Will we know the winner on election night? | FiveThirtyEight

In this forecast update, Galen Druke explores whether we’ll have a good idea of who won on election night.
7:12 | 10/22/20

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Transcript for Will we know the winner on election night? | FiveThirtyEight
And the. Hey there you winters here there are twelve days until Election Day and one of the big questions heading into November 3. Is winnable find out the results of the election. That's a big question this year because so many people are voting by mail and that's a relatively. New thing for so many people to be using mail. Now different states have different rules when it comes to you. How they let people vote by mail when they count their ballots how weak those ballots can come in after the election even if they've been postmarked by Election Day. And so different states are going to have different counting cars also some states are just more used to counting mail ballots than other states are. So in terms of whether or not we find out the results on election night. Really comes down to you want speech we know that results from on election night. And whether or not those reasons are too close to call it. So in order to get a better sense of when we might know the results of the election and didn't rely on a new interactive. That we just published so allow me to you. Bil our interactive. Right on over this is the closest we are getting at 538 Q I've magic election night ball and you can see. Then we show the probabilities. Of Joseph Biden and presidents from. Winning the accident and you can mess around and show the results he different individual states and that will change the forecast of the action overall. So say we know the results of the election in Florida on election night if trump ends up winning Florida will see that the odds of top winning. Go from about 14%. To 42%. Now Biden is still favored a not scenario but we have to find out. Whether or not states like Pennsylvania Michigan and Wisconsin. Voted for Biden before we could really sat. And one of the challenges is that we're not expecting results out of Pennsylvania Michigan and Wisconsin but I doubt the election. No of course if we find out results from Florida and Joseph Biden has won. That's pretty much a wrapped up rates right fair Joseph Biden has a better than 99% chance of winning an election in which he's won more. Basically. Donald Trump after the presidency getting 270. Electoral College votes really relies are more. I imagine we may not know the results of the election in Pennsylvania and Michigan and Wisconsin on election. That's a part because they're not used to process and Sony mail ballots. Also because they don't start processing those ballots until Election Day. Or just before and also in some of the midwestern states like Ohio and probably Pennsylvania pending court case. Those states will continue to allow balanced economy it their postmarked by Election Day several days after. That's important to keep it because if Donald Trump for example wins more. We'll know that the race is not wrapped up necessarily on election. Because bulls still waiting for results in Pennsylvania Michigan and Wisconsin. But if we give. Those states. To buy it and then Woolsey that Biden has a 97%. Chance of winning the election even though Tom has won Florida. So if trouble in Florida on election night we could be weeding several days before we get the resulting from the upper midwestern states. Let's clear all this and imagine some other scenarios another state that we could get results from on election night if Eric. Now people may remember 2008. That it actually took weeks for Arizona to count all out. Willie changed its rules so it's gonna start processing those ballots earlier so that we can will likely get an answer to who won Arizona on election night. That's important because it's a pretty key state. Potentially in determining who wins this election. So results from an election nights they buy it currently favorite there now all the son Kevin 9%. Chance of winning the election. Conversely Arizona comes and and trump has won its not a foregone conclusion Biden's the houses 66% chance of winning election. But it certainly improves trains are now another state we can find our results from his North Carolina. We're not positive we'll get results there there could be some pickups but if we know the results of North Carolina and they comment ever trump. Again we've seen it he has about a one in three chance of winning an election in which he wins North Carolina. And again those results comment coming from Biden and that racism that. Now lastly let's talk about taxes. Taxes as dom allowing all Texans to vote by mail because of carpet ninety. Yeah 65 or older or opt out an excuse like you'll be out of the counting on the day of the market. A lot of people are going to be voting in person and that means they don't we have to revamp its population process because it's more like a normal election in taxes. So if we find out the results in taxes and Biden were to win attacks on election night. That race is over Biden has a greater than 99% chance of winning an election in which he wins taxes. But remember right now he has about one in three shot of winning that state. Until we shouldn't necessarily expect to be able to figure out a result on election night because he's one taxes. Again if trump wins access. His odds don't change all that much they go up from around twelve or thirteen to 19%. That's because our model understands that trump is favored to win Texas in him when he Texas doesn't change the overall out of the race all. So really whether or not we know the result of the election on November 3 depends on how close races. If Biden is winning some of the state he's meeting in right now like Warner and Arizona. North Carolina where human Georgia. We might be able to call the winner on election night. If not it could be days. And if the election is so close that the states are canvassing for ballots for weeks recounting litigating over which ballots should actually count. Then we might not know the result of the election for weeks but our forecasts that there's about a 4% chance. The election is close enough that it's in recount territory. So we should not expect going into election night that it's going to take weeks of litigation in order to find out the winner of the action. But it's important to keep all of these possibilities in mind heading into election. And actually viewers you can play around when all the different scenarios aren't your own. Using the interactive on the 530 website it's called explore the ways trump or Biden could win. The election. You could choose your own past. Even on election night you could be your own forecaster and once we start. Seeing projections in particular state you'll be able to update. Will also be doing that over around 530 YouTube channels you should make sure to check us out on the night of the election as well. But for now they are watching and make sure to subscribe to 530 I'm.

This transcript has been automatically generated and may not be 100% accurate.

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