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(3rd LD) (US election) Biden continues to close in on presidency amid slow vote counting

All News 23:17 November 07, 2020

(ATTN: CHANGES dateline; RECASTS headline, lead; UPDATES with latest vote counts, more details, minor changes in paras 2-6, 9-14)
By Byun Duk-kun

WASHINGTON, Nov. 7 (Yonhap) -- Democratic presidential candidate Joe Biden was only steps away from victory on Saturday with his lead over President Donald Trump continuing to grow in Pennsylvania, which, if won, could alone carry him over the finish line.

As of 9 a.m. the former vice president had 28,833 more votes than Trump in Pennsylvania, one of six battleground states that were all won by Trump in the 2016 election.

Biden has come from more than 600,000 votes behind to overtake Trump in Pennsylvania that has 20 electoral votes, and his lead has continued to widen.

With 253 electoral votes projected to have been won by Biden so far, the 20 votes, if called, will push him over the 270 votes needed to win the White House.

Trump is projected to have won 213 electoral votes. The figures for both Biden and Trump have remained unchanged since late 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. 6, 2020. (PHOTO NOT FOR SALE) (Yonhap)

The former vice president stopped short of declaring victory, but he expressed confidence over his imminent victory in a press conference held late Friday.

"We don't have a final declaration of victory yet. But the numbers tell us a clear story, tells us a clear and convincing story," he told the press conference, held in his hometown of Wilmington, Delaware, which marked the third of its kind since polling closed Tuesday.

"We are going to win this race," he added, noting his lead in the key battleground states, including Pennsylvania, continued to grow by the hour.

So far, Biden is projected to have won two of the six battleground states -- Michigan and Wisconsin -- while he is also leading in Arizona. Trump is projected to have taken Florida and North Carolina.

The race, however, has largely come down to Pennsylvania.

Anyone who wins a majority of 270 electoral votes out of the total 538 wins the presidency.

Vote counting was still under way in four other states -- Alaska, Arizona, Georgia and Nevada -- in addition to Pennsylvania.

While Trump is widely expected to win Alaska, Biden's win in any two of the remaining three states will carry him over the finish line.

Biden currently leads in Arizona, Georgia and Nevada, though by razor-thin margins.

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

Biden has come from behind to overtake Trump in both Michigan and Wisconsin.

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.

Biden highlighted the importance of counting each and every vote.

"The tallies aren't just numbers. They represent votes and voters. Men and women who have exercised their fundamental right to have their voice heard. And what's becoming more clear each hour is that a record number of Americans -- of all races, faiths, religions -- chose change over more of the same," he told Friday's press conference.

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)

He also laid out how he planned to run the country over the next four years.

"While we are waiting for the results, I want people to know that we are not waiting to get the work done," Biden told the press conference, also attended by his running mate, Sen. Kamala Harris.

He reaffirmed his promise to work for all Americans.

"We may be opponents, but we are not enemies. We are Americans ... I want you to know that I will work as hard for those who voted against me as those who voted for me," he said.

"I hope to be talking to you tomorrow," he added, apparently expressing his hope to see the election result within the next 24 hours.

Trump, on the other hand, has made it clear that he has no intention of conceding his defeat, while accusing the Democrats of "dumping" ballots in key battleground states that he claims made his earlier lead in such states "magically disappear."

"I had such a big lead in all of these states late into election night, only to see the leads miraculously disappear as the days went by," he tweeted.

He has filed lawsuits in Georgia, Michigan and Pennsylvania to have their vote counting halted.

He has also warned he would launch "numerous litigations" against states that he claims included "illegal" votes in their vote counts.

"Perhaps these leads will return as our legal proceedings move forward," he said on Twitter on Friday.

The president had called for a halt to vote counting in the states where he had a lead over his Democratic rival, including Michigan and Wisconsin, while prematurely declaring victory only hours after polling closed.

"Joe Biden should not wrongfully claim the office of the President. I could make that claim also. Legal proceedings are just now beginning!" he tweeted Friday.

bdk@yna.co.kr
(END)

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