US voters head to the polls on Tuesday to vote in the 2020 presidential and congressional elections, but uncertainty looms over when the results will be known, given the record influx of mail-in ballots.
More than 96 million early votes have been cast, representing almost 70% of the total number of votes recorded in 2016, according to the US Elections Project. Nearly 60 million of the early votes have been submitted by mail – about twice the total of ballots mailed in four years ago. Many local governments are ill-equipped to process the mail-in deluge in a timely manner, including at least one state that could prove decisive.
According to polls, Democratic presidential challenger Joe Biden appeared to be ahead of Donald Trump in several critical swing states, but President Donald Trump has narrowed Biden’s lead in the polls considerably over the past few days.
In response to the pandemic, dozens of states have expanded mail-in and early in-person voting to avoid chaos on election day because social distancing restrictions are expected to lead to massive lines.