With the presidential race still too close to call, President Donald Trump and Democratic challenger Joe Biden are battling over a familiar battleground states — Pennsylvania — and three additional states that are too close to call, in North Carolina, Georgia and Nevada. Voting is done, and now the counting continues.
Experts have been saying for weeks these states were in play for either candidate, and that with the influx of record-breaking numbers of mail-in ballots, counting could take longer.
Many states allow mailed-in ballots to be accepted after Election Day as long as they are postmarked by Tuesday.
The majority of mail-in ballots tended to be from Democratic voters, according to the U.S. Elections Project and elections watchers, and as more of them are counted, experts say a state’s vote total will appear to shift “blue.”
The Associated Press has called Wisconsin for Biden.
Exit polls in Wisconsin show the candidates split the vote among men and women, and white voters. Biden had 92 percent of Black voters and 60 percent of Hispanic/Latino voters in the exit polls. Among families who say they are better off today then four years ago, 84 percent say they voted for Trump in Wisconsin's exit polls.
In Wisconsin, the economy was the top issue for voters, according to exit polls. And the third of exit poll participants who said that, voted for Trump. This echoes Pew Research Center studies done in the last few months, showing Americans believe Trump will be better able to handle the economy, and that the economy was a top concern for voters.
In response to claims from Trump that election officials were “finding Biden votes everywhere,” Wisconsin’s Elections Commission Administrator Meagan Wolfe reacted strongly during a Wednesday press conference.
“Every piece of data is publicly available,” she said, reiterating that in Wisconsin, a voter has to register to vote with the county, then they have to formally request an absentee ballot, and that ballot then goes through a three-step canvas process to certify the results. She also said some municipalities are live streaming their canvas process, and all of them are open to the public.
Wolfe said nearly all the votes in Wisconsin have been counted, and she focused on the state’s process of certifying the results and running audits on the voting machines, as prescribed by law.
A recount in Wisconsin appears likely, state rules allow a losing candidate to request a recount if the margin is less than 1 percent.
According to Trump’s campaign manager, Bill Stepien, they will ask for a recount.
“There have been reports of irregularities in several Wisconsin counties which raise serious doubts about the validity of the results. The President is well within the threshold to request a recount and we will immediately do so,” Stepien said in a statement Wednesday morning.
The Associated Press also called Michigan later in the day.
According to state law, mail-in ballots in Michigan cannot start to be counted until Election Day, and there are added layers of security and processing for those ballots.
Michigan’s secretary of state says she hopes to have most of the remaining ballots counted at some point Wednesday.
Exit polls in Michigan show Biden overwhelmingly win with Black and Hispanic or Latino voters in the state, he also leads slightly in exit polls with college-educated voters and younger voters. About 40 percent of participants said the economy was the top issue for them when considering their presidential candidate vote. About 18 percent of respondents said the coronavirus was their top issue.
Wednesday morning, Pennsylvania Gov. Tom Wolf tweeted that his state had over 1 million ballots to be counted and that he had “promised Pennsylvanians that we would count every vote and that’s what we’re going to do.”
By Wednesday evening, NBC News reported that Pennsylvania had about 767,000 mail-in votes left. So far, Biden has won 76% of the mail-in vote in the state. If Biden can continue to carry the mail-in vote the way he has, he would easily carry the state, despite the large margin he trails by.
In Nevada, election officials have already said there will not be new vote totals released until 9 a.m. local time on Thursday. State officials told the Review Journal they are going to spend Wednesday counting the tens of thousands of mail-in ballots left to count.
The economy was also the top issue for Nevada voters, according to the exit polls. Almost 40 percent of participants said the economy was the issue that mattered most in their vote for president. Of those people, 85 percent voted for Trump.
Florida has been a pivotal swing state for the last several elections, Trump won the state Tuesday night. Biden is projected to win Arizona, a state that has reliably voted Republican in recent elections, however the margin is only 100,000 votes.
With the coronavirus now surging anew, voters ranked the pandemic and the economy as top concerns in the race between Trump and Biden, according to AP VoteCast, a national survey of the electorate.
Voters were especially likely to call the public health crisis the nation’s most important issue, with the economy following close behind. Fewer named health care, racism, law enforcement, immigration or climate change
The survey found that Trump’s leadership loomed large in voters’ decision-making. Nearly two-thirds of voters said their vote was about Trump — either for him or against him.