The US presidential election hung in the balance on Wednesday, with a handful of states set to decide the outcome in the coming hours or days, even as Donald Trump falsely claimed victory and made unfounded allegations of electoral fraud.
US President Trump and his Democratic rival Joe Biden both still have possible paths to reach the needed 270 Electoral College votes to win the White House, as states keep counting mail-in ballots that surged amid the coronavirus pandemic.
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Shortly after Biden said he was confident of winning the contest once the votes are counted, Trump appeared at the White House in the early hours to declare victory and said his lawyers would be taking his case to the US Supreme Court, without specifying what they would claim.
“We were getting ready to win this election. Frankly, we did win this election,” Trump said, in an extraordinary attack on the electoral process by a sitting president. “This is a major fraud on our nation. We want the law to be used in a proper manner. So we’ll be going to the US Supreme Court. We want all voting to stop.” He provided no evidence to back up his claim of fraud.
Voting concluded as scheduled on Tuesday night, but many states routinely take days to finish counting ballots. Huge numbers of people voted by mail because of the coronavirus pandemic, making it likely the count will take longer than usual.
The trio of “blue wall” states that unexpectedly sent Trump to the White House in 2016 – Michigan, Pennsylvania and Wisconsin – remained too close to call. Biden held a slight lead in Nevada, where officials said they would not resume counting until Thursday.
Two Southern states, Georgia and North Carolina, were also still in play; Trump held leads in both. A win for Biden in either one would narrow Trump’s chances considerably.
Biden’s victory in Arizona – both Fox News and the Associated Press projected he would win the state – gave him multiple pathways to the White House.
If he holds onto Nevada, he could secure the presidency by winning the Midwestern states of Wisconsin and Michigan, where he held large leads in polls before Election Day, even if he loses Pennsylvania.
Trump’s most likely path goes through Pennsylvania; if he wins that state, he would secure re-election if he also held onto the Southern states and won at least one Midwestern state.
Biden leads 224 to 213 over Trump in the Electoral College vote count, according to Edison Research.
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