By Alex Segura Lozano
Phoenix, Nov 5 (efe-epa).- With almost half a million ballots remaining to be counted in Arizona, President Donald Trump says he is confident that he will beat out Democratic presidential nominee Joe Biden, whom media outlets like the Associated Press and Fox News already on Election Night projected to be the winner there.
But the electoral suspense film isn’t over yet, and Arizona – an impregnable conservative stronghold since 1996, when progressive President Bill Clinton won the state in his reelection bid – could “flip” to the Democrats in the coming hours.
The task is difficult but not impossible: Trump must receive a little more than 57 percent of the as-yet-uncounted votes statewide. So hope is still alive in the White House.
Maricopa County has been trending on Twitter in a number of countries, including in the US and Spain. The reason that the county, the capital of which is Phoenix, is on everyone’s lips is that some 275,000 votes cast there still remain to be counted, according to the latest update from local authorities.
The result of the vote count will be made public at 7 pm on Thursday – either a full count or a partial count, depending on what election workers can accomplish by that time.
That is, if Trump supporters will leave the election workers alone to do their jobs.
On Wednesday, hundreds of Trump supporters protested in front of the county offices – where the vote count is under way – claiming that election officials were “stealing” their votes and shouting “Count my vote!”
Just the opposite happened with a group of Trump supporters in Michigan, who demanded that the vote count be stopped there, and even Trump himself on Thursday tweeted that election workers need to stop counting the ballots.
The reality is that Maricopa County is the county with the fourth-largest percentage of Hispanics in the US. The Pew Research Center calculates that about 1.4 million Latinos live there.
Over the past few hours, Trump has cut Biden’s lead in Arizona as the vote count has proceeded. With 85 percent of the ballots tabulated, the president has 1,400,951 votes to Biden’s 1,469,341.
The difference is so narrow that many media outlets have not dared to project who will win that key state.
Its 11 electoral votes could be crucial, as the country waits to see what happens in other states like Pennsylvania and Georgia, where the vote count also is still under way. A candidate needs 270 electoral votes to win the White House, regardless of what the nationwide popular vote totals are, and currently Biden has 264 (if Arizona is counted in his column) and Trump 214.
Despite being relatively close in the Arizona vote tally, Trump would need to obtain about 60 percent of the 470,000 votes that remain to be counted, according to The Arizona Republic, and that will be difficult but not impossible.
However, besides the votes in Maricopa County, other traditionally very blue (Democratic) counties remain to be fully counted, namely Pima, Coconino and Santa Cruz.
But as if this weren’t enough, the vote count story has more chapters. One of them tells the ongoing story of the lawsuits that assorted voters are beginning to file alleging that their votes have not been counted because they had filled in the little bubble by their candidate’s name with a Sharpie pen, rather than with a ballpoint.
Election authorities, however, say that using a Sharpie is completely legal, but certain images and videos that are circulating through the social networks show that allegedly some of those votes were deemed to be null and void by some precincts.
The suspense will last up until the validation – or invalidation – of a number of votes that, because of the narrow difference in the popular vote totals between Biden and Trump, could be crucial in determining the winner.
Although Trump is demanding that vote counting be halted, if he is ahead, but continue if he is behind, Biden, meanwhile, is saying that every valid vote must be properly counted.