US election: counting continues in small number of states

Donald Trump is still refusing to accept the outcome of the presidential race

Counting is continuing in a handful of states in the US presidential election, as Donald Trump refuses to accept the outcome of the race which saw his Democratic rival Joe Biden declared the 46th president.

Mr Biden on Saturday secured the 270 Electoral College votes needed to win, but Mr Trump has so far not conceded the race as his campaign launches multiple lawsuits in swing states where the vote was relatively tight.

"The threshold identification of Ballots is turning out to be even bigger than originally anticipated. A very large number of Ballots are impacted. Stay tuned!," Mr Trump tweeted from the White House on Monday. He also claimed the count in Nevada was "turning out to be a cesspool of Fake Votes", a comment that was quickly censured by Twitter.

His campaign has been bombarding supporters with fundraising requests since the election was called for Mr Biden, as it insists the outcome of the race can be changed, despite not having produced evidence of voter fraud.


Small margins

As counting continued in Georgia – a state Mr Trump had appeared to comfortably win on election night but has gradually moved to Mr Biden's column – the Democratic candidate was leading by more than 10,000 votes. Nonetheless, Georgia secretary of state Brad Raffensperger has said a recount is expected, given the small margins at play.

Pennsylvania, the state that propelled Mr Biden to victory when it was called for the former vice-president on Saturday, was still counting votes on Monday, though Mr Biden has opened up a lead of more than 48,000 voters there – surpassing Mr Trump’s 2016 margin of victory of 44,000.

In Arizona, Mr Trump has been closing the gap with Mr Biden, but the former vice-president remained ahead by more than 17,000 votes on Monday.

Several days after Mr Biden was declared president-elect and world leaders congratulated him, relatively few Republican politicians have done the same.

Allies of Mr Trump such as senators Ted Cruz and Lindsey Graham insisted the race still was not over.

Legal challenges

Speaking in the Senate on Monday, majority leader Mitch McConnell said Mr Trump was “within his rights” to mount legal challenges.

“Democrats should have no reason to fear any extra scrutiny,” he said, adding that “the commentary of the press does not get veto power over the rights of any citizen, including the president of the United States”.

Under the US constitution, electors from each state will announce the vote in their state on December 14th, and the new president will be sworn in on January 20th. While Mr Biden has set up a transition team, there were signs that the Trump administration was resisting formalising a transition process.

The Trump-appointed federal official at the General Services Administration, an independent agency that would oversee the transition process, has not yet officially recognised Mr Biden as the election winner.

Separately, the US supreme court is due to hear arguments on Tuesday in a case seeking to overturn the Affordable Care Act, the legislation also known as Obamacare. It will be the first significant case considered by the court since the appointment of Mr Trump's most recent nominee, Amy Coney Barrett, to the nine-member court last month.

Suzanne Lynch

Suzanne Lynch

Suzanne Lynch, a former Irish Times journalist, was Washington correspondent and, before that, Europe correspondent