(Image: Abaca Press/Joshua Boucher)

As workers count the millions of votes pouring in from every corner of the US, we’re still no closer to a clear winner. Several key states including Georgia and North Carolina remain too close to call, while Pennsylvania could take days to count its ballots.

Chances of a tie are growing. That would be the third in US history. Here’s how the day unfolded so far. 

Safe seats called

The tiny township of Dixville Notch in New Hampshire was the first to announce its votes, with 100% of voters — five people — voting for Biden. Indiana and Kentucky closed their polls soon after, with Trump emerging as the victor in both states.  

Safe seats were soon called, with Trump winning Oklahoma, Tennessee, Mississippi, Missouri, Alabama and West Virginia, along with Idaho and Utah. 

Biden picked up Connecticut, his home state of Delaware, Illinois, Maryland, Massachusetts, New Jersey, Rhode Island, Vermont and Virginia, along with California, Oregon and Washington. 

Voters were urged to stay in line, told that even if the polls shut, so long as they were still in line, they were entitled to vote. 

Swing states keep the tension

All eyes have been on Florida this election. Without the swing states of Florida and Pennsylvania under his belt, Trump would have little to no chance of winning. 

Despite an initial reluctance by media to call the state — drawing criticism from Florida’s Republican Governor Ron DeSantis — Trump has won Florida.

There’ll be no news from Pennsylvania for a while, with officials warning counting mail ballots could take until November 6. 

While Biden has been outperforming Hillary Clinton’s 2016 numbers in Texan cities Houston and Dallas, Trump has been predicted to win Texas, as well as the swing state of Ohio.

Early this evening, Biden had the lead in Arizona, which has not voted for a Democratic presidential candidate since Bill Clinton in 1996 (Fox News has called the state for Biden, but other outlets have reserved judgement). Biden is also projected to win Minnesota.

Other swing states including North Carolina, Michigan, and Wisconsin are still too close to call. 

Trump and Biden have competed vigorously for Hispanic voters. Biden focused on the Trump administration’s failings in handling the pandemic, while Trump focused on Biden’s “progressive”  and “socialist” agenda — despite both Biden and his running mate Kamala Harris pursuing a law-and-order approach to politics. 

There was another spanner in the works — or crack in the pipes — in the swing state of Georgia, where a water pipe burst in a counting room, delaying mail ballot processing by four hours. Thankfully, no ballots were damaged. 

Meanwhile, hip hop artist Kanye West voted for himself

Surprising seats

It’s a flashback to the last election, with the Democrats underperforming compared to polling. Biden isn’t doing as well as expected in Florida, Georgia or Minnesota.

But Arizona, which was once reliably Republican, is swinging blue with Biden in the lead. He also scored New Hampshire, a state Trump was hoping to flip. 

Last election a term was coined for the surprising Trump victory. “Shy Trumpers” are supporters who have either lied about their voting preference or refused to comment. While this theory has been disputed, there is evidence to show people without a university education do not respond to polls as much.

Race to the Senate

It’s neck-and-neck in the Senate, with just seven seats yet to be called as we write. The Democrats have 46 seats, and the Republicans have 47.

To end a six-year Republican majority in the Senate, Democrats needed to gain an extra four seats (or three if Biden wins — Harris’ vote could break a tie).

Republicans currently hold a 53-47 majority in the Senate, with a total of 35 seats being contested — 12 Democrat and 23 Republican. 

Notable victors include Senate majority leader Mitch McConnell, who won re-election in Kentucky against Amy McGrath, Delaware Democrat Sarah McBride, the first openly transgender women to be elected state senator in US history, and Republican Tommy Tuberville, who took the Alabama seat off Democratic Senator Doug Jones.

Tensions ramp up

In the lead-up to the election we’ve heard of voters being followed and threatened, Democratic rallies cancelled amid fears of a large militia presence, and convoys halting traffic in New Jersey and New York. 

The FBI has begun investigating malicious robocalls urging voters to stay home on election day. Some voters were told to vote the next day to avoid long queues. 

Meanwhile, America’s top military official, Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff Mark Milley, hosted an unorthodox video call on the weekend with top generals and news anchors. 

In the call, generals talked about military efforts against cyberattacks, confirmed foreign actors have attempted to interfere with the election, and said the US military would play no role in a peaceful transfer of power. This is despite Biden’s comments that the military would escort Trump from the White House if he refused to leave. 

And today the Nevada Supreme Court refused a last-ditch Trump campaign effort to halt mail ballot processing. 

The Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade warned Australians (those who could get out of our country, anyway) to steer clear of the US, advising there was a potential for violence in the coming days and weeks.

Peter Fray

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Peter Fray
Editor-in-chief of Crikey

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