(The Center Square) – President Donald Trump won three early states he was expected to win – Indiana, Kentucky and West Virginia – while Joe Biden took Vermont and Virginia as polls are now closed in the battleground states of Florida and Georgia.
With his early wins, Trump held a 24-16 electoral vote advantage over Biden, though no battleground states have been called. Either candidate needs to secure at least 270 electoral votes to win the presidency. The Associated Press called the races in Kentucky, West Virginia, Virginia and Vermont. CNN projected Trump the winner in Indiana.
Florida with its 29 electoral votes, Georgia (16) and North Carolina (15) could provide early indications of how the results play out. Some polling locations in North Carolina were kept open passed their scheduled 7 p.m. closing time because of problems earlier in the day.
If it’s a close race in some key swing states, it’s possible – maybe even likely – that a winner won’t be known for days or longer.
That’s in part because more than 99 million Americans already voted early or by mail before Tuesday’s polls even opened. States have different rules for counting and processing mail-in votes. Some wait until after all polls close in the state. Some states also will accept mail-in ballots for days after Nov. 3.
In 17 states, mail-in votes were being counted before Election Day, according to Ballotpedia. In 16 states, mail-in votes can start being counted on Election Day before polls close. In the remaining 17 states, mail-in votes can’t be counted until after polls close. Some states require election clerks to match the signatures on mail-in votes with signatures already on file, making the process more time-consuming.
In the key swing state of Pennsylvania, for example, some counties don’t expect to start counting mail-in ballots until Wednesday or later. During Pennsylvania’s June primary, roughly half of counties were still counting ballots a full week after Election Day.
And in states where the final, unofficial results are particularly close, both Trump and Biden have attorneys on standby to legally challenge any potential discrepancies. That could drag the presidential outcome out by weeks.
At 8 p.m. eastern, polls will close in all or parts of more than 20 states.
In 2016, Trump won the electoral vote and the presidency despite losing the popular vote to Hillary Clinton by nearly 3 million votes. By winning the key swing states of Florida, Pennsylvania, Ohio, Michigan and Wisconsin, Trump claimed 304 electoral votes to Clinton’s 227.
By Dan McCaleb | The Center Square
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Reposted with permission