WASHINGTON (AP) – The fate of the US presidency is in balance on Wednesday morning, as President Donald Trump and Democratic challenger Joe Biden battle for three familiar battlefield states – Wisconsin, Michigan and Pennsylvania – could prove crucial in determining who wins the White House.
It is unclear when or how quickly the winner can be determined. A late vote in Wisconsin gave Biden the lead in the state, but it is too early to call the race. Hundreds of thousands of votes also stood out in Michigan and Pennsylvania.
High-stakes elections were held amid a historic pandemic that killed more than 230,000 Americans and wiped out millions of jobs. Both candidates spent months highlighting significantly different visions of the nation̵7;s future, and voters responded in large numbers, with more than 100 million voting ahead of Election Day.
But by the end of the night, margins were extremely tight, with candidates trading winning in battle states across the country. Trump chose Florida, the largest of the revolving states, while Biden toppled Arizona, which reliably voted for the Republican party in recent elections. All 270 electoral votes are needed to proceed with the White House.
Trump, in an unusual move from the White House, issued an early victory declaration and said he would take the election to the Supreme Court to stop the counting of votes. It is unclear exactly what legal action he may be trying to pursue.
Biden, who appeared briefly in front of supporters in Delaware calling for patience, said that the election “is not over until every vote is counted, every vote counts.”
“It is not my place or Donald Trump’s place to declare who will win this election,” Biden said. “It is a decision of the American people.”
Regular ballot tables continue after Election Day, and states mainly set end-of-count rules. In presidential elections, a key point is the date in December when the presidential electors meet. It is required by federal law.
Some states allow mail ballots to be accepted after Election Day, as long as they are postmarked by Tuesday. That includes Pennsylvania, where postmarked ballots before 3 November can be accepted if they arrive three days after the election.
Pennsylvania Governor Tom Wolf tweeted that his state has more than 1 million votes counted and that he “promised the Pennsylvanians that we would count every ballot and that’s what we would do”.
Trump seems to suggest those votes should not be counted and that he will fight for that outcome in the supreme court. But legal experts have doubts about Trump’s claims.
“I don’t see any way for him to go directly to the Supreme Court to stop counting votes. There could be fights in specific states, and some of them could end at the Supreme Court. But this is not how things work, ”said Rick Hasen, professor of law and political science at the University of California-Irvine.
Trump has appointed three of the nine supreme court justices, including, most recently, Amy Coney Barrett.
Democrats often outperform Republicans in mail-based voting, while the GOP seems to take a place among voters on Election Day. That means the gap between candidates could be affected by the type of vote – early or Election Day – reported by the states.
Throughout the campaign, Trump questioned the truthfulness of the election and repeatedly suggested that mail ballots should not be counted. Both campaigns feature teams of lawyers ready to move to battlefield nations if there is a legal challenge.
The overall competition closely reflects a deeply polarized nation struggling to cope with its worst health crisis in over a century, with millions of jobs lost and racial injustice. .
Trump kept several states, including Texas, Iowa, and Ohio, where Biden played a key role in the late stages of the campaign. But Biden also chose states Trump seeks to compete with, including New Hampshire and Minnesota. But Florida is the biggest, most fiercely disputed battlefield on the map, with both campaigns vying for 29 votes of the Electoral College belonging to Trump.
The President adopted Florida as his new home state, attracted the Latino community, especially Cuban Americans, and staged relentless protests there. For his part, Biden deployed his top agent – President Barack Obama – there twice during the campaign’s closing days and benefited from a $ 100 million in-state pledge from Michael Bloomberg.
Democrats entered the night of confidence not only in Biden’s prospects, but also in the party’s ability to take control of the Senate. But the GOP has kept a number of seats deemed vulnerable, including in Iowa, Texas and Kansas. The house is expected to remain under Democratic control.
Pandemic coronavirus – and Trump’s handling of it – is a focus that cannot be ignored for 2020.
For Trump, the election was seen as a ruling of his four years in power, a term in which he bent Washington to his own will, challenged beliefs in its institutions and changed views. America globally. Rarely attempting to unite a country divided by race and class, he often acted as a rebel against the government he led while undermining scientists, bureaucracy and national communication.
The impetus from early voting shifted to Election Day, when an energetic voter created lines at polling stations across the country. Voter turnout rates were higher than in 2016 in many counties, including all of Florida, nearly every county in North Carolina, and more than 100 counties in both Georgia and Texas. That number is likely to increase as more counties report their voter turnout numbers.
Voters have defied concerns about the coronavirus, polling place threats and long-standing expectations due to changes to the voting system, but don’t seem discouraged as voters leave. votes appear, it will easily surpass the 139 million votes that were elected four years ago.
No major problems arose on Tuesday, aside from the typical glitches of a presidential election: Some polling places are open late, calls automatically give false information to voters. in Iowa and Michigan, and machines or software malfunctioned in some counties in the battlefield states of Ohio, Pennsylvania, Georgia, and Texas.
The cybersecurity agency at the Department of Homeland Security said there was no sign of danger occurring by midday.
With the coronavirus now raging again, voters have ranked the pandemic and the economy the top concerns in the Trump-Biden race, according to AP VoteCast, a national survey of voters.
Voters in particular are likely to call the public health crisis the nation’s most important problem, with the economy closely behind. Little-named health care, racism, law enforcement, immigration or climate change
The survey shows that Trump’s leadership plays a large part in voter decision-making. Nearly two-thirds of voters said their vote was in Trump’s favor – for him or against him.
Jaffe reports from Wilmington, Delaware. Miller reports from Washington. Associated Press writers Robert Burns, Kevin Freking, Aamer Madhani, Deb Riechmann and Will Weissert in Washington, Bill Barrow and Haleluya Hadero in Atlanta, Jeff Martin in Cobb County, Georgia, Thomas Beaumont in Des Moines, Juan Lozano in Houston, Corey Williams in West Bloomfield, Michigan, Kathy McCormack in Concord, New Hampshire, and Natalie Pompilio contributed to this report.
Find complete information about the AP election at APNews.com/Election2020.