US election 2020 – How the first 24 hours unfolded

By Caitlin Doherty, PA
·5-min read

The US election hangs in the balance with neither Donald Trump nor Joe Biden having cleared the 270 electoral college votes needed to win the White House.

Here’s how the first 24 hours unfolded after the polls began to close on Tuesday evening:

(All times in GMT)

12.05am
Kentucky was called for Trump with eight electoral college votes.
Vermont was called for Biden with three electoral college votes.

12.35am
West Virginia was called for Trump with five electoral college votes.

12.40am
Virginia was called for Biden with 13 electoral college votes, taking him up to 16.

1.00am
A flurry of states were called in quick succession.
Trump took South Carolina, Alabama, Mississippi, Tennessee and Oklahoma, giving him another 42 electoral college votes – a total of 55.

Meanwhile, Biden was called to win in Connecticut, Delaware, Illinois, Maryland, Massachusetts, New Jersey and Rhode Island, which handed him another 69 votes, taking him to a total of 85.

1.30am
Six electoral college seats were called for Trump with victory in Arkansas.

1.50am
Donald Trump won Indiana.

US presidential election 2020 latest results
(PA Graphics)

2.00am
Trump – North Dakota, South Dakota, Wyoming, Louisiana, Nebraska.
Biden – New York and New Mexico.

2.30am
Another three votes are given to Biden from DC.

2.35am
Colorado gives Biden another nine votes.

3.00am
Trump retained the state of Kansas, with six more electoral college votes

3.30am
Missouri hands Trump another 10 votes.

3.55am
A victory for Biden in New Hampshire gives him another four votes.

4.00am
Another flurry of states put Biden further ahead with victory in California handing him 55 electoral college votes, Oregon giving seven, and 12 from Washington.

White House
Biden and Trump were in a close battle for the White House (Susan Walsh/AP)

4.05am
Trump gains another six votes with victory in Utah.

5.05am
Hawaii gives Biden another four votes.

5.15am
Biden wins the first swing state with Minnesota and gets another 10 electoral college votes, taking him to 223 in total.

5.20am
The second swing state then goes to Trump with 18 votes from Ohio, and another three from Montana.

Shortly after Trump gets another six from Iowa, giving him a total of 145.

5.38am
In the biggest coup yet for Trump, he was declared the victor in Florida, seen as one of the crucial states with its 29 electoral votes.

5.47am
Biden says he is “on track” to win the race for the White House as he addresses supporters in Delaware.

5.49am
Trump tweets: “We are up BIG, but they are trying to STEAL the Election. We will never let them do it. Votes cannot be cast after the Polls are closed!” An initial tweet says “Poles” before it is corrected to “Polls”.

6.10am
Trump wins the state of Texas.

6.44am
Biden wins one electoral vote from Nebraska, with Trump taking the other four.

7.32am
Trump claims there is a “fraud on the American nation” and that “we did win this election” and says he will go to the Supreme Court to get vote counting stopped.

7.56am
Biden wins Arizona.

8.09am
Biden wins Maine.

8.10am
Prominent Democratic opponents, including Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez, condemn Trump’s claim of victory.

3.13pm
Trump tweets: “Last night I was leading, often solidly, in many key States, in almost all instances Democrat run & controlled. Then, one by one, they started to magically disappear as surprise ballot dumps were counted. VERY STRANGE, and the “pollsters” got it completely & historically wrong!”

Part of the tweet is flagged by Twitter as containing information about the election that may be “misleading”.

Biden vows that: “We won’t rest until everyone’s vote is counted.”

3.24pm
Democratic campaign chief Jen O’Malley Dillon says Biden is “on track to win this election and he will be the next president of the United States”.

3.31pm
The Biden campaign says it believes it will take Wisconsin, Michigan, Pennsylvania and Nevada.

4.55pm
Trump tweets: “They are finding Biden votes all over the place — in Pennsylvania, Wisconsin, and Michigan. So bad for our Country!”

6.01pm
Donald Trump’s campaign manager says the president will “immediately” request a recount in the battleground state of Wisconsin.

6.52pm
Trump tweets: “We are winning Pennsylvania big, but the PA Secretary of State just announced that there are ‘Millions of ballots left to be counted’.”

7.20pm
Biden wins Wisconsin.

Joe Biden speaks in Wilmington, Delaware
Joe Biden speaks in Wilmington, Delaware (Carolyn Kaster/AP)

7:21pm
Campaign manager Bill Stepien reveals that the Trump Campaign party has taken legal action over ballots being counted in Michigan.

8.47pm
Donald Trump’s campaign says it is suing to temporarily stop the vote count in the state of Pennsylvania.

9.00pm
Several US networks project Biden to have won Michigan.

9.16pm
Joe Biden gives a short speech in Delaware, in which he says that democracy is the “heartbeat” of America – adding that power cannot be “taken or asserted”.

He says that it is “clear” the Democrats are winning enough states to reach the number of required votes and that the people of America “will not be silenced”.

10.00pm
Trump tweets: “We have claimed, for Electoral Vote purposes, the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania (which won’t allow legal observers) the State of Georgia, and the State of North Carolina, each one of which has a BIG Trump lead. Additionally, we hereby claim the State of Michigan if, in fact,…..there was a large number of secretly dumped ballots as has been widely reported!”

Part of the tweet is flagged by Twitter as containing information about the election that may be “misleading”.