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US election 2020: How are things looking for Trump and Biden?

You probably expected to have some kind of clue about the results of the US presidential election by now. But because of the time it takes to count the record number of postal votes cast during this pandemic election, it could take days before we know who will be the next president. On top of that, if there are legal challenges to the results, it might even take weeks! This could get tricky but all in due time. While we don’t have the final result yet, here’s what Trump and Biden won so far.

To clarify things, in the US, to become president you don’t need to win what is called the ‘popular vote’. Instead, a presidential candidate has to win the majority in a system called the electoral college, where each state gets a certain number of votes (or electors) roughly in proportion to its population.

When a candidate wins a state, they win its vote. There are 538 of these state votes in total and the person who gets 270 gets to become president—yay!

That’s why, despite a near-record turnout this election, only a few key states will impact the election result in the end. Although Biden and Trump are projected to win the states they were comfortably expected to win, the race remains very close in a few crucial competitive states. In some of those tight races, officials haven’t even started counting postal votes, and those could change everything.

Earlier today, Trump spoke at the White House as the presidential race remains too close to call. He baselessly accused Democrats of trying to “disenfranchise” his supporters and added, “We will not stand for it.”

As ballots continue to be counted, Trump then went on to push accusations of “fraud” in the presidential election, as he declared victory without the results to back that up. “This is a fraud on the American public,” the president said at the White House. “This is an embarrassment to our country. We were getting ready to win this election. Frankly, we did win this election.” Not to worry though, he did not but the president is clearly seeking to sow doubt about the legitimacy of the election as results start to move away from him.

Biden’s side responded shortly with a statement: “The president’s statement tonight about trying to shut down the counting of duly cast ballots was outrageous, unprecedented, and incorrect. It was outrageous because it is a naked effort to take away the democratic rights of American citizens.

It was unprecedented because never before in our history has a president of the United States sought to strip Americans of their voice in a national election. Having encouraged Republican efforts in multiple states to prevent the legal counting of these ballots before Election Day, now Donald Trump is saying these ballots can’t be counted after Election Day either.

And it was incorrect because it will not happen. The counting will not stop. It will continue until every duly cast vote is counted. Because that is what our laws—the laws that protect every Americans’ constitutional right to vote—require.

We repeat what the Vice President said tonight: Donald Trump does not decide the outcome of this election. Joe Biden does not decide the outcome of this election. The American people decide the outcome of this election. And the democratic process must and will continue until its conclusion.”

Meanwhile, Biden has been declared the winner of Arizona and its 11 electoral votes, which could potentially afford him to lose Pennsylvania and still win the election if he carries Wisconsin and Michigan. Biden’s win in Arizona substantially limits Trump’s path to victory, a fact that the president’s allies appear to be keenly aware of. When Fox News called Arizona for Biden earlier tonight, the president’s advisers expressed outrage.

Among the key states to watch, Trump has won Florida, the swing state with the largest population and the most electoral college votes. Florida has also voted with the eventual winner in all but one presidential election since 1964. Trump won Ohio, one of the largest swing states in the midwest, which has also sided with the eventual election winner for decades.

Biden winning Arizona was a big deal because the state last voted Democratic for president in 1996 before becoming increasingly competitive as the Hispanic share of the electorate grew. The Democrats managed to gain a number of seats in the 2018 midterms here. Then, he also won Michigan, which was by Trump in 2016 by just 0.2 percentage points in 2016—the narrowest margin of any state.

Wisconsin sided with the Democratic candidate in all presidential elections from 1988 through 2012, although sometimes by very narrow margins. In 2016, Trump managed to flip the state despite his underdog status in the polls. This year, Biden won it back.

We are still waiting for the results from key states such as Pennsylvania, Georgia and North Carolina. Whatever Trump says, the outcome of the US presidential election is still in the balance, as vote counting continues.

Candidates need 270 electoral college votes to win. So far, Biden has won 264 and Trump 214. Keep in mind that these numbers will be updated in the next hours.

When will we know who won the US presidential election 2020? Here’s what to watch for

This is the first election in history where more people have voted in advance of Election Day than on it, and because of this, it means there may be some voting irregularities in terms of the time it takes to collect and expose the vote results. Taking the global pandemic into account means that it will inevitably be more difficult to count votes than past years—some results may come in quickly, while some might be delayed. Here’s what you need to know about the upcoming Election Day and how you can follow along with the results.

The winner of the election may not be clear by midnight today (3 November), which is not unusual as the last five election results have also run overtime, however, we might have a result in the presidential race by the end of the night if either candidates, Trump or Biden, achieve decisive wins in key states. The data from the amount of early voters may also provide important insights on the turnout of the election.

Times to tune in to the US election

6pm ET (3pm PT, 11pm GMT, 10am AEDT)

The first polls close in most of Indiana, in which the Vigo country on the Illinois border has voted for the winner of every presidential election since 1956 (but don’t count on it), and Kentucky.

7pm ET (4pm PT, midnight GMT, 11am AEDT)

Just an hour later, most polls will close in the highly important state of Floria. While the state is usually known to count votes quickly, let’s all practice non-expectation this time round, shall we? There will be a lot more to keep up with and watch out for.

7.30pm ET (4.30pm PT, 12.30am GMT, 11.30 AEDT)

While you keep one eye on Florida’s results, prepare for North Carolina to roll out their counts. Ohio, who has Biden in the lead with the early voter count, will be ready-set-go with their results around this time too. As this is happening, we’ll also be watching Cleveland. Oh, the drama.

8pm ET (5pm PT, 1am GMT, 12pm AEDT)

You’ll really be sucked into the franticly tense whirlwind by now, but squint through the chaos regardless, as by this time in the race you might be seeing piles of numbers starting to form. Michigan, Texas will close some polling sites, with the rest closing at 9pm ET.

Pennsylvania, another state to close its polls at 8pm, is the hare in this nauseating race. It is very likely in fact that the election result of this state will not be known for days after the polls close, because the biggest city, Philadelphia, could take days to count its mail-in ballots.

9pm ET (6pm PT, 2am GMT, 1pm AEDT)

Eyes will no doubt be getting scratchy here in the UK, but hang in there. You’ll be looking over your shoulder around now, back to Floria, North Carolina, Georgia and Ohio, but also, boom: Arizona.

Colorado, New Mexico, and Omaha, Nebraska. Take a breather, Wisconsin.

10pm ET (7pm PT, 3am GMT, 2pm AEDT)

Will we sense a winner? Maybe not yet, but Utah, Nevada and Iowa are up next in line.

11pm ET (8pm PT, 4am GMT, 3pm AEDT)

By this point, the polls will be closed on the west side of the US. California, Oregon, Washington and Hawaii, and if we haven’t started to see a pattern already, these states will be the definitive show and tell.

1am ET (10pm PT, 6am GMT, 5pm AEDT)

Alaska will still be unfurling its cocoon, but for the rest of us, whether you’re just waking up, stress sleeping, or on the drags of an all nighter, the truth will be out and setting in around the world. All we can say really, is keep your fingers, toes (and anything else you can) crossed for a positive outcome.

One thing we do know for sure is that, no matter the final result, we will still get to call President Trump a ‘Lame duck’ as he sits out the remaining 73 days of his term in the Oval Office after the election.