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2020 Election Returns In Georgia Are Still Being Tallied

STEVE INSKEEP, HOST:

President Trump did very well last night throughout much of the American South. He won Florida despite trailing in polls just before the voting. He held onto Texas, which Republicans had had some reason to doubt in recent days. But there are a couple of other states that are still very uncertain. One of them is North Carolina, which has been considered a swing state or battleground state, and is still too close to call. And then there is Georgia, a state where Democrats have been gaining in recent years and had hopes of flipping the state. At the moment, the president is leading, but things are far too close to call.

And we're going to talk it through with Emma Hurt of our member station WABE in Atlanta. Good morning.

EMMA HURT, BYLINE: Good morning - or afternoon, as it feels like (laughter).

INSKEEP: Good day, good evening, whatever it is - the never ending day, the never ending news cycle. When I look here at npr.org at the electoral map - and this is the most reliable results we have. We're depending on The Associated Press, which has thousands of people gathering vote tallies from all over the country. When I look, I do see the vast majority of the votes seem to be counted and that the president is ahead. What makes it hard, though, to say that the president has won?

HURT: The votes that still have yet to come in are coming from metro Atlanta largely. These are Democratic stronghold counties, and these are votes that Democrats and Republicans are watching for before claiming any sort of victory. It looks like a lot of these outstanding votes include mail-in absentee ballots that haven't been counted, some of them, for example, that maybe were deemed problematic and have to go through adjudication to verify. And the big question is, how many are outstanding? From my point of view at this early hour, still seems like a question mark. But as you mentioned, right now we know President Trump is ahead about 118 votes. And one of our Senate races between incumbent David Perdue, Republican, and Democrat Jon Ossoff is also up in the air. The other one...

INSKEEP: I feel obliged to clarify before we get too far on 118 - you mean 118,000 votes, I believe.

HURT: Oh, sorry. Yes, 118,000.

INSKEEP: But in a big state, that's still an amount that could be made up with all these mail-in absentee ballots. We just really don't know.

Now, the Senate races that you mentioned, let's talk about them because there are two.

HURT: Yes, there are two, one too close to call - we're still waiting. But the other is headed to a runoff. So this was a special election for the seat held by incumbent Republican Kelly Loeffler. She was appointed to fill a vacancy, which triggered this free-for-all election. And she's a businesswoman who largely self-funded her campaign, has been running to the right to defeat Congressman Doug Collins. She did that and has barely had time, until now, to talk about her other opponent, who she'll face in January, the Democratic candidate, Reverend Raphael Warnock, who is the pastor of Martin Luther King Jr.'s home church. And that runoff is set for January 5. And since Democrats right now haven't secured their goal of a Senate majority, it appears that runoff and maybe the other Senate race, if it ends up in one, too, you know, take on new importance.

INSKEEP: Absolutely. Those two Senate seats could conceivably - we don't know but could conceivably end up, in January, deciding control of the United States Senate, although there are many variables on that, including who wins the presidency and therefore the vice presidency, which is a tie-breaking vote in the Senate.

Emma Hurt of WABE, thanks very much for the update. Really appreciate it.

HURT: Thank you, Steve.

INSKEEP: She's reporting from Georgia, which, along with North Carolina, Pennsylvania, Michigan, Wisconsin and Nevada, are too close to call. Transcript provided by NPR, Copyright NPR.