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International

Early mail-in ballots may turn US blue

November 05, 2020 05:45 AM

COURTESY HT NOV 5

Early mail-in ballots may turn US blue
Washington : A record number of ballots cast before the Election Day, totalling more than 100 million, could play a decisive role in who will win the race to the White House, according to analysts, with President Donald Trump and Democratic challenger Joe Biden battling for key states such as Wisconsin, Michigan and Pennsylvania, where hundreds of thousands of postal ballots remained to be counted.

Trump has spent months denouncing mail-in ballots, making unsubstantiated claims that they are liable to fraud. Throughout the campaign, he cast doubt about the integrity of the election and repeatedly suggested that mail-in ballots should not be counted.

Both campaigns had teams of lawyers at the ready to move into battleground states if there were legal challenges over the outcome.

Democrats typically outperform Republicans in mail voting, while the GOP looks to make up ground in Election Day turnout. That means the early margins between the candidates could be influenced by which type of votes — early or Election Day — were being reported by the states.

Former US assistant treasury secretary Paul Craig Roberts said on Wednesday that the mail-in votes are likely to favour Biden. “Polls indicated that Democrats were using mail-in voting more heavily,” he said.

Several states allow mailed-in votes to be accepted after Election Day, as long as they were postmarked by Tuesday. That includes Pennsylvania, where ballots postmarked by November 3 can be accepted if they arrive up to three days after the election. This year, experts say, the delay in results could be attributed to a surge in postal ballots that take time in counting.

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