Biden has an advantage over Trump if the election is too close to call: report
Donald Trump and Joe Biden (AFP/File)

Many Democrats have feared a scenario in November where no winner can be declared immediately, but President Donald Trump leads in in-person ballots and declares himself the winner despite there being Democratic-skewing mail-in ballots still to count. On Saturday, Bloomberg News reported that if the election is too close to immediately declare a winner on election night, Joe Biden has a "secret" advantage that many previous Democrats in close presidential elections did not have.

"Twenty years ago, as Democrat Al Gore and Republican George W. Bush battled for weeks over which one of them had won the U.S. presidential election, Florida’s Republican secretary of state, Katherine Harris, helped hand the White House to Bush by declaring an end to recounts that showed him clinging to the slimmest of leads," reported Mark Niquette and Kartikay Mehrotra. "If the outcome of this November’s election comes down to fights over counting mail-in ballots and claims of fraud by President Donald Trump, Democrat Joe Biden may have a quiet advantage: The top election officials in many of the key states that could decide the election are Democrats."

In Arizona, Michigan, Pennsylvania, and Wisconsin, and North Carolina, the secretaries of state are all Democrats. All of these states could theoretically see a significant divide between the result of their in-person and mail-in votes, and could take multiple days to count.

"Trump, who trails Biden in national polls, has tried to undermine the public’s confidence in the election," said the report. "He falsely claims that mail-in ballots are rife with fraud and that the election will be rigged against him. This has led Democrats to worry about a scenario where Trump is ahead in the election-night count from in-person voters and declares himself the winner before all outstanding mail-in ballots are tallied."

"Should that happen, it will be up to the secretaries of state to preside over the counting of mail-in votes and certify the final outcomes, a process that could take days or weeks. These relatively anonymous state officials could prove a bulwark for Biden as they cope with what is expected to be an unprecedented surge in mail-in ballots because of the coronavirus pandemic," said the report. "They will also be on the front lines in countering any claims by Trump or his allies that the election is somehow rigged."

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