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Live Reporting

Edited by Jessica Murphy

All times stated are UK

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  1. That's all for today

    Trump and Biden campaign signs in Pennsylvania

    That's it for today, and thank you for joining us. But before we sign off, here are some of the key stories from the day:

    • More than 40 million votes have already been cast in the election, thanks to postal and early voting
    • Former President Obama made an appearance on the campaign trail, stumping for Biden. He held a townhall in Pennsylvania and later, a drive-in rally
    • Kamala Harris and Mike Pence, the vice-presidential nominees, were both out on the campaign trail as well
    • In Trump-China news, the New York Times reports that the president has a Chinese bank account and has long pursued projects in the country
    • Biden is currently doing debate-preparations while Obama campaigns on his behalf
    • Trump, meanwhile, is holding a rally in Gastonia, North Carolina this evening
    • And the last presidential debate is tomorrow night - here is what you need to know
  2. Trump holding a rally in North Carolina

    US President Donald Trump arrives to hold a Make America Great Again rally as he campaigns in Gastonia, North Carolina

    President Trump is holding a rally in Gastonia, North Carolina, now.

    Talking about the coronavirus pandemic, he said voters faced a choice "between a Trump boom and a Biden lockdown" - a common refrain from the president on the campaign trail.

    He also reiterated promises to bring US soldiers home from Afghanistan.

    There are 13 days until 3 November - election day - though millions of Americans have cast their votes early.

    The enthusiastic crowd occasionally broke into chants of "we love you" and "four more years".

  3. Need a simple refresher on the election? Look no further.

    Trump and Biden

    We know US politics can be complicated.

    Republicans, Democrats, the electoral college, and how you vote: all things we've covered in our really simple guide to the US election.

    Still got questions after? Send us what you want to know here.

  4. 'Hiding Biden' or apparent frontrunner strategy?

    Anthony Zurcher

    BBC North America reporter

    Two weeks before the US presidential election, Joe Biden has removed himself from the campaign trail for several days to prepare for his final debate with Donald Trump. Running mate Kamala Harris is still travelling after a two-day break following a positive coronavirus test from a communications aide, but she’s been largely inaccessible to her accompanying press pool.

    As political reporter Jonathan Karl quipped, she took more questions from the cast of the Avengers films during a fund-raiser Tuesday night than she has from reporters since the Democratic convention.

    In part, the Biden team’s low-key approach to campaigning is reflection of the realities of electoral politics during the Covid-19 pandemic. Unless you’re willing to disregard public health recommendations and hold packed rallies like the president – and risk contracting the virus, like the president – the normal frenzy of travel and public appearances even in the final stretch is necessarily limited.

    In this case, however, these realities appear to dovetail with the Biden camp’s apparent strategy of playing it safe, limiting their exposure to the press and the public, and minimising the chance of gaffes or other mistakes that knock them off their message.

    It’s a classic strategy for a front-runner – which, if polls are to be believed, Biden is at this point. If things are going well, and one’s opponent isn’t helping his own cause, the best course is to stay out of the way.

    That leaves an opening for Trump and the Republicans to attack “hiding Biden” and suggest that he is not up to the pressures of the presidency, but that seems a risk the Democrats are willing to take. At least so far, it seems to be paying off.

  5. What are Trump's and Biden's policies?

    Trump and Biden composite

    The pandemic. Healthcare access. Race. Women's rights. The environment.

    These are some of the biggest issues of the upcoming election - so where do Trump and Biden stand?

    Read our guide to each candidate's views here.

  6. Here's a roundup of the key lines from Obama's rally

    Obama

    As Obama wraps his speech to a chorus of honks and applause, here's a roundup of some of his key lines and zingers:

    • Can you imagine if I had a secret Chinese bank account when I was up for reelection? You think Fox News would've been a little concerned about that? they would've called me Beijing Barry!
    • For eight years, Joe was the last one in the room when I faced a big decision.
    • We literally left this White House a pandemic playbook that would have showed them how to respond before the virus approached our shores. They probably used it to, I don't know, prop up a wobbly table somewhere.
    • Republicans tried to repeal or undermine [Obamacare] more than 60 times...they keep on promising we're gonna have a great replacement. It's been coming in two weeks for the last 10 years. Where is it?
    • With Joe and Kamala at the helm, you're not going to have to think about the crazy things they said every day...You might be able to have a Thanksgiving dinner without having an argument.
    • They understand protesting against racial injustice...is the most American thing. That's how this country was founded - protesting injustice.
    • That's what voting's about. Not making things perfect...but so a generation later we can look back and say things got better now.
  7. Trump says muting mics 'unfair'

    Trump departs White House

    Before Trump departed the White House this evening, he offered some more criticisms of the upcoming debate.

    He told reporters the planned muting of microphones is "very unfair" and called the moderator, NBC journalist Kristen Welker biased.

    Taking a step back - here's what you need to know about tomorrow night's big event.

    The debate will be held from 21:00-22:30 ET (02:00-03:30BST) at Belmont University in Nashville, Tennessee - and you can follow it live with us here.

    We'll see six 15-minute segments, with each candidate given two minutes to respond before entering open debate.

    Now, you may recall the chaotic mess that was the first debate, where the discussion devolved into interruptions (mostly from Trump) and off-track remarks. The American people were not fans. As a result of the public critique, the debate commission yesterday announced a new rule-enforcing technique: muting.

    During the candidates' two-minute response blocks, only the candidate who has the floor will have his microphone turned on - the other will be temporarily muted. But there won't be any muting during the open discussion segments.

    Want to know more about what to expect tomorrow night? Check out our guide here.

    Trump and Biden debate
  8. Obama's up at his first car rally

    Obama

    Initially donning a mask emblazoned with the word "vote", 44th President Barack Obama is campaigning at a car rally in Philadelphia on behalf of his former vice-president.

    He says we've got 13 days until "the most important election of our lifetimes".

    Obama begins by urging people to vote and walking through some of the nuances of Pennsylvania voting (using two envelopes, for example).

    In an echo of his convention night speech, he says Trump hasn't shown any interest in doing the work of the presidency.

    In lieu of cheers, we hear honks from the car-bound audience.

    "This is not a reality show, this is reality," Obama says. "And the rest of us have had to live with the consequences of him proving himself incapable of taking the job seriously."

  9. Canada dodges snap election, journalists sigh in relief

    Justin Trudeau

    Canadians almost had two elections to keep an eye on.

    Just north of the Biden-Trump face-off, Canada's Prime Minister Justin Trudeau survived a confidence vote in parliament - 180 to 146. The vote means Trudeau dodged a possible snap election, just one year to the day that his Liberal party retained power in a narrow election win.

    And for some political journalists and pundits, it means getting to focus on just one political contest at a time, as the US election enters the home stretch.

    The vote in Canada on Wednesday concerned a motion from the opposition demanding a special committee on coronavirus aid spending. That spending included a controversial and now defunct programme that grew into an ethics scandal for Trudeau over the summer.

    Read more about Canada's latest political drama.

  10. What's next up on the trail?

    President Donald Trump speaks to supporters at a campaign rally at North Coast Air aeronautical services at Erie International Airport on October 20, 2020 in Erie, Pennsylvania

    With less than two weeks before election day, both campaigns are giving it all they've got, leaving no stone - or state - unturned before the last Americans cast their ballots.

    On the Republican side, Donald Trump is continuing his rally-filled week, heading to Gastonia, North Carolina tonight for the 19:00ET (00:00BST) event. It's a busy night for the candidate - he will also appear in a town hall event broadcast from the White House later on Wednesday, alongside Fox News host Eric Bolling.

    His running mate, Mike Pence, will spend his evening in Cincinnati, Ohio - a crucial battleground state. The vice-president's event, at Lunken Airport, is scheduled for 18:00EST (23:00BST).

    Democratic candidate Joe Biden is sitting out another day on the trail, choosing to hunker down and prepare for tomorrow's debate instead. He has some heavy-hitters campaigning for him, however.

    Kamala Harris, his vice-presidential pick, will be giving a speech in Charlotte, North Carolina at 18:45EST (23:45BST) tonight. Former President Barack Obama will also make another appearance in support of Biden, speaking at a drive-in car rally for his former vice-president at a sports arena in Philadelphia starting at 17:45EST (22:45BST). It's a state that Obama won in both 2008 and and 2012, but which swung Republican in 2016.

  11. 'To have faith in our young people'

    Obama at a roundtable event in Pennsylvania

    As he continues discussing the impact of voting and his hopes to do better, the former Democratic president also offers a critique of his successor.

    "The pandemic would've been tough for any president - we haven't seen something like this in 100 years," Obama says. "But the degree of incompetence and misinformation, the number of people who might not have died had we just done the basics, the degree to which it has impacted low-income communities so disproportionately - that's something that I'm not just confident that it can be fixed."

    As Obama wraps up the round table event (he's got to head to a rally next, he says), he goes back again to the point that young people must be engaged. And some of that, he argues, starts in schools.

    "Creating opportunities for young people to collectively make decisions, and see that the decisions they make create resuts and have consequences," he says, noting that we are often taught to just consume instead of create.

    But if we want young people to do better - "that requires us to have faith in our young people."

    That's all from the former president for now.

  12. Biden leads Pennsylvania, Florida still a toss up - CNN poll

    A caravan of supporters for Democratic presidential nominee Joe Biden drive past supporters of President Donald Trump standing on the sidewalk next to the Versailles Restaurant during a Worker Caravan for Biden event on October 18, 2020 in Miami, Florida

    Democratic candidate Joe Biden holds a 10-point lead over rival Donald Trump in Pennsylvania - a key battleground state, according to new CNN polls, conducted by SSRS.

    But Florida - also a critical state for both candidates - is still too close to call. Of likely voters, 50% say they'll go for Biden, while 46% support Trump, a difference that is within the poll's margin of error.

    In 2016, both states went to Trump and in both cases it was by a barely there margin. The president earned about 2% more votes than Hillary Clinton in each.

    This year, the coronavirus pandemic is on the minds of voters in both states and on this subject, Biden comes out on top, the polls found. In Pennsylvania and Florida, Biden holds a double-digit advantage over Trump as more trusted to handle the ongoing outbreak.

  13. Obama on voting and hope

    Obama

    Former President Barack Obama is out campaigning for his old vice-president for the first time this cycle. He's speaking now at a roundtable event in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania - a key state to win.

    "The government is us - by and for the people," Obama says, emphasising that young people need to get out and participate.

    "It wasn't always for all of us but the way it's designed, it works based on who's at the table. And if you do not vote, then you are not at the table and yes, stuff is done to you. If you're at the table, then you're part of the solution."

    One of his last questions at the roundtable: what gives him hope?

    He hearkens back to his Democratic National Convention keynote years ago: hope is not blind faith, but "looking squarely at our challenges...and saying despite that, through effort and will and community, we can make things better".

    "I've never lost hope over these last four years. I've been mad, I've been frustrated, but I never lost hope. Because I never expected progress to move directly in a straight line."

    You can watch the rest of the event here, while it is ongoing.

  14. Got election questions? We have answers

    Your questions answered

    Thanks for tuning in today - let’s chat for a moment!

    We know this political circus can get complicated - that’s why we’re here. If you’ve got questions about the US election, BBC journalists across the US want to answer them.

    Submit your questions here.

    And you can check out some election questions we've already answered here:

  15. On Capitol Hill: Judge Barrett continues to meet senators

    Amy Coney Barrett and Senator James Lankford
    Image caption: Amy Coney Barrett and Senator James Lankford

    Meanwhile, on Capitol Hill, Judge Amy Coney Barrett - Trump's pick to replace the late Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg on the nation's top court - is continuing her rounds with senators.

    She's met with Republicans Martha McSally of Arizona, Lamar Alexander of Tennessee, Marco Rubio of Florida, and Oklahoma's James Lankford and Jim Inhofe, among others.

    Tomorrow, the Republican-chaired Senate Judiciary Committee will vote on whether to send her nomination to the whole chamber for a full vote.

    Read more about Trump's controversial nominee here:

    Amy Coney Barrett and Senator James Inhofe
    Image caption: Amy Coney Barrett and Senator James Inhofe
    Amy Coney Barrett (right) and Senator Martha McSally
    Image caption: Amy Coney Barrett (right) and Senator Martha McSally
  16. Where the running mates are today

    Harris, who does not often speak to the press, talked to reported in North Carolina today
    Image caption: Harris, who does not often speak to the press, talked to reporters in North Carolina today

    Earlier today Joe Biden's runing mate, Kamala Harris, spoke to reporters during a socially distanced campaign visit to Asheville, North Carolina.

    Harris said that in tomorrow’s debate, Biden will stick to the issues that really matter to Americans, such as putting food on the table.

    She also made reference to Trump's latest attacks on Biden's son Hunter: “One of the things I love about Joe Biden. He doesn't take on or talk about other people's kids.”

    Meanwhile in Portsmouth, New Hampshire, Vice-President Mike Pence held a rally without social distancing.

    During the visit, he attacked Biden's tax plan and touted the federal government's lawsuit against Google, which was announced yesterday. "Big tech is trying to censor what Americans read or see or say," he said. He vowed that the Trump administration would protect freedom of speech and freedom of the press.

    Later today Pence will be holding another rally in Ohio - a crucial midwestern swing state.

  17. What does the early voting tell us?

    Anthony Zurcher

    BBC North America reporter

    The massive surge of early in-person and mail voting in the 2020 general election shows no signs of abating. It’s tangible evidence that interest and enthusiasm in the presidential race is translating into actual ballots cast.

    That should come as good news for Democrats, who may have wondered whether a supposed lack of excitement over Joe Biden’s candidacy would damp down turnout on their side. Whether the Delaware Democrat has surprising devotion from his party’s faithful or the prospect of four more years of a Trump presidency is too abhorrent for them to contemplate, the end result is the same – registered Democrats are voting in record-breaking numbers.

    Four years ago, Hillary Clinton’s campaign celebrated encouraging early voting numbers as well, particularly in Florida. On election day, however, an unexpected wave of support for Donald Trump erased that advantage. This time around, that phenomenon could be even more pronounced, given the president’s calls for his side to vote in-person instead of by mail.

    That would create its own set of problems if the race is close and overwhelmingly Democratic postal ballots take longer to count than in-person Republican ones. For the moment, however, higher civic involvement is something both sides can celebrate.

  18. Tired of reading up on politics? Take a break with our game

    Biden and Trump

    Take a break from all the news of the day and try your hand at picking the next US president.

    The election will come down to who can wrestle away enough votes in a handful of key states. But today, why don't you decide?

    Check out our pick-the-president game here

  19. 'Trump will win then an asteroid will hit'

    Televangelist Pat Robertson told his viewers on Tuesday that God has told him that Trump will win.

    Then, about five years later, an asteroid will come and “maybe” bring about “the end".

    The 90-year-old founder of the Christian Broadcasting Network, a supporter of the president, also forecast two assassination attempts on Trump's life, civil unrest and a war in Israel that will be “put down by God”.

    According to the Hill newspaper, he previously predicted that the world would end in 1982 and 2007.

  20. 'The only wasted vote is the one never cast'

    Brandon

    Brandon Swearengin is a law student. He has worked for state government officials and ran earlier this year for a local school board seat in his hometown of Tulsa, Oklahoma. He voted for Donald Trump in 2016 and will vote for the Libertarian Party nominee in the upcoming election.

    Why does this election matter to you?

    This election matters to me because political power at all levels of government is up for grabs. I feel that many people overemphasize the presidential election. Though the Executive does have considerable powers, many of those powers, like war powers and regulation-making for example, are only exercised by virtue of congressional enactment.

    The federal government also has less impact in the day-to-day lives of everyday Americans than state and local government. So while many Americans are paying close attention to the presidential race, I’m more interested in my state legislative/judicial, county commissioner, and city council races as well as in competitive congressional elections around the country.

    Why do you support your chosen candidate?

    In the presidential election, I’m voting for the Libertarian Party nominee, Jo Jorgensen. I’m a registered Libertarian voter, and I strongly agree with roughly 80% of her campaign platform. I’m opposed to the de-facto two-party system, I want a smaller federal government in favor of stronger states’ rights, and I refuse to vote for a “lesser of two evils” between the major party nominees. Many Americans will make the fallacious statement that voting for a third party is a “wasted vote,” but my response is that the only wasted vote is the one never cast.

    Closing line

    Brandon is a member of our US election voter panel. You'll hear more from him, and many of our other voters, throughout the week.

    Join the conversation: