The final results of the 2020 presidential election remain unknown due to ballot counting that continues in several states that may ultimately decide the race, including Pennsylvania, Michigan and Nevada.
Most of the votes in Northampton County had been counted as of early Wednesday.
According to unofficial results published by the county, Biden held a narrow lead over Trump of 747 votes out of 167,972 ballots cast. That equates to a percentage lead of just four tenths of a percent; approximately 49.5 percent to 49.1 percent.
Locally, Hellertown borough and Lower Saucon Township voters appear to have diverged in terms of who they chose, with Biden narrowly winning the borough and Trump narrowly winning the township, according to the unofficial results.
Historically, this type of split has not been an uncommon unoccurrence, as voter registration in Hellertown borough is more heavily Democratic, while registration in the township favors Republicans. However in 2016, some Hellertown Democrats switched sides to vote for Republican Donald Trump, who narrowly won the borough as a whole.
In Tuesday’s election, it appears fewer Hellertown Democrats went for Trump.
According to the county’s unofficial tabulation of the votes from Hellertown, Biden captured a total of 1,648 votes (51.2 percent) to Trump’s 1,572 votes (48.8 percent), with Ward 1 supporting Trump while wards 2 and 3 abandoned the president for Biden.
In 2016, Trump won Hellertown borough’s Ward 3 by just four votes (.36 percent) and won Ward 2 by 49 votes (6.61 percent), according to final Northampton County results.
The 2020 unofficial results–listed below along with the final election results from 2016 for comparison–show Biden beating Trump by nearly 100 votes (or approximately 7.8) percent in Ward 3 and by 12 votes (or approximately 1.4 percent) in Ward 2; potentially significant changes in voting patterns if they’re upheld in the final count later this month.
HELLERTOWN BOROUGH: 2016 FINAL ELECTION RESULTS Ward 1 Hillary Clinton and Tim Kaine (D) -- 440 votes (46.46 percent) Donald J. Trump and Michael R. Pence (R) -- 458 votes (48.36 percent) Ward 2 Hillary Clinton and Tim Kaine (D) -- 321 votes (43.32 percent) Donald J. Trump and Michael R. Pence (R) -- 370 votes (49.93 percent) Ward 3 Hillary Clinton and Tim Kaine (D) -- 523 votes (46.99 percent) Donald J. Trump and Michael R. Pence (R) -- 527 votes (47.35 percent)
HELLERTOWN BOROUGH: 2020 UNOFFICIAL ELECTION RESULTS Ward 1 Joseph Biden and Kamala Harris (D) -- 540 votes (48.5 percent) Donald J. Trump and Michael R. Pence (R) -- 574 votes (51.5 percent) Ward 2 Joseph Biden and Kamala Harris (D) -- 432 votes (50.7 percent) Donald J. Trump and Michael R. Pence (R) -- 420 votes (49.3 percent) Ward 3 Joseph Biden and Kamala Harris (D) -- 676 votes (53.9 percent) Donald J. Trump and Michael R. Pence (R) -- 578 votes (46.1 percent)
While Biden appears to have flipped two of the borough’s wards, voters in the other precinct–Ward 1–appear to have increased in their level of support for Trump.
The unofficial county results show Trump beating Biden in Ward 1 by a larger margin than he held over the 2016 Democratic presidential candidate, Hillary Clinton.
In recent days, two local news organizations–the Morning Call and Lehigh Valley Live–published in-depth stories about the borough and its special significance for Democrats hoping to turn the election tide in Northampton County and around the nation as well as for Republicans who are hoping to continue a reddening trend that began in 2016.
Turnout in Hellertown borough and throughout Northampton County was described as heavy Tuesday, in spite of the fact that many residents of both the borough and county voted early by mailing their ballots or depositing them in county-owned drop boxes.
According to the unofficial county results, turnout county-wide exceeded 74 percent.
In Lower Saucon Township, where long lines were witnessed at some polling stations throughout the day, Trump prevailed but by a slimmer margin overall than he did in 2016.
After winning seven of the township’s eight districts four years ago, Trump won only four on Tuesday. Nevertheless, the combined votes from those districts were enough to give him the advantage overall, according to the county’s results for Lower Saucon Township:
2020 UNOFFICIAL ELECTION RESULT: LOWER SAUCON TOWNSHIP
Trump: 3,696 votes (51.8 percent)
Biden: 3,443 votes (48.2 percent)
As of Wednesday afternoon some provisional ballots remained to be counted in Northampton County.
Lehigh Valley Live reported on the uncounted provisionals–ballots used at polling places because an individual isn’t able to use a regular ballot–and quoted Northampton County GOP chairwoman Lee Snover as saying she believes the provisional ballots are “for Trump.”
No evidence for that claim was cited in the story.
Northampton County Democratic party chairman Matthew Munsey–who was also quoted–urged patience as the counting of the provisional ballots continues.
Also uncounted are ballots that were postmarked before or on Election Day, that haven’t yet been received by the county elections office. In response to various legal challenges, the U.S. Supreme Court has twice ruled that Pennsylvania may count ballots received by Friday, Nov. 6 at 5 p.m., as long as they bear a postmark of Nov. 3 or earlier.
Northampton County is widely considered to be a bellwether for presidential elections, because its voters have chosen the winner of the presidency in all but three elections throughout the last century.
Not counting Tuesday’s election, that gives them a record of 88 percent accuracy.
Election results are not official until they are certified by the county, which happens after an official canvass that begins several days after the election is held.
The county’s unofficial results indicate that residents who voted by mail heavily favored Biden, while individuals who voted in-person on Tuesday heavily favored Trump.
Note: This is a developing story about election results. All results as of Wednesday are unofficial. This story may be updated as additional information becomes available.