When will the presidential election be decided? It could be a week or longer, UT professor says

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AUSTIN (KXAN) — With some states still counting votes Wednesday, and potentially into later this week, when is the country going to know who its next President will be?

It could be in flux until next week or longer as ballots are counted, finalized and subject to possible disputes and other legal actions, said Dr. Jeremi Suri, a professor of public policy and history at the University of Texas at Austin.

“As those ballots are counted, you’ll see the different campaigns jockeying to try to control the narrative,” Dr. Suri said. “Once we have counts from various states, wherever that takes us, we could certainly have some disputes in some states.”

Dr. Suri explained there isn’t one national election for President — it’s 51 elections with all 50 states and Washington D.C. — and any legal action has to be initiated at the state level. He also said, despite what President Trump said himself, he can’t sue to stop ballot counting to the Supreme Court.

“It has to be on a state-to-state basis,” Dr. Suri said. “And of course, there could be recounts in some states, so we will have counting, recounting and legal debates for at least a week.”

Dr. Suri said when it comes to the former Vice President Joe Biden, voters can expect to see the campaign, “will continue to argue that the count should go on.”

While he believes President Donald Trump’s campaign “will want to try to stop the count, that’s what President Trump has already said, but there really isn’t much legal basis for that.”

Dr. Suri said many disputed elections in our country’s history were heard by the Supreme Court, most notably in 2000 when Florida’s recount went in front of the high court and was eventually stopped.

He further explained that there has to be a specific problem with a state’s election for President Trump to file a lawsuit, like in 2000 with the “hanging chads” on ballots in Palm Beach County as an example.

“There has to be a specific claim made about something the President believes is not appropriate,” Dr. Suri said. “It’s very hard to make a claim simply because you think they should stop voting after election night. It’s also particularly hard when in the President’s case, he wants them to keep counting in Arizona and Nevada because he’s behind there, but he wants them to stop counting in Pennsylvania where he’s ahead. That doesn’t work, either.”

Suri believes in the end “it’ll probably come down to two or three states where we will see the most debate going on.”

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