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Regulation and Compliance > State Regulation

Yes, We Could Get Some Certainty on Election Night

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Despite growing expectations that the result of the 2020 presidential election won’t be called on election night, there are a number of key states that could potentially report the bulk of their voting counts Tuesday evening, possibly ending the uncertainty.

Key among them, Florida, with 29 electoral votes, and North Carolina, with 15, are crucial swing states that could help decide the election.

“Trump really needs Florida in order to remain in contention whereas Biden has many paths to victory,” said Sinead Colton Grant, deputy chief investment officer and head of equities at BNY Mellon, on the firm’s pre-election webcast.

Florida and North Carolina are among eight states that start counting mail-in votes before Election Day, according to Grant. Arizona is the only other key swing state that falls into that category. Michigan starts counting just one day earlier, and Pennsylvania and Wisconsin start their mail-in tallying on Election Day, in line with most other states, according to Grant. 

Mail-in Voting

Mail-in ballots are expected to have a larger-than-usual effect on election results because their numbers have exploded during this election season, accounting for about two-thirds of the 95 million votes already cast by Nov. 2, which is almost double the mail-in total in the 2016 presidential election, according to Grant. When they are counted and how long they are accepted after Election Day will be key to knowing the winner of the election.

In addition to the six aforementioned states, Grant says there are six other potential swing states that could decide the election — states where the polls are very close or have “moved meaningfully to the right or left in 2016.” All but one start counting mail-in ballots on Election Day and accept mail-in votes after Election Day so long as they are postmarked by Tuesday,  which could delay knowing the winner of the presidential election, though maybe not for long.

They are Georgia — the only one that starts counting mail-in votes on Election Day and won’t accept mail-in votes thereafter — Iowa, Minnesota, Nevada, Ohio and Texas. The Lone Star State accepts mail-in ballots until Wednesday.

“Texas is not a traditional battleground state but the latest polls show the race to be very close and if the 38 electoral votes were to go to Biden the trajectory of the entire race will change,” Grant said.

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