What you need to know about the four undecided swing statesNovember 5, 2020
Joe Biden is on the cusp of winning the 2020 presidential election, with President Donald Trump needing to win every remaining uncalled battleground state in order to get a second term.
Biden has earned 264 electoral votes so far — but there are narrow margins in four remaining uncalled states that stand between him an an Electoral College win. That’s the calculus that served as the backdrop for Trump’s speech in the early hours of Wednesday morning, in which he falsely claimed victory and asserted that the election would be stolen from him. Pointing to his lead in the votes cast on Election Day in several states, he described a fanciful scenario in which he claimed to have clearly won Georgia and North Carolina — two states that remained uncalled with more than 90 percent of estimated votes reported — and said he was winning Pennsylvania by so many votes that “it is going to be almost impossible to catch.”
Trump also suggested that the as-yet-uncounted votes would be favorable to him, a statement which seems unlikely since the bulk of them appear to be from some of the state’s bluest and most populous places — like Pittsburgh’s Allegheny County, suburban Philadelphia’s Montgomery County and Philadelphia itself.
Trump’s campaign has also announced that it will seek a recount in Wisconsin, where the race was called Wednesday afternoon. With four states still to be called, here is the state of play of the outstanding votes in each of them.
Pennsylvania (Trump 51.5, Biden 47.3)
In Pennsylvania, roughly 86 percent of the expected vote has been tallied, with a large amount of outstanding mail ballots left to be counted from Philadelphia and its suburbs as well as Allegheny County — populous, reliably Democratic areas. As the state counted more mail ballots Wednesday, Trump’s margin shrank from about 13 points early in the morning to 4 percentage points as of 7 p.m. Eastern time.
Election workers in Philadelphia said they are working around the clock to count ballots. As of 7 p.m., a tracker from the Pennsylvania Department of State showed that roughly 59 percent of mail ballots across the state have been counted and reported to the department. Nearly 1.1 million mail ballots remained uncounted at that time, including more than 167,000 in Philadelphia and nearly 156,000 in Allegheny County, where Pittsburgh is located.
Biden’s campaign told reporters that they expect all the mail ballots in Philadelphia to be counted by tonight or tomorrow. But elected officials in the city declined to give an exact timetable for when they would be finished.
“We’re doing the best we can to get that count done as soon as possible and it’s going to be accurate,” said Philadelphia City Commissioner Lisa Deeley.
In Pennsylvania, ballots that are postmarked by Election Day and received within three days can also be counted. A Republican Supreme Court challenge, which looks to toss ballots received after Election Day, is still pending. The Trump campaign announced it would seek to intervene in the case, along with filing a new suit to temporarily halt the count in the state.
Georgia (Trump 50.1, Biden 48.7)
The bulk of the expected vote has already been counted in Georgia — over 90 percent. But several of the populous suburban counties around Atlanta — and Atlanta’s Fulton County itself — have a good number of votes still uncounted.
In a Wednesday morning press conference, Secretary of State Brad Raffensperger, a Republican, estimated that there was about 200,000 ballots left to be counted in the state, with 40,000 to 50,000 early votes also needed to be counted. He has urged counties to finish tallying votes Wednesday.
There are 63,000 outstanding absentee ballots in Fulton, according to the Atlanta Journal-Constitution, and officials in the county hope to have results by 9 p.m. The neighboring Cobb County said it hoped to have its 15,000 outstanding ballots tallied by the end of the day on Wednesday.
Some of the tallying in Fulton County was delayed after a pipe burst at a ballot processing site. Election officials said no ballots were damaged.
North Carolina (Trump 50.1, Biden 48.7)
North Carolina is the furthest along among the uncalled states: roughly 95 percent of the estimated vote total is already in.
Trump has a narrow lead over Biden, but many of the big Democratic areas of the county have counted the vast majority of their ballots.
If the race remains very close, North Carolina could remain uncalled for over a week. Ballots in the state that are postmarked by Election Day and received by Nov. 12 can still be counted.
The state board of elections projected that there were no more than 117,000 outstanding absentee ballots, and it is expected to provide another update to the media later Wednesday afternoon.
Nevada (Biden 49.2, Trump 48.6)
In Nevada, 86 percent of estimated votes have been reported, and state election authorities are not planning to release another update until 11 a.m. EST on Nov. 5.
The state election office said all in-person early votes, all in-person Election Day votes and all mail ballots through Nov. 2 have been counted.
Mail ballots received on Election Day, mail ballots that will be received over the next week and provisional ballots remain to be counted. “Ballots outstanding is difficult to estimate in Nevada because every voter was sent a mail ballot. Obviously, not all will vote,” the state board of elections tweeted.