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Election Night: Key states to watch & record-shattering voter turnout

Jon Lieber, Managing Director for the United States at the Eurasia Group, shares his perspective on a special US election edition of US Politics In 60 Seconds:

So, we're about five days out from the election right now.

And the story of this week has been the remarkably steady polling lead for Joe Biden that he's had for months now. The other big story is the turnout, massive amounts of turnout. 100% of the 2016 vote already cast in Texas. 60% nationwide votes already cast. We are headed for record shattering turnout, could be around 155 million Americans voting.

On election night, what are we watching for?


First thing we're watching for is, does Trump win Florida? If he loses Florida, Florida counts quickly, we may know the results late in the night on Tuesday. If Trump loses Florida, then he really doesn't have a path. If he wins Florida, the next state we're going to be looking at is Pennsylvania. Right now, he's down by six votes, six points there. But if he has a lot of turnout for rural White voters, which is his base, it's possible he can turnout a victory. You also have the Supreme Court indicating that they're willing to re-look at Pennsylvania's election laws, even after the deadline because a state court in Pennsylvania said that votes in the mail that are received up to three days after election night could still be counted.

The Supreme Court may overturn that ruling. Another state to watch, Arizona. A Biden win there would be the end of the road for Donald Trump. They also count relatively quickly. They'll be finishing by 10:00 PM Eastern time when they start reporting. A lot of experience with vote by mail. Another thing to watch on Tuesday night is going to be the Senate results. A Biden presidency is effectively going to be stopped in its tracks if Republicans continue to hold the Senate.

So, it's really important for Democrats that they win, if they want to achieve anything next year. So, states that we're watching, Arizona, Colorado likely to flip to Democrats. And then they need two of Maine, North Carolina, Montana, and Iowa, all of which are very, very close races right now. Probably they pick up votes in Maine, seats in Maine, North Carolina and Iowa. And that will be enough for the majority.

The other big question is, do we know on Tuesday or how long after that day do we have to wait until we find out?

That's a real wild card. Florida, Arizona count quickly, like I said. Pennsylvania counts pretty slow. If there's a protracted battle and it comes down to Pennsylvania, you're going to see a lot of legal wrangling over those last few votes. However, Biden's lead there is pretty big right now. Six points in the polling averages, which makes it less likely you have a disputed outcome.

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Jon Lieber, who leads Eurasia Group's coverage of political and policy developments in Washington, offers insights on US politics:

Is Trump out of options now that William Barr said the DOJ found no election interference?

Trump's problem isn't William Barr not finding election interference, it's that he lost the election and he lost it by millions of votes, and he lost it in the most important key states by tens of thousands of votes. Now, this was a very close election. The three closest states, Wisconsin, Georgia, and Arizona, Trump only lost by 44,000 votes so far, and if he'd ended up winning those three, we'd have an Electoral College tie. But the election was not close enough that Trump's strategy of trying to kick this to the courts and then getting it to go all the way to the Congress, with an alternate slate of electors, it just wasn't possible. Had the election been a little closer, he might've had a shot. But as it is, his chances are over. Joe Biden's going to be inaugurated on January 20th.

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