How Trump and Biden can win based on where the election stands now

How Trump and Biden can win based on where the election stands now
A worker with the Detroit Department of Elections inspects an absentee ballot at the Central Counting Board in the TCF Center on November 4, 2020 in Detroit, Michigan.Elaine Cromie/Getty Images
  • As of 5 a.m. ET on Friday, Joe Biden, the Democratic nominee, had a much more flexible path to securing the 270 electoral votes needed to win than President Donald Trump.
  • However, the states that could put Biden over the top — Arizona, Georgia, Nevada, and Pennsylvania — were still counting ballots on Friday.
  • Trump's path is narrower, but he's still in with a shot.
  • Biden pulled ahead in the red state of Georgia early on Friday morning.

In the early hours of Friday, the 2020 US presidential election still did not have a winner declared, with races tightening as counts continued in crucial states.

Joe Biden, the Democratic nominee, has maintained the lead that he grew after election day, though he and President Donald Trump are in limbo while states continue to tally early and absentee votes.

As of 5 a.m. ET, Biden had secured 253 electoral votes, while Trump had 214. You can follow Insider's live election results coverage here.

Biden, the former vice president, held on to the states that Hillary Clinton won in 2016 in addition to winning Michigan and Wisconsin, two key battleground seats that Trump turned red in 2016.

Read more: How Kimberly Guilfoyle, the 'human Venus flytrap,' has groomed boyfriend Donald Trump Jr. into a political powerhouse and turned herself into a conservative star


Trump is likely to take North Carolina and Alaska, but four other key states — Pennsylvania, Nevada, Arizona, and Georgia — are less clear. The result hinges on which way those states go.

Biden pulled ahead of Trump in Georgia on Friday morning, indicating that Biden could flip a red state and bring him very close to victory.

Here's how Biden could get the 17 or more electoral votes to reach the 270 needed to win (none of the scenarios includes Alaska, which is very likely to go to Trump):

  • He wins Pennsylvania (20 votes).
  • He wins Arizona and Nevada (11 + 6 votes).
  • He wins Arizona and North Carolina (11 + 15 votes).
  • He wins Georgia and Arizona (16 + 11 votes).
  • He wins Georgia and Nevada (16 + 6 votes).
  • He wins Georgia and North Carolina (16 + 15 votes).
  • He wins Nevada and North Carolina (6 + 15 votes).

Here's how Trump could get the extra 56 votes to reach 270:

  • He wins Pennsylvania, Arizona, North Carolina, and Georgia (20 + 11 + 15 + 16 votes).
  • He wins Pennsylvania, Arizona, Georgia, Nevada, and Alaska (20 + 11 +16 + 6 + 3 votes).

There is also a scenario that gives Trump 269 votes — enough for a tie:

  • He wins Pennsylvania, Arizona, North Carolina, Nevada, and Alaska (20 + 11 + 15 + 6 + 3 votes).

Decision Desk HQ data showed Biden ahead in Georgia, Nevada, and Arizona as of early on Friday morning, and just over 18,000 votes behind Trump in Pennsylvania.

The Associated Press and Fox News have called Arizona for Biden, but as of early Friday the race was still too close to call for Decision Desk HQ, which is informing Insider's election coverage.

The Trump campaign has signaled that it will challenge some results, and challenge the way that some outstanding ballots are still being counted.

The president has signaled that Pennsylvania could be the center of a legal battle over which ballots ultimately get counted. However, as election experts have noted, it can be very difficult to get ballots discounted.

Read more: Democrats spend election night eating edibles and trying to avoid the fetal position. They didn't get an early Biden win, let alone the blowout they wanted.


Pennsylvania's Supreme Court ruled that election officials could receive and count ballots until Friday as long as they were postmarked by Election Day. Republicans requested a stay from the US Supreme Court that would have blocked the state court's ruling.

But the US Supreme Court was deadlocked at 4-4, leaving the lower court's ruling in place. Justices Neil Gorsuch, Brett Kavanaugh, Clarence Thomas, and Samuel Alito voted to grant Republicans' request, while Chief Justice John Roberts and Justices Stephen Breyer, Elena Kagan, and Sonia Sotomayor dissented.

Justice Amy Coney Barrett declined to participate in the case "because of the need for a prompt resolution of it and because she has not had time to fully review the parties' filings," the court said in a statement. However, Barrett has not recused herself, meaning she could still be the decisive fifth opinion.