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(2nd LD) (US election) Biden inches closer to possible victory amid slow vote counting

All News 09:53 November 06, 2020

(ATTN: UPDATES with remarks from Trump, latest vote counts; ADDS photo)
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 7 p.m., Biden was projected to have secured 253 of the 270 electoral votes needed to win the White House against Trump's 213. Both numbers remain unchanged since late Wednesday.

Biden is projected to have won 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.

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

In the latest development, the small gap between Trump and Biden in Georgia continued to narrow throughout the day, with Trump holding just about 3,400 more votes than his Democratic rival as of 7 p.m. The gap sharply narrowed from more than 12,000 votes at 3 p.m.

Election observers believe Biden has a very good chance to overtake Trump in Georgia, noting most outstanding votes, not just in Georgia but most other states, are mail-in votes, which tend to be Democratic.

Trump's lead in Pennsylvania has also narrowed to about 64,000 from 100,000 over the four-hour period, according to U.S. cable news network CNN.

More than 200,000 votes still remain uncounted in Pennsylvania, according to state officials there.

Should Biden overtake Trump and win Pennsylvania, which has 20 electoral votes, it will carry him over the finish line, even without the help of any of the five other states where vote counting continues to be under way -- Arizona, Alaska, Georgia, Nevada and North Carolina.

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

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)

Trump renewed his claim that Democrats were trying to "steal" the election Thursday.

"If you count the legal votes, I easily win. If you count the illegal votes, they can try to steal the election from us, if you count the votes that came in late," he told a White House press conference.

He also claimed what he called "election apparatus" were run by Democrats, even in states with Republican governors, and that they were running "secret count rooms" to count "mystery" and "illegal" votes.

He argued he had won the states of Michigan and Wisconsin, but that his lead in the states got "miraculously whittled down."

However, when it came to Arizona where he is now trailing Biden, he said he was "on track to do OK" and that "we will see what happens."

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 tended to "magically disappear.

The Trump campaign has 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.

Trump also continued to question the validity of vote counts, saying, "Stop the fraud!" in one Twitter message and then repeating "STOP THE COUNT!" in at least two other tweets.

The captured image from the White House website shows U.S. President Donald Trump holding a press conference at the White House on Nov. 5, 2020. (PHOTO NOT FOR SALE) (Yonhap)

Biden, on the other hand, expressed his faith in the system, saying, "The process is working.

"The count is being completed, and we will know very soon," he said at a brief press conference in Wilmington, Delaware, that was also attended by his running mate, Sen. Kamala Harris of California.

"We have no doubt that when the count is finished, Sen. Harris and I will be declared the winners. So I ask everyone to stay calm, all people to stay calm," he added.

Biden earlier 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 at a press conference on Wednesday.

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. 5, 2020. (PHOTO NOT FOR SALE) (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.

bdk@yna.co.kr
(END)

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