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President Trump has repeatedly refused not to leave office if Democratic presidential nominee Joe Biden wins the 2020 election. Many people are concerned that Trump will try to litigate the election unfairly so that he doesn’t have to concede. Here’s what could happen if Trump refuses to leave office.
If Biden maintains a clear lead on Election Night
According to national polls, Biden has approximately an eight-point percentage lead in the popular vote, but it’s unlikely that Biden will win by a landslide on Election Day. Although Trump is still narrowly favored in Texas, recent polls have shown that Biden is ahead by two-and-a-half percentage points in Florida and up by one point in Georgia.
Florida’s voting rules permit mail-in ballots to be counted well in advance of Election Day, making an election night call a likely possibility. Florida has had years of Republicans controlling mail balloting, so it will be much harder to claim voter fraud allegations there. Additionally, if Biden is leading in Pennsylvania, the most crucial battleground state, he may also win Wisconsin or Michigan and be on track to win more electoral college votes than Trump.
If Trump is ahead on Election Night with not all votes counted
Similar to the 2016 presidential election, Trump could potentially benefit from electoral college votes even if he does not win the popular vote. Both candidates are in a tight race in several battleground states. However, if Trump wins Florida and Pennsylvania, it would be harder for Biden to win the election.
According to polls, Biden is favored to win Florida and Pennsylvania, but President Trump could still win if 2016 polling errors persist. On the other hand, some predictions have shown that Biden would win even if polls were off by large margins similar to 2016.
If Trump loses by a narrow margin and refuses to leave the White House
If the election is a close race, many people believe Trump may contest the election results in the Supreme Court to earn himself more Electoral College votes. With Amy Coney Barrett newly appointed to the Supreme Court, there will be six conservative justices on the high court, enough to rule decisively in Trump’s favor.
Will mail-in ballots received after Election Day be invalidated?
Many voters, including Trump supporters, do not agree with Trump’s refusal to concede. However, Trump has continuously expressed a desire to not concede by delegitimizing ballots submitted after Election Day. In Pennsylvania, where the Supreme Court ruled to uphold an extension for receiving and counting absentee ballots. Trump was unhappy with this decision and threatened to sue after Election Day. Additionally, Trump’s campaign has threatened legal action to counter baseless voter fraud claims in other states such as Nevada and Arizona.
Many states require voters to submit ballots received before or by Election Day. However, 21 states and Washington, D.C., will count ballots postmarked on or before Election Day, with varying deadlines. If a voter’s mail-in ballot arrives after Election Day in the following states, it will be accepted by officials: Alaska, California, Illinois, Iowa, Kansas, Kentucky, Maryland, Massachusettes, Minnesota, Mississipi, Nevada, New Jersey, New York, North Carolina, North Dakota, Ohio, Pennsylvania, Texas, Utah, Virginia, West Virginia, and Washington. These late-arrival ballots could determine the election.