Trump and Biden holding their final 2020 campaign rallies

Biden’s top campaign officials held a briefing to detail their expectations for election night, outlining Biden’s paths to victory and denouncing reports that the president might prematurely declare victory while millions of votes remain to be counted.

“It was reported yesterday that President Trump believes that if he wins the East Coast battleground states — Florida, North Carolina and Georgia — he plans to go out and declare victory. And we want to be clear with you — if he tries to do that, that will not be true,” campaign manager Jen O’Malley Dillon said. “Under no scenario will Donald Trump be declared a victor on election night, and we think that’s really fundamental to how we want to approach tomorrow.”

O’Malley Dillon said Biden holds a “significant advantage” heading into Election Day, given his lead among early voters. “Leads like ours and what we’re seeing will be difficult to overcome,” she said, pointing to leads in states like North Carolina, Wisconsin and Arizona.

“What it means for Election Day is that, with our advantage coming into North Carolina, where we estimate about 87% of the projected vote is already in, we believe that Trump is going to need 62% of the votes on Election Day in order to win,” O’Malley Dillon said, noting the campaign estimates that figure to be 61% and 60% in Wisconsin and Arizona, respectively.

“We know that all the ballots aren’t going to be reported on election night, and in fact, that’s not just our supporters, that’s going to be his supporters, too,” she said. “It’s also going to be our military overseas who have turned in their ballots. It’s also going to be our COVID frontline workers … We believe every vote should be counted, as it always has been.”

O’Malley Dillon outlined various ways Biden could win the 270 electoral votes needed to secure the White House, saying the president “has a very narrow path to win.” 

“We can get to 270 without Florida, which is a significant advantage,” she added, saying the campaign would still have “a clear and viable path” to 270 even if Mr. Trump wins Florida and North Carolina, both of which will begin reporting results earlier. That path runs through Michigan, Wisconsin and Pennsylvania, which O’Malley Dillon said was also the former vice president’s “easiest” path to victory.

A slide from a briefing by Biden campaign officials on Monday, November 1, 2020.

Biden campaign

Campaign adviser Bob Bauer detailed the campaign’s election protection program and said it has seen “minimal” incidents of voters reporting difficulties exercising their right to vote.

The Biden campaign, he said, has deployed thousands of poll observers to assist election officials with identifying and addressing issues that may arise at the polls. Like O’Malley Dillon, Bauer dismissed the notion that Mr. Trump could declare himself the victor Tuesday night.

“It is absurd for the president to suggest there is any significance at all to his declaring victory on election night,” Bauer said. “He has no constitutional legal right to declare himself the president.”

“When you hear the noise out of election night from the direction of Donald Trump, if you read the tweets, if you read the tweets of some of his supporters echoing what he is saying, just ignore it. There’s nothing to it,” he continued.

Addressing potential legal challenges that may arise after Election Day, Bauer said the Biden campaign is “fully prepared” for any “legal hijinx” from the Trump campaign.

“I think it’s very telling that President Trump is focused not on his voters but on his lawyers, and his lawyers are not going to win the election for him, there’s no question about it,” he said. “The case he’s turning over to his lawyers when the voters have spoken is a case that no lawyer can win and his lawyers will not win it. We’re going to match them, I assure you, and exceed them in quality and vigor and we’ll protect the vote.”

Stefan Becket and Melissa Quinn

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