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WORLD | 05-11-2020 02:17

Election win for Biden or Trump hinges on seven critical states

Hard-fought now depends on results from a handful of states, each with varying rules on counting votes and contesting results, complicating the final stretch to declaring a winner.

The hard-fought presidential contest between Donald Trump and Joe Biden now depends on the outcomes of a handful of states, each with varying rules on counting votes and contesting results – complicating the final stretch to declaring a winner.

Wisconsin is heading for a recount, while six other states have yet to be called by at least some major networks – Pennsylvania, Michigan, North Carolina, Georgia, Nevada and Arizona. Excluding these seven, Biden has 227 electoral votes of the 270 required for victory, while Trump has 217.

The following shows the state of play and potential outlook for these seven states, a day 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 about 79,000 votes as of 10.30pm Eastern Time, according to the AP. Several hundred thousand ballots remained to be counted as of Wednesday night.

Disputes: The vote will be outside the possibility of a recount if Biden maintains his roughly 51 percent to 48 percent lead over Trump, said Arizona Secretary of State Katie Hobbs. 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.

What’s next: All eyes will be on Maricopa County when election officials will release more vote counts from outstanding ballots overnight.

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 says ballot counting is complete. The state doesn’t provide an official count until one is certified, on December 1. Unofficial counts showed Biden with 20,535 more votes than Trump. The AP, CNN and Fox News are among those that have called the state.

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 one percent that allows for such a move. Campaign manager Bill Stepien said in a statement that “there have been reports of irregularities in several Wisconsin counties which raise serious doubts about the validity of the results.” He also charged 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. Once 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 former Republican governor of Wisconsin.


Michigan (16 Votes)

The AP has called the race for Biden.

Where it stands: Biden led the state by about more than 120,000 votes – or about 2.2 percentage points – as of 10.30pm Wednesday with about 94 percent of ballots counted.

Disputes: Trump’s campaign said before the networks projected Biden to win Michigan that it was suing to stop vote counts in the state – claiming its representatives haven’t been given meaningful access to counting locations to observe the process.

What’s next: Secretary of State Jocelyn Benson said earlier that she expects the state would complete counting the majority of votes by the end of the day Wednesday.

Bottom line: A win in Michigan would flip a state Trump won in 2016 into Biden’s column and significantly narrow Trump’s path to victory.


Nevada (Six Votes)

The state has yet to be called.

Where it stands: Biden has retained a narrow lead of less than 8,000 votes as ballots continue to be counted. With tens of thousands of votes outstanding, the final tally may not be imminent.

Disputes: The Trump campaign has a pending lawsuit challenging the accuracy of the state’s signature-matching technology and public access for election observers. Nevada’s highest court rejected a request to halt the ballot counting, saying the state GOP failed to produce evidence of wrongdoing. But the lawsuit remains pending.

What’s next: The state allows mail-in ballots that were post-marked as late as Election Day, and received by as late as November 10, drawing out the potential timeline. It also allows ballots with errors to be “cured” as late as November 12 and certified as late as November 16.

Bottom line: With Biden leading and mail-in ballots expected to skew Democratic, prospects look promising for him. Yet with a narrow margin and an estimated tens of thousands of mail-in ballots, 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 some 164,418 votes as of 11pm Eastern Time, according to the AP, but more than one million mail-in ballots remained to be counted and most of those were expected to favour Biden because Democrats dominated the requests for them.

Disputes: Trump had long predicted without evidence that massive fraud would be committed in Pennsylvania, especially in heavily Democratic Philadelphia. The Trump campaign said it was suing to halt what it portrayed as ballot-counting abuses.

What’s next: “The overwhelming majority of ballots will be counted by Friday, and at this point it looks like significantly sooner than that,” Kathy Boockvar, the secretary of the Commonwealth, said on CNN.

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 about 33,000 votes as of 10.30pm Eastern Time, according to the AP. The state had around 91,000 ballots yet uncounted as of late Wednesday night, according to Secretary of State Brad Raffensperger. The largest numbers were in Fulton and DeKalb counties, both of which are in the Atlanta area and lean Democratic.

Disputes: No significant disputes have yet emerged.

What’s Next: Raffensperger said early Wednesday he hopes to have all ballots counted by the end of day.

Bottom line: While many of the remaining ballots would appear to favour 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 as of 10.30pm Eastern Time, according to the AP. The state still has yet to count about 117,000 absentee ballots, plus an unknown number of provisional ballots, outstanding. Absentee ballots can be counted up to November 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 is 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 November 12 and November 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 November 24 meeting.

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


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by Bloomberg News


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