
11/1/20 5:29 p.m.
Nationally, Democrats are expected to hold the House and possibly expand their majority. Part of that could take place in North Carolina, where two districts—the 2nd and the 6th—are expected to flip from Republicans to Democrats after a court-ordered redrawing of North Carolina’s districts. Follow along with us as we track those races and others in North Carolina.
Biden holds narrow lead in NC, a must-win state for Trump
11/1/20 5:25 p.m.
Today marks the end of a hectic election cycle, defined by protests over racial injustice, a chaotic presidential debate, disputes over mail-in voting and the damaging effects of the coronavirus. FiveThirtyEight gives Biden an 89% chance of winning nationally and Trump an 11% chance.
In North Carolina, where Trump beat Clinton in 2016 by 3% of the popular vote, FiveThirtyEight gives Biden a nearly two percentage point lead over Trump. Trump’s path to 270 electoral votes almost certainly requires that he win North Carolina’s 15, while Biden’s course to victory is more flexible.
Though North Carolina has become solidly purple, it still leans further to the right than other swing states that are crucial to Trump’s path to victory, such as Michigan, Pennsylvania and Wisconsin. If Trump drops North Carolina, it could be a sign that he is less likely to win those key midwestern states (especially given Biden’s recent attempts to appeal to voters who share his rust-belt roots).
Multiple paths to victory exist for both candidates, but one state in particular will likely play a pivotal role: Florida. Its 29 votes make it the swing state with the second-highest electoral weight, and recent polls only show a Biden lead of 3%, smaller than the Democratic candidate’s lead in Arizona, Pennsylvania and Wisconsin.
It’s also possible we finish the day without knowing the next president-elect, due to delays in counting the large influx of mail-in ballots. Media networks, which traditionally call the election result, will likely play it safe.
-Chris Kuo, Anna Zolotor