As of Wednesday afternoon, the presidential election was still very much ongoing, with millions of ballots still being counted in crucial battleground states.
In total, voters mailed in nearly 64 million ballots prior to Election Day, spurred in large part by concerns about the coronavirus pandemic, reports the New York Times.
But it may take days for certain states to know the outcome of the election because different states began counting those ballots at different times. North Carolina, for example, began processing ballots weeks ago, and will likely have a final tally by Wednesday evening. This differs from Michigan and Pennsylvania, which didn’t begin processing or ballots until this week.
Uncertain still are the status of potentially hundreds of thousands of ballots still caught in the nation’s mail system. According to the Washington Post, nearly 7 percent of ballots at U.S. Postal Service facilities were not processed early enough to be submitted to election officials in tight races.
From the Post:
The Postal Service processed 115,630 ballots on Tuesday, a volume much lower than in recent days after weeks of warnings about chronic mail delays. Of that number, close to 8,000 ballots were not processed on time, a small proportion but one that could factor heavily in states such as Michigan and Wisconsin, which do not accept ballots after Election Day and could be decided by a few thousand votes.
Also on Tuesday, the USPS said it would not abide by a federal judge’s order that it sweep mail processing facilities in an effort to locate and deliver 300,000 ballots that could not be traced. The ruling, delivered late Tuesday afternoon, ordered inspectors to search facilities serving 15 states, but Justice Department attorneys representing USPS said Postal Inspectors could not accelerate their daily review process “without significantly disrupting pre-existing activities on the day of the Election,” reports the Post.
In Pennsylvania, where Trump vowed to challenge election results on Wednesday, more than 50 percent of more than 3 million mail-in ballots had been counted. According to the Philadelphia Inquirer, the Trump campaign proposed three different legal challenges that would stop vote-counting in the commonwealth, particularly as votes from Philadelphians (which would favor Biden) were trickling in.
State officials pushed back against the president.
“We are going to accurately count every single ballot,” Pennsylvania Secretary of State Kathy Boockvar said.