Graphic by Dave Lemery | The Center Square

By Dan McCaleb (The Center Square) – President Donald Trump won key battleground states in Ohio, Florida and Texas Tuesday. Former Vice President Joe Biden took Arizona. But the race in other swing states remained too close to call as Americans awoke Wednesday still not knowing the winner of the presidential election.

And they might not find out for awhile, either.

Results in Georgia, Michigan, North Carolina, Pennsylvania and Wisconsin – where millions of votes, much of them mail-ins, were still being counted as of 6 a.m. eastern time Wednesday – will determine the winner.

In early morning comments before supporters, Trump said he was poised to win Tuesday night but questioned why races weren’t called in Georgia, Michigan, North Carolina, Pennsylvania and Wisconsin, where he held leads as votes were still being counted.

“We had such a big night,” Trump said. … “We were going to win this election. Frankly, we did win this election,” claiming that the integrity of the election was in question.

A few hours later, new vote counts in Wisconsin gave Biden a slight lead there.

Before Trump spoke, Biden told supporters he was confident he would still win despite deficits in the remaining key battleground states.

“We feel good about where we are,” Biden said. “We believe we’re on track to win this election.”

Trump so far has been declared the winner in Alabama, Arkansas, Florida, Idaho, Indiana, Iowa, Kansas, Kentucky, Louisiana, Mississippi, Missouri, Montana, North Dakota, Nebraska, Ohio, Oklahoma, South Dakota, Tennessee, Texas, Utah and West Virginia.

Biden won Arizona, California, Colorado, Connecticut, Delaware, Hawaii, Illinois, Maine, Maryland, Massachusets, Minnesota, New Hampshire, New Jersey, New Mexico, New York, Oregon, Rhode Island, Vermont, Virginia, Washigton and Wyoming.

Nebraska and Maine are the only two states that split their electoral college votes by Congressional districts. In the 48 others, all electoral college votes are awarded to the winner of the respective state.

Biden held a 238-213 electoral vote advantage over Trump at 6:20 a.m. eastern, according to The Associated Press. Either candidate needs to secure at least 270 electoral votes to win the presidency.

The battleground states of Georgia (16 electoral college votes), Michigan (16), North Carolina (15), Pennsylvania (20) and Wisconsin (10) will determine the outcome. Trump held leads in all but Wisconsin.

If Trump ends up winning in the states he held leads in early Wednesday, he would be reelected.

But if the race remains close in these key swing states, it’s possible – maybe even likely – that a winner won’t be known for days as more than 99 million Americans voted early or by mail before Tuesday’s polls even opened. States have different rules for counting and processing mail-in votes. Some wait until after all polls close in the state. Some states also will accept mail-in ballots for days after Nov. 3.

In the key swing state of Pennsylvania, for example, some counties don’t expect to start counting mail-in ballots until Wednesday or later. During Pennsylvania’s June primary, roughly half of counties were still counting ballots a full week after Election Day.

And in states where the final, unofficial results are particularly close, both Trump and Biden have attorneys on standby to legally challenge any potential discrepancies. That could drag out the presidential outcome for weeks.

In 2016, Trump won the electoral vote and the presidency despite losing the popular vote to Hillary Clinton by nearly 3 million votes. By winning the key swing states of Florida, Pennsylvania, Ohio, Michigan and Wisconsin, Trump claimed 304 electoral votes to Clinton’s 227.

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