Twenty years after the famous recount of Florida in the Bush vs. Gore presidential race, America may face another contested election as President Donald Trump and former Vice President Joe Biden find themselves in a similarly tense situation.
The 2020 election is likely to result in a handful of states, and Trump’s campaign has already indicated that they will request a recount in Wisconsin. Georgia, Nevada, and Pennsylvania have not yet been called, but the candidates are within a point in all three states, and if it remains that tight, both sides could push for a recount when it comes to the difference between their candidate’s presidency or not.
However, it depends on the rules in each state whether one believes a candidate is entitled to a recount and whether one can request a recount.
In Arizona, there is an automatic recount if the difference is less than 0.1 percent of the votes of the two leading candidates. By Thursday night, a total of 2,886,181 votes had been cast for Biden and Trump, which means the difference should be 2,886 votes. Candidates are not allowed to submit a motion.
Nevada, which has a more liberal recount policy, allows any candidate who is defeated in an election to request and receive a recount regardless of the difference. According to the Associated Press, Biden is 0.9 percent behind with 76 percent of the reported votes. Nevada would give Biden the six votes he needs to win 270 if his influence in Arizona remains intact. If Biden retains Arizona, Trump needs Nevada, as well as Pennsylvania, Alaska, North Carolina and Georgia.
In Georgia, a candidate’s loss margin must be less than 0.5 percent of all votes cast in the state for the candidate to request a recount. Trumps Biden with 99 percent of the reported votes is superior, but only by a margin of 0.1 percentage points, so Biden’s campaign would be within the rules for requesting a recount.
Pennsylvania is also developing into a close race and has procedures for an automatic and a requested recount. An automatic recount is required when the margin of profit is 0.5 percent or less. If the profit margin is outside of these requirements, three voters in each district may request a recount if they submit an affidavit within five days of the election in which they allege a total error.
Trump had a clear lead over Biden in Pennsylvania on election day, but when the ballots were counted, the gap between them narrowed considerably. On Thursday night he had less than 100,000 votes more than Biden. Without Pennsylvania, Trump has no way to win.
Washington Newsday asked the Trump campaign for comments, but did not receive a response in time for publication.