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(LEAD) (US election) Biden wins U.S. presidential election

All News 02:52 November 08, 2020

(ATTN: UPDATES with remarks from Biden, more information in paras 5-8; REPLACES photo)
By Byun Duk-kun

WASHINGTON, Nov. 8 (Yonhap) -- Democratic candidate Joe Biden won the U.S. presidential election as he secured the minimum 270 electoral votes needed to win the White House with stunning upset victories in three of the six battleground states all won by President Donald Trump four years ago.

Biden bagged the 20 electoral college votes of Pennsylvania to reach the magic number out of the total 538 electoral votes after also winning in two more key battleground states -- Michigan and Wisconsin -- out of the six that were all won by Trump in the 2016 election.

Major media outlets here, including CNN and AP and NBC, called the state for Biden after his lead over Trump in Pennsylvania exceeded 34,000.

Vote counting was still under way in Florida, North Carolina and Arizona, but regardless of election results in those states, Biden is projected to have secured the minimum 270 electoral votes to win the presidency.

The captured image from the website of U.S. cable news network C-Span shows Democratic presidential candidate Joe Biden speaking at a press conference in Wilmington, Delaware, on Nov. 6, 2020. (PHOTO NOT FOR SALE) (Yonhap)

Biden expressed his gratitude to voters in a short Twitter message.

"America, I'm honored that you have chosen me to lead our great country. The work ahead of us will be hard, but I promise you this: I will be a President for all Americans -- whether you voted for me or not," he tweeted.

Hundreds and thousands of Biden supporters were seen pouring out to the streets to celebrate throughout the nation.

Biden was scheduled to address the nation in a press conference later in the day, according to his campaign.

Trump refused to concede.

"I WON THIS ELECTION, BY A LOT!" he tweeted, shortly after most major news outlets here called Pennsylvania in favor of Biden.

Trump has already threatened to challenge vote counts in some states where he lost, including Wisconsin.

"There have been reports of irregularities in several Wisconsin counties which raise serious doubts about the validity of the results," said Bill Stepien, Trump's campaign manager. The Trump campaign later said it will demand a recount of votes in Wisconsin.

Trump has also accused the Democrats of "ballot dumping," claiming that illicit and unaccounted-for votes that have been "dumped" in many battleground states were the only thing that made his earlier leads disappear.

"How come every time they count mail-in ballot dumps they are so devastating in their percentage and power of destruction?" Trump tweeted early Wednesday when his earlier leads in Wisconsin and Michigan were overtaken by Biden.

"Last night I was leading, often solidly, in many key states, in almost all instances Democrat run and controlled. Then, one by one, they started to magically disappear as surprise ballot dumps were counted. Very strange, and the 'pollsters' got it completely and historically wrong," he added.

State officials and election administrators in both Michigan and Wisconsin, as well as many other states, quickly dismissed the possibility of any fraudulent votes being included in their count, saying every vote is triple checked by the municipality, county and state.

Election observers here have attributed the last-minute flip of vote counts in favor of Biden to the record early voter turnout, noting that early votes are usually the last ones to be counted in most states and that the Democrats had heavily encouraged their supporters to vote early through mail-in ballots, resulting in early vote counts that are "heavily skewed" toward the Democrat.

More than 101 million Americans voted early in Tuesday's presidential election, accounting for more than 65 percent of about 150 million ballots estimated to have been cast, and marking the highest early voter turnout rate in the country's history.

As of noon, Biden was projected to have won 50.5 percent of some 145 million popular votes counted, while Trump won 47.7 percent.

Many believe Trump may also take it to court.

While prematurely declaring his victory in the wee hours of Wednesday, only about three hours after polling closed, Trump threatened to ask the Supreme Court to stop vote counting in states where he was leading at the time.

The Electoral College outcome is still based on unofficial vote counts that will only be certified next month after each and every state completes its own processes to double check the election results.

The winner of this week's presidential election is set to be sworn in on Jan. 20.

Should no official winner emerge by then, also leaving the vice presidency vacant, the speaker of the House of Representatives will serve as acting head of state.


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