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US elections: Biden nears victory as Trump launches lawsuit blitz

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Democrat Joe Biden inched nearer to victory on Thursday over US President Donald Trump in an exceedingly close US election that hinged on razor-thin margins in a handful of states, while the Republican president launched a flurry of lawsuits hoping to overcome his opponent.Tensions rose in some places as the ballot counting dragged on two days after polls closed, with a second day of sometimes dueling street demonstrations over the integrity of the election.Biden, the former US vice president, was continuing to cut into Trump’s leads in Pennsylvania and Georgia while holding on to slim margins in Nevada and Arizona.Trump, who during the long and rancorous campaign attacked the integrity of the US voting system, has again alleged voting fraud without providing evidence, filed lawsuits and called for at least one state recount.Trump’s campaign called for a recount in Wisconsin, where Biden led by roughly 21,000 votes out of 3.3 million cast, a margin slim enough to entitle him to a recount. However, elections experts said a recount in Wisconsin was seen as unlikely to alter the result.Trump’s campaign announced plans to file a Nevada lawsuit alleging a series of voting irregularities in populous Clark County, which includes Las Vegas, such as voting by people who left the state or were deceased.His campaign also filed lawsuits in Michigan and Pennsylvania to stop vote counting. Michigan Secretary of State Jocelyn Benson, in charge of elections, called the Trump team’s lawsuit “frivolous.”
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JUSTIN CLARK, Trump 2020 deputy campaign manager and senior counsel, said in a statement on Thursday that “in a major victory for election integrity… the Trump campaign has prevailed in our suit challenging our Republican poll watchers’ complete lack of any meaningful access to the ballot processing and counting process.”

Trump’s campaign filed a lawsuit in Georgia to require that Chatham County, which includes the city of Savannah, separate and secure late-arriving ballots to ensure that they are not counted.It also asked the US Supreme Court to allow Trump to join a pending lawsuit filed by Pennsylvania Republicans over whether the battleground state should be permitted to accept late-arriving ballots that were mailed by Election Day.Some legal experts called the challenges a long shot unlikely to affect the eventual outcome of the election, one of the most unusual presidential races in modern US history due to the novel coronavirus pandemic. Concern about the virus caused a huge jump in people voting by mail, delaying the results.Still, Biden was leading in Wisconsin, Nevada and Arizona and closing in on Trump in Georgia and Pennsylvania.Multiple Trump lawsuits and a recount request would have to succeed and find in some cases tens of thousands of invalid ballots to reverse the results if Biden does prevail.“What we are seeing on these legal suits is that they are meritless, and nothing more than an attempt to distract and delay what is now inevitable: Joe Biden will be the next president of the United States,” Biden’s campaign manager Jen O’Malley Dillon told reporters.TRUMP’S CAMPAIGN predicted victory, with campaign manager Bill Stepien saying, “Donald Trump is alive and well” in the election.Some of the outstanding votes in Georgia and Pennsylvania were clustered in places expected to lean Democratic – like the Atlanta and Philadelphia areas.In Georgia, officials expressed hope that they would have a resolution in their vote count by the end of Thursday. Trump’s eroding lead stood at around 9,000, with about 2% of the ballots remaining to be tallied. The president’s lead was about 90,000 votes in Pennsylvania, with about 7% of the ballots left to be counted.Georgia Secretary of State Brad Raffensperger said on Thursday afternoon that “there are approximately 50,401 ballots still outstanding.”Pennsylvania Secretary of State Kathy Boockvar estimated in an interview with CNN that the state could report “the overwhelming majority of votes” by Thursday night, US time. There were an estimated 550,000 votes outstanding as of Thursday morning. “They have been doing this as quickly as they can but it takes time,” she said of the counting process.Clark County registrar of voters Joe Gloria said on Thursday that he expects to have “the bulk” of the mail ballots done by Saturday or Sunday. “We won’t complete until November 12th,” he said, rejecting claims of voter fraud. Gloria added that some 50,000 outstanding ballots will be counted in Clark County on Thursday and would be reported by Friday at 10 a.m.Jon Ralston, editor of the Nevada Independent website tweeted that with Biden leading by 11.4 thousand votes in Nevada, Democrats are expected to win the outstanding 63,000 mail ballots from Election Day. “That leaves 60K provisionals, which have been evenly split. I see no path left for Trump here,” he tweeted.TRUMP HAS  to win the states where he is still ahead, including North Carolina, plus either Arizona or Nevada, to triumph and avoid becoming the first incumbent US president to lose a reelection bid since fellow Republican George H. W. Bush did in 1992.The president appears to have grown more upset as his leads in some states have diminished or evaporated during the counting. On Thursday morning, he weighed in on Twitter, writing, “STOP THE COUNT!” and “STOP THE FRAUD!” although he has no authority over ballot counting.He has been talking to state governors as well as close friends and advisers, and dispatched some of these closest advisers out into the field to fight for him.To capture the White House, a candidate must amass at least 270 votes in the state-by-state Electoral College. Such electoral votes are based largely on a state’s population. Edison Research, which does market research and exit polling, gave Biden a 243 to 213 lead in Electoral College votes. Other news outlets said Biden had won Wisconsin, which would give him another 10 votes.The exceedingly close election has underscored the political polarization in the US and the deep divisions along racial, socioeconomic, religious and generational lines as well as between urban and rural areas.The counting and court challenges set the stage for days if not weeks of uncertainty before December 8, the deadline to resolve election disputes. The president is sworn into office on January 20, 2021.Biden had drawn about 3.6 million more votes than Trump nationwide. Trump defeated Democrat Clinton in 2016 after winning crucial battleground states and securing the Electoral College win even though she won about 3 million more in the popular votes nationwide.



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