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2020 U.S. ELECTION: What you need to know right now

(Reuters) - With less than two weeks to go until Election Day, former President Barack Obama makes his debut on the 2020 campaign trail to stump for his former vice president, Democrat Joe Biden.

Voters wait in line to enter a polling place and cast their ballots on the first day of the state's in-person early voting for the general elections in Durham, North Carolina, U.S. October 15, 2020. REUTERS/Jonathan Drake

-At a campaign rally, President Donald Trump touted the economy and warned Pennsylvanians that Biden would destroy the battleground state’s energy and manufacturing jobs.

-A U.S. federal appeals court allows North Carolina’s plan to count absentee ballots that arrive after Election Day, dealing a blow to Trump’s campaign, which tried to block the deadline extension. A look at other key court battles shaping the Nov. 3 election as parties war over how to vote during the coronavirus pandemic.

-Retailers in cities across the U.S. are open for shoppers but board up their windows at night as security experts warn the election could bring with it renewed civil unrest following a spring and summer which saw looters target shops during racial justice protests. An election official in Michigan and civil rights groups in Minnesota warn that armed civilians may be at polling places to incite violence or intimidate voters.

-Biden has a cash advantage over Trump in the final lap of the race for the White House, Federal Election Commission filings show, as the former vice president outraised and outspent Trump in September.

-Opinion polls and record early voting returns show millions of Americans who typically don’t vote in elections are coming off the sidelines in 2020 to overwhelmingly back Biden.

GLOBAL PERSPECTIVE

NATO may schedule a March summit in Brussels to welcome a new U.S. president if Biden wins the White House. NATO, keen to repair transatlantic ties, has had a bumpy ride with Trump who threatened to pull out of the military alliance.

INVESTOR VIEW

-Fund managers pricing in a Biden win are placing bets that “green” stocks with environmental, social and governance credentials such as solar and clean energy will get a lift, while automakers gear up for tough new vehicle emissions standards and policies favoring electric vehicles.

-Major U.S. credit agencies are closely watching the election and warn that anything other than a smooth transfer or retention of power could weigh on the country’s stellar credit rating.

BY THE NUMBERS

Biden maintains a lead over Trump in crucial Michigan with 51% of likely voters planning to cast their ballots for the Democratic challenger and 44% backing the incumbent. In the key state of North Carolina they are locked in a statistical tie with 49% supporting Biden compared to Trump’s 46%, a Reuters/Ipsos poll shows.

ON THE CAMPAIGN TRAIL

Expected events and Reuters coverage on Oct. 21:

-Trump campaigns in North Carolina

-Vice President Mike Pence campaigns in New Hampshire and Ohio

-Vice presidential nominee Senator Kamala Harris campaigns in North Carolina

-Reuters/Ipsos public opinion poll from six battleground states: Arizona, Florida, Wisconsin, Michigan, Pennsylvania and North Carolina (5 p.m. ET/2100 GMT)

Refinitiv customers can find more 2020 U.S. Election content on the Election App ( here ) on Eikon or Workspace.

Media customers can find complete multimedia coverage on the Reuters Connect planning calendar here here.

Reporting by Gayle Issa; Editing by Giles Elgood

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