With 11 days to go until Election Day and President Donald Trump and former Vice President Joe Biden racing toward Nov. 3, voters have turned out in record numbers to cast their ballots early.
More than 50 million Americans have already voted in the 2020 election, reflecting an extraordinary level of participation and interest despite unprecedented barriers brought on by the coronavirus pandemic.
The candidates faced off in the final presidential debate of the 2020 election cycle from Belmont University in Nashville Thursday evening -- their last chance to pitch themselves to tens of millions of voters in primetime before Nov. 3.
In the final weeks of campaigning, the president has remained on defense as polls show him trailing nationally and in several battleground states key to his reelection hopes. He has two rallies in Florida today.
Biden, maintaining a lead in national polls -- his largest of the election, according to FiveThirtyEight's average -- stayed off the trail ahead of the debate, a pattern for the former vice president. On Friday, he's scheduled to deliver remarks in Wilmington, Delaware, on COVID-19 and the economy.
Polls indicate a huge pre-Election-Day edge for Biden and a sizable Trump advantage among those who plan to vote on Nov. 3. Trump has sowed doubt in the mail-in ballot process -- and imminent election results -- for months.
All 50 states plus Washington, D.C., have some form of early voting underway. Check out FiveThirtyEight’s guide to voting during the COVID-19 pandemic here.
- Trump rallies at The Villages in Florida amid slipping support among seniors
- Harris appeals to HBCU grads, Black men at back-to-back events in Atlanta
- Biden slams Trump's handling of COVID-19, outlines his own plan
- Trump takes swipe at Biden in announcing peace deal, predicts a 'great red wave'
- Early voting by the numbers
Trump rallies at The Villages in Florida amid slipping support among seniors
In a telling sign of concern in Trump circles over slipping support among seniors, Trump held a rally this afternoon at The Villages, a sprawling mecca for retirees in a conservative pocket of central Florida -- a state he narrowly won in 2016 but is key to a 2020 victory.
"Eleven days from now, we're going to win the state of Florida. We're going to win four more years in the White House. I think Joe Biden proved last night that he's not capable of being president of the United States," Trump said, slamming Biden for painting a bleak picture of the pandemic at the final debate.
"Last night he said America is entering a dark winter. Isn't that really inspirational?" Trump continued. "He's trying to scare people basically. ... But we're not entering a dark winter. We're entering the final turn and approaching the light at the end of the tunnel."
Trump claimed that the virus is "rounding the corner beautifully" -- just one day after the U.S. set a single-day record for new coronavirus cases.
The president also teased that he'll be voting in person on Saturday in West Palm Beach. Though the president has voted via an absentee ballot in the past, he told the crowd of supporters he prefers to vote in person.
"I'm old fashioned, I guess. I like to get in line. And if I have to stand there for two hours -- maybe they'll move you up a little bit -- but I like to vote," Trump said. "Get out and vote."
Harris appeals to HBCU grads, Black men at back-to-back events in Atlanta
Sen. Kamala Harris, D-Calif., met with students of Historically Black colleges and universities, or HBCUs, and participated in a panel discussion focused on Black men this afternoon in Atlanta at The Gathering Spot, a black-owned social club and co-working space that caters to young Black professionals.
Harris first met with HBCU students, including many from the Atlanta University Center, a consortium of Black colleges in the city. Harris, herself a graduate of an HBCU -- Howard University -- gave brief remarks about the value of an HBCU education.
"It's about being in an environment where every message you receive challenges you to be great, because it knows your greatness. It's not something you have to prove," Harris said.
Harris made an appeal to students to get out the vote for the Biden-Harris ticket, promising a multimillion-dollar investment in HBCUs and talking about the history of suppressing the Black vote.
"We need to vote to honor the ancestors, people like the late great John Lewis, right?" she said. "There's a reason to vote, which is that there's so much at stake in the outcome of this election.”
Harris then moved to another part of the building for a panel discussion focused on Black men in which she touted aspects of Biden’s Build Back Better plan intended to support Black communities, including increasing the minimum wage and low-interest loans for minority-owned small businesses.
-ABC News' Averi Harper
Biden slams Trump's handling of COVID-19, outlines his own plan
In afternoon remarks on COVID-19 and the economy, Biden slammed Trump for what he called his mishandling of the coronavirus pandemic and predicted a “dark winter ahead” as the virus resurges in parts of the country.
“My fellow Americans, last night, we saw the president of the United States lie to the American people, and repeatedly lie, about the state of this pandemic,” Biden began, reading from a teleprompter for the speech. “As I told him last night, we're not learning to live with it, we're learning to die with it.”
Biden then laid out his plan to beat COVID-19 which includes, he said, enacting a national testing strategy, asking Congress for another relief bill to sign by the end of January, building a national core of contact tracers and appointing a supply commander to ensure the U.S. can manufacture critical supplies at home.
He also emphasized universal masking saying he would ask every governor to mandate mask wearing in their states and turn to local officials if they refused, along with making mask-wearing a mandatory practice in federal buildings and on interstate transportation.
Trump departs for Florida eyeing senior vote
The president departed the White House South Lawn this afternoon for the battleground of Florida, a state he narrowly won in 2016, to court the senior vote first with a rally in The Villages, a sprawling mecca for retirees in a conservative pocket of central Florida.
Underpinning Trump's success in 2016 was, in part, an army of seniors that made up a large slice of the electorate and backed him by 7 percentage points over Hillary Clinton, according to national exit poll data. Older voters are among the most likely to vote and have sided with Republican nominees in every presidential election since 2004, reinforcing Trump four years ago and helping tilt key battleground states in his favor.
But this cycle, Biden is cutting into Trump's coalition, making significant gains with older voters across the U.S., particularly in must-win states for Trump. A recent ABC News/Washington Post poll found the two men running even among likely voters 65 and older nationally.
Trump is leading Biden by 8 points among likely voters over 65 in Florida, according to a recent ABC News/Washington Post poll -- a margin slashed by roughly half compared with 2016 when he carried this demographic by 17 points in the state.
Sources told ABC News Trump campaign aides have grown weary of the president's declining support among older Americans, a group they know is critical to his reelection chances.
-ABC News’ Kendall Karson and Will Steakin
Trump takes swipe at Biden in announcing peace deal, predicts a 'great red wave'
While announcing a peace deal this afternoon between Israel and Sudan -- the third Arab country to move toward normalizing relations with the Jewish state in an election-season push by the Trump administration -- the president took a swipe at his political rival in the historic joint phone call from the Oval Office.
"Do you think Sleepy Joe could have made this deal, Bibi?" Trump asked Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu over a speakerphone, referring to Biden.
"Well, Mr. President," Netanyahu replied, starting slowly, "one thing I can tell you is we appreciate the help for peace from anyone in America, and we appreciate what you've done enormously."
Trump took questions from reporters following the call, and in speaking to the massive amount of early voting across the country, he predicted a “great red wave” is imminent -- "like you've never seen before."
But polls show Trump trailing Biden nationwide, and some Republicans in tight races have sought to distance themselves from the president in the homestretch to Election Day.
When asked about his debate performance last night compared to his first debate, Trump said while he thinks his approach to the second debate was “obviously a more popular way of doing it,” the first debate was more effective.
“I think the other is more effective in terms of business and life,” Trump said. “The first one. I thought I did great. There are certain groups of very aggressive people that loved the first debate. But I think this was better. This was obviously a more popular way of doing it."
-ABC News' Elizabeth Thomas