UNITED STATES. (Times Media Mexico) – Donald Trump and Joe Biden each claim to be ahead in the US presidential election, even as the outcome hangs on a razor’s edge, and both sides gear up for legal action.
The Trump campaign is contesting counts in the key states of Nevada, Wisconsin, Georgia, Pennsylvania, and Michigan. UK’s BBC and other media projects Biden won Michigan. US media forecast he took Wisconsin. No result has yet emerged in Pennsylvania. Winning all three of these states would hand Joe Biden a victory.
The Democratic candidate is also currently leading in Nevada and Arizona, while the gap is closing between him and Trump as counting continues in Georgia.
Biden has stopped short of declaring victory but said he was confident he was on course to beat his Republican rival. Overall turnout in Tuesday’s election was projected to be the highest in 120 years at 66.9%, according to the US Election Project.
The former vice president had the support of 70.5 million voters, the most won by any presidential candidate ever. Trump has pulled in 67.2 million votes, four million more than he gained in 2016.
What are the campaigns saying?
On Wednesday afternoon, Joe Biden told reporters in Wilmington, Delaware: “When the count is finished, we believe we will be the winners. I will govern as an American president. The presidency itself is not a partisan institution.”
He and his running mate Kamala Harris have launched a website for the transition of power, which says that their team “will continue preparing at full speed so that the Biden-Harris Administration can hit the ground running on Day One.”
Biden also said he was feeling “very good” about Pennsylvania, although President Trump’s campaign said it was “declaring victory” in the state on the count of “all legal ballots.”
Senior Trump campaign aide Jason Miller said: “By the end of this week, it will be clear to the entire nation that President Trump and Vice-President Pence will be elected for another four years.”
So far, Biden has 264 Electoral College votes, giving him the edge in the race to accumulate the 270 needed to win the White House. Donald Trump has 214.
In the US election, each US state gets a certain number of electoral college votes partly based on its population, with a total of 538 up for grabs. If Trump does lose Wisconsin (10 electoral college votes), he must win Georgia (16 votes), North Carolina (15), Pennsylvania (20), and either Arizona (11) or Nevada (6) to prevail.
Officials in Georgia said they would keep going until counting was finished, but as of 5 am today, they reported that there were still about 90,000 votes to count. At that time, Trump was ahead by some 31,000 votes, but his lead has narrowed since.
In Arizona, Biden was leading by about 80,000 votes, with further results expected today. CBS has categorized it as a “likely” win for the Democrat.
In Nevada – where Biden is slightly ahead – is not expected until today, at around 5 pm local time, while in Philadelphia, counting is not expected to finish for several days.
The legal challenges
The Trump campaign has launched several lawsuits demanding a halt to counts. But in states like Arizona and Nevada, where Trump is currently marginally behind, his supporters insist that counting continues.
The campaign filed a lawsuit in Michigan to stop counting there because it contended it had been denied “meaningful access” to observe ballots’ opening and the tally.
In Detroit, Michigan, police were called on Wednesday afternoon to guard the doors to a vote-counting facility as some protesters outside demanded access to monitor the process. According to the Detroit Free Press, there were already some 200 people observing the vote inside the building.
The Trump campaign also filed two lawsuits in Pennsylvania to halt all vote-counting “until there is meaningful transparency.” The president has a three-point lead in the Keystone State, but many thousands of votes remain to be counted.
Trump has also started legal action against Georgia to halt the vote count there. His campaign said a Republican poll observer in the southern state had witnessed 53 late absentee ballots being illegally added to a pile of votes in Chatham County.
In Wisconsin, Trump’s campaign said the president would formally request a recount, citing “irregularities in several Wisconsin counties.”
Could the election be decided in courts?
Incomplete results indicate the margin between Trump and Biden in Wisconsin is less than one percentage point, which allows a candidate to seek a recount. As things stand, Biden is ahead by more than 20,000 votes. Election experts say recounts typically change tallies by only a few hundred.
On Thursday, the Republican Party of Nevada confirmed the Trump campaign’s plan to file a lawsuit alleging voting irregularities in the state. The lawsuit will allege that around 10,000 votes were cast by people who no longer live in the state.
In the early hours of Wednesday, the Donald claimed he had won the election despite many uncounted votes remaining. The speech brought strong criticism from both Democrats and Republicans. Trump has vowed to launch a Supreme Court challenge, alleging fraud without presenting evidence.
Joe Biden’s running mate, Kamala Harris, tweeted, asking supporters to contribute $5 to help pay for litigation that could “stretch on for weeks”. Biden campaign, senior legal adviser, Bob Bauer said there were no grounds for Trump to invalidate lawful ballots.