Presidential Election Results Unclear

The Electoral math is better for Biden than for Trump, but it’s far from over.

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Editor’s note: Joseph R. Biden, Jr., has won the election. See the Spectator’s coverage here.

It is too early to call the results of the presidential election Wednesday afternoon, as several key states in the Midwest continue to count their votes. With the states called by Fox News, the electoral map at time of writing has Biden at 264 votes and Trump at 214. Each candidate needs 270 to win:

It’s worth noting that Fox News and the Associated Press stand alone among major news outlets in having called Arizona, something of which other statisticians are skeptical and for which the Trump campaign is furious at Fox. Alaska is very likely to go to President Donald J. Trump, Nevada is likely to go to Vice President Joseph R. Biden, Jr., and North Carolina is expected to go to Trump; the New York Times’s needle, which attempts to forecast races’ final outcomes as results come out, put Trump’s odds in the Tar Heel State at 86 percent when it stopped updating this morning. If those three states come out as expected, the electoral map will look like this, and the election will be Biden’s:

In Georgia, results were delayed in Fulton County, the heavily Black county whose seat is Atlanta, because a pipe burst in a facility where ballots were being held. No ballots were damaged, officials said, but the results are delayed. Fulton’s votes are expected but by no means guaranteed to lean heavily Democratic, which is why the Times’s needle had Biden slightly favored to win the Peach State: it put his odds at 64 percent. The state is all, for all intents and purposes, a tossup.

In Pennsylvania, Trump holds a narrow lead of just under percentage points, but this is at least in large part because the absentee ballots that have yet to be counted. Those ballots are expected to favor Biden by quite a bit, and if he may well win the Keystone State. But no final outcome is particularly favored at this point, and we may not have full results for another day.

Trump delegitimizes incoming results as Biden holds steady

Speaking to supporters in Wilmington, Delaware in the wee hours of Wednesday morning, Vice President Biden said, “We are going to have to be patient until the hard work of tallying votes is finished and it ain't over until every vote is counted, every ballot is counted. But we are feeling good.”

President Trump, in contrast, declared to his supporters at the White House that he had won the remaining ballots were “a fraud on the American public” and that “we'll be going to the U.S. Supreme Court. We want all voting to stop. We don't want them to find any ballots at 4:00 o'clock in the morning and add them to the list.” Contrary to his claims, though, it often takes long to count votes, and there is no basis for Trump’s claims of voter fraud.

Trump’s statement confirms the fears of many commentators in the lead-up to the election that Trump would try to declare victory before all votes had been counted and declare remaining votes invalid—the early results, accounting for fewer votes from cities and fewer absentee ballots, were always expected to favor Trump. To that end, he has signaled that he will call for a recount in Wisconsin—something to which he is legally entitled if the margin is less than one percent, which it almost certainly will be. And he has sued to stop counting the ballots in Michigan on the basis that his campaign “has not been provided with meaningful access to numerous counting locations to observe the opening of ballots and the counting process, as guaranteed by Michigan law,” according to a campaign statement.

Earlier Wednesday afternoon, Trump posted on Twitter that “We have claimed, for Electoral Vote purposes, the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania (which won’t allow legal observers) the State of Georgia, and the State of North Carolina, each one of which has a BIG Trump lead. Additionally, we hereby claim the State of Michigan if, in fact, there was a large number of secretly dumped ballots as has been widely reported!” None of those states have been called in Trump’s favor by any major news organizations (though he is expected to win North Carolina), and Michigan has been called for Biden by every major media organization.

What remains to be seen is whether the courts actually go along with Trump’s sabotage. That is what he is counting on.