WASHINGTON (NEXSTAR) — The big question on Wednesday morning is “who will win the presidential race?” Quickly frankly, we just don’t know.
President Donald Trump and Democratic challenger Joe Biden are battling for three familiar battleground states: Wisconsin, Michigan and Pennsylvania.
The experts say it’s unclear when or how quickly a winner could be determined. Hundreds of thousands of votes remain outstanding in Michigan and Pennsylvania.
Overnight, a late burst of votes in Wisconsin gave Biden a small lead in the state, but it was still too early to call the race.
But by night’s end, the margins were exceedingly tight, with the candidates trading wins in battleground states across the country. Trump picked up Florida, the largest of the swing states, while Biden flipped Arizona, a state that has reliably voted Republican in recent elections.
As of Wednesday morning, neither cleared the 270 Electoral College votes needed to carry the White House.
Trump, in an extraordinary move from the White House, issued premature claims of victory and said he would take the election to the Supreme Court to stop the counting. It was unclear exactly what legal action he might try to pursue.
Biden, briefly appearing in front of supporters in Delaware, urged patience, saying the election “ain’t over until every vote is counted, every ballot is counted.”
“It’s not my place or Donald Trump’s place to declare who’s won this election,” Biden said. “That’s the decision of the American people.”
Vote tabulations routinely continue beyond Election Day, and states largely set the rules for when the count has to end. Several states allow mailed-in votes to be accepted after Election Day, as long as they were postmarked by Tuesday. That includes Pennsylvania, where ballots postmarked by Nov. 3 can be accepted if they arrive up to three days after the election.
Pennsylvania Gov. Tom Wolf tweeted that his state had over 1 million ballots to be counted and that he “promised Pennsylvanians that we would count every vote and that’s what we’re going to do.”
Trump appeared to suggest those ballots should not be counted, and that he would fight for that outcome at the high court. But legal experts were dubious of Trump’s declaration.
“I do not see a way that he could go directly to the Supreme Court to stop the counting of votes. There could be fights in specific states, and some of those could end up at the Supreme Court. But this is not the way things work,” said Rick Hasen, a professor of law and political science at the University of California-Irvine.
Trump has appointed three of the high court’s nine justices including, most recently, Amy Coney Barrett.
Democrats typically outperform Republicans in mail voting, while the GOP looks to make up ground in Election Day turnout. That means the early margins between the candidates could be influenced by which type of votes — early or Election Day — were being reported by the states.
Throughout the campaign, Trump cast doubt about the integrity of the election and repeatedly suggested that mail-in ballots should not be counted. Both campaigns had teams of lawyers at the ready to move into battleground states if there were legal challenges.
The tight overall contest reflected a deeply polarized nation struggling to respond to the worst health crisis in more than a century, with millions of lost jobs, and a reckoning on racial injustice.
Trump kept several states, including Texas, Iowa and Ohio, where Biden had made a strong play in the final stages of the campaign. But Biden also picked off states where Trump sought to compete, including New Hampshire and Minnesota.
Democrats entered the night confident not only in Biden’s prospects, but also in the the party’s ability to take control of the Senate. But the GOP held several seats that were considered vulnerable, including in Iowa, Texas and Kansas. The House was expected to remain under Democratic control.
The Associated Press contributed to this report.
Latest headlines from FOX8
- Man dead after hours-long standoff where shots fired at Davidson County deputies, sheriff’s office says
- Spanx CEO gifts all employees $10K, 1st class plane tickets
- Crews battle raging house fire on Lomond Court in Winston-Salem
- Alleghany County man offers family at pumpkin patch in Winston-Salem
- Man already jailed for North Carolina murder charge indicted for deadly double shooting at NC Central