In Australia and Indonesia, crowds gathered around televisions in restaurants and cafes, trying to get a glimpse of American states turning red or blue. In Iran, the hashtag #Elections_America was trending on Persian Twitter, while in Japan, Fuji Television spent a good portion of Wednesday morning covering the election with graphics that mixed old-school cardboard cutouts with video-game-like avatars.
All over the world, as results trickled in across the American electoral map, it made for confounding, fascinating must-watch drama. The stakes are global, and so was the audience, glued to the sort of blanket news coverage most often reserved for elections closer to home.
“It’s kind of like the World Cup finals,” said Moch Faisal Karim, an international relations professor at Binus University in Indonesia.
The intense worldwide interest reflects the still-considerable power of America and the unpredictability that has shaped the last four years. President Trump has been a global disrupter in chief, seeking to redefine relations with American allies in Europe and Asia, working to blunt the rise of China and cozying up to autocrats in North Korea and Russia.
After surprise upon surprise during his first term, much of the world is desperate to know if the Trump era will continue, or if the United States will shift back toward the more traditional course that Joseph R. Biden Jr. has promised.
But while many viewers would have liked nothing more than a quick resolution, there instead was uncertainty and angst.
HARLINGEN, Texas — The empty chairs and uneaten red-white-and-blue cupcakes at the barbecue restaurant where Republicans in Cameron County, Texas, hosted their poll watching party may have reflected the devastation that the coronavirus has wrought in this region — one of the worst-hit in the nation — but not President Trump’s performance on Tuesday night.
In this reliably left-leaning slice of South Texas, nestled against the border with Mexico, Mr. Trump saw far more support than he did in 2016, when he garnered only 18 to 32 percent of the vote in the four counties that make up the Rio Grande Valley.
As results rolled in after midnight on Wednesday, it appeared that support for Mr. Trump’s re-election had grown by as much as 12 percentage points in some areas. And in a conservative state where Democrats have made steady gains, South Texas Republicans were hoping to take their community in the opposite direction — and having some success.
“More people are waking up,” said Kelly Gonzalez, who attended the Republicans’ party with her husband, Marco Cantú, her 1-year-old daughter, Hevyn, and her 7-year-old son, Noah. All were clad in Trump gear from head to toe.
“Everyone here is born and raised a Democrat,” Ms. Gonzalez said. But her opinion of liberals — particularly young ones — had changed in the past four years. “It’s like, ‘Give me this, give me that,’ and they don’t want to work for it.”
The support that the president saw in the Rio Grande Valley mirrored his performance among Latinos elsewhere, though the group is still only a minority of voters.
“We’ve seen the Latinos come out in a very strong way,” said Minerva Simpson, a district leader for the Texas Federation for Republican Women, one of the hosts of the party. “I’ve never seen a movement like that in my culture, and it’s all for Trump.”
“We were silent,” she added, “and now nobody’s being silent.”
Some attendees pointed to the response of the Democratic nominee, Joseph R. Biden Jr., to rioting and looting during nationwide protests this year, or his support of transgender rights, as reasons they could not support him.
They also said they liked President Trump’s focus on business, and on providing people with equal opportunities for advancement. Many said they supported a moderate immigration platform — one that included a pathway to citizenship for DACA recipients and either citizenship or legal permanent-resident status for longtime undocumented immigrants.
But they said they felt some security on the border, near where they live, was in order. Janie Majors, a retired administrative assistant, said she became a Republican in her 20s after researching the party, rather than going along with what she had been taught.
“That’s how I broke free,” she said.
Mark Kelly, an astronaut and retired Navy captain, defeated Senator Martha McSally, Republican of Arizona, on Tuesday, as voters rejected Ms. McSally’s bid for a Senate seat in what has been a traditionally conservative state for the second consecutive election cycle.
Democrats now have a net gain of one additional Senate seat, having flipped Colorado but lost Alabama to Republicans. The party still has a path to a majority in the chamber, but it has narrowed considerably over the course of election night.
Mr. Kelly, who built a national profile as a gun safety advocate after the shooting of his wife, former Representative Gabrielle Giffords, ran as a pragmatic outsider. At the center of his campaign was the bet that he could appeal to voters in the rapidly changing state — especially the crucial voting blocs Ms. McSally had alienated, including women, younger voters and Latinos, who have become increasingly powerful parts of the Arizona electorate in recent years.
Ms. McSally, who lost her first bid for the Senate in 2018, had been appointed to the seat that had been held by Senator John McCain, who had died that year. But she tied herself directly to President Trump and abandoned the centrist reputation she had carefully built as a congresswoman, leaving voters to once again reject her political ambitions.
Because he won a special election, Mr. Kelly could be sworn in as early as Nov. 30. State election law stipulates a final canvass of the balloting be completed by the end of November, barring legal challenges. The McSally campaign did not concede defeat, and instead issued a statement earlier in the evening that charged Fox News was “irresponsible” for calling the race.
Alicia Parlapiano in Washington
See Alaska results
Michael Grynbaum in New York
Chris Christie, who worked with Trump on debate prep, criticized the president’s White House speech on ABC: “It’s a bad strategic decision. It’s a bad political decision.”
Michael Grynbaum in New York
Chris Wallace, on Fox News, reacted to Trump’s speech by saying: “This is an extremely flammable situation and the president just threw a match into it. He hasn’t won these states.”
Emily Cochrane in Bangor, Maine
See Montana results
Despite spending millions of dollars in Texas and fashioning it as the center of their offensive campaign to expand their majority, Democrats failed to make significant gains in the state.
In multiple districts where Democrats had hoped to flip a seat and make inroads toward the goal of making Texas more competitive, Republican incumbents and candidates in open seats were able to beat back their challengers. Most House Democrats in the state, however, were able to hold on to their seats.
Senator John Cornyn, one of the state’s two Republican senators, easily defeated M.J. Hegar, a former Air Force pilot, despite Democrats’ pouring money into the race and singling it out as a possible target for regaining the Senate majority.
Representative Chip Roy, a member of the House Freedom Caucus, successfully held off a challenge from Wendy Davis, a Democrat who gained national attention in 2013 for filibustering an anti-abortion bill and later ran for governor.
In the Houston suburbs, where Representative Pete Olson’s retirement led to a competitive race, Sheriff Troy Nehls of Fort Bend County, a Republican, defeated Sri Preston Kulkarni, who narrowly lost to Mr. Olson in 2018.
It was still possible for one Democrat to pick up a seat in the state early Wednesday: Candace Valenzuela, a Democratic school board member who would be the first Afro-Latina member of Congress, is running in the 24th Congressional District.
In Georgia, which is shaping up to be a pivotal state in the presidential race, state officials warned against drawing any conclusions from the results that are currently posted.
“We are only showing partial returns right now so there’s not enough to clearly say that the state is going for one candidate or another,” Jordan Fuchs, the Georgia deputy secretary of state, said early Wednesday.
In Fulton County, the state’s most populous county and home to Atlanta, a burst water pipe in a room being used to process ballots at the State Farm Arena, the basketball stadium being used by elections workers, delayed the counting of about 50,000 ballots Tuesday morning.
Because absentee ballots are manually opened and placed into a scanner before tabulating, they require extra time. In some cases, ballots kicked out by scanners as ambiguous must be reviewed by special adjudication panels. Richard Barron, the director of elections for Fulton County, said this week that of a batch of 40,000 ballots processed by his office, approximately 700 required review.
Delays in counting ballots were being reported in other metro counties as well. Some ballots placed in drop boxes on Tuesday could not be collected until after polls closed at 7 p.m.
Secretary of State Brad Raffensperger had said that he hopes results from most races in the state will be available Wednesday.
With no winner in the 2020 race and votes still being counted in several battleground states, President Trump entered the East Room of the White House at 2:21 a.m. on Wednesday and asserted without evidence that the election was being taken from him by “a very sad group of people.”
“This is a fraud on the American public,” he told a crowd of supporters, in a reckless and unsubstantiated string of remarks about the democratic process. “This is an embarrassment to our country. We were getting ready to win this election. Frankly, we did win the election.”
The president said he wanted to stop the counting of votes and put the outcome of the election in the hands of the Supreme Court. “We want all voting to stop,” he said.
“We will win this,” he continued. “As far as I am concerned we already have won it.” He had not, in fact, won the battleground states he claimed as victories, like North Carolina, Pennsylvania and Michigan. Many states were still counting votes and had not reported any vote totals.
His remarks were an escalation of his monthslong effort to cast doubt on the legitimacy of the race and previewed what is expected to become a protracted legal battle. Before Mr. Trump’s false claims, his campaign was already fund-raising off the uncertain outcome. A 12:03 a.m. plea asked for money to help “protect the integrity of this Election.”
They also stood in contrast to remarks made earlier in the evening by former Vice President Joseph R. Biden Jr., who urged his supporters to have patience until all the votes were counted.
“It’s not my place or Donald Trump’s place to declare the winner of this election,” Mr. Biden tweeted. “It’s the voters’ place.”
An early call of Arizona for Mr. Biden by Fox News was another check on any legitimate claim that Mr. Trump had won, or was even the likely victor in the race. And that call appeared to have enraged him. He told supporters that he had been watching Arnon Mishkin, the leader of the network’s decision desk, who appeared just after 12:30 a.m. and insisted Mr. Trump could not win the state.
“We have a lot of life in that and somebody declared that it was a victory,” Mr. Trump said. “Maybe it will be. I mean that is possible. But certainly there were a lot of votes out there that we could get because we’re now just coming into what they call Trump territory.”
Less than an hour after he left the stage, The Associated Press called Arizona for Mr. Biden.
Danny Hakim in Raleigh, N.C.
See North Carolina results
At a small election night victory party at a hotel in downtown Tucson, Ariz., Mark Kelly, a Democrat, told supporters that he expected to emerge victorious in Arizona’s U.S. Senate special election against Senator Martha McSally, a Republican.
Fox News called the race for Mr. Kelly, a former astronaut, around 9:30 p.m. local time, but The Associated Press and other news organizations had not yet done so. Several hours later, with 77 percent of the vote counted, Mr. Kelly led Ms. McSally by just over nine points, 54.6 percent to 45.4 percent.
In front of a crowd of about 100 reporters and supporters, Mr. Kelly stopped just short of declaring victory.
“I’m confident that when the votes are counted, we’re going to be successful in this mission,” he said.
Mr. Kelly thanked his wife, Gabrielle Giffords, the former Democratic congresswoman who survived a 2011 assassination attempt. He said she taught him about public policy and public service, and also “to never ever give up.”
Ms. McSally launched her political career in the wake of the shooting of Ms. Giffords, running three times for her old congressional seat before securing a win.
Mr. Kelly highlighted his support for the young undocumented immigrants known as Dreamers, as well as his pledges to secure the border, part of the bipartisan message that he employed throughout the campaign.
“Some of you watching tonight did not vote for me,” he said. “That’s OK. I’m going to be your senator, too.” He invoked the name of John McCain, whose seat he expects to fill. If his victory is confirmed, Mr. Kelly will be up for re-election in 2022, when the term of Mr. McCain, who died in 2018, would have ended.
The McSally campaign did not concede defeat, and instead issued a statement that charged Fox News as “irresponsible” for calling the race. The McSally campaign’s statement echoed complaints from the Trump campaign, which had publicly criticized Fox for declaring Joseph R. Biden Jr. the winner of the state in the presidential race.
“There are more than 1 million votes to be counted with no Election Day votes yet reported,” Ms. McSally’s campaign spokeswoman Caroline Anderegg said.
Ms. McSally lost a 2018 U.S. Senate race against Kyrsten Sinema before being appointed to Mr. McCain’s seat after his death. Her defeat would be the first time in modern history that a candidate has lost both of a state’s Senate seats to the opposing party.
Republicans took back South Carolina’s First Congressional District, as State Representative Nancy Mace defeated the Democratic incumbent, Joe Cunningham, by a narrow margin.
When Mr. Cunningham won the district in 2018 — also by a narrow margin — it marked the first time since the early 1980s that Republicans had lost the seat, and prompted Democrats to seize on what they saw as a promising trend in shifting voter demographics. Mr. Cunningham ran, in 2018 and again in 2020, on occupying “the middle” and being able to broker compromise between both parties.
But Ms. Mace, the first woman to graduate from the Citadel military college, portrayed Mr. Cunningham as closely aligned with the left- wing of his party and too liberal to represent South Carolina’s conservatives in Congress.
President Trump, who has strong support in South Carolina and handily won the state on Tuesday, had repeatedly praised Ms. Mace on Twitter over the course of the race. Both candidates had campaigned with their respective party’s Senate nominee, with Ms. Mace appearing with Republican incumbent Senator Lindsey Graham, who won his race, on the weekend before Election Day.
“Nancy Mace is Nancy Pelosi’s worst nightmare,” Mr. Graham said at a rally over the weekend, calling Mr. Cunningham “nice” but an aberrant choice for South Carolinians.
“She’s not going to talk one way and vote another,” Mr. Graham said of Ms. Mace. “She’s going to vote like you would want her to, the conservative values that made the low country of South Carolina someplace special.”
Biden is ahead by 5 points in Nevada now. That’s probably enough; it did loom as a potential complication for him after results in heavily Latino parts of Florida/Texas.
Trip Gabriel in Butler County, Pa.
See Pennsylvania results
OMAHA — For weeks, pundits have been predicting a curious scenario in the presidential race that is starting to look more possible: A single congressional district in Nebraska appears as though it could be pivotal in deciding the presidential race.
Nebraska is a solidly Republican state but like many states, its two major cities swing more liberal. It matters for 2020 because the state splits its electoral votes. While the bulk of the state voted overwhelmingly for President Trump, Joseph R. Biden Jr. won in the second congressional district that includes the Omaha metropolitan area.
In a tight race like this nail-biter of a presidential election, every single electoral vote counts.
The second district here is in large part a mishmash of cul-de-sacs and cookie-cutter housing developments that blur into each other. It also includes a population that has become increasingly less white, notably with more Latinos moving into South Omaha.
While Keep America Great signs dot the rural parts of the state, signs for Mr. Biden are propped up across the wide lawns in the tony, historic district of Dundee-Happy Hollow and in front of homes and business in the largely Black neighborhood of North Omaha, the birthplace of Malcolm X.
In Omaha, like in most of Nebraska, cases of coronavirus are soaring but outside of hospital wards and facilities for senior citizens under lockdown, life seems relatively normal. Schools are open, restaurants and bars are less crowded but allow some indoor patrons, high school football playoffs took place last week, a major milestone here in the transition to the holiday season.
On Tuesday, voting in Omaha proceeded more or less as normal, with more hand sanitizer.
Representative Don Bacon, a Republican, fresh from being chided by Mr. Trump at a rally in Omaha, as well as in a phone call, to deliver the district for him, paused before he voted at a polling site in a suburban church to consider what it would take for Mr. Trump to win.
“I always thought if he could make this about results versus the Twitter and the name calling — I don’t think this district responds well to that,” he said.
Many people who were voting for Mr. Trump cited the economy as the main reason they supported him. They blamed the recent downturn on the virus and said Mr. Trump could not be held responsible for something that they said China should take the blame for.
“He didn’t have nothing to do with it,” said Chuck Kopystynsky, a 70-year-old former Marine who was voting at a Honda dealership that had been converted to a polling place because the usual spot was an assisted-living facility housing seniors vulnerable to the virus.
His wife, Vikki Kopystynsky, said she liked the president’s stance on immigration. She resents the idea that Democrats want to give free college education to “Dreamers,” who were brought to the country illegally as children.
“My daughter couldn’t go to college because we couldn’t afford it,” said Ms. Kopystynsky, who is white.
Allison Lindgren, a 26-year-old stockbroker from Millard in southwest Omaha, said she had never even stopped to consider that Mr. Biden could lose. If that happens, she said, “The first thing we’re all going to do is go to the internet,” and post about feelings of outrage. “I don’t think the country can stand another four years of him. I don’t want him representing us to the world anymore.”
Stephanie Saul in Atlanta
Twitter and Facebook both attached labels to posts from President Trump early on Wednesday after he falsely claimed that the election was being stolen.
Twitter hid Mr. Trump’s tweet, in which he said “they are trying to STEAL the Election,” behind a label that cautioned people that the claim was “disputed” and “might be misleading about an election or other civic process.” Twitter also restricted users’ ability to like and share the post.
Facebook separately added a label to Mr. Trump’s identical post on the social network saying that the votes had not all been counted and that “no winner of the presidential election had been projected.”
Facebook did not restrict users from sharing or commenting on the post. It was the first time Facebook had used such a label, part of the company’s plan to add context to posts about the election.
A White House spokesman did not immediately respond to a request for comment.
In a tweet sent about 10 minutes after Mr. Trump’s post, the Democratic presidential candidate, Joseph R. Biden Jr., said: “It’s not my place or Donald Trump’s place to declare the winner of this election. It’s the voters’ place.”
Twitter began fact-checking and labeling Mr. Trump’s misleading tweets in May. Mr. Trump responded with an executive order designed to strip legal protections from Twitter and other social media companies. Facebook has also increased its initiatives around protecting the election.
In a statement, Facebook said, “Once President Trump began making premature claims of victory, we started running notifications on Facebook and Instagram that votes are still being counted and a winner is not projected.”
Todd Heisler/The New York Times
Sharon Chischilly for The New York Times
Nitashia Johnson for The New York Times
Ryan Christopher Jones for The New York Times
Bridget Bennett for The New York Times
After months — years — of anticipation, all that is left for people to do is wait for results to be announced, whenever that may be.
Voters in Florida on Tuesday approved a ballot measure that would raise the state’s minimum wage to $15 by 2026.
Florida becomes the eighth state in the country to enact a minimum wage of $15, according to the National Conference of State Legislatures, but the first of them that Donald Trump carried in the 2016 presidential election. The District of Columbia has also enacted a $15 minimum wage.
Florida’s measure, known as Amendment 2, earned a place on Tuesday’s ballot in December and needed at least 60 percent of the vote to pass. With 99 percent of the vote counted, the measure had slightly more than 61 percent.
Under the measure, the state minimum wage would rise from its current hourly rate of $8.56 to $10 in September, and then increase by $1 every September through 2026. After that, annual increases would be tied to inflation.
A study by the Florida Policy Institute, a think tank backing the increase, found that the higher wage would directly benefit 2.5 million workers in the state.
A number of studies have found that moderate increases in the minimum wage have not led to significant job losses. But economists caution that the effects on employment depend on the size of the increase relative to a city or state’s wage scale.
That could make a $15 minimum wage more costly in a state like Florida, where wages tend to be substantially lower than wages in other states that have enacted a $15 minimum wage.
Representative Kendra Horn, the lone Democrat in Oklahoma’s congressional delegation, conceded to her Republican challenger, Stephanie Bice, early Wednesday morning, offering a bright spot for Republicans who had braced for losses in the House.
“Oklahoma’s Fifth District doesn’t belong to a party, it belongs to the people,” Ms. Horn said in a statement, reflecting on her surprise victory two years earlier. Ms. Horn became the fifth Democratic freshman to lose out on a second term.
“We changed minds and built a movement of support in a district that pundits thought was unwinnable,” Ms. Horn added. “When many voters in this district had lost faith that their vote counted for something, we gave them hope.”
The victory of Ms. Bice, 46, returned the Fifth District to Republicans, who had held it for more than 40 years before Ms. Horn’s stunning upset in 2018. Republicans had singled out Ms. Horn’s seat, which represents Oklahoma City, as a likely opportunity to counter Democratic gains anticipated in other parts of the country.
Seen as a rising star in the State Legislature, Ms. Bice will bolster the ranks of Republican women in the House, whose numbers have shrunk even as Democrats have made history with the racial and gender diversity of their members. She overcame a tough primary and runoff race by framing herself as more moderate than her opponents, though she later highlighted her conservative credentials and an endorsement from the National Rifle Association.
Thomas Kaplan in Wilmington, Del.
After giving brief remarks, Biden has returned home and his campaign has called a lid, meaning he is not expected to make any further in-person appearances tonight.
Emily Cochrane in Bangor, Maine
See Oklahoma results
Annie Karni in Washington
Biden’s win in Minnesota secured another state the Trump campaign had hoped to flip. Trump has long fixated on the state as one that got away in 2016, when he lost by only 1.5 points.
Katie Glueck in Wilmington, Del.
Biden issued a warning shot on Twitter: “It’s not my place or Donald Trump’s place to declare the winner of this election. It’s the voters’ place.”
Sara Gideon, the Democratic challenger to Senator Susan Collins, Republican of Maine, said on Wednesday that she would not be making a statement imminently and that she planned to wait for all votes to be counted, acknowledging that the tight race would likely not be called before morning.
“It’s clear this race will not be called tonight and we are prepared to see it through to the finish,” Amy Mesner, Ms. Gideon’s campaign manager, said in a statement. “Over the coming days, we will make sure that every Mainer has their voice heard in this election.”
Ms. Gideon had mounted a fierce challenge to Ms. Collins, framing her as a Washington insider who has lost her ability to serve as a moderate voice for Maine. She sought to capitalize on liberal anger against Ms. Collins and her key votes to approve the Republican tax plan in 2017 and confirm Justice Brett Kavanaugh to the Supreme Court.
Democrats have long targeted the race as a top target on their path to the majority. But with just over half of the votes counted, Ms. Collins maintained not just an overall lead, but held more than 50 percent of the vote.
Annie Karni in Washington
Twitter placed a warning label on Trump’s tweet that claimed without evidence that Democrats were trying to steal the election, noting that the tweet contained misleading information.
Trump officials publicly criticized Fox News for its call of Arizona for former Vice President Joseph R. Biden Jr., calling the network a “complete outlier” and warning that “other media outlets should not follow suit.” But the network — whose conservative prime-time stars are beloved by the president — stood by its call.
The skirmish started as Jason Miller, the Trump campaign’s chief strategist, said on Twitter that there were still more than one million votes waiting to be counted in Arizona and that Fox News was trying to “invalidate their votes.” A second campaign official accused Fox News of combining exit polling with results and called the decision to call the race for Mr. Biden — which would represent the first flip of the night — “insane.” The network is the only major news outlet to call Arizona so far.
But far from caving to the public and behind-the-scenes pressure from the campaign, the Fox News decision desk, which is highly respected in the world of political polling, doubled down on its early call. Arnon Mishkin, the leader of the desk, appeared on Fox News shortly after 12:30 a.m. and said the Trump campaign’s insistence that it would pick up enough votes to secure a win was wrong.
“That’s not true,” Mr. Mishkin said. “I’m sorry, the president is not going to be able to take over and win enough votes.”
He added: “We’re not wrong in this particular case.”
With almost 80 percent of the Arizona vote counted late Tuesday, Mr. Biden was leading Mr. Trump by more than six percentage points.
Mr. Mishkin faced skepticism from some pro-Trump Fox News colleagues, as well. The conservative pundit Katie Pavlich, a native Arizonan, told viewers she was doubtful about the network’s call, and the host Tucker Carlson said on air that Trump officials were deeply skeptical that Mr. Biden had won the state.
In 2012, Mr. Mishkin appeared on-air to explain to Fox News viewers why he had called Ohio for Barack Obama, a projection that one of the network’s analysts, Karl Rove, had doubted. Mr. Obama ultimately won the state.