US 2020 Election: Tight battle in key states

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  1. The race between Donald Trump and Joe Biden is on a knife edge, with no clear winner as vote-counting continues
  2. Results suggest a tight contest in important battlegrounds: Arizona, Georgia, Wisconsin, Michigan and Pennsylvania
  3. Trump is so far projected to win 23 states, including Texas, Ohio and must-win Florida, having outperformed pollsters’ predictions
  4. The president makes baseless claims of fraud and says he will launch a Supreme Court challenge even though millions of votes are still to be counted
  5. Biden could take Arizona, but is facing a much tougher fight than expected in Nevada. He says he is “on track to win”
  6. His campaign calls President’s Trump statement “outrageous”, adding: “The counting will not stop”
  7. The US is on course for its highest turnout in more than a century, and we might not have a result for days

We put Republicans and Democrats in a group chat…

Some would call it inhumane, or at least unwise – but as Americans went to the polls, we put 12 Biden voters and 13 Trump voters in a group chat for a virtual watch party.

The Democrats (D), Republicans (R) and Independents (I) all agreed that this election campaign has been “the race that never ends”. But then the results began to come in, and tensions rose.

The group started buzzing when Trump took the lead in Florida. But not everyone shared the happiness.

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The states hanging in the balance

In the US election, voters decide state-level contests rather than an overall, single, national one.

This race is still too close to call.

Donald Trump is projected to have won important states such as Florida, Ohio and Texas – but he will need to win several more key states to secure four more years. Biden still has several paths to victory, but none is guaranteed.

The crunch states that have yet to declare results:

  • Arizona: Traditionally Republican but a key battleground this year. Biden is ahead with 83% of the vote counted and some US networks have projected victory for him already. We aren’t able to do this yet
  • Georgia: Another traditionally Republican state that has become a tight race this year. Trump is narrowly ahead at the moment, but ballots in Atlanta and the surrounding suburbs are still being counted
  • Nevada: Biden is facing a tougher-than-expected fight here. He currently has a razor-thin lead
  • Wisconsin: A major Midwestern battleground, it backed Democrats for over two decades before opting for Trump in 2016. Here, Biden has a narrow lead with almost all votes counted
  • Michigan: The rivals are pretty much neck-and-neck here but many ballots in Democrat-leaning populated areas, like Detroit, are yet to be counted
  • Pennsylvania: With 20 electoral college votes, it’s a major political battleground. Trump has a significant lead, but a huge number of mail-in ballots are yet to be counted and a result is not expected until Friday. Legal challenges from the Republicans loom over the result here

Is there any evidence of fraud from postal voting?


Donald Trump with Nigel Farage, founder of the Brexit PartyImage caption: Donald Trump with Nigel Farage, founder of the Brexit Party

British politician Nigel Farage – who supports President Trump – was speaking about the US election and told BBC News: “The evidence for voter fraud from postal voting is there for all to see, we know it ourselves on our side of the pond.”

So, what is the evidence?

In the US – as Reality Check has previously explained – while there have been isolated cases, numerous studies have shown it is very rare. The head of the Federal Electoral Commission Ellen Weintraub has said: “There’s simply no basis for the conspiracy theory that voting by mail causes fraud.”

Farage – when challenged – admitted that there was “no evidence of fraud at this stage” in this US election.

When it comes to the UK (“our side of the pond”), the Electoral Commission says there is no evidence of large-scale electoral fraud in the UK.

In 2019 there were three convictions for electoral fraud and one individual accepted a police caution.

In 2018 there was one conviction and two cautions, while in 2017 there was one conviction and eight cautions.

Of those cases, four of the cautions involved postal ballots