Four states still counting ballots six days after US presidential election

Biden enjoys small leads in Georgia and Arizona, while trailing Trump in North Carolina and Alaska

Supporters of US President Donald Trump protest near the state capitol on November 7, 2020, in Atlanta. (AP/John Bazemore)
Supporters of US President Donald Trump protest near the state capitol on November 7, 2020, in Atlanta. (AP/John Bazemore)

Joe Biden is already projected to win the US presidential election, according to major US media. But no outlet has yet projected a final winner in four US states, as of Monday: Alaska, Arizona, Georgia, and North Carolina.

Biden needs at least 270 votes in the Electoral College, which ultimately decides the presidency.

Those 538 votes are apportioned among the states and chosen in individual state contests on Election Day, usually on a winner-takes-all basis.

Biden currently has at least 279 electoral votes. Republican incumbent President Donald Trump has only 214 — even if he wins all four remaining states, he cannot reach 270.

Arizona (11 electoral votes)

Biden has received 49.5 percent of the vote, compared to 49% for Donald Trump — a narrow margin of 16,985 votes — with 98% of ballots counted.

Fox News and the Associated Press called the race in the western state in the Democrat’s favor on Election Night, triggering Trump’s wrath.

Other media, such as The New York Times and CNN, have so far refrained from declaring a winner in Arizona, a traditionally Republican bastion.

President-elect Joe Biden leaves after mass at St. Joseph on the Brandywine Catholic Church, November 8, 2020, in Wilmington, Delaware. (AP Photo/Carolyn Kaster)

Georgia (16)

While 99% of the estimated vote has been counted, there are still ballots to be tabulated across the state, including those from counties that Biden carried.

The southeastern state has consistently voted Republican since 1996.

Biden inched past the incumbent in the tally Friday, and by Monday morning was leading by 10,353 votes of nearly 5 million ballots cast — a lead of about 0.2 percentage points. Under Georgia state law, a candidate can request a recount if the margin is within 0.5 percentage points.

The AP does not declare winners of elections that will be — or are likely to become — subject to a mandatory recount. In instances where a recount is not required by law, but a candidate requests one, the AP will not call a race if the margin between the top two candidates is 0.5 percentage points or less.

Electoral research conducted by the AP found there have been at least 31 statewide recounts since 2000. Three of those changed the outcome of the election. The initial margins in those races were 137 votes, 215 votes and 261 votes.

Among all 31 recounts, the largest shift in results was 0.1%, in the 2006 race for Vermont’s Auditor of Accounts. This was a low turnout election in which the initial results had one candidate winning by 137 votes. The candidate eventually lost by 102 votes, for a swing of 239 votes.

The average shift in the margin between the top two candidates was 0.019 percentage points.

Former New York mayor Rudy Giuliani, a lawyer for President Donald Trump, pauses as he speaks during a news conference on legal challenges to vote counting in Pennsylvania November 7, 2020, in Philadelphia. (AP/John Minchillo)

North Carolina (15)

Trump prematurely claimed early Wednesday that he won the state.

“We’ve clearly won North Carolina, where we’re up 1.7%, 77,000 votes with only approximately 5% left. They can’t catch us,” he said during an appearance at the White House. Trump also said he planned to contest the US presidential election before the Supreme Court. It was unclear, exactly, what legal action he might pursue.

Since then, Trump’s lead has been shaved down 1.38 percentage points, or 75,371 votes, as of Monday morning and the race is too early to call with up to tens of thousands of mail ballots and provisional ballots left to count statewide.

As long as those ballots are postmarked by November 3, state election officials have until November 12 to count them.

Some 98% of the votes have been counted in this traditionally Republican southeastern state.

At the moment, Trump is ahead of Biden by about 75,000 votes, with a total of about 50% of the vote, versus his rival’s 48.6%.

While some major networks have called North Carolina for the president, AP has yet to do so.

Alaska (3)

Only 56% of the votes have been counted in Alaska, due to the complicated logistics of collecting ballots in the vast state, and cross-referencing absentee ballots to ensure no one voted twice.

Trump leads with 62.9% of the count so far. No Democrat has won in Alaska for decades.

306 electoral votes?

If Biden wins Arizona and Georgia, as some projections suggest, he will have 306 of the 538 electors — the same number that propelled Trump to victory in what the president has called a “landslide” over Hillary Clinton in 2016.

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