Last Minute State Flips Decide Presidency
On Nov. 7, former Vice President Joe Biden was projected to be the winner of the 2020 presidential election after obtaining the 270 electoral votes needed to win. The results came after four days of great anticipation because of the delayed vote count due to mail-in ballots. As of Nov. 13, Biden has 290 electoral votes to Trump’s 217.
On election night and the day after, Trump was projected to win Texas and Florida, leading many to believe that he would have the upper hand in the election. This all changed when Wisconsin and Michigan switched to blue on Nov. 4, giving Biden another 26 electoral votes.
Once Biden reached 264 votes, all eyes turned to a slow-moving election count in Nevada. The state had flipped blue and counted 75% of its votes at the time. Because of its six electoral votes, if it had been called fast enough Biden would have reached his 270 electoral votes to win.
Another key point in this election was on the east coast, where Georgia, Pennsylvania, and North Carolina drew the country’s attention. Pennsylvania, a state containing 20 electoral votes, flipped blue after days of being projected red. Similarly, Georgia also flipped from red to blue.
As a known "red state," Georgia’s flip is historical. It is mostly due to a growing Black electorate in the state. Stacy Abrams, a renowned voting activist, is credited alongside others in fighting voter suppression in Georgia. Because of their efforts, the flip in the state is being recognized by many as a product of efforts to make the election as fair as possible.
While North Carolina was a tight race, it is projected to stay red as Trump maintains his 2% lead in the state.
These sudden flips in states with tight races are generally being credited to the counting of mail-in ballots. Because of rising COVID-19 cases across the nation, many were wary to vote at in-person polling sites, leading to a rise in mail-in ballots. Seeing that some of these votes might have taken longer to arrive to be counted, states were still flipping between red and blue long after election night. This was especially true in Pennsylvania.
Controversy surrounding mail-in ballots have included discussions of voter fraud, especially from Trump supporters claiming that it is suspicious that mail-in ballots have flipped states blue. This trend has been explained as a result of President Trump urging his supporters to vote in person, while Biden backed the reliability of mail-ins.
Although Biden has been projected the winner, Trump continues to fight for the presidency through lawsuits. Although some have been shot down, his legal team continues to press for recounts. Secretary of State Mike Pompeo announced that there will be a, “smooth transition into a second Trump administration” in an interview, leading to fears about a turbulent potential switch to a Biden presidency.