Democratic presidential candidate Joe Biden took a lead over President Donald Trump in the battleground states of Georgia and Pennsylvania on Friday, putting him on track to win more than the 270 electoral votes needed to become the next United States president.
In Pennsylvania, Biden moved ahead of Trump by 8,867 votes, whereas in Georgia, he had opened up a 1,096-vote lead. However, Brad Raffensperger, Georgia’s secretary of state, said there will be a recount in the state. Biden is also leading in Nevada and Arizona. Currently, the former vice president has a 253 to 213 lead in the state-by-state Electoral College vote that determines the winner.
Earlier in the day, Trump again made unsubstantiated claims that he has been cheated out of winning the elections by Democrats. The president’s campaign also lost court rulings in the states of Georgia and Michigan. In Michigan, the campaign had sought to stop counting of absentee ballots, while in Georgia it had alleged that even improper ballots were being counted.
(All time stamps are in Indian Standard Time.)
10.59 pm: Here’s a quick look at what has happened today
- Democratic presidential candidate Joe Biden inched closer to the 270 electoral votes needed to become the next United States president. He is ahead of President Donald Trump in the battleground states of Georgia and Pennsylvania. Biden is also leading in Nevada and Arizona.
- Brad Raffensperger, Georgia’s secretary of state, said there will be a recount in the state. “With a margin that small, there will be a recount in Georgia,” he told reporters in Atlanta.
- House Speaker Nancy Pelosi, the top Democrat in Congress, called Biden the “president-elect” of the United States. “This morning it is clear that the Biden-Harris ticket will win the White House,” she told reporters after Biden leads in Pennsylvania. “President-Elect Biden has a strong mandate to lead.”
- United States President Donald Trump’s campaign said that the election was not yet over. Matt Morgan, Trump’s 2020 election campaign general counsel, said that Biden’s projection as winner was based on the result of the four states that are not final. “Georgia is headed for for a recount, where we are confident we will find ballot improperly harvested, and where president Trump will ultimately prevail,” the statement said.
- Earlier in the day, United States President Donald Trump claimed the election result so far was part of a broad conspiracy to deprive him of a second term by Democrats. He renewed his claims that Democrats are trying to “steal” the election from him. “If you count the legal votes I easily win,” Trump added, providing no evidence for his claim. “If you count the illegal votes, they can try to steal the election from us.”
- Facebook bans an online group called “Stop the Steal” that United States President Donald Trump’s supporters were using to organise protests against the counting of votes. Some of the members of the group had called for violence, while many claimed that Democrats were “stealing” the election from Republicans.
10.44 pm: Senator Roy Blunt hints at Republican leaders’ reluctance to follow Donald Trump if he tries attempts to disrupt the peaceful transfer of power.
“You can’t stop the count in one state and decide you want the count to continue in another state,” he tells The Guardian. “That might be how you’d like to see the system work but that’s not how the system works. Part of the obligation of leadership is you should always have in your mind how do I leave.”
10.40 pm: The latest on the vote counting in three key states, according to CNN.
- Pennsylvania: Joe Biden has widened his lead. His is now 8,867 votes ahead of Donald Trump.
- Georgia: Here too Biden is leading by 1,585 votes.
- Nevada: The Democratic nominee’s lead increases over 22,000 votes.
10.25 pm: India says bilateral ties with the US will not be affected by the outcome of the presidential elections, reports Hindustan Times.
“Like you, we are awaiting the election results,” external affairs ministry spokesperson Anurag Srivastava tells the media. “What I can tell you is that India-US relations rest on strong foundations and our relations encompass cooperation in every possible sphere, extending from strategic to defence to investment to trade to people-to-people ties.”
10.12 pm: Former astronaut Mark Kelly, a Democrat, is projected to win the Senate race in Arizona, according to local media reports.
10.10 pm: Biden’s leads in Pennsylvania and Nevada widen, reports The Guardian. In Pennsylvania, the Democratic candidate’s lead now stands at 9,027 votes even as results come in from Philadelphia. His lead in Nevada has also increased to 22,076.
9.49 pm: Maricopa county, the most populous in Arizona, has released a new batch of ballots. According to the latest figures, Joe Biden has 9,72,570 votes, while Donald Trump has 9,12,115 votes, reports CNN.
9.44 pm: Nancy Pelosi says Joe Biden has a “tremendous mandate”. She expresses her confidence in Biden by saying that “pretty soon the hyphen will change from vice-president to president-elect”.
9.42 pm: Speaker of the House Nancy Pelosi, the top Democratic lawmaker in Washington, is speaking from Capitol Hill about the election developments. She says it is clear that Joe Biden and his running mate Kamala Harris are on their way to the White House.
“Joe Biden is a unifier,” she says. “He is determined to bring people together.”
9.30 pm: Meanwhile, Donald Trump’s top economic adviser Larry Kudlow tells CNBC that he thinks there will be a peaceful transfer of power. However, Trump’s campaign has said that “this election is not over” as Joe Biden edges closer to victory.
“I think the markets have been remarkably calm and resilient and actually rather bullish these past six months,” he adds. “This is a great country, this is the greatest democracy in the world, and we abide by the rule of law and so will this president.”
9.22 pm: Georgia Secretary of State Brad Raffensperger says 4,169 votes have to be counted yet. He adds that some 8,000 military absentee ballots are still in the mail and will only be counted if they arrive by the end of the day.
“Right now Georgia remains too close to call,” he says.
9.19 pm: Brad Raffensperger, Georgia’s secretary of state, says there will be a recount in the state. Currently, Joe Biden leads Donald Trump by just 1,579 votes in Georgia.
“Emotions are high on all sides, we will not let those debates distract us from our work, we’ll get it right,” says Raffensperger.
9 pm: The latest on the vote counting in key states, according to CNN.
- Pennsylvania: Joe Biden is currently leading by 6,737 votes. Philadelphia has fewer than 20,000 ballots remaining.
- Georgia: Biden is currently up by 1,579 votes. A small number of absentee, provisional and overseas military ballots remain uncounted.
- Arizona: Biden’s lead in the vote count stands at 47,000 votes.
8.55 pm: On reports that President Donald Trump does not intend to concede if loses the presidential race, his spokesperson Andrew Bates says: “As we said on July 19th, the American people will decide this election. And the United States government is perfectly capable of escorting trespassers out of the White House.”
8.48 pm: Donald Trump again makes baseless claims as Joe Biden takes lead in Pennsylvania. “Philadelphia has got a rotten history on election integrity,” Trump tweets, attributing the quote to Stuart Varney of Fox Business.
Trump campaign’s earlier statement also indicates that the president has no intention of conceding as of now.
8.30 pm: Fox News, which has been one of Donald Trump’s staunchest allies in last few years, may soon declare Joe Biden to be the winner of the presidential race, but the network’s anchors have been instructed not to refer to the Democratic nominee as the “president-elect”, reports CNN, citing two memos.
8.22 pm: Residents of Pennsylvania are celebrating Joe Biden’s lead over Donald Trump by dancing in the streets.
8.15 pm: Trump’s campaign, in a statement, says “this election is not over” after Joe Biden appears to be on track to win the crucial state of Pennsylvania.
“The false projection of Joe Biden as the winner is based on results in four states that are far from final,” says Matt Morgan, the campaign’s general counsel. “There were many irregularities in Pennsylvania, including having election officials prevent our volunteer legal observers from having meaningful access to vote counting locations.”
7.52 pm: Philadelphia has about 25,000 ballots left to be counted, reports CNN, citing an official. This includes provisional ballots as well as ones that require review because of date and signature problems.
7.47 pm: The US federal government seems to be preparing for a presidential transition as CNN is reporting that airspace is now restricted over Joe Biden’s home in Wilmington, Delaware.
7.35 pm: Overall in Pennsylvania, Joe Biden has 32,95,304 votes, 49.4% of the total, whereas Trump has 32,89,717 votes, or 49.3%, according to CNN. Biden would surpass the 270 electoral votes needed to win the presidency if he manages to win the battleground state.
7.27 pm: The updated figures show that Joe Biden has taken the lead by 5,587 votes in Pennsylvania.
7.22 pm: Joe Biden has taken the lead in Pennsylvania over Donald Trump, according to both CNN and The New York Times. Winning Pennsylvania, with its 20 electoral votes, puts the White House within Biden’s reach.
7.05 pm: In Arizona, Joe Biden’s lead has narrowed to about 47,000 votes, according to The New York Times. Earlier, Donald Trump had said he is “on track to do OK in Arizona”.
6.58 pm: Secret Service agents have been sent to Delaware as former Vice President Joe Biden moves closer to winning the White House, reports CNN. “It’s not telegraphing any specific concern,” says an official.
6.46 pm: Republican Senate majority leader Mitch McConnell says every vote must be counted after Donald Trump suggested he had won states that have been called in favor of Biden and sharply criticised the election.
“Here’s how this must work in our great country: Every legal vote should be counted,” McConnell tweets. “Any illegally-submitted ballots must not. All sides must get to observe the process. And the courts are here to apply the laws & resolve disputes. That’s how Americans’ votes decide the result.”
6.26 pm: According to CNN projections, Joe Biden is currently leading in Georgia, Nevada and Arizona. Meanwhile, Trump is ahead of Biden in Pennsylvania and North Carolina.
Biden has a 253 to 213 lead in the state-by-state Electoral College vote that determines the winner.
6.25 pm: Former New Jersey Governor Chris Christie asks President Donald Trump to provide evidence for making unsubstantiated claims that he has been cheated out of winning the elections, reports CNN. Trump had said that Democrats were using “illegal votes” to “steal the election from us”.
“So if this stuff is going on that the President’s talking about, all of us want it ferreted out, because it would undercut everything that we believe in in our system,” Christie says. “But as a prosecutor, that’s like asking me to indict someone without showing me any evidence. If you’re gonna say those things from behind the podium at the White House – it’s his right to do it, it’s his right to pursue legal action, but show us the evidence.”
5.58 pm: Georgia’s Voting System Implementation Manager Gabriel Sterling says the state still has 8,197 absentee ballots left to be counted. “We’ve been telling people for two months,” he says. “Guess what? It’s not going to be Tuesday night or Wednesday.”
Joe Biden has pulled ahead in Georgia, which has not voted for a Democratic president since 1992.
5.56 pm: The Philadelphia police have detained two men after receiving a tip-off that an armed group from out of the state was heading to the city’s vote-counting center, reports The Washington Post.
5.50 pm: The latest tally in battleground states, according to NBC.
5.44 pm: The latest figures from CNN shows that Donald Trump is leading in Pennsylvania by a little more than 18,000 votes.
5.30 pm: In Georgia, Joe Biden has increased his lead to 1,096 over Donald Trump, reports The New York Times. Biden’s lead increased by 179 votes after additional reports from Clayton County.
5.22 pm: Supporters of President Donald Trump across the United States say that they no longer trust Fox News as the Rupert Murdoch-owned TV network announced more state-level victories for Joe Biden, reports The Guardian.
“Fox, you can’t even trust them,” says Rob Phail, 51, from Michigan, who has been leading Trump’s “stop the count” chants. “They’re the worst chameleons of all. So you’re like, OK, who do you trust?”
5.15 pm: Philadelphia City Commissioner Al Schmidt tells CNN that there will be a vote count update in “the next hour or two”. Tensions are high as Trump needs to hang onto both Pennsylvania and Georgia to win the race to the White House.
5 pm: What’s happening in the remaining states?
- Georgia: Only 1% of votes remain to be counted in the historically Republican state, where Biden is leading by around 1,000 votes right now. Trump needs Georgia to win the White House, as the state has 16 electoral votes.
- Pennsylvania: Around 5% of ballots are remaining in the state. Trump leads by around 18,200 votes. A counting update is expected from here in the next hour or two. The state has 20 electoral votes. If Biden wins here, he will be the next president.
- Arizona: Though AP and Fox News have called the state for Biden, Trump has caught up, decreasing the margin between him and his opponent to 47,000 votes. Around 90% of votes have been counted in the state. Arizona has 11 electoral votes.
- Nevada: Around 89% of the vote has been counted here. Biden leads by around 11,000 votes here. The state has six electoral votes.
- North Carolina: The state has 15 electoral votes. Trump leads here, with 76,737 more votes than Biden. Around 95% of the vote has been counted in the state.
4.10 pm: Where the votes stand right now, according to NBC.
4 pm: Biden is leading in Georgia by 1,096 votes now, reports Huffington Post.
3.38 pm: There are approximately 1.63 lakh uncounted absentee ballots in Pennsylvania, CNN reports. Philadelphia County has around 60,000 ballots left to be counted, while Allegheny County – which includes Pittsburgh – has around 36,000 votes remaining.
3.33 pm: It is 5.03 am in Georgia, where counting continues.
3.32 pm: Georgia was last won by the Democrats in 1992, and Trump won here by more than 2 lakh votes in 2016, according to The New York Times.
3.15 pm: Without Georgia, it is highly unlikely Trump can win the 270 electoral votes he needs to be re-elected. The state has 16 votes.
3.05 pm: Joe Biden takes the lead in Georgia, where he’s up by 917 votes.
2.22 pm: The president’s lead in Georgia is now down to 463 votes, according to CNN’s live coverage.
2 pm: With Trump’s lead in Georgia now less than 700 votes, it might be likely that a recount is called in the state. If that happens, Georgia’s results won’t be known for weeks.
A candidate can request a recount if the margin of winning is less than 0.5%.
Georgia holds 16 electoral college votes.
1.55 pm: Police are looking into an alleged plot to attack the counting centre in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania. Police were tipped off about an attack from a family driving up to the Pennsylvania Convention Center, reports 6ABC.
1.35 pm: One of his tweets is about how “Twitter is out of control”. The micro-blogging site has been marking all of the president’s tweets that contain misinformation.
1.32 pm: This is the tweet that Twitter has marked as “misleading”:
“I easily WIN the Presidency of the United States with LEGAL VOTES CAST. The OBSERVERS were not allowed, in any way, shape, or form, to do their job and therefore, votes accepted during this period must be determined to be ILLEGAL VOTES. U.S. Supreme Court should decide!”
1.31 pm: Donald Trump is on a tweeting spree again, and Twitter flags one of his three tweets as misleading.
1.30 pm: As counting continues in Georgia, Trump’s lead narrows to 665 votes, according to live coverage from MSNBC.
1.16 pm: As the US continues to count votes, the country breaks its own record of most coronavirus cases reported in a day. On Thursday, the US had over 1.2 lakh new cases of the infection, a day after it reported more than 1 lakh cases on Wednesday.
1 pm: Here is what’s happening right now:
- Georgia, which has 16 electoral votes, has about 1% of votes left to be counted. Trump holds a lead of just about 1,800 votes in the state as per the last counting update.
- Pennsylvania is still counting, and Trump’s lead has been steadily shrinking there. Around 5% of votes remain to be counted, and as of now, Trump leads by a little over 18,000 votes. The state might be the most crucial since it has the most electoral college votes among the ones remaining – 20. Trump cannot win the election unless he wins the state.
- Nevada – which has become the centre of many a social media joke for its counting speed – has to count about 11% of votes. Currently, Biden leads by a thin margin of around 11,400 votes. Nevada has six electoral votes.
12.24 pm: Trump’s lead in Pennsylvania narrows further to 18,042, reports Huffington Post.
12.05 pm: The vote margin gets thinner in Pennsylvania, with Trump leading now only by a little over 22,300 votes. Trump has 49.59% of the vote so far, and Biden 49.26%. The state would make a huge difference to whichever candidate wins it, since it has a whopping 20 electoral votes.
11.35 am: The Secret Service plans to send security to Joe Biden in preparation for the possibility that he might be the next president, The Washington Post reports, quoting unidentified officials.
11.23 am: Since Tuesday, as the US has anxiously waited for votes to be be counted in its presidential elections, several Indians have half-jokingly taken to social media to advise Americans to outsource their poll process to the Election Commission of India.
Over the decades, the ECI has earned praise from observers around the world for the efficient manner in which it conducts the world’s most complex polling exercises.
It is pertinent to note, however, the US system’s delayed results were expected in a year where a pandemic is still raging. Even more importantly, as others have pointed out, democracy involves more than the exercise of merely conducting elections.
11.19 am: No further vote updates will come in from Georgia for the next few hours, according CNN. Trump currently holds a thin lead of 1,805 votes in the state.
Georgia has 14,097 votes left to count.
11 am: Multiple television news networks in the US broke away from Trump’s live speech earlier in the day, as he ranted about unsubstantiated claims of voter fraud, AFP reports. MSNBC, ABC and NBC News broke away from his remarks.
“OK, here we are again in the unusual position of not only interrupting the president of the United States but correcting the president of the United States,” MSNBC anchor Brian Williams said as the network cut away from Trump.
10.51 am: Climate change activist Greta Thunberg mocks Trump’s allegations of voter fraud using his own words from 2019.
“So ridiculous,” she tweets. “Donald must work on his Anger Management problem, then go to a good old fashioned movie with a friend! Chill, Donald, Chill!”
Trump had tweeted the same words in response to Thunberg being announced Time’s person of the year in 2019.
10.38 am: Facebook plans to implement new measures to rein in the spread of misinformation during vote counting, reports The New York Times. The measures might be rolled out within the day. Content on Facebook and Instagram will be demoted if found to contain misinformation, and users will face an extra step when they attempt to share certain messages or labelled content.
“We are also limiting the distribution of Live videos that may relate to the election on Facebook,” Facebook spokesman Andy Stone tells CNN. “As vote counting continues, we are seeing more reports of inaccurate claims about the election. While many of these claims have low engagement on our platform, we are taking additional temporary steps, which we’ve previously discussed, to keep this content from reaching more people.”
10.24 am: Armed supporters of President Trump gather in front of the Phoenix building where ballots were being counted in Arizona’s largest county, The New York Times reports.
10.16 am: Protests continue across United States as demonstrators took to streets of several cities to demand that counting be allowed to continue, while Trump supporters call for counting to stop.
Seen below are supporters Donald Trump gathering to protest about the early results of the 2020 presidential election, in front of the Maricopa County Tabulation and Election Center in Phoenix, Arizona.
Black Lives Matter counter-protesters hold up an inverted US flag at supporters of Donald Trump taking part in a “Stop the Steal” protest outside Milwaukee Central Count,Wisconsin.
10.08 am: In Georgia, President Trump’s lead over Democrat Joe Biden has shrunk to 1,775 votes, CNN reports. There are approximately 14,097 ballots still outstanding across Georgia, according to a statement by Secretary of State Brad Raffensperger.
10.02 am: Election officials from Georgia have announced that starting on Friday, they would conduct an audit of the election result before certifying the winner of the presidential election, The Hill reports. Earlier in the day, a federal court of the state dismissed a lawsuit filed by the Trump campaign over the state’s handling of absentee ballots.
9.55 am: Facebook bans “Stop the Steal” campaign, a page created by supporters of Donald Trump to rally people around a conspiracy theory that Democratic candidate Joe Biden is attempting to “steal” the election, The New York Times reports.
Tom Reynolds, a Facebook spokesman, says the social network removed the Stop the Steal group as part of the “exceptional measures” it was taking on the election. “The group was organised around the delegitimization of the election process, and we saw worrying calls for violence from some members of the group,” he adds.
9.51 am: With no new states called for either Donald Trump or Joe Biden on Friday, here’s an analysis by CNN on who is currently leading in the key battlegrounds:
8.35 am: As the Trump campaign continued to push for a legal challenge based on unsubstantiated allegations of voter fraud, Democrat Joe Biden says, “No one is going to take our democracy away from us”. “America has come too far, fought too many battles, and endured too much to let that happen,” he tweets.
8.20 am: A quick look at what’s happening:
- With just a handful of states yet to be decided, Biden leads over Trump in the still-developing election results, but the president does still have a narrow path to the 270 electoral votes needed to win reelection. To prevail, Trump would have to win all five remaining battleground states; Biden would have to win one, according to AP.
- Biden is 17 electoral votes shy of reaching the 270-mark, while President Trump needs to win 56 more electoral votes, according to CNN.
- Five states – Arizona, Georgia, Nevada, North Carolina, Pennsylvania – are too close to call, although new tallies showed Trump’s lead dwindling in Georgia, Arizona and Pennsylvania.
- Trump called a news conference at the White House, where he once again made claims about “illegal” votes, secret counts and offered conspiracy theories about how the Democrat forces were working to “steal” the election from him.
- Trump’s campaign engaged in a flurry of legal activity, requesting a recount in Wisconsin and filing lawsuits in Pennsylvania, Michigan and Georgia. But their pleas were dismissed by federal courts of Georgia and Michigan.
8.17 am: In Georgia too, Joe Biden cut into President Trump’s narrow lead, with new results released in Clayton Country tipping the balance in the Democrat’s favour, CNN reports. Of the roughly 1,300 votes released, 1,154 were Biden’s while 165 were for President Trump, giving Biden 86% of the votes in that tranche.
8.16 am: Joe Biden’s lead in Arizona continues to narrow, with Trump receiving 42,276 and Biden with 31,700 in the latest batch of counted votes, CNN reports. Biden has 50.1% of the vote in the state compared to Trump’s 48.5%.
6.45 am: Joe Biden projects optimism about the election results and vote counts, saying, “The process is working”. “Democracy is sometimes messy,” Biden tells reporters in Wilmington, Delaware. “It sometimes requires a little patience as well.”
“The senator [Kamala Harris] and I continue to feel very good about where things stand. We have no doubt that when the count is finished Senator Harris and I will be declared the winners. So, I ask everyone to stay calm – all people to stay calm. The process is working. The count is being completed. And we’ll know very soon. So thank you all for your patience but we’ve got to count the votes.”— Joe Biden
6.37 am: Judges in Georgia and Michigan dismissed Trump campaign lawsuits, undercutting a campaign legal strategy to attack the integrity of the voting process in states where the result could mean the president’s defeat, AP reports.
In Michigan, the campaign had sought to stop counting of absentee ballots, while in Georgia it had alleged that even improper ballots were being counted.
The rulings came as Democrat Joe Biden inched closer to the 270 Electoral College votes needed to win the White House, and Trump and his campaign promised even more legal action based on unsubstantiated allegations of voter fraud.
6.35 am: In his first public appearance since late on Election Night, Trump amplifies the conspiracy theories amid the trappings of presidential power.“This is a case when they are trying to steal an election, they are trying to rig an election,” says Trump of Democrats, whom he accused of corruption while providing no evidence.
The incumbent president claims that a count of legally cast ballots would show him winning the presidential election “If you count the legal votes I easily win,” Trump says, providing no evidence for his claim. “If you count the illegal votes, they can try to steal the election from us.”
6.29 am: Here’s a quick recap:
- The presidential race between President Donald Trump and former Vice President Joe Biden remained on a razor’s edge as election workers in key states continue to count hundreds of thousands of ballots. Five states – Arizona, Georgia, Nevada, North Carolina, Pennsylvania – are too close to call.
- Biden is pushing closer to the 270 Electoral College votes needed to carry the White House, after securing victories in the battlegrounds of Wisconsin and Michigan .
- His path to victory narrow, Trump pushed unsupported allegations of electoral misconduct in a series of tweets and insisted the ongoing vote count of ballots submitted before and on Election Day must cease.
- Protestors took to streets of several cities to demand that counting be allowed to continue, while others have called for counting to stop.