The president’s lead in the state all but vanished overnight. Mr. Trump now leads by four-tenths of a percentage point — just under 19,000 votes — after heavily Democratic ballots in the Atlanta area were finally counted. There are still more absentee ballots left for Mr. Biden.
It’s not clear how many ballots there are and where. We received conflicting information this morning, and things are so close that even modest differences will be decisive.
This morning, the Georgia secretary of state initially said there were 25,000 ballots remaining. If so, Mr. Biden’s push might fall just short of victory, though he’d still have a chance with provisional ballots. Then, later in the morning, the secretary of state said it was 50,000 ballots. And now, The New York Times is reporting that the state voting system implementation manager says there are 61,367 remaining ballots. The latter numbers come a lot closer to our estimates, and that would be enough for Mr. Biden to be a favorite. But caution is warranted, given the mixed messaging.
We also don’t have a number on the provisional ballot count, but we’re in the territory where those could be a crucial factor. And if you’re wondering, our election night forecaster, the needle, did assume some number of provisional ballots would break heavily for Mr. Biden, helping to make him a very narrow favorite to win the state.
Some of you have wondered where our three needles went. They’re turned off. We’re not staffed to monitor them 24/7: We depend on hundreds of feeds that we don’t control, and if they did something unexpected it would have big consequences for needle movement in a close race.
Nonetheless, the needle lives on internally here at The Times, and Mr. Biden still leads in Georgia by the same narrow margin that he did when we turned it off. But again, this all depends on exactly how many ballots are left, including provisionals.
We didn’t get any new ballots, and Mr. Biden still holds a lead. The remaining vote: mail ballots received on Election Day and provisionals. There’s reason to expect these will pad Mr. Biden’s lead: Democrats were outpacing Republicans by a two-to-one margin in the state’s mail ballot returns, and provisionals lean Democratic just about everywhere. But we’ll wait to be sure. We should get more data today.