While voters anxiously await the final results of the 2020 presidential election, President Trump has muddied the waters by declaring victory before all the votes have been counted. Experts have long warned it would likely take days before a clear winner could be projected, but it doesn’t appear the president is on board with that sentiment. After the president posted a tweet declaring "a big WIN" in the early hours of Nov. 4, you’re probably wondering if Trump can declare victory in the 2020 election before it’s actually over. The short answer is: It could get complicated.
As of the morning of Nov. 4, there are plenty of mail-in ballots that still need to be counted, and no reputable news organizations have called the race for either candidate, so Trump’s lone (and premature) claim to victory is not an end to the election. And experts agree: Mark A. Peterson, Ph.D, a professor of public policy and political science at UCLA, previously told Elite Daily: "The president is not the determiner of who wins the election." As of 8 a.m. ET on Nov. 4, The New York Times presidential race tracker has Joe Biden winning 227 electoral votes and President Trump winning 213 electoral votes, with Nevada, Arizona, Wisconsin, Michigan, Pennsylvania, North Carolina, Georgia, and Alaska yet to be called. President Trump claimed in a speech early on Nov. 4 that he "won Georgia," and "clearly won North Carolina," but again, those states have yet to be called, based on the Times tracker as well as several other news networks official projections.
According to Peterson, voters shouldn’t look to Trump for answers, but rather the Electoral College, which is the body that certifies votes in each state. Usually, this process takes days, if not weeks, before the electors cast ballots for the winners a month or so after the election. This year, it will happen on Dec. 14. Congress is the final body to confirm the results, and is set to do so on Jan. 6, 2021.
Where the trouble comes in for the 2020 election is with the counting of mail-in ballots. Trump has previously claimed that ballots counted after election night are illegitimate, but many states had extended deadlines for receiving mailed in ballots, and those votes will be counted as long as they were postmarked by Election Day.
More to come…
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