Neither Donald Trump nor Joe Biden could make a conclusive claim on their victory in the US polls even though the results were out on Wednesday. This is because of the increase in mail-in voting in the US this year due to the coronavirus pandemic.
It might take days or even weeks for the election results since different states have different guidelines for the counting of postal ballots, which implies a disparity in terms of reporting results. The uptick in mail-in voting may have led to the casting of more provincial votes, which, in turn, has led to a surge in the number of ballots to be counted later. The issue with provincial votes is that they are counted only when the eligibility of the voters is confirmed.
The share of provisional votes is not significant enough but this year might be different due to early voting, as per a New York Times report. Voters in around 23 states are required to exercise their right to franchise provisionally in case they have initially requested a mail-in ballot but decide to cast in-person vote instead in an attempt to avoid double voting. US Presidential elections are not official till a final certification, which takes place in each state in the weeks after the polls.
According to the US Elections Project, a nonpartisan website run by a Florida University professor, the total number of votes stood at over 100 million. Out of these, more than 65 million mail ballots have been received whereas over 26 million are still outstanding.
This, however, is not the first time when the US elections winner is not declared on Election night. In 2000, George W Bush was not confirmed as the winner until a Supreme Court ruling was made in the matter after a month.