- As of 8 a.m. ET on Wednesday, Democratic nominee Joe Biden has a more flexible path to securing the 270 electoral votes needed to win the presidential race than President Donald Trump.
- However, the three key rust belt states Biden could win to put him over the top — Michigan, Wisconsin, and Pennsylvania — are still counting their ballots.
- If Georgia goes for Biden, he could afford to lose two of the three states that cost Hillary Clinton the 2016 election.
- President Donald Trump's path is more narrow, but he is still in it. If he wins Georgia, Trump will need to win at least two of the three states.
- The outstanding ballots in Georgia's dense and Democratic-leaning Fulton and Dekalb counties are a hopeful indicator for the Biden campaign, but not a lock.
- The same dynamic goes for votes left in Wisconsin and Michigan's most populated areas.
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The 2020 US presidential race is going to come down to the wire, and it looks like it'll depend on the same states that decided the 2016 election — but with a twist.
President Donald Trump and the Democratic nominee Joe Biden are in limbo as several battleground states are still counting early and absentee votes.
As of 8 a.m. ET Wednesday morning, Biden has secured 227 electoral votes while Trump has 213. The former vice president held onto all the states that then Democratic nominee Hillary Clinton won in 2016, and he's also favored to notch a win in Arizona, which voted for Trump in the last election.
But five other critical battlegrounds — Michigan, Wisconsin, Pennsylvania, Georgia, and North Carolina — are up in the air because officials are still counting and processing ballots. Trump currently holds a narrow lead over Biden in Georgia of 2 percentage points, or roughly 103,000 votes, with a little over 400,000 still left to count.
Each campaign's path to the required 270 electoral votes immediately hinges on the results in Georgia, which will determine the remaining victories needed.
- If Biden wins Georgia, he would only need to win one of the three rust belt states of Michigan, Wisconsin, and Pennsylvania.
- If Trump wins Georgia, he would need to retain two of those three.
However, if Biden wins Georgia and holds onto Arizona along with Wisconsin, Michigan and Nebraska's 2nd Congressional District, he would not need to win Pennsylvania in order to reach 270 electoral votes.
- Insider's election partners at Decision Desk HQ have called Nebraska's second district for Biden.
- Wisconsin and Michigan remain up in the air.
- DDHQ projects that as of Wednesday morning, Biden is ahead by approximately 25,000 votes in Wisconsin, with 99% of precincts reporting.
- In Michigan, Trump is ahead by almost 9,000 votes with 87.25-99% of precincts reporting, DDHQ projected.
- The Associated Press called Arizona for Biden, but the race is still too close to call based on DDHQ's projection. was called by Fox News' decision desk Tuesday night, but it is still too early to call for DDHQ. As of Wednesday morning, Biden holds a lead of 51% to Trump's 47% in the state.
Michigan and Pennsylvania's vote totals could take until much later in the week to count, while Georgia and Wisconsin's could come sooner.
In the early Wisconsin returns, Biden was unable to flip many of the counties Trump brought into the Republican column back in 2016, but turnout was up around the city of Madison and the Biden campaign is awaiting the bulk of votes from Milwaukee County to come in.
The Milwaukee votes should break heavily for Biden, and could be enough to eat away at the lead Trump has seen in the returns from the rest of the state so far.
If the race has to come down the Pennsylvania, that would likely be the most prolonged result in terms of the vote counting timeline.
The president signaled in public remarks early Wednesday that Pennsylvania could be the center of a legal battle over which ballots ultimately get counted. However, as election experts have noted, it is very difficult to get ballots discounted after they have been cast.
In Pennsylvania, the state Supreme Court ruled that election officials can receive and count ballots until November 6 as long as they are postmarked by Election Day. Republicans requested an immediate stay from the US Supreme Court that would have blocked the state Supreme Court's ruling.
But the US Supreme Court deadlocked at 4-4, which left the lower court's ruling in place. Justices Neil Gorsuch, Brett Kavanaugh, Clarence Thomas, and Samuel Alito voted to grant Republicans' request, while Justices John Roberts, Stephen Breyer, Elena Kagan, and Sonia Sotomayor dissented.
Justice Amy Coney Barrett declined to participate in the case "because of the need for a prompt resolution of it and because she has not had time to fully review the parties' filings," the court said in a statement. However, Barrett has not recused herself, which means she could still cast a decisive fifth vote in either direction.
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