THE coronavirus pandemic has changed everything in 2020, including how the US election will be decided.
With two days to go until Tuesday’s election, more than 90 million ballots have already been cast, setting new earlyvoting records.
Here we take a look at
how the counting and results will emerge.
When will we know who has won the presidential race?
It’s hard to say. Experts are warning that it may not be clear who’s won for some time after voters have finished casting their ballots. Voters should prepare “for Election
Night to actually be Election Week(s)”, the National Task Force on Election Crises warn. We do know that some states won’t have complete results for weeks. Almost half will accept ballots that arrive by mail after Election Day if their postmark indicates they were sent before Tuesday or an earlier deadline.
How do swing states report results?
Earlier results are likely in
states where voters have widely embraced postal or early in-person voting, so officials can process and count ballots before Election Day. Arizona, Florida and North Carolina could report quickly,
while states including Pennsylvania and Michigan could lag behind.
Why does an increase in mail ballots make a difference?
Mail ballots must go through several processes before they are counted, including a review by election officials to ensure their legality. This means it takes more time than counting ballots cast in person at a polling location. In some states, officials are not allowed to begin processing ballots until Election Day. While it may be
slower, there’s no evidence to support Donald Trump’s claim that postal voting leads to widespread fraud.
When will the results become final?
Although Americans typically know who wins elections long before the results are declared, the official result usually takes place later in November and sometimes extends into December. This year, close margins will increase the likelihood of legal fights over which ballots should count.
Already both candidates have assembled large legal teams to challenge any contestable result.
What does a candidate need to do to win?
The US election is not based on the popular vote but on a system called the electoral college. To gain the White House, both candidates compete to win 270 or more of its votes.
Each state gets a certain number of electoral college votes, partly based on its population, and there are a total of 538 up for grabs. This means voters decide statelevel contests rather than the national one, which is why a candidate can win the most votes nationally yet still lose. In 2016, Hillary Clinton secured almost three million more votes than Donald Trump, but he won 304 electoral college places to her 227, making him President.
When is the earliest an indication could be seen as to who has won?
It could be in the early hours of Wednesday in the UK when Florida reports its count of early votes. If Biden wins well, Trump’s race is effectively over. Biden can lose the Sunshine State, however, and still acquire the keys to the White House.