Biden’s lead grows in Pennsylvania to more than 17,000 votes as he closes in on the White House – 

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Joe Biden’s lead in the key state of Pennsylvania continues to widen, with the latest ballot count putting him ahead by 17,012 votes.  

There are 56,000 total mail ins and 49,000 provisional ballots still to be counted across the state, including more than 36,000 in Allegheny County, the second largest, which includes Democratic strongholds of Philadelphia and Pittsburgh.

As it stands, Biden has a 0.2% lead. The AP waits for a candidate to have a 0.5% lead to call a race. 

Philadelphia Mayor Jim Kenney said it was time for Trump to ‘put his big boy pants on’ and concede.  

Joe Biden is pictured with his running mate Sen Kamala Harris on Thursday

President Donald Trump

Pennsylvania still has hundreds of thousands of votes left to count despite the secretary of state saying results could be returned on Thursday as Joe Biden (left, with running mate Sen Kamala Harris) closes the gap and President Donald Trump (right) loses legal bid to stop ballot counting in Philadelphia

Trump, who held a 675,000-vote lead early Wednesday, prematurely declared victory in the state, which holds 20 electoral college votes. By Thursday evening Trump's lead had slipped to about 26,319 votes, as mail in ballots (pictured in Philadelphia) from across the state continued to be counted. The late counted ballots were overwhelming in Biden’s favor

Trump, who held a 675,000-vote lead early Wednesday, prematurely declared victory in the state, which holds 20 electoral college votes. By Thursday evening Trump’s lead had slipped to about 26,319 votes, as mail in ballots (pictured in Philadelphia) from across the state continued to be counted. The late counted ballots were overwhelming in Biden’s favor

One reason for the tightening race is that under state law, elections officials are not allowed to process mail-in ballots until Election Day. 

It’s a form of voting that has skewed heavily in Biden’s favor after Trump spent months claiming — without proof — that voting by mail would lead to widespread voter fraud.

There’s a possibility the race won’t be decided for days and according to CNN, there are about 102,000 ballots left to count. If there is less than a half percentage point difference between Biden and Trump’s vote total, state law dictates that a recount must be held.

Democrats had long considered Pennsylvania a part of their ‘blue wall’ — a trifecta that also includes Wisconsin and Michigan — that for years had served as a bulwark in presidential elections. In 2016, Trump won each by less than a percentage point.

Biden, who was born in Scranton, claims favorite-son status in the state and has long played up the idea that he was Pennsylvania’s ‘third senator’ during his decades representing neighboring Delaware. He’s also campaigned extensively in the state from his home in Delaware.

If Biden wins Pennsylvania, he wins the election. Currently, he has 264 electoral college votes – including Arizona despite that coming slightly back into play. Even without Arizona, if he won Pennsylvania, he would take the White House.  

Earlier on Thursday, Kathy Boockvar (left) told CNN's Jake Tapper: 'I think there's about 550,000 some odd — you know, plus or minus — ballots that are still in the process of being counted today

Earlier on Thursday, Kathy Boockvar (left) told CNN’s Jake Tapper: ‘I think there’s about 550,000 some odd — you know, plus or minus — ballots that are still in the process of being counted today 

Meanwhile, Trump had sued Pennsylvania to undermine whatever election result is returned. Voting was temporarily halted in Philadelphia and Pittsburgh on Thursday as a result of the legal row. A judge intervened and dismissed the federal motion. People attend a 'Count Every Vote' demonstration in Harrisburg, Pennsylvania, on Thursday

Meanwhile, Trump had sued Pennsylvania to undermine whatever election result is returned. Voting was temporarily halted in Philadelphia and Pittsburgh on Thursday as a result of the legal row. A judge intervened and dismissed the federal motion. People attend a ‘Count Every Vote’ demonstration in Harrisburg, Pennsylvania, on Thursday 

STATES STILL IN PLAY

PENNSYLVANIA – 20 electoral college votes

Result expected Friday, approx. 76,000 votes to count 

49.5% BIDEN – 3,315,745 

49.3% TRUMP – 3,301,204

Biden leads by 14,541

ARIZONA – 11 electoral college votes

Result expected Friday, approx. 250,000 votes to count 

49.9% BIDEN – 1,565,200

48.6% TRUMP – 1,525,800

Biden leads by 39,400

Fox and the AP called Arizona for Biden on Election Day, but others held back as mail-in votes are counted. Mail-in ballots are trending towards Trump in Arizona.

GEORGIA – 16 electoral colleges votes

Result expected Friday, approx. 5,500 votes + 8,000 mail-ins to count 

49.4% BIDEN – 2,455,778

49.3% TRUMP – 2,451,594

Biden leads by 4,184

NEVADA – 6 electoral college votes

Result expected Friday, approx. 130,000 votes to count 

49.7% BIDEN – 627,104

48.1% TRUMP  – 606,967

Biden leads by 20,000   

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Trump cannot win on Pennsylvania alone; with 214 electoral college votes, he’d still need to pick up either Georgia, North Carolina, Arizona or Nevada – the four other states where a result is yet to be officially confirmed.  

Earlier on Thursday, Kathy Boockvar told CNN’s Jake Tapper: ‘I think there’s about 550,000 some odd — you know, plus or minus — ballots that are still in the process of being counted today.

‘Some of those may have already been counted but are not yet uploaded. But yeah, they’re coming in. We’re getting 10,000 here, 20,000 here, counties are furiously at work.

Pennsylvania said it would continue counting mail-in ballots until Friday so long as they were post-marked from November 3.   

Meanwhile, Trump had sued Pennsylvania to undermine whatever election result is returned.

Voting was temporarily halted in Philadelphia and Pittsburgh on Thursday as a result of the legal row.

A judge intervened and dismissed the federal motion.

In Nevada, there are only around 51,000 votes left to call before Friday and they say they need that much time. Arizona also says they need until Friday to deliver a result on their remaining 450,000 votes.  

The Trump campaign had a brief legal victory in Pennsylvania on Thursday when a judge ruled ballot observers can watch officials count ballots within six feet. Representatives of both campaigns were in the room to watch the counts but at a further distance because of the coronavirus. A county judge agreed with the Trump campaign, but the state Supreme Court rejected it.

The situation in Pittsburgh is complicated by about 30,000 outstanding ballots, where a vendor sent the wrong ballots to voters and had to reissue new ballots with the correct races.

Poll workers now have to examine these ballots to make sure that people don’t vote twice, or, if they sent in the wrong ballot, they didn’t vote in races they aren’t eligible for.

They cannot legally be counted until Friday when Allegheny County, where Pittsburgh sits, swears in a special board to examine these ballots, as required by law

Trump’s team of lawyers have filed lawsuits on multiple fronts – to try to stem the flow of presumably pro-Biden mail ballots into the system, and to try to force greater access for observers so they presumably can challenge more individual ballots.

They scored an initial win Thursday morning, which former Florida Secretary of State Pam Bondi, a Trump backer, brandished at a press conference.

The ruling, by the Commonwealth Court of Pennsylvania, reverses a decision by the Court of Common Pleas of Philadelphia. It lets Trumps observers ‘be permitted to observe all aspects of the canvassing process, within 6 feet, while adhering to all COVID-19 protocols, including wearing masks and maintaining social distancing’.

On Twitter, Trump touted it as a: ‘Big legal win in Pennsylvania!’

But then the Supreme Court of Pennsylvania almost instantly struck it down when Democrats appealed. 

Former Florida Attorney General Pam Bondi speaks to the media about a court order giving Trump's campaign access to observe vote counting operations on Thursday in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania

Former Florida Attorney General Pam Bondi speaks to the media about a court order giving Trump’s campaign access to observe vote counting operations on Thursday in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania

Trump supporters protest in front of the Pennsylvania Commonwealth capitol building in Harrisburg, Pennsylvania, on Thursday

Trump supporters protest in front of the Pennsylvania Commonwealth capitol building in Harrisburg, Pennsylvania, on Thursday

The reason of the appeal was not concern over the watching itself, experts said, but because Democrats say Republicans accepted the rules on watching before they went into effect.

Conceding that the rules could be changed after they had been agreed would open the way to more rules being changed, they argue.

That is not the end of the road for the Trump campaign. The big battle, with a greater potential to affect the count, could come in an effort to challenge an earlier Supreme Court decision allowing the state to count mail-in ballots that come in three days after Election Day.

Conservative justices had indicated that it could get another hearing should these ballots that get counted later prove decisive.

But a decisive win by Biden with votes that came in before Election Day would undercut the need for the suit – and Biden was chipping away at Trump’s lead with hundreds of thousands of ballots outstanding.

Pennsylvania Democrats, mindful of potential challenges and alarmed by reports the Republican-controlled legislature might seek to intervene, have been segregating mail-ballots that come in later to prevent the state’s entire result from being thrown out.

Pennsylvania’s Attorney General blasted the move on Thursday.

‘That question is a question of state law,’ he said, noting it was decided by the state supreme court. ‘It was decided that those ballots and they will be counted,’ he told CNN.

‘We’re following the law here in Pennsylvania here. We’re counting these legal votes,’ he said.

Biden’s lead in Arizona shrinks again to 39,000 as Trump claws back some of the vote

Joe Biden’s lead in Arizona has dropped to 39,000 votes after Donald Trump narrowed the gap overnight.

Biden’s lead is now at 49.9% to Trump’s 48.6%. There are between 250,000 and 270,000 votes left to count there and most are in Maricopa County, which includes Phoenix. 

On Friday afternoon, the state’s Secretary of State, Katie Hobbs, said that they would only be working through 61,000 votes per day. It means they may not finish until 12am on Sunday. 

In addition to the lead in Arizona, Biden is leading in every other state. He snatched the lead from Trump in Pennsylvania on Friday and is now ahead by 13,000 votes. If Biden wins Pennsylvania today, he no longer needs any of the other states to claim the 270 electoral college votes he needs to claim the White House.

In Georgia, the pair are neck-and-neck and a recount has been called because the margin is so thin. In Nevada, Biden is ahead by about 20,000 votes.  

If Trump wins Arizona, he still needs every other state in play which seems increasingly unlikely. 

Arizona has a long political history of voting Republican. It’s the home state of Barry Goldwater, a five-term, conservative senator who was the Republican nominee for president in 1964. 

John McCain, the party’s 2008 presidential nominee, represented the state in Congress from 1983 until his 2018 death.

But changing demographics, including a fast-growing Latino population and a boom of new residents – some fleeing the skyrocketing cost of living in neighboring California – have made the state friendlier to Democrats.

About 100 Trump supporters gathered again in front of the Maricopa County election center in Phoenix, Thursday night, with some carrying military-style rifles and handguns. Arizona law allows people to openly carry guns.

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.

They paused to listen as Trump spoke from the White House, where he repeated many of his groundless assertions of a rigged vote.

They whooped and clapped when the president said, ‘We’re on track to win Arizona.’

It comes after the AP and and Fox News had both called Arizona early on Wednesday morning, claiming there was no possible way for Trump to claw it back from him – a move which was later called into question.  

Arizona holds 11 crucial electoral college votes which, when giving them to Biden now, poises him for the White House with 264 of the 270 that he needs. 

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Biden’s lead in Nevada DOUBLES to 20,000 votes overnight as the count drags on at an excruciatingly pace with at least 130,000 outstanding ballots – and they’ll keep tallying mail-ins until TUESDAY

Biden’s lead has doubled to 20,000 in Nevada as the count there dragged on with at least another 130,000 votes left to count.

Biden holds 49.7% of the vote in Nevada over Trump’s 48%. Ninety-one percent of the vote there has been counted already – some 1.2million votes – and another 9 percent is outstanding but the number could expand as more mail-in ballots arrive.

Any ballot that was posted by November 3 will be counted if it arrives by November 10 at 5pm. 

The majority of the remaining ballots are coming from Clark County, which includes Las Vegas. 

Why it is taking them so long to get through the remainder remains largely unanswered.

One of the only reasons they’ve given is that they don’t know how many mail-in ballots they will receive through the weekend but they won’t say when they are going to stop accepting them.

If Biden wins Nevada and its 6 electoral college points, as well as Arizona, he will have won the election. He doesn’t, however, need it to claim victory.

He is also leading in Pennsylvania, which carries 20 electoral college votes and would land him the White House. A result is expected there at some point on Friday.

A recount has been called in Georgia – where Biden leads but only by 1,500 votes – and in Arizona, where he leads by 39,000. His lead in Arizona is shrinking.  

Arizona was called for him on Wednesday morning by Fox and the AP but with 250,000 votes still outstanding, it remains in play for Trump. If Biden loses Arizona, he has 259 electoral college votes. He’d need another 11 from either Georgia – which holds 16 – North Carolina – which holds 15 – or Pennsylvania – which holds 20 – to win.

It’s unclear when North Carolina will announce, but it is expected to go to Trump as it did in 2016. 

Trump’s team is crying fraud and they say they have ‘evidence’ that ‘tens of thousands of votes’ had been cast there fraudulently.  

Nevada law states that to be eligible to vote, a person has to have been a resident of the state for at least 30 days before the election. 

That does not necessarily mean that they have to have been physically in the state for the 30 days preceding the election.  

Trump’s people also claim that many of the votes in Nevada came from people who no longer live there, or were cast under the names of deceased people. 

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Biden’s lead in Georgia expands from 1,500 to 4,263 – so will there still have to be a recount?

Joe Biden’s lead in Georgia suddenly expanded on Friday from 1,500 to 4,263 after officials said the race was so close that a recount there would be inevitable. 

Biden now leads in Georgia 49.4% to Trump’s 49.3%. On Friday afternoon, election officials said they still had 5,500 mail-in ballots to count, plus as many as 8,000 that could come from overseas military personnel. 

In the most recent jump, Biden won more than 2,700 votes and Trump won 2,121.

Georgia‘s Secretary of State on Friday said there will be a recount there no matter what the outcome is because the margin is so tight.   

If there is a recount, it will not delay the election result if Biden wins Pennsylvania, which he is poised for after taking the lead from Trump. That result is expected by the end of the day. He can also still win before a Georgia recount if he wins Nevada and Arizona, where he also holds leads.   

The state’s Voting System Implementation Manager, Gabriel Sterling, explained on Friday afternoon why it was taking so long. 

‘The outstanding ballots are about the same as they are this morning. We will start with the margin. We’re looking at a margin of 1,585. That’s where we stand right now,’ he said. 

‘We do know that today is the today for the military and overseas deadline. In the overall side, we have 18,008 that have already been accepted and 8,410 that are still available to be received.

‘That doesn’t mean there’s a bucket ready to be counted; that means there are that many that can be received today. It’s going to be more than zero and less than 8,410 – somewhere in that range. We don’t know exactly how many.’

Georgia carries 16 electoral college votes. If Biden claims it today along with any other state, he will win the Presidency.  

Trump would have to win every state left on the field to get a second term and Biden is leading everywhere. 

Biden took a crucial lead in Pennsylvania on Friday morning. If he wins the state today, he will have won the White House.  

Trump, however, is refusing to accept the result and is claiming election fraud all-round.

In one Georgia county, there was a corrupt memory card on one scanner which meant 400 had to be recounted. 

Officials in some counties are also using paper ballots for the first time in 20 years because they voted earlier this year that machine voting was not secretive enough. They are then scanning all of the paper votes which is an ‘arduous’ process. 

Speaking earlier on Thursday, Georgia’s Voting System Implementation Manager, Gabriel Sterling, said there was nothing suspicious or strange about the process, but that elections were never normally so close so it doesn’t always have to come down to an official count. 

‘We can’t know how long the process will take. We hope to have clarity but “done” is a very relative term at this point.

‘As we’ve been stating for weeks and months, it’s going to take time.  The effort here is to make sure everybody’s legal vote is counted properly.

‘The issue we have in Georgia is it’s a close vote. There’s other states that have more votes to count than we do but it’s a wide margin so nobody cares,’ Sterling said.  

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