No President-Elect Yet, Now What?
It's Friday morning (November 6th), three days after election day, and the United States still doesn't have a President-Elect. It's been a messy and controversial election, and it's not anywhere close to being over. In fact, this election may not be over for a while.
Currently, things are looking good for former Vice President Joe Biden. Overnight, Biden took the lead in Georgia while still having leads in Michigan, Wisconsin, Arizona, and Nevada. President Trump's campaign has launched several lawsuits in states where mail-in balloting took away his Election Day lead. The Trump campaign will be arguing in several states the validity of some, not all, mail-in ballots.
The Trump campaign is seeking to enforce rules in the states that say states can not accept ballots after election day. The Trump campaign also wants to make sure that ballots have clear post-mark dates. The Trump campaign also wants Republican election observers in the room while votes are being counted.
By all measures, this is going to take a while. Some states say they may not be done counting until late next week. That is when court battles will really heat up.
So how long will all of this really take? In 2000, the Bush vs. Gore recount battle lasted 36 days, and they were only fighting over one state. According to the Washington Examiner, this year's timeline is different:
This year the first real deadlines are a bit earlier than in 2000. Presidential electors will meet and cast their votes in each state on Dec. 14, as federal law requires this to happen on Monday after the second Wednesday in December of presidential election years. But the law also mandates a “safe harbor” of six days before this whereby states must have their slates of electors set, meaning any contested state election would have to be resolved by Dec. 8.
Congress could change those dates if they wanted, but even they will want this resolved soon. So get ready for a long, drawn-out legal battle between the Trump and Biden campaigns.
Something else to look for in December? Battle over control of the Senate, with two runoff races probably happening in Georgia. Republicans must win one of the two Georgia seats to retain control of the U.S. Senate.