- Trump said he will easily win if you count the “legal” votes, although there remains no evidence of his claims of voter fraud
- Biden is six electoral votes away from reaching the 270 needed to reach the White House, according to AP figures
- The AP tally includes Arizona, a state that other networks have not yet called
- All eyes are on the close contests in Pennsylvania and Georgia, with the margins narrowing in Biden’s favor
- Biden said he has “no doubt” he will win the election
Election results based on Associated Press data. All times in GMT/UTC
07:35 Here is the current state of the race: Four states — Pennsylvania, Arizona, Georgia and Nevada — could decide the winner. Ballot counting continues Friday, with Democrat Joe Biden still confident of capturing the presidency.
Although President Trump held a 675,000-vote lead in Pennsylvania early Wednesday, that has slipped to about 18,000, as mail-in ballots from across the state continued to be counted. The late counted ballots were overwhelmingly in Biden’s favor.
Under state law, elections officials are not allowed to process mail-in ballots until Election Day.
If Biden were to hold a lead in Arizona, which narrowed to around 47,000 votes on Thursday, any other state coming in for him will likely push him over the 270 Electoral College votes needed to win the presidency.
In Nevada, Biden’s narrow lead widened slightly to around 11,400 votes as the country awaited more tallies from the Las Vegas area, while Trump’s once commanding lead in Georgia slowly dwindled to a near-tie with less than 2,000 votes separating them.
The president, meanwhile, has doubled-down on baseless claims of fraud and legal threats seeking to undermine the election results.
06:43 Facebook has banned a large group called “Stop the Steal” that Trump supporters were using to organize protests against the vote count. Some members had called for violence, while many falsely claimed that Democrats are “stealing” the election from Republicans. The group amassed more than 350,000 members before Facebook took it down.
“In line with the exceptional measures that we are taking during this period of heightened tension, we have removed the Group ‘Stop the Steal,’ which was creating real-world events,” Facebook said in a statement. “The group was organized around the delegitimization of the election process, and we saw worrying calls for violence from some members of the group.”
Group backers said they were organizing peaceful protests, had been working hard to police the comments and that Facebook had given no warning. Chris Barron, a spokesman for the group, said political opponents were also organizing protests but had no been banned.
A copycat group was growing steadily, nearing 13,000 members, and others were easily searchable on Facebook.
Twitter, meanwhile has banned an account used by former Trump advisor Steve Bannon. The right-wing provocateur had called for the beheading of Dr. Anthony Fauci, a lead member of the White House Coronavirus Task Force, and FBI Director Christopher Wray on his talk show.
06:17 Philadelphia police say they are investigating an alleged plot to attack the venue where votes from the hotly contested election are being counted.
Local police received a tip about a Hummer with armed people driving up from Virginia with plans to attack the city’s Pennsylvania Convention Center, a police representative said.
US media reported that two men were arrested and the vehicle and at least one weapon were seized. No injuries were reported and no further details about the alleged plot were disclosed.
On Thursday, supporters of both President Donald Trump and his Democratic challenger Joe Biden held rallies in Philadelphia as election staffers slowly counted thousands of mail-in ballots that could decide Pennsylvania’s crucial 20 Electoral College votes.
05:54 The US Postal Service (USPS) says about 1,700 mail-in ballots were identified at processing facilities in Pennsylvania during two sweeps Thursday and were being delivered to election officials.
In a court filing early Friday, USPS said about 1,070 ballots, had been found at the USPS Philadelphia Processing and Distribution Center. About 300 were found at the Pittsburgh processing center, 266 at a Lehigh Valley facility and others found at other Pennsylvania processing centers, Reuters reported.
Ballots must be received by Friday evening in Pennsylvania in order to be counted.
The latest reports suggest Trump’s lead in Pennsylvania has narrowed to just over 26,000 voters or a margin of 0.4%.
About 500 ballots were also discovered in North Carolina during sweeps, USPS said on Friday.
05:35 US election officials in several states say they are worried about the safety of their staff amid a stream of threats and gatherings of angry protesters outside their doors. The protesters have been drawn by President Donald Trump’s baseless claims of widespread fraud in the race for the White House.
Small groups of Trump supporters have gathered at vote tabulation sites in Phoenix, Detroit and Philadelphia, decrying counts that showed Democrat Joe Biden leading or gaining ground. One official issued a plea on Twitter to “stop making harassing & threatening calls” to her staff.
04:16 Joe Biden continues to close the gap with Donald Trump in Pennsylvania and its 20 electoral votes, with the latest reports narrowing Trump’s lead in the battleground state to slightly more than 26,000 votes, or a margin of 0.4%. Winning both Pennsylvania and Georgia is critical for Trump’s reelection chances.
02:58 Biden has significantly narrowed the margin in the southern state of Georgia to around 1,900 votes, with both candidates now neck-and-neck at 47.4%. An estimated 98% of the total vote has been reported, with several thousand ballots remaining uncounted. Biden’s surge comes as Democrat-leaning counties around the state capital, Atlanta, report mail-in ballots.
02:41 President Trump’s lead in the crucial state of Pennsylvania is rapidly shrinking, with around 42,000 votes separating the president from Joe Biden. Only hours ago, Trump was leading Biden by more than 100,000 votes. Biden’s surge is coming from mail-in ballots, which were counted after in-person voting gave Trump his early lead.
Earlier Thursday evening, Trump claimed ballot counting in Pennsylvania was “corrupt” and “controlled by democrats.” Pennsylvania’s top election official has said there is no evidence of fraud during ballot counts anywhere in the state. If Biden wins Pennsylvania’s 20 electoral votes, he will become the US president-elect.
02:12 A new batch of ballot results reported in Arizona’s most-populous Maricopa county shows Biden’s lead over Trump shrinking to just over 46,000 votes, or a margin of 1.5%. An estimated 90% of Arizona’s total votes have been counted, and over 200,000 ballots are left to be processed. Arizona election officials said Maricopa county will issue more results Friday morning local time. The AP projected a Biden victory for Arizona early Wednesday morning, despite millions of votes left to be counted. DW uses AP figures.
01:50 Following Trump’s speech alleging massive electoral fraud, Joe Biden tweeted “no one” would take away American democracy.
01:23 “Many fear that this will not end well, that [Trump’s] speech is a dog whistle, a call to arms so to speak, lie after lie, just to inflame violence in this country. This is a big fear right now in the US, less than an hour after Donald Trump delivered this speech in the White House,” said DW’s Washington bureau chief Ines Pohl.
After traveling across the US in the weeks leading up to the election, Pohl said that Trump enjoys such widespread support based on his reputation as a successful businessman.
“We talked to many people. It was sometimes stunning how some African Americans in Los Angeles told us that Donald Trump is the only person who is able to bring the US back on track after the pandemic. So many see him still as a strong businessman,” said Pohl.
00:45 DW’s Washington correspondent Oliver Sallet said that Trump’s unproven claim that mail-in ballots would suddenly show up after election day is directed to his followers:
“His follower base is not following the factual-based news. They are also getting their information from conspiracy theories like QAnon, so his claims resonate [with his followers].”
Sallet added that Trump is seeking to create his post-office narrative, if he loses the election.
“And that is, it’s him, the underdog, against the establishment, that this election was stolen. Of course, this is all baseless, and we’ve heard that confirmed by international election observers,” Sallet said.
00:34 Rumors about how the results are being tabulated and possible instances of wrongdoing are making the rounds. DW’s Fact Check team cuts through the noise, read more here.
00:20 Three major US broadcast networks, NBC, CBS and ABC, all cut away in the middle of Donald Trump’s White House press conference, as the president made several spurious remarks alleging widespread election fraud.
“We have to interrupt here, because the president has made a number of false statements, including the notion that there has been fraudulent voting,” said NBC anchor Lester Holt. “There has been no evidence of that.”
CBS anchor Norah O’Donnell cut in shortly after Trump began speaking about “legal votes” that would “easily” win him the election. CBS’s fact checkers said there was no evidence of illegal votes being cast.
23:50 President Donald Trump delivered remarks Thursday evening at the White House briefing room, claiming “if you count the legal votes I easily win.”
“If you count the illegal votes they are trying to steal the election from us.”
Trump said there is “tremendous litigation” going on, alleging that mail-in ballots are subject to “fraud.”
“We think we will win the election very easily, and there is going to be a lot of litigation, and it could end up in the highest court in the land, we’ll see.”
Trump added that Democrats “never believed” they could win the election, and accused them of pushing mail-in ballots to commit electoral fraud. Trump did not provide any evidence, and there have been no instances of ballot fraud independently reported.
Trump claimed ballot counting in states like Pennsylvania is part of a “corrupt Democratic machine” and said the “voting apparatus” in the few states left to be decided is “controlled by Democrats.”
The hotly contested state of Georgia, where Biden is rapidly closing the gap on Trump’s lead, is run by a Republican governor, as is Arizona, where the last ballots are still being counted. Republican observers have been allowed in ballot counting rooms, and in Pennsylvania, the Trump campaign won a legal motion to allow observers to stand closer to ballot counters.
22:50 Pennsylvania Secretary of State Kathy Boockvar told reporters Thursday evening that the ongoing ballot count in the critical battleground state was “very secure” and the “integrity of this vote is unparalleled.”
Boockvar said that the “overwhelming majority” of the over 300,000 remaining ballots will be counted by Friday.
The Trump campaign has taken legal action in Pennsylvania to try and stop the counting of mail-in ballots postmarked by election day, but which are allowed to be counted up to three days later. Boockvar said late arrival ballots are “significantly lower” than expected, adding she has seen no evidence of voter fraud.
Joe Biden is steadily narrowing Trump’s lead in Pennsylvania, with fewer than 110,000 votes separating the two candidates. A victory for Biden taking the state’s 20 electoral votes would win him the presidency.
22:25 Joe Biden gave a brief speech at his campaign headquarters in Wilmington, Delaware Thursday afternoon and said he has “no doubt” that he will win the election.
Biden also urged patience in waiting for vote counts to be completed, adding that democracy can sometimes be “messy,” but “each ballot must be counted.”
21:00 A federal judge in Washington, DC, has ordered the US Postal Service to perform twice daily inspections of its processing centers, to check for mail-in votes postmarked on election day, but which may have arrived afterward.
The USPS processing centers have been urged to expedite any ballots found for delivery to election officials. Thursday’s order is set to remain in place until the end of each states’ deadline for accepting ballots.
20:30 The 2020 US election campaign cost some $14 billion (€12 billion), a record sum that was spent in both the presidential and the legislative contests.
It was nearly double the amount spent in the 2016 election and more than triple the sum spent of the 2000 election, according to the Center for Responsive Politics, a non-partisan research group that studies the role of money in politics.
There was unprecedented spending in the presidential contest, which is expected to see $6.6 billion in total spending, up from around $2.4 billion in the 2016 race.
20:00 Joe Biden has a very slim edge in most of the states that are still counting ballots, here is the state of the race:
Arizona (11 electoral votes): Biden currently leads by 2.4%, or more than 68,000 votes. Some 86% of the votes have already been counted. A bulk of the ballots that remain to be counted are in densely populated Maricopa County, which includes the city of Phoenix.
Georgia (16 electoral votes): Trump is leading by a razor-thin margin of 0.3% or about 13,000 votes. Some 98% of votes have been tallied and a complete vote count is expected by Thursday evening local time.
Nevada (6 electoral votes): Biden is leading with 1%, or around 11,000 votes. Some 89% of the total votes have been counted. Joe Gloria, the registrar of Clark County, the largest in the state, said at least 63,262 ballots were left to count but that some mail-in ballots postmarked by Election Day are still arriving. A total count is not expected until Saturday.
Pennsylvania (20 electoral votes): Trump leads by 1.5%, or 108,772 votes. Some 92% of ballots have so far been counted. The Biden campaign has said that it is confident it can win the battleground state. A result is expected by Friday, but officials in the state say they could be ready by as early as Thursday night local time.
North Carolina (15 electoral votes): Trump leads with 1.4%, or more than 76,000 votes. Some 95% of the ballots have been counted. Officials there have not said when the total vote count could be delivered.
19:00 A Michigan judge has rejected a lawsuit brought by President Donald Trump’s campaign that sought to halt vote-counting in the state. Democratic challenger Joe Biden has been projected to win Michigan, a state that Trump won in 2016.
Michigan Court of Claims Judge Cynthia Stephens said she had “no basis to find that there is a substantial likelihood of success on the merits.”
A judge in Georgia also dismissed a legal challenge by the Trump campaign concerning some 53 absentee ballots in Chatham County, which leans Democratic. The judge threw out the suit after county election officials testified that all of those ballots had been received on time.
The Trump campaign announced that it would launch additional legal action in Pennsylvania and Nevada. Campaign manager Bill Stepien told reporters on a conference call that Trump was “alive and well” with regard to the presidential race.
The campaign predicted that the Republican incumbent would win the US election by as early as Friday evening.
Catch up on earlier developments here
wmr, jcg/rt (AP, AFP, Reuters, dpa)