Pennsylvania result may not come until FRIDAY as Trump leads Biden by 12 per cent


Pennsylvania is being watched especially closely as the fate of the presidency could come down to the Keystone State.

But Governor Tom Wolf said ‘we may not know the results today’, tweeting there are more than a million ballots still to be counted amid concerns it could take until Friday.

Edison Research published by The New York Times has estimated 75 per cent of votes have been counted – with the figure at 5,392,682.

It shows Donald Trump and the Republicans on 55.1 per cent, or 2,969,504 votes, and Joe Biden and the Democrats on 43.6 per cent, or 2,350,664 votes.

Edison Research published by The New York Times has estimated 75 per cent of votes have been counted – with the figure at 5,392,682

Pennsylvania (pictured, Philadelphia) is being watched closely as the fate of the presidency could come down to the state bordering New York

Pennsylvania (pictured, Philadelphia) is being watched closely as the fate of the presidency could come down to the state bordering New York

In states such as Pennsylvania that do not count mail-in ballots until Election Day, initial results favour Trump because they were slower to count mailed ballots.

There is a pending Republican appeal at the Supreme Court over whether Pennsylvania can count votes that arrive in the mail from Wednesday to Friday.

What are the paths to election victory for Donald Trump and Joe Biden?

Donald Trump and Joe Biden on Wednesday each faced narrow paths to potential victory in a close-fought US presidential election that will be determined by a razor-thin margin.

Six states remain to be called — Georgia, Michigan, Nevada, North Carolina, Pennsylvania and Wisconsin — with Biden needing to carry at least three to win, while Trump would need at least four.

The outcome is almost certain to come down to millions of absentee ballots that were the first cast in this election and often are the last to be counted. At 6am ET (11.00am GMT), Biden held narrow leads in Nevada and Wisconsin. Trump held slim leads in Georgia, North Carolina, Pennsylvania and Michigan, though tens of thousands of ballots remain to be counted in those states, many of them votes cast by mail in the areas around major cities, which traditionally favor Democrats.

Here are Trump’s and Biden’s paths to victory:

Trump 

Trump’s most likely road to victory goes through Pennsylvania, a state he carried in 2016. If he wins there, he will have to win three of the other battleground states to secure 270 electoral votes. If he doesn’t win Pennsylvania, he will have to sweep the remaining five.

Trump led the voting in Pennsylvania about 55 per cent to 43 per cent with about 75 per cent of the votes likely counted.

The state’s biggest cities, Philadelphia and Pittsburgh, have reported only a small share of their election results so far, and those results traditionally favor Democrats. Beyond that, many of the ballots that remain to be counted were filed by mail, and the state has said many more Democrats than Republicans cast mail-in ballots this year.

Pennsylvania offers one other wrinkle: Its state courts have ordered officials to count absentee ballots that were cast by Tuesday so long as they arrive in the mail by Friday. (Trump has criticized the US Supreme Court for permitting the change and the case could return to the court after the election.)

Biden

Biden’s most likely road to victory goes through Nevada and Wisconsin, states where he held narrow leads early Wednesday morning as officials worked to tally the final votes. If Biden wins those states, victories in Georgia, Michigan or Pennsylvania would give him enough to win.

Trump held a lead of about 51 per cent – 47 per cent in Michigan, but many of the votes remaining to be counted there were mail-in ballots from Detroit and its suburbs, where Democrats have historically enjoyed an electoral advantage. Officials in Nevada, where Biden had a razor-thin 49.3 per cent -48.7 per cent lead with 86 per cent of expected votes counted, said they would not resume counting ballots until Thursday morning.

Philadelphia City Commissioner Al Schmidt told CNN: ‘We are really running two election systems at the same time.’

He said there had been no break for people working on the ballots, but he said they had to flick from mail-in, to poll voters, back to mail-in.

He added: ‘We are not stopping, we’re going to continue. We have hundreds of people working. We’re going to continue day and night.’

But when asked how long it would be before the results were in, Commissioner Schmidt said it will take all day Wednesday, Thursday and they have until Friday.

He added that some ballots had not arrived but would be counted if they were posted on time.

Winning Pennsylvania and one other larger state would give Mr Biden the 32 votes needed to pass the 270 threshold needed in the Electoral College.

Wins in Georgia, Alaska, North Carolina, Pennsylvania and Michigan, which all voted for him in 2016, would give Mr Trump an additional 70 votes, taking him to 283 votes.

A win in these states and Wisconsin but a loss in Pennsylvania would lead to a narrow victory for Mr Trump, with 273 votes.

Democrats hope women, black people and Latinos in Pennsylvania have backed Biden over the President at the polls – despite voting for Trump in 2016.

The rural areas are expected to back the incumbent – potentially by a lesser number than last time – but city voters are understood to want a change in leader.

Biden will hope for a large turn out by black and Latino people in built up areas such as Philadelphia and Pittsburgh.

Meanwhile the president is relying on the backing of mostly white people from more rural districts. Governor Wolf last night called for residents of the crucial swing state to remain calm and stay patient.

He was preparing for Election Night unrest in light of the state mail-in ballot policy, where final results there may not be known until next week.

Wolf released a brief one-and-a-half-minute video in Election Day where he urged Pennsylvanians to ‘take a breath.’

He said: ‘Across the state, dedicated county workers are ready to tirelessly make sure everyone’s vote counts.

‘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.’

He added: ‘What is most important is that we have accurate results – even if that takes a little longer.’

The Democratic governor has come under immense fire from critics the last few months regarding his coronavirus restrictions and lockdowns.

Republicans in the state were handed a loss from the Supreme Court when they challenged the new state rule allowing election officials to accept and count mail-in ballots received up to three days after the election – as long as it is postmarked for Election Day, November 3.

This year – in light of the coronavirus pandemic – a record number of more than 100 million voters cast their ballots early whether in-person or by mail.

Democrats in Pennsylvania argue election officials need the extra few days to count up the mail-in ballots this year.

Republicans claim any ballots received after election day should be void. Trump claims the measure is an attempt by Democrats to ‘steal’ the election. 

Just a few steps from the birthplace of the US, mail-in ballots are processed, flattened and scanned by poll workers in the Philadelphia Convention Center in Center City yesterday

Just a few steps from the birthplace of the US, mail-in ballots are processed, flattened and scanned by poll workers in the Philadelphia Convention Center in Center City yesterday

'We may not know the results today, but I encourage all of us to take a deep breath and be patient,' Wolf said in his video as thousands of Pennsylvanias headed to the polls Tuesday to cast their ballots

‘We may not know the results today, but I encourage all of us to take a deep breath and be patient,’ Wolf said in his video as thousands of Pennsylvanias headed to the polls Tuesday to cast their ballots

The Keystone State holds 20 Electoral College votes and is one of the states considered the most critical for Trump to win reelection – along with Florida.

Wolf said in his video message: ‘I believe the days ahead are our moment to shine, and we will do it as a state united as we count every vote.’

Trump lashed out against the Supreme Court ruling, claiming he will levy legal challenges against the Pennsylvania result if they change in the days after Election Day as mail-in ballots are counted.

He said the results should be known on Tuesday night.

He said on a visit to his campaign headquarters in Arlington, Virginia: ‘I think the ruling on Pennsylvania was an unfortunate one by the Supreme Court because I think we should know what happens on the night.

‘Let people put their ballots in earlier,’ he suggested of mail-in and absentee voting. ‘But you have to have numbers, you can have these things delayed for many days and maybe weeks.

‘You can’t do that. The whole world is waiting, this country is waiting – but the whole world is waiting.’

‘You have to have a date, and the date happens to be November 3,’ the president reiterated. ‘And we should be entitled to know who won on November 3.’

‘They should put the ballot in earlier, there’s no reason why they can’t put the ballot in a few weeks earlier, one week earlier. I think it’s a very dangerous decision for a country in many ways dangerous, in many ways.’

Trump railed against Pennsylvania's policy on Tuesday, claiming it's a way for Democrats to try and 'steal' the election: 'We should be entitled to know who won on November 3'

Trump railed against Pennsylvania’s policy on Tuesday, claiming it’s a way for Democrats to try and ‘steal’ the election: ‘We should be entitled to know who won on November 3’

Gov Wolf tweeted after the comments: ‘Let’s be clear. This is a partisan attack on Pennsylvania’s election, our votes and democracy.’

The Supreme Court also ruled last month North Carolina could continue accepting and counting mail-in ballots received eight days after Tuesday.

Although victors are not officially called on Election Day, projects by the media are usually accurate enough to predict the winner – and there is typically a concession and victory speech delivered the night of the election.

This year, however, everything is up-in-the-air. Results could take weeks as Trump has threatened to challenge the legal validity of the results in Pennsylvania, which, depending on how close the race is, could cause the winner.

Biden yesterday visited his childhood home in Scranton, Pennsylvania, where he left a message on the wall, before being mobbed by fans in the battleground state, after starting election day attending mass and visiting his son Beau’s grave in Delaware.

The Democratic candidate scrawled the message ‘from this house to the White House with the grace of God’ alongside his signature and the date of the 59th US presidential election on the wall of the living room to his boyhood home, as he stopped in the town just hours before the polls close.

Biden was then mobbed by dozens of supporters who had gathered outside the in a show of support, as he headed for the next stop on his whistlestop tour of the state.

Biden made appearances across two Pennsylvania cities on Tuesday as he made a final play for the battleground state where pollsters and both political parties feel the White House race could be won or lost.

The trip came after he started election day by attending morning mass and visiting Beau’s grave at St Joseph On the Brandywine Catholic Church in Wilmington, Delaware, with his wife Jill and teenage granddaughters Finnegan and Natalie.

Joe Biden was mobbed by fans gathered outside his childhood home on Tuesday in a show of support for the candidate

Joe Biden was mobbed by fans gathered outside his childhood home on Tuesday in a show of support for the candidate 

The Democrat left a poignant message on the wall of the living room of his childhood home reading: 'From this house to the White House with the grace of God'

The Democrat left a poignant message on the wall of the living room of his childhood home reading: ‘From this house to the White House with the grace of God’

Biden walked into St. Joseph On the Brandywine Catholic Church in Wilmington with Jill, Finnegan and Natalie soon after 7am Tuesday.

The family attended a short mass at their local church before paying a visit to the grave of Biden’s late son Beau, an Iraq War veteran and Delaware attorney general, who was laid to rest there following his death in 2015 from brain cancer.

Biden’s late first wife Neilia and baby daughter Naomi, who both died in a car crash in 1972, are also buried in the cemetery.

Biden and Finnegan locked arms and she put her arm around her grandfather at one point as they took a moment at his grave.

Finnegan’s message to the American people was plain for all to see as she sported a face mask and black boots with the word ‘vote’ emblazoned on them.

It marked the second time in three days that Biden had paid a visit to the church after he was spotted attending a service there Sunday.

During that visit, he was met with a small group of pro-life protesters who shouted at the presidential candidate about his stance on abortion and held up banners reading: ‘No Catholic can vote for Joe Biden’ and ‘Joe Biden equals abortion, euthanasia and infanticide.’

The three demonstrators, two women and one man, held signs and heckled Biden shouting ‘Joe, you’re a disgrace to the Catholic faith.’

They also heckled Biden’s late son chanting: ‘Repent for your soul’ and ‘Repent for Beau’s soul’.

Beau died aged 46 in 2015 from brain cancer and Biden often pays tribute to his courage battling the disease and also during his deployment to Iraq as a major in the Delaware Army National Guard.

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 without going to court.

But they depend on a series of factors falling into place. As of 5 am Joe Biden was on 238 Electoral College votes and Donald Trump on 213.

Undecided were Nevada – widely expected to break for Biden – and Alaska, seen as safely in Trump’s column. That would put them on 244 and 216. 

But undecided are 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.

Numerically, Biden has the easier path: he needs 26 votes to get to 270, while Trump needs 58. That means he could eke out a win on Wednesday – but only if results come in his favor. 

Trump’s path on Wednesday seems less likely, because he needs to get more states into his column. And the one clear fact is that Pennsylvania’s count will not be over until Friday, which means that every attempt to settle it before then is fraught for both men. 

SCENARIO ONE: MICHIGAN AND WISCONSIN GO FOR BIDEN

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.  

Workers with the Detroit Department of Elections process absentee ballots at the Central Counting Board in the TCF Center in Detroit

Workers with the Detroit Department of Elections process absentee ballots at the Central Counting Board in the TCF Center in Detroit

SCENARIO TWO: TRUMP GETS GEORGIA, NORTH CAROLINA AND MICHIGAN

This scenario sees Trump gain the upper hand in the south. 

If the southern states reports clear results on Wednesday and go for Trump, he would climb to 247, putting him in touching distance of 270 – if he can gain Michigan.

Gaining Wisconsin alone is pointless in this scenario. Its 10 votes only take him to 257.

However Michigan’s would put him on 273 – a victory.

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. 

SCENARIO THREE: BIDEN TAKES THE SOUTH

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

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.

SCENARIO FOUR: TRUMP TAKES  THE SOUTH AND MICHIGAN

If Trump takes Georgia and North Carolina, he moves up to 247.

That puts him in touching distance if he can also win Michigan, whose 16 votes take him to 273. 

SCENARIO FIVE: TRUMP CLEAN SWEEP

If Trump takes all four of the states on the table without touching Pennsylvania, it is game over for Biden.

Trump would get  

SCENARIO FIVE: 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.

In Philadelphia officials said around 350,000 votes were cast, but only 76,000 were tallied during the day Tuesday. The rest would not be counted until Wednesday. 

Election officials begin counting ballots Tuesday night in York County, Pennsylvania, where mail-in ballots cannot be counted until Election Day

Election officials begin counting ballots Tuesday night in York County, Pennsylvania, where mail-in ballots cannot be counted until Election Day

‘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.

Pennsylvania Gov 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.

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