How Biden could end 2020 on election night — and why Trump’s path is unlikely

Most of Biden’s paths to 270 before those states are called begin with securing Florida, where election officials are confident in their state’s ability to count the vast majority of ballots quickly. “I think Florida is in a good position to be the shining star on election night,” Hillsborough County Supervisor of Elections Craig Latimer, the current president of the Florida Supervisors of Elections association, previously told POLITICO.

If Biden can net Florida on election night — no sure thing regardless of timing — Democrats could secure the other 15 electoral votes in three ways: winning North Carolina, Ohio or the combination of Arizona and Iowa.

For Democrats bullish on closing Trump out on election night, Ohio, with 18 electoral votes, is an especially appealing target. Trump won Ohio by about 8 percentage points four years ago, and until recently, it was not considered a 2020 battleground. But Biden is now running about even with Trump in the state, according to a recent New York Times/Siena College poll, and ballots are expected to be counted there quickly.

“The opportunity for Donald Trump to cause chaos is in the states where the votes are counted afterwards and it’s drawn out for days or weeks,” said Pepper, the Ohio Democratic Party chair. “Ohio — because it counts first, announces first — it eliminates that opportunity for Trump to do that.”