The election is upon us and, in an average election cycle, we would be finding out who the president-in-elect is in a few short days. However, the CoVID-19 pandemic means that there is a good chance we won’t know the winner for a while yet. In this article we consider when it is likely or probable that a winner will be officially announced.
So here we are. One day away. 24 hours and counting. The moment many Americans, including myself, have been anxiously awaiting since Donald Trump was inaugurated as President in early 2017. The 2020 US presidential election is upon us, and all states will be counting votes by tomorrow. Joe Biden and Donald Trump are continuing their journeys on the campaign trail as they attempt to pick up every last loose voter. The first polls close at 19:00* on Tuesday so it is likely we may begin to see some results come in very quickly. However, due to the pandemic that has been left to rage out of control in the United States, there is a good chance that we won’t have a declared winner in the early hours of the following morning as we normally would.
There has been a sharp upturn in mail-in ballots which often take a few days, possibly even weeks, to be received by the local polling stations and then counted. This has only been made worse by the CoVID-19 pandemic with travel restrictions and shortages of personnel adding extra delays to the USPS’s delivery of ballots. Beyond this, numerous states have allowed for an extended counting period to ensure mail-in ballots are all officially received and counted. This extended period ranges from three days to, in some cases, over two weeks. This extended counting period applies to states from the solid states to the tossup states. While it is probable the solid states will be called on Election day even with the extended voting period due to an overwhelming majority for one or the other candidate, it is very likely that lean and tossup states will need to fully utilise this extra time.
The lean states with this extended time are Kansas, Pennsylvania, Minnesota, and Nevada. The tossup states with this extended time are North Carolina, Iowa, and Ohio. Altogether, these contested “extended time” states account for 81 electoral votes, leaving 457 Electoral votes likely to be called on election day. This 457 would be enough to push either candidate above the 270 threshold required to win. Based on my predictions from last week’s article; however, I don’t anticipate that this will occur. Using last week’s predictions, I see Americans waking up on the 4th to Joe Biden taking 243 electoral votes and Donald Trump taking 213 electoral votes. As of November 6th, when the next round of key counting deadlines occurs, I anticipate we will see Joe Biden at 263 electoral votes, leaving Donald Trump with 235 electoral votes. This means that Americans will have to wait beyond the 6th to receive the eagerly awaited result. The next significant deadline is the 9th of November when Iowa’s extended counting deadline occurs. I predict Trump will win Iowa, thus raising his total as of the 9th to 241 Electoral Votes, as opposed to a predicted 263 for Biden. We then go ahead one more day to the 10th when two lean states’ extended periods elapse. I anticipate this will leave Joe Biden with 279 Electoral Votes and Donald Trump with 241. And there you have it.
I predict that Joe Biden will win with 279 electoral votes on November the 10th, a whole week after election day.
While I would gladly wait a week for a Biden victory, there is an incredibly good chance that we are headed for much longer beyond that. If Donald Trump is to win the election, his victory could rely on Ohio, which will be called by November 13th. Also, the incumbent president is yet to agree to a peaceful transition of power and could demand many recounts and could challenge the integrity of the election. All in all, I project that we’ll know on the 10th, but we could also find out on the 3rd, or there is a possibility that this election will remain disputed for many years to come- and an entirely different solution will be reached.
*NB: As this article is about the US election, all times have been written in EST (Eastern Standard Time). For the reader’s reference: London is 5 hours ahead and SG is 13 hours ahead.