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American election thriller: What happens if the outcome is disputed

Despite incomplete results from several battleground states that could determine the outcome of the US presidential race, President Donald Trump proclaimed victory

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US Presidential elections 2020 | Donald Trump

Joseph Ax | Reuters 

US election
Poll projections displayed on a monitor in the Times Square neighbourhood of New York on Tuesday. US President Donald Trump has once again defied polls and predictions, with a strong showing across the Sun Belt in early results appearing to significantly shrink Democratic nominee Joe Biden's path to victory | Photo: Bloomberg

Despite incomplete results from several battleground states that could determine the outcome of the US presidential race, President proclaimed victory over Democratic challenger on Wednesday.

The premature move confirmed worries Democrats had voiced for weeks that Trump would seek to dispute the election results. That could set off any number of legal and political dramas in which the presidency could be determined by some combination of the courts, state politicians and Congress.

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Here are the various ways the election can be contested:

Lawsuits

A close election could result in litigation over voting and ballot-counting procedures in battleground states. Cases filed in individual states could eventually reach the U.S. Supreme Court, as Florida’s election did in 2000, when Republican George W. Bush prevailed over Democrat Al Gore by just 537 votes in Florida after the high court halted a recount.

Trump appointed Amy Coney Barrett as Supreme Court justice just days before the election, creating a 6-3 conservative majority that could favor the president if the courts weigh in on a contested election.

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Electoral College

The US president is not elected by a majority of the popular vote. Under the Constitution, the candidate who wins the majority of 538 electors, known as the Electoral College, becomes the next president. In 2016, Trump lost the national popular vote to Democrat Hillary Clinton but secured 304 electoral votes to her 227.

Normally, governors certify the results in their respective states and share the information with Congress. But some academics have outlined a scenario in which the governor and the legislature in a closely contested state submit two different election results.

‘Contingent Election’

A determination that neither candidate has secured a majority of electoral votes would trigger a “contingent election” under the 12th Amendment of the Constitution. That means the House of Representatives chooses the next president, while the Senate selects the vice president. Each state delegation in the House gets a single vote. As of now, Republicans control 26 of the 50 state delegations, while Democrats have 22; one is split evenly and another has seven Democrats, six Republicans and a
Libertarian.

American Dream

Biden wins Arizona, first Democrat to do so since 1996

For the first time in 24 years, Arizona has picked a Democratic presidential candidate. Arizona has 11 electoral votes, which are now going to Democratic nominee Joe Biden, according to a race called by AP early on Wednesday. The southwestern state broke its own records with early voting, marking a significant turnout with 2.6 million votes having been cast before Election Day.

Twitter flags Trump’s tweet alleging Democrats ‘trying to steal election’

Twitter and Facebook early Wednesday flagged US President Donald Trump’s comments on the US presidential election, which remained too close to call. Twitter said a Trump tweet alleging an effort to steal the election was potentially misleading. Facebook also flagged a Trump post which said: “We are up BIG.” The social media company said “final results may be different from initial vote counts as ballot counting will continue for days or weeks.”

Delaware elects country's first transgender state senator

Democrat Sarah McBride has won a state Senate race in Delaware, and would become the first openly transgender state senator in the country when sworn in. McBride defeated Republican Steve Washington to win the seat that became open following the retirement of the longest-serving legislator in Delaware history. She won in a heavily Democratic district stretching from northern Wilmington to the Pennsylvania border, and joins several other transgender legislators around the country but will be the first transgender state senator.

Sarah McBride

The Squad: 4 Congresswomen have been re-elected

All four congresswomen (right) — Representative Ilhan Omar of Minnesota, Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez of New York, Rashida Tlaib of Michigan and Ayanna Pressley of Massachusetts have sailed through re-election.Their major advantage has been their active social media presence, thanks to their progressive vote base.

US House of Representatives

Since taking office in January 2019, the lawmakers, all women of colour, have electrified the left's progressive base and lit up social media, but have also attracted controversy and the ire of President None of the incumbents faced significant challenges in their first reelection bids this year.

Niraj Antani becomes first Indian-American to be elected to Ohio state Senate

Niraj Antani, a 29-year-old Republican, has created history by becoming the first Indian-American to be elected to the Ohio state Senate. Antani, currently the State Representative, defeated Mark Fogel of the Democratic Party on Tuesday and was elected as the state Senator for the Ohio Senate's 6th District, which encompasses most of Montgomery County.

Once sworn-in, he will create history by becoming Ohio's first Indian-American state Senator.

Cori Bush named first woman of colour from Missouri to enter HouseThe state of Missouri will for the first time in its history have a Black woman representing it in Congress after Cori Bush's victory on Tuesday night. Bush's history-making win was expected after she defeated incumbent Rep.

William Lacy Clay Jr in the Democratic primary in August, ending the political dynasty of the Lacy Clay family, which has represented the heavily Democratic, St. Louis-area 1st District for over 50 years.

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First Published: Wed, November 04 2020. 23:12 IST