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State Of The Race: Where Vote Counts Are At In Key States


You might notice we still don't know who's won the presidential race. The count goes on at varying speeds in some close states - Pennsylvania, Nevada, Georgia, North Carolina. If you count Arizona, as The Associated Press has, for Joe Biden, he will have 264 electoral votes. President Trump has 214. Of course, 270 are needed to win. Mr. Biden hopes he could cross that line as soon as today.

NPR senior political editor and correspondent Domenico Montanaro joins us. Domenico, thanks so much for being with us.


SIMON: Pennsylvania, Pennsylvania, Pennsylvania - did - has that prediction at least turned out to be right?

MONTANARO: So far, at least, that's true. You know, both candidates spent so much time and money there. And because of the 20 electoral votes that are in Pennsylvania, even if Joe Biden weren't to win Arizona - which the AP has called at this point for him, but the other networks haven't - Joe Biden would win and get to 273 electoral votes. President Trump needs to win four of the five remaining states, including Pennsylvania.

You know, and this morning, the latest is that Joe Biden's lead continues to grow there. He's up by just under 29,000 votes. There are still about 89,000 mail-in ballots left to count in the state. That doesn't include provisional ballots. There's expected to be about 100,000 of those as well. And those take much longer to count 'cause you have to check to see if people haven't voted twice, for example.

There are about 50,000 votes between Philadelphia and Allegheny County with the mail-in ballots. And Biden's probably going to net another 30,000 to 35,000 just out of those places. So his lead will grow. But those provisionals - because it's such an odd year, people are waiting to see how those might break.

SIMON: And let me ask about Georgia. That's another state that, obviously, mathematically could put Joe Biden over the finish line. He took the lead there early yesterday. It would be hugely significant one way or another, but there might be a legally mandated recount, right?

MONTANARO: Right, but, you know, Joe Biden's lead actually is now up to just over 7,000 votes in the state, which is quite surprising - jumped again last night. And that makes it very difficult within a recount to overturn that many thousands of votes. You know, usually recounts, you know, maybe change hundreds of votes. I mean, I kind of remember the last time it really made a huge difference and went on quite some time was the Senate race in Minnesota with Al Franken and Norm Coleman, where Franken wound up winning. But it was only hundreds of votes - not thousands.

SIMON: And more results come in from Arizona. The AP and Fox News, for that matter, called it for Joe Biden. Many Republicans have said that was premature. Might they be proven to be correct?

MONTANARO: Well, you know, the margin does continue to narrow, and we're certainly watching that margin. It's now under 30,000 votes, where Joe Biden leads President Trump. And this is part of the issue. What happened there is that a lot of the votes that were picked up - in fact, all of the votes that are remaining to be counted were ballots that were dropped off on Monday and Tuesday.

So you can imagine if there was a huge early vote spike and a lot of Trump voters thought, I'm not going to stand by and watch that happen, they went and cast their ballots late Monday and Tuesday. And that's why you're seeing the margin continue to shrink.

By my math, though, President Trump would need about 59% of the remaining ballots, which is just higher than what he's been getting. So it may tighten, but Democrats think Biden, in the end, will pull it off.

SIMON: Domenico, imagine 300 million people shouting this question. Why is it taking so long?

MONTANARO: Yeah, including my brother, my mother, my father, everybody else. But the fact is these are the kinds of ballots that take much longer to count - these mail-in ballots and provisionals. And it's such an odd year that everyone wants to be very careful about what the call is. But things are trending in Biden's direction.

SIMON: NPR's Domenico Montanaro, thanks so much for being with us.

MONTANARO: You're welcome. Transcript provided by NPR, Copyright NPR.

Domenico Montanaro
Domenico Montanaro is NPR's senior political editor/correspondent. Based in Washington, D.C., his work appears on air and online delivering analysis of the political climate in Washington and campaigns. He also helps edit political coverage.