The US elections – what we know so far

The US elections – what we know so far
A scenario many feared has come true – it is not clear whether Joe Biden or Donald Trump has won the White House
3 min read
04 November, 2020
Ballots are still being counted in Wisconsin, a key swing state [Getty]

The scenario many had feared has come true: November 3 has come and gone and we don't know whether President Donald Trump or Democratic candidate Joe Biden has won the White House.

Here's the current state of play and a preview of what to expect.

What results remain?

As it stands, Biden has won 238 electoral votes and Trump a maximum of 213, based on the states that have declared results so far.

Barack Obama's vice president was boosted by the addition of Arizona in the early hours of Wednesday morning -- as the two men try to eke their way to the magic number of 270 out of a total of 538.

That leaves the battlegrounds Georgia, Michigan, North Carolina, Pennsylvania and Wisconsin still up in the air -- as well as the easier to predict states of Alaska (Republican) and Nevada (Democratic).

When will we find out?

Officials in many of the states have indicated how long it will take to count the ballots, with the situation complicated this year by the Covid-19 pandemic that has led to record mail-in voting.

Georgia, Michigan and Wisconsin have all indicated a final picture could emerge Wednesday, Pennsylvania has said it could take up to November 6, while in North Carolina mail ballots postmarked election day are accepted until November 12.

But in reality things remain uncertain. In an open letter to voters, Philadelphia mayor Jim Kenney asked citizens of Pennsylvania's biggest city to exercise "patience."

What can happen next?

While Biden has voiced confidence in his chances, President Trump has gone a step further, already claiming victory and saying he'll go to the Supreme Court to get his way.

The Republican said in a White House speech that "we want all voting to stop," apparently meaning that he wants to stop the counting of mail-in ballots which can be legally accepted by state election boards after Tuesday's election.

Democrats are widely thought to have cast more mail-in ballots than Trump's supporters and Republicans have already signalled they'll pursue an aggressive strategy in Pennsylvania to have the votes that arrived after the election thrown out.

Tom Wolf, the state's Democratic governor shot back Wednesday, tweeting that there were a million votes left to count. "I promised Pennsylvanians that we would count every vote and that's what we're going to do," he said.

The state's top court ordered a three day extension which the US Supreme Court refused to block, but said it could revisit the issue after the election - and the ascension of new conservative judge Amy Coney Barrett could prove decisive in that decision.

The spectre of civil unrest has worried many voters but failed to materialize on Election Day itself.

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