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The+endgame

Alex Carlon

The endgame

November 2, 2020

With the unconventional voting formats adopted during this year’s presidential election, it’s reasonable to expect delays in the results of the race, with a very real possibility that a winner will not be determined on the night of Nov. 3. 

These delays are primarily due to the abundance of mail-in ballots, which take longer to process through polling places. There are also discrepancies in the way that individual states process different types of ballots, meaning that the results of some states will be available sooner than others.

Iowa is expected to release a verdict by election night, according to Secretary of State Paul Pate, though these results may not be finalized until days following. 

In other, more contentious states with a high volume of absentee ballots, the chances of election night results are slimmer. One of these states is Pennsylvania, a state that many political analysts believe could be a major determinant in this year’s race. In Pennsylvania, state law forbids election officials from opening and counting mail-in ballots until election night. With mail-in ballots comprising one third of Pennsylvania’s total vote count, it’s likely that the outcome seen on election night will vary from the actual results of the state’s election. 

The time at which there’ll be a clear frontrunner will depend on how fast ballots are counted in battleground states like Pennsylvania. These states include: Arizona, Georgia, Florida, Iowa, Michigan, Minnesota, Nevada, New Hampshire, North Carolina, Ohio, Pennsylvania, Texas, and Wisconsin. Here is a summary of how fast results can be expected from each state, and who is the current frontrunner.

 

Arizona

  • Who won in 2016: Donald Trump
  • Who’s leading in the polls: Joe Biden
  • When can we expect results: Arizona began processing ballots two weeks prior to election day, and results are expected within a day of Nov. 3

 

Georgia

  • Who won in 2016: Donald Trump
  • Who’s leading in the polls: The candidates are neck and neck, with Biden barely leading in FiveThirtyEight’s poll average.
  • When can we expect results: Georgia began processing ballots two weeks and one day prior to election day. Results are expected late Tuesday or early Wednesday.

 

Florida:

  • Who won in 2016: Donald Trump
  • Who’s leading in the polls: Joe Biden
  • When can we expect results: Florida’s ballot processing began Sept. 24, but results are expected to trickle in slowly until Wednesday. 

 

Iowa:

  • Who won in 2016: Donald Trump
  • Who’s leading in the polls: The candidates are neck and neck, with Trump barely leading in FiveThirtyEight’s poll average.
  • When can we expect results: An unofficial tally is expected Tuesday night.

 

Michigan:

  • Who won in 2016: Donald Trump
  • Who’s leading in the polls: Joe Biden
  • When can we expect results: Official results are expected by Friday.

 

Minnesota:

  • Who won in 2016: Hillary Clinton
  • Who’s leading in the polls: Joe Biden
  • When can we expect results: Unofficial results are expected Tuesday night.

 

Nevada:

  • Who won in 2016: Hillary Clinton
  • Who’s leading in the polls: Joe Biden
  • When can we expect results: Final results not expected until days following the election.

 

New Hampshire:

  • Who won in 2016: Hillary Clinton
  • Who’s leading in the polls: Joe Biden
  • When can we expect results: Results expected on election night.

 

North Carolina:

  • Who won in 2016: Donald Trump
  • Who’s leading in the polls: Joe Biden, by only 1.8 percentage points in FiveThirtyEight’s polling average.
  • When can we expect results: Results expected on election night.

 

Ohio:

  • Who won in 2016: Donald Trump
  • Who’s leading in the polls: The candidates are neck and neck with Trump leading by less than a percentage point in FiveThirtyEight’s polling average.
  • When can we expect results: Results expected Tuesday evening into Wednesday morning.

 

Pennsylvania:

  • Who won in 2016: Donald Trump
  • Who’s leading in the polls: Joe Biden
  • When can we expect results: It is unclear when to expect Pennsylvania results, as mail-in ballots cannot be counted until Tuesday in most counties, with some counties waiting until as late as Wednesday to begin their count. 

 

Texas:

  • Who won in 2016: Donald Trump
  • Who’s leading in the polls: Trump is leading in FiveThirtyEight’s poll average by just over a point.
  • When can we expect results: Results are expected relatively early on election night, unless the race is tight.

 

Wisconsin:

  • Who won in 2016: Donald Trump
  • Who’s leading in the polls: Joe Biden
  • When can we expect results: Unofficial results expected on election night with official results expected Wednesday.
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