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US election 2020: The long wait is over but caution on hoping for an early result

by LLB Editor
3rd Nov 20 10:15 am

The long wait is over. US election day is finally here, but anyone hoping for an early result will be holding their breath.

President Trump has used stark terms to threaten legal action to stop the counting of postal ballots arriving after election day on 3 November, a process that is allowed with earlier post-marks in some US states. Speaking about Pennsylvania, Trump’s claim that “we’re going in with our lawyers” as soon as the polls close later today will do little to sooth investors’ nerves of an orderly political process and transfer of power should it come to that. Meanwhile an update overnight from the US Elections Project has a tally of 99.6m Americans having now already voted before today’s 3 November voting, equal to 72.3% of the total votes counted in the US 2016 election.

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There are as many as a dozen or so ‘swing states’ to watch in the US election, which are states that historically have been closely divided politically. These include Florida (which has 29 electoral college votes), Pennsylvania (20), Ohio (18), Georgia (16), Michigan (16), North Carolina (15), Arizona (11), and Wisconsin (10). Some US states, such as Pennsylvania and Wisconsin, cannot start processing and counting early votes until election day, so final results here are less likely on the night. Instead, a lot of focus will be on Florida, a so-called ‘bellwether state’, which has a well-established process for counting early votes. Since 1996, every presidential candidate who has succeeded in Florida has gone on to win the White House. Also worth keeping in mind is caution on reading an early result, as both Florida and North Carolina announce their postal votes at the outset but vote totals can then be skewed as on-the-day ballots are counted. Safe to say, it could be a long night and week ahead.

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