EXPLAINER: States still in play and what makes them that way
WASHINGTON (AP) — The Associated Press declared Democrat Joe Biden the winner of his native Pennsylvania on Saturday, and by extension of the tightly contested U.S. presidential race against President Donald Trump. The outcome of contests in Georgia and North Carolina remained in play.
The solidly Republican state of Alaska has also not been called because it is only 50% counted and will not release absentee numbers until Nov. 10.
The Associated Press reviews the status of the last remaining states still in play.
GEORGIA: Outstanding ballots left to be counted and a razor-thin margin
THE BACKGROUND: A razor-thin margin and ongoing vote count are what’s making the Georgia contest between President Donald Trump and Joe Biden too early to call.
While 99% percent of the estimated vote has been counted, there are still ballots to be tabulated across the state, including those from counties that Biden carried.
Biden inched past the incumbent in the tally Friday and by Monday morning was leading by 10,353 votes of nearly 5 million ballots cast -- a lead of about 0.2 percentage points. Under Georgia state law, a candidate can request a recount if the margin is within 0.5 percentage points.
The AP does not declare a winner of an election that will be — or is likely to become — subject to a mandatory recount. In instances where a recount isn’t required by law but a candidate requests one, AP will not call a race if the margin between the top two candidates is 0.5 percentage points or less.
Electoral research conducted by the AP found there have been at least 31 statewide recounts since 2000. Three of those changed the outcome of the election. The initial margins in those races were 137 votes, 215 votes and 261 votes.
Among all 31 recounts, the largest shift in results was 0.1%, in the 2006 race for Vermont’s Auditor of Accounts. This was a low turnout election in which the initial results had one candidate winning by 137 votes. The candidate eventually lost by 102 votes, for a swing of 239 votes.
The average shift in the margin between the top two candidates was 0.019 percentage points.
NORTH CAROLINA: Race too early to call. Ballots left to count.
THE BACKGROUND: Trump prematurely claimed early Wednesday that he won the state.
“We’ve clearly won North Carolina, where we’re up 1.7%, 77,000 votes with only approximately 5% left. They can’t catch us,” he said during an appearance at the White House. Trump also said he planned to contest the U.S. presidential election before the Supreme Court. It was unclear, exactly, what legal action he might pursue.
Since then Trump’s lead has been shaved down 1.38 percentage points, or 75,371 votes, as of Monday morning and the race is too early to call with up to tens of thousands of mail ballots and provisional ballots left to count statewide.
As long as those ballots are postmarked by Nov. 3, state election officials have until Nov. 12 to count them.