Dubai: More than two days after the US presidential elections, the race to the White House looked more like a crawl to 270 on Thursday.
With news agencies being careful about calling an election because counting of votes is still taking place and the margins between the votes for President Donald Trump and Democratic contender Joe Biden too narrow, various routes to the White House are still being drawn.
To reach 270, the candidates are looking at the remaining battlegrounds: Pennsylvania (20 electoral votes), North Carolina (15), Georgia (16) and Nevada (6).
20electoral college votes up for grabs in Pennsylvania
Arizona, with 11 votes, has been called for Biden, but only 86 per cent of votes have been counted, so it is technically still in play.
Trump has 214 electoral college votes and Biden 264 (with Arizona) or 253 (without it). Elementary maths shows that Biden needs fewer votes than Trump at present to reach the target.
Trump will need to win all the battleground states.
For Biden, wins in Arizona and Nevada (6 votes) will seal the election. The problem is that the race is very tight in Nevada with both candidates getting 49 per cent of the votes so far, and with just 7,500 votes separating them.
In Georgia, a prize seat with 16 votes, and with 96 per cent of the votes counted, there is just 0.4 per cent votes separating the candidates, which is why all eyes are on this state.
Then there is Pennsylvania and North Carolina where currently the votes are leaning towards Trump, but as absentee and mail-in ballots are being counted it will not take long for the positions to change.
To add to the confusion, the Wisconsin election has been called in favour of Biden, but the results are being contested by Trump who is moving court for a recount. Biden is the apparent winner by 20,000 votes.
Trump campaign manager Bill Stepien said the president would formally request a Wisconsin recount, citing “irregularities” in several counties. And the campaign said it was filing suit in Michigan and Pennsylvania to halt ballot counting on grounds that it wasn't given proper access to observe. Still more legal action was launched in Georgia.
At the same time, hundreds of thousands of votes were still to be counted in Pennsylvania, and Trump's campaign said it was moving to intervene in existing Supreme Court litigation over counting mail-in ballots there. The campaign also argued that outstanding votes could flip the outcome in Arizona.
Add all the arguments together and it is unlikely that the national winner will be determined soon.
What we could see is an unofficial winner based on projections.
- With inputs from agencies