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As the presidential election remained undecided into Wednesday morning, with millions of mail-in votes still to be tallied, many in Hollywood were quick to fight the Democratic panic with the rally call to “Count Every Vote,” after former Vice President Joe Biden had urged supporters to remain confident and President Donald Trump threatened court action over what he called “fraud” in the tightly contested race.
After polls closed across the country, the Associated Press declared Biden as the winner for some major states including California, Colorado, New Mexico and most of the Northeast, as well as flipping Arizona, which hasn’t gone to a Democratic presidential candidate since 1996; but Trump had won Texas, Ohio and Florida in an extremely tight race. Meanwhile, results remained not yet declared in multiple key battleground states, including the familiar 2016 trio of Pennsylvania, Michigan and Wisconsin.
Many in Hollywood immediately experienced 2016 flashbacks and feared another Trump victory, despite the millions of mail-in ballots that have yet to be counted in those outlying major states. Mark Ruffalo was among the first to calm the panic, tweeting, “this #RedMirage is about to ‘turn the corner’ into a #BlueWall. Take a breath and get centered in yourself for the next coming days.”
Biden’s Hollywood supporters were feeling optimistic when the candidate took to the stage at 9:45 p.m. PT to present a face of calm and assure he could be declared the winner once all election results are tallied.
In his speech in Wilmington, Delaware, Biden stressed that caution as well, saying, “We believe we are on track to win this election. We’re going to have to be patient until the hard work of counting votes is finished. It ain’t over til every vote is counted.”
He added that though he’s feeling “optimistic about the outcome,” it’s not up to him or Trump or anyone to declare the winner. “That’s a decision of the American people.”
Biden stressed, “It ain’t over till every vote is counted.”
Meanwhile, Trump tweeted at the time, “We are up BIG, but they are trying to STEAL the Election. We will never let them do it. Votes cannot be cast after the Polls are closed!” His tweet was flagged as “misleading” information by Twitter shortly after.
Speaking from the White House at 11:30 p.m. PT on Tuesday, Trump noted that there is a group trying to disenfranchise another group of people in the election, “and we won’t stand for it.” The president went on to say, “We were getting ready for a big celebration. We were winning everything.” He then alluded to going to court over the election results. “They knew they couldn’t win, so they said let’s go to court … either they were gonna win or if they didn’t win they were gonna take us to court.”
“This is a fraud on the America public, this is an embarrassment to our country,” Trump continued. “We were getting ready to win this election, frankly we did win this election. So our goal now is to ensure the integrity, for the good of this nation.”
Trump continued along this thread. “We’ll be going to the U.S. Supreme Court, we want all voting to stop, we don’t want them to find any ballots at 4 o’clock in the morning and add them to the list. It’s a very sad moment.” He later said, “We will win this and as far as I’m concerned we already have won it.”
Trump concluded by noting that Florida was a “tremendous victory” along with Texas, Ohio, North Carolina and Michigan, as well as “big wins” in other states that were still declared too close to call or too early to call by many news outlets at the time of his speech.
Joe Biden’s campaign manager Jen O’Malley Dillon responded to Trump’s claims, including the false and premature declaration of victory, in the following statement, which was carried by various media outlets: “The president’s statement tonight about trying to shut down the counting of duly cast ballots was outrageous, unprecedented and incorrect. It was outrageous because it is a naked effort to take away the democratic rights of American citizens.”
Savannah Guthrie interjected while Trump spoke on the NBC News broadcast, noting that the president was stating several things that were “not true.” The NBC News team continued to explain why several of Trump’s claims were overstatements or untrue before they continued with Trump’s feed.
According to the Associated Press, neither candidate has secured the 270 electoral college votes needed to secure a victory. Trump currently has 213 electoral college votes, while Biden has 238. The key states of Pennsylvania, Wisconsin and Michigan are still too close to definitively call.
Earlier in the night as votes were still being counted in most states, Kerry Washington tweeted a #CountEveryVote video, noting that in 2016 only a few thousand votes decided Michigan, Wisconsin and Pennsylvania, and Chelsea Handler, Katy Perry and Uzo Aduba posted similar messages. Debra Messing, James Corden and Chelsea Peretti also preached patience with the results.
After Trump’s speech, the #CountEveryVote movement grew louder from Hollywood. “Trump is scared. He knows he is going to lose. If he even dares try to steal this election before every vote is counted, we take to the streets in numbers never witnessed before,” tweeted Josh Gad.
The lack of a declared winner on Tuesday night was not unexpected — despite Trump’s repeated insistence that a winner be declared the night of — as the coronavirus pandemic led to a historic number of mail-in ballots, with varying state laws about when votes could be counted. An unprecedented 103.2 million people cast their ballots early in this year’s presidential election, according to the Associated Press.
As of early Wednesday morning, the AP was reporting that Biden had won Arizona, Maine, New Hampshire, California, Colorado, Minnesota, Hawaii, Washington, Oregon, Illinois, the District of Columbia, New Mexico, New York, Rhode Island, Virginia, Vermont, New Jersey, Massachusetts, Connecticut, Maryland and Virginia. Trump, for his part, had been declared to have won Ohio, Texas, Florida, Montana, Iowa, North Dakota, South Dakota, Arkansas, Kansas, Idaho, Kentucky, Missouri, Kansas, Nebraska, Tennessee, Wyoming, Indiana, Louisiana, Oklahoma, Mississippi, South Carolina, Alabama, West Virginia and Utah.
It was still too early to call who had won in Georgia, North Carolina, Nevada, Wisconsin, Michigan and Pennsylvania, the latter three of which are familiar critical states for the candidates in the race to the White House.
Big congressional races were also decided by that time on Tuesday, with Mitch McConnell winning re-election for senator in Kentucky and Lindsey Graham holding on to his Senate seat in South Carolina. The AP projected that Democrats would retain their majority in the House.
But several Senate races remained undecided by Wednesday morning. Democrats needed to flip three or four seats in the Senate in order to gain control there, and, on Wednesday morning, the AP was reporting that Democratic hopes for Senate control were fading. While Democrats picked up seats in Colorado and Arizona, they suffered setbacks in Alabama, South Carolina, Iowa, Texas, Kansas and Montana.
See the #CountEveryVote messages, below.
— Mark Ruffalo (@MarkRuffalo) November 4, 2020
— Uzo Aduba (@UzoAduba) November 4, 2020
— Debra Messing✍? (@DebraMessing) November 4, 2020
Keep calm. Be patient. Allow local elections officials to do their jobs. What is most important isn’t the speed of the count; it’s that every eligible vote is counted. Americans made their voices heard in record numbers, and their votes must be counted. #Election2020
— Stacey Abrams (@staceyabrams) November 4, 2020
They gotta count every vote.
Every last one.
Just. Keep. Breathing.
This could take a little while.#CountEveryVote
— James Corden (@JKCorden) November 4, 2020
count every vote
— Chelsea Peretti (@chelseaperetti) November 4, 2020
— Jason Ritter ? (@JasonRitter) November 4, 2020
We all pay our taxes. Our Vote is our sacred and Nationally protected right. #CountEveryVote
— Patricia Arquette (@PattyArquette) November 3, 2020
Mark my words. Trump is worried and will probably call an early win because the truth is Biden IS going to win Penn., Wis. and Mich. —- don’t buy it. #CountEveryVote
— Josh Gad (@joshgad) November 4, 2020
Trump is scared. He knows he is going to lose. If he even dares try to steal this election before every vote is counted, we take to the streets in numbers never witnessed before. #CountEveryVote https://t.co/HJHSBnVqg2
— Josh Gad (@joshgad) November 4, 2020
— Sophia Bush (@SophiaBush) November 4, 2020
So badly wanted the cathartic moment. Instead got a fight for the soul of the nation. Then reminded myself this is exactly what I expected at this time yesterday. We got this. Fight on and #CountEveryVote
— Josh Jackson (@VancityJax) November 4, 2020
Trump prematurely claims victory.
Trying to prevent counting the remaining ballots.
Accuses Dems of trying to steal the election.
Using judges he appointed to stop the counting.
— Billy Baldwin (@BillyBaldwin) November 4, 2020
You don’t get to declare yourself the winner, Donald. The American people choose the winner through the Electoral College. We do this though our votes. You can’t change that.#EveryVoteCounts#CountEveryVote
— George Takei (@GeorgeTakei) November 4, 2020
Jackie Strause contributed to this story.
Nov. 4, 4 a.m. Updated with early Wednesday morning results.
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