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Elections

Where It Stands: Election Hinges On Key States, Final Results May Take A While

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Although Democratic nominee Joe Biden has an electoral vote edge, President Trump has won key states such as Ohio and Florida and others remain in play.
Marc Piscotty, Getty Images

Although Democratic nominee Joe Biden has an electoral vote edge, President Trump has won key states such as Ohio and Florida and others remain in play.

Updated Nov. 4 at 1:22 a.m. ET

As polls have closed across the United States in this pivotal presidential election, one thing is clear: The conclusion will not be a swift one.

President Trump has secured the swing states of Ohio, Iowa and, crucially, Florida, according to The Associated Press.

Tallying the states that have already been called, Biden holds 223 electoral votes, while Trump has 212, with 103 electoral votes yet to be called. A candidate needs 270 votes to secure the presidency.

Key swing states — including Wisconsin, Pennsylvania, Michigan, North Carolina and Arizona — remain either too close or too early to call. Local officials in Detroit, Philadelphia and Milwaukee have warned that vote counting will stretch well into Wednesday.

Florida was closely watched as votes began to roll in. An early, definitive Trump loss in the Sunshine State would have made the president's path to reelection extremely difficult and would have boosted Democratic hopes for a blue wave and an early night.

That "blue tsunami" scenario was quickly eliminated as the state leaned red, driven by Biden's underperformance with Latino voters. The Democratic party's moonshot hopes for a remarkable blue shift in Texas withered away, too, as the state remained reliably red.

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Now, the Trump campaign is feeling confident. So is Biden, who spoke shortly before 1 a.m. ET to say he believed he was "on track" to win the election, citing the votes remaining to be counted in Pennsylvania.

Trump is expected to speak on Wednesday morning, as well. During Biden's speech, the president tweeted a false allegation that Democrats were "trying to STEAL the Election," a post that Twitter soon labeled as potentially misleading. He also tweeted, "A big WIN!"

With several key states still up for grabs, the election could go either way, and it could be days before the final result is known for sure.

Remember: Patience is essential this week.

Three other key themes from this Election Day:

  • Voting was largely uneventful, despite concerns about unrest or voter intimidation campaigns. There were isolated altercations but no massive disruptions to voting processes.
  • A tremendous shift toward early voting, driven largely by the coronavirus, has reshaped the pace of the election. As of Election Day morning, more than 100 million Americans had voted early. What that means for ballot counting varies by state, but in states where votes cannot begin to be counted until Election Day, the abundance of mail-in votes is expected to contribute to a delay in final results.
  • How will President Trump respond to the delay in the results? Axios reported earlier this week that Trump told confidants he would claim victory prematurely if he appeared to be leading. On Tuesday, during an interview on Fox & Friends, Trump said he would declare victory "when there's victory" and that "there's no reason to play games." Observers have worried that a close race, with an extended period of uncertainty, could enable the spread of disinformation — or set up an election resolved through litigation rather than by vote counts.

Trump and Biden were watching the election results from their respective residences — Trump at the White House and Biden at his family home in Delaware.

The last U.S. polls closed at 1 a.m. ET when Alaska wrapped up voting.

In other developments:

  • Republican Sen. Lindsey Graham won his reelection campaign in South Carolina, despite a well-funded challenge from Jaime Harrison.
  • In Texas, Republican Sen. John Cornyn won reelection, stymieing Democratic hopes for a major upset in a longtime Republican stronghold.
  • Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell has won his reelection bid against Democratic challenger Amy McGrath in Kentucky.
  • Marjorie Taylor Greene, who once endorsed the baseless QAnon conspiracy theory, has won a seat in Georgia's 14th Congressional District
  • Delaware's Sarah McBride has become the nation's first openly transgender state senator.
  • Former Colorado Gov. John Hickenlooper defeated incumbent GOP Sen. Cory Gardner, securing Democrats their first Senate seat pickup of the night.
  • Florida voters opted to raise the minimum wage to $15.
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