Election 2020 presidential results

By Meg Wagner, Melissa Mahtani, Melissa Macaya, Fernando Alfonso III, Veronica Rocha and Amanda Wills, CNN

Updated 5:20 AM ET, Fri November 6, 2020
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7:44 a.m. ET, November 5, 2020

This is when we'll hear from election officials across the country today

From CNN's Ross Levitt and Kevin Bohn 

Maricopa County Elections employee Alba Parra tabulates early ballots at the Maricopa County Elections Headquarters in Phoenix, Arizona on November 4.
Maricopa County Elections employee Alba Parra tabulates early ballots at the Maricopa County Elections Headquarters in Phoenix, Arizona on November 4. Mark Henle/USA Today Network

Two days after the election, Joe Biden is nearing 270 electoral votes, but CNN has not yet projected a winner in the presidential race.

Paths to 270 remain for both Biden and President Trump as votes continue to be counted in the six states where CNN has not yet projected a winner.

Here's a look at when we'll get updates from local officials today:

  • 10:30 a.m. ET: Georgia's Secretary of State will hold a news conference. There's currently a 33,000-vote margin between Trump and Biden, and there’s around 90,000 votes remaining to be counted.
  • Noon ET: Clark County, Nevada, which includes Las Vegas, will give an update. The country has the largest share of votes in Nevada, and was silent on updates yesterday. Across Nevada, Biden holds a slim 8,000 vote lead.
  • 9 p.m. ET: Officials in Arizona's Maricopa County — the biggest county in Arizona, which in the Phoenix area — plan to give their next update. The county tweeted overnight that 275,000 ballots remain.
7:26 a.m. ET, November 5, 2020

Here's where vote-counting stands in 4 key states

From CNN's Ross Levitt and Kevin Bohn 

Maricopa County elections officials and observers watch as ballots are tallied at the Maricopa County Recorders Office in Phoenix, Arizona, on Wednesday, November 4.
Maricopa County elections officials and observers watch as ballots are tallied at the Maricopa County Recorders Office in Phoenix, Arizona, on Wednesday, November 4. Matt York/AP

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

Ballots are still being counted in several key states, with elections officials expected to provide updates later today.

Here's a look at four states we're watching today:

  • Arizona: Joe Biden holds about a 69,000 vote lead in CNN’s count. Maricopa, the biggest county in Arizona, has released the second of two sets of new votes promised Wednesday night – shrinking the Biden lead there by just over 10,000 votes. Early this morning, the county tweeted that 275,000 remain and that its next update will come at 9 p.m. ET. Meanwhile, the next biggest share of votes come from blue-leaning Pima County. The state’s website said 46,000 votes remained to be counted in Pima as of last night.
  • Georgia: Fulton County, in the Atlanta area, just added 8,300 ballots to its tally, further cutting into Trump’s lead in the state. Georgia’s largest county still has about 7,564 ballots left to count, Fulton County's Regina Walker said just after 5 a.m. ET. But remember: Georgia could be the next target for President Trump to request a recount. CNN reported a source familiar with the matter says that if Georgia is close, “of course” the Trump camp will ask for a recount if he loses. 
  • Nevada: Biden holds a slim 8,000 vote lead. Clark County — home to Las Vegas — has, by far, the largest share of votes in Nevada. After a full day of silence from Clark county and the state overall, all eyes will be on Clark when it updates at 12 noon ET. 
  • Pennsylvania: The state as a whole has about 750,000 mail-in ballots to be counted, according to the Secretary of State’s website, though this figure has not been updated recently. Allegheny County, which includes Pittsburgh, has finished tabulating mail-in and absentee ballots. Officials say the county will resume tabulating several precincts’ worth of in-person votes later this morning.
7:01 a.m. ET, November 5, 2020

Trump's lead in Georgia narrows further as the largest county reports thousands more ballots

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

Election workers count Fulton County ballots at State Farm Arena in Atlanta, Georgia on November 4.
Election workers count Fulton County ballots at State Farm Arena in Atlanta, Georgia on November 4. Jessica McGowan/Getty Images

President Trump’s lead in Georgia has narrowed over the past few hours, and that just happened again. That’s due to another batch of votes that just came in from Fulton County — the largest county in the state and home to Atlanta — according to CNN’s Phil Mattingly. 

Fulton County reported the results of more than 8,000 additional ballots. Trump’s lead in the state narrowed from more than 30,000 at midnight to just more than 18,500. 

Overnight, Fulton had about 20,000 absentee ballots to be counted. The county just reported the results of 8,351 of those, with Biden getting 6,410 of those votes and Trump getting 1,941 of them.

County election workers have been processing and counting those votes all night and continue now. 4% of the vote in Georgia still remains to be counted. 

While some counties that have voted overwhelmingly for Trump are still waiting for votes to be counted, most of the outstanding ballots are from more populous blue areas around Atlanta, Savannah and Columbus, Mattingly explained. 

“If [Biden] continues to win this vote that's outstanding at a rate of around 60 to 62%, he has a chance to overtake Donald Trump,” Mattingly said. 

“To give you some context here, the vote that was coming in out of Fulton County over last couple of hours has been coming in at a rate of 80% to 20% Biden. That is above that 60 to 62% range. Will that hold? That will dictate whether or not Joe Biden ends up overtaking Donald Trump in the state of Georgia, but there's a pathway right now for Joe Biden in Georgia,” he added. 

Watch:

7:44 a.m. ET, November 5, 2020

If Biden wins Pennsylvania, he'll have the 270 electoral votes needed to win the election

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

Democratic presidential nominee Joe Biden speaks to supporters in Scranton, Pennsylvania on November 3.
Democratic presidential nominee Joe Biden speaks to supporters in Scranton, Pennsylvania on November 3. Drew Angerer/Getty Images

If Joe Biden wins Pennsylvania, he will get to the 270 electoral votes that he needs to win the US presidency.

“Pennsylvania for the Biden campaign is everything. It is the ball game. They can get to 270 without Pennsylvania. But with Pennsylvania, particularly given that Pennsylvania is probably going to start picking up their count pretty soon, Pennsylvania ends it, no matter what else happens in the rest of the race,” Phil Mattingly said Thursday morning.

Currently, President Trump is leading the Keystone State, but his lead has significantly narrowed in the last 24 hours. As more mail-in ballots were counted, Trump went from an over 600,000-vote margin to now being ahead with about 164,000 votes.

“Joe Biden has been, with regularity, progressively eating away in major chunks at Donald Trump's lead,” Mattingly said, adding that with 11% of votes in Pennsylvania still to be counted, it means Biden can overtake Trump and lead in Pennsylvania based on the current state of the race.

In Philadelphia County, for example, Biden leads with 79% of the counted vote in his favor. It is yet to report about 30% more of its outstanding vote here. Given that Hillary Clinton won this county by about 584,000 votes in 2016 and 2020 has produced a record voter turnout, the number of votes for Joe Biden is likely to increase.

But remember: The path for 270 is still open for both candidates.

Joe Biden could lose Pennsylvania and could still win 270 electoral votes if he wins Arizona and Nevada.

If President Trump holds on to Pennsylvania, he can get to 270 electoral votes with Arizona, North Carolina and Georgia. It will have to be “some combination of Pennsylvania and three other states,” Mattingly said.

Watch:

6:13 a.m. ET, November 5, 2020

We still don't know who the next president will be. Here's why that shows the system is working.

Analysis from CNN's Chris Cilizza

A county election worker scans ballots in a tabulating area at the Clark County Election Department, in Las Vegas, Nevada, on Wednesday, November 4.
A county election worker scans ballots in a tabulating area at the Clark County Election Department, in Las Vegas, Nevada, on Wednesday, November 4. John Locher/AP

The 2020 election was unlike any other with millions of people going to the polls during a deadly coronavirus pandemic.

As a result, there was a surge in the number of mail-in ballots around the country and a series of state law changes designed to make it easier to vote early, whether in person or by mail.

When you double the number of early votes and keep the same rules in place about when and how they will be counted (and the same or fewer number of election officials to count them), the situation we are seeing play out is to be expected. Every vote needs to be counted – even if that tabulation process is slower than we would like.

Five critical battleground states -– Arizona, Georgia, Nevada, Pennsylvania and North Carolina – along with the state of Alaska, remain uncalled by CNN for either President Trump or former Vice President Joe Biden. Those states will, without question, determine the identity of the next president. Both men retain paths to victory, though Biden is closing in on the 270 electoral votes he needs to take the White House.

What's difficult to remember – but critically important to remember – amid this ongoing uncertainty is that this is all a) totally expected and b) totally normal.

Reminder: There is absolutely nothing in the Constitution or any federal law that mandates a winner of the election be declared on Election Day. In fact, for much of the 19th century, it took days – if not weeks – for the winner to be declared.

Even in more recent elections, declaring a winner usually extends beyond election night – as the state-by-state counting of votes can often drag for hours or days, even without a pandemic. In 2000, we didn't know who the president would be until December 12 –– more than a month after Election Day.

5:48 a.m. ET, November 5, 2020

It's 2 days after the election, and CNN has not yet projected who will win in six states

People demonstrate in support of counting all votes, in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, on November 4.
People demonstrate in support of counting all votes, in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, on November 4. Spencer Platt/Getty Images

It's Thursday morning in the US, and the race for the White House is still too close to call. However, as votes continue to come in, former Vice President Joe Biden has edged closer to the 270-electoral-vote threshold needed to win the presidency.

Here are the six states where CNN has not yet made a projection:

  • Alaska
  • Arizona
  • Georgia
  • Nevada
  • North Carolina
  • Pennsylvania
5:39 a.m. ET, November 5, 2020

Race for White House narrows as votes continue to be counted. Here's what you need to know.

From CNN's Maeve Reston and Stephen Collinson

Election personnel handle ballots as vote counting in the general election continues at State Farm Arena in Atlanta, Georgia, on Wednesday, November 4.
Election personnel handle ballots as vote counting in the general election continues at State Farm Arena in Atlanta, Georgia, on Wednesday, November 4. Brynn Anderson/AP

The race for the White House is too close to call, but contests are tightening in the key states of Georgia, Arizona and Pennsylvania.

Ballots are still being counted in several key states, with elections officials expected to provide updates later today.

If you're just reading in, here's what you need to know about the race:

  • Joe Biden notches critical wins: Biden won the key states of Michigan and Wisconsin, fulfilling his promise to rebuild the Democrats' "blue wall" in the Midwest that Donald Trump demolished in 2016.
  • Nevada to release more results: Nevada election officials, who released very little information on Wednesday with an estimated 200,000 ballots outstanding, said they expected to report their newest batch of results at midday Thursday.
  • Trump's lead narrows: As hundreds of thousands of mail-in and early absentee votes are being counted in the key battleground of Pennsylvania, Trump's lead has shrunk dramatically. Many of those outstanding votes are mail-in ballots that were returned in the heavily Democratic area of Philadelphia. The race is also narrowing in Georgia, where Trump's lead slipped throughout Wednesday's count. Georgia's Fulton County — home to the state's capital Atlanta — continued counting ballots throughout the night.
  • Race tightens in Arizona: The race between Biden and Trump is tightening in Arizona. Biden's lead in Maricopa County, the state's most populous county, narrowed overnight. On Wednesday night, Arizona's secretary of state told CNN's John King that more than a half-million votes remain uncounted and suggested Maricopa County's count could take several days.

Where things stand: Biden holds a 253-213 lead in the Electoral College. In addition to Arizona, GeorgiaNevada, and Pennsylvania, the races in Alaska and North Carolina remain still too close to call.

4:58 a.m. ET, November 5, 2020

Catch up: Here's where the presidential race stands

Democratic presidential nominee Joe Biden leads the race for the White House with 253 electoral votes. President Trump has 213 electoral votes.

It's still too close to call in six states: Alaska, Arizona, Georgia, Nevada, North Carolina and Pennsylvania.

Based on CNN's latest projections, this is where the race to 270 currently stands.

CNN projects Biden will win at least three of Maine's four electoral votes, plus Wisconsin, Michigan, Hawaii, Rhode Island, Minnesota, Virginia, California, Oregon, Washington state, Illinois, New Hampshire, New Mexico, Colorado, Connecticut, New Jersey, New York, Vermont, Delaware, Washington, DC, Maryland, Massachusetts and one of Nebraska's five electoral votes. Nebraska and Maine award two electoral votes to their statewide winners and divide their other electoral votes by congressional districts.

CNN projects Trump will win Montana, Texas, Iowa, Idaho, Ohio, Mississippi, Wyoming, Missouri, Kansas, Utah, Louisiana, Alabama, South Carolina, North Dakota, South Dakota, Arkansas, Indiana, Oklahoma, Kentucky, West Virginia and Tennessee and four of Nebraska's five electoral votes.

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

5:26 a.m. ET, November 5, 2020

The Trump campaign filed a series of lawsuits in key battleground states. Here's what we know.

From CNN's Katelyn Polantz

President Trump speaks at the White House in Washington, DC, early on November 4.
President Trump speaks at the White House in Washington, DC, early on November 4. Mandel Ngan/AFP/Getty Images

President Trump's team launched a series of lawsuits in key battleground states that seemed less about sound legal reasoning and more about slowing Joe Biden from marching over the electoral vote threshold. 

At times, the lawsuits have contested ballots in the double digits — hundreds if not thousands of votes away of potentially swing any state's result.

"Admitting defeat is not a plausible reaction so soon after the election, so they throw a lot of Hail Mary lawsuits at the wall and hope something sticks," said longtime Republican elections lawyer and CNN contributor Ben Ginsberg. He said these types of suits aren't indicative of a campaign that's feeling optimistic — and instead, is scrambling.

"I think much of the litigation is a longshot and unlikely to succeed," said Franita Tolson, a law professor at USC Gould School of Law and CNN contributor. 

She pointed to a lawsuit in Georgia the Trump campaign announced Wednesday night over a poll worker mixing unprocessed and processed absentee ballots. That might have the potential to affect few votes, she said. 

"I suspect that a big goal of this litigation is, in the short term, to change the narrative" from a potential Biden win to a conversation about election mismanagement or even fraud, Tolson said.

Another law professor and CNN contributor, Rick Hasen, said the lawsuits appeared to be more public relations than serious litigation. "These lawsuits so far are not tackling any major problem that would seem to call overall vote totals into questions," he said.

Justin Levitt, another elections expert and law professor, called some of the suits, like in Michigan, "laughable." 

"One says you didn't put people by absentee dropboxes, so stop the count. Huh?!"

Even a Republican-appointed federal judge in Pennsylvania cast doubt on the validity of a suit from Republicans on Wednesday, when they challenged fewer than 100 ballots that absentee voters corrected in a county outside Philadelphia. At a hearing Wednesday morning, the judge, Timothy Savage, did not rule, yet he suggested the lawyer for Republican canvass observers was seeking to disenfranchise votes. He noted the lawsuit appeared to have other problems in its arguments. 

Some legal challenges in Pennsylvania from the Trump campaign were quickly dismissed on Election Day, with Trump touting his appeals of those losses apparently as new cases Wednesday. For instance, a Philadelphia election day judge had shot down a Trump campaign case over ballot processing access, writing that "observers are directed only to observe and not to audit ballots" and deciding that the city's board of elections complied with the law. Another Election Day challenge from the Trump campaign to the ballot observation process in Bucks County, Pennsylvania, also near Philly, was dismissed by a judge, though Trump is now appealing, according to Pennsylvania court records.

Lawyers for the Trump campaign sued in Nevada on Tuesday, too, claiming that their observers were not given enough access to all aspects of the ballot counting process — from opening the ballots, to machine and manual signature checking and duplicating spoiled ballots. A Nevada judge denied the GOP challenge to the early voting process in the heavily Democratic county.

“If this last-minute suit were successful, it would require a major change in how [Nevada] processed absentee [ballots] to determine if the signature on the ballot matched the voter’s prior signature on file,” said Richard Pildes, a constitutional law professor at New York University and CNN election law analyst. “Courts are typically unwilling to let plaintiffs come in the door so late in the day and ask for major changes to a process that’s already well underway.”

However, one suit, the petition before the US Supreme Court on Pennsylvania's ballot deadline, may be a more serious litigation challenge. It challenges the validity of potentially several thousand votes cast in good faith by voters, but received by officials after the election through the mail. 

For this case to make a difference, Pennsylvania would need to be the deciding state for the election, and the margin of difference between Trump and Biden would need to be a few tens of thousands of votes.

CNN's Maeve Reston and Stephen Collinson contributed to this report.