As his lead grew in several battleground states Friday night, Democratic presidential candidate Joe Biden told the American people that the latest results of the U.S. election are telling “a clear and convincing story” that he will win the presidency.
“We are going to win this race with a clear majority and the nation behind us,” Biden said in a televised address, with his running mate Sen. Kamala Harris standing at his side.
“I know watching these vote tallies on TV moves very slowly, and as slow as it goes, it can be numbing. But never forget, those tallies are not just numbers. They represent votes and voters.”
Biden also sought to begin the long and likely gruelling process of unifying the nation after a bitter campaign, and as President Donald Trump attempts to sow doubt in the election process as his lead in several states slowly but surely slipped away.
“We may be opponents, but we’re not enemies,” he said. “We’re Americans.
“Democracy works. Your vote will be counted. I don’t care how hard people try to stop it. I will not let it happen.”
As Friday went on, Trump’s hopes for securing a second term gradually faded as new vote counts heavily favoured Biden, who flipped Georgia from Trump overnight and did the same in Pennsylvania later Friday morning.
The Associated Press has projected Biden to win Arizona, meaning a victory in Georgia, Pennsylvania, or Nevada would push Biden to the 270-vote threshold.
Trump’s likeliest path appears narrower — he needs to hang onto both Pennsylvania and Georgia and to overtake Biden in either Nevada or Arizona.
The focus on Pennsylvania, where Biden led Trump by more than 14,000 votes, and Georgia, where Biden led by more than 4,000, came as Americans entered a third full day after the election without knowing who will lead them for the next four years.
Lead growing in Nevada
Biden’s lead is growing in Nevada. As of Friday afternoon, with 87 per cent of the estimated votes tallied in the state, Biden had about 20,000 more votes than Trump.
A Clark County, Nevada official on Friday said there are still 63,000 outstanding mail ballots to be counted. A majority of them were estimated to be completed on Sunday.
Georgia’s Secretary of State Brad Raffensperger on Friday morning that there are 4,169 outstanding ballots to be counted across a handful of counties in the state. Because the margins are so close in Georgia, officials said there will most likely be a recount.
While the state has not been called for either Biden or Trump, the Democrat was able to close the gap over the last few days and is now ahead by 4,235 votes in Georgia, where counting continued Friday.
The shift in Georgia came hours after Trump appeared at the White House Thursday to falsely claim the election was being “stolen” from him.
Trump had seen his lead steadily shrink in Georgia, a southern state that has not voted for a Democratic presidential nominee since 1992, as officials worked through tens of thousands of uncounted votes, many from Democratic strongholds such as Atlanta.
The state also will have to sift through votes from military personnel and overseas residents as well as provisional ballots cast on election day by voters who had problems with their registration or identification.
Pennsylvania getting close
Biden has been steadily chipping away at Trump’s lead in Pennsylvania, where he was ahead by 14,541 votes. Many of the remaining ballots to count were cast in Democratic areas like Philadelphia.
Philadelphia has about 40,000 ballots left to count, which could take several days to complete, Lisa Deeley, chair of the Philadelphia City Commissioners, said during a press conference Friday.
Biden has maintained slim advantages in Arizona as well.
The Trump campaign said it was confident the president would ultimately pull out a victory in Arizona, where votes were also still being counted, including in Maricopa County, the state’s most populous area.
The AP has declared Biden the winner in Arizona and said Thursday that it was monitoring the vote count as it proceeded.
In Arizona, Biden’s lead grew slightly on Friday to 43,779 votes.
Trump complains about fraud
On Wednesday, Trump’s campaign has threatened to request a recount in Wisconsin and filed lawsuits in Pennsylvania, Michigan and Georgia. Some of the lawsuits demanded better access for campaign observers to locations where ballots are being processed and counted.
Judges in Georgia and Michigan quickly dismissed Trump’s campaign lawsuits there on Thursday.
Offering no evidence, Trump on Thursday said the election was “rigged.”
“They’re trying to rig an election, and we can’t let that happen,” said Trump, who spoke for about 15 minutes in the White House briefing room.
Trump fired off several tweets in the early morning hours on Friday, reiterating the complaints he aired earlier at the White House. “I easily WIN the Presidency of the United States with LEGAL VOTES CAST,” he said on Twitter, without offering any evidence that any illegal votes have been cast.
Twitter quickly flagged the tweet as “misleading” and deleted it.
The campaign’s general counsel, Matt Morgan, asserted in a statement on Friday that the elections in Georgia, Nevada and Pennsylvania all suffered from improprieties and that Trump would eventually prevail in Arizona.
“This election is not over,” he said. “Biden is relying on these states for his phony claim on the White House, but once the election is final, President Trump will be re-elected.”
He also said the campaign expected to pursue a recount in Georgia, as it has said it will do in Wisconsin, where Biden won by more than 20,000 votes.
Election officials across the nation have said they are unaware of any significant irregularities. Georgia officials said on Friday they expect a recount, which can be requested by a candidate if the final margin is less than 0.5 per cent, as it currently is.
— With files from Global’s Sean Boynton, the Associated Press and Reuters