But those numbers were never complete, and those numbers changed overnight and Wednesday as mail ballots from the densely populated democratic regions of those states were tally.
One big reason for the delay: Legislation in each state prohibits election officials from starting to process and tally the record number of mailed ballots voters used during the Covid-19 pandemic. .
Going to Pennsylvania. The Republican-controlled legislature refused to change state law to allow county election officials to begin processing mail ballots until 7:00 a.m. on Election Day. That leaves local election officials with mountains of absentee ballots to process and tally on top of the live ballots elected on Tuesday.
Overall, Pennsylvania received almost 2.6 million ballots by mail, according to the state election website. Officials say that number is 10 times the number of absentee ballots it receives in a regular election. At the Democratic stronghold in Philadelphia alone, officials received more than 350,000 absentee votes that they could not begin processing until polls opened on Tuesday.
Continued delaying results in the State of Keystone: Pennsylvania’s nine counties, according to the CNN report, chose not to begin processing and counting votes until Wednesday morning.
Secretary of State Kathy Boockvar on Wednesday tried to publicize lagging counties to speed up total reporting after some of them appeared to have counted 0% of the vote-by-mail votes on the state website. “We’ll keep track of all those counties to say, ‘Hey, make sure you get the records for us,'” she told reporters.
Biden’s campaign encourages Democrats to vote early – while direct votes may favor Trump – so it’s no surprise that the former vice president’s total vote count will increase as the officials check more votes.
The change of count angered the President. “They are finding Biden’s votes everywhere – in Pennsylvania, Wisconsin and Michigan,” he tweeted Wednesday. “It’s so bad for our country!”
But Richard Hasen, an electoral law expert at the University of California Law School in Irvine and an analyst with CNN, says “nothing sinister is going on.”
“In those three states, election officials asked for more time” to process the ballots, he said, and was largely blocked by state lawmakers.
“The ballots are not processed randomly, so you will have the results changed” as election officials added absentee ballots to the number of votes, Hasen said.
Michigan, which received more than 3.1 million absentee ballots, faced similar restrictions during Election Day.
A new state law gives cities with at least 25,000 residents a little more time than usual to process, but does not count, mail ballots – adding 10 hours on November 2, a day before the election. (Processing involves removing ballots from their outer envelope and preparing them for tabulation.)
The short timeframe for processing mailed ballots in states like Pennsylvania and Michigan is in stark contrast to Florida, where officials began processing ballots weeks prior to Election Day, allowing them to quickly report. result.
That’s part of the reason Trump was so quickly predicted to be the winner in Florida.
In Wisconsin, electoral workers have to wait until 7 a.m. on Tuesday to begin processing most absentee elections and early voting.
The overnight results soared in Wisconsin that largely supported Biden sparked conservatism, but it reflected the Democratic stronghold in Milwaukee reporting more than 169,000 absentee votes.
A separate political party battle could take place over the next few weeks with a host of other ballots: Mail ballots arrive after Election Day. Trump objected to the Supreme Court’s decision to allow Pennsylvania to count votes up to three days after the election.
But on Wednesday, election officials scrambled to count the number of votes they had in hand.
Pennsylvania Governor Tom Wolf, a Democrat, told reporters Wednesday morning that the system is working as it should, even if full results aren’t available by the end of the day.
“We have to be patient but trust that these votes will be counted, they will be counted correctly and they will be fully counted,” he said. “The delay we’re seeing is an indication that the system is working.”
CNN’s Kelly Mena, Ellie Kaufman, Konstantin Toropin and Casey Tolan contributed to this story.