While some may have hoped U.S. election results would be a bit more clear heading into Nov. 4, the tight race between Donald Trump and Joe Biden still continues, including states like Pennsylvania, Wisconsin and Michigan.
Dr. Emily Regan Wills, associate political science professor at the University of Ottawa, still believes Biden will ultimately become the next U.S. President.
“I still have the same basic prediction that I had yesterday, which is that once everything is in, I think this is going to be a squeaker for Biden, I think he's going to just barely pull ahead,” Wills told Yahoo Canada. “I'm not seeing anything that makes me change my mind.”
Overall, the professor wasn’t particularly surprised about any of the calls that have been made so far, but Wills is still interested in the outcomes of Texas and Georgia.
“Texas and Georgia are two states that kind of point to some of the challenges for changes in political demographics,” the professor explained. “The extreme closeness of the vote in Texas I think does show us that American politics is going to have new responses to this Trump period, there's the possibility of different outcomes, and that the electoral map is more fluid than I think we frequently give credit for.”
“We can't make a good prediction right this minute, and it really does come down to getting all ballots counted and figuring out what people were actually doing, and how the process actually worked to conduct an election in a time where everything is so extra difficult.”
‘I would be very upset if someone decided my vote didn't count’
One of the more controversial moments from U.S. election night is when Trump addressed the public, claiming he has won the election and declaring that he will go to the Supreme Court to stop the vote counting.
Wills, who is an American living in Canada, stressed that making sure every vote is counted is critically important.
“I'm one of the millions of Americans who voted by mail, I do it because I live in Canada, but I know plenty of other people who did it because it was better for their schedules or because they wanted to avoid the chance of infection,” Wills said. “I would be very upset if someone decided my vote didn't count because I put it in an envelope rather than going to a polling place to check a box in person.”
It’s still unclear exactly what the U.S. President will do in terms of going to court over the mail-in ballots, but Wills explained that legal challenges can “absolutely stretch out this process” and the Trump campaign would have to manage the legal process in different states, or choose one in particular to target.
“Those legal challenges have to be properly structured and what's different about this compared to 2000, for instance, is that the legal challenges are not concentrated in a single place,” Wills said. “In order to decisively change the outcome of this election, you'd need to be...playing with the legal process in a bunch of different states.”
“I think that's going to be very difficult to pull off.”
A lot of us voted, and those millions of votes are being quickly counted by county officials.
Though we're seeing results return more slowly than in recent years, EVERY VOTE will be counted.
We may not know the results today, but it's important that we have accurate results.
— Governor Tom Wolf (@GovernorTomWolf) November 4, 2020
‘I don’t think Trump can truly make that happen’
Pennsylvania Secretary of State Kathy Boockvar, for example, indicated on Wednesday that there are still “millions” of ballots left to be counted, with Gov. Tom Wolf saying the state is working diligently to make sure every vote is represented.
The University of Ottawa professor did say she understands the “strategic move” by Trump but stressed that “nobody is still voting, at this point we are just counting the votes.”
“I think that to try to stop counting votes that were properly cast, or prevent votes that were cast according to people's best ability, would be would such a violation of democratic norms,” Wills said. “I don't think Trump can truly make that happen, but I would hope that most people, regardless of their partisan affiliation, would want to get a real count of votes cast.”
She also indicated that the longer this process goes on, the more likely it is that protests could turn violent.
“There will be plenty of people who are upset, regardless of which outcome, and the longer this process takes, the more likely it is that some protest is going to go wrong, somebody is going to decide to use violence,” Wills said. “I don't think those things are incredibly likely but I do think the longer this stretches on, and the longer there isn't a kind of real resolution to the problem, the more stress everyone is going to be feeling about the process.”