Election 2020 presidential results

By Meg Wagner, Melissa Mahtani, Melissa Macaya, Jessica Estepa, Veronica Rocha and Fernando Alfonso III, CNN

Updated 7:32 a.m. ET, November 5, 2020
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9:20 a.m. ET, November 4, 2020

Here's how each candidate can still get to 270 electoral votes

From CNN's Aditi Sangal / On-air analysis from CNN's Phil Mattingly

CNN has not projected a winner in nine states across the country — Alaska, Arizona, Georgia, Michigan, Maine, Nevada, North Carolina, Pennsylvania and Wisconsin.

CNN’s Phil Mattingly mapped out a potential path for Biden:

If Trump wins Alaska, North Carolina, Pennsylvania and Georgia, and if Biden holds on to his lead in Wisconsin, Nevada, Arizona and Maine, and overtakes Trump in Michigan, that’s Biden's path, Mattingly said.

“If you were a Democrat and you went to bed last night assuming it was a 2016 redux and everything was over, it's not,” he added. “There is a very clear pathway, with a lot of vote to count, but there is a pathway.”

Mattingly also mapped out a potential path for Trump:

If Trump wins Pennsylvania, hold his lead in Michigan and flips Nevada, because it’s currently a very close race, he will have the votes he needs. 

“[He] doesn't need to win Georgia, needs to dig into some Democratic territory, and needs to somehow manage to hold off Joe Biden in the state of Michigan, and hang on to a very sizable lead right now in Pennsylvania, and he's over 270,” Mattingly said.

CNN's Phil Mattingly lays out paths to 270 for both Biden and Trump:

9:00 a.m. ET, November 4, 2020

Georgia's Fulton County has just begun counting remaining absentee ballots

From CNN's Nick Valencia, Jason Morris and Lindsay Benson 

Fulton County, Georgia, has just begun counting absentee ballots. They started at 8:30 a.m. ET Wednesday after stopping Tuesday night at 10:30 p.m ET.

An estimated 48,000 absentee ballots are still outstanding. 

Fulton County is Georgia's most populous county with more than a million inhabitants.

Roughly 79,000 absentee mail ballots are still uncounted in DeKalb County. They are scheduled to start counting at 11a.m. ET this morning.   

 

9:03 a.m. ET, November 4, 2020

Biden campaign confident it's on the right track

From CNN’s Jessica Dean

It's the morning after Election Day, and it's still too early to project a winner in the presidential race.

Votes are still being counted in Alaska, Arizona, North Carolina, Nevada, Wisconsin, Michigan, Maine, Georgia and Pennsylvania.

As the sun comes up on a long night of tracking votes, a Biden campaign aide said the campaign is confident it’s on the right track based on the states they’ve won and what’s yet to be counted

According to a source close to the campaign, the campaign always thought this would be a close race, pointing to campaign manager Jen O’Malley Dillon’s tweet a few weeks ago warning of a tight race. 

“We have the burden of relying on the vote that takes the longest to count,” the source said. Even so, this person and the campaign remain optimistic when all votes are counted, Biden will be declared the winner.

CNN's Jessica Dean reports from Biden campaign headquarters:

9:04 a.m. ET, November 4, 2020

Biden is ahead in Wisconsin after trailing Trump throughout the night. Here's what happened.

From CNN's Aditi Sangal / On-air analysis by CNN's Phil Mattingly

The counting of votes is still underway in Wisconsin. Throughout much of the night, President Trump was ahead by over 100,000 votes, but now, with 97% votes reported, Joe Biden is ahead by nearly 21,000 votes.

What happened? The answer lies in mail-in voting, according to CNN’s Phil Mattingly.

Milwaukee County, home to the city of Milwaukee, is a major urban center and the biggest county in Wisconsin. It's also home to about 16% of the state’s population.

There was “a narrower margin” between the two candidates in the county for much of the night, Mattingly explained. “And then the absentee vote came in, and then early vote by mail came in… All of a sudden, the Trump lead started to narrow.”

The same happened in Brown County. President Trump still holds a lead in this Republican county, but Biden has received a boost via mail-in voting in Green Bay, which has a Democratic base.

The same was seen in Kenosha, Wisconsin, Mattingly points out.

“The big question is what's outstanding? Where does Donald Trump go to get 20,000 votes? The answer is not a whole lot of options here. What's outstanding is vote by mail, which is heavily Democratic,” he added. 

Remember: This points right to the red or blue “mirage” that was expected in several states due to the unprecedented levels of mail-in ballots and early voting due to the coronavirus pandemic.

As a result, in some of the most competitive states, early results may look too rosy for former Vice President Biden, before falling back down to earth and becoming more representative of the true outcome. In other states, Trump could see early leads that slowly narrow as more ballots are counted.

This won't be a sign of fraud or irregularities. Rather, it's just a reflection of how states count votes. Some states process early ballots first, and will report those early in the night, while others save them for last. 

CNN's Phil Mattingly explains Biden's competitive lead in Wisconsin:

8:33 a.m. ET, November 4, 2020

It's almost 8:30 a.m. ET, and CNN has not yet projected a winner in the presidential race

It's the morning after Election Day and ballots are still being counted in some states. 

As of early Wednesday morning, it was still too close to call in Alaska, Arizona, North Carolina, Nevada, Wisconsin, Michigan, Maine, Georgia and Pennsylvania.

Based on the races called so far, this is where the race to 270 stands right now:

Biden holds the lead in the Electoral College at this stage in the count, with 224 electoral college votes. Donald Trump has 213 electoral college votes.

Both candidates still have pathways to get to 270 electoral votes – the number of votes needed to win the presidency.

See latest breakdown of states with narrow margins:

8:30 a.m. ET, November 4, 2020

Democrats are a whisper away from turning Georgia blue

From CNN's Gregory Krieg

For the second time in two years, Democrats are a whisper away from turning Georgia blue. 

In 2018, Republican Brian Kemp narrowly defeated Democrat Stacey Abrams to become governor. Now, the presidential race remains too close to call hours after the polls closed. The outstanding votes almost entirely come from parts of Biden-friendly Atlanta and its suburbs. 

Biden supporters wait for former President Barack Obama to speak at a rally as he campaigns for Joe Biden at Turner Field in Atlanta, on Monday, November 2.
Biden supporters wait for former President Barack Obama to speak at a rally as he campaigns for Joe Biden at Turner Field in Atlanta, on Monday, November 2. Brynn Anderson/AP

With more than 90% of the estimated vote in, Trump leads the former vice president by a little more than 118,000 votes. But with Fulton, DeKalb and Gwinnett Counties, among others, still yet to complete their counts, the race remains in the balance – contrary to Trump’s claim early Wednesday morning that he’s already won it.

No Democratic presidential nominee has won in Georgia since 1992, when Bill Clinton defeated incumbent George H.W. Bush. Barack Obama came close. Hillary Clinton, in 2016, got closer. Abrams, in the gubernatorial campaign, came within 1.4 percentage points of victory in a race marred by evidence of voter suppression.

Democrats’ slow and steady climb has been fueled by a rapidly diversifying electorate and suburbs that are, at once, growing and becoming increasingly hostile to Republican candidates. The state GOP has compounded the issue, refusing so far to expand Medicaid under Obamacare while Gov. Brian Kemp, in 2019, signed a so-called "heartbeat bill," one of the country's most restrictive abortion laws. 

Sensing opportunity, vice presidential nominee Sen. Kamala Harris, who was joined by Abrams, and Obama both visited the state in the final push ahead of Election Day. Sensing a tight race, Trump also visited over the weekend.

Democratic vice-presidential candidate Senator Kamala Harris addresses the crowd during a campaign rally in Duluth, Georgia, on Sunday, November 1.
Democratic vice-presidential candidate Senator Kamala Harris addresses the crowd during a campaign rally in Duluth, Georgia, on Sunday, November 1. John Amis/Atlanta Journal-Constitution/AP

Biden’s fate could be decided over the next day, as the final votes are tabulated. But the political world will keep its eyes on Georgia for weeks to come. Both Senate races – one a special election – could be headed to runoffs early next year.

No matter who wins the presidency, those races have the potential to decide the balance of power in the US Senate for the next two years.

Read more here.

8:08 a.m. ET, November 4, 2020

Michigan is still counting "hundreds of thousands" of absentee ballots, secretary of state says

From CNN's Adrienne Vogt

A worker with the Detroit Department of Elections sorts through absentee ballots at the Central Counting Board in the TCF Center in Detroit, on November 4.
A worker with the Detroit Department of Elections sorts through absentee ballots at the Central Counting Board in the TCF Center in Detroit, on November 4. Elaine Cromie/Getty Images

Michigan Secretary of State Jocelyn Benson said “hundreds of thousands” of absentee ballots remain to be tabulated in the state.

“We’re on track to have a much more complete picture, if not the vast majority of jurisdictions, reporting out by the end of today,” she told CNN’s Don Lemon. 

Absentee ballots are still being counted in cities like Detroit, Flint and Grand Rapids, she added.

“The bottom line is, votes are still being counted. Two-thirds of our voters voted absentee. And for that many ballots to still be outstanding, you know, I really call on every candidate on the ballot right now, as the vast majority have, to respect the process, respect the security of our process, and ensure and join with us in ensuring that every vote will count and that that will determine the outcome of any election in Michigan,” Benson said. 

8:09 a.m. ET, November 4, 2020

"Trump's hold on Trump country looks utterly unshakable," CNN analyst says

From CNN's Aditi Sangal

Votes are still being counted in key states across the US, and while Democrats seem to have “really run up the score in a lot of big metros,” CNN analyst Ron Brownstein said “Trump's hold on Trump country looks utterly unshakable.”

“Even with a nominee, Joe Biden, whose calling card was supposed to be his ability to cut into those working class Whites, those mid-sized industrial cities and those rural communities. There may be a little gain here and there, but by and large, not only did trump dominate nose those places, but Republicans won back a number of the House seats that Democrats had taken in those places in 2018,” Brownstein said Wednesday.

Democrats consolidating major metros but haven’t expanded their margin in the suburbs, Brownstein noted.

“It's just the reality that we are living in a time where we have this trench between two very different coalitions that want very different things and very different visions of what America is,” he added.

CNN's Ron Brownstein analyzes latest trends:

8:06 a.m. ET, November 4, 2020

There's no rule that a winner has to be declared on election night

From CNN's Zachary B. Wolf

It's the day after Election Day, and CNN has not yet projected a winner in the presidential race.

There’s no rule that a winner has to be declared on election night. In fact, it's happened in recent memory.

Here is a breakdown of when CNN projected the last five presidential elections:

  • 2016: 2:47 a.m. ET — CNN projected Donald Trump would win after Hillary Clinton called Donald Trump to concede. 
  • 2012: 11:18 p.m. ET — CNN projected Barack Obama would win shortly after polls closed on the West Coast. 11:18 p.m. 
  • 2008: 11:00 p.m. ET — CNN projected Barack Obama would win as polls on the West Coast closed.
  • 2004: No projection — It was close and came down to Ohio. John Kerry conceded the next day after Bush had a 100,000-vote lead in decisive Ohio. A concession on such a small margin is hard to imagine today with all the absentee and provisional ballots cast in 2020.
  • 2000: No projection. We didn't know George W. Bush would be the President until December, after a Supreme Court showdown. It was wild. 

Police officers separate supporters of George W. Bush and Al Gore during demonstrations in front of the US Supreme Court in Washington, DC on Dec. 1, 2000. The court was hearing arguments from lawyers for Bush and Gore in the dispute over Florida''s presidential election ballots.
Police officers separate supporters of George W. Bush and Al Gore during demonstrations in front of the US Supreme Court in Washington, DC on Dec. 1, 2000. The court was hearing arguments from lawyers for Bush and Gore in the dispute over Florida''s presidential election ballots. Mark Wilson/Newsmakers/Getty Images

So, while Trump has repeatedly said we should know the winner on Election Night, that's just not factually true. In fact, under federal law, states have until Dec. 8 to count ballots and settle disputes. Some states have earlier deadlines. 

Related: Here's what CNN does before it projects races. It's not magic, it's math.

CNN's Chris Cuomo and Phil Mattingly address President Trump's claims: