2020 elections | WYPR

2020 elections

Simon and Schuster Publishers

(Originally broadcast November 12, 2020)

On this archive edition of Midday, Tom talks with Evan Osnos, a staff writer for The New Yorker, about his latest book, Joe Biden: The Life, the Run, and What Matters Now.

Tom spoke with Mr. Osnos about a week-and-a-half after the election, on the day that several media sources had added Arizona to the win column for President-elect Joe Biden.  Later that day, the state of Georgia was also called for Mr. Biden, as a hand count in that state got underway.  By the following day, most media outlets had declared Mr. Biden the president-elect. 

Simon and Schuster Publishers

 (Originally broadcast November 12, 2020) 

On this archive edition of Midday, Tom talks with Evan Osnos, a staff writer for The New Yorker, about his latest book, Joe Biden: The Life, the Run, and What Matters Now.

Tom spoke with Mr. Osnos about a week and a half after the election, on the day that several media sources had added Arizona to the win column for President-elect Joe Biden.  Later that day, the state of Georgia was also called for Mr. Biden, as a hand count in that state got underway.  By the following day, most media outlets had declared Mr. Biden the president-elect.

Atria/One Signal Publishers/Simon and Schuster

(Originally broadcast Oct. 1, 2020)

Today, we revisit a conversation Tom had in October with Brian Stelter, the chief media correspondent for CNN, about his latest book, which explores the unholy alliance between President Donald Trump and Fox News.  It’s called Hoax: Donald Trump, Fox News, and the Dangerous Distortion of Truth.

That alliance has frayed after the election.  Tom's conversation with Brian Stelter took place four weeks before the election, two days after the first, chaotic debate between the President and then former Vice President Joe Biden.  Reaction to that debate fell along party lines to some extent, but as NPR’s Mara Liasson had noted when she was a guest on Midday the day before Tom spoke with Brian Stelter, some leading Republicans did criticize the president for not condemning white supremacy and for his impolite and crass behavior.  This was considered, at the time, progress...

AP Photo by Jacquelyn Martin

As the country falls deeper into the morass of a surging pandemic, President Trump has ignored the coronavirus and most of his other presidential duties, and instead -- through hundreds of Tweets -- has attempted to rile up his supporters around unfounded allegations of massive, Democrat-directed election fraud. 

He fired Christopher Krebs, a respected Department of Homeland Security professional who was in charge of cyber security in the election, in apparent retribution for telling the truth about the integrity of the election. 
And in a press conference yesterday, Rudy Guiliani and other members of the President’s legal team carried on for more than an hour and a half with claims that aren’t even close to true.  Even some of the personalities on Fox News attempted to distance themselves from the claims.  

Joe Biden at Twitter.com

Yesterday, at a news conference at the State House in Annapolis, Maryland Gov. Larry Hogan gave a somber summary of the scope of the COVID 19 pandemic in the state.  Some hospitals in Western Maryland are at or near capacity.  For three of the past five days, the state has reported more than 2,000 new cases, as the country sees new infections surpass 140,000 every day.

Hogan announced that effective Friday, all bars and food establishments in the state will be required to close at 10:00 PM.  This decision is based on the fact that compliance with coronavirus protocols tends to diminish substantially after 10.  The Governor stressed, with no effort to hide his anger, that compliance must improve, and that local jurisdictions must do more to enforce the orders to wear masks and physically distance.  Hogan said that retail businesses, fitness centers, religious institutions and other establishments will revert back to Phase 2 capacity restrictions.

Mr. Hogan announced that tomorrow, he will take part in a Governor’s Call with President-elect Joe Biden and his transition team...

Simon and Schuster Publishers

President-elect Joe Biden has been declared the winner of the presidential election in Arizona, bringing his total in the Electoral College to 290 votes.  A hand recount ordered by state officials in Georgia will almost certainly confirm Biden’s win in that state as well.  

Ever since he burst onto the scene with an upset Senate victory in 1972, Joe Biden has been a power player in Washington and on the world stage, and it's widely agreed that he will bring an unparalleled depth of executive and legislative experience to the job of president.

In his nearly fifty-year career in public service, Joe Biden has played influential leadership roles in the US Senate and served eight years as vice-president in Barack Obama's White House.  Along the way, he has also endured deep personal losses and high-profile political disappointments, events that have given Mr. Biden a humility and an empathy for others in hardship uncommon in career politicians. 


Early analysis of the results of the 2020 presidential election underscore the deep divisions in our country.  President Donald Trump garnered 8 million more votes this time than he received in 2016.  He won solid majorities among white males.  He was favored by both the wealthiest voters and those without a college degree.  President Elect Biden won more votes than any candidate in history, winning majorities of African Americans, women and first-time voters.

The President remains recalcitrant and defiant, refusing to concede and waging legal fights that claim fraud.  Senior Republican leaders are going to bat for him, as they gird for two Senate run-off elections in Georgia on January 5 that could end Republican control of the Senate.

The Biden-Harris ticket ran on a platform of uniting the country, a challenge that seems substantial, to say nothing of the challenges of arresting the Coronavirus, restoring the economy, addressing racial inequity and climate change, and rebuilding relationships with our allies.


Gov. Larry Hogan is calling on President Donald Trump to acknowledge that he lost the election. He made the comments on CNN’s State of the Union Sunday.


Mayor-Elect Brandon Scott announced 10 new committees Friday to advise his transition team on what he called areas of pressing need in the city. 

Scott said the 10 committees will make Baltimore safer and more equitable. 

“Everything that every agency does is going to be assessed and reassessed,” Scott said. “If it's actually impacting the citizens the way it should, if it's actually being done through the lens of equity.” 

AP Photo/Gene J. Puskar

As the 2020 election vote-counting continues in Arizona,  Pennsylvania, Georgia, North Carolina, Nevada and Alaska, Democratic presidential candidate Joe Biden is inching closer to being declared President-elect.  Early this morning, Biden overtook President Trump’s early lead in Pennsylvania, as mail in-votes from the Philadelphia area are tallied.  Pennsylvania election officials expect to complete their canvassing of ballots by day's end. 

In Georgia, as mail-in votes from the Atlanta metro area are added to the totals, Mr. Biden has earned the lead in that traditionally red state.  Officials there announced an hour ago that they plan a recount.  In Arizona, a state that has already been called for Mr. Biden by Fox News and the Associated Press, Biden maintains a lead that has grown smaller in the last several hours. In Nevada, Biden’s lead is just over 11,000 votes...

Courtesy Showtime Networks

It's another edition of Midday at the Movies, our monthly look at films and filmmaking.  As the world nervously awaits the results of vote-counting in multiple states that will determine who will be the next President of the United States, we spotlight some of the new films that have sought to capture the intense angst -- and hopefulness -- many Americans are feeling during this time of deep political, cultural  and racial divisions. 

Tom is joined once again by Washington Post film critic Ann Hornaday, author of the popular filmgoers' guide, Talking Pictures: How to Watch Movies; and Jed Dietz, founder and former director of the Maryland Film Festival and SNF Parkway Theater on North Avenue in Baltimore.

Ann Hornaday and Jed Dietz join us on Zoom.

John Lee

Baltimore County voters have approved a charter amendment allowing public money to be used to fund election campaigns in county races.

The charter amendment, which was Question A on the Baltimore County ballot, got more than 55% of the votes cast. 

Emily Sullivan/WYPR

Baltimore protestors rallied on Wednesday afternoon to condemn President Trump’s false claims that he won the contentious presidential election and that Democrats are “stealing” the election, as officials continue to count votes throughout the country.

“What matters is that what the people need and want is what we get,” said Sharon Black, an organizer with the Peoples Power Assembly, said. “We cannot tolerate, in this country, a fascist who basically steals the election by not counting every vote.”  



Several jurisdictions, including Baltimore County, were not able to release results on election night. State Board of Elections officials say this was because of difficulties with transferring data from thumb drives. 

Local elections boards store data from ballot scanners on thumb drives, then transfer them to the state’s central voting database. 

AP Photo/Brynn Anderson

The status of the 2020 General Election is inconclusive, but we can conclude that the country remains sharply divided over the best way to navigate the serious challenges that lie ahead for America. In the early morning hours today, former Vice President Joe Biden encouraged his supporters to “keep the faith,” predicting confidently that he will prevail when all of the votes are counted.

Soon thereafter, President Donald Trump addressed his supporters in the White House, asserting that the election was a “fraud on the American public,” and “an embarrassment to our country." "We were getting ready to win this election,” he said. “Frankly, we did win this election.”

It is a predictable playbook for Mr. Trump that he presaged over the past several months, using his rallies to prepare the soil to plant the seed of distrust in the electoral process...

Rachel Baye

More than 475,000 Marylanders voted Tuesday, adding to the 2.2 million who voted before Election Day, either in person or via mail-in ballot. As voters waited in line on Election Day, many said they were there seeking an end to the divisiveness felt across the country.

Rachel Baye / WYPR


The polling site at Oriole Park at Camden Yards had a growing line by 4 p.m., with voters waiting about an hour to cast their ballots. But voters' energy was high, with a mix of excitement and nerves. 

AP Photo/Julio Cortez

More than 427,000 Marylanders voted as of 6:30 p.m. Tuesday and State Board of Elections officials say the counting will be far from over Tuesday night. 

Nikki Charlson, the board’s deputy administrator said ballots will be counted through at least Nov. 13.

The latest Election news from NPR.


Baltimore Votes Instagram

 WYPR reporter Emily Sullivan joins us with the latest on the candidates making their final push before polls close tomorrow night

John Willis, former Maryland Secretary of State discusses early voting numbers in a historical perspective and talk about a multi-million dollar lobbying campaign by the gambling industry to push for sports betting.  

Plus, Sam Novey of Baltimore Votes and Ashiah Parker of the No Boundaries Coalition join Tom with an update on their organization’s efforts to get out those last-minute voters.

Emily Sullivan/WYPR

Baltimore Democratic nominees gathered outside of Edmondson-Westside High School on Monday morning to encourage all eligible voters throughout the city to cast a ballot before the polls close for good on Tuesday night.

“We cannot afford to have anyone sitting this election out,” said City Council President Brandon Scott, the Democratic nominee for mayor. “You have the future of your city, your state, of your country and the world at hand.”

Mayor Young signs a bill to protect vulnerable homeowners during the pandemic. An outcry by Baltimore County teachers has delayed their return to four schools. And the city’s democratic hopefuls were out in force today for a final get-out-the-vote push.

Hari P. Close Funeral Service

We’re seeing monumental efforts to get out the vote--from letter-writing campaigns and big-name music concerts, to viral social media campaigns and more. But don’t forget about … the funeral directors. Dr. Hari P. Close, who owns a Hari P. Close Funeral Service in northeast Baltimore, tells us about “Limos to the Polls." It’s a nationwide endeavor by funeral directors to provide rides to voting centers for seniors and others who need help. Close emphasizes that the service is free and is non-partisan.

Plus, Philip Kahn-Pauli from RespectAbility describes how the needs of people with disabilities are being addressed at the polls, and in the polls.

Links: Limos to the Polls, RespectAbility.

Rachel Baye / WYPR

  With COVID-19 cases rising, the Maryland State Board of Elections has released instructions on how to vote if you are in the hospital or under quarantine. 

John Lee / WYPR

While about one-quarter of Maryland’s eligible active voters already have returned their ballots by mail, tens of thousands are showing up each day to make this decision in person. WYPR reporter John Lee relays what he is hearing from voters about this choice. 

John Lee

More than one million Marylanders have now cast their ballots by mail.

If you have a mail-in ballot but have not yet sent it in, election officials say you need to take action.

John Lee

Hundreds of people were in line Monday morning before the early voting center at Honeygo Run Community Center in Perry Hall opened at 7 a.m. People waited more than an hour and half in line before being able to vote.  


It’s another in our series of Conversations with the Candidates. Today, a live debate between the Democratic and Republican candidates for Maryland’s 2nd Congressional District, which includes parts of Baltimore City as well as Baltimore, Anne Arundel, Harford and Howard Counties...

John Lee

It's the first day of early voting in Maryland and judging by the lines outside of some polling places around the state, it's clear that many voters still prefer to cast their ballots in-person. 


Voting rights advocates are worried that the formerly incarcerated are being denied the right to vote in this election.

They point to Latasha Fason, who received a letter from the Baltimore City Board of Elections dated Oct. 10 saying she could not vote because she’d been convicted of a crime.

But Fason, a member of Out For Justice, a Baltimore-based grassroots organization led by formerly and currently incarcerated individuals, says she had served her time when she registered to vote.