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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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:

7:50 a.m. ET, November 4, 2020

Official in Michigan's Wayne County can't predict when vote counting will finish

From CNN's Aditi Sangal

Votes are still being counted in Michigan’s Wayne County, which is also home to the city of Detroit.

County clerk Cathy M. Garrett declined to give a specific time frame on when we can expect it to be completed.

“Because of how large our county is, I don't want to be boxed in with that. But just know that we're not in a competition. It's just very important that we are accurate, and we will be here until the job is done,” Garrett said Wednesday.

The county has 43 municipalities, she added.

Wayne County clerk gives update on counting process:

7:13 a.m. ET, November 4, 2020

Here’s how the vote counting process works in Philadelphia

From CNN's Aditi Sangal

Philadelphia election workers process ballots at the Pennsylvania Convention Center in Philadelphia, on Tuesday, November 3.
Philadelphia election workers process ballots at the Pennsylvania Convention Center in Philadelphia, on Tuesday, November 3. Matt Slocum/AP

Philadelphia started with 350,000 mail-in votes on the morning of Election Day and the final count is expected to be up to 400,000, Philadelphia City commissioner Al Schmidt told CNN.

“At 8 p.m. last night, when the polls closed, we reported our first 75,000 [votes.] And about an hour ago, we reported another 65,000 of those,” he said Wednesday, adding that there are “hundreds of thousands of mail-in ballots yet to count.”

He explained how the counting process works in Philadelphia:

“As soon as the polls closed at 8 p.m., and then until the early morning, we were reporting our results from in-person voting at polling places. Some states have mail-in voting, some have in-person voting. In Pennsylvania's case, we have both. So we're really running two sort of election systems at the same time. So we reported a batch of mail-in ballots, then we pivoted to all of the in-person results from the polling places, and now we're back to mail-in ballots again.”

“There was never a break in this process,” he added, saying the workers are going to “continue day and night until we get every one of those votes counted.”

He also noted that Pennsylvania allows votes to be received and counted up until Friday, if the ballot was mailed before or on Election Day.

“If everything keeps up, we'll have the total results in the next couple of days,” he said.

But with the number of votes yet to be counted, he urged viewers to have patience saying it will take some time.

“Everyone needs to recalibrate their expectations.”
7:18 a.m. ET, November 4, 2020

Chris Christie says Trump "undercut his own credibility" when he prematurely declared victory

From CNN’s Betsy Klein

Former New Jersey governor Chris Christie listens as President Trump speaks during a news conference at the White House on September 27.
Former New Jersey governor Chris Christie listens as President Trump speaks during a news conference at the White House on September 27. Joshua Roberts/Getty Images

Former New Jersey governor and top Trump ally Chris Christie voiced disagreement overnight with President Trump’s election night remarks prematurely declaring victory and attacking legitimate vote counting efforts. Christie said Trump “undercut his own credibility.”

“There’s just no basis to make that argument tonight. There just isn’t. All these votes have to be counted that are in now,” Christie said during a panel on ABC News moments after Trump’s remarks, noting that the vote count in Pennsylvania will continue for days and “that argument’s for later.”

He continued, “I disagree with what he did tonight. And I think Sarah is right that, you know, there comes a point where you have to let the process play itself out before you judge it to have been flawed. And I think by prematurely doing this, if there is a flaw in it later, he has undercut his own credibility in calling attention to that flaw.”

Christie, who said he was speaking from his experience as a former US attorney, argued that Trump had made a “bad strategic decision” and a “bad political decision.”

“And it's not the kind of decision you would expect someone to make tonight who holds the position he holds,” he added. 

Watch President Trump's election night statement:

7:00 a.m. ET, November 4, 2020

Here's why we're seeing a narrowing of the vote in Michigan right now

On-air analysis from CNN's Phil Mattingly/ Written by CNN's Adrienne Vogt

The tightening of the vote between President Trump and Joe Biden in Michigan comes down to Wayne County, where Detroit and the surrounding suburbs are located, CNN’s Phil Mattingly explained.

“It shows the effect of major urban centers that are Democratic strongholds where there's major vote outstanding,” Mattingly said.

Wayne County — the largest county in the state — is about 18% of the voting population. 

“Those votes are by mail for the most part. We believe that is the composition of them. We know they're coming in a Democratic county. Democrats have been voting heavily by mail,” Mattingly said. “What I'm trying to lay out for you is this: Donald Trump was ahead by 212,000 votes about 30 minutes ago. Right now, he's ahead by 64,000 votes.”

CNN's Phil Mattingly walks through latest numbers out of Michigan:

6:46 a.m. ET, November 4, 2020

Some Pennsylvania counties are counting mail-in ballots last

It's the morning after Election Day, and Pennsylvania is one of nine states across the country where CNN has not projected a winner.

Pennsylvania's counties have starkly different plans for when they will begin processing their mail-in ballots, with Democratic strongholds moving to get them counted as quickly as possible while other areas plan to tally in-person Election Day votes first.

Unlike most states, Pennsylvania law does not allow officials to start processing early ballots until 7 a.m. on Election Day.

While Philadelphia and other areas started work on their mail-in votes at 7 a.m. sharp yesterday, swing counties like Erie and red ones like Cumberland were waiting until after the polls close or even until this morning to begin.

6:18 a.m. ET, November 4, 2020

It's just after 6 a.m. ET. Here's where the race to 270 stands.

The election is far from over with millions of votes outstanding in key states like Pennsylvania, Wisconsin and Michigan — ballots that were cast before Election Day that have yet to be counted. 

Based on CNN's current projections, Joe Biden has 224 electoral votes while President Trump has 213 electoral votes.

Reminder: Each candidate needs 270 electoral votes to win the presidency.

CNN's Chris Cuomo breaks down key races to watch: