In other areas, they may have their hands tied. Teams of officials are not allowed to enter federal agencies until after the election is over, restricting their ability to start learning the lay of the land in each department. A drawn-out race would mean a delay in working with current federal employees to identify critical decisions and quick actions that can be taken in each agency, as well as in collecting information to brief future political appointees on their department.

Any attempts by Trump and his allies to contest the results and throw up roadblocks could also hurt the Biden team’s ability to prepare to take over, the source close to the Biden transition said.

“It’s somewhat dependent on whether or not Trump can transition through the stages of grief a little bit more constructively and quickly than he so far has,” the source said, flagging in particular the question of whether the current administration would withhold data on the severity of the coronavirus pandemic or progress on a Covid-19 vaccine.