U.S. President Donald Trump holds a campaign rally in Londonderry, New Hampshire, U.S. October 25, 2020. REUTERS/Leah Millis
President Donald Trump holds a campaign rally in Londonderry, New Hampshire, Oct. 25, 2020.

WASHINGTON - Republican U.S. President Donald Trump, his Democratic challenger, former Vice President Joe Biden, and their running mates looked Sunday to fire up their supporters and sway the last remaining undecided voters nine days ahead of the Nov. 3 national election. 

Trump headed to rallies in the small northeastern states of New Hampshire and Maine, whose small numbers of electoral votes could prove crucial in a close election. He and Biden are continuing their search for the 270-vote majority in the country’s all-important 538-member Electoral College, where the outcome is determined by the individual state-by-state winners, not the national popular vote. 

Trump narrowly lost New Hampshire and its four electoral votes to Democrat Hillary Clinton in 2016 and, according to statewide polls, trails Biden by more than 11 percentage points. 

But Trump won one of Maine’s four electoral votes in its rural northern congressional district four years ago and is locked in a tight race with Biden this time for the single elector. But the president trails by a wide margin in statewide polls for two electors awarded to the overall winner in the state and for the other congressional district elector in Maine, which is situated along the country’s northern Atlantic coastline. 

Democratic presidential candidate former Vice President Joe Biden speaks at a drive-in campaign stop at Bucks County Community College in Bristol, Pa., Saturday, Oct. 24, 2020.

Meanwhile, Biden on Sunday night is speaking virtually at an “I will vote” concert. While Trump has continued to stage large outdoor rallies of supporters, often at airport hangars, in the face of the surging coronavirus pandemic in the United States, Biden has adopted a more measured approach to campaigning. He has appeared at small gatherings, or often, as he is Sunday, via a computer livestream. 

Vice President Mike Pence speaks to supporters, Oct. 24, 2020, in Tallahassee, Fla.

Trump’s running mate, Vice President Mike Pence, has also appeared at rallies and is planning an appearance Sunday night in Kinston, North Carolina, another closely contested battleground state. Trump won the state in 2016 but polls show Biden holding a narrow edge this time. 

FILE - Democratic vice presidential candidate Sen. Kamala Harris, D-Calif., speaks to supporters at a campaign event in Orlando, Fla., Oct. 19, 2020. (AP)

Senator Kamala Harris of California, Biden’s running mate, is in yet another crucial state, Michigan in the Midwest heartland, for appearances in Detroit, Troy and Pontiac.  

Trump captured an upset 2016 win in Michigan, a traditionally Democratic state, which along with victories in Pennsylvania and Wisconsin, handed him a four-year term in the White House. 

But polls show Trump falling nearly 8 percentage points behind in Michigan and trailing by smaller margins in Wisconsin and Pennsylvania as well. 

All three states are crucial to the 2020 outcome, as are several other battleground states that Trump won in 2016 but where he now trails. In the national popular vote, aggregations of polls show Biden ahead by 8 or 9 percentage points. 

FILE - Voters wait in line to enter a polling place and cast their ballots on the first day of the state's in-person early voting for the general elections in Durham, North Carolina, Oct. 15, 2020.

More than 58 million Americans have already voted, about two-thirds of them by mail and about a third in person, with many of them saying they wanted to do so ahead of Election Day to avoid coming face to face with other people amid the coronavirus pandemic in long voting lines that are expected.  

Polls show that perhaps less than 5% of voters have not decided on voting for Trump or Biden, making it especially imperative for their two campaigns to identify their existing supporters and make sure they cast ballots.  

Many early Democratic supporters of Biden have told news reporters they wanted to be among the first to vote against Trump, to try to help ensure he is the third U.S. president in the last four decades to lose a bid for re-election after a single term. 

Meanwhile, many Republicans say they plan to vote on Election Day, as has been the norm for decades in the U.S. 













What Happens Next?

What It Means to Become President-Elect in the US

In the United States, Democrat Joe Biden is being called the president-elect.

President-elect is a descriptive term not an official office. As such, Biden has no power in the government, and he would not until he is inaugurated at noon on January 20, 2021.

American news networks, which track all of the vote counting, determined on November 7 that Biden’s lead had become insurmountable in Pennsylvania, putting him over the 270 electoral votes needed to be president. Within minutes of determining his lead was mathematically assured, they projected him as the winner.

That is why news organizations, including VOA, are calling Biden the "projected winner."

Sometimes, in the case of particularly close elections, when news networks make this call, the other candidate does not concede victory. President Donald Trump has not done so, alleging voter fraud without substantial evidence and vowing to fight on. The president’s position has left Washington lawmakers divided, with Republicans backing a legal inquiry into allegations of vote fraud, even as they celebrate other congressional lawmakers who won their races.

When will the dispute be resolved?

The U.S. election won’t be officially certified for weeks. In the meantime, court challenges and state recounts could occur.

So far, the Trump administration has not provided evidence for any fraud that could overturn the result, but there is still time for more legal challenges.

Once states have certified the vote, pledged electors then cast their votes in the Electoral College in mid-December. Congress then certifies the overall Electoral College result in early January, about two weeks before Inauguration Day.