Months of campaigning comes down to a final day Monday for U.S. presidential candidates to convince undecided voters, and urge their supporters to vote.
President Donald Trump and former Vice President Joe Biden are holding events in multiple states that will be among the most important in determining the outcome in Tuesday’s election.
The common stop on their itineraries is Pennsylvania, a state where Biden has been ahead in recent polls, but which Trump won in 2016. The winner of Pennsylvania earns 20 of the 270 electoral votes a candidate needs to earn a four-year term in the White House.
Trump is holding a rally at the Wilkes-Barre Scranton International Airport, while Biden will address supporters at a drive-in event in Pittsburgh.
Biden’s other stop Monday is in Ohio, a state with 18 electoral votes and where polls show the candidates running about even.
Trump is also traveling to North Carolina, site of another tight race, and to two other states — Michigan and Wisconsin — where Biden has led in recent polls but which were important parts of Trump’s 2016 victory.
Results from Election Day will not be official until weeks later. The deadlines vary by state, with a few reporting within a week but many not requiring final results to be reported until late November or early December.
Most years, the winner is clear before the official results with media organizations making projections based on tabulations from individual voting precincts. This year a record number of people have cast early ballots, at least 94 million as of Sunday night, and with many of those coming by way of mail-in ballots due to concerns about the coronavirus, the counting in some states could be slower than usual.
Trump has criticized court rulings upholding rules in some states allowing ballots to be counted if they are postmarked by Election Day and arrive with a certain window of time afterward. He reiterated his objection during multiple campaign stops Sunday, saying, without evidence, “I think a lot of fraud and misuse could take place.”
He signaled his campaign is preparing legal challenges to the counting of absentee ballots in Pennsylvania, which were the subject of a Supreme Court ruling last week.
“We’re going in the night of — as soon as that election is over — we’re going in with our lawyers,” Trump told reporters before a rally in North Carolina.
He also expressed his displeasure with the fact that results are not instantaneous, telling reporters before a rally in North Carolina, “I don’t think it’s fair that we have to wait for a long period of time after the election.”
Trump denied an Axios report, saying it was false that he has told confidants he will declare victory election night even if the Electoral College outcome is unclear.
Democratic candidate Joe Biden commented on the report in between his campaign stops Sunday in Philadelphia.
"The president’s not going to steal this election," Biden said.
In Philadelphia, Biden also repeated his criticism of the Trump administration’s response to the coronavirus pandemic, which has killed about 231,000 people and infected more than 9.2 million in the United States, most of any country in the world, according to Johns Hopkins University.
“The truth is, to beat the virus, we first have to beat Donald Trump,” Biden said. “He is the virus.”
Trump has continued to say that the U.S. is “rounding the turn” in fighting COVID-19 and that a vaccine is coming soon.
Biden called Pennsylvania “critical” to his election chances, but expressed optimism, saying “when America is heard, I believe the message is going to be clear: it’s time for Trump to pack his bags and go home.”
National polls continue to show Biden leading Trump, by about 8 percentage points, leaving Trump to face the prospect of becoming the third U.S. president in the last four decades to lose his bid for reelection after a single term.
U.S. elections, however, are not determined by the national popular vote in the country’s indirect form of democracy, but rather in the 538-member Electoral College, with a candidate needing a majority of 270 to win the presidency. In all but two of the country’s 50 states, either Trump or Biden will win all the electors by winning the popular vote there, with the most populous states holding the most electors.
In addition to the presidential race, U.S. voters will also be electing all 435 members of the House of Representatives, 35 seats in the 100-member Senate, 11 state governors, and various local government positions, as well as deciding on referendums.