FACTBOX | These states could decide the US presidential election

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The US presidential election will be decided by about a dozen states that could swing to either President Donald Trump, a Republican, or his Democratic challenger Joe Biden.

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These states will play a critical role in delivering the 270 Electoral College votes needed to win the White House.

Due to a surge in mail voting amid the coronavirus pandemic - as well as the states' varying rules for when ballots can be counted - the final results for all the states may take days after Tuesday's Election Day to be revealed.

New Hampshire

Electoral votes: 4

Winner: Biden

Other key races: Governor Chris Sununu, a Republican, appears to have won re-election.

Vote counting: New Hampshire state officials have said all voters are able to cast an absentee ballot if they have concerns about Covid-19, and the ballots must be received by 17:00 on Election Day.

Ballots could be pre-processed in some jurisdictions beginning on 29 October, but not counted until the polls closed on Tuesday.

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Pennsylvania

Electoral votes: 20

Polls have closed.

Rating in presidential contest: Leans Democratic

Other key races: Competitive US House contests in the 1st and 10th Districts

Vote counting: Pennsylvania has no-excuse absentee voting, and ballot counting could begin at 07:00 on Election Day.

Last Wednesday, the US Supreme Court let stand a ruling by Pennsylvania’s top court that officials in the state can accept mail-in ballots three days after Tuesday's election, so long as they were postmarked by Election Day.

Election officials in Philadelphia, the state's largest county and a Democratic stronghold, said on Tuesday evening they expected to release more results between midnight and 01:00 EST (05:00 and 06:00 GMT) on Wednesday, with more updates later that morning.

Georgia

Electoral votes: 16

Polls have closed.

Rating in presidential contest: Toss-up

Other key races: Both US Senate seats are up for grabs and considered competitive.

Vote counting: Georgia has no-excuse absentee voting. Ballots must be received by clerks by the close of polls on Election Day.

Ballots can be opened and scanned on receipt, but they could not be tallied until after the polls closed on Tuesday.

Officials in Fulton County, home to Atlanta and a tenth of all Georgians, warned on Tuesday that its vote count would not be finalised until Wednesday after a burst pipe delayed absentee-by-mail ballot processing for at least two hours, according to local reports.

Wisconsin

Electoral votes: 10

Polls have closed.

Rating in presidential contest: Leans Democratic

Other key races: No governor or US Senate races on the ballot

Vote counting: Wisconsin has no-excuse absentee voting. The state's election officials cannot count mail-in ballots that arrive after Election Day, the US Supreme Court ruled on 26 October.

Ballots could not be counted until polls opened on Tuesday.

The Board of Elections director in Milwaukee County, the state's most populous, said on Tuesday evening that the county's presidential vote count would not be completed until at least 06:00 EST on Wednesday due to the amount of absentee ballots received.

Michigan

Electoral votes: 16

Polls have closed.

Rating in presidential contest: Leans Democratic

Other key races: Competitive US Senate contest

Vote counting: Michigan has no-excuse absentee voting. Ballots had to arrive at clerks' offices by the close of polls on Election Day.

Some densely populated jurisdictions in the state, such as Detroit, began sorting absentee ballots on Monday, but the vast majority did not.

Clerks could begin scanning and counting absentee ballots at 07:00 on Tuesday.

Michigan Secretary of State Jocelyn Benson said on Tuesday evening that ballot counting was going smoothly and she expected a fuller picture of the state's results in 24 hours, ahead of early projections.

She said absentee ballots could top 3.3 million, while in-person voting ends at 2 million to 2.5 million.

Florida

Electoral votes: 29

Polls have closed.

Rating in presidential contest: Toss-up

Other key races: Competitive US House of Representative races in the 15th and 26th Districts

Vote counting: Florida has no-excuse absentee voting. Election officials could begin scanning ballots more than three weeks before Election Day, but results could not be generated until after polls closed.

All ballots had to be received by the close of polls on Election Day to be counted. Ballots flagged for signature errors can be corrected, however, until 17:00 on Thursday.

North Carolina

Electoral votes: 15

Polls have closed.

Rating in presidential contest: Toss-up

Other key races: Competitive governor and US Senate contests

Vote counting: North Carolina has no-excuse absentee voting. Absentee ballots could be scanned weeks in advance, but results could not be tallied before Election Day.

In a blow to Trump, the US Supreme Court declined last week to block the state's plan to tally ballots that are postmarked by Tuesday and arrive by 12 November.

Ohio

Electoral votes: 18

Polls have closed.

Rating in presidential contest: Toss-up

Other key races: Competitive US House contest in the 1st District

Vote counting: Ohio has no-excuse absentee voting. Ballots could be scanned, but not tallied, as early as 6 October.

Absentee ballots are the first to be counted on election night. Mail ballots had to be postmarked by Monday and received by 10 days after Tuesday's election to be counted.

Texas

Electoral votes: 38

Polls have closed.

Rating in presidential contest: Toss-up

Other key races: Competitive US Senate contest

Vote counting: Texas voters must qualify to vote by mail, for example by being older than 65, being ill or disabled, or not being present in their voting county during the early voting period through Election Day.

All voters can vote early in person.

The population of a county determines when election officials can pre-process and count mail ballots. If the county has more than 100 000 people, the ballots may be counted after polls close on the last day of in-person early voting in the state, which was 30 October.

Ballots will still be counted if they are postmarked by Tuesday and received by 17:00 the day after the election. For military and overseas voters, that deadline is extended through the end of business on 9 November.

Minnesota

Electoral votes: 10

Polls have closed.

Rating in presidential contest: Leans Democratic

Other key races: Competitive contests for the US Senate and US House in the 1st and 7th Districts

Vote counting: Minnesota has no-excuse absentee voting, and ballots must be pre-processed within five days of receipt.

Beginning on 20 October, ballots could be opened and logged, but the results are only tabulated after polls close on Election Day.

A federal appeals court ruled last week that the state's plan to count absentee ballots received after Election Day was illegal.

Arizona

Electoral votes: 11

Polls have closed.

Rating in presidential contest: Leaning Democratic

Other key races: Competitive US Senate contest

Vote counting: Arizona has no-excuse absentee voting. All ballots had to arrive by the close of polls on Election Day. Ballots could be scanned and tabulated starting 14 days before Tuesday but results not reported until after polls close on Election Day.

Nevada

Electoral votes: 6

Polls have closed.

Rating in presidential contest: Leans Democratic

Other key races: No governor or US Senate contests on the ballot

Vote counting: Nevada has no-excuse absentee voting, and ballots can be processed upon receipt.

Nevada officials could begin scanning and recording ballots 14 days before the election, but results are not released until election night. Ballots postmarked by Tuesday will be counted so long as they arrive within seven days after the election.

Iowa

Electoral votes: 6

Polls have closed.

Rating in presidential contest: Toss-up

Other key races: Competitive US Senate contest

Vote counting: Iowa has no-excuse absentee voting. The ballots had to be received by the close of polls on Election Day, or by 12:00 the following Monday if they were postmarked by 2 November.

Election officials were allowed to begin opening ballot envelopes on the Saturday before the election and begin scanning and tabulating them on Monday.


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