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Trump, Biden eye Electoral College in 12 battleground states

Electoral college
Pre-election votes hit 102m

The world waits as less than 20 percent of United States’ 158 million eligible voters filed out to conclude the voting process for the 2020 Presidential elections in 50 states.

Both candidates — Republican Party’s President Donald Trump and Democrats’ Joe Biden — in their last-minute campaigns in key swing states played smart.

Polling agencies have, in the last few days, remained consistent in predicting a Biden win.

Thirteen states are, at the moment, a source of goose pimples for both candidates. They are: Georgia, Florida (with 29 college votes), Ohio, North Carolina, Maine, North Carolina, Pennsylvania, Texas, Alabama, Michigan and Wisconsin. Others are Arizona and Iowa.

They are very much aware that whoever wins the popular votes at the end of the exercise is not going to be automatic President-elect; he will wait for the December 6 Electoral College vote verdict from all 50 states based on individual state’s college votes.

Amid speculations that Biden will win yesterday’s 2020 Presidential Election, some states will begin to project results as early as 9pm (3 am Nigerian time). Election Night Cheat Sheet released by the East West Center last night gave an indication that the polls would end between 7pm (1 am) and 11pm (5am), depending on individual states’ schedules.

New York, which is predominantly Democratic with massive Electoral votes, is expected to be one of the first to project results.

Nationwide, more than 102 million people already voted by mail and in-person before Tuesday’s conclusive polls, meaning that only a small number of voters are participated in the exercise.

But the election will be decided in just 12 of the 50 states. Even so, only a few counties within the 12 swing states will play a major role in deciding the winner, meaning that the race will be decided on a relatively small map.
Only a small fraction of the 3,141 counties in the U.S. will seal the fate of Trump and his rival Biden. The few counties are within the states of Florida, Arizona, Michigan, Iowa, Pennsylvania, and Atlanta. Others are counties in Texas, Philadelphia Nevada, Wisconsin, Minnesota and Michigan.

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In Florida, Tampa county switch gave Trump the state, and, therefore, the 29 Electoral College votes, in 2016. More than half of Florida residents were born outside of the mainland U.S. For Democrats to win the state, they must pile up bigger margins in populous Miami-Dade county to balance off losses elsewhere. If Trump clinches a few points in Democrats-assured Miami-Dade county, he could do real damage.
Other counties that could constitute upsets with far-reaching implication at the Electoral College are Kent (Michigan State), Wake (North Carolina), Erie (Pennsylvania), Dubuque County (Iowa), Mcomb (Michigan) Maricopa County (Arizona) and Tarrant County in Texas, among many others.

This means that candidates will have to win the popular votes in a state to capture the entirety of the state’s college vote on December 6. The simple majority win will, in principle transfer the entire electoral vote from that state to the candidate on December 6, provided there is no “faithless elector” who would be dissident enough to vote against the trend.

It is actually taken for granted that all electors from a particular state would give the block vote to the party’s candidate who won the state by whatever number of votes on November 3.

This explains why Hilary Clinton, after beating Trump with over two million popular votes in 2016 national election could not be picked at the electoral college in 2016, the reason being that although Trump lost in popular votes, hen acquired more spread by winning more states all of which gave their block votes at the electoral college on December 6, 2016.
There were “faithless electors’ though, who tried to change things but it was significant to have the desired impact. Trump had five faithless electors who voted against their state at the Electoral College following the spirited anti-Trump Presidency campaign in the aftermath of the 2016 election. Clinton also lost two votes to Trump at the Electoral College, no thanks to ‘faithless electors’ from one of the Democratic states.

However, the exceptions could not sway things in favour of Clinton, as Trump still led with 304 electoral votes to surpass the mandatory 270 Electoral College votes needed by law to produce the President of the United States of America. Trump got sworn in on January 20, 2017, the statutory date for any elected U.S. President to take oath of office.

In this election, Biden and Trump are focusing on swing states to clinch these very important college votes rather than to win the simple majority votes. And because these states have varying number of electoral (College) votes, they mean the world to Trump and Biden.

In conjunction with the Hawaii, U.S-based East-West Centre, The Guardian presents a list of 12 states, some of which may determine who, between Trump and Biden, becomes the president of the United States on January 20, 2021.

FLORIDA (29 college votes):
There is not a more important state to keep an eye on than Florida. Out of more than 50 million ballots cast in presidential elections from 1992 through 2016, fewer than 18,000 votes separate the total votes between the two parties in all of those elections. Most of the state’s polling places will close at 7 p.m., but those in part of the Panhandle remain open until 8 p.m.

Results from early in-person and mailed ballots are expected to be reported first because election officials are allowed to process that portion of the vote well ahead of time.

GEORGIA (16 electoral votes):
Polls close at 7 p.m., but election officials have said it could take a couple of days for all of the mailed ballots to be scanned and tabulated. Beyond the presidential contest, Georgia voters will also weigh in on two competitive U.S. Senate races, both of which could ultimately advance to runoffs.

NORTH CAROLINA:
In the past half-century, this state has backed only two Democrats for president: southerner Jimmy Carter in 1976 and Barack Obama in 2008. But changing demographics are giving Democrats hope, as more nonwhite and college-educated voters move to the state. Democratic presidential nominee Joe Biden will need strong turnout from those voters to outweigh the state’s rural areas, which remain heavily Republican. Election officials will start counting mailed ballots, which must be postmarked by Election Day and received by 2 Nov. 12, as soon as they arrive. In the Senate race between Democratic challenger Cal Cunningham and Sen. Thom Tillis (R., N.C.), polling has tightened since Mr. Cunningham, who is married, apologized for exchanging flirtatious and sexually suggestive text messages with a public-relations strategist. North Carolina could be the tipping point in the battle for Senate control.

OHIO:
Since 1896, Ohioans have sided with the winning White House candidate in all but two elections. The president won Ohio in 2016 by 8.1 percentage points, carrying 80 of 88 counties and securing the widest margin for a Republican nominee in nearly three decades. To win the state, Democrats have said they need to boost turnout among Black and urban voters in the “three Cs”—Cleveland, Columbus and Cincinnati—while also performing better than Hillary Clinton did in the state’s rural areas.

PENNSYLVANIA:
Election officials have indicated it could be days before they complete the count because of a surge of mail-in ballots. Mr. Biden will need large margins in Philadelphia and the surrounding suburbs, as well as in Pittsburgh. Donald Trump, who in 2016 put Pennsylvania in the Republican column in a presidential contest for the first time since 1988, hopes to expand his support in rural areas.

MAINE:
U.S. Senator Susan Collins (Republican) faces the closest election of her Senate career as she seeks a fifth term against Democrat Sara Gideon, the speaker of the Maine House. Maine is typically a blue state in presidential elections, and Democrats see this race as a must-win to take control of the Senate. Republicans, meanwhile, are hopeful that the independent image Ms. Collins has cultivated over her long tenure will carry her to victory.

ALABAMA:
Former Auburn University football coach Tommy Tuberville is expected to unseat Democratic Sen. Doug Jones in this deep-red state. Mr. Jones won the seat in a 2017 special election after several women accused Roy Moore, the then-GOP nominee, of sexual misconduct that they say occurred when they were underage.

MICHIGAN:
Mr. Trump won this battleground in 2016 by less than 11,000 votes, or 0.22 percentage point, the narrowest outcome in the nation. Two important counties to watch: Wayne and Macomb. Wayne has long voted for Democrats, while Macomb went for Mr. Trump by more than 11 percentage points in 2016 after twice backing former President Obama. Republicans see the Senate race between Sen. Gary Peters (D., Mich.) and Republican John James as one of the few opportunities for the GOP to flip a seat this cycle.

TEXAS:
President Trump won this state by 9 percentage points in 2016, but Democrats point to Beto O’Rourke’s close race against Republican Sen. Ted Cruz in 2018, as well as their wins in a number of House seats and shifting demographics, as evidence they are growing more competitive in this state. Sen. John Cornyn (Republican) is favored to hold his seat against M.J. Hegar, the Democratic Senate candidate and an Air Force veteran.

WISCONSIN:
Democrats hope to build on advantages in Wisconsin’s two largest cities—Milwaukee and Madison—while boosting support in suburban areas and cutting into Mr. Trump’s backing in rural ones. Mr. Trump won this state in 2016 by fewer than 23,000 votes out of almost three million cast, making the outcome the third-narrowest among states he won. He was the first Republican since Ronald Reagan in 1984 to carry the state. A top reason often cited for Mr. Trump’s victory was a drop in turnout among Black voters, who are concentrated in Milwaukee. Returns in Milwaukee County will give an early indication of whether Mr. Biden has reversed that decline.

ARIZONA:
Democrats hope Arizona follows the path of Colorado, New Mexico and Nevada, all of which tilted their way in recent presidential elections as more liberal voters moved in and the Latino electorates became more active. Boosting turnout in heavily Democratic Phoenix and winning suburban swing voters outside the city will be central to the fight in Arizona. Whoever wins Maricopa County, home to Phoenix and more than half of Arizona’s residents, is likely to win the state. Latinos make up about a third of the county’s population. Sen. Martha McSally (Republican) lost Maricopa County in 2018, when Sen. Kyrsten Sinema (Democrat) beat her statewide. But Ms. McSally was appointed to the state’s other Senate seat and now faces former astronaut Mark Kelly, a Democrat.

IOWA:
This state wasn’t supposed to be a battleground this year, after Mr. Trump won it by 9.4 percentage points in 2016. But polling has suggested a closer race this time. Sen. Joni Ernst (Republican) faces Democrat Theresa Greenfield, a former businesswoman, in what has shaped up to be one of the most competitive Senate races of the cycle.

 

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