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Why Are the US Election Results Taking So Long?

By Alessa Flores | Fri, 11/06/2020 - 17:07

Three days after the US election, many are wondering why the next US president has not been announced yet. To date, Joe Biden leads with 264 electoral votes while Donald Trump has 214. Either needs 270 to win the presidential race. According to BBC News, if Biden wins the state of Pennsylvania (98 percent of the votes have been counted), then he would win the presidency. However, given the narrow gap between the two candidates in Georgia, authorities announced a recount. Pennsylvania is worth 20 electoral points and Georgia 16 points.

Several factors have made the heated race to the White House longer. COVID-19 is partly to blame as many individuals voted by mail to stay safe, which delayed the count as mailed-in votes undergo a more detailed process to ensure their reliability, explains ABC News. 

According to Michael McDonald, a University of Florida professor who runs the US Elections Project, more than 93.1 million Americans voted early either by mail or in person. It is worth noting that during the 2016 elections, about 136.5 million people voted. For the 2020 elections, a record 239.2 million people were eligible to vote, of which McDonald estimates 65 percent cast their vote for a total of 150 million.

Current predictions place Joe Biden as the next president of the US. But current President Trump argued that mailed-in ballots are corrupt and threatened to take these complaints to court. The Guardian explains that although Trump can legally challenge various states to recall ballots, "it is an extreme long shot." There are two obstacles to a successful legal challenge. First, the legal claims presented by Trump seem weak and several have already been dismissed by courts. Second, the total number of ballots challenged by his lawsuits do not seem to be nearly large enough to flip the outcome in any state.

The path to victory for both candidates is different. Biden needs to win Pennsylvania alone or two of the four remaining states. Meanwhile, Trump would need to win all four remaining states. In Georgia, there will be a recount, while in Pennsylvania, Arizona and Nevada, Biden is in the lead.

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Alessa Flores Alessa Flores Senior Journalist and Industry Analyst