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CNN10 2020-10-20

CNN 10

Explanation of the Electoral College; Reports on Corona Virus Cases in Europe; Three Space Headlines

Aired October 20, 2020 - 04:00 聽 ET


CARL AZUZ, CNN 10 ANCHOR: Exactly two weeks away from Election Day, the U.S. presidential candidates are out and about on the campaign trail and that's where we're starting today's edition of CNN 10. It's great to see you. I'm Carl Azuz.

Millions of early votes are in. In fact, a survey of ballot data that CNN participated in found that more than 27 million votes have been cast so far. That count stretched across 45 states and the District of Columbia.

Traditionally though, the biggest day for U.S. politicians is Election Day itself and as November 3rd approaches, they're doing everything they can to get their supporters to the polls. On Sunday at an in-person rally in Carson City, Nevada, incumbent Republican President Donald Trump spoke to supporters.


DONALD TRUMP, PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: And the best is yet to come. It's happening. The best is yet to come. Proud citizens like you help build this country and together we are taking back our country. We're returning power to you the American people.

So with your help, your devotion and your drive, we are going to keep on working. We are going to keep on fighting and we are going to keep on winning, winning, winning.


AZUZ: Also on Sunday, at a drive-in rally in Durham, North Carolina, Democratic presidential nominee Joe Biden spoke to supporters in their cars.


JOE BIDEN: Folks, as my coaches used to say in college, it's go time. I'm running as a proud Democrat but I will govern as an American president. No red states. No blue states. Just the United States. I promise you, I'll work as hard for those who don't support me as those who did.


AZUZ: But it's not just the presidential candidates who are working to get votes. As we reported last Thursday, every voting seat in the U.S. House of Representatives is up for election. Democrats currently control that chamber with 232 seats to the Republicans 197. There's one Libertarian and five vacant seats in the House. In the Senate 35 seats, just over a third are up for election.

Republicans currently control that chamber with 53 seats to the Democrats 45. There are two Independents who vote with the Democrats. And in addition to all that, thousands of state and local officials are trying to win the vote. So Americans have seen dozens of signs and ads for candidates not named Biden or Trump.

But unlike those elections and the ballot measures, when voters themselves get to decide a law or issue. The vote for the presidency is not direct.

It's for electors, members of the Electoral College who ultimately decide who sits in the White House.


UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Americans do not vote directly for their president. I'm not talking about a government conspiracy. I'm talking about the Electoral College. The system that has been around since the birth of our nation. What is the Electoral College? The Electoral College is not a building or institution.

It's just a name given to a designated group of people who cast each state's official votes for president. This group is made up of 538 people.

Each state has a different number of electors based on their representatives in Congress. So, states like California and Texas have more votes than states like North and South Dakota. The only exception, the District of Columbia, which has three electors despite not having any voting members in Congress.

How does it work? Each party select's their own group of electors. Each state the empowers the electors who represent the candidate who won the most votes except Nebraska and Maine, who award electors based on a combination of statewide results and districts won. The candidate who receives at least 270 Electoral College votes becomes the next president.

What if there's a tie? If there is a tie, or if somebody doesn't get to 270, the House of Representatives appoints the president and the Senate chooses the Vice-President. Why does this system exist? In short, the Electoral College was created as a compromise of several different proposals by the nation's founders.

Critics say the system allows candidates to become president without necessarily securing a majority of voter support. Advocates argue it insures less populated states aren't completely ignored. How are these people selected? The electors are chosen by their political parties in each state. The only rule is that they cannot currently hold office.

Can an elector ignore the popular vote? Yes. It's called a faithless elector but it's fair and it has never affected the outcome of an election.

Some states require formal pledges enforced by fines and possible jail time. But historically speaking, members rarely depart from the will of the people.


AZUZ: One big reason why 27 million of those people have made their will known ahead of election day, concerns about coronavirus. They're trying to avoid crowded public polling places on November 3rd even though they've been waiting in some very long lines to vote early.

The number of COVID cases has been increasing in most U.S. states but a top infectious disease specialist says another nationwide lockdown is not the answer, at least not at this point. Instead, he's urging Americans to avoid crowds, gather in small groups outdoors and wear masks. In Europe however, there are countries considering closures once again.


BEN WEDEMAN, CNN CORRESPONDENT: I'm Ben Wedeman in Naples. Sunday evening Italian Prime Minister Giuseppe Conte announced new measures to try to slow the second wave of coronavirus here. There were, however, fairly modest measures simply limiting some forms of social gatherings.

For the last five days in a row, Italy has reported record increases in the number of new coronavirus cases. Increases the likes of which we never saw here during the darkest days of the pandemic earlier this year.

SALMA ABDELAZIZ, CNN CORRESPONDENT: I'm Salma Abdelaziz in Manchester where we finally have a breakthrough after a days' long stand-off between the authorities here and the government of Prime Minister Boris Johnson over plans to raise the alert level of the city. The mayor says that he has had constructive talks with the government.

We've also heard from the housing secretary that a larger financial package will be offered to the city to help affected businesses. The government says, it is hopeful that a conclusion will be reached today. But it's important to remember, Manchester is just one city. Imagine having to negotiate these restrictions city by city, town by town. That's part of the reason why the country's scientific advisors are calling for a nationwide lockdown.

SCOTT MCLEAN, CNN CORRESPONDENT: I'm Scott McLean in Berlin where the Chancellor is urging Germans to abide by coronavirus rules, as the number of infections continue to rise. Meanwhile in nearby Prague, people protested the new restrictions there over the weekend with no social distancing and few masks in sight.

MELISSA BELL, CNN CORRESPONDENT: I'm Melissa Bell in Paris. Here in France, the daily rises in new coronavirus cases for the fourth day in a row above 25,000. This as the curfews into effect in 10 French cities including here in Paris from midnight on Friday. It's going to take some time though for those to have an impact if they do on the number of new cases.

And of course, all eyes are very much on what these massive rises in new cases are going to mean for the number of ICU beds taken up by COVID-19 patients. Already nationally, it is above 35 percent and in places like the greater Paris region, 46.8.


AZUZ: 10 Second Trivia. What or who is 2018 VP One? An asteroid, a comet, Mike Pence, or the first "Masked Singer". It's a bird. It's a plane. No, it's an asteroid that's headed toward Earth as you watch this show.

And it could hit the Earth one day before the U.S. election but it probably won't. Scientists have known about this asteroid since 2018. It's about the size of a refrigerator and they say there's a chance of one in 240 that it will enter Earth's atmosphere in November 2nd.

But even if 2018 VP One is on a path to do that, astronomers say it will disintegrate and burn up in our atmosphere before it hits the ground beneath our feet. Many of them are far more interested in another asteroid named Bennu.

NASA has a $1.16 billion mission in which a spacecraft is going to try to touch down on Bennu, collect a sample of its surface and bring it back home to Earth in 2023. It's taking so long because the asteroid and the spacecraft are 200 million miles from Earth. But if it works, it will be the first time a sample from a rock in space is brought back to our planet. NASA should know by Tuesday if the sample collection successfully took place.

Well the moon is said to get a 4G network and it may be more reliable than ours. There won't be any trees, buildings or TV signals to get in the way.

But Carl, you might be asking? There are no people on the moon. Why do this? So glad you asked. NASA's hoping to build a moon base by 2028 and they figure it will need wireless technology. So they gave Bell Labs $14 million to build out a 4G network on the moon and it will be upgradeable to 5G.

Though 2028 is many moons from now. 5G technology may no longer may be out of this world by then. Technology buffs might "5Geer" at is saying putting something so dated on the moon is sheer "lunarcy". Maybe E.T. can phone home but it might be to dial up a complaint about a slow connection.

I'm Carl Azuz. Hey, speaking of planetary connections, it is great to see the students of the American Embassy School in New Delhi today. Thank you for watching from the Indian capital. Come on back tomorrow for more CNN.