How Biden could end 2020 on election night — and why Trump’s path is unlikely
President Donald Trump has called for the 2020 election results to be known on election night, although some states warn that it will take days for their votes to be counted. However, if a winner is announced on November 3rd, it will almost certainly be bad news for the president.
While vote counting could be delayed in many states due to a flood of postal ballot papers, Biden challenges Trump in several fast-counting, republican swing states that the president led four years ago. Election administrators in these states, particularly Florida and North Carolina, are confident they should have the majority of the vote on election night.
The major states that made Electoral College Trump in 2016 - Michigan, Pennsylvania, and Wisconsin - allow extremely limited preprocessing of postal ballot papers at best. That means it can take days for a winner to actually be determined in these states.
The result: Several narrow paths to a quick 270 votes for Biden and basically none for Trump - apart from one big surprise in states that he lost four years ago. The president probably can't win another term in the White House without waiting days to find out, despite Trump hinting he might try to claim he won on election night based on vote counts that don't have many postal ballots yet which contain more Democrats plan to use this year.
Biden is currently a leader in swing state polls, putting him on track to win the electoral college once the ballots are fully counted, regardless of what happens on election night. But his leads are smaller or the race is a draw in the battlefield states that have a better chance of getting called shortly after the polls are completed. That might not matter in a vacuum, but the situation quickly cleared some Democrats, worried the president could wreak havoc during an extended period of uncertain vote counting, to call for additional investment in states that could help Biden Score Victory Close the polls.
"In the past, the turning point was the state that gave you victory on the electoral college," said David Pepper, chairman of the Ohio Democratic Party. That year he said, "Given what Trump is doing ... people see if you can hit the turning point that ends the nightmare before it begins, you make it the turning point."
Other Democrats are calling on the party to resist the urge to knockout on election night and move on without considering how quickly the votes will be counted. "Our goal is to hit 270 regardless of the timing," said Guy Cecil, chairman of Priorities USA, the flagship of the Pro-Biden outgroup. "We don't make adjustments based on profit over a period of time."
How Biden's high story gives him a narrow path to 270 on November 3rd
Biden has an election night of 226 electoral college votes from states where a combination of cheap votes and quick vote counting should result in quick race calls. That includes the nominal battlefield states of Minnesota and New Hampshire, where he leads the most recent poll averages by 9 points apiece - and there are several plausible, albeit slim, shots for Biden to get 270 votes before joining these three critical states A slower voting process calls: Wisconsin, Michigan, and Pennsylvania.
(Maine 2nd and Nebraska 2nd district votes are not shown on the map above.)
Most of Biden's paths to 270 before calling these states begin with securing Florida, where election officials are confident their state can count the vast majority of ballots quickly. "I think Florida is in a good position to be the shining star on election night," Craig Latimer, the current president of the Florida Supervisors of Elections Association, told POLITICO.
If Biden can win Florida on election night - not a sure thing, regardless of the timing - the Democrats could secure the other 15 votes in three ways: by winning North Carolina, Ohio, or combining Arizona and Iowa.
For Democrats who are optimistic about closing Trump on election night, Ohio is a particularly attractive destination with 18 votes. Trump won Ohio by about 8 percentage points four years ago and was not considered a 2020 battlefield until recently. According to a recent survey by the New York Times / Siena College, Biden is now even walking around the state with Trump and is expected to the ballot papers are quickly counted there.
"The chance for Donald Trump to wreak havoc is in those states where votes are counted after that and last for days or weeks," said Pepper, chairman of the Ohio Democratic Party. "Ohio - because it counts first, announces first - it eliminates Trump's ability to do this."
A win in Ohio, he said, could make Trump's efforts "irrelevant" in other states.
If Biden loses Florida or the results there are too close to be named, it will be very difficult for him to get 270 votes on election night. He could try cobbling together the remaining votes in a combination of North Carolina, Arizona, Iowa, and Ohio, but the most likely routes are all Florida.
(Biden has also participated in polls in Nevada - the only battlefield state that sends a ballot to all voters, whether or not they requested one - but officials have already warned they are not expecting results quickly. "That is unlikely We will get results on election night, ”Jennifer Russell, spokeswoman for Republican Secretary of State Barbara Cegavske, wrote in an email.)
There's also a chance that Biden could win a big blowout where he flips Florida and North Carolina on the way to a winning card that includes other big wins like Texas and Georgia.
Some Democrats also remain skeptical of Biden's prospects in Florida, and Ohio in particular, and have privately groaned over spending in those states. A Democratic strategist working with large donors said the party would win more if it spent that money in clearly more winnable states and "on a real voter protection program [instead of] money on states we don't spend money on."
A Biden campaign official said the campaign's priorities do not depend on when states report the results on election night. And Cecil, the chairman of Priorities USA, said the group wasn't considering landing the final blow on election night trying to figure out where to spend.
"The reality is that the places where people have suggested that the race can be held either Tuesday night or Wednesday morning were places like Florida, places that we were already questioning before this final presidential push to question the election. have invested significantly, "said Cecil." We are only making these investments based on the six states that we believe are most likely to lead us to 270. "
Trump's path for 2016 would extend beyond election night 2020
Even if Trump sticks to the election votes that went his way in 2016 and receives election night calls from exit elections, and states expect the votes to be counted quickly, the results will likely still shy him away from an electoral college majority if he walks in sleep tonight.
This map leaves the three crucial states of the Great Lakes, Wisconsin, Michigan, and Pennsylvania untouched on November 3rd as a wave of postal ballot papers is expected to be counted. Trump won these three states together with around 80,000 votes in 2016.
In this scenario, Trump's only way to win an election night would be to win a state that Hillary Clinton promoted in 2016, such as Minnesota. But it does not run within the margin of error in current surveys there.
(The above card doesn't show Trump also carrying the electoral vote for Maine's 2nd District as he did in 2016, but his hypothetical 260 votes for the electoral college include ME-02.)
Meanwhile, Trump's 2016 map is fragile, especially in the three Great Lakes states, but also in Arizona, where Biden has built a consistent voting lead. Florida looks tough on the president too, while polls are tight in other Trump states like Georgia, North Carolina, Ohio, and even Texas.
The president could very well win states like Florida, Arizona, and Ohio, but wins there may not be clear shortly after the polls are completed.
Arizona and Florida count the ballots pretty quickly, but both states have recently experienced close races that were not called after election night. Trump has tried in the past to delegitimize the number of ballots in both states.
Days after the 2018 midterm elections, Trump urged Florida to stop counting ballots as the number of votes tightened in the races of GOP Senator Rick Scott and GOP Governor Ron DeSantis. and many ballots are missing or forged. "
"Must go on election night!" He wrote on Twitter in a chorus that still springs to mind Democrats this year.
In Ohio, employees have ample time before election day to begin processing postal ballot papers. However, the state also accepts ballot papers that are received up to 10 days after the election day, provided they are stamped by the Monday before the election day. This means that if the race is very close, the state can remain unsolicited until this deadline has passed.
"So if a candidate has a 4 or 5 percent lead on election night and wins with a million votes and only a few hundred thousand pending absentee votes, the competition is over, isn't it?" I think it's pretty simple numerically, "Republican Secretary of State Frank LaRose said in a September interview. "But if it's a closer race ... well, then you just can't say it's still a conclusive result at this point."
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