How 2 Votes Could Make All the Difference

CNN paints 'realistic scenarios' in which Trump or Biden barely win the Electoral College
By Neal Colgrass,  Newser Staff
Posted Sep 5, 2020 3:30 PM CDT
This Vote Could Be a Nail-Biter
A passerby stops to take a selfie with foam sculpture depictions of President Donald Trump and Democratic presidential candidate former Vice President Joe Biden along Dixie Highway in Fort Lauderdale, Fla., Thursday, Sept. 3, 2020.   (Joe Cavaretta/South Florida Sun-Sentinel via AP)

Think the 2020 election will go smoothly? Over 500,000 mail-in ballots were rejected in the primaries. President Trump is urging absentee voters to vote twice. The USPS drama got Congress involved. Now, with such omens lurking, CNN reports on "realistic scenarios" in which Trump or Joe Biden could win the Electoral College by a hair. The last 1-vote election was 1876—an incredibly contentious event that led to the end of Reconstruction—but 2-vote scenarios or even a 269-269 tie aren't hard to imagine in 2020:

  • Trump holds his 2016 states, except Pennsylvania and Michigan. He wins, 270-268.
  • Biden takes the Clinton states plus Wisconsin, Michigan, Arizona, and Nebraska's 2nd Congressional District. He wins, 270-268.
  • Trump keeps his 2016 states, except Arizona and Florida, and wins New Hampshire. He wins, 270-268.
  • Biden holds the Clinton states along with Pennsylvania, Michigan, Arizona, and Nebraska's 2nd Congressional District. Again, it's 270-268.
  • A 269-269 tie? I could happen in many ways, like the above scenarios with the other candidate winning Nebraska's 2nd District. In that case, the House chooses the president.
For deeper dives into swing state madness, check out the New York Times (it's interactive—you can drag swing states into each candidate's victory circle) or Five Thirty-Eight's look at how swing states have trended since 2000. (Or see Michael Moore's warning to Democrats.)

Get the news faster.
Tap to install our app.
Install the Newser News app
in two easy steps:
1. Tap in your navigation bar.
2. Tap to Add to Home Screen.