Bellwether State of Ohio Goes to Trump

President Donald Trump gestures while speaking during the first presidential debate Sept. 29 at Case Western University and Cleveland Clinic, in Cleveland, Ohio. (AP Photo/Patrick Semansky)

(CN) —  President Donald Trump is projected to win the state of Ohio and its 18 electoral votes, and will do so by a margin nearly identical to the one he held in 2016.

With over 95% of precincts reporting, Trump has garnered 3,005,172 votes, good for 52.81% of the total number counted, while Biden has received 2,605,250 votes, or 45.78%.

The total number of votes counted in the Buckeye State sits at 5,690,931 according to Decision Desk HQ, which called the race at 11:19 p.m.

While the total number of outstanding absentee ballots sits at 266,052, there won’t be enough votes to swing the Buckeye State back in Biden’s favor. 

According to the most recent round of polling, including one conducted by Research Co. on Oct. 31 and Nov. 1, Ohio was up for grabs in 2020.

Each candidate received 47% of the vote in the poll, which included 450 likely voters.

However, it now appears Trump’s victory in the midwestern state will mirror that of his 2016 conquest of Hillary Clinton by 8 percentage points.

Ohio allows for no-excuse absentee voting, but the Covid-19 pandemic undoubtedly encouraged more voters to take advantage of the opportunity, as over 3.4 million Ohioans had cast absentee ballots or voted early on the eve of Election Day.

The number dwarfs the state’s previous record — which had not eclipsed the two million mark — and according to the website of Secretary of State Frank LaRose, just over 243,000 of the ballots remain outstanding.

“Ohioans,” LaRose said in a statement, “have refused to listen to the fear mongers who have spent months trying to convince them that it’s hard to vote — they’re proving it’s easy with every record broken.”

Each county was required to submit the results of all absentee ballots received by Election Day at 8 p.m., although late-arriving ballots will still be counted until Nov. 13.

Early in-person voting ended on Nov. 2, and the number of absentee ballots may prevent the results of the election from being finalized until later in the week.

The winning presidential candidate has carried Ohio in every election since 1960, although experts have said the state is more critical for Trump’s reelection campaign, while Biden has other paths to victory.

Voters in Ohio spoke to Courthouse News earlier today, where one Biden supporter expressed concerns about the president’s inability to contain the Covid-19 pandemic and also called 2020 “the most important election of my lifetime.”

Covid-19 cases have climbed steadily in Ohio over the past several weeks, and while the primaries were delayed earlier in the year, Election Day was conducted in much the same fashion as it always is, although county boards of elections were required to follow procedural guidelines to ensure voter safety.

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