Trump builds leads in key battleground states as Biden holds early electoral advantage in races that have been called

File photo of Donald Trump. By Gage Skidmore from Peoria, AZ, United States of America - Donald Trump, CC BY-SA 2.0, https://commons.wikimedia.org/w/index.php?curid=52646497

(The Center Square) – As America still awaits results in the crucial battleground states, President Donald Trump and former Vice President Joe Biden continue racking up electoral college votes in the states where they were expected to win.

Trump so far has been declared the winner in Alabama, Arkansas, Idaho, Indiana, Kansas, Kentucky, Louisiana, Mississippi, Missouri, North Dakota, Nebraska, Oklahoma, South Dakota, Tennessee, Utah and West Virginia.

Biden won California, Colorado, Connecticut, Delaware, Illinois, Maryland, Massachusets, New Hampshire, New Jersey, New Mexico, New York, Oregon, Rhode Island, Vermont, Virginia, Washigton and Wyoming.

Nebraska is one of two states – Maine also – that splits its electoral college votes by Congressional districts.

With his early wins, Biden held a 209-118 electoral vote advantage over Trump, with all of the key battleground states still to come. Either candidate needs to secure at least 270 electoral votes to win the presidency.

Florida with its 29 electoral votes, and other battleground states of Georgia (16), Michigan (16), North Carolina (15), Ohio (18), Pennsylvania (20), Texas (38) and Wisconsin (10) will be key.

Trump was building leads in Florida, Georgia, Michigan, Ohio, Pennsylvania and Texas as the counts continued into the night.

If it’s a close race in some key swing states, it’s possible – maybe even likely – that a winner won’t be known for days or longer.

That’s in part because more than 99 million Americans already voted early or by mail before Tuesday’s polls even opened. States have different rules for counting and processing mail-in votes. Some wait until after all polls close in the state. Some states also will accept mail-in ballots for days after Nov. 3.

In 17 states, mail-in votes were being counted before Election Day, according to Ballotpedia. In 16 states, mail-in votes can start being counted on Election Day before polls close. In the remaining 17 states, mail-in votes can’t be counted until after polls close. Some states require election clerks to match the signatures on mail-in votes with signatures already on file, making the process more time-consuming.

In the key swing state of Pennsylvania, for example, some counties don’t expect to start counting mail-in ballots until Wednesday or later. During Pennsylvania’s June primary, roughly half of counties were still counting ballots a full week after Election Day.

And in states where the final, unofficial results are particularly close, both Trump and Biden have attorneys on standby to legally challenge any potential discrepancies. That could drag the presidential outcome out by weeks.

At 8 p.m. eastern, polls will close in all or parts of more than 20 states.

In 2016, Trump won the electoral vote and the presidency despite losing the popular vote to Hillary Clinton by nearly 3 million votes. By winning the key swing states of Florida, Pennsylvania, Ohio, Michigan and Wisconsin, Trump claimed 304 electoral votes to Clinton’s 227.

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