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Biden inches closer to victory: Where things stand in remaining states

Wisconsin is prepared for a recount and Michigan is among several states subject to legal battles

Donald Trump | Joe Biden | US Presidential elections 2020

Bloomberg News 

US Election
Biden has 227 electoral votes of the 270 required for victory, with Trump at 217 including Alaska.

The hard-fought presidential contest between and now depends on the outcomes of a handful of states, each with varying rules on counting votes and contesting results -- delaying the declaration of a winner.

Wisconsin is prepared for a recount and Michigan is among several states subject to legal battles. Five others have yet to be called by at least some major networks -- Pennsylvania, North Carolina, Georgia, Nevada and Arizona. Excluding these seven, Biden has 227 electoral votes of the 270 required for victory, with Trump at 217 including Alaska.

The following shows the state of play and potential outlook for these seven states, two days after voters flocked to the polls nationwide in a surge in turnout.

Arizona (11 Votes)

The Associated Press has called the race for Biden.

Where it stands: Biden led Trump by almost 56,000 votes as of Thursday evening, according to the AP.

Disputes: The vote will be outside the possibility of a recount if Biden maintains his roughly 50% to 48% lead over Trump, Arizona Secretary of State Katie Hobbs said Wednesday. Republicans “don’t have a legal pathway to challenge” the votes being counted now, she said. Trump campaign adviser Jason Miller has called on the AP and Fox News to withdraw their calls for Biden. “This was erroneous. It was a mistake,” Miller said.

US Election

An election official counts absentee ballot in Atlanta, Georgia, on Nov. 4.

What’s next: All eyes are on Maricopa County, which had 300,000 of the state’s total 450,000 outstanding ballots yet to count, Hobbs said Thursday morning. The state will report more data on Thursday evening. Hobbs said that by Friday evening much of the state’s outstanding ballots should be reported.

Bottom line: Both the Trump and Biden campaigns are expressing confidence they’ll win the battleground state.

Wisconsin (10 Votes)

The AP has called the race for Biden.

Where it stands: Election commission administrator Meagan Wolfe said Wednesday that ballot counting was complete. The state doesn’t provide an official count until one is certified on Dec. 1. Unofficial counts showed Biden with 20,808 more votes than Trump.

Disputes: Trump’s campaign plans to exercise its right to demand a recount, as the unofficial margin of 0.7 percentage point was within the 1% that allows for such a move. Campaign manager Bill Stepien said in a statement Wednesday that “there have been reports of irregularities in several Wisconsin counties which raise serious doubts about the validity of the results.” He also suggested that public polling had been used as a “voter suppression” tactic.

What’s next: Election clerks are working through the steps in Wisconsin’s certification process, including an audit of voting equipment. If Trump’s campaign formally calls for a recount, it may take several days to process. In a recount of the 2016 presidential election, counties completed the process within 10 days.

Bottom line: Overturning a lead of more than 20,000 is a “high hurdle,” said Scott Walker, a Republican former governor of Wisconsin.

Michigan (16 Votes)

AP called the race for Biden.

Where it stands: Biden won Michigan with 50.6% of the vote, compared with Trump’s 47.9% according to figures posted on the Michigan secretary of state website that showed 5.5 million votes had been tallied. Secretary of State Jocelyn Benson said late Wednesday that “all valid ballots, and only valid ballots, have been counted, securely and accurately.”

Disputes: A state court judge Thursday ruled against an effort by Trump’s campaign to halt the counting of absentee ballots until an election inspector from each party was present to observe the process, saying that the process has effectively ended.

What’s next: There’s still the possibility of a recount in Michigan, where the legal standard is easy for challengers to meet.

Bottom line: If Biden’s lead gets certified, it would flip a state Trump won in 2016 into Biden’s column and bring him to the brink of victory.

US Election

Volunteers process absentee ballots in Detroit, Michigan, on Nov. 4.

Nevada (6 Votes)

The state has yet to be called.

Where it stands: Biden has retained a narrow lead of around 11,000 votes as ballots continue to be counted. With about 190,000 ballots remaining to be counted as of Thursday afternoon -- according to Nevada Secretary of State Barbara Cegavske -- results may not be imminent.

Disputes: The Trump campaign announced a lawsuit to challenge the count in Clark County, the home of Las Vegas, Thursday morning.

What’s next:

Results from Clark County will continue to be released Friday and over the weekend, according to Joe Gloria, the county’s registrar of voters.

Bottom line: With Biden leading and mail-in ballots expected to skew Democratic, prospects look promising for him. Yet with a narrow margin and lots of ballots still to be counted, the timing of a final count remains uncertain.

Pennsylvania (20 Votes)

The state has yet to be called.

Where it stands: Trump was leading Biden by about 63,700 votes as of 8 p.m. Thursday EST, according to the AP, but hundreds of thousands of mail-in ballots had yet to be counted. Biden is receiving 77% of the mail-in votes for president so far, Department of State data show.

Disputes: The Trump campaign claimed a small victory Thursday morning when a court ordered Philadelphia election officials to watch the counting of mail-in and absentee ballots from as close as six feet. By noontime, the city filed a petition with Pennsylvania’s Supreme Court asking it to allow an appeal to overturn that order.

What’s next: Several hundred thousand mail-in votes remained to be counted Thursday evening, which could take until Friday to complete, said Kathy Boockvar, secretary of the commonwealth. “We’re coming in the home stretch here,” she said in a Thursday press conference.

Bottom line: As expected, Pennsylvania has become a central focus of political -- and now legal -- warfare over the election outcome.

Georgia (16 Votes)

The state has yet to be called.

Where it stands: Trump led Biden by less than 3,500 votes at about 8 p.m. Thursday, according to the AP. The state had about 47,000 ballots uncounted at 3 p.m., according to Georgia’s Secretary of State Brad Raffensperger.

Disputes: The Trump campaign filed a lawsuit Wednesday alleging that Chatham County is improperly counting absentee ballots that were received after the state’s deadline. A poll watcher claims that a poll worker was storing and counting ballots improperly.

What’s Next: Gabriel Sterling, the state’s voting systems implementation manager, said he hopes most votes would be counted Thursday night, but that it could slip to Friday.

Bottom line: While many of the remaining ballots would appear to favor Biden’s chances, it’s unclear whether the former vice president can make up the deficit in this traditionally red state.

North Carolina (15 Votes)

The state has yet to be called.

Where it stands: Trump led Biden by about 77,000 votes Thursday evening, according to the AP. A number of absentee ballots and provisional ballots remain outstanding. Absentee ballots can be counted up to Nov. 12, as long as they were postmarked by Election Day.

Disputes: No major lawsuits have yet been filed in North Carolina, but provisional ballots could be an area where tension erupts. The state had been planning to release numbers on provisional ballots midday Thursday. In 2016, less than half of the 61,000 provisional ballots cast were counted.

What’s next: Counties have scheduled meetings for Nov. 12 and Nov. 13 to tally the results from their outstanding absentee and provisional ballots after they conduct audits and other procedural checks. Due to public notice requirements under state law, those meetings can’t be moved earlier. The state Board of Elections will provide a final and official count that will be certified at a Nov. 24 meeting.

Bottom line: It could take a week to get final results, but Trump appears to be more likely to win the state.

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First Published: Fri, November 06 2020. 07:22 IST