Biden urges patience with counting as he holds lead over Trump in key states

Trump begins legal actions to stop counting process in some states

Democratic candidate Joe Biden has called for the public to stay calm as the votes are counted and said he has “no doubt” he will win the presidency. Video: Reuters

 

Democratic candidate Joe Biden has called for the public to stay calm as the votes are counted and said he has “no doubt” he will win the presidency.

He was speaking on Thursday as he held his lead in the last key states over US president Donald Trump who has called for the count to be stopped. “Each ballot must be counted and that’s what we’re going to see going through now, and that’s how it should be,” Mr Biden said.

“Democracy is sometimes messy, it sometimes requires a little patience as well but that patience has been rewarded now for more than 240 years with a system of governance that’s been the envy of the world.”

“So, I ask everyone to stay calm, all the people to stay calm, the process is working, the count is being completed and we’ll know very soon,” he said.

Mr Biden began Thursday with a lead against Mr Trump that brought the Democratic challenger tantalisingly close to the presidency, as votes continued to be counted in the key states of Nevada, Georgia, Pennsylvania and Arizona.

Mr Trump was still holding on to leads in Pennsylvania and Georgia but Biden was narrowing the gap in the two states as the backlog of postal ballots were counted. A win in Pennsylvania alone, with its 20 votes in the electoral college, would be enough to make Biden president.

In Arizona meanwhile, a Biden lead was being gradually eroded by late-counted Trump votes. The Associated Press (AP) and Fox News called the Democrat the winner in the state on election night, but by Thursday morning no other major TV network had followed suit, and were still declaring the race too close to call.

US Election Results

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If he won Arizona Biden would only need six more electoral college votes to reach the 270 required for victory, so a win in any other state would be enough. Without Arizona he needs 17 votes.

In Nevada on Thursday morning, Mr Biden bolstered a very slim lead to about 12,000 (about one per cent of the vote) but there are about 200,000 votes still to be counted.

In the nationwide popular vote, Mr Biden so far has a record 72.3m, more than any other presidential candidate in US history, and about 3.5m more than Mr Trump. The two candidates posted duelling tweets on Thursday morning.

Stop the Count

Mr Biden put out a short video titled Count Every Vote, while Mr Trump went on Twitter, after an unusual 14-hour silence, with a short, all-caps message: “Stop the Count!” That message was flagged as disputed and possibly misleading by Twitter, as a president does not have the authority to stop vote count. It was also confusing, because in Arizona and Nevada the Trump camp would be relying on late-counted votes to win. In these south-western states, the campaign strategy has been to focus on alleged irregularities in the count so far, seeking to undermine faith in its integrity.

Raucous crowds of Trump supporters staged protests outside vote-counting centres in Phoenix, Arizona, and Detroit, Michigan, riled by unfounded claims from Trump and some of his loyalists of widespread irregularities and the insistence that the reversal of the president’s early leads in the counts meant the election was being “stolen”.

The Trump campaign has called for a recount in Wisconsin and launched a flurry of lawsuits in four states with an array of technical challenges. In Michigan, which has already been called for Biden, the president’s lawyers pressed on with a legal demand for the count to be suspended until a campaign representative could be at each postal ballot counting table, and for a review of ballots opened and counted in the absence of its inspector.

Lawsuit

In Nevada, the campaign filed a lawsuit on Thursday claiming about 10,000 voters who cast ballots there were no longer residents. It has another lawsuit pending in Nevada challenging the efficacy of signature-matching software, a case the Trump camp has already lost twice.

In Pennsylvania, the president’s camp is seeking to ask the supreme court to reverse its decision allowing the state to extend until Friday the period in which it accepts late-arriving ballots, as long as they were postmarked by Tuesday. Josh Shapiro, Pennsylvania’s attorney general, said in a CNN interview the lawsuit was “more a political document than a legal document”.

On Thursday, counting was paused in Allegheny county, the greater Pittsburgh area, until Friday, pending a legal challenge over 29,000 ballots which had been issued on request to voters who said they had accidentally spoiled their original ballots. Another 6000 ballots, which are too creased to be fed into the vote scanner, will need to be counted manually.

The Biden camp has assembled its own legal teams at the chief electoral flash points, and launched a “fight fund” to finance the effort. A coalition of liberal activist groups are meanwhile suing the US Postal Service to forceit to sweep sorting offices in Pennsylvania and North Carolina, pointing to data suggesting there were as many as 8,000 undelivered in Pennsylvania alone.

In the Senate race, Democrats clung on a slender hope that they might wrest control of the chamber from Republicans. One contest for one Georgia seat has gone to a runoff, and the second seat hung in the balance on Thursday morning with the Republican incumbent barely holding the 50 per cent share in the vote to avoid a second round, but votes are still being counted. A tight Senate race in North Carolina had also not been called by Thursday morning. –Guardian News and Media