US Election 2020: What has happened so far and how long will it take?
While Joe Biden is on the verge of taking the presidency after pulling ahead in Pennsylvania and a vote recount announced in Georgia, no winner has been declared yet as hundreds of thousands of votes are still to be counted, including in key battleground states. The narrow margin in Georgia has pushed the state into a recount. AP has called Arizona’s 11 electoral votes for Biden but other news organizations have regarded the race still too close to call. Joe Biden said, while addressing his supporters at the Chase Center in Wilmington, Delaware, “We don’t have a final declaration of victory yet, but the numbers tell us a clear and convincing story.” On the other hand, President Donald Trump has continued to undermine the counting process and called it a “fraud against the American people.”
Why the delay in results?
Counts were delayed by a record flood of mail-in ballots as an unprecedented number of people voted early due to the Covid-19 pandemic. As a large number of mail-in ballots could not be processed until the Election day, the delay was inevitable, some experts rightfully predicted an election week, instead of an election day. Biden had appealed to his supporters to vote early, while Trump had urged Americans to show up on Election Day.
Which states have not been called yet?
Unlike previous elections, Georgia, Nevada, Pennsylvania, Arizona and North Carolina have emerged as the battleground states.
Arizona has an estimated 250,000 to 270,000 unaccounted ballots left to count, as told by Secretary of State Katie Hobbs, a Democrat to CNN. But the state has been called for Biden by most news organizations.
Georgia has gone for a recount and is crucial as it has long been a Republican stronghold but recently southern Georgia because of its growing black electorate and Democrat figures like Stacey Abrams has become a battleground state. Georgia Secretary of State Brad Raffensperger said, “With a margin that small, there will be a recount.”
Nevada has six electoral votes that hang in the balance. The Nevada Secretary of State said about 190,150 ballots statewide remained to be counted, of which 90% are from Clark County, the state’s most populous county and a Democratic stronghold.
North Carolina has seen a lead for Trump by more than 75,000 votes with an estimated 95% reported. According to the North Carolina State Board of Elections, nine county election boards were meeting on Friday to consider at least 4,300 additional absentee ballots, which would be added to the unofficial election results.
Pennsylvania, with 20 electoral votes has Biden in the lead by over 19,500 votes. He may further widen his lead as there were 102,541 more mail ballots that needed to be counted, including many from Allegheny County, a Democratic area that is home to Pittsburgh, and the Democratic stronghold of Philadelphia County.
What is happening in the Senate and the House of Representatives?
Americans are also electing members to the two chambers of Congress, the main law-making body of the US which are the Senate and the House of Representatives. Whoever becomes the president will need the support of the Senate and the House to enact key policies.
In the Senate, Republicans held a 53-47 Senate majority. Democrats needed to gain at least three seats to win control, or four if Donald Trump is re-elected and Mike Pence as vice-president can break a tie. 35 Senate seats are being contested and with 31 out of 35 seats called, it is still unclear who will hold the majority in the Senate.
In the House of representatives, Democrats were defending a majority in the 435-member House. Republicans held 197 House seats and needed 218 to win control. The Democrats are in the lead in the House of representatives, as of now.
When will we have the final results?
That is a tough question. It may still take days until we have the final results.