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Biden and Trump contend for final votes in uncalled election

New Hampshire voters voted for Joe Biden in the 2020 Presidential election, and a UNH and CNN poll indicates that the same may be true in 2024. Photo courtesy of The New Hampshire (TNH) staff.

The race for President of the United States remains uncalled as both candidates lack the 270 electoral votes to win. 

Democratic nominee and former Vice President Joe Biden and incumbent President Donald Trump continue to contest four key states: Nevada, Georgia, North Carolina and Pennsylvania as mail-in and absentee ballots continue to be processed.  

The electoral map remains extremely similar to 2016, divided among geographic lines. However, Biden’s victory in Michigan, Wisconsin, Arizona, which the Associated Press called early, as well as claiming one electoral vote in Nebraska have allowed Biden to maintain a slight edge over President Donald Trump, according to results from the Associated Press (AP).  

Currently, Biden’s victory in Michigan leaves him at 264 electoral votes, while Trump sits at 214 electoral votes. With the exception of Alaska, Biden needs one last state to claim victory.  

Nevada, Georgia, Pennsylvania and North Carolina remain contested, as mail-in and absentee ballots are still being processed.  

Dante Scala, a professor of Political Science at the University of New Hampshire (UNH) believes results should be known by the end of the week. 

“If the polls are correct, I think we’ll know by the end of the week. I think it only extends to weeks if we have a much closer election than the polls indicate,” said Scala.  

In Pennsylvania, with less than 1 million mail-in ballots to be counted and 89% of the vote accounted for, President Trump leads Democratic challenger Joe Biden by a 50.8% to 48.1% lead, a lead that has shrunk from 52% to 46.2%. This is according to numbers reported by the AP. Gov. Tom Wolf (D-PA), who says results may not be known on Wednesday.  

These mail-in ballots are expected to heavily favor Biden, as Democrats were more likely to vote absentee according to an article by New York Times. These votes originate from counties 2016 Democratic Nominee Hillary Clinton won: Philadelphia, Montgomery, Bucks, Chester, Delaware and Allegheny. Clinton narrowly lost Pennsylvania by about 45,000 votes according to official results, though counties like Philadelphia accounted for a majority of her votes.  

Biden has shown himself to be more successful than Clinton, with Biden reclaiming some of the so-called “Blue Wall” back from Trump with his electoral victories in Michigan and Wisconsin.  

Biden won Michigan by over 120,000 votes with 99% of ballots cast according to results from the AP, a state which Clinton lost by about 11,000 votes in 2016. Likewise, Biden has won Wisconsin by 20,000 votes with 99% of polls reporting. Clinton lost the state by over 20,000 votes in 2016. 

Biden also flipped Arizona, according to the AP, ahead by nearly 80,000 votes with 86% reporting. Trump won Arizona in 2016.  

Biden remains in the lead in Nevada with a nearly 8,000 vote lead with 75% reporting, according to results from the AP. Officials say more results will be posted on Thursday.  

Trump has visited Nevada twice since his official nomination, hoping to swing the state that went to Clinton in 2016. Even still, Trump has an uphill battle ahead, as George W. Bush was the last Republican to win Nevada during his election cycle in 2004.  

North Carolina continues to favor President Trump, ahead by nearly 80,000 votes with 94% reporting. Republicans have won nine out of the past 10 elections in North Carolina, with the exception of Barack Obama, who won the state in 2008. Polling has shown a tight race between Biden and Trump with FiveThirtyEight reporting a slight 1.8% lead for Biden going into Election Day. North Carolina also remains crucial for Republicans to maintain their majority within the Senate. 

President Trump remains the current favorite within Georgia, leading by about 30,000 votes with 98% reporting. Many uncounted votes are from counties in the Atlanta suburbs, including DeKalb County, which overwhelmingly favor Biden. President Trump won Georgia by a comfortable five point lead in 2016, with no Democrat winning Georgia since Bill Clinton in 1992. Approximately 128,000 ballots are uncounted according to county officials.  

Even with his victories, the Trump campaign has recently filed lawsuits to stop counting votes in Michigan and Pennsylvania, possibly delaying results further. Trump’s campaign alleges against late absentee ballots in Georgia as well, further attempting to discredit the validity of the election.  

President Trump has continued to criticize mail-in voting, with a recent tweet claiming, “Absentee Ballots are fine because you have to go through a precise process to get your voting privilege. Not so with Mail-Ins. Rigged Election!!! 20% fraudulent ballots?” 

Despite his claims, very little evidence has been found that voter fraud occurs at a high rate, or has a significant impact on elections. In an analysis by The Washington Post, in conjunction with the nonprofit Electronic Registration Information Center (ERIC), found only 372 possible cases of double voting or voting on behalf of a deceased person out of approximately 14.6 mail-in ballots in the 2016 and 2018 general elections. This equates to 0.0025% of ballots cast.  

Polling data from FiveThirtyEight shows Biden in a comfortable lead, with data ranging from a 5% to 14% lead for Biden. Despite this, the actual race remains extremely tight. Andrew Smith, director of the UNH Survey Center outlined why polling data could potentially be skewed.  

“We have some evidence in NH that indicates that Trump voters are far less likely to talk about their support,” said Smith.  

Rumors of Trump voters being more likely to lie on polling remain prevalent within media. However, new polling by YouGov puts that theory to rest. The study found that many supporters of both candidates “may have a reason for social discomfort in discussing their preferred red candidate.”  

Even still, Smith is unsure of how polling can be more accurate in the future. 

“It is a question that nobody in the survey industry has been able to figure out. If people can’t talk with us, we can’t quantify how much of that potential bias is built-in,” he said.  

Results will continue to trickle in throughout the week, with Biden currently maintaining a lead. With absentee ballots continuing to be processed, some states allow ballots postmarked for Nov. 3 to arrive as late as nine days after the election, like North Carolina.  

It is important to note that given the uniqueness of this election, official results come from the Secretary of State of each state. Results from the AP are still unofficial and are based on their own methodology.

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