Two Good Reasons Why We May Know Right Away
What Will We Know on Election Night?
Based on the chart, below...
A) Electoral Votes from Non Competitive Contests with Results Expected on Election Night:
B) Total of Electoral Votes "known" on Election Night, including Results from Non Competitive Contests that will come after Election Night:
THE POINT: We will "know" on Election Night that Biden needs 21 of the remaining 107 "toss-up" electors to win the election, otherwise it is Trump's victory. So let's look at that.
B) Of the 107 electors from "toss-up" states, 4 can process votes before election day: Arizona (11), Florida (29), Ohio (18) and North Carolina (16). 3 of those have extensive past experience with mail in voting. These states will be in position to deliver preliminary numbers pretty quickly, though the losing party will surely demand recounts and begin lawsuits.
THE POINT: If Biden can win Florida OR any 2 of those 4 states, he will win the election. We will know if that is the case ON ELECTION NIGHT, NOVEMBER 3, 2020. However, it is entirely possible that Biden fails to win AZ, FL, OH or NC. That is the one case scenario....
C) Should Trump win AZ, FL, OH and NC - all of which we should know on election night - then Georgia (16), Iowa (6), Pennsylvania (20) and Wisconsin (10) are the only "toss ups" left and 3 of them are among the likely last reporters of their results:
Biden 249 Needs 21 = Any 2 except WI+IA.
Trump 237 Needs 33 = Any 3, or PA + GA.
D) Unfortunately, PA and WI are both "late night counters" for mail in ballots, and Iowa only needs a postmark of election day. If Georgia comes in with a result for Trump (253), and Wisconsin for Biden (259), as are very possible, the fight will center on Pennsylvania (20), as Iowa (6) will be insufficient by itself for either candidate to reach the 270 needed to win. [10/20 see below* for update]
E) Final analysis: We will know on election night if Trump has won AZ, FL, OH, GA and NC, and therefore remained viable for the election. If he does, then we will probably have to wait for PA's 20 electors to decided the contest. If he loses any of those, it is Biden's victory.
And regarding Pennsylvania: of the 74 polls listed on 270towin.com since January 1, only 3 have gone for Trump and none since July 22. While this may be enough to blow a gasket, and sounds hauntingly familiar to 2016, it would seem that Joe Biden will come through eventually in this worst case scenario.
Mail in Voting Time Line by State
Postscripts and Questions.
Q: How Does Mail In Voting Swing the Vote?
Joe Biden holds a 44 point advantage among those planing of voting by mail, and Donald Trump holds a 32 point advantage on those planing to vote in person. In part this is due to the fact that some major Democratic strongholds, such as California and New Jersey (along with Vermont, Nevada, Washington D.C., Hawaii, Colorado, Utah, Washington and Oregon) are holding 100% mail in elections this year. Nevertheless, the campaigns have been pushing their respective voters differently on this topic, so in the swing states it may be voter “turnout” (Mail/In Person) that will determine the winner.
Q: Is Mail in Voting New?
Contrary to popular belief, every state has mail in and in person voting this year. According to the NY Times, 75% of registered voters are eligible for mail in ballots, upon request, nationwide. Roughly, 50
+ million people are expected to vote early or by mail, or 40+ % of all ballots this year.
Q: “When will we absolutely positively know for sure?”
The short answer is Tuesday, December 8. After Bush/Gore in 2000, the election was contested into December because Florida’s results were in the courts. Due to Constitutional restraints, all states must report their electors in time for them to meet on the second Wednesday in December (December 9, 2020). All court cases will have to be resolved by that constitutional deadline. The Supreme Court's ruling in Bush v. Gore was in part forced upon them due to that time constraint, leaving the state-certified result as final regardless of any underlying irregularities or unresolved legal issues. There is NO redress possible beyond that date.