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The United States prepares for an election night that can last several days

Increased vote-by-mail will delay the recount in key states and doubts remain about Trump’s reaction

The elections of November 3 in the United States threaten to lead to an open stage, without a clear winner that same night. The increase in vote-by-mail could delay the recount in key ‘a priori’ states to tip the balance in favor of one of the two great candidates for the White House and the hesitations of the president, Donald Trump, on the recognition of the results did not help to clear doubts.

On everyone’s mind is the political chaos experienced in 2000, when Florida became the epicenter of an even battle between George W. Bush and Al Gore. With just a few hundred votes ahead and following the intervention of the Florida Supreme Court, Bush managed to win the 29 electoral votes at stake and, by extension, a victory ‘in extremis’.

Then, the dispute lasted until December, and led not a few Americans to question the reliability of a system that Trump has now again openly questioned, who speaks openly and without evidence of “fraud” to warn of the alleged risks derived from voting by mail.

Two out of three Americans already assume that they will not know on election night who sits in the Oval Office for the next four years, according to a survey by the firm Morning Consult for the Politico news portal. Only 20 percent expect to have a president-elect on the morning of November 3-4.

Regarding the deadlines in which the elections could be resolved, 19 percent believe that it will be the next day – it already happened in 2004 with the George W. Bush and John Kerry duel -, 26 percent in the following week and 20 percent consider that the doubts will last more than seven days.

Trump has advocated on several occasions for knowing the results on the same election night, but the different state regulations precisely mean that, if there is a winner in a matter of hours, it is not him but Biden who ends up winning. A hypothetical Trump victory would predictably take several days.

The Democratic candidate has a solid base of 226 electoral votes – members of the Electoral College that will ultimately elect the president in December – in states where a combination of exit polls with clear results and a streamlined recount could lead to the projections in your favor in a matter of a few hours.

To be elected president, at least the votes of 270 delegates are necessary, a figure that polls see plausible for Biden without even waiting for three traditionally key states, Wisconsin, Michigan and Pennsylvania, and in which the results could take time. These states limit the advancement of the recount process before Election Day.

The key for Biden could be Florida, while Trump would depend on holding out as long as possible in this and other ‘swing states’ – as states that do not traditionally vote for the same party are known – and on surprising territories who in 2016 bet on his rival, Hillary Clinton. This would be the case in Minnesota, but the polls draw a comfortable advantage for the Democratic Party candidate.

Not surprisingly, the mail-in voter tends to lean more towards Biden. Some 51 percent of potential Biden voters expect to participate early in the elections, while among Trump supporters the figure drops to 25 percent, according to a Pew Research Center study published this week and prepared from 11,929 interviews.

This discrepancy is also repeated when it is asked about trust in this system, since while 77 percent of Biden’s followers consider that all votes will be worth the same, regardless of when they are cast, only 36 percent of Biden’s supporters Trump share this same confidence. In fact, only a third of the president’s supporters are confident that mail-in votes will even be counted.

The hypotheses published in recent weeks by experts in different media are based on arithmetic projections, but Trump has shown that he does not always trust the calculator and supposedly objective data. 53 percent of the 1,986 people interviewed by Politico fear that Trump could proclaim his victory prematurely, compared to 35 percent who think the same about Biden.

The current president has not contributed with his messages to calm the spirits. “We will have to see what happens,” he said when questioned in September about whether he would recognize the results in the event of defeat and facilitate a peaceful transition. “What country do we live in?” Biden snapped.

Trump has made voting by mail his main enemy, with messages of doubtful validity, some of them even censored on social networks for containing false information. Their environment has not contributed to denying these messages either, despite the fact that some Republican leaders such as Senator Mitt Romney have publicly defended that the peaceful transition is one of the hallmarks of democracy.

Two polls recently published by Monmouth University and FiveThirtyEight placed the level of distrust in the next elections at 39 percent, as they fear that they are not fair. The Pew Research Center study, meanwhile, shows that 72 percent of Biden’s supporters believe the elections will be well administered, a figure that falls by half among Trump supporters.

The mistrust of the Trump-related side reaches such a point that only 55 percent believe that the winner of the election will be known once all the votes have been counted. It remains to be seen then what the message of the New York magnate would be if, with the ballots already examined, the results do not favor him.

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