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CNN Live Event/Special
Polls Now Open In All 50 States; 45M Early Votes Already Cast; AZ Tabulation Issues Causes Stir; Official: No One Disenfranchised; AZ Judge Blocks Planned Hand Count In GOP-Controlled County; Michigan SOS: Results Could Take Up To 24 Hours After Polls Close; Control Of Senate Could Come Down To Runoff In Georgia. Aired 1-1:30p ET
Aired November 08, 2022 - 13:00 ET
THIS IS A RUSH TRANSCRIPT. THIS COPY MAY NOT BE IN ITS FINAL FORM AND MAY BE UPDATED.
ERIN BURNETT, CNN HOST: Polls coast to coast are open with control of Congress now at stake. Good afternoon, I'm Erin Burnett.
WOLF BLITZER, CNN HOST: And I'm Wolf Blitzer. This is CNN's continuing coverage of Election Day in America. Right now, there's some live pictures we're getting out of Tempe, Arizona, where folks have been voting all morning there. If you're not one of the 45 million Americans who voted early, now is still your chance.
BURNETT: That's right? Certainly, go out and vote. Polls are open now across the country. And Wolf, this is such a consequential election. 435 House seats are up, 35 Senate seats and 36 Governor races all up for grabs. It matters today. And one of these crucial races which could shift the balance of power in Washington is the Senate race between the Republican Mehmet Oz and Democrat John Fetterman in Pennsylvania.
Both Oz and Fetterman voting earlier this morning, we can see here, both optimistic they're going to come out on top once the votes are counted, which of course, we know could take quite some time given the rules in Pennsylvania.
Remember when it comes to controlling Congress, Republicans need to win a net of a five seats and one democratic seat, one democratic seat only in order to gain control of the Senate. So it is literally anyone's game tonight. We have a team of reporters across the country.
Sara Sidner is in Arizona, Gloria Pazmino is in New York, and Miguel Marquez is in Michigan. I want to start with you though, Sara, standing by in Tempe on the campus of Arizona State University. I know you've seen a steady stream of students coming to vote today there.
SARA SIDNER, CNN SENIOR NATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: That's right. There are a lot of students who have been voting throughout the day. And we spoke to some of them earlier about the many different issues. But one of the big issues that's happening right now is about some issues with tabulation machines. They're about 20 percent of the tabulators at the 223 different voting locations here in Maricopa County, we're having problems, where people couldn't actually have their vote counted in that machine. But election officials have told us that they have fixed most of them. And they know what the issue is. It was with someone putting in security passwords too many times that locked the machines.
But I will tell you that they have been able to figure that out. There are still a few more machines that they need to get to, they told us, just a few minutes ago. And they want to make sure that people understand this because this has blown up on social media from some of the candidates, mostly the Republican candidates trying to say that this is showing, that there's voter fraud and there are problems in the county.
They're saying yes, there are problems. Yes, we are fixing them. And yes, anyone who has gone to one of these malfunctioning tabulation machines, their ballot will be counted for sure. There are two ways they can deal with it. One, they can have the voter put that ballot into that same tabulation machine has a lockbox, it has a ballot box within it, that they can stick their actual ballot in that will be safe and counted, or they will take those ballots to the tabulation center when the vote is over and they will be counted at the tabulation center, which is the normal thing that happens anyway after the polls closed.
So they want to make sure that no one feels like their vote isn't going to be counted. They are working on this issue. And they have taken care of some of them, but they are working on fixing the rest. Erin?
BURNETT: And Sara, so there's been some voting hiccups in Maricopa County. Obviously, you know, when you talk about the most populous county of all, perhaps could come down to that in Arizona. What do you know about that?
SIDNER: That is -- the tabulation center is the issue. I mean, they have been very, very worried that something like this was going to happen. I'll tell you why they're so worried about it. They have been very open. They're on social media, the Maricopa County elections officials telling people, yes, we have seen this problem. We are working on it.
SIDNER: And they've been very, very worried about something like this happening because already in the lead up to these counts, in the lead up, there have been lots and lots and lots of people trying to spread misinformation on social media. They tried to tamp that down yesterday, they told us that if there are any issues, they will be the first to try to come bring it forward. If they hear of any issues, they immediately investigate it.
In fact, we, ourselves, sent them some social media that was talking about some of these issues. And they said, we're on it. We are looking into this right now. And as soon as they figured it out, they put their information on social media, and they're doing press conferences. So they're trying to be very careful because this county in particular, is prone to conspiracy theories. And they've had that issue already in the lead-up before people -- before today.
In the days leading up, they noticed a ramp up of misinformation online. And so that has been a real issue. And this is, frankly, a problem because now that there has actually been a problem, those problems are now spread out across social media and all over the world that there's an issue here in Maricopa County. But again, it is being looked at and it is being fixed, according to officials.
BURNETT: All right, which is that that's the thing, right? If you see it, and you say something, and you deal with it, that shows that the system is working the way that it should.
All right. So from Arizona where Sara is to New York, seen as a deep blue state, it always has been, New York's Democratic Governor Kathy Hochul now today, though, finding herself in a surprisingly tight race against the Republican challenger Lee Zeldin. Keep in mind when I say New York, it's a democratic state. Biden won New York State by 23 points. So the fact that this is so close in and of itself is a significant thing.
Gloria Pazmino is standing by at a polling site. She's in lower Manhattan. And Gloria, I know you've been checking in with voters. And obviously, the margins in Manhattan could be very telling in terms of how this turns out tonight. What voters have been telling you?
GLORIA PAZMINO, CNN NATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: Well, Erin, they are surprised here in lower Manhattan that this race appears to be so close. And we've had so many different polls, looking at what this race is going to potentially look like. But of course, the outcome of everything will be determined potentially tonight. It will matter how many people turn out to these polling sites, because it's going to be a question of turnout.
As you mentioned, the majority of Democratic voters are concentrated here down state. So that's where Kathy Hochul, the incumbent, has been focusing a lot of her attention. In fact, she's still hitting the trail as we speak, trying to get those last-minute voters. Governor -- Congressman Lee Zeldin, for his part, has been concentrated on the suburbs of New York, that's where he is hoping to get a lot of the energy and the support for his campaign.
But the voters I've been speaking to here in lower Manhattan are telling me that they are worried about public safety, and about the access to abortion rights. That's what people here have pointed out to me, but they are also extremely surprised that it is disclosed. So people have been coming up to the poolside today. We've been seeing a steady number of people here. Wolf?
BLITZER: Gloria, thank you very much. Also in New York right now, Congressman Sean Patrick Maloney, whose job is to actually get Democrats elected, could be at risk of losing his own race. Let's bring in John King. He's with me, it will be called the magic wall once again. It shows that the Democrats really are playing defense a lot right now.
JOHN KING, CNN ANCHOR: Exclamation point to that point. Democrats are in defense. 435 House seats and all. Let's just remind people, Democrats don't have much to lose. This is the current House right now. Democrats, it's a net gain of five, right, the Republicans need. Republicans need a net gain of five.
The average in the president's first midterm year going back to Ronald Reagan is 30 something. So you mentioned Sean Patrick Maloney, let's pop up what we have identified with our friends and inside elections as the competitive House races. 82 of them, we have identified as competitive House races.
Just look at the map and your eyes don't lie. There's a key down here. In 57 of these, there's Democratic incumbents. Only in 20 are the Republicans incumbents. So the Democrats are in defensive almost three times as many districts. You mentioned Sean Patrick Maloney, he's the head of the Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee. He's supposed to be safe, so that he can raise money to help all the other Democrats.
Well, there's here's his district right down here. It's a new district. This is another dynamic. Remember, in 2022, everybody is running in new lines in their districts, some more favorable than others. But Sean Patrick Maloney in a competitive race in New York, you pull out to New York State, Gloria and Erin just mentioned the competitor's governor's race.
We have 10 competitive House districts in New York, seven of them with Democratic incumbent. So that just tells you the math, Wolf. Democrats on defense in a blue state like New York. Democrats on defense in a place Joe Biden carried in New Hampshire. Four competitive seats in the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania. Three competitive seats in the Commonwealth of Virginia.
You just keep going up and down this map. And when you come out to the full one, just look at all the blue from northern Maine to Southern California, literally coast to coast. Democrats are on defense in the House and they can only afford to lose a handful of seats. That's the tough, tough headwind for the Democrats.
BLITZER: I'm always anxious to hear, John, your thoughts on some of the early signs you're going to be looking for once the polls actually close.
KING: So think about that. When you get the polls close. I'm going to draw the line here because Kentucky actually -- Kentucky and Ohio close earlier. But then come over here and just come over here in the eastern time zone as you come in way over here, let me get rid of this now so you can see more clearly.
[13:10:07] Just think about it, right, two competitive in the state of New Hampshire, also a very competitive Senate race there. So what clues will we get as the votes come in, in New Hampshire? If Democrats are losing these House seats, that tells you they're in for a bad night. More white, more working class voters here. We're going to look at different constituencies.
The big statewide races will be decided in the suburbs, but the main race will take a while to count because of rank choice voting. So in New Hampshire, we'll get a clue early on, Wolf, and then you just come down this way. Those New York crises, again, the poll closing here are Democrats competitive here. Have they been overly worried, or do you see Democrats falling here.
And then for me, as we come down, again, four competitive races in the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania. This one here, Matt Cartwright's district is a rematch from 2020. This one here, Susan Wild's district is a rematch from 2020. So you have candidates going at it again. This one includes one of the biggest swing counties in Pennsylvania, Northampton County.
So in New Hampshire, in Pennsylvania and then if we're still having questions down here in Virginia, where you have such different districts, you have our Elaine Luria down here in. In Southeastern Virginia, you have Jennifer Wexton up here, just across the bridge in the Northern Virginia suburbs, close to D.C.
If Democrats are in trouble in these different kinds of districts, we'll know, or the flip side is, if Democrats are holding on in these competitive districts, then we might understand that we're going to have to go all the way out here before we figure. We could know who controls the House if you see a lot of red here. A around 10:00 or 11:00 tonight, Republicans are going to win the House if you see the blue state steady, then we're going to have to count them for a while.
BLITZER: Could go on and on not just for a few hours, or maybe even a few days.
KING: Yes, it will.
BLITZER: All right, John, thanks very, very much.
We're going to go to Michigan for a live report of the state that could be potentially a bright spot for Democrats who are in a tense fight against Republican election deniers in several key races. Much more of our special coverage coming up.
BURNETT: Democrats are looking for a bright spot and should keep their eyes on Michigan tonight. Governor Gretchen Whitmer has consistently pulled ahead of her Republican opponent who has denied the election of 2020. However, the Secretary of State says it could take up to 24 hours after polls closed to report all results. All right, you're going to see this in a lot of places. It's going to take some time. 24 hours, obviously feels like a long time to many people. But you know, in the scheme of things that may not be.
I'm joined now by our Senior National Correspondent Miguel Marquez, he's in Detroit. And Miguel, I know you had a chance to just speak with Dana Nessel, the Attorney General there. Did she raise any concerns when you're talking about this possibly taking 24 hours?
MIGUEL MARQUEZ, CNN SENIOR NATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: Yes, the concern is and the problem that we saw in 2020, and it's still exists now is that you have a lot of absentee votes, and it takes longer to count those because they have to process them. And they can't start doing that really until election day for the most part across the state. And day of votes come in much more quickly.
All that said, it does take clerk some time to get them to the counties where they get their first reporting, their first unofficial reporting. But there will be a time period just after the polls closed at 8:00 p.m. Eastern here in Detroit or across Michigan, where you will have possibly lots of more rural, smaller counties reporting very rapidly all those day of votes.
And the Attorney General here who stopped by this polling place a short time ago says that she is concerned that Republicans -- at the top of the ticket -- the governor, the Secretary of State and the attorney general, that they may use that as a pretext to claim victory. Listen.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
DANA NESSEL (D), MICHIGAN ATTORNEY GENERAL: The rumors are that our Republican challengers are going to declare victory and they're going to do that early tonight, you know? The information I have is around 10:00 p.m. They're going to suddenly declare victory. And they would do that knowing that of course there are, you know, hundreds of thousands of absentee ballots.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
MARQUEZ: And that will be the issue of counting those other hundreds of thousands of absentee ballots. Over 2 million absentee ballots have been requested here, over 1.7 million were returned. As of this morning, that number will go up because they can return those absentee ballots at their polling stations as they vote throughout the day. So we expect it will take at least.
Detroit itself has a ton. They think it may take as long as 24 hours perhaps a little quicker. But until all those votes are counted, this election is not over, says the Attorney General. Wolf?
BLITZER: All right, Miguel, thank you very much. Miguel Marquez on the scene for us.
Joining us once again right now Jamie Gangel, Audie Cornish and Mark Preston. Jamie, do you think this Michigan governor's race potentially could be a very bright spot for the Democrats who were facing a lot of headwinds, as we all know right now?
JAMIE GANGER, CNN SPECIAL CORRESPONDENT: (INAUDIBLE) but it also speaks to the problem we're facing about election denial. Look, the GOP strategist I've been talking to say that we should expect them to fight in every battleground state. They have set the stage to muddy the waters with election denial. Misinformation, disinformation, why? Because they've seen it work. They've seen it work by saying there's election fraud when it's something very minor.
So I'm told we should expect whatever the race is, if it's close, even if it's not so close, that this is going to be the GOP playbook. Muddy the waters, election denial and let's not forget how many of these candidates are running as election denials. This -- you know, this stage has been set as well.
BLITZER: On that point in Michigan, Audie, let me get you to weigh in Governor Whitmer's opponent as, you know, Tudor Dixon, has claimed that former President Trump actually won the 2020 presidential election. Do you think her stance on this conspiracy theory has actually helped or hurt her in this current election?
AUDIE CORNISH, CNN ANCHOR & CORRESPONDENT: I think we'll find out in the next couple of hours. But to add to what Jamie is saying, I think the number is 22 of 36 Republican candidates have either question, doubted or denied the 2020 results. You see 12 out of 27 Republican candidates when you're looking at the Secretary of State.
I'll tell people what to look for. One, preemptive claims of victory and preemptive claims of fraud. And the last thing I'll say, which is almost a little bit for the media, counting is not a race. The count exist, the fact of the count will be revealed to us. But no one pulls ahead, pulls behind all of this stuff. And I think that some of our lesson of the last two years in dealing with the issue that you're talking about.
BLITZER: And on that point, Mark multiple states, as you know --
MARK PRESTON: Right including Michigan, of course, have Republican candidates for Secretary of State, Secretary of State a very sensitive position, who actually deny the legitimacy of the 2020 presidential election as well. So what could that mean for how the 2024 presidential election is actually carried out?
MARK PRESTON, CNN SENIOR POLITICAL ANALYST: I mean, could you imagine that you have election deniers that are actually in positions of authority? I mean, you know, we talk a lot about, you know, big D democracy here. You know, we talk a lot about how the, you know, country is not united, necessarily, what we're not united.
And the fact of the matter is, when we have a country who's so divided, and they're willing to just push aside any facts, push aside the truth, to try to get what they want. I think it just shows what a perilous situation we are in right now politically in this country. And unfortunately, when things go bad in this country, they go bad around the world.
So I do think that the world is watching the United States tonight to see if we can pull it off correctly, because we tend to sit on or stand on our soapbox very often and point out other countries. Well, I think they're looking at us now.
BLITZER: I think they are. They're probably watching right now, even as we speak. Audie, overall, do you think running candidates who deny the results of the 2020 presidential election will eventually cost the GOP some winnable seats?
CORNISH: I think about it a different way. We've heard a poll numbers that suggests lots more people than we realize care about democracy, right? But I think everyone is defining slightly differently, depending on what side of the aisle what you think is the biggest concern and threat to democracy. So I don't think this issue is going to go away.
I do think it is a challenge for Democrats to figure out how to talk about it. Because a very vague threat doesn't cure some of the ills, you know, in terms of poll workers not wanting to do the job anymore. People experiencing intimidation and threats or people deciding that they need to take matters into their own hands and showing up at election spaces and potentially intimidating people. So it's a sort of a bigger conversation than today.
BLITZER: All right. Good point. Guys, everybody stand by. We'll have a lot more coming up.
We'll also check in on Georgia which saw record early voting. And official from the Georgia Secretary of State's office standing by. He'll join us, that's when we come back.
BLITZER: Welcome back to election day in America. The U.S. Senate Majority could turn on which party wins that very close Senate race in Georgia. We saw record early voting numbers. CNN's Nick Valencia is just outside of polling place in Kirkwood, a neighborhood in Atlanta. Nick, tell our viewers what you're seeing there.
NICK VALENCIA, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Yes, historic turnout when you talk about early voting, Wolf. 2.2 million early votes cast. And we've seen a steady stream of people here at this voting location in the city of Atlanta really all day long. Right now, you see some folks just coming from voting and two others about to walk in.
There's no lines there. This morning, it was about a 20-minute wait. You had people lined up out the door. It has been sort of on and off. And I just talked to the election's worker, the supervisor here at the polling location. She says Around 400 people have cast their votes, a low number she says for the county, but she attributes that to in part, the record number of early voters.
I want to talk to some voters here. Come on in here, Faree (ph). You are voting, I mean, how many -- what election is this for you?
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: I want to say at least number 16?
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: You know between presidential and midterms?
VALENCIA: Yes. Does this feel any more important to you than others?
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: I think has got an important over the last, I want to say, six to eight years.
VALENCIA: Why, what's important.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: We have becoming more divisive nation. People are have -- become very like ingrained to what their political beliefs are.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Polarized, absolutely. And I think it's coming to a point where it's also almost impossible to have a civil discussion with someone that has different views than you.
VALENCIA: What are some of the major issues that brought you out to vote. I mean, we've heard today talking to voters Roe v. Wade would happen. The Supreme Court overturning that. We've heard inflation, we've heard crime We've heard equal rights, I mean, what's important to you
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Definitely equal rights it's up there, Roe v Wade as well.
VALENCIA: Open (ph) as a man.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Absolutely, absolutely.