Delayed results. A call for a recount. Legal challenge to the counting of votes. Experts on what’s happening in crucial states of Wisconsin, Michigan, and Pennsylvania

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The future presidency of the United States depends on decisions, potential legal challenges and vote recounts in three key swing states – and Democratic challenger Joe Biden is emerging victorious.

Michigan, Wisconsin and Pennsylvania saw neck-and-neck races Wednesday between incumbent President Donald Trump and Biden. With a total of 46 electoral college votes, the outcome of the 2020 U.S. presidential election is likely in the hands of voters in those states. By Wednesday night, Biden had won Michigan and Wisconsin, though Pennsylvania had yet to be called up.

The delayed results were largely the result of a higher than average number of postal ballots due to the COVID-19 pandemic.

Unlike other states that have changed electoral rules to accommodate the postal vote crush, Republican lawmakers in those states have opposed new laws to speed up postal voting. As a result, officials in Michigan, Pennsylvania and Wisconsin could not legally process mail-in ballots until or just before election day.

In a series of tweets On Wednesday and throughout the campaign, Trump suggested that some mail-in ballots should not be counted, and his campaign would fight for that result in court.

“For the second election in a row, Mr. Trump has beaten polls and expert predictions,” said Paul Quirk, professor of American politics at the University of British Columbia, in an interview with The Star.

“But this time around, he seems to lack what it takes to win. “

Michigan

For a while, the race was almost tied in that state, with Biden and Trump engaged in a battle for 16 votes from Michigan’s constituencies. As Trump led overnight on Wednesday morning, Biden outscored him.

By Wednesday night, Biden had won Michigan and his 16 electoral votes, according to the Associated Press, further dismantling the wall of support from Trump’s Rust Belt that helped him win the presidency four years ago.

The switch from red to blue was a big blow to Trump, whose victories in Michigan, Wisconsin and Pennsylvania in 2016 sent him to the White House.

Biden’s Michigan victory pushes him to 264 Electoral College votes, six fewer of the 270 needed to win the White House.

Trump’s campaign said Wednesday afternoon it had filed a lawsuit to try to stop the vote count on the Michigan battlefield.

Trump’s campaign manager Bill Stepien said in a statement that the campaign “has not had meaningful access to many counting locations to observe the opening of the polls and the counting process, as guaranteed. Michigan law. “

He said a lawsuit had been filed with the Michigan Claims Court “to stop counting until meaningful access has been granted.” “

Jonathan M. Winer, former US Assistant Assistant Secretary of State for International Law Enforcement, told The Star: “There is nothing principled behind the Republican effort to prevent the vote count. The question is whether they have the raw power to prevent these accounts.

“It’s a strategy… (which) threatens to devour our democracy from within,” said Winer, who is now a member of Keep Our Republic, a nonprofit monitoring risks to election integrity and of the 2020 power transition. “

Michigan is a critical battlefield state that helped give Trump the presidency four years ago, along with Wisconsin and Pennsylvania.

Wisconsin

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On Wednesday afternoon, Joe Biden won Wisconsin, according to the Associated Press.

More than a million voters in Wisconsin submitted their ballots by mail, according to the Associated Press. That state swung to Trump by a margin of just 23,000 votes in the 2016 election, marking the first time a Republican has captured Wisconsin since 1984, when Ronald Reagan won.

The narrow margin of victory that saw Trump clinch his presidency was also at stake for 2020. Biden won Wisconsin by less than a percentage point with 100 percent of the ballots.

Trump’s campaign said in a statement Wednesday that it planned to call for a recount.

“There have been reports of irregularities in several counties in Wisconsin which raise serious doubts about the validity of the results. The president is well in the threshold to ask for a recount and we will do it immediately, ”said Stepien.

“I haven’t seen any credible legal challenge that could affect a critical number of votes in any state,” Quirk said. “In the end, the prosecution of Trump will not be relevant to the outcome.”

Pennsylvania

Shortly after filing a lawsuit to stop the vote count in Michigan, the Trump campaign followed suit in Pennsylvania.

In both states, the campaign is calling for the counting to be stopped until it gains “meaningful” access in many places and is allowed to examine ballots already opened and processed.

The prevalence of mail-order votes in this state means it could be days before a winner is cast. At 5:30 p.m. ET on Wednesday, Trump led by five points, but only 84 percent of the ballots were counted.

The president was further ahead in Pennsylvania earlier on Wednesday, but his margin has narrowed as more mailed ballots are counted.

As a result, the tables could always turn to Biden, from Pennsylvania. With 20 votes in the electoral college, winning here is crucial. Three million postal ballots have been cast in Pennsylvania, with state data showing those votes appear to tip Democrats.

Officials in parts of the state chose not to count postal votes until Wednesday morning, leaving Pennsylvania’s decision in abeyance.

Over a million votes have not been counted. Most mail-in ballots are expected to be counted by Friday in Pennsylvania. Since counting and verifying is labor-intensive, election workers actually pass the ballots quite quickly, ABC News reported.

“Obviously, the Trump campaign is going to try to delay, derail or delegitimize the results in (Michigan, Wisconsin and Pennsylvania),” Amy Sommers, a retired American poll observer and lawyer, told The Star.

“An interesting contradiction is involved in their strategy: to request a recount, the initial count must have been taken. So if the campaign makes a legal argument to demand a recount in one state while arguing to stop the count in others, will that strategy be a sign of bad faith for state judges who will hear these? business? The days to come will reveal a lot.

With files from The Associated Press

Joanna Chiu is a Vancouver-based reporter who covers both Canada-China relations and current affairs on the West Coast for The Star. Follow her on Twitter: @joannachiu



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