So … What Happened Election Night?

So, what’s going on? First, we do not have a winner at the presidential level. Despite what either candidate says, there is no winner. Second, the Senate is also still up for grabs as many close elections go uncalled. Finally, Democrats early in the night did claim a majority in the U.S. House of Representatives, per multiple sources. 

So here are some answers to many of your lingering questions about this election.

Why is this election taking longer to count than past elections?

This election broke records for early voting (both in-person or mail-in), in most cases, these ballots take more time to count. This is also complicated as some states allow mail-in ballots to be counted after election day if they are postmarked by election day. This is why it is taking much longer to count.

When will we know the results?

Each state is different, so it is difficult to know when the election results from each state will be final. For example, North Carolina can accept mail-in ballots until November 12, so it is difficult to predict an outcome especially if the outstanding ballots could change the results. But one thing is for sure, election results are final when, and only when, all the votes are counted, despite what either candidate claims.

At the presidential level what states are still up for grabs?

As of 7 a.m., based on ABC News projections, there are still nine states uncalled. While some of these (such as Arizona) have been called on other broadcasts, ABC News has not called the state. The states that are still uncalled are: Nevada, Arizona, Alaska, Wisconsin, Michigan, Maine, North Carolina, Pennsylvania and Georgia. 

Why did President Donald Trump claim victory?

While most candidates often speak in optimistic hyperbole, this claim is verifiably false at this point. He has not won the election. 

Will this election be decided in the courts?

There is no definitive answer to this question at the moment. Elections have always been litigated and argued over (think Bush v. Gore). And even in this election there were many legal suits brought over election law. However, what the president is suggesting would be a challenge to election law after the election. While this wouldn’t be unprecedented, courts are much less likely to alter results after the election. 

Who’s up, who’s down?

At the moment, Joe Biden is in a better place than the president, at 7 a.m. based on ABC News projections, Biden has an electoral vote lead of 225 to 213. However, this race is far from over; while Biden is favored, Trump still has a chance. In this election each state is different, and each state has different votes left.

One thing that complicates the results is the stark divide between early votes and in person votes. Election data and polling numbers indicate that early voting across the country was much more advantageous for Democrats, while election day voting was much more positive for Republicans. This means that what kind of votes are left to count is key to predicting the results. So let’s look at the states.

  • Alaska – With about 36% reporting, Trump is leading big (61%-35%). However, with such a small amount of votes, it is hard to extrapolate from the data. Despite this, Trump was predicted to win the state.
  • Arizona – While ABC has not called the state, many other outlets such as Fox News have called the race for Joe Biden. This is because with over 80% reporting Biden is leading by 5 points. 
  • Georgia – Early in the night, Georgia looked like it was going to go into Trump’s column, but now with 92% reporting, Trump leads by 2 percentage points (50%-48%). The reason this race has not been called is because of where the outstanding ballots are from. For example, in heavily democratic leaning areas such as Atlanta, there are many votes left to count. 
  • Maine – Maine has been a surprise, not because of the results, but because of how slow they have been when it comes to counting. Despite this, most news outlets have called Maine for Joe Biden. As of right now with over 70% reporting, Biden leads by 13 points.
  • Michigan – Michigan is tight with Trump in a narrow lead with 86% reporting. The state has not been called because the remaining votes are primarily early votes which favor the challenger, Biden.
  • Nevada – With 86% reporting, the state is virtually tied. The remaining votes are expected to be early votes, which is expected to favor Biden. 
  • North Carolina – North Carolina stands with a 1 point lead for Trump with 95% of votes reported. The reason for the state not being called is that ballots can still be received until November 12.
  • Pennsylvania – In the state that was expected to decide it all Trump is leading by a 9 point lead with 75% of the votes reported. While this seems like a large lead, there are still tons of votes to count in left leaning counties such as Alleghany and Philadelphia. 
  • Wisconsin – Joe Biden holds a narrow lead with 97% of vote reported. The remaining vote is expected to favor Biden, but the results will be close.

As of right now, Biden definitely has an easier path to victory than Trump, but it is not over, and Trump has come from behind before.

What is next?

Ahead there is a lot of uncertainty and a lot of counting. It’s important to remember that despite ensuing chaos and false claims, it’s not over until the last vote is counted.

Editor’s notes:

  • ABC News predictions were chosen for this article because of their tendency to make calls conservatively and wait until there is overwhelming evidence of a victory.
  • The data and results in this article are constantly changing, The Hyphen recommends following major news outlets for the latest results.

Written by Max Fisher

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