Georgia has resumed counting ballots presidential ballots after a pause overnight – but officials have warned a result could even be several days away.
Donald Trump held a narrow lead of 100,000 votes over Joe Biden as poll workers announced they would head home for the night with mailed ballots from heavily Democratic parts of the state still needing to be counted.
With 94 per cent of votes in the southern swing state counted, the president leads his Democrat challenger by 50.5 per cent to 48.3 per cent.
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Donald Trump holds a 2% lead over Joe Biden in Georgia, but thousands more mail ballots still need to be counted
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But the race has yet to be called because thousands of absentee ballots could not be counted before election day. Some 1.2million votes were cast by mail in Georgia this year, with around 127,000 still needing to be counted in two counties in Atlanta.
The counting of up to 60,000 ballots in the city was also delayed for two hours due to a burst pipe in the room where they were being kept. The leak took place early on Tuesday morning at State Farm Arena, home to the Atlanta Hawks basketball team.
The counting of absentee ballots in Atlanta had to be paused due to a burst water pipe in the room they were being held in State Farm Arena in the city (pictured)
Poll workers headed home at 10.30pm eastern time in Fulton and DeKalb counties, which Biden is currently winning with 71.8 per cent and 83 per cent of the vote, respectively. His strong support in the city is one reason Biden said early Wednesday he is ‘still in the game’ there.
With Biden running up the score in the two counties, the former vice president could end up with as much as three-quarters of around 100,000 more votes, which would see him top Hillary Clinton’s victory margin of around 200,000 in Georgia’s most populous county four years ago.
They returned to finish the count at 8am Wednesday morning in Fulton and 11am in DeKalb.
A poll worker sorts through voting material in Atlanta on election day on Tuesday
Mail ballots also still need to be counted in the city of Savannah in the state’s east, where Biden currently leads 55.8 per cent to 42.8 per cent.
Results are not expected until at least Wednesday morning, according to Georgia’s secretary of state, while some officials said it ‘could take a couple of days’ to count all mail ballots, the New York Times said.
Officials in Fulton County said Tuesday morning they would ‘continue to tabulate the remainder of absentee ballots over the next two days.’
Secretary of state Brad Raffensperger plans to hold a press conference at 11.30am on Wednesday to address the issues and delays. He previously described the decision of Fulton county to stop counting ballots as ‘frustrating’.
How Biden or Trump could both still win fair and square TODAY without election ending up in court
Donald Trump and Joe Biden have plausible paths to claiming victory in the White House race on Wednesday and on Thursday without going to court – or the need to win Pennsylvania.
As of 10 am Joe Biden was on 238 Electoral College votes and Donald Trump on 213.
That leaves Georgia (16 votes), North Carolina (15), Wisconsin (10), Michigan (16), a single vote from Maine’s undeclared Congressional district and the big prize of Pennsylvania with 20 votes. But Pennsylvania’s results will not be known until Friday, officials say. Despite that it is possible for Biden and Trump to both win Wednesday and Thursday.
Undecided Nevada – widely expected to break for Biden – is not announcing more results until Thursday. Alaska is seen as safely in Trump’s column. That would put Biden on 244 and Trump on 216.
Here are the ways that the election could be decided on – without any court battles and without involving Pennsylvania.
HOW TRUMP CAN WIN ON WEDNESDAY
If Trump takes all four of the states on the table – Wisconsin, Michigan, North Carolina and Georgia – without touching Pennsylvania, it is game over for Biden. Trump would get 273 votes.
HOW BIDEN CAN WIN ON WEDNESDAY
Without Nevada, Biden starts on 238 votes Wednesday morning.
To get to 270, he needs three of the four states counting. If he wins Michigan, Wisconsin and Georgia, he take 42 votes – taking him to 272 votes regardless of any other states. That is an outright win.
HOW BIDEN CAN WIN ON THURSDAY
SCENARIO ONE: MICHIGAN AND WISCONSIN GO FOR BIDEN, NEVADA IN THE BAG
This is the ending to the election which involves the fewest states and could break most rapidly.
Combined the two mid-western states have 26 votes. That would put Joe Biden on the vital 270 figure. Wisconsin’s results could come as early as 9am Wednesday.
Michigan’s results are less clear but the Secretary of State said Tuesday that she hopes to provide ‘a very clear picture, if not a final picture’ by Wednesday night.
As of 6am Biden was slightly behind Trump, at 51.3% to 47%.
Currently almost 20% of votes are still to be counted and they are mail-in ballots, which are expected to favor Biden.
Detroit, the state’s biggest city and a hub of Democratic voters, won’t have its results known until sometime Wednesday as it experiences record levels of turnout, a good sign for Biden.
Turnout in Motor City, where Biden campaigned with Barack Obama on Friday, is expected to hit 55 per cent – that’s up seven points over the 48 per cent who voted in 2016.
The record number of votes means full results will be known Wednesday, City Clerk Janice Winfrey announced Tuesday night.
Statewide, 3.3 million absentee ballots had been cast, Michigan Secretary of State Jocelyn Benson said, but results will take time.
‘We’re on track to be in a position to potentially see a full result of every tabulation in the next 24 hours,’ she announced.
Trump won the state by taking the suburbs – the Macomb and Monroe counties outside of Detroit – but he also won working-class areas in like Michigan’s Upper Peninsula, which has many white working-class voters.
Biden has concentrated on winning African American voters in the state in urban areas like Flint.
If that tactic eventually pays off there could be a victory for Biden declared rapidly – on Wednesday night.
But the state governor Gretchen Whitmer has also warned that results could take days more.
SCENARIO TWO: BIDEN TAKES THE SOUTH AND NEVADA
This appears the least likely scenario given that North Carolina is trending slightly towards Trump.
But if Joe Biden takes Georgia and North Carolina, that would get him a total of 31 votes. That puts him on 275.
Poll workers process absentee ballots the night of Election Day at Milwaukee Central Count
Georgia Secretary of State has said he expected Georgia to have all its results on Wednesday.
Trump was narrowly ahead of Biden by 5am but with a substantial number of votes still to be counted from Atlanta where poll workers went home to rest.
But North Carolina’s results are in greater doubt. Trump was ahead as of 5am, 50.1% to 48.7%, with 95% of the vote reported.
On its own that seems to make the scenario unlikely for Biden.
But mail-in ballots postmarked by Tuesday will be accepted until November 12.
If mail-in ballots skew Democratic, that may make it impossible to know the outcome before November 12 even if it is in Biden’s favor.
BUT THE MOST LIKELY SCENARIO: IT’S ALL ABOUT PENNSYLVANIA SO THERE WILL BE NO RESULT ON WEDNESDAY
Pennsylvania’s results probably won’t be known until Friday.
But its 20 electoral college votes would offer a clear path to victory for whoever gets them.
If Biden takes the 20, he needs to pick up any one of the other states to get over 270.
For Trump the path is trickier but Pennsylvania would undoubtedly help.
With 226 votes secured, he could then win with the two southern states and Michigan – leaving Wisconsin untouched.
But Pennsylvania is the most challenging state for both parties because of the huge uncertainties which surround its votes.
Compounding the problem are lawsuits expected over disputed ballots, which could drag out the results of the election even longer. Republicans have made it clear they will sue when and where they see necessary.
In Pennsylvania, state law forbids officials from counting mail-in ballots until Election Day. Additionally, the Supreme Court allowed the state to count ballots for three days after Nov. 3 so long as they are postmarked by Election Day.
Only 25 per cent of the early votes have been counted.
In Philadelphia officials said around 350,000 votes were cast, but only 76,000 were tallied during the day Tuesday. The rest won’t be counted until Wednesday.
‘The counties are working really hard to get [the results] in as soon as possible,’ Pennsylvania Secretary of State Kathy Boockvar said Tuesday. ‘It’s going to take time.’
Biden’s biggest strongholds in the Keystone State are in Philadelphia and then Pittsburgh – where he and VP nominee Kamala Harris held rallies with Lady Gaga and John Legend Monday night.
Philadelphia in particular is a Democratic stronghold with more than 1.1 million registered voters, which is more than 10 per cent of all the voters in the state.
But Trump has campaigned heavily in the state – he held four rallies there on Saturday alone – and wants to repeat his stunning 2016 win there.
Election workers in Luzerne County, a northeastern county near Scranton, stopped counting mail-in ballots on Tuesday evening and will resume Wednesday, according to county manager David Pedri. He said the county had counted about 26,000 mail-in ballots of the about 60,000 cast.
Election officials begin counting ballots Tuesday night in York County, Pennsylvania, where mail-in ballots cannot be counted until Election Day
Pennsylvania Gov. Tom Wolf, a Democrat, on Tuesday called on residents to remain calm and patient as they await results.
In a brief one-and-a-half-minute video, he urged Pennsylvanians to ‘take a breath.’
‘Across the state, dedicated county workers are ready to tirelessly make sure everyone’s vote counts,’ the Pennsylvania governor said. ‘But counting that tremendous number of ballots will take more time than we are used to.’
‘We may not know the results today,’ he acknowledged, ‘but I encourage all of us to take a deep breath and be patient.’
‘What is most important is that we have accurate results – even if that takes a little longer,’ Wolf added.
Pennsylvania saw about 2.5 million of its 9 million registered voters request absentee ballots. As of Tuesday morning, 81 per cent of them had been returned.
Any ballot post marked by Election Day and received by November 6 will be counted.