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Close enough to call?: Where things stand in remaining states in US polls

Five states are extremely close and continue to count ballots - Pennsylvania, North Carolina, Georgia, Nevada, and Arizona - and they haven't been called by major media organisations

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US Presidential elections 2020 | Donald Trump | USA

Bloomberg News 

An election official counts absentee ballots for the 2020 Presidential election at State Farm Arena in Atlanta, Georgia. Photo: Bloomberg
An election official counts absentee ballots for the 2020 Presidential election at State Farm Arena in Atlanta, Georgia. Photo: Bloomberg

The 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.

Five states are extremely close and continue to count ballots -- Pennsylvania, North Carolina, Georgia, Nevada and Arizona. They haven’t been called by major media organizations, with the exception of Arizona, which was called for Biden by two outlets. Elsewhere, Wisconsin and Georgia are preparing for recounts, and Michigan is among several states subject to legal battles.

Excluding those, 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, three days after voters went to the polls nationwide in a record turnout.

Pennsylvania (20 Votes)

The state has yet to be called by networks and the Associated Press.

Where it stands:

Biden led Trump by about 20,000 votes at 7:20 p.m. Friday, after trailing the president since Election Day. About 102,000 mail-in ballots had yet to be counted. Biden has received about 77% of the mail-in votes so far, Department of State data show.

People count votes in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, on November 4. Photo: Bloomberg

People count votes in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, on November 4. Photo: Bloomberg

Disputes:

A Pennsylvania state judge on Friday ordered county boards of election in the state to put aside provisional ballots cast on Election Day for voters who also sent absentee or mail-in ballots that arrived on time.

Republicans are also asking the U.S. Supreme Court to order Pennsylvania counties to segregate mailed ballots that arrived after Election Day, after the Pennsylvania Supreme Court ruled that votes would count if they arrived by Nov. 6 and were postmarked by Election Day.

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. The city filed a petition with Pennsylvania’s Supreme Court asking it to allow an appeal to overturn that order.

What’s next:

Heavily-Democratic Allegheny County is counting the roughly 35,000 remaining ballots and results will continue to be released over the weekend, according to county officials. About 40,000 ballots remain in Philadelphia as of Friday, according to city officials.

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:

Biden overtook Trump’s lead early Friday and was ahead by almost 4,000 votes by 7:20 p.m. Friday, as counting continued. The state had had about 4,000 mail-in ballots uncounted as of Friday afternoon, according to the state’s voting system implementation manager Gabriel Sterling. About 13,000 provisional ballots were cast in the state and are currently being vetted. The state is also beginning to examine military and overseas ballots which were due 5 p.m. Friday.

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:

“With a margin that small, there will be a recount in Georgia,” Raffensperger said Friday morning.

Bottom line:

The margin in Georgia is the tightest of any state. If it shrinks as additional votes come in, a recount in this state could yield a different victor than the initial count.

Nevada (6 Votes)

The state has yet to be called.

Where it stands:

Biden expanded his lead to nearly 23,000 votes, with hundreds of thousands of ballots remaining to be counted as of Friday evening, according to the AP.

Disputes:

A federal judge in Nevada agreed to expedite a Republican request for a temporary restraining against the state’s process for counting mail-in ballots, after a group that includes Republican officials claimed in a lawsuit “over 3,000 instances of ineligible individuals casting ballots.”

What’s next:

Clark County registrar of voters Joe Gloria said Friday afternoon that there are about 63,000 ballots yet to be released. Results will continue to be released over the weekend.

Bottom line:

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

Arizona (11 Votes)

The Associated Press has called the race for Biden but not all networks have followed.

Where it stands:

Biden led Trump by roughly 38,000 votes as of Friday evening after the latest returns from Maricopa County, home to Phoenix, trimmed his lead over Trump.

Voters arrive at a polling location in Eloy, Arizona, on November 3. Photo: Reuters

Voters arrive at a polling location in Eloy, Arizona, on November 3. Photo: Reuters

Disputes:

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 on Wednesday.

What’s next:

The next results from Maricopa, Arizona’s largest county, are expected at 7 p.m. local time. Arizona Secretary of State Katie 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.

North Carolina (15 Votes)

The state has yet to be called.

Where it stands:

Trump led Biden by nearly 77,000 votes Friday evening, according to the State Board of Elections, with many absentee ballots and provisional ballots remain outstanding. Absentee ballots can be received up to Nov. 12, as long as they were postmarked by Election Day.

Disputes:

No major lawsuits have yet been filed in North Carolina.

What’s next:

About 99,000 absentee ballots were outstanding as of Friday afternoon, according to the State Board of Elections. The number cast will ultimately be lower as some voters may have decided to vote in person instead and others didn’t vote at all. An additional 31,900 eligible ballots have been received by county boards of election and are waiting to be tallied.

There are also 40,766 provisional ballots that were voted statewide and are waiting to be tallied. In 2016, about 44% of provisional ballots cast were ultimately counted.

Bottom line:

It could take a week to get final results, but Trump appears to be more likely to win the 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 about 20,500 more votes than Trump.

A polling location in Milwaukee, Wisconsin, on November 3. Photo: Bloomberg

A polling location in Milwaukee, Wisconsin, on November 3. Photo: Bloomberg

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 showing Trump trailing 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 votes 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 a margin of 146,000 votes, according to the Associated Press which 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.”

Volunteers process absentee ballots in Detroit, Michigan, on November 4. Photo: Bloomberg

Volunteers process absentee ballots in Detroit, Michigan, on November 4. Photo: Bloomberg

Disputes:

A state 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.

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First Published: Sat, November 07 2020. 07:16 IST