The results of the presidential election as of Wednesday afternoon remained up in the air.
The New York Times reports Joe Biden as of 11:30 a.m. was ahead of President Trump in the Electoral College by a 227-213 margin. The final vote counts in the battleground states of Nevada, Arizona, Wisconsin, Michigan and Pennsylvania have not been officially announced — though multiple news organizations have projected each of those states except Pennsylvania to be wins for Biden.
Trump was ahead of Biden in Georgia by a 50.3-48.5 percent margin with 93 percent of votes reporting. The remaining vote tallies from the counties around Atlanta, which is a Democratic stronghold, have yet to be counted.
The New York Times reports Trump was ahead of Biden in North Carolina by a 50.1-48.7 percent margin with an estimated 95 percent of votes counted. The Tarheel State accepts mail-in ballots that are postmarked by Election Day up to Nov. 12.
Biden as of the Blade's print deadline was ahead of Trump in the popular vote by a 50.2-48.1 percent margin. The president early Wednesday incorrectly declared himself the winner, even though millions of ballots from battleground states had yet to be counted.
Election Day took place against the backdrop of the coronavirus pandemic that continues to rage throughout the country. A record number of absentee and mail-in ballots that needed to be counted delayed election results in many states.
Annise Parker, the former mayor of Houston who is the president of the LGBTQ Victory Fund, is among the activists who have said all votes should be counted before a winner is declared. The Transgender Law Center, the Transgender Legal Defense and Education Fund and more than 60 other transgender-led advocacy groups echoed this call.
"This year saw more absentee, mail-in and early voting than any previous election, and as such, will require additional time to guarantee that each ballot cast will be counted by election officials," said the groups in a press release. "Though President Trump is falsely declaring victory and denying the legitimacy of ballots legally received or counted after election day, every vote needs to be counted."
Equality Florida Executive Director Nadine Smith echoed this message.
"The presidential election wasn't decided last night, and until it is, Equality Florida joins the national demand that every ballot be counted," she told the Blade on Wednesday.
Equality Illinois CEO Brian C. Johnson echoed this message.
"Democracy means ensuring every eligible voter has the right to have their voice heard and their vote counted," he said in an email to his organization's supporters. "Counting every vote may take longer this year because of an increase in voting by mail — and that is OK."
"This time-tested process is a sign our democracy is working," added Johnson. "So, we urge patience by Americans as the votes are counted and verified. In this way, your voices will be heard loud and clear across Illinois and America."
New Congress to Have Nine LGBTQ Members
Democrats have gained at least two seats in the U.S. Senate with former Colorado Gov. John Hickenlooper's victory over U.S. Sen. Cory Gardner (R-Colo.) and U.S. Sen. Martha McSally (R-Ariz.)'s loss to Mark Kelly. Republican Tommy Tuberville defeated U.S. Sen. Doug Jones (D-Ala.).
The races between U.S. Sen. Susan Collins (R-Maine) and Maine House Speaker Sara Gideon and U.S. Sen. David Perdue (R-Ga.) and Jon Ossoff had not been declared as of the deadline. Democrat Raphael Warnock will face off against U.S. Sen. Kelly Loeffler (R-Ga.) in a Jan. 5 runoff.
It was not immediately clear as of the deadline whether Democrats would regain control of the Senate. Democrats maintained control of the U.S. House of Representatives, even though U.S. Reps. Donna Shalala (D-Fla.) and Xochitl Torres Small (D-N.M.) are among the Democratic incumbents who lost their seats.
The seven openly LGBTQ members of Congress—U.S. Reps. Chris Pappas (D-N.H.), David Cicilline (D-R.I.), Sean Patrick Maloney (D-N.Y.), Mark Pocan (D-Wis.), Sharice Davids (D-Kan.), Angie Craig (D-Minn.) and Mark Takano (D-Calif.)—all won re-election.
New York City Council member Ritchie Torres and Mondaire Jones, who is also from New York State, made history as the first openly gay Black candidates elected to Congress. Gina Ortiz Jones and former National Stonewall Democrats President Jon Hoadley lost their respective races in Texas and Michigan.
"Growing up poor, Black and gay, I never imagined someone like me could run for Congress and win," said Jones in a press release the Human Rights Campaign issued on Wednesday.
A second press release that HRC released on Tuesday night cited "early" exit polls from Edison Research that indicate LGBTQ voter turnout was a "historic high" at 7 percent of the entire electorate, compared with 6 percent of the electorate in 2018 mid-term election and 5 percent in the 2016 presidential election.
"Over the last weeks, millions of LGBTQ people and Equality Voters in all 50 states and DC had the chance to cast their ballots," said HRC in its press release. "And LGBTQ people turned out in droves. LGBTQ voters turned out in numbers nearly double their proportion of the population.
Parker in a statement to the Blade noted "LGBTQ candidates made historic inroads in state legislatures across the country, winning in states and chambers where we never have before." They include Delaware state Sen.-elect Sarah McBride, who is the first openly transgender person elected to a state senate in the U.S.
Vermont state Rep.-elect Taylor Small is the first openly trans person elected to her state's legislature. Oklahoma state Rep.-elect Mauree Turner is the first non-binary person elected to a state legislature in the U.S.
Florida state Rep. Shevrin Jones is the first openly LGBTQ person elected to the Florida Senate. Jabari Brisport, who is a gay Black man, won his race for the New York State Senate.
"These down-ballot victories reflect where America stands on the inclusion of LGBTQ people in our nation's politics and each one represents an important step forward on the march towards equality," said Parker.
This article originally appeared in the Washington Blade and is made available in partnership with the National LGBT Media Association.