Joe Biden holds last rally before Election Day in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania. "Axios" reports that President Trump plans to declare premature victory.
CHRIS HAYES, MSNBC HOST: All right. Well, whew. That is ALL IN on this Monday night. I love my country. I know you watching this do too, and I'm rooting for it.
"THE RACHEL MADDOW SHOW" starts right now.
Good evening, Rachel.
RACHEL MADDOW, MSNBC HOST: Chris Hayes, I've been thinking about you all day. I feel like you are a little bit my emotional barometer because I feel like we're a little bit calibrated the same way in terms of how strongly we feel about the country. But we look at things in very different ways. We have very different shaped brains.
MADDOW: How are you feeling on election eve?
HAYES: You know, I think a situation in which there is a low probability event of something truly cataclysmic happening is how I feel about it, and the scope of the cataclysm means that even if someone says, well, you know, there's a 1 in 20 chance, you know, the biopsy comes back the wrong way, you're not really breathing easily.
And the stakes feel that high to me. They really do. All of that said, I believe in the fundamentals, and the president of the United States is seeking re-election with 8 percent unemployment, 230,000 dead Americas and counting and an approval rating that's never gone over 45 percent.
HAYES: I think that's -- those are pretty solid fundamentals.
MADDOW: Yeah, and the other fundamentals are process fundamentals too, that we do have a decentralized system that has its strengths and weaknesses, but that is really hard to game and really hard to mess with at scale.
HAYES: It's a great point and also I think there's a little bit of -- there's a glass half full, glass half empty. But the half full is that 97 million Americans have voted amidst a once in a century pandemic. Tens of thousands of officials and poll workers have worked their butts off --
HAYES: -- for people to vote safely and done it successfully to break records.
HAYES: And so that, I think, points in the right direction for all of us.
MADDOW: Yeah, I will tell you, I mean, seeing 100 million Americans vote largely without incident -- again, not everything's perfect and long lines should never be normalized and all that stuff. But to see 100 million Americans cast their votes in the middle of this pandemic and then to see this undercurrent of civic enthusiasm, nonpartisan at all, but to see young people turning out to be poll workers in every corner of the country, and it's always been little old church ladies at every polling place in every state in the country.
And God bless the little old church ladies. They keep us going. But to see a new generation step up and say, it's not safe for you to be there, I'll do it, it's crazy.
HAYES: That's great. I got a friend, Alex. She's going to be waking up tomorrow morning early to be a poll worker. Good work, Alex.
All right, my friend. Get a good night's sleep. We're going to need it.
HAYES: See you tomorrow.
MADDOW: See you tomorrow.
Thanks to you at home for joining us this hour. It is a big night. Let's not pretend it's not.
We're going to go something live before we get started with our show tonight. I want to go live to Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, because former Vice President Joe Biden is doing his last campaign event before election day and he's just started. Let's go.
JOE BIDEN (D), PRESIDENTIAL NOMINEE: -- a friend of his family. We grew up. His dad and I grew up five blocks away from one another in Scranton. Bobby Casey, Patti LaBelle and John Legend. My lord, John, I'm voting for you after I heard that speech you made.
Look, in the second future gentleman -- Doug, god love you, you're a good man. And I want to thank the next vice president of the United States, a woman I am so proud to be running alongside of, Kamala Harris.
Look, I know as a Scranton boy and then raised on the border of southern Pennsylvania and Claymont, Delaware, I know it's not always bring western and eastern Pennsylvania together. But you know what? The Steelers got a big win yesterday, and the Eagles got a big win last night. So we can both be happy.
And, folks, I have a feeling we're coming together for a big win tomorrow.
My Lord, there's a lot of you out here on this cold night. Thank you.
And, by the way, in the parking garage, don't jump. I need you. Don't jump.
Folks, look, 18 months ago we kicked off the campaign at Teamsters local 249 right here in Pittsburgh. I chose western Pennsylvania for my first stop as a candidate and now for my last stop before Election Day because you represent the backbone of this country, hardworking families who are asking nothing but a fair shot, an even chance, ordinary people doing extraordinary things. The qualities that built this country, that created and sustained the middle class.
And by the way, as I said twice today, unions built the middle class.
Look, we've been through a lot in this country since we announced. America's facing a confluence of crises unlike anything in living memory. We're still in the battle for the soul of America -- decency, honor, respect.
Where has it gone with this president? Let me tell you something, folks. Tomorrow's the beginning of a new day.
Tomorrow, we can put an end to a presidency that has left hardworking Americans out in the cold. Tomorrow, we can put an end to a presidency that's divided this nation and fanned the flames of hate. Tomorrow, we can put an end to a presidency that has failed to protect this nation.
Ladies and gentlemen, millions of Americans have already voted. Close to 100 million. And millions more will vote tomorrow. And my message to you is simple: the power to change this country is in your hands, in your hands.
I don't care how hard Donald Trump tries. There's nothing, nothing that's going to stop the people of this nation from voting, period. And when America votes, America will be heard. And when America's heard, I believe the message should be loud and clear it's time for Donald Trump and pack his bags and go home.
MADDOW: Former Vice President Joe Biden speaking tonight live in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania. This is his final campaign appearance before Election Day.
I should mention that President Trump is also speaking right now. He's in Kenosha, Wisconsin. That is not his final appearance before Election Day. He'll also be in Michigan later on tonight.
But this is it. This election eve, we're happy to have you here. This really is the first night of the rest of your life. I guess every day is, right?
But this does feel like the first page of the next chapter of American history, right? We did elect Donald Trump president in 2016, really. And we have seen what's happened to the country and to our politics and to the presidency ever since.
But when it comes to the big picture, end of the day, you know, explain yourself at the pearly gates moment, it is a different thing to have to explain that our country made that one choice that one time in 2016. It's going to be hard enough to have to explain, right, that we went through a little authoritarian drift in our country after we made that strange call as a nation in 2016.
But that's one thing. It will be quite something else if we, as Americans, all have to explain someday that in our lifetimes, in our time on earth as citizens here, we deliberately chose to continue along those lines, knowing full well what it would mean. I mean that -- that would be something we would not only have to live with. I firmly believe we would have to account for it someday.
But that decision is upon us, you guys, which is momentous, which is why it's causing the whole country so much anxiety. But I will say honestly it is also just a thrill to get to take part in a decision that is so important. I mean even to just be in the news media at this point, having the honor of being able to cover something this important, it is humbling and daunting.
But also, honestly, it's exciting. This is -- you know, what a time to be alive. This is the front page in Waukegan County, Illinois, their local paper, the "Lake County News Sun".
Main headline there, people are happy to be voting. Lake County voters flock to the polls. Over the page 1 picture there, early voters still lining up.
Here's the front page today in the "Acadiana Advocate" in Lafayette, Louisiana. Push to the finish line. Officials predict turnout jump. Young first-time poll workers stepping up. Again, that's Lafayette, Louisiana.
"The Denver Post" front page today, a level that we have never seen before. Colorado officials just marveling now that voter turnout might hit 80 percent this year.
And I could do these all day honestly. I love these front pages so much, but let me just give you one more. This is the front page today of the "Sun Star" in Merced, California. You see the main headline there. Big youth turnout will likely benefit California Democrats.
Look at the other feature story, though, they've got on their front page as well. Merced veteran, 89 years old, signs his ballot envelope while strapped to a gurney. You see the pull quote there from his daughter in blue.
He had to vote. He'd have to be six feet under not to vote.
This gentleman had filled out a mail-in ballot but he had forgot to sign the envelope. He was in the hospital after a fall and an injury. Because of COVID protocols, there will be no visitors allowed at the hospital. The family could not visit him in person to have him sign the ballot so it could be submitted.
So they ended up racking their brains trying to figure out what he could do. He insisted that he must vote. It ended up today having him sign from the gurney while he was being transferred by ambulance from the hospital to another facility. Then his family could get the ballot to him so he could sign it. His daughter told the Merced paper, he doesn't miss voting. He never, ever misses voting, period.
Dude is injured, hospitalized, strapped to a gurney, pushing 90, and has to be intercepted in the ambulance to get his signature on the ballot. You know what? If he did it, you can do it. If that 89-year-old Air Force veteran in Merced can do it, you can do it too.
I don't know what the lines are going to be like when you turn out to vote tomorrow, if you haven't voted and you're going to be voting on election, but bring a mask, bring water, bring a snack, bring a phone, bring an extra battery or extra charger for your phone.
You might want to be something to sit on. It might be a long day. You can do it. Your country needs you.
Tomorrow is technically is Election Day. Practically, it represents the end of a voting period that has been well under way for weeks already. Again, if you have not yet cast your ballot, you must do so tomorrow in person.
Today, the campaigns made their final pre-election day appearances, trying to get out the vote for people who will be voting on Election Day tomorrow. President Trump closing it out tonight, later tonight, in Grand Rapids, Michigan. That's superstitiously and historically significant to him because that's where he did his final rally before Election Day on 2016.
Joe Biden as we just saw is closing it out today in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania. Former President Barack Obama has been hitting the trail for the Biden campaign. Today he was in Florida, once again appearing to really enjoy the opportunity to finally say what he really thinks about the man who succeeded him in the Oval Office.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
BARACK OBAMA, FORMER PRESIDENT: He's been coddling dictators for the last four years, and now apparently he says he might declare victory before all the votes are counted tomorrow. Don't boo. Vote.
That's not something you want to hear in Little Havana or Little Haiti. That's not something that the leader of a democracy does. That's something a two-bit dictator does. If you believe in democracy, you want every vote counted.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
MADDOW: That's President Obama speaking in Florida today. You know, there was reporting in "Axios" yesterday that President Trump has discussed his plans to victory tomorrow regardless of what's going on with the count and the results. Now, the White House subsequently denied that report, but if we're being honest, it is probably naive not to expect that from the president, which I think is why President Obama was talking about it today on the stump.
NBC News presidential historian Michael Beschloss has been hard at work today reminding us all that there have been lots of people in history, all over the place in all kinds of circumstances, who have declared themselves the winner of something or like the rightful heir of something even though they're totally making it up.
Everybody from Rosie Ruiz, Michael Beschloss reminds us, who of course said she won the Boston marathon, even though she skipped the whole middle of it and only ran the last mile.
Also take the exam of Arthur Hardman, a cemetery plot salesman from Houston who claimed twice in the 1950s that he won the Irish sweepstakes and should definitely be given all the prize money even know he couldn't find the winning ticket either time he said he won. He nevertheless said he won and he expected to get all the money.
Listen, President Trump may indeed declare victory as soon as the polls close tomorrow. Honestly, President Trump might declare victory tonight or at 7:00 a.m. tomorrow or in the middle of a "Fox and Friends" call-in on Wednesday morning. Who knows?
The important thing to know is that no one will care what he says about whether or not he won until the vote is counted. We're going to talk tonight a little bit about the count every vote rallies and events that are planned all over the country starting on Wednesday morning to make sure there is visible public support for counting all the votes. Even if the president and Republicans try to stop the count and claim some kind of fraud and try to resolve the election some other way.
Today in Texas, a very conservative federal judge threw out Republicans' efforts to not allow the counting of more than 125,000 votes in Texas because they were cast at one Texas county's drive-thru voting location.
We expect myriad lawsuits in in myriad states along the same lines as Republicans and the Trump campaign try to stop the counting of votes wherever and however they can. We frankly expect the president to spend all day tomorrow calling the vote fraudulent and calling the election a disgrace and a scandal and demanding that the results have to be thrown out because he insists he's won.
But, again, him saying it might be cute, but it won't make it so. Rosie Ruiz claimed she won the Boston marathon. She did not win the Boston marathon.
I might wake up tomorrow and decide to claim to be the homecoming queen and also an excellent dancer, and also the winter of the Kansas powerball, and somebody who speaks 10 languages. Me saying it would not make any of it true. It would expose me to righteous ridicule.
And if there is one good thing about us all living through these last four years, it may be that we are absolutely prepared as a nation for the fact that President Donald Trump very frequently says things that are not true and should not be taken seriously. That will help, I truly believe, when he inevitably says sometime in the next 24 hours that he definitely won and that the vote shouldn't be counted.
In terms of what we are watching tonight, there is Pennsylvania, which a lot of people think may be the pivotal state in terms of deciding the Electoral College outcome. Republican strategy in Pennsylvania appears to hinge on efforts to slow down the vote count in Pennsylvania as much as possible. The idea is that they want to create an early impression of Trump doing well in Pennsylvania, and they want to give Republicans the chance to challenge the count while it is still under way, particularly to challenge the count of mail-in and early votes because mail-in and early votes are believed to swing heavily toward Joe Biden.
They want to count the votes that are cast on Election Day. Those are expected to swing towards Donald Trump. They don't necessarily want to count the ballots that came in by mail or absentee because those are expected to swing the other way.
The Pennsylvania attorney general is going to join us in just a moment for the latest on this crucial fight. We're also going to be speaking tonight with Kristen Clarke from the Lawyers Committee for Civil Rights Under Law. They are the folks who answer when you call that toll free number, 866-OUR-VOTE, in the event that you need help with voting in your state or something has gone wrong with voting in your state or you have seen something that you think needs to be known, 866-OUR-VOTE.
Nearly one hundred million have already voted. That 866-OUR-VOTE hotline has been live throughout the early voting period. We're going to talk with Kristen Clarke tonight about what the lawyers committee is hearing when they answer those calls, what they're learning from the hotline already, what kind of complaints they're hearing, what kind of help people are saying they need.
And we're going to talk about whether any hot spots are emerging that we should know about in advance of Election Day tomorrow.
But the first person we're going to talk to tonight is Bob Bauer. Bob Bauer was White House counsel under President Obama. He's now playing the lead role in the Biden campaign's legal efforts to protect the vote. Bob Bauer has publicly expressed confidence in the lead-up to this election that whatever President Trump is fantasizing he might do to try to escape this election through force or through taking things over somehow, he will fail at that. Bob Bauer has said publicly that the president will not be able to do that.
It's one thing to hear from some dopey pundit, right, but it's another thing to hear it from the guy who is running the legal shop for the Joe Biden for president campaign.
Joining us now live is Bob Bauer, senior adviser on the Biden campaign, supervising the legal strategy around the election.
Mr. Bauer, I really appreciate you taking the time tonight. Thank you.
BOB BAUER, FORMER WHITE HOUSE COUNSEL IN OBAMA ADMINISTRATION: It's a pleasure. Thank you.
MADDOW: I know there have been dozens of lawsuits already at various places in terms of their resolution. Are you seeing a trend already or some kind of through-line that even us non-lawyers can understand in terms of how the courts are viewing the fights that we're having already over voting procedures and counting ballots?
BAUER: You pointed out earlier in the segment that we saw a judge that I'm not sure anybody expected it from go ahead and stand up for voters who had cast 127,000 ballots that the Republicans challenged when there was actually no reason to believe there was anything wrong with these votes at all. It was a very technical claim that was lacking in merit.
Even that judge simply could not put voters in the position where they relied on officials' representations that they could vote a certain way and then sort of somehow allow the Republican Party to come in and pull the rug out from underneath them. I think we're seeing that increasingly among the courts. They recognize that these last-minute attempts to throw up whatever argument lawyers can come up with to defeat the legitimate expectation of the voters simply cannot stand.
So the litigation around the country is being disposed of. The volume is certainly decreasing. But I think these last-minute attempts by attorneys to disrupt the electoral process are absolutely doomed to failure.
MADDOW: Barton Gellman at the "Atlantic Magazine" today described sort of a doomsday lawyering situation at your campaign, describing a very high-powered group of lawyers such as yourself basically gaming out planning exercises for how to rapidly respond to a whole bunch of different very dark scenarios in which President Trump might try to interfere with the normal workings of the election.
If that reporting is accurate, if you guys are planning, you know, template pleadings for quick reaction to those sort of eventualities, is this normal, or is this more than what you would usually do in a presidential campaign?
BAUER: For a variety of reasons, I mean the efforts are somewhat more intense this year. To begin with, I mean, we do have an electoral process that's come under the strain of a pandemic, and that has put election officials under tremendous pressure here trying to put this election on, replace resigning poll workers, relocate polling sites, and ramp up in some states which have little experience with it mail-in voting.
But it is also true that you've had some threats, vote suppression threats that have to be taken seriously. And you have a significant amount of even more heated rhetoric out of the president and some of the people around him.
Now, let me be very clear. To be prepared is not to project that many of these scenarios are going to come to pass. And to be prepared is not to worry that many of these scenarios, if it did come to pass, would be successful.
We're simply being vigilant. We're simply preparing the best that we can, and we're prepared very thoroughly. I've been at this for a number of years and a number of presidential campaigns, and this is by far the largest, most resourced, most effectively lawyered operation of this kind. Voter protection operation of this kind I've ever been associated with.
And that's equal to the task, but I do want to be clear that is not to say that the preparations suggest a lack of confidence, that we have the matter under control. I think many of these scenarios that you hear rehearsed are either highly improbable to come to pass, or if they did come to pass, would be turned back successfully.
MADDOW: The president was quite vocal in the lead-up to the election and even around the nomination of Amy Coney Barrett to the high court that he not only expects but seems to want election disputes to end up with the Supreme Court. He thinks he's got home field advantage there and all of his own justices in his own pocket who will undoubtedly rule his way. It was a disturbing sort of backdrop for the Barrett confirmation, I will say.
But in Supreme Court decisions last week, some observers saw some rumblings that the conservative majority on that court might be preparing a sort of novel legal rationale for some kind of intense, broad federal intervention in state election procedures.
Are you -- do you share those worries? Are you worried that the Supreme Court might be itching to do a sort of Bush v. Gore on steroids here and intervene quite deeply into the process?
BAUER: No. I have to say I thought some of that coverage was overwrought. Some of it was the result of reading very darkly some language and a concurrence by Justice Kavanaugh.
Now, in truth, I think the last thing that at least most of the justices, a majority of the justices on the court wants is another Bush versus Gore, particularly a Bush versus Gore which in this circumstance would be a bush versus gore on steroids.
It's dangerous to the legitimacy of the court. It is not helpful to the court's long-term objective of retaining public confidence. And so I honestly do think that some of these concerns, while obviously people can reasonably hold them, really probably ought to be, I'd say, cooled down a little bit.
BAUER: Let's wait and see. I don't read it quite the way others do. And many of the members of our legal team do not read it quite as others do. But, again, we'll be prepared to make the best possible arguments at every level of the process, including the Supreme Court.
MADDOW: Bob, I want to ask you one last legal question. We're going to be speaking with the Pennsylvania attorney general a little bit later on.
As I mentioned earlier, in Pennsylvania, NBC News is now reporting that at least seven counties have said that they're not even going to try to count absentee ballots and mail-in ballots on Election Day. They're only going to count votes that were cast on Election Day. Likely to be a lot of Trump votes. And they'll wait to count everybody else's ballots until the day after.
That's easily like 150,000 mail-in votes that they won't even try to count tomorrow. They will wait.
I think the concern here among Democrats and among sort of small "d" democrats is that the effort by Republicans there is to try to create an early perception that President Trump won, which would cast aspersions on votes that were counted later that might show the president in a poorer position.
Do you share those worries, and do you expect there to be a legal fight over that part of the process in Pennsylvania?
BAUER: Republicans may very well. I mean there's been some talk of it. They may very well try to stop the count in a state like Pennsylvania. It is a complete fool's errand. Those votes will be counted.
Let me tell you tonight, those votes will be counted. You know, it really strikes me that some of what the Republicans have said is not only implausible, but it has for some reason occurred to them that it's smart for them to put all this stuff out in advance, to basically let everybody know what they're thinking so that their entire program could be sort of dissected and torn completely to shreds in advance. Everybody knows what they're up to. Election officials know what they're up to. The courts know what they're up to.
We'll see if they try it. If they try it, it will be one of the most clumsy, doomed to failure legal initiatives I've seen in my entire career.
MADDOW: Bob Bauer, not a man given to hyperbole, senior adviser to the Biden campaign, former White House counsel under President Obama -- Mr. Bauer, I know you won't sleep for the next week. Thank you for taking time to talk with us tonight.
BAUER: A pleasure. Thank you very much for having me.
MADDOW: All right. We've got a lot more to get to this election eve.
Stick with us.
SEN. KAMALA HARRIS (D-CA), VICE PRESIDENTIAL NOMINEE: Your vote is your voice, and your voice is your power. And don't let anyone ever take your power from you. Now is the time to stand up. Now is the time to speak out. And now is the time to vote and vote like our lives depend on it because they do.
I know that tomorrow we are going to elect Joe Biden the next president of the United States of America.
MADDOW: There are 67 counties in the great state of Pennsylvania. Each county has its own board of elections. But the rules for how each county is allowed to count up ballots are actually all the same, processing the votes can start bright and early on Election Day, tomorrow morning starting at 7:00 a.m.
That means election officials in every county in the state can start counting the mail-in ballots they've already received from Pennsylvania voters at 7:00 a.m. so they can try and report the results as soon as possible once the polls close. They have that ability in every county in the state, except that is not what's going to happen in all 67 Pennsylvania counties tomorrow morning because according to NBC News, seven counties in Pennsylvania, all counties that went for Trump in 2016, those seven counties say they have no plans to bother counting mail-in ballots on election day at all. Instead they're going to wait until the day after the election to even start counting any mail-in ballots.
All right? Mail-in votes are expected to swing predominantly toward Biden. In-person ballots cast tomorrow are expected to swing toward Trump. That's true everywhere, not just in Pennsylvania.
But because of that expectation, right, game this out. It's easy. The consequence of waiting to count mail-in ballots in those seven Republican-leaning Pennsylvania counties is that it could very well create the impression in Pennsylvania that Donald Trump has won a bigger slice of the votes in Pennsylvania than he actually has because, again, those seven counties will plan to count the in-person votes tomorrow, but the mail-in ballots at a later date, literally a later date.
That decision is riding parallel to the Trump campaign's explicit strategy to try and stop the counting of mail-in ballots that arrive after Election Day in Pennsylvania. In Pennsylvania, it is legal to accept absentee ballots up to three days after Election Day, but president Trump says he is dispatching lawyers to Pennsylvania on election night to make sure those ballots aren't counted.
This weekend, the attorney general in Pennsylvania issued a public reminder to voters that the election in Pennsylvania will not be over until all the votes are counted. He also issued this challenge to the president. Quote: If your lawyers want to try us, we'd be happy to defeat you in court one more time.
Joining us now is the attorney general in Pennsylvania, Josh Shapiro.
Mr. Shapiro, thank you so much for being here. It's a really honor to have a slice of your time tonight.
JOSH SHAPIRO (D), PENNSYLVANIA ATTORNEY GENERAL: It's great to be with you. Thank you. Rachel.
MADDOW: So, what is the state of the fight right now in Pennsylvania? For Electoral College reasons, a lot of people think that Pennsylvania may be a tipping point in terms of the overall results in the race, and the voting wars there this year seem quite real and quite well joined.
What's the state of play?
SHAPIRO: Well, here's the state of play from a legal perspective. Donald Trump and his enablers have been here in the state for months trying to attack our voting laws, trying to make it harder for people to vote, trying to eliminate drop boxes in communities and allow voter intimidation at the polls by busing people in from out of county to poll watch in certain polls, primarily focused on trying to undermine the vote in black and brown communities.
Rachel, they have brought six different lawsuits against us here in Pennsylvania. They're 0-6, and we're 6-0 in defending the right to vote here in Pennsylvania. Two and a half million Pennsylvanians have already voted, and millions more will vote tomorrow.
We are having an election, and Donald Trump and his enablers can continue to try to stop that with these ridiculous lawsuits and these outrageous tweets. But at the end of the day, Rachel, what I'm seeing when you ask me what the state of play is, I'm seeing the public here kind of drowning the president out.
He's sort of like this incredible shrinking president. They're not listening to the noise anymore. They're running to the polls, and they want to be heard. That's what I'm seeing on the ground here in Pennsylvania, a bunch of losses for the president and voters heading to the polls.
MADDOW: We just spoke with Bob Bauer, who is the top sort of legal coordinator on the Biden campaign. Obviously a very esteemed lawyer in his own right, former White House counsel under President Obama, veteran of a lot of presidential campaigns.
He is a -- I'll tell you, I'm not a lawyer. Whenever I interview Mr. Bauer, I think, wow, there's a lawyer. I mean he talks like a lawyer. He is not a hyperbolic or dramatic person.
Let me tell you what he just said when I asked him about this situation in your state. He said, quote: They may very well try to stop the count in a state like Pennsylvania, talking about Republicans. It is a complete fool's errand. Those votes will be counted.
Let me tell you tonight those votes will be counted. Everybody knows what they're up to. Election officials know what they're up to. The court knows what they're up to. Let's see if they try it. If they try it, it will be one of the most clumsy, doom to failure legal initiatives I have seen in my entire career.
Like I said, Bob Bauer doesn't usually talk that way, but is essentially expressing 100 percent confidence that any shenanigans, the courts or otherwise, in Pennsylvania are not going to fly.
SHAPIRO: Look, Bob Bauer is an excellent lawyer. His client is the Biden campaign. My clients are the people of Pennsylvania. And the people of Pennsylvania want to be heard. They want to vote.
They want to make sure that their voice is counted in our democracy. And I'm telling you, Rachel, this election will not end until all of the legal eligible votes are counted. That will take a few days, and Donald Trump can tweet, and he can pout, and he can make whatever statements he wants to make.
But this election will not be over here in Pennsylvania, a winner will not be declared until we can deduce the will of the people. And that will happen after all of those ballots are counted.
MADDOW: The president continues to sort of demonize Philadelphia specifically. He has repeatedly called on his rally-goers that they should show up in Philadelphia and try themselves to put a stop to what he says will be the fraudulent behavior and election stealing that's going to be going on in Philadelphia. He promises them.
Can you tell us as the top law enforcement official in the interstate of Pennsylvania, if there is an effort to intimidate voters at Philadelphia voting locations, how that will play out and how you intend to protect people from the sort of intimidation the president is really marketing wholesale to his side?
SHAPIRO: It is disappointing that we have a president that's encouraging voter intimidation. But we're drowning that out, and we're focused on making sure that everyone has a safe and secure election day.
Let me be very clear about something. If there is a shred of voter intimidation at the polls, we will be on it immediately. Law enforcement has been coordinating on this issue for the last several months, four, five months. We're prepared for what's coming tomorrow.
And we are working together, Rachel, local and state law enforcement. In addition to that, our federal partners who are here on the ground in Pennsylvania, prepared to make sure that people have a safe and secure election. We will not tolerate voter intimidation. When the president talks about sending people to watch at the polls, let me be very clear.
We have laws in this commonwealth that govern who can be a poll watcher and that govern the behaviors of those poll watchers. And if we see someone showing up at the president's behest to watch things who isn't a registered poll watcher, who is doing things that are against the law, it will be met by a swift response from hopefully the local judge of elections, if not law enforcement in that community.
We simply will not tolerate it. The will of the people, whatever it is, whoever they choose, however this comes out, will be respected, and voters will not be intimidated here in Pennsylvania.
MADDOW: Josh Shapiro, Pennsylvania's attorney general. Sir, I know this is going to be a heck of a week for you. It already has been. Thank you so much for being here and good luck tomorrow.
SHAPIRO: Thank you. Great to be with you.
MADDOW: All right. If you have a question about how voting works in your state or if you see something you want to report at a polling place, who do you call and who answers when you call, and what have they been hearing around the country already from people who have been making those calls? It's a fascinating snapshot of what is already unfolding in this election. That's coming up. Stay with us.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
HARRIS: We're all here. Joe's in Pennsylvania. Jill's in Pennsylvania. Doug's in Pennsylvania. I'm in Pennsylvania. You're in Pennsylvania. We're in Pennsylvania.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
MADDOW: If you need a mantra heading into Election Day, especially if you are voting in person tomorrow, here's a little one courtesy of New York state's attorney general, Letitia James.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
LETITIA JAMES (D), NEW YORK ATTORNEY GENERAL: On Election Day, I urge everyone to stand in line in quiet dignity and in defiance to what this president and his administration is doing because it's, again, it's adverse to our values and to who we are as Americans. It's important that we count every vote. It's important that no court decide this election, that the American people decide this election.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
MADDOW: Stand in line in quiet dignity and in defiance -- in dignity and defiance. And if quiet dignity and defiance do not cut it alone, consider making an important phone call.
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ELECTION PROTECTION HOTLINE: Thank you for calling the Election Protection Hotline. For English, press 1. For Spanish, press 2. For Arabic, press 3. For Chinese, Vietnamese, Korean, Bengali, Urdu, Hindi, or Tagalog, press 4.
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MADDOW: That is the first thing you will hear if you call 866-OUR-VOTE, the Election Protection Hotline.
It was created as a sort of break-glass-in-case of emergency resource for voters after the botched election train wreck of the year 2000. It was created to, quote, ensure that all voters have the opportunity to participate in the political process.
The basic idea is that if you need help or if you see something that concerns you when it comes to voting, you call the hotline. You call 866-OUR-VOTE. You get patched into their army of lawyers who are fielding calls and responding in real time. You get a real, live person who knows what they're talking about.
Ultimately, this huge effort creates a sort of heat map for potential trouble around the country around election time. In the 20-year history of 866-OUR-VOTE, this year's is the largest election protection program they have ever mounted.
Joining us now is Kristen Clarke. She's president and executive director of the Lawyers Committee for Civil Rights Under Law.
They run the National Election Protection Hotline. Again, it's 866-OUR-VOTE.
Ms. Clarke, it's an honor to have you with us. Thanks for taking time.
KRISTEN CLARKE, LAWYERS COMMITTEE FOR CIVIL RIGHTS UNDER LAW PRESIDENT & EXECUTIVE DIRECTOR: Thanks for having me, Rachel.
MADDOW: So much is different this year, not least that nearly 100 million Americans have already cast their ballots. Does that mean that the hotline and what you've been hearing at the Lawyers' Committee, that those calls and that sort of view of the voting system started earlier and has given you a better view early on about how things are going this year?
CLARKE: It's been a remarkable year in large part because of the unprecedented barriers and challenges that voters face this season. You noted that we were started in 2000 after Bush v. Gore, and in the two decades that we've been leading this program, this has definitely been our most intense year ever.
We have increased the size of legal volunteers who support the program from 4,000 to over 42,000.
CLARKE: And just to give you kind of a snapshot of the intensity of traffic that we take on, in 2016, we had roughly 120,000 calls during the entire year. In the month of October alone, we've taken in 135,000 calls, and these are people who are struggling with issues like, you know, I requested my absentee ballot weeks ago. Here we are close to Election Day. What do I do?
Or I dropped my ballot in the mail, but I learned that there's a court ruling that has now moved the deadline back up earlier. What do I do?
Or I'm home and trying to figure out, how do you get a ballot notarized or witnessed by two people in the middle of a pandemic?
So we've got an incredible army of legal volunteers who work day and night seven days a week to help voters overcome these issues and challenges, and we will do this all day tomorrow and beyond until every vote is counted.
MADDOW: Kristen, people are so concerned about the conduct of this election this year. I mean I've been doing this for a long time, and people are concerned every two years, let alone every four years in a presidential election.
Because the president has cast such aspersions on the election itself, he really at times has felt like he's running against the election as much as he's running against Joe Biden, I think people are very concerned about the vulnerability of the systems not just to regular sort of normal technocratic breakdowns but to manipulation and to organized efforts to try to trick people out of their vote counting.
Are you seeing different levels of what I would call shenanigans, different levels of intervention by interested political actors in the voting process than you've seen in other years? I know we're seeing more worry about it, but are you seeing evidence of it in your hotline calls?
CLARKE: No doubt President Trump's rhetoric has fueled some of the voter suppression efforts that we've seen. Robocalls issued to black voters in places like Detroit and Cleveland. Some of the intimidation schemes that we see popping up, militia groups that are showing up and frankly just being a nuisance in certain communities.
So, yes, we are seeing an uptick in, you know, those kinds of calls. We also got a lot of calls from people who questioned whether vote by mail is safe and secure. And I attribute this to statements made repeatedly by President Trump, false statements about the reliability of vote by mail. And so, we've worked to restore public confidence in vote by mail, which has proven to be a really critical way for people to vote during this deadly pandemic that's still gripping the nation.
MADDOW: Kristen Clarke, president and executive director of the Lawyers' Committee for Civil Rights Under Law -- again, that's the folks who will answer when you call 1-866 OUR-VOTE. Over 40,000 legal volunteers, real people who will answer that call and help you out if you need it at the polling place.
Kristen, I really appreciate this, learning about it and the fact that you do it. Thanks for helping us understand it tonight.
CLARKE: Thanks so much, Rachel.
MADDOW: All right. Coming up next, rallies and events that are planned for the day after Election Day to try to create a public visible source of pressure that all votes should be counted. Really interesting in terms of the sort of and organizing heading -- organizing happening ahead of tomorrow's vote. You'll want to see this.
Stay with us.
MADDDOW: I know what you're doing tomorrow. If you haven't voted yet, you are voting tomorrow, right? A lot of you will be volunteering at the polls tomorrow or otherwise volunteering to support election protection efforts or, you know, you're doing stuff tomorrow, right? You're going to be busy?
What about the day after? Here's the Howard County Maryland chapter of the group Indivisible on a highway overpass. Count every vote. Stop Trump, save America.
Here's city council members and activists in Philadelphia today. Protect the results. Count every vote. Our communities count. Count every vote.
Here's Houston this morning. Count every vote Texas, count every vote because every voter counts.
Here's Van Nuys, California. This is a sign we pasted at a street corner. If Trump refuses to accept the results, show up to demand every vote is counted. On November 4, the day after the election. Protect the results.
Indivisible and dozens of other organizations have partnered under this banner of protect the results. They currently have more than 500 public rallies and protests planned all across the country for the day after the election in the event that President Trump declares victory prematurely or refuses to accept the result that he has lost.
The idea is to create a public show of support to protect the results, create a public pressure campaign that all votes must be counted everywhere, that there can be no short-circuiting of this election by the president or anyone.
A number of groups are part of this count every vote protect the results coalition. As I said, it's made up of dozens of different organizations. We do not know what is going to happen tomorrow or the day after this year. We as a country have had to prepare for all kinds of previously unthinkable things, but you can't say we didn't know what was coming when whatever comes. People have planned for every single eventuality. In the next few days are going to be intense no matter what.
Sleep well tonight. Hydrate.
We'll be right back.
MADDOW: The first polling places close tomorrow at 7:00 p.m. Eastern Time. Our MSNBC special election coverage starts at 6:00 p.m. Eastern Time. Me and Brian Williams and Joy Reid and Nicolle Wallace and a cast of thousands will all be here.
The great Steve Kornacki will be at his board. NBC News reporters will be fanned out across all of the battleground states. We will be ready for the expected craziness and for the unexpected craziness. Again, we will see you starting at 6:00 p.m. we will be here until the cows come home and the cows don't know the way home.
Rest up. Big day. Do not be afraid. We got this.
Now, it's time for "THE LAST WORD WITH LAWRENCE O'DONNELL".
Good evening, Lawrence.
THIS IS A RUSH TRANSCRIPT. THIS COPY MAY NOT BE IN ITS FINAL FORM AND MAY BE UPDATED.END
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