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(US election) Biden continues to expand lead over Trump in Pennsylvania for imminent victory

All News 05:16 November 07, 2020

(ATTN: RECAPS previous story; CHANGES headline, lead; UPDATES with latest vote counts, additional information)
By Byun Duk-kun

WASHINGTON, Nov. 6 (Yonhap) -- Democratic presidential candidate Joe Biden continued to expand his lead Friday over President Donald Trump in Pennsylvania, one state that now alone could land him the presidency.

As of 2:30 p.m., the former vice president had 13,662 more votes than Trump in Pennsylvania, about five hours after he made a surprising comeback to overtake Trump in the state that was won by the president in the 2016 election.

The gap expanded from 5,587 at 9 a.m. Biden was once behind the president by more than 600,000 votes in Pennsylvania.

Biden is currently projected to have secured 253 electoral votes, 17 votes short of the 270 needed to win the White House. Trump has 213 electoral votes. The numbers have remained unchanged since late Wednesday.

A win in Pennsylvania, which has 20 electoral votes, would be enough to carry Biden over the finish line.

The vote count in Pennsylvania was at 96 percent, with more than 100,000 votes waiting to be counted, suggesting a chance to win for both Biden and Trump.

State officials of Pennsylvania have said it may take days before they can have every vote counted.

However, once the margin of votes between Biden and Trump exceeds the number of outstanding votes there, the state may be called and Biden declared the next president of the United States.

Vote counting was still under way in four other states -- Alaska, Arizona, Georgia and Nevada -- and Biden was leading in all but Alaska.

His win in any two of the three states where he currently has a lead will also give him enough electoral votes to win the White House.

Trump, on the other hand, will lose all chance of winning the election if he loses either Georgia or Pennsylvania.

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)

Biden has come from behind to overtake Trump in both Georgia and Pennsylvania.

Election watchers here have largely attributed the last-minute flip to Biden in the key states to a record number of mail-in ballots that they said are "heavily skewed toward the Democrats."

They noted that Democrats had urged their supporters to vote early and by mail if possible, partly to avoid the danger of contracting the new coronavirus, while Trump had encouraged his voters to show up in person, partly by repeatedly raising questions over the validity of mail-in ballots.

More than 101 million Americans are reported to have voted early either by mail-in ballots or in person, marking the highest number in the country's history.

Many states also accept mail-in ballots for days after Election Day, as long as they are postmarked on or before the election day.

Trump's Republican Party on Friday asked the federal Supreme Court to block late-arriving votes from being counted in Pennsylvania.

Trump earlier called late, mail-in votes illegal and vowed to launch lawsuits against states that accept them.

"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 said in a White House press conference on Thursday.

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)

Trump has also claimed what he called the "election apparatus" was being 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 in Michigan and Wisconsin but that his lead in the states got "miraculously whittled down."

Trump earlier accused the Democrats of "dumping" ballots in key battleground states, where he said his earlier leads tended to "magically" disappear.

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

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 by 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.

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)

Should the two presidential candidates split the electoral votes exactly in half, the decision will go to the new House of Representatives to be formed early next year.

The Democratic Party is widely expected to maintain its House majority as the result of general elections held simultaneously with the presidential election this week.

However, in a presidential runoff vote by the House of Representatives, each state is given one vote and thus how each state votes depends on the number of Republican and Democratic representatives from each state.

bdk@yna.co.kr
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