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The Count is a daily newsletter and live show from The Appeal and NowThis, focused on what happens in the scenario that the 2020 presidential race is too close to call on election night, if President Donald Trump makes good on his promise to not accept the election results, and what we can do in the 77 days between election day and the inauguration to uphold our democracy.

Today, we’ll look at:

  • What voters and elected officials can do to stop Trump and his allies from stealing the election.
  • GOP trying—and failing—to keep Texans from voting in a state that is increasingly turning purple.

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  • 18 days until election day.
  • 53 days until the deadline for all ballots to be counted.
  • 59 days until electoral college slates send their votes to Congress.
  • 82 days until Congress counts electoral college votes.
  • 96 days until inauguration day.


President Donald Trump and his allies have repeatedly spoken about their plans to intimidate voters, disrupt the count of mail-in ballots, and seek favorable election rulings from the Supreme Court. If all of this fails to swing the count his way, Trump will likely try to overturn the election results by having his allies in Republican legislatures send illegitimate electors to the Electoral College.

A new report, “The Count: A practical guide to defending the Constitution in a contested 2020 election,” written by Zack Malitz, Brandon Evans, and Becky Bond answers the question: if a worst-case scenario comes into play, what should elected officials and voters do?


Texas hasn’t historically been a competitive state in presidential elections, but recent polling shows Trump with only a two point lead over Biden in historically deep red Texas–well within the margin of error.

Despite Texas-sized voter suppression efforts, early voting turnout has already reached historic levels.

  • ALMOST TWO MILLION NEW TEXAS VOTERS — A record 16.9 million Texans are registered to vote in this election, which is 1.8 million more voters than 2016. And 60% of new registered voters are under the age of 25 or people of color. Nearly 300,000 of those people registered in the final two weeks.
  • HARRIS COUNTY SHATTERS RECORDS — More than 128,000 Harris county voters cast ballots on the first day of early voting this week, nearly double the county’s previous record from 2016. The county has also added at least 90,000 previously unregistered voters to their rolls who weren’t new to the county. This may benefit Democrats because unregistered voters are “far less white” in a county that is already less than one-third white.
  • THE #1 SOUTHERN STATE … IN POLL CLOSURES — Since 2012, Texas has led poll closures across the South, with 750 sites shuttered. Across the state, the number of residents per polling place has nearly doubled. In one county, 44% of polling places were closed over a six year period, despite gaining 15,000 residents.
  • ONE DROP BOX PER COUNTY — That’s the new rule in Texas, whether you’re in Loving County with just over 100 residents or Harris County that’s home to Houston and a population of 4.7 million. Somehow, that’s not voter suppression, at least according to a federal appeals court of three judges appointed by Trump. It’s a move that 19 state attorneys general oppose.
  • DOES NOT COMPUTE — Causing extra chaos on Tuesday morning, every single voting machine at 30 early voting sites weren’t working for several hours.

All of this amounts to, as The Count co-host Emily Galvin-Almanza put it, an inspiring effort from Texans telling those in charge of voter suppression efforts to “get stuffed,” and they will be heard.

DO YOU WANT FRIES WITH THAT? — The Texas Republican Party filed a new lawsuit this week challenging Harris County’s drive-thru and curbside voting programs, which were designed to provide safer voting options for any registered voter at 10 locations. That lawsuit was dismissed on Wednesday.


  • A tracker of mail-in ballots across swing states has been released by ProPublica, in partnership with The Guardian. Voters in North Carolina, Iowa, Georgia, Florida, Pennsylvania, Ohio, Michigan, Minnesota, and Wisconsin have requested 20.2 million mail-in ballots and have returned 7.2 million ballots.
  • North Carolina was the latest state to have long lines when it opened polling stations for early voting yesterday. Even those who arrived before the polls opened reported waiting hours to vote.
  • During a CNN Town Hall yesterday evening, Donald Trump furthered his false claims that there are thousands of ballots being dumped in dumpsters and garbage cans. The moderator Savannah Guthrie asserted, “Your own FBI Director says there is no evidence of widespread [vote-by-mail] fraud.” His response? “Well, then, he’s not doing a very good job.”
  • Defense Secretary Mark Esper has not directly answered or denied the potential of sending troops to polling stations next month. Joint Chiefs Chairman General Mark Milley, however, has said there’s “no role” for the military in deciding election outcomes.




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