Presidential Election 2020: Joe Biden elected 46th President of the US
Joe Biden: 290
Donald Trump: 214
– Joe Biden will be the 46th President of the United States, promising to be: “A President who seeks not to divide, but to unify. Who doesn’t see Red and Blue states, but a United States.”
– Attorney General William Barr has called on federal prosecutors to examine allegations of vote fraud before the final results are certified. To date, there is absolutely no evidence to support the claim.
– The US Supreme Court has began hearing a Republican case calling for the Obamacare healthcare law to be removed, even as Joe Biden prepares to replace Trump in January.
– President Elect offers optimistic caution on covid-19 vaccine breakthrough: “I congratulate the brilliant women and men who helped produce this breakthrough and to give us such cause for hope.”
– Biden – Harris team launch @Transition46 Twitter account. Trump says it’s far from over, refuses to concede and sites unspecified pending lawsuits.
– President Elect Joe Biden has named a 13-member covid-19 advisory board to begin preparations for his administration’s response to the pandemic.
– Congratulations pour in for Joe Biden, President-elect. Including cautious commendation from Barack Obama, who said “Enjoy this moment. Then stay engaged”.
-Trump’s fellow Republicans split between supporting his refusal to concede or congratulating Democrats’ win, Mitch McConnell claims: “President Trump is 100% within his rights to look into allegations of irregularities.”
US President-elect Joe Biden is to make tackling the coronavirus pandemic his top priority following his win over Donald Trump, his team says.
Announcing the first steps in his transition plan, his team said there would be more testing and Americans would be asked to wear masks.
On Monday, Mr Biden is expected to name a 12-member coronavirus task force.
His win remains a projection as key states still count votes. Mr Trump does not plan to concede, his campaign says.
Mr Trump is launching legal challenges to the results in several key states.
He has made unsubstantiated claims of electoral fraud, but election officials say there is no evidence that the vote was rigged against him.
Mr Biden is forging ahead with his plans for assuming power in January after major US networks called the election in his favour on Saturday.
That reportedly also includes a slew of executive orders – written orders issued by the president to the federal government that do not require congressional approval – aimed at reversing controversial Trump policies. According to US media:
Mr Biden will rejoin the Paris climate agreement, which the US officially left on Wednesday
He will reverse the decision to withdraw from the World Health Organization
He will reinstate an Obama-era policy of granting immigration status to undocumented migrants who entered the US as children
In his first speech as president-elect on Saturday, Mr Biden said it was “time to heal” the US and vowed “not to divide but to unify” the country. Addressing Trump supporters directly, he said: “We have to stop treating our opponents as enemies.”
He and Vice-President-elect Kamala Harris have launched a website for the transition, saying the team will also focus on the economy, tackling racism and climate change.
The projected election result means Mr Trump becomes the first one-term president since the 1990s.
Meanwhile, the General Services Administration, a government agency tasked with recognising the president-elect and beginning the transition process, has so far not done so.
Its administrator Emily Murphy, who was appointed by Mr Trump, has given no indication when this could happen. Until then, Mr Biden’s transition team cannot access government funds or communicate with the federal agencies it will be staffing.
Media reports suggested senior Republicans remained divided over how to react to Mr Biden’s victory, with some refusing to publicly acknowledge the result of the ballot.
The Republican leader in the House of Representatives, Kevin McCarthy, told Fox News that all recounts and legal challenges should be completed, adding: “Then and only then, America will decide who won the race.”
But former Republican President George W Bush congratulated Mr Biden on his victory, saying the American people could have confidence that the election had been fundamentally fair and that its outcome was clear. He also congratulated Mr Trump on a hard-fought campaign.
Joe Biden overtook President Trump in the count in Pennsylvania just before 9 a.m. as the state’s Democratic-leaning counties reported additional vote count totals. The count is ongoing. But Pennsylvania’s 20 electoral votes would put Biden over the 270 votes needed even with a handful of other states still too close to call.
Biden also took a small lead in Georgia early Friday, though vote counting there is also not yet complete. The Georgia secretary of state there said Friday that there will be a recount given the tight margin.
In Arizona, former astronaut Mark Kelly, a Democrat, is projected to win the Senate seat currently held by Republican Martha McSally, who was appointed to the post after losing the 2018 election for Arizona’s other Senate seat.
A top Georgia election official has just concluded a briefing where he refused to make a prediction for how much longer we will have to wait for a result.
“We can’t know how long the process will take,” said Gabriel Sterling, an official in the secretary of state’s office. He added that counties technically have until 13 November to report results and that the state does not certify the outcome until 20 November.
Counting is going slowly because they are using paper ballots for the first time in 20 years, he said, and because the gap between Trump and Biden is so close.
“These close elections require us to be diligent and make sure we do everything right,” Sterling said.
He also dismissed claims of voter fraud, saying: “I think if anyone was trying to rig a system they would see something less close than this.”
The outcome of the US presidential election is on a knife edge, with Donald Trump and his rival Joe Biden neck and neck in key swing states
No candidate can credibly claim to have won as yet, and both campaigns said they had potential paths to victory.
Mr. Biden’s campaign said the race was “moving to a conclusion in our favor”.
But Mr. Trump, a Republican, claimed to have won and vowed to launch a Supreme Court challenge, without providing evidence of fraud.
Several key states are expected to finish counting by the end of Wednesday but the election may not be decided for days.
The Biden campaign said it expected to win because several states would be called for them on Wednesday or Thursday, but the Trump campaign said it was confident that the maths was in its favor.
The US is on course for the highest electoral turnout in a century. More than 100 million people cast their ballots in early voting before election day, and tens of millions more added their vote on Tuesday.
Mr. Trump has defied the pre-election polls to do better than predicted, but Mr. Biden has a narrow lead in several key states.
In the US election, voters decide state-level contests rather than an overall, single, national one.
To be elected president, a candidate must win at least 270 votes in what is called the electoral college. Each US state gets a certain number of votes partly based on its population and there are a total of 538 up for grabs.
The vote tallies in the Rust Belt battlegrounds of Pennsylvania, Michigan, and Wisconsin – which propelled Mr. Trump to the White House four years ago – are very close.
Mr. Biden is currently ahead in Wisconsin and Michigan and a Trump lead in Pennsylvania could still potentially be overturned by mail-in votes.
However, Republicans in Wisconsin said they would immediately request a recount in the state, claiming “reports of irregularities in several counties”. And in Michigan and Pennsylvania, the Trump campaign has filed lawsuits to stop the counting of ballots.
Mr. Biden could also snatch Arizona, a once reliably conservative state, and is ahead in Nevada, although counting is not expected to resume there until Thursday.
However, the president is projected to have held the must-win state of Florida, and another conservative sunbelt state, Texas, where the Biden campaign had dreamed of an upset victory.
Georgia and North Carolina are also very close, though currently leaning Mr Trump’s way.
Mr Trump will keep hold of Ohio and Missouri, known as bellwether states because they have so often predicted the eventual winner, according to the BBC’s projection.
Mr Trump is also projected by the BBC to win Nebraska, though Mr Biden picked up one vote there in the electoral college, which could turn out to be crucial.
But while the two candidates do battle for electoral college votes, Mr Biden has a clear lead in the national vote, with 50% – 2.5 million votes more than Mr Trump. Hillary Clinton received nearly three million more votes than Mr Trump in 2016 but still lost the election.
Overnight Mr Biden said in a speech to supporters in his hometown of Wilmington, Delaware, that he was on track to win.
He added: “We’re going to have to be patient until the hard work of tallying votes is finished.”
Mr Trump, meanwhile, alleged in a tweet that there had been “surprise ballot dumps”, causing his lead in several states to disappear, without providing any evidence. Twitter labelled the tweet as possibly disputed and misleading.
At an election night gathering at the White House, the president said there was “major fraud” and “we’ll be going to the US Supreme Court”, again without providing evidence.
“We want all voting to stop,” the president said, apparently meaning that he wants to block the counting of postal ballots, which can be legally accepted by some state election boards after Tuesday’s election.
His rival’s campaign condemned the president’s statement as “outrageous, unprecedented, and incorrect”, calling it a “naked effort to take away the democratic rights of American citizens”.
A lawyer for the Biden campaign, Bob Bauer, said any Supreme Court challenge would lead to “one of the most embarrassing defeats a president ever suffered before the highest court in the land”.
Donald Trump has been telegraphing for weeks that if the presidential election were close, he would accuse his Democratic opponents of committing voter fraud and trying to steal victory away from him. In the early hours of Wednesday morning, he did exactly that.
It is the doomsday scenario that many Americans were fearing, where the president of the United States – from the White House itself – would undermine ballot-counting.
It’s a process that stretches on for days after the election even in normal circumstances, where voters haven’t turned to postal or early voting in large numbers because of an ongoing pandemic.
After Mr Trump spoke, Vice-President Mike Pence tried to smooth over his remarks, declining to declare premature victory and insisting that all the legally cast votes will be counted. It was much more in line with how a US leader would be expected to behave in a moment of political uncertainty.
The damage had been done, however. Whether Mr Trump ultimately wins or loses, he has cast a pall on this election, as he calls the very machinery of American democracy into question.
Read more from Anthony:
When will we get a result?
Officials had warned before election day that we might have to wait days or even weeks for the presidential result this year because of the surge in postal ballots.
Different states have different rules for how – and when – to count postal ballots, meaning there are large gaps between them in terms of reporting results. In some states, it will take weeks to get complete results.
The last time the result was not clear within a few hours was in 2000, when the winner, George W Bush, was not confirmed until a Supreme Court ruling was made a month later.
In the meantime, it falls to US media organizations to predict, or project, the winner in each state much sooner.
Teams of election experts and statisticians analyze a mixture of information such as exit poll data – interviews at polling stations and phone calls with early voters – and actual votes counted.
In a state that always votes for one party, the results are sometimes projected as soon as voting ends, based on exit polls. In a closer contest, however, the data will draw heavily on the actual count.
This year the BBC gets its data from polling firm Edison Research who do the field work for the exit polls and work with US networks, ABC, CBS, CNN and NBC. Record levels of early voting have complicated this count, so there is no race to be first. If the BBC and its partners don’t believe there is enough data to project a winner, they won’t – even if others are doing so.
The unprecedented combination of Covid-19 and sky-high interest in the presidential race have made 2020 an especially challenging one for election administrators.
But it could also make drawing conclusions from the initial results reported Tuesday night particularly hazardous.
It’s likely that in Sun Belt battlegrounds such as Florida, North Carolina and Texas, the first totals to be reported will be huge tranches of mail and early in-person ballots that break heavily for Joe Biden, creating a “blue mirage” in the early tallies that could be erased once Trump-friendly in-person Election Day votes are tabulated.
But the opposite could be true in northern battlegrounds such as Michigan, Pennsylvania and Wisconsin, where officials are not permitted to begin processing mail ballots until the day of the election (or, in Michigan’s case, the day before). In those states, a “red mirage” of Trump-heavy Election Day votes could linger until larger metro counties report huge tranches of early ballots later in the evening.
The lesson: it will be easier than ever for initial vote tallies to lead untrained eyes astray. So patience is essential for the media and the public, and it’s critical to wait for experienced, statistically driven network decision desks to make projections.
All year, polls have depicted a massive, unprecedented partisan divide in how voters plan on casting their ballots — Democrats early, Republicans on Election Day. And there’s no doubt President Donald Trump’s rhetorical fusillades against expanded mail voting have played a big role in driving voters into different camps.
According to the final NBC/Wall Street Journal national survey, Biden led 61 percent to 35 percent among the 68 percent of voters who said they had already voted or planned to vote early. But Trump-led 61 percent to 32 percent among the 28 percent of voters who said they planned to vote Tuesday.
A little-covered June special election for a congressional seat in the Buffalo, New York, area offered a preview of what a “red mirage” could look like. When counties reported results from Election Day polling places that night, Republican Chris Jacobs led Democrat Nate McMurray 68 percent to 30 percent. But when heavily Democratic mail ballots were tabulated in the days after, Jacobs’ lead dwindled, and he won with just 51 percent of the vote.
A similar pattern could play out on a much larger scale in next-door Pennsylvania, which has emerged as perhaps both campaigns’ most critical state in the final stretch. At least seven counties have said they will not begin counting mail-in ballots until Wednesday morning, and many large counties — including Philadelphia and Pittsburgh’s Allegheny — say they may report only partial counts of mail-in ballots on Tuesday night.
There are very few counties in battleground states expected to report nearly all their votes upfront, but the one exception could be Sumter County, Florida, home of The Villages retirement mecca, which could offer a rare early clue.
Already, 83,139 of Sumter’s 105,612 registered voters have cast early ballots, by far the highest turnout rate in the state.
Because Florida law permits counties to begin processing early ballots 22 days before Election Day, Sumter is expected to report the results of those 83,139 ballots quickly after polls close Tuesday — and that could amount to between 85 and 90 percent of the entire vote in the county. In 2016, Trump won Sumter 68 percent to 29 percent en route to winning by one point statewide, and he likely needs to win the county by at least two-to-one to take Florida again.
But if he’s only winning the first large batch of Sumter’s votes with 64 percent or less, it could signal a potentially catastrophic loss of support among seniors since 2016 and bode poorly for his chances of winning Florida, and a second term.
Pretty much everywhere else, however, the partisan gap between the early vote and the Election Day vote is likely to vary so much that it will be extremely hazardous to read into the results before individual counties report that they have completed counting.
The bottom line: Beware any pundit, online or on-air, who tells you an early lead in any given state’s vote tally is fantastic news for one candidate or the other. The uncharted nature of this election means they could be looking at a red or blue “mirage.”
Everything is bigger in Texas — including voter turnout this year.
The Lone Star State, a traditional Republican stronghold that is rapidly turning into an electoral battleground, has smashed turnout records as of Friday morning. The number of early in-person and mail-in ballots surpassed the total number of votes cast in the 2016 presidential election.
The Texas Secretary of State’s office reported that 9,009,850 people cast their ballots in person, by mail, or via drop boxes during the state’s early voting period, which began Oct. 13 and ends Friday. That amounts to 53.14 percent turnout among registered voters in just early voting.
This year’s surge is coming partly in counties that have historically voted for Democrats.
There has been massive turnout in Harris County, which includes most of the city of Houston. The cumulative number of votes in the diverse, Democratic-leaning county totaled more than 1.3 million as of Friday morning. Clinton won the county by some 161,959 votes.
Dallas County, which also voted for Clinton in 2016, has logged the second-largest number of votes, with 744,799 ballots cast there as of Friday morning.
Across the country, Democrats are working to push their supporters to vote early, while Republicans are banking on their voters lining up at the polls on Election Day.
The Real Clear Politics average of recent state polls shows Trump with a narrow advantage over Democratic nominee Joe Biden in Texas, 48 percent to 45.7 percent. FiveThirtyEight’s polling average shows a slightly tighter race, with Trump edging Biden by 48.1 percent to 46.9 percent.
The NBC News Political Unit, reflecting the latest polling and activity on the ground, moved the state from lean Republican to a toss-up on Tuesday.
Democrats are growing increasingly confident that the nation’s second-largest state, long associated with the Bush family dynasty and the GOP’s traditional brand of conservatism, can be flipped blue amid demographic shifts and other structural changes.
The same might be said of Georgia and North Carolina, two other Southern states where Biden has shrunk Trump’s advantages by making gains with suburbanites and women, and appealing to people of color and young voters.
Sen. Kamala Harris, the Democratic vice presidential nominee, is planning to tour the state Friday, with campaign stops in Houston, McAllen, and Fort Worth.
Beto O’Rourke, the former Texas congressman and presidential contender who came close to defeating Republican Sen. Ted Cruz in 2018, has repeatedly called on Democrats to make a bigger play for the state.
Brianna Campbell, a 23-year-old public health student in Milwaukee, remembers feeling a little uneasy about posting on social media in 2016 about politics and voting: It wasn’t popular to be vocal about those topics then.
But now, she’s inundated with texts and social media posts from friends reminding her to vote. Climate change, racial justice, access to affordable health care, and voting in a battleground state are all regular conversation topics for Campbell and her friends.
“It’s become so popular to vote. Everyone posts on Instagram” said Campbell, who voted early. In 2016, “I didn’t want to be the one political person talking about sensitive topics. . . . Now it seems like everybody talks about it, and everybody is willing to share what they believe.”
Major social movements driven by young activists around climate change, gun safety, and Black Lives Matter protests have led to an explosion of civic awareness among younger Americans, who are on track to turn out to vote in record numbers this election and could play a pivotal role in some key battleground states.
Data on early voters and recent polling suggest eligible voters under 30 could break their historic 2008 turnout when it peaked at 48 percent when Barack Obama was elected. New data suggest they may be on track to sustain their dramatic turnout in the 2018 midterms when they more than doubled their rate of voting compared to the prior midterm election.
The higher early turnout is somewhat expected, given the particularly low turnout by young voters in 2016 and the overall surge in interest in alternative voting options because of the novel coronavirus. But it underscores the many ways that this typically unreliable voting bloc has been galvanized into greater political and electoral engagement, and is especially noteworthy given the unique barriers to voting during a pandemic that has displaced many of them from their homes or college campuses, researchers say.
“It’s the physical and economic dislocation of covid. It was the protests after George Floyd. It’s climate change and the fires we’ve seen. It’s the aftermath of all the good work that was done after Parkland by the gun-safety movement,” said Simon Rosenberg, president of the liberal think tank NDN, who has been tracking youth turnout.
“All of these things, together with a visceral distrust of the president, has created a perfect storm for what could be historic levels of youth turnout this year.”
Youth organizers from both parties say their generation is ripe for heightened civic awareness, as Americans whose formative years were shaped by national trauma. They were born a few years before 9/11, grew up during the 2008 Great Recession and Occupy Wall Street protests highlighting economic inequality, and reached voting age as cultural icons embraced political activism, including sports stars like Colin Kaepernick and Naomi Osaka.
“We are Gen Z — born into tragedy and movements and protests,” said Maxwell Frost, 23, national organizing director for March for Our Lives, the anti-gun violence movement formed by survivors of the 2018 mass shooting at a high school in Parkland, Fla.
Frost said the young organizers’ goal is to foster a civically engaged generation that not only votes in massive numbers but plays a pivotal role in holding the White House and congressional leaders accountable. They feel emboldened by the work of young liberal leaders, including Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez (D-N.Y.), in pushing a more liberal agenda.
“Young people are stubborn as hell and we’re going to use that to get what we want. Our fight is not over after Election Day,” Frost said. “We’re not like a campaign, where after Election Day we take a long break and we’re done. We’re still here, and we’re still going to be fighting.”
A new national poll released this week by the Institute of Politics at Harvard’s Kennedy School showed Democratic presidential nominee Joe Biden’s lead among young voters has increased in recent months, with about 63 percent of likely voters ages 18 to 29 saying they support Biden, compared to the 25 percent supporting President Trump.
Some conservative organizers say Trump has been a galvanizing force for young Republicans, too. Jake Hoffman, the 29-year-old president of the Tampa Bay Young Republicans, said every time Trump or his family members come to town for a rally, Hoffman sees members of his organization not only attending but volunteering with the campaign or working as political organizers.
Under Trump, conservative social media influencers have gained hundreds of thousands of more followers. The coronavirus lockdowns have mobilized many of Hoffman’s peers, who are frustrated with being stuck at home and unable to work, he said.
He and his peers believe there are injustices in the criminal justice system but do not believe violent protests are the solution, he said. Hoffman is personally passionate about the environment, particularly addressing climate change, and wishes that the national GOP leaders would prioritize the issue.
“Most people in our organization are environmentalists. They’re conservatives. They want to see something done about it. Unfortunately, it’s not something that the upper echelon of our party has listened to,” he said. “I’m doing what I can to try to bring it back to the ethos of Republican politics. We do a bad job of owning that entire subject matter.”
Some young voters casting their ballot for the first time said they felt emotional about the chance to weigh in against a deeply polarizing president whose policies they view as detrimental to their future.
“There’s a lot of meaning behind it to me. It seems simple, you’re just filling out a piece of paper, but for me, it involves years of trauma and so much action,” said Ivette Sosa, a 19-year-old in Mesa, Ariz., who dropped off her ballot on Monday for Biden.
As a daughter of undocumented immigrants, Sosa said she has spent the past four years fearing that her parents may be deported. The rush of early voting, especially among Latino voters, was “really empowering,” Sosa said.
“I’ve seen a lot of conversations on Twitter or in my classes or between my friend groups, and it’s just amazing to see how much more woke, you could say, and engaged young Latinx voters are,” Sosa said.
That enthusiasm, especially among Latino voters, is especially noteworthy in Texas, which has seen a dramatic increase in early youth turnout.
Since the last presidential election, an estimated 800,000 young Latino Americans have turned 18. As of 11 days from Election Day, voters under 30 had already cast almost two-thirds as many early votes in Texas as they did in the 2016 presidential election, according to research by Tufts University’s Center for Information and Research on Civic Learning and Engagement (CIRCLE) and Catalyst, a Democratic data firm.
Drew Galloway, executive director of the nonpartisan youth voter turnout group MOVE Texas, said his group is “helping new voters understand that civic life is a cycle: protest, testify, vote, back out to protest, back out to testify, back out to vote.”
Al Jazeera asks the same key questions about the presidential election to voters across the United States.
US President Donald Trump and his Democratic challenger Joe Biden are battling for the presidency in a sharply divided United States.
Trump has been focusing on “law and order,” Biden has been trying to strike a conciliatory note. The Black Lives Matter movement, and whether Trump will release his taxes are among the many issues Americans will consider when choosing their president.
As the hotly contested election approaches, Al Jazeera has been speaking to voters across the US asking nine questions to understand who they are supporting and why.
Will you vote? Why or why not?
“Yes, I’ll be voting.”
“I mean, I think it’s not just our right, but these days, I think it’s our responsibility. When my grandparents came over to the United States, you know, they weren’t full citizens in the countries they came from. So, especially right now, when being an immigrant is often construed as something negative, I feel that it’s more important than ever to make my voice count, and underline that I think the opposite.”
What is your number one issue?
“Prison reform. I think our judicial system is broken. Not only is it corrupt, but the laws upon which it’s based and the laws that it promotes [determine] where some people can succeed, and some people can’t, and our current prison system enslaves people, there’s really no other way of putting it. And that sort of injustice is front and center.
“Contingent with that, of course, is the voting rights of prisoners and people who have been convicted of felonies. I don’t love the term ‘ex-felon.’ It’s so ridiculously un-American to deprive anyone of the right to vote. That, to me, should be the very bare minimum we should be fighting for this election.”
Who will you be voting for?
Is there a main reason you chose your candidate?
“I’ve been a huge fan of Joe Biden’s for a very long time. I like his history of fostering bipartisan relationships and support. I think he has a sophisticated understanding of the many, many reasons that motivate voters to vote the way they do. And I think he has an understanding that it’s not always on one or two issues — that people are complex.
“That being said, my first choice was Cory Booker. I prefer a Democratic candidate who is a little to the left of Joe — or a lot to the left.”
Are you happy with the state of the country?
“I’m not happy with the current state of the country. The level of distrust between people who have different points of view is so sad and so demoralizing. The fact that people don’t think they can talk to people who are voting for someone different or coming from a different party is a huge impediment to coalition building, to find a compromise, to find common ground. Obviously, some things cannot be compromised upon, but if we can’t even have a conversation with people who are different from us, then there’s not much hope.”
What would you like to see change?
“There are a lot of things I’d like to see change going forward.
“I think one of the things that I find especially troubling is the number of resources that go into party primaries. I am a huge fan of voting. I’m a huge fan of elections. But when you look at Massachusetts, where you had a campaign between Ed Markey and [Joe] Kennedy, just for the seat on the Democratic primary, the amount of energy and resources that went into that that could have been spent on combating so many other more important issues — when the candidates were essentially very, very similar and many … both very, very progressive with proven track records — I found that very troubling during these times, when things are so highly polarised.
I would never ever get in the way of additional elections. But I do think that there has to be some sort of campaign finance reform not just between parties, but within parties because the ways the resources are spent is probably out of proportion to how they should be. We have states that are bankrupt [and] we’re spending tens of thousands of dollars on elections. When we’re tearing each other down within our own party, that’s just devastating.
“I wish we’d had better choices. As [a] Democrat, I wish that gender hadn’t been pushed under the rug this election, that was huge for me. We have a president whose platform pushes women backward, but additionally, has shown so much disrespect for the bare minimum of female achievements in the last century. We had Democratic candidates who weren’t able to successfully lift women up, let alone women of color. It was deeply troubling because it would have been wonderful to have been able to have to believe in the process this time.
Latino voters in important swing states like Florida are being hit with a wave of Spanish-language misinformation ahead of the November 3 United States elections, in which their votes could play a key role in the outcome.
Ranging from unproven voter fraud allegations to “Deep State” plots against President Donald Trump, Florida Latinos are facing a “major spike” in exposure to conspiracy theories related to the election and its candidates across social media, messaging apps, the radio, and YouTube, according to local reports.
In Florida, the Spanish-language misinformation has largely targeted Democrats and progressive causes. One conspiracy theory, which claims that Democratic presidential candidate and former Vice President Joe Biden has a “problem” with pedophilia, has been amplified by a Venezuela-focused news website and also by a Puerto-Rican born pastor on Facebook, according to Politico.
Other misinformation includes comparisons between Black Lives Matter protesters and Nazis, as referenced in an advertisement in Miami’s local Spanish-language newspaper, El Nuevo Herald, and accusations by radio guests that absentee voting is “throwing your ballot into a tomb”.
El Nuevo Herald’s editor has since apologized for running the advertisement.
While it is hard to measure the potential impact of such misinformation, a 2019 Pew Research Center study found 43 percent of residents in “higher-share Hispanic areas” view local media as “influential”.
In “higher-share white areas”, 37 percent felt the same about local media, with 40 percent of residents in “higher-share Black areas” responding similarly.
Beyond traditional media, social media like Facebook, YouTube, and encrypted messaging service WhatsApp – which Facebook owns and which is popular among the Spanish-speaking population in Florida – are also rife with conspiracy theories, according to reports.
While it is difficult to quantify how many views are received by posts and messages on Facebook or WhatsApp, Spanish-language YouTube videos discussing Biden’s “sexual record” have hundreds of thousands of views.
“Our community is digesting misinformation at an alarming rate”, Eduardo Gamarra, a professor of politics at Florida International University in Miami who tracks voting attitudes, told ABC News.
“There’s a significant amount of activity of broad conspiracy theories that have all the worst of American politics … and they have filtered into Latino households”, Gamarra said.
Much of it appears to be linked to QAnon, a set of intertwining conspiracies that claim Trump was elected to combat a satanic cabal of liberal elites who engage in child sex trafficking, harvesting chemicals from adolescent blood to keep themselves young.
“Misinformation is not new in politics and heavily targets predominantly Spanish-speaking Latinos across the country, like in Florida”, said Eileen Garcia, communications director for Solidarity Strategies, a Latino-owned political consulting firm based in Washington, DC that works to elect progressive candidates.
“We saw in 2016 and are seeing again in 2020 Donald Trump and the Republicans not only attacking Latinos but actively trying to prevent us from voting through misinformation and ‘voter suppression’ efforts”, she told Al Jazeera.
Republicans deny any efforts to engage in voter suppression and it is difficult to pinpoint the source of many of the conspiracies circulating across social media.