In Brief

US election: counting votes and declaring winner could take ‘up to nine days’

Supreme Court rules in favour of counting after election day in key swing states

The result of the US election might not be known until nine days after the polls shut after the Supreme Court ruled in favour of allowing counting to continue after election day.

Despite attempts by Republicans to block late postal ballots, Democrats won the right for delayed postal votes to be counted for nine days after the polls close in the marginal state of North Carolina, and for three days in Pennsylvania, a state seen by both sides as pivotal to victory.

Only three of the six key swing states that will most likely determine the election - Florida, North Carolina, and Arizona - are “in a good place to count most of their votes on election night or soon afterward”, Vox reports.

It is a different story in Pennsylvania, Wisconsin and Michigan, the states that clinched Donald Trump’s victory in 2016, where it could take days to “come even close” to finishing their counts, the site adds.

All 50 states have their own rules for vote counting, with half allowing postal votes that are postmarked by the close of polls on Tuesday. Only eight states expect to have fully counted their votes by noon on Wednesday.

In other words, Vox says, observers should “settle in for a long few days” beacuse the all important count “is going to take a while”.

There are fears of serious unrest as votes are counted, with pundits expecting rival claims of victory to inflame supporters. There could also be legal tussles. And should the vote be too close to call, “the two campaigns have big teams of lawyers ready to pounce”, The Times adds.

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