PHOENIX, AZ - NOVEMBER 05: Votes are counted by staff at the Maricopa County Elections Department office on November 5, 2020 in Phoenix, Arizona. Ballots continue to be counted in many critical battleground states as the final results in the U.S. presidential election remain too close to call. (Photo by Courtney Pedroza/Getty Images)

The race for the White House remains razor thin as election workers in key states continue to plow through ballots.

In addition to Arizona, Georgia, Nevada, and Pennsylvania, the races in Alaska and North Carolina remain too close to call.

Here’s a look at where things stand in five key states we’re watching this morning.

Joe Biden holds a 253-213 lead in the Electoral College. Either candidate needs 270 electoral college votes to win the presidency.

Here’s why it’s taking so long: The coronavirus pandemic fundamentally altered the math on how people cast votes.

Whereas roughly 46 million people had voted earlier in 2016, more than 100 million did so in 2020 – a stunning increase driven by concerns about Covid-19 and a series of state law changes designed to make it easier to vote early, whether in person or by mail.

Particularly in our urban cores where millions upon millions of votes were cast and need to be counted, the sea change in how America votes ensured that the tabulation process was going to be both slower than in recent elections and slower than any of us would like.

When you double the number of early votes and keep the same rules in place about when and how they will be counted (and the same or fewer number of election officials to count them), what we are seeing right now is to be expected.