November 26, 2020

2020 Election: See Insiders comprehensive guide to the presidential and top congressional races

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  • Voting in the 2020 presidential election between President Trump and Democratic nominee Joe Biden ends in eight days on November 3. 
  • In addition to the key presidential battleground states, there are hundreds of important US Senate and House races that will decide the balance of power in Washington, DC, for years to come. 
  • Insider has created individual race guides with information about the candidates, issues, and the state of the race for 115 of the most competitive congressional elections. 
  • Visit Business Insider’s homepage for more stories.

Voting in the 2020 election is ending in just eight days , and more than 50 million Americans have already cast their ballots. 

The race for the presidency between President Donald Trump and former Vice President Joe Biden is zeroing in on a number of battleground states key in both candidates’ quests to win. They’ll be battling for the popular vote, but the real election decider is the electoral college.

In the electoral college system, states are allocated a number of electors equal to how many representatives they have in Congress. Presidential candidates must earn 270 electoral college votes or more to win the election. All states except for Maine and Nebraska use a winner-take-all system in which the candidate who wins the most votes earns all of the state’s electoral college votes. 

In addition to the presidential race, hundreds of critical US Senate and House races on the ballot this fall will determine the balance of power in Washington, DC, for many years to come. 

Election Day is Tuesday, November 3, 2020, but tens of millions have already cast their vote.

Election results are never truly finalized on election night, but in most past years, enough of the results have come in on election night for big news networks and outlets to call the winner of the race.

But because of the increase in Americans casting mail ballots, which take longer to process and count than in-person votes and can arrive after Election Day in many states, the outcome of the presidential race and other key down-ballot races may not be called on election night itself. 

Arizona, Florida, Ohio, Iowa, and North Carolina, which all allow a substantial amount of pre-processing and counting of mail ballots prior to Election Day, are expected to report a substantial amount of their results on election night.

But the key swing states of Michigan, Pennsylvania, and Wisconsin, which do not allow for as much pre-processing of ballots before the polls open, will count the bulk of their mail-in ballots on or after Election Day.

Officials will work hard to process ballots in an accurate and efficient manner, but races in those states may take a little longer to call. 

Here’s what you need to know about the top 10 swing states most likely to decide the election, including what the polls say and how the top election experts and handicappers at the Cook Political Report, Sabato’s Crystal Ball at the University, and Inside Elections rate Trump and Biden’s chances of winning each state.

There are six states on the map — Florida, Iowa, Michigan, Ohio, Pennsylvania, and Wisconsin — that flipped from voting for President Barack Obama in 2012 to vote for Trump in 2016. 

Nebraska’s and Maine’s 2nd Congressional Districts also account for one electoral college vote each. 

Nebraska’s 2nd Congressional District is rated as “leans Democratic” in the electoral college by Inside Elections, the Cook Political Report, and Sabato’s Crystal Ball. Trump carried the 2nd District by a margin of 2.2 percentage points in the 2016 election, according to the Daily Kos. 

Maine’s 2nd Congressional District is rated as a “toss-up” in the electoral college by Inside Elections, the Cook Political Report, and Sabato’s Crystal Ball. Trump carried Maine’s 2nd District by a margin of 10 percentage points in the 2016 election, according to the Daily Kos. 

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