EXPLAINER: States that still don't have a winner and what makes them that way

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  • November 4, 2020
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A handful of pivotal states remained in play Wednesday in the tightly contested U.S. presidential race. Here, The Associated Press reviews them and examines the reasons why they could still go to either Republican Donald Trump or Democrat Joe Biden:___GEORGIA: Outstanding ballots left to be counted in counties where Biden has performed well.THE BACKGROUND: Early Wednesday, Trump prematurely claimed he carried Georgia.“It’s … clear that we have won Georgia. We’re up by 2.5%, or 117,000 (votes) with only 7% (of the vote) left” to count, Trump said during an early morning appearance at the White House. He also said he planned to contest the U.S. presidential election before the Supreme Court. It was unclear exactly what legal action he might pursue.The race is too early to call, as estimated 6% of the vote still remains to be counted. That includes ballots from counties Biden is winning in the Atlanta area.___MICHIGAN: An estimated 4% of the vote remains to be counted in Michigan, much of it from the Democratic stronghold of Detroit. That makes the race between Trump and Biden too early too call.THE BACKGROUND: Michigan is among a handful of battleground states where Trump prematurely claimed early Wednesday he was “winning” the contest with Biden.“We’re winning Michigan by — I’ll tell you, I looked at the numbers,” Trump said during an appearance at the White House, where he promised to contest the election before the Supreme Court.More than 5.26 million votes have been cast in Michigan and many of the ballots left to be counted were submitted by mail, a way of voting that favors Biden. Of those, a significant number were from Wayne County, home to heavily Democratic Detroit.With 96% of the vote counted in the state early Wednesday afternoon , Biden held a roughly 46,000 vote edge over Trump — a lead of about a percentage point.The Trump campaign says it has filed a lawsuit in Michigan state court demanding “meaningful access” to locations where ballots are being counted. The Trump campaign says it is calling for a temporary halt in the counting until it is given “meaningful access” in numerous locations and allowed to review ballots that already have been opened and processed. The former vice president’s campaign meanwhile welcomed the ongoing vote count and a Biden campaign attorney said they are ready for any legal fight. And Michigan Democrats said the suit was a longshot.Lonnie Scott, executive director of Progress Michigan, a liberal advocacy group, said Trump only filed the suit to stop The Associated Press and other media outlets from calling the race for Biden.___NEVADA: The Associated Press has not yet declared a winner in the state of Nevada because it is too early to call the race there between President Donald Trump and Democratic nominee Joe Biden.THE BACKGROUND: About 75% of the votes are in and Biden leads by less than 8,000 votes.But there are outstanding ballots left to be counted in the coming days. Under state law, they can still be accepted as long as they were postmarked by the Nov. 3 Election Day. Additionally, many ballots received on Election Day have yet to be tallied.Trump narrowly lost Nevada in 2016 as the state has trended toward the Democrats in the past decade. The last Republican presidential contender to win the state was George W. Bush in 2004.___NORTH CAROLINA: Race too early to call, with fewer than 200,000 mail-in ballots left to count.THE BACKGROUND: Trump prematurely claimed early Wednesday that he won the state.“We’ve clearly won North Carolina, where we’re up 1.7%, 77,000 votes with only approximately 5% left. They can’t catch us,” he said during an appearance at the White House. Trump also said he planned to contest the U.S. presidential election before the Supreme Court. It was unclear, exactly, what legal action he might pursue.Though Trump is correct that he held a roughly 76,000-vote lead in the state early Wednesday, the race is too early to call with less than 200,000 mail-in ballots left to count.As long as those ballots are postmarked by Nov. 3, state election officials have until Nov. 12 to count them. And when it comes to mail ballots, Biden was outperforming Trump. That means the ballots yet to be counted could give Biden a lead.___PENNSYLVANIA: More than 1 million votes left to be counted.THE BACKGROUND: Pennsylvania is among a handful of battleground states Trump and Biden are narrowly contesting. Trump, who held a 675,000-vote lead early Wednesday, prematurely declared victory in the state.“We’re winning Pennsylvania by a tremendous amount. We’re up 690,000 votes in Pennsylvania. These aren’t even close. It’s not like, ‘Oh, it’s close,’” Trump said during an appearance at the White House.Yet the vast majority of the votes left to be counted there were cast by mail, a form of voting that Biden has carried by a large margin.Democrats had long considered Pennsylvania a part of their “blue wall” — a trifecta that also includes Wisconsin and Michigan — that for years had served as a bulwark in presidential elections. In 2016, Trump won each by less than a percentage point. Biden, who was born in Scranton, claims favorite-son status in the state.Trump held a roughly 470,000 vote lead by early Wednesday afternoon. But what appears to be a big lead is misleading. Under state law, election officials couldn’t begin processing mail ballots until the morning of Election Day, and only about 64% of the vote had been counted.The Trump campaign also said Wednesday afternoon it was taking legal steps to “ensure the integrity of Pennsylvania’s election.”Among several measures, the campaign said it was suing to temporarily halt counting in an effort to make sure Republicans can properly oversee counting.There have been no reports of fraud or any type of ballot concerns out of Pennsylvania. The state had 3.1 million mail-in ballots that take time to count and an order allows them to be counted up until Friday if they are postmarked by Nov. 3.___Meanwhile, the Trump campaign also said it would ask for a recount in Wisconsin, but The Associated Press already called that state for Biden on Wednesday afternoon. Campaign manager Bill Stepien cited “irregularities in several Wisconsin counties.”The Associated Press called the race for Biden after election officials there said all outstanding ballots had been counted, except for a few hundred in one township and a small number of provisional ballots around the state. It’s a finding the news agency confirmed after reaching out to every county in the state to get an accounting of votes left to be counted. The former vice president’s lead there is now so great that there is no way the remaining votes would allow Trump to catch up.Trump’s campaign has requested a recount, which a trailing candidate is allowed to do under state law if a race is within 1 percentage point. Hearst TV contributed to this report.

A handful of pivotal states remained in play Wednesday in the tightly contested U.S. presidential race. Here, The Associated Press reviews them and examines the reasons why they could still go to either Republican Donald Trump or Democrat Joe Biden:

___

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GEORGIA: Outstanding ballots left to be counted in counties where Biden has performed well.

THE BACKGROUND: Early Wednesday, Trump prematurely claimed he carried Georgia.

“It’s … clear that we have won Georgia. We’re up by 2.5%, or 117,000 (votes) with only 7% (of the vote) left” to count, Trump said during an early morning appearance at the White House. He also said he planned to contest the U.S. presidential election before the Supreme Court. It was unclear exactly what legal action he might pursue.

The race is too early to call, as estimated 6% of the vote still remains to be counted. That includes ballots from counties Biden is winning in the Atlanta area.

___

MICHIGAN: An estimated 4% of the vote remains to be counted in Michigan, much of it from the Democratic stronghold of Detroit. That makes the race between Trump and Biden too early too call.

THE BACKGROUND: Michigan is among a handful of battleground states where Trump prematurely claimed early Wednesday he was “winning” the contest with Biden.

“We’re winning Michigan by — I’ll tell you, I looked at the numbers,” Trump said during an appearance at the White House, where he promised to contest the election before the Supreme Court.

More than 5.26 million votes have been cast in Michigan and many of the ballots left to be counted were submitted by mail, a way of voting that favors Biden. Of those, a significant number were from Wayne County, home to heavily Democratic Detroit.

With 96% of the vote counted in the state early Wednesday afternoon , Biden held a roughly 46,000 vote edge over Trump — a lead of about a percentage point.

The Trump campaign says it has filed a lawsuit in Michigan state court demanding “meaningful access” to locations where ballots are being counted. The Trump campaign says it is calling for a temporary halt in the counting until it is given “meaningful access” in numerous locations and allowed to review ballots that already have been opened and processed.

The former vice president’s campaign meanwhile welcomed the ongoing vote count and a Biden campaign attorney said they are ready for any legal fight. And Michigan Democrats said the suit was a longshot.

Lonnie Scott, executive director of Progress Michigan, a liberal advocacy group, said Trump only filed the suit to stop The Associated Press and other media outlets from calling the race for Biden.

___

NEVADA: The Associated Press has not yet declared a winner in the state of Nevada because it is too early to call the race there between President Donald Trump and Democratic nominee Joe Biden.

THE BACKGROUND: About 75% of the votes are in and Biden leads by less than 8,000 votes.

But there are outstanding ballots left to be counted in the coming days. Under state law, they can still be accepted as long as they were postmarked by the Nov. 3 Election Day. Additionally, many ballots received on Election Day have yet to be tallied.

Trump narrowly lost Nevada in 2016 as the state has trended toward the Democrats in the past decade. The last Republican presidential contender to win the state was George W. Bush in 2004.

___

NORTH CAROLINA: Race too early to call, with fewer than 200,000 mail-in ballots left to count.

THE BACKGROUND: Trump prematurely claimed early Wednesday that he won the state.

“We’ve clearly won North Carolina, where we’re up 1.7%, 77,000 votes with only approximately 5% left. They can’t catch us,” he said during an appearance at the White House. Trump also said he planned to contest the U.S. presidential election before the Supreme Court. It was unclear, exactly, what legal action he might pursue.

Though Trump is correct that he held a roughly 76,000-vote lead in the state early Wednesday, the race is too early to call with less than 200,000 mail-in ballots left to count.

As long as those ballots are postmarked by Nov. 3, state election officials have until Nov. 12 to count them. And when it comes to mail ballots, Biden was outperforming Trump. That means the ballots yet to be counted could give Biden a lead.

___

PENNSYLVANIA: More than 1 million votes left to be counted.

THE BACKGROUND: Pennsylvania is among a handful of battleground states Trump and Biden are narrowly contesting. Trump, who held a 675,000-vote lead early Wednesday, prematurely declared victory in the state.

“We’re winning Pennsylvania by a tremendous amount. We’re up 690,000 votes in Pennsylvania. These aren’t even close. It’s not like, ‘Oh, it’s close,’” Trump said during an appearance at the White House.

Yet the vast majority of the votes left to be counted there were cast by mail, a form of voting that Biden has carried by a large margin.

Democrats had long considered Pennsylvania a part of their “blue wall” — a trifecta that also includes Wisconsin and Michigan — that for years had served as a bulwark in presidential elections. In 2016, Trump won each by less than a percentage point. Biden, who was born in Scranton, claims favorite-son status in the state.

Trump held a roughly 470,000 vote lead by early Wednesday afternoon. But what appears to be a big lead is misleading. Under state law, election officials couldn’t begin processing mail ballots until the morning of Election Day, and only about 64% of the vote had been counted.

The Trump campaign also said Wednesday afternoon it was taking legal steps to “ensure the integrity of Pennsylvania’s election.”

Among several measures, the campaign said it was suing to temporarily halt counting in an effort to make sure Republicans can properly oversee counting.

There have been no reports of fraud or any type of ballot concerns out of Pennsylvania. The state had 3.1 million mail-in ballots that take time to count and an order allows them to be counted up until Friday if they are postmarked by Nov. 3.

___

Meanwhile, the Trump campaign also said it would ask for a recount in Wisconsin, but The Associated Press already called that state for Biden on Wednesday afternoon. Campaign manager Bill Stepien cited “irregularities in several Wisconsin counties.”

The Associated Press called the race for Biden after election officials there said all outstanding ballots had been counted, except for a few hundred in one township and a small number of provisional ballots around the state. It’s a finding the news agency confirmed after reaching out to every county in the state to get an accounting of votes left to be counted. The former vice president’s lead there is now so great that there is no way the remaining votes would allow Trump to catch up.

Trump’s campaign has requested a recount, which a trailing candidate is allowed to do under state law if a race is within 1 percentage point.

Hearst TV contributed to this report.


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