US Election: Who is ahead, why is it taking so long?

Creative Comms

The 2020 US presidential election between President Donald Trump and former vice-president Joe Biden continues to rage on as the race boils down to just six states yet to be called for either candidate.

Trump has incorrectly declared to have already won the election and has, without evidence, claimed that there is wide-spread fraud at key ballot counting centres. The President has also demanded that states stop the counting, or continue counting, depending on if he is ahead.

The race has come down to the wire in a number of states, with a winner yet to be projected by any major news organisations. But a winner might not be too far away.

Here’s everything you need to know:

Reported by CNN, SkyNews, NBC. Created by Sam Tabahriti

What has happened so far and was this all expected? 

Trump and Biden have gone head-to-head in what is seen as the most crucial and important presidential election in a generation.

This view has been reflected at the polls. In some of the vital states to win, there has been a record number of voters and some forecasting the highest turnout in over a century.

In 2016, 230,931,921 people were eligible to vote whereas this year, 239,247,182 were eligible. 

Whereas the likely winner may be Biden, the ‘path to victory’ is yet to be determined as the race tightens. 

However, the battle has been focused on key states such as Pennsylvania and Georgia where it could tilt the balance for one of the parties. 

As votes started to climb for Biden, Trump promptly launched legal action to halt vote counting as he said that the Democrats are “stealing” the votes and there should be no counting after election day. 

Created by Sam Tabahriti via FoxNews, AP reports it differently with Arizona won by Biden.

Greta Thunberg, the worldwide known activist for climate change reacted to one of Trump’s tweets: 

Donald Trump’s reaction to the election on Twitter has sparked anger across the world but has mostly been seen as false claims and Twitter has put a warning on his tweets. 

Why is it taking so long?

The US Presidential election is decided by a handful of key battleground states and this year’s election is no different. Each state counts votes in different ways: Some states first count ballots cast before election day, then election day votes, then mail ballots. Others switch up that order.

Trump raced to early leads in many battleground states as they counted in-person votes first, but mail-in ballots counted later on have favoured Biden, causing Trump’s leads in many of those states to thin, if not disappear.

The battleground states yet to be called for either candidate (Arizona, Georgia, Nevada, North Carolina, and Pennsylvania) are so tight that the remaining votes could still give either candidate victory in that state.

So why are some states still counting?

In Florida, the third-largest state by population, ballots cast prior to election day were processed before polls closed on Tuesday night in order to count the votes quicker. But in some key battleground states like Pennsylvania, early ballots are not counted until after election day.

All of the states remaining are battleground states with razor-thin margins. They could be decided by just a few thousand votes, so almost every vote must be counted until a clear winner can be projected.

Who is likely to win?

In short: Biden.

Many of the votes left to count in the remaining states are mail-in ballots, which are overwhelmingly proving to be Democrat votes, with Biden-supporters more likely to have avoided in-person voting due to the coronavirus pandemic.

At the time of writing, Biden holds narrow leads in Arizona, Nevada, Georgia, and Pennsylvania, while Trump is ahead in North Carolina. But the ballots left to count are mail-in ballots, so it’s really a question of whether Trump can hold onto his leads in that, as well as claw back the states in which he is behind, with uncounted ballots clearly trending toward Biden.

If you watch the news, you will hear a lot about “paths to victory.” It’s shorthand to describe which states Biden and Trump need to win to be victorious, and the former US vice-president has more ways of winning — if Biden wins Pennsylvania the race is over, but he can still win if he doesn’t.

Biden will win the election if he wins any two Arizona, Nevada, Georgia and Pennsylvania, all of which he looks increasingly likely to win.

Should Biden won all four of those states, he would achieve a 306-232 electoral college win, a very similar margin to Trump’s victory over Hilary Clinton in 2016.

When will a winner be announced?

It was expected that election night could become election week, but a winner could be projected by Friday. Pennsylvania would be a knockout blow for Trump, where Biden has taken a narrow lead after 95% of its votes have been counted. Secretary of State Kathy Boockvar has said that she expects an “overwhelming majority of ballots” in the state to be counted by Friday.

In Nevada, the count must be finished by Nov. 12, and local officials have said that results from more than 51,000 mail-in ballots will be counted by Friday. 

Georgia, where Biden narrowly overtook Trump on Friday morning with 99% of votes counted, is still to count over 9,000 military votes which do not arrive until Friday.

Either campaign can demand a recount in states where the race is particularly tight, but each state has their own rules around how close the race must be to do so.

What have Trump and Biden said?

President Donald Trump addressed the nation on Thursday evening. Making unsubstantiated claims, here’s what he said:

Biden made a short statement a few hours prior to Trump’s, mentioning the pandemic while addressing the nation about the election:

Trump’s claims – true or false?

CNN reports the president made the “most dishonest speech of his presidency” on Thursday night as he claimed Democrats are “trying to steal an election” — there has been no evidence of this so far; election officials are simply and legally counting the legitimate votes. 

Trump has also repeatedly claimed victory of the election and in the states of Wisconsin, Michigan, Pennsylvania and Georgia. Yet again, he claimed victory before all the votes are counted. Moreover, he actually lost Wisconsin and Michigan. 

Georgia and Pennsylvania are still counting their mail-in ballots but as aforementioned, they are prominently for the Democrats. 

Trump has always been known to make false and/or unsupported claims, but during this election, he has proven to be relentless. 

He has said that the country’s electoral system was “corrupt” when it comes to mail-in ballots, calling them “illegal votes.”

Mail-n in ballots cast before or on election are being legally counted, even if they have arrived after Tuesday, contrary to Trump’s claims.


Words: Connor O’Halloran, Sam Tabahriti | Subbing: Arwa Nadeem

Accessibility | Cookies | Terms of use and privacy