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US Election live: Georgia says will recount razor-thin vote – News

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Almost complete results as of Friday morning showed Biden leading by just over 1,500 votes in Georgia.

US President Donald Trump is testing how far he can go in using the trappings of presidential power to undermine confidence in this week’s election against Joe Biden, as the Democrat gained ground in tight contests in some key battleground states.

With his pathway to re-election appearing to shrink, Trump on Thursday advanced unsupported accusations of voter fraud to falsely argue that his rival was trying to seize power. It amounted to an extraordinary effort by a sitting American president to sow doubt about the democratic process.

The president’s remarks deepened a sense of anxiety in the US as Americans enter their third full day after the election without knowing who would serve as president for the next four years. His statements also prompted a rebuke from some Republicans, particularly those looking to steer the party in a different direction in a post-Trump era.

Neither candidate has reached the 270 Electoral College votes needed to win the White House. But Biden eclipsed Trump in Wisconsin and Michigan, two crucial Midwestern battleground states, overtook the president in Georgia and was inching closer to doing the same in Pennsylvania, where votes were still be counted.

It was unclear when a national winner would be determined after a long, bitter campaign dominated by the coronavirus and its effects on Americans and the national economy. The US on Wednesday set another record for daily confirmed cases as several states posted all-time highs. The pandemic has killed more than 233,000 people in the United States.



The Latest on the presidential campaign (all times in UAE local):


12:25am

The US state of Georgia said Friday it will recount votes from the election in which Joe Biden has eked out a razor-thin lead over President Donald Trump.

“With a margin that small, there will be a recount in Georgia,” Georgia Secretary of State Brad Raffensperger told reporters in Atlanta.

Raffensperger, the top elected official overseeing elections, said that the presidential contest in the state “remains too close to call.”

Almost complete results as of Friday morning showed Biden leading by just over 1,500 votes in Georgia, where changing demographics and strong turnout from African-Americans have put in play a Southern state once seen as reliably backing Trump’s Republicans.

Georgia is equally critical as it is the only state holding elections for both its Senate seats this year, meaning it will determine which party is in control.

Under Georgia’s system, Senate races go to a run-off if no candidate receives 50 percent in the first round.

“The final tally in Georgia at this point has huge implications for the entire country,” Raffensperger said.

“The stakes are high and emotions are high on all sides. We will not let those debates distract us from our work. We’ll get it right and we’ll defend the integrity of our elections.”

He said that Georgia was letting observers from both campaigns watch the counting after Trump, with no evidence, alleged widespread fraud nationwide.

11:20pm

US President Donald Trump on Friday vowed to continue his legal fight, as his Democratic rival Joe Biden edged closer to securing enough votes to win the presidency and was expected to give a prime-time televised address on Friday night.

“We will pursue this process through every aspect of the law to guarantee that the American people have confidence in our government. I will never give up fighting for you and our nation,” Trump said in a statement released by the White House.

7:50pm

Georgia state likely to go through recount in US presidential election: Secretary of state

Georgia’s Secretary of State Brad Raffensperger on Friday said he expects a recount due to the small margin for the presidential election in the battleground state, where Democrat Joe Biden has a small lead over President Donald Trump of just over 1,000 votes.

6:30pm

Biden took the lead over Trump in the battleground states of Pennsylvania and Georgia for the first time on Friday, putting him on the verge of winning the White House.

Three days after polls closed, Biden has a 253 to 214 lead in the state-by-state Electoral College vote that determines the winner, according to most major television networks. Winning Pennsylvania’s 20 electoral votes would put the former vice president over the 270 he needs to secure the presidency.

Biden would also win the election if he prevails in two of the three other key states where he held narrow leads on Friday: Georgia, Arizona and Nevada. Like Pennsylvania, all three were still processing ballots on Friday.

With his re-election chances fading, Trump escalated his baseless attacks on the results, appearing at the White House on Thursday evening to falsely claim the election was being “stolen” from him. His campaign is pursuing a series of lawsuits across battleground states that legal experts described as unlikely to succeed in altering the election outcome.

In both Pennsylvania and Georgia, Biden overtook Trump on the strength of mail-in ballots that were cast in urban Democratic strongholds like Philadelphia and Atlanta.

In Pennsylvania, Biden moved ahead of Trump by 5,587 votes on Friday morning, while in Georgia, he had opened up a 1,097-vote lead. Both margins were expected to grow as additional ballots were tallied.

Biden would be the first Democrat to win Georgia since Bill Clinton in 1992.

In Arizona, Biden’s lead had narrowed on Thursday to about 47,000 votes, and in Nevada he was ahead by about 11,500.

Pennsylvania, one of three traditionally Democratic had long been seen as crucial to the 2020 race, and both candidates lavished enormous sums of money and time on the state.

As the country held its breath for a result in the White House race, Georgia and Pennsylvania officials expressed optimism they would finish counting on Friday, while Arizona and Nevada were still expected to take days to complete their vote totals.

TRUMP’S DIMINISHING LEADS

Trump has sought to portray as fraudulent the slow counting of mail-in ballots, which surged in popularity due to fears of exposure to the coronavirus through in-person voting. As counts from those ballots have been tallied, they have eroded the initial strong leads the president had in states like Georgia and Pennsylvania.

States have historically taken time after Election Day to tally all votes.

The close election has underscored the nation’s deep political divides, and if he wins Biden will likely face a difficult task governing in a deeply polarized Washington.

Republicans could keep control of the US Senate pending the outcome of four undecided Senate races, including two in Georgia, and they would likely block large parts of his legislative agenda, including expanding healthcare and fighting climate change.

The winner will have to tackle a pandemic that has killed more than 234,000 people in the United States and left millions more out of work, even as the country still grapples with the aftermath of months of unrest over race relations and police brutality.

Trump fired off several tweets in the early morning hours on Friday, and repeated some of 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 flagged the post as possibly misleading, something it has done to numerous posts by Trump since Election Day.

In an extraordinary assault on the democratic process, Trump appeared in the White House briefing room on Thursday evening and baselessly alleged the election was being “stolen” from him.

Offering no evidence, Trump lambasted election workers and sharply criticized polling before the election that he said was designed to suppress the vote because it favored Biden.

Trump’s campaign, meanwhile, has filed lawsuits in several states, though judges in Georgia and Michigan quickly rejected challenges there. Biden campaign senior legal adviser Bob Bauer called them part of a “broader misinformation campaign.”

‘RIG AN ELECTION’

“They’re trying to rig an election, and we can’t let that happen,” said Trump, who spoke in the White House briefing room but took no questions. Several TV networks cut away during his remarks, with anchors saying they needed to correct his statements.

Biden, who earlier in the day urged patience as votes were counted, responded on Twitter: “No one is going to take our democracy away from us. Not now, not ever.”

Trump supporters, some carrying guns, ramped up their demonstrations against the process on Thursday night. In Arizona, Trump and Biden supporters briefly scuffled outside the Maricopa County Elections Department in Phoenix.

In Philadelphia, police said they arrested one man and seized a weapon as part of an investigation into a purported plot to attack the city’s Pennsylvania Convention Center, where votes were being counted.

2:27pm

In battleground state of Georgia, Biden overtakes Trump by 917 votes

Democratic presidential candidate Joe Biden pulled ahead in the battleground state of Georgia by 917 votes, CNN reported on Friday, as the tallying of votes continues in the state.

Biden is locked in a tight election race with President Donald Trump in which no candidate currently has enough Electoral College votes to be declared the winner.

2:27pm

Biden sees path to 270; Trump attacks election integrity

President Donald Trump is testing how far he can go in using the trappings of presidential power to undermine confidence in this week’s election against Joe Biden, as the Democrat gained ground in tight contests in some key battleground states.

With his pathway to re-election appearing to shrink, Trump on Thursday advanced unsupported accusations of voter fraud to falsely argue that his rival was trying to seize power. It amounted to an extraordinary effort by a sitting American president to sow doubt about the democratic process.

“This is a case when they are trying to steal an election, they are trying to rig an election,” Trump said from the podium of the White House briefing room.

The president’s remarks deepened a sense of anxiety in the U.S. as Americans enter their third full day after the election without knowing who would serve as president for the next four years. His statements also prompted a rebuke from some Republicans, particularly those looking to steer the party in a different direction in a post-Trump era.

Neither candidate has reached the 270 Electoral College votes needed to win the White House. But Biden eclipsed Trump in Wisconsin and Michigan, two crucial Midwestern battleground states, overtook the president in Georgia and was inching closer to doing the same in Pennsylvania, where votes were still be counted.

It was unclear when a national winner would be determined after a long, bitter campaign dominated by the coronavirus and its effects on Americans and the national economy. The U.S. on Wednesday set another record for daily confirmed cases as several states posted all-time highs. The pandemic has killed more than 233,000 people in the United States.


1:10pm

German foreign minister says US is more than a one-man show

The United States is more than a one man show and good losers are more important for the working of democracy than great winners, German Foreign Minister Heiko Maas said on Friday in an interview with the RND media group.

“The USA is more than a one-man show. Those who continue to add fuel to the fire in the current situation are acting irresponsibly,” Maas said in the interview, which appeared in Berliner Morgenpost and other newspapers.


12:40pm

Judge denies Trump campaign bid to halt Philadelphia count

A federal judge denied an emergency request from US President Donald Trump’s campaign on Thursday to stop ballot counting in Philadelphia so long as Republican observers were not present.

Trump’s campaign had sued Philadelphia County’s Board of Elections earlier in the day to seek an emergency injunction.

The campaign said election officials were “intentionally refusing to allow any representatives and poll watchers for President Trump and the Republican Party”. The lawsuit was filed with the federal court in Philadelphia.

“As stated during today’s emergency injunction hearing, in light of the parties’ agreement, plaintiff’s motion is denied without prejudice,” US District Judge Paul Diamond said in a one-sentence order late on Thursday.

A state appellate court ruled earlier in the day that more Republican observers could enter the building in Philadelphia where poll workers were counting ballots.


11:30am

Two detained outside Pennsylvania vote count centre

US police have detained two men outside a Philadelphia polling station in Pennsylvania, a battleground state yet to declare a winner in the presidential election, local media reported on Friday.

Ballot counting continues in four crucial states days after Tuesday’s vote, with Democrat Joe Biden still confident of capturing the presidency from incumbent Donald Trump. Trump, narrowly ahead in Pennsylvania, has made unsubstantiated claims about vote rigging in these key states.

Shortly after 10pm (0300 GMT) two men were detained outside the Philadelphia Convention Centre where vote counting is ongoing, according to the Philadephia Inquirer.

The local newspaper said the men were detained following a tip-off, first reported by 6ABC Action News Thursday night, that an armed group were heading to the center. No injuries have been reported.

The hugely contentious US election has come down to four states – Pennsylvania, Arizona, Georgia and Nevada – deciding the victor. Since Election Day the president has fired off tweets calling for ballot counting to be stopped, and contended without proof there has been voter fraud. But his tweets have been masked with notices telling people the claims are misleading.


10am

Philadelphia police probe alleged plot to attack vote counting venue

Philadelphia police said on Friday they are investigating an alleged plot to attack the city’s Pennsylvania Convention Center, where votes from the hotly contested presidential election are being counted.

Local police received a tip about a Hummer with armed people driving up from Virginia with plans to attack the convention center, a police representative said.

Police took at least one man into custody and seized a weapon as well as the Hummer about which they had received a tip. No injuries were reported and no further details about the alleged plot were disclosed.


9:10am

Photos: Protests spread across US as votes are counted

A second day of sometimes duelling demonstrations over the integrity of the presidential election continued across the US as ballot counting dragged on in a handful of states that would decide the outcome.


8:15am

Trump Senate allies attack legitimacy of vote count

Two Senate allies of Donald Trump on Thursday warned that Republicans may reject the legitimacy of vote results if they turn against the embattled president.

As a few Republicans distanced themselves from Trump’s unsubstantiated allegations of fraud in Tuesday’s election, Senators Lindsey Graham and Ted Cruz enthusiastically backed him in back-to-back appearances on Fox News.

“I’ll tell you the president is angry and I’m angry and the voters ought to be angry,” Cruz told the network’s host Sean Hannity, whose evening show is a favorite of Trump. Cruz alleged falsely that Pennsylvania’s Democratic attorney general had ordered vote-counting in the state’s largest city of Philadelphia “until Joe Biden wins.” “We need to get in there now,” Cruz said of voting centers.

Pennsylvania officials say they will continue counting votes from Tuesday’s election until they have accounted for all ballots. The state’s Republican-led legislature had refused to allow the counting of votes before Election Day despite a deluge of mail-in ballots due to safety concerns in the Covid-19 pandemic.

The final ballots being counted are largely from Philadelphia and are expected to favour Biden, who would capture the White House with a victory in the state.

Asked by Hannity if the Pennsylvania legislature could refuse to recognize the results and instead give the state’s electoral votes to Trump, Graham replied, “I think everything should be on the table.” “Philadelphia elections are crooked as a snake. Why are they shutting people out? Because they don’t want people to see what they’re doing,” said Graham, who easily won reelection Tuesday in South Carolina despite a major push by Democrats.

Trump’s campaign has pushed for its observers to have closer access to vote counting.


7:20am

US networks break from live Trump address due to ‘lies’

Several US TV networks late Thursday halted live coverage of Donald Trump’s first public appearance since election night after concluding that the president was spreading disinformation.

Trump unleashed a flood of incendiary and unsubstantiated claims in a 17-minute address, insisting that Democrats were using “illegal votes” to “steal the election from us.”

The president spoke as late vote counting in battleground states showed Democrat Joe Biden steadily closing in on victory.

“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,” said MSNBC anchor Brian Williams, as the network quickly ended its live coverage.

NBC and ABC News also pulled the plug on their live coverage of Trump.

“What a sad night for the United states of America to hear their president say that, to falsely accuse people of trying to steal the election,” said CNN’s Jake Tapper.

He described it as “lie after lie after lie about the election being stolen,” with no evidence, “just smears.”


6:30am

Election officials worried by threats and protesters

Election officials in several states say they are worried about the safety of their staffs amid a cascade of threats and protesters responding to President Donald Trump’s baseless insistence of widespread voter fraud in the race for the White House

Election officials in several states said Thursday they are worried about the safety of their staffs amid a stream of threats and gatherings of angry protesters outside their doors, drawn by President Donald Trump’s baseless claims of widespread fraud in the race for the White House.

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. While the protests have not been violent or very large, local officials were distressed and concerned by the relentless accusations.

On Thursday, about 100 Trump supporters gathered again in front of the Maricopa County election center in Phoenix, some carrying military-style rifles and handguns. Arizona laws allows people to openly carry firearms.

Authorities at the center used fences to create a “freedom of speech zone” and keep the entrance to the building open. The crowd took turns chanting – “Count the votes!” and “Four more years!” – and complaining through a megaphone about the voting process.


6:15am

US election hanging on results of key states

The outcome of the US presidential election remained in the balance late Thursday as a handful of battleground states complete their vote counts.

Democrat Joe Biden has racked up at least 253 of the 270 electoral votes that he needs, according to US network projections – and 264 if Arizona is included, which Fox News and The Associated Press have called in his favor.

Donald Trump has amassed 214 electoral votes so far, and is still in contention in several states that would afford the Republican incumbent a path to reelection.

Expected to report final vote counts Thursday night or Friday are Georgia (16 electoral votes), North Carolina (15), and Nevada (6).

However, mail-in ballots sent on or before Election Day in North Carolina can be counted until November 12.

Biden could reach the magic number to gain the White House with a win in any of the three, if he keeps Arizona. Trump needs to capture all three to stay competitive.


6:10am

Trump sons stand by their father’s election claims

While Donald Trump’s political allies remained silent or distanced themselves Thursday from the US president, increasingly alone in his fight against what he says is widespread election “fraud”, his oldest sons declared their filial loyalty.

Donald Trump Jr., the eldest, called on his father in a tweet to wage “total war” against the cheating that he believes is tainting the presidential election.

The inflammatory tweet was framed by some, including the New York Post, as a clear sign of growing panic in the Trump camp over Joe Biden’s chances of winning the White House.

“The best thing for America’s future is for @realDonaldTrump to go to total war over this election to expose all of the fraud, cheating, dead/no longer in state voters, that has been going on for far too long,” Don Jr. wrote on his Twitter account, where he regularly retweets conspiracy theories.

He did not provide any evidence of the cheating he alleged was going on.

“It’s time to clean up this mess & stop looking like a banana republic!” he added, before deriding the “total lack of action” from Republicans, naming some – such as South Carolina senator Lindsey Graham, usually a staunch Trump ally.

His younger brother Eric also targeted the party that his father theoretically heads.

“Where are Republicans! Have some backbone. Fight against this fraud. Our voters will never forget you if your sheep!” he wrote.

Few, however, appeared to answer his grammatically incorrect call.

Trump’s eldest daughter and one of his senior advisers, Ivanka, tweeted Thursday that her father “will always go to the mat fighting for the hardworking men & women of this great Country!”

But she has not tweeted or retweeted any of the fraud allegations championed by her brothers since Election Day.


6:00am

Facebook bans big ‘Stop the Steal’ group for sowing violence

Facebook on Thursday banned a large group called “Stop the Steal” that supporters of President Donald Trump were using to organize protests against the presidential vote count. Some members had called for violence, while many falsely claimed that Democrats are “stealing” the election from Republicans.

Though the group amassed more than 350,000 members before Facebook took it down, it was just one of several smaller groups that popped up as vote counting extended for days in several battleground states. Inside the groups, members and organizers tried to ensure they would get around Facebook’s moderators and “trolls” who might report or mock them.

“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.”

Facebook said it will continue to watch for activity that violates its rules and will take action if it does. As of Thursday afternoon, a copycat “Stop the Steal” group was growing steadily, nearing 12,000 members, and others were easily searchable on Facebook.

Inside the groups, members posted baseless claims of voter fraud and organized protests. Calls for violence were not immediately apparent, although the the Center for Countering Digital Hate shared a screenshot of one post in the now-banned group that read “Neither side is going to concede. Time to clean the guns, time to hit the streets.”


5:50am

Judge nixes Trump bid to stop Philly vote count

A federal judge has denied a bid by President Donald Trump’s campaign to stop the vote count in Philadelphia over observer access, urging the two sides to instead forge an agreement.

US District Judge Paul S. Diamond suggested each party be allowed 60 observers inside a hall at a downtown convention center where the final ballots are being tallied. As the hearing unfolded Thursday evening, President Donald Trump and former Vice President Joe Biden were locked in a tight battle for the 20 electoral votes in Pennsylvania.

Diamond, an appointee of President George W. Bush, chastened the lawyers as both sides bickered about who was following the rules and reminded them they are officers of the court. “Really, can’t we be responsible adults here and reach an agreement?” the exasperated judge asked. “The whole thing could (soon) be moot.”

Republicans went to court Thursday afternoon to complain that election officials in the Democratic-led city were ignoring a state court order they’d won earlier in the day to give them a closer view of ballot processing.


5:40am

Trump campaign’s Nevada legal effort is over

A legal effort in Nevada by President Donald Trump’s campaign and state Republicans to try to stop the count of mail ballots in Las Vegas is over.

A document submitted in an appeal pending before the state Supreme Court says the campaign, state GOP, Democrats and attorneys for the state have reached a settlement requiring Clark County election officials to supply “additional observation access” at a ballot processing facility in Las Vegas.

The state high court declined on Election Day to stop the count based on an appeal of a state judge’s decision not to stop processing mail ballots in Las Vegas and surrounding Clark County – a Democratic stronghold in an otherwise red GOP state.

In an order released Monday, Judge James Wilson Jr. in Carson City said he found neither the state nor Clark County had done anything to give one vote preference over another.

Nevada Democrats accuse Republicans of trying to suppress voting in the state’s most diverse area.

Trump campaign representatives said Thursday that they intended to file another complaint in US District Court in Las Vegas to try to stop the counting of what state campaign co-chair Adam Laxalt called “improper votes.” That lawsuit was not immediately filed.


5:30am

Which states could tip US election and when will they report results?

The outcome of the US presidential election hung in the balance on Thursday as five swing states continued to count their ballots. To capture the White House, a candidate must amass at least 270 votes in the Electoral College. Most major TV networks gave Biden a 253-214 lead in electoral votes on Thursday.

Results in Pennsylvania (20 electoral votes), Georgia (16), North Carolina (15), Arizona (11) and Nevada (6) remained uncertain, according to Edison Research.


ARIZONA

Biden’s lead shrank on Thursday night when nearly 74,000 votes were reported from Maricopa County, which includes heavily populated Phoenix. Of those, Trump won 42,276 and Biden 31,700, reducing Biden’s lead in Arizona to 50.1% versus 48.5%, with 90% of votes counted.

There were at least 320,000 ballots left to be counted in the state. Maricopa County accounted for over 200,000 of the outstanding ballots, the elections department said.


GEORGIA

Trump’s lead shrank to 0.1 percentage point on Thursday night, or just 2,497 votes, with 99% of votes reported.


NEVADA

Biden led Trump by 11,438 votes, or 0.9 percentage point, with about 11% of the vote left to be counted.

Nevada Secretary of State Barbara Cegavske said in a statement that about 190,150 ballots remained to be counted in the state, with 123,554 of them being either mail-in ballots or ballots returned at drop-off locations. She said 90% of the ballots still to be counted were in Clark County, the state’s largest.

All properly received ballots will be counted for up to nine days after the election, but the exact number left to be counted was unknown, Cegavske said.

The outstanding votes are mail-in ballots and those cast by voters who registered to vote at polling place on Election Day, she said.


NORTH CAROLINA

Trump led by more than 76,000 votes, or 1.4 points, with about 5% of the vote uncounted.

State officials have said a full result would not be known until next week. The state allows mail-in ballots postmarked by Tuesday to be counted if they are received by Nov. 12.


PENNSYLVANIA

Trump’s lead continued to shrink in Pennsylvania. He led by 0.7 of a percentage point, or 48,854 votes, with 6% of the vote outstanding.

About 370,000 ballots were still in the process of being counted on Thursday, according to the Department of State’s website, giving Biden a chance to catch Trump if enough of them were from Democratic-friendly areas such as Philadelphia. Pennsylvania Secretary of State Kathy Boockvar said she expected the “overwhelming majority” to be counted by the end of Thursday.

Philadelphia County reported more than 252,000 ballots were cast by mail but did say how many remained to be counted.

A final count may not be available until at least Friday as Pennsylvania can accept mail-in ballots up to three days after the election if they were postmarked by Tuesday.






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