Georgia On My Mind--Election workers count Fulton county ballots in Atlanta, Georgia on Wednesday. Photograph: Jessica McGowan/Getty Images

Thursday, November 5th,2020–Counting continues in the US election, with everything coming down to a few key states, and with both Biden and Trump still having chances to win the prize of 4 years residing at Washington, DC’s most exclusive public housing address.

A result is expected at some point today (Thursday), or possibly tomorrow if everything depends on Pennsylvania, which is expected to be the last state to produce a result.

Results in Georgia were expected last night, but vote counting was temporarily stopped, not by a Supreme Court order, but by a burst water pipe in the Fulton county vote counting center.

Australian bookmakers Sportsbet tweeted that they had declared Biden to be the eventual winner and that $23 million had already been paid out to punters who’d placed wagers on the contest, even as counting continues in key states.

While Election Day came and went on Tuesday, the coronavirus pandemic has thrown the vote into disarray as millions of mail-in ballots remain to be counted.

While President Trump seemed poised to win on Tuesday night, nabbing the swing-state prize of Florida while keeping hold of other major electoral vote repositories like Texas, ongoing ballot-counting has given Biden a near-insurmountable lead after controversial victory calls in Arizona and Michigan.

The former vice president has 264 of the 270 electoral votes–if the still disputed Arizona is included–needed to become the next president of the US, while Trump has just 214 of the votes he requires to keep the White House, as of Wednesday night.

The president’s campaign has filed lawsuits in Pennsylvania, Michigan and Georgia after poll watchers observed apparent anomalies in ballot counting. It has also demanded a recount in Wisconsin.

Trump has declared victory in Pennsylvania, Georgia and North Carolina, though none of those states has announced a winner. The president vowed to go to the Supreme Court to contest his rival’s victory if necessary, denouncing the effort by “a very sad group of people” to disenfranchise his supporters.

“We will win this, and as far as I’m concerned, we already have,” he said in a speech from the White House early on Wednesday.

So what IS the state of play right now?

From an impartial point of view, it looks like Biden has the clearest path to victory

Biden has won 264 of the 270 electoral college votes needed to declare victory, strengthening his lead with wins in Michigan and Wisconsin on Wednesday. Donald Trump has 214 electoral college votes after gaining one vote in Maine.

Trump’s lead in Georgia began to narrow late on Wednesday, and as more postal votes are counted Biden could flip the state and win its 16 electoral college votes. More Georgians voted by mail than voted in total in 2016 and these mail-in ballots could skew blue. As of 2 am ET on Thursday, Trump led by 22,000 votes in the state, with an estimated 100,000 votes left to be counted.

Biden could also net Pennsylvania, which would gain him 20 votes, although counting in the state is expected to continue for quite a while.

Addressing supporters at the Chase Center in Wilmington, Delaware, Biden said it was “clear” he would hit the 270 electoral votes needed to win the presidency. “I’m not here to declare that we won, but I am here to report that when the count is finished, we will be the winner,” Biden said.

It is still possible for Trump to win

Alaska has not yet been called for Trump, but the result is not in doubt: he is expected to win its three electoral college votes, taking him to 217.

In order to secure the other 53 votes he requires for victory, he would need to win all four remaining states and their 57 votes: Nevada (six votes), North Carolina (15), Georgia (16), and Pennsylvania (20).

What is happening in Arizona?

The Associated Press and several other news organizations have called Arizona (with its 11 electoral college votes) for Biden on Wednesday, although other outlets, including NBC, have refrained from doing so. The Guardian relies on the AP to call states.
While Biden’s lead in Arizona narrowed slightly on Wednesday night; at 2 am ET on Thursday, with 86% of the estimated votes counted, he held 50.7% of the votes.

The Trump campaign has falsely claimed that it has won Arizona and on Wednesday night, Trump supporters descended on the Phoenix state capitol and chanted “Shame on Fox” after the TV news channel also declared Biden the winner in the state.

When will we have a winner?

Nevada is expecting to update its results on Thursday at midday ET. Pennsylvania won’t be finished counting before Friday. Georgia could be called on Wednesday night.

As of 2 am ET on Thursday, Georgia had 2% of its votes left to count (around 100,000 votes) and Trump was ahead by more than 31,000 votes, so presumably Georgia is going to fall for Trump.

Trump is threatening to sue his way to re-election.

Trump and his campaign have sued to halt vote-counting in the battleground states of Pennsylvania and Georgia, which have not yet been called by Associated Press, and Michigan, which AP called for Biden.

Trump’s campaign has also requested a recount in Wisconsin, which AP called for Biden. There is no evidence the campaign’s legal challenges will have a bearing on the election result under the law. Each state is allowed to make its own rules for voting, so the typically quirky election voting rules that are common in the US are usually considered to be a matter of local culture and not a federal matter.