Winner of US presidential election could take 'several days or even weeks' to call

The wait to find a clear winner of the US presidential election could "go on for several days or ...

13.26 1 Nov 2020

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Winner of US presidential elec...

Winner of US presidential election could take 'several days or even weeks' to call


13.26 1 Nov 2020

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The wait to find a clear winner of the US presidential election could "go on for several days or even weeks", according to a law lecturer at NUI Galway.

Larry Donnelly said how quicky a result is established will depend on how close the voting results are, but he is hopeful that we might have an idea in the early hours of Wednesday morning.

There are just two days to go until the election, and both candidates have been out on the campaign trail making their final bids to voters.


Democratic candidate Joe Biden relied on old friends Barack Obama and Stevie Wonder to provide the stardust at his rally in Michigan.

While Donald Trump's called for a "great red wave" of Republican victories during a visit to Pennsylvania.

Meanwhile, a record 90 million Americans have voted early in the election so far.

Larry Donnelly told On The Record with Gavan Reilly that it was an "unprecedented election" due to the high levels of early voting.

He said: "It certainly could go on for several days or even weeks depending on how close this is.

"I am hopeful we'll have a reasonable idea, however, in the wee hours overnight.

"That's because there's a couple of states that will tell us an awful lot and because there are fairly sophisticated means of extrapolating from the trends we are going to see.

"This is an unprecedented election process in the United States because of the amount of early voting."

Mr Donnelly added that while there are a lot of unknowns, there are certain key indicators which may give us an idea of who could win.

Key battlegrounds

He said that Florida will be a key state and the candidate which wins there is likely to be the next US President.

He said: "There's a lot of intangibles, there's a lot of unknowns, but there are certain things we can look at.

"For instance, one of the things that should be in relatively early is we'll have a good sense of the state of Florida and which way it's going to go.

"In my own view, for Donald Trump to have a reasonable chance of winning, he needs to win the state of Florida.

"If he loses the state of Florida I would be hard-pressed to devise a scenario in which he could be President.

"To be honest, I really am up in the air with so many aspects of it."

Mr Donnelly added that Pennsylvania was another key battleground and the way they count votes there a little bit different to other states.

He explained: "They don't begin counting until the day of the election and it will be a few days afterwards when votes are still coming in.

"It's very hard to process what could happen, so Pennsylvania could be a while before we know the results.

"I'm just a little bit suspicious as to what's going on on the ground in Pennsylvania.

"I know the polling data has Biden at around four points ahead and that looks good and he should win.

"But when you hear journalists on the ground talking about the enthusiasm gap between Biden supporters and Trump supporters, and Trump supporters who aren't responding to polls, it just does give one pause.

He added: "I think Biden was probably foolish in the last debate to say the US needs to move beyond oil and fossil fuels because that's big business in Pennsylvania, that won't have gone down well.

"There's an awful lot of people in Pennsylvania who deeply resent what they regard as the coastal elite and their control over the Democratic Party.

"I just wonder if Pennsylvania could have a surprise in store for us and if it does, it could make things interesting."

Undocumented Irish

Mr Donnelly added he doesn't think it makes a huge amount of difference who becomes President with regards to foreign direct investment.

He said "there always are the flashpoints around America" and among both candidates about the importance of "repatriating American jobs" and tax dollars.

He added: "What I think is significant is the former Vice President's commitment to cementing the Good Friday Agreement and making sure nothing happens vis-a-vis Brexit to the Good Friday Agreement.

"I think from that front and on lots of issues, Joe Biden will be a good friend to Ireland."

He said that Biden and the Democratic Party seem committed to helping undocumented people in the US which could benefit the Irish population.

"I think immigration reform in helping people who are undocumented might be the cornerstone of that agenda and I think if that happens the Irish undocumented will benefit as well."

Winner of US presidential election could take 'several days or even weeks' to call

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Main image: In this photo illustration the US President Donald Trump and Democratic presidential candidate and former US Vice President Joe Biden are seen during the final presidential debate displayed on a screen of a smartphone. Credit: Press Association

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