The presidency hangs in the balance. After a night of wild swings, close contests and slow counting of an unprecedented surge of mail-in ballots, we don’t yet know whether President Donald Trump or Joe Biden has won this epic race. Trump claimed victory after 2 a.m., baselessly saying the election was being stolen and announcing, “We’ll be going to the U.S. Supreme Court.” Biden, meanwhile, urged patience for a lengthy count while saying, “We believe we’re on track to win this election.” Trump’s victories in Florida and Ohio defied Democratic hopes — and many pollsters’ expectations — of an easy night for Biden. But the former VP flipped Arizona to blue, and the race is tight in Georgia and North Carolina. The pivotal Rust Belt trio of Wisconsin, Michigan and Pennsylvania will count their mail-in ballots over the coming days — and could decide the race.
As they continue to tally votes, key states will see court challenges. After punting before the election, the Supreme Court could again see a challenge on whether Pennsylvania is allowed to count ballots that were postmarked by Nov. 3 but arrive in the days after. Republicans also sued Pennsylvania Tuesday for contacting voters whose mail-in ballots were rejected because of an error and allowing them to cast provisional ballots. Meanwhile, Democrats could sue on behalf of voters if their mail-in ballots arrive too late to be counted. The U.S. Postal Service did not meet a court-ordered deadline Tuesday to track down 300,000 missing ballots across the country.
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With many number-crunchers (including OZY’s exclusive forecast) projecting Democrats would likely take the Senate, the answer is … maybe? Both parties have already scored important wins: Republicans Lindsey Graham in South Carolina and Joni Ernst in Iowa held on, and Tommy Tuberville flipped Alabama for the GOP. Democrats took new seats in Colorado and Arizona, but would need to flip at least two more to take over, depending on whether Biden wins the White House as well. Still uncertain is the fate of embattled Maine Republican Susan Collins, who’s warned the race may not be called for a week.
2. As of Midnight, US Is Out of Paris Climate Agreement
The landmark 2015 pact to cut emissions and mitigate the disastrous effects of climate change is now short the world’s second-biggest polluter, after President Trump’s crusade against it came to fruition 1,253 days after he announced his intention to bail. U.S. emissions have fallen by more than 20 percent since 2005. If elected to the White House, Joe Biden promised to ramp up clean energy goals set by President Barack Obama under the terms of the agreement, while a second Trump term is expected to see emissions increase by more than 30 percent through 2035.
Despite pandemic restrictions on gatherings over five people, hundreds of thousands have marched around Poland to protest new limits on abortion announced Oct. 22. The right-wing government has now delayed publishing the bill, which outlaws terminating fetuses with severe abnormalities. Authorities say they’re discussing a compromise to reinstate the right to abortion in certain cases, and Prime Minister Mateusz Morawiecki made a video begging protest leaders to sit down for talks. Demonstrations are expected to continue — and may be joined by protesting health care workers, who say COVID-19 has stretched their resources to the breaking point.
Oregon voters decided to decriminalize all drugs and allow use of psilocybin — the magic ingredient in magic mushrooms — as a mental health treatment. Sri Lanka’s navy has saved more than 100 beached whales in a massive rescue operation. And U.S. cruise lines won’t be sailing until next year at the earliest.
Listen up: Voting may be the cornerstone of our democracy, but the reality of how voting works in America is not as fair or clear-cut as we like to tell ourselves. In a new limited series podcast,Turnout, OZY friend and partner Katie Couric explores America’s voting record with the help of activists, historians, politicians and luminaries.Listen now.
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Money was the driving force in this race. The campaign for Prop 22, which creates a special system for gig workers like Uber drivers, is expected to pass with 58 percent of the vote. More money was poured into this measure than any in state history, with 90 percent of the $224 million contributed by DoorDash, Uber, Lyft, Instacart and Postmates, who supported it. The vote negates earlier court rulings demanding that gig workers be treated as employees with benefits and the right to unionize, though it will guarantee an hourly minimum wage for driving time and a stipend to subsidize health plans.
2. Study Reports Huge Spike in Children Getting COVID-19
More U.S. children tested positive last week than ever before, according to a new American Academy of Pediatrics report: 61,000 kids in the last week and an estimated 200,000 across the month of October. Experts say some of that is due to adults bringing the virus home by not social distancing or wearing masks, but they also pointed to an uptick in kids’ extracurriculars like sports, where masks often aren’t worn. One thing they don’t think is a factor: In-person school. Instead of keeping kids home, doctors advised virus precautions and small social bubbles for families.
You should be honored by his lateness. West, 43, announced on Twitter that he has cast his first presidential vote — for “someone I truly trust … me.” West spent $10.3 million on a campaign for president, which succeeded in getting him on the ballot in just 12 states. Still, some did vote for his pitch to “cure homelessness and hunger”: Early tallies showed West with 0.3 percent of the vote in Mississippi, Arkansas and Oklahoma, as well as 0.1 percent in Louisiana. He is not expected to win.
4. Soccer Legend Maradona’s Brain Surgery Successful
Argentina’s favorite son, Diego Maradona, was admitted to a hospital near Buenos Aires yesterday for signs of depression, dehydration and anemia. Today, doctors say the 60-year-old is recovering from surgery for a subdural hematoma discovered by an MRI. Maradona, a World Cup superstar in 1986 who retired from the field in 1997, has since become a coach for soccer club Gimnasia — though he’s recently been sitting out practices as a precaution, since various medical conditions put him in a high-risk group for COVID-19.