Biden was just one or at most two battleground states away from securing the majority to take the White House.
With his re-election chances fading as more votes are counted in a handful of battleground states, USPresident Donald Trump launched an extraordinary assault on the country’s democratic process from the White House on Thursday, falsely claiming the election was being “stolen” from him.
Offering no evidence, Trump lambasted election workers and alleged fraud in the states where results from a dwindling set of uncounted votes are pushing Democrat Joe Biden nearer to victory.
“This is a case where they’re trying to steal an election,” Trump said, who spoke for about 15 minutes in the White House briefing room before leaving without taking questions.
Biden, the former vice president, was steadily eating away the Republican incumbent’s leads in Pennsylvania and Georgia even as he maintained narrow advantages in Nevada and Arizona, moving closer to securing the 270 votes in the state-by-state Electoral College that determines the winner.
Biden would become the next president by winning Pennsylvania, or by winning two out of the trio of Georgia, Nevada and Arizona. Trump’s likeliest path appeared narrower – he needed to hang onto Pennsylvania and Georgia while overtaking Biden in either Nevada or Arizona.
Final results in each state could take days. Pennsylvania Secretary of State Kathy Boockvar said on Thursday afternoon the state still had about 350,000 ballots yet to count but expected the vast majority to be tallied by Friday.
In Georgia, Gabriel Sterling, an election official, said it would “take time” to process tens of thousands of remaining ballots. Arizona, where there were at least 400,000 ballots remaining, and Nevada, which had 190,000 uncounted votes, were also expected to take days to complete their tallies.
Should US President Donald Trump legally challenge the outcome of the US election or accept defeat gracefully?@WhiteHouse @IvankaTrump @realDonaldTrump @JoeBiden @GOP @TheDemocrats @VP @KamalaHarris#Election2020 #Elections2020 #ElectionDay #ElectionNight #USElections2020
— Khaleej Times (@khaleejtimes) November 5, 2020
The Latest on the presidential campaign (all times in UAE local):
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.
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.
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.
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.
It’s time to clean up this mess & stop looking like a banana republic!
— Donald Trump Jr. (@DonaldJTrumpJr) November 5, 2020
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.
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.”
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.
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.
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.
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.
Trump’s lead shrank to 0.1 percentage point on Thursday night, or just 2,497 votes, with 99% of votes reported.
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.
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.
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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