Newsletter: Today’s Headlines: Election day dawns

Side-by-side images of Joe Biden and President Trump
Former Vice President Joe Biden, left, and President Trump campaign on Monday.
(Andrew Harnik / Associated Press and Evan Vucci / Associated Press)

After a final flourish of campaigning by President Trump and Joe Biden, election day is here at last.


Election Day Dawns

Before the polls opened today, more than 98 million Americans had already cast ballots in the election, surpassing 70% of all votes counted in 2016. Tens of millions more are expected to brave long waits and the risk of COVID-19 to vote in person on election day. Experts project that overall turnout could top a record 160 million, amid a pandemic that has killed more than 231,000 Americans.


The key question: Will it be four more years of President Trump or a new direction led by Joe Biden?

On Monday, Trump and Biden raced through a handful of battleground states, delivering their final pitches. The last day of campaigning held true to form, with Trump unleashing a long litany of bitter grievances (even against Lady Gaga) and Biden vowing “an end to a presidency that’s divided this nation.”

Polls have consistently given Biden the lead nationwide and in most battleground states, but there’s been enough uncertainty to leave the election outcome in doubt. With anticipated delays in counting ballots and Trump threatening to go to court to contest the result, it’s not even clear how soon a winner will be declared.

Of course, it is not unusual for a presidential race to be decided after election day. That has happened half a dozen times since 1960, including four years ago, when Trump’s victory did not become apparent until Wednesday morning on the East Coast.

Along with the White House, control of the Senate is up for grabs, with Democrats hoping a pro-Biden wave could deliver the three seats they need to win a majority under Biden — or four seats if Trump is reelected.

Get the latest news all day long with our election updates.

More About the Election

— A federal judge rejected a last-ditch Republican effort to invalidate nearly 127,000 votes in Houston because the ballots were cast at drive-through polling centers established during the pandemic.

Boarded-up stores from Figueroa Street to Rodeo Drive speak to an anxious election day across L.A.

— What you should know about how and when California counts ballots.

— How Facebook and Twitter plan to handle election day disinformation.

How to vote in California: Our complete guide to making sure your ballot counts.

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Not Making the Grade

Grades of D and F have increased in the Los Angeles Unified School District among middle and high school students, in a troubling sign of the toll that distance learning — and the coronavirus crisis — is taking on children, especially those who are members of low-income families.

A chart released by the district looked at 10-week interim assessments. Failing grades are increasing across the board but are surging the most in lower-income communities. Compounding the disturbing trend, students in these same communities, hit hard by the spread of COVID-19, have the lowest attendance.

The school year began with hopes that virtual schooling would be a vast improvement over the spring. But halfway through the semester, teachers say even students who do show up are drifting and struggling with anxiety.

More Top Coronavirus Headlines

— Hopes that a wider reopening of Los Angeles County’s economy could come in time for the holidays appear to be fading, as the region continues to see a steady uptick in the average number of daily coronavirus infections.

Texas has surpassed California as the state with the most coronavirus cases, despite having 10 million fewer residents.

New York state, tightening restrictions in the face of rising infections nationwide, is now requiring most U.S. visitors to pass two COVID-19 tests with a three-day quarantine in between.


In November 1976, California voters were deciding between Republican incumbent Gerald Ford and Democratic challenger Jimmy Carter. That year’s election was marked by heavy voter turnout.

On Nov. 2, a group of nuns were among those who arrived to cast their ballots at an East 1st Street polling place, and a Times photographer captured their photo. According to The Times, they ran a home for the elderly next door.

Ford won in California but lost to Carter overall.

Nuns vote in 1976
Nov. 2, 1976: Nuns from the Little Sisters of the Poor vote at an East 1st Street polling place during heavy turnout in the presidential election pitting Republican incumbent Gerald Ford against Democratic challenger Jimmy Carter.
(Steve Fontanini / Los Angeles Times)

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— A Northern California judge tentatively ruled that Gov. Gavin Newsom overstepped his authority when he issued an order in June requiring vote-by-mail ballots to be sent to the state’s 21 million registered voters. Because the Legislature subsequently voted to enact the same vote-by-mail policy that Newsom had enacted with his order, as well as other safeguards, the ruling will not affect the election.

— Billions have been spent on California’s ballot measure battles. Four of the 10 most expensive campaigns ever are happening now. Here are the top 10 ballot measure battles since the state started digitally tracking campaign finances two decades ago.

— On election day, then beyond, their work will not stop. Young Vietnamese American progressives are leading a generational split with their conservative elders, and they’re finding an audience in California and beyond.

Cecilia Chiang, a pioneer of Chinese cuisine in the U.S., has died at age 100 at her San Francisco home.

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— The Supreme Court set aside an appeals court ruling by a panel of conservative judges that held an injured police officer could sue and win damages from the leader of a Black Lives Matter protest rally. The case had raised alarms among civil libertarians, who said it threatened the rights to free speech and protest.

— At Kabul University in Afghanistan, attackers stormed the campus as it hosted a book fair attended by the Iranian ambassador, sparking an hours-long gun battle that left at least 19 people dead and 22 wounded.

— Gunmen opened fire on people enjoying a last night out at Vienna’s cafes and restaurants before a coronavirus lockdown in what authorities said was a terrorist attack that left at least four dead and 17 wounded. One of the assailants died as well.

— What happens on election day will, to some degree, determine how much hotter and nastier the world’s climate is likely to get, experts say, as the U.S.’ exit from the Paris climate agreement looms.


Kaley Cuoco isn’t just “the girl next door.” And she’s out to prove it with HBO Max’s “The Flight Attendant,” the project that launched her production company.

— Can artists help mend our cultural divide? The Times’ critics weigh in on how creative work, from film to video games, might soothe a strained society.

Taylor Swift is the new soundtrack of the Biden-Harris campaign.

— How 2020 rocked the gentle world of children’s TV like never before.


AMC Entertainment, owner of the world’s largest movie theater circuit, lost more than $900 million in the third quarter, even with the vast majority of its locations open for business.

— A Twitter Inc. board committee reviewing the social network’s leadership and management structure concluded that Chief Executive Jack Dorsey should maintain his role at the helm of the company.


Political and social justice discussions are now a part of sports. Players don’t hesitate to ask “Did you vote yet?” in their locker rooms, and team owners and partners are revealing their leanings with big donations.

— The NBA and its players’ union are entering another week of negotiations on when and how to start a 2020-21 season. It’s a puzzle that’s more difficult than the one they solved months ago.

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— The complete list of L.A. Times endorsements in the election from The Times’ editorial board, which is separate from the newsroom.

— Newsom says he hasn’t decided on Kamala Harris’ successor in the Senate if she and Biden win, but columnist George Skelton has some ideas.

— The Golden State treescape wasn’t made to last, writes professor Jared Farmer.


— Dr. Deborah Birx told White House officials in a private memo Monday that the COVID-19 pandemic is entering a new and “deadly phase” that demands a more aggressive approach. It amounts to a direct contradiction of Trump’s repeated false claims that the pandemic is “rounding the corner.” (New York Times)

— A new election day brings memories of 2016, when Trump won despite predictions to the contrary. NBC and MSNBC journalists share what it was like to cover the news as it unfolded, moment by moment. (Vulture)


At Point Reyes National Seashore, you can see tule elk, coyotes, assorted raptors, weasels, badgers, foxes, barn swallows and bobcats — as well as elephant seals and sea lions at the beach, or whales and orcas offshore. These days, professional wildlife photographer and naturalist Daniel Dietrich leads socially distanced safaris through the area in Marin County. “My favorite by far is the bobcat,” he says, “so elusive and shy, but so confident.”

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