A little over three hours into the US 2020 presidential election results night, splotches of red and blue are slowly lighting up the American electoral map, nudging voters in the general direction that closely fought elections go: Nail biting fights in high stakes states.
President Donald Trump and Democratic rival Joe Biden opened their tally with a predictable string of victories while key prizes including Florida, Georgia, North Carolina, Wisconsin, Michigan and Pennsylvania remain too early to call.
The electoral vote count as of Tuesday night at 11 p.m. EST (9.30 a.m. IST Wednesday morning)placed Biden at 118 and Trump 114.
So far, deep-red states have not budged.
Trump has picked up South Dakota, Missouri, Louisiana, Nebraska, North Dakota, Arkansas, Alabama, Mississippi, Oklahoma, Tennessee, Kentucky, West Virginia, Wyoming and Indiana, while Biden has won California, Colorado, New Hampshire, District of Columbia, New York, Vermont, Connecticut, Delaware, Illinois, Maryland, Massachusetts, New Jersey and Rhode Island.
Virginia, once a battleground and now a Democratic stronghold, has also been called for Biden.
New Hampshire, which went to former Democratic hopeful Hillary Clinton by the slimmest of margins in 2016, Biden is expected to win by a comfortable margin.
Delaware, on the Biden column, has been the former Vice President’s hometown since he moved there as a young boy from Scranton, Pennsylvania.
Delaware went to Clinton in 2016. The state last voted for a Republican in 1988.
Biden’s victory in Vermont is on expected lines as Democrats have kept the state in their column since 1992. Clinton got a huge win here in 2016.
Trump won West Virginia by 42 points in 2016 and Kentucky by nearly 30 points. The last time a Democratic candidate carried West Virginia was Bill Clinton in 1996.
All these are holds, no upsets. The results from the biggies are coming up during a long, long night.
Wild swings were expected in the early hours because of the split between mail in voting and final day numbers.
Early votes are projected to generally favour Biden, final day numbers are likely to be strong for Republicans.
While Trump is tracking results from the White House, where a new fence has been erected to throw an extra ring of security, Biden and his running mate Kamala Harris have chosen Delaware as their election night hub.
On Tuesday, Americans flocked to the polls in record numbers in the middle of the raging Covid-19 pandemic which has killed 232,529 people in the country and infected 9,376,293 others, as well as upended the lives and work for millions.
Even before Election Day, a record number of Americans had cast mail-in votes, accounting for more than 70 per cent of the total vote in 2016.
Based on projections ahead of the counting, Trump came into election night with a narrow path to victory, Biden with several potential paths, hinging on wins in Wisconsin, Michigan and Pennsylvania.
The Pennsylvania count is expected to drag on for days, while the Michigan count is expected in the early hours of Wednesday morning.
In parallel, the legal battle that Trump has been pointing to has begun, with Republican lawyers on Election Day challenging mail-in ballots in a crucial Democratic-leaning district near Philadelphia.
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