• Tuesday, June 25, 2024
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BusinessDay

US election too close to call as the world watches

US election

The United States presidential election between Republican President Donald Trump and his Democratic rival Joe Biden hung in the balance on Wednesday, as a handful of states look set to decide the outcome in the coming hours or days.

As at late Wednesday evening, Trump has defied the pre-election polls to do better than predicted, but Biden has a narrow lead in several key states.

Although both candidates still have possible paths to reach the needed 270 Electoral College votes to win the White House seat as states keep counting mail-in ballots that surged amid the coronavirus pandemic. However, Biden’s prospects looked strong in Michigan and Wisconsin, with him in the lead.

The Associated Press has called Arizona for Biden. If he wins those three and holds Nevada, where the margin is very close, he will have 270 Electoral College votes and be the next president.

If Trump wins Nevada, Biden would need to win either Pennsylvania or Georgia in its place to reach 270. Trump would have to win both Pennsylvania and Georgia in addition to Nevada to get above 270.

Most election observers say a Biden win would most likely come sooner than a Trump win, since Trump’s chances would hinge on Pennsylvania and Biden can win the presidency without it at this point.

The political world was focused on these states on Wednesday, studying the remaining votes left to come in.

There had been concern among Democrats after Trump won Ohio by nearly the same margin as four years ago, but the Rust Belt trio of states of Michigan, Pennsylvania and Wisconsin that decided the last election were incredibly close last time, and Biden is outperforming Hillary Clinton’s numbers in all three states.

Most Democrats felt good about Biden’s ability to hold his lead in Michigan and Wisconsin, since outstanding votes were expected to go heavily Democrat, and Nevada results also looked likely to keep that state in Biden’s column.

But Nevada’s results might not be finalised until Thursday morning, according to veteran state reporter Jon Ralston, editor of the Nevada Independent.

However, the President Trump is projected to have held the must-win state of Florida, and another conservative Sunbelt state, Texas, where the Biden campaign had dreamed of an upset victory.

President Trump took to Twitter on Wednesday claiming that ‘surprise ballot dumps’ are to blame for his lead ‘magically disappearing’ overnight.

The president had earlier made a speech in the White House, claiming that he had won the US election even though final results were not in. He also said he would go to the Supreme Court because “we want all voting to stop.” Election laws in US states require all votes to be counted.

The Biden campaign hit back, calling the president’s bid to stop vote counting “outrageous” and “unprecedented,” and saying its legal teams were ready to fight him in the courts if needed.

Some observers say the prospects for throwing out millions of clearly legitimate ballots have very little chance of success in the courts.

“These are all legally cast votes, and the process of trying to toss them out for some reason would just, I think, be viewed by any court, including the Supreme Court, as just a massive disenfranchisement that would be frowned upon,” Ben Ginsberg, the GOP’s top election lawyer for the last 20 years, said early Wednesday morning on CNN.

In the US election, voters decide state-level contests rather than an overall, single, national one.

To be elected president, a candidate must win at least 270 votes in what is called the Electoral College. Each US state gets a certain number of votes partly based on its population and there are a total of 538 up for grabs.