He’s been campaigning for months against mail voting in November by tweeting and speaking critically about the practice, which more states have encouraged to keep voters safe amid the coronavirus pandemic.
In an interview in July, the president likewise refused to commit to accepting the results. “I have to see. See … I must see,” he told Fox News Sunday. “No, I wouldn’t just say yes. I wouldn’t say no, and I wasn’t the last time.”
Now, a question that was previously unimaginable is being asked: What if the American president did not accept the election defeat? Is there a contingency plan in case the president and his supporters refuse to remain silent?
At what time will we know the winner in the US election?
Election night may not achieve the ultimate winner the public expects. The unprecedented number of mail ballots in these elections, sparked by the Covid-19 virus, could cause significant delays. While some states begin counting postal ballots before Election Day, some wait until the polls close.
Initial results in states that prioritize personal vote count may show Mr. Trump is advancing, only for Biden to show up at a later date as the vote counts appear in the mail.
If there is no clear winner at night, the count may take days or even weeks, although most officials in vital “swing” states have said they hope to announce a result by the end of the week after the election at the latest.
Regardless of the end result, President Trump will remain in the Oval Office after the election if he loses, he will officially become a “lame duck” president, with 73 days into his term before handing the keys to the White House.
On January 20, 2021, the new president will deliver his inaugural speech. This has traditionally been held on the steps of the U.S. Capitol Building, but it remains unclear what shape the national address would take if the pandemic still posed a public health risk.
When is the time for opinion polls?
After the polls close in the US, broadcasters will use a variety of data, including exit polls, to try to predict the outcome.
Networks typically begin releasing data from polls before 6 PM EST (11 PM GMT).
Exit polls are opinion polls taken of people as soon as they leave the polling station. Not every voter is interviewed, so polls are not always accurate. It helps measure the outcome of an election, as the actual result can take days or even weeks to clear.
It is important to note that while the media will present case results to any of the candidates, the results are not official until endorsed by the individual states. The states technically have until December 14th, when Electoral College voters gather, to finalize the count.
How does the electoral college work?
Each state is represented by a number of votes in the electoral college that is roughly related to the size of the population. For example, Florida has 29 votes and California has 55. There are 538 votes in total, so 270 votes are required to win.
In all but two states, the candidate who wins the universal vote will win all of the Electoral College votes for that state. These votes are cast by the electorate, and there is one voter for each university vote, on December 14th. Traditionally, the voter turn is considered a ceremonial one, but they are not required by law in all states to vote for the candidate who wins in their state.
The minimum number of Electoral College votes a state can get is three, so smaller states tend to be overrepresented on the Electoral College. Wyoming has one vote for every 193,000 people in the state, while California has one vote for every 718,000 people.
The structure of the Electoral College, along with the political and demographic make-up of swing states, means that few states have a disproportionately greater weight in elections and sometimes cancel the popular vote. In the 2016 election, Hillary Clinton won the popular vote but lost the presidential race because she failed to win the crucial swing states and thus lost the Electoral College vote.
A list of these important swing states is discussed below:
When do swing states announce their results?
- 11 electoral seats.
- Despite being a traditional Republican stronghold, Trump won the state by only 3.5% in 2016. Democrats believe the demographic change in the state has given them a chance to turn it blue.
- Polls close at 7:00 pm local time (2am GMT). Officials plan to announce the preliminary results at around 8 PM local time (3 AM GMT).
- 29 electoral seats.
- While it is still technically possible for Trump to win without Florida, he will have to hang onto every other state he won in 2016 to secure his re-election – which is tough.
- Polling stations close at 7:00 pm local time (12:00 GMT). Initial results are expected at around 8 PM local time (1 AM GMT).
- 16 electoral seats.
- Demographic changes and increasing urban areas have made Georgia less safe for Republicans in recent years.
- Polls close at 7:00 PM local time (12 AM GMT). Georgia does not begin counting by mail until after the polls close, which means the result may not be apparent at night.
- 16 electoral seats.
- Donald Trump, who was the closest state to running in 2016, has successfully turned the Republican party against Hillary Clinton.
- Most polls close at 8.00 PM local time (1 AM GMT). Some jurisdictions count ballots by mail before Election Day, but not all, which means that statewide results are not expected until two days later.
- 10 electoral seats.
- Minnesota went to Hillary Clinton in 2016, but it was a close contest.
- Polls close at 8:00 PM local time (2 AM GMT) and preliminary results are expected shortly thereafter.
- 15 electoral seats.
- Some consider it a “necessity” for President Trump. If he loses here, that may indicate the Republican stronghold is slipping into the south.
- Polling stations close at 7.30 pm local time (12.30 pm GMT). The state expects to announce the preliminary results with the close of the polls due to the high number of first voters.
- 18 electoral seats.
- Donald Trump won eight points in Ohio in 2016, but it has been a major battleground this year, in part because the president lost support among suburban women in the state.
- Polling stations close at 7.30 pm local time (12.30 pm GMT). Mail ballots are not counted until Election Day, but Ohio expects early results to be announced at night.
- 20 electoral seats.
- Pennsylvania was formerly a solid “Blue Wall” state for the Democrats, but Donald Trump hardly overturned in 2016. Both sides invested significant time and resources to win Key Stone, and the outcome here can determine the national election.
- Polls close at 8:00 PM local time (1 AM GMT). Ballot papers cannot be counted in the mail until Election Day: Officials hope to obtain a result in the following days.
- 38 electoral seats.
- The second largest state in terms of elective college voting, changing the demographics of Texas cities make them competitive.
- Most polls close at 7:00 pm local time (1am GMT). Texas tends to release results early in the evening.
- 10 electoral seats.
- In 2016, Donald Trump challenged pollsters to a surprise win in Wisconsin.
- Polls close at 8:00 PM local time (2 AM GMT). Officials expected an announcement on election night or soon after.
Read more: What happens if Donald Trump refuses to accept the defeat of the US election and goes quietly?
What are the other national races on Election Day?
Not only will the presidential race take place on November 3. All of the 435 members of the US House of Representatives are on the verge of re-election, along with nearly a third of the 100 members of the Senate.
Democrats hope to maintain control of the House of Representatives as well as seize many Republican Senate seats, perhaps even becoming the majority party in the House.
Winning the Senate majority, which Republicans currently have 53-47, would be a huge bounty for the Democrats. The Senate has the power to veto the approval of legislation and business deals as well as to assert top government positions and judges.
Read more about the main Senate seats available to you.