Democrat Joe Biden will reportedly "assert control" and immediately begin forming a new government as president-elect if news organizations declare him the winner on election night.
What are the details?
Even if President Donald Trump challenges the results, Biden will address the nation Tuesday night as the winner if news organizations declare him the "mathematical president-elect," Biden campaign advisers told Axios.
In such a case, Biden will immediately begin "looking presidential," and to stifle Trump's challenges, Biden "may begin transition announcements quickly, starting with senior staff appointments," according to Axios.
In fact, Biden's team "has blueprints for staffing every single agency," in addition to plans for executive orders to reverse those issued by Trump.
Biden's team will make a quick push to assert power because of what happened in 2000 between George W. Bush and Al Gore, when Bush declared himself the winner of the contested election and began to act as the president-elect. Gore, on the other hand, did not assert himself — and he was eventually declared the loser.
"We're not really concerned about what Donald Trump says," Biden's campaign manager Jen O'Malley Dillon said Monday. "We're going to use our data, our understanding of where this is headed, and make sure that the vice president is addressing the American people."
On the other hand, Trump said Tuesday that he will declare victory "only when there's victory. There's no reason to play games."
Will the election be called tonight?
There is a low probability that Americans will know the outcome of the presidential race by the end of the night.
While votes aren't certified for weeks after the election, news organizations and election experts are able to call elections by analyzing provable, time-tested metrics.
But that will be more difficult this year due to the prevalence of mail-in ballots and record early voting turnout.
In critical states like Pennsylvania, North Carolina, and Ohio — three states the eventual winner of the election will most likely also have won — mail-in ballots are being accepted for three days after the election in Pennsylvania, nine days after the election in North Carolina, and 10 days after the election in Ohio.
Still, Americans should have a good indication of where the election is headed by the night's end.
If states that look solidly in the bag for Biden, like Wisconsin, for example, are unable to be declared tonight, that may serve as an indication that Trump is performing better than polls indicated he would and the election is much closer. But if states that Trump should have a good control of, like Georgia or even Texas, look like they're headed Biden's way, that would be a clear indication that Biden is on track to win.