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(3rd LD) (US election) Biden inches closer to possible victory amid slow vote counting

All News 23:26 November 05, 2020

(ATTN: RECASTS throughout with additional details)
By Byun Duk-kun

WASHINGTON, Nov. 5 (Yonhap) -- The United States -- and the rest of the world -- continued to wait Thursday for the outcome of the presidential election as vote counting progressed at a snail's pace two days after the polls closed, with Democratic candidate Joe Biden holding razor-thin leads in key states.

Both Biden and President Donald Trump still had a chance to win, but the former vice president was nearing a surprise victory in at least three of the six key battleground states that were all won by Trump in the 2016 election.

As of early Thursday, Biden was projected to have secured 253 of the 270 electoral votes needed to win the White House against Trump's 213. Both numbers remained unchanged from late Wednesday.

The image provided by Yonhap News TV shows U.S. President Donald Trump (L) and Democratic presidential candidate Joe Biden. American voters began hitting the polls on Nov. 3, 2020, to elect the next U.S. president. (Yonhap)

Vote counting has been slow in several states, including the key battleground states, partly because of a high voter turnout rate that was widely expected to have been the highest in over a century.

Also, a record number of more than 101 million Americans voted early either in mail-in ballots or in-person voting.

With some states, such as Nevada, accepting mail-in ballots for up to a week after Election Day, election watchers believe it could take several more days before all votes can be counted.

A winner may still emerge as soon as either candidate surpasses the 270-threshold in electoral votes needed to win.

Trump continues to lead in three of the six battleground states -- Florida, North Carolina and Pennsylvania -- but his victory there alone will not win him four more years at the White House, while his narrow leads in Georgia and Pennsylvania remain fragile.

Biden, on the other hand, is projected to have won at least two of the six battleground states -- Michigan and Wisconsin -- while continuing to lead in Arizona.

His win in the three states, along with Nevada, is expected to carry him over the finish line with at least 270 electoral votes.

Declaring victory may still take more time despite Trump prematurely declaring his victory early Wednesday, only hours after polling closed in the presidential election.

Trump has filed lawsuits in Georgia, Michigan and Pennsylvania to have their vote counting halted, partly on grounds of alleged vote counting irregularities.

He earlier accused the Democrats of "dumping" ballots in key battleground states where he said his earlier lead "magically disappear."

"How come every time they count mail-in ballot dumps they are so devastating in their percentage and power of destruction?" he has tweeted.

"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.

The Trump campaign has also said it will demand a recount of votes in Wisconsin, where the president is projected to have lost to Biden with a margin of less than 1 percentage point.

Biden said he will not be hasty in declaring victory, noting vote counting must continue until each and every vote is counted.

Still, he has expressed confidence over his win.

"It's clear that we're winning enough states to reach 270 electoral votes needed to win the presidency," he said in a press conference on Wednesday.

bdk@yna.co.kr
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