I bet you didn't know they were still counting votes - did you. The numbers that came out on Election Night were enough to secure Trump the presidency, but they weren’t complete. State officials are still counting millions of provisional and absentee ballots, and within two weeks, Clinton ( who is already a couple of million votes ahead in the popular vote category) will likely have another few million votes in the bank.
Most were cast in the Clinton-leaning states of California, Washington, and New York—not swing states—so they won’t change the Electoral College. But there’s a sufficient amount to put her within striking distance of Obama’s 2012 turnout, and help put an end to the argument that she simply didn’t work hard enough.
“We probably have about 7 million votes left to count,” said David Wasserman, an editor at Cook Political Report who is tracking turnout. “A majority of them are on the coasts, in New York, California, and Washington. She should be able to win those votes, probably 2-1.” By mid-December, when the Electoral College officially casts its ballots, Wasserman estimates that Clinton could be ahead by 2 percentage points in the popular vote.
What’s with the delay? Several states, notably California and Washington, have liberal absentee and mail-in voting laws. California, for instance, allows residents to submit ballots up to three days late (although they must be postmarked on or before Election Day). These provisions have made alternative voting pretty popular, and the ballots a bit harder to count. California alone has more than 4 million votes pending; Washington is waiting on another 700,000.
This has happened before. David Leip is the one-man band behind The Atlas of U.S. Presidential Elections, a website cataloging vote totals all the way back to the early days of the Republic. He remembers seeing much of the same vote-counting hysteria after Election Day in 2012, when it appeared Obama would fall far short of his 2008 total. “They did the same thing—‘Oh my goodness, look at all those missing votes,’” he said.
From the numbers he’s seeing, California is due for a record turnout, and possibly other states are as well. It’s too soon to tell, he cautions, if Clinton’s total haul, which sat at 63.6 million as of the morning of November 20, will match or surpass the 66 million votes Obama received in 2012.
But let’s be clear: While these uncounted votes may grow Clinton’s popular lead, they absolutely will not change the course of the election. That math is settled; Trump holds an insurmountable lead in swing states, which turned his popular defeat into a sizable electoral victory. All the votes in liberal-leaning New York and California will not change that. Hard to figure isn't it??