Biden’s lead in Arizona shrinks again, falling below 30,000

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Joe Biden’s lead in Arizona has fallen below 30,000 votes after Trump slightly narrowed the gap during a dump of mail-in ballots on Friday night.  

Biden now remains ahead with 49.6% over Trump’s 48.7%, with 173,000 ballots left to count statewide. 

Out of those outstanding, 92,000 are in Maricopa County, the state’s largest county which includes Phoenix. 

They include 47,000 provisional ballots which will not be counted until Wednesday, Secretary of State Katie Hobbs told CNN.

On Friday afternoon Katie Hobbs said that they would only be working through only 61,000 per day – an excruciatingly slow pace when the entire country and world are waiting for the results. 

It means they may not finish until 12am on Sunday. the 61,000 votes in Maricopa County that were counted overnight and reported on Friday morning, Biden won 28,285 and Trump won 31,716. The next update will not come until midnight (EST) tonight. 

Of the 61,000 votes in Maricopa County that were counted overnight and reported on Friday morning, Biden won 28,285 and Trump won 31,716.  

Biden is leading in every other state. He snatched the lead from Trump in Pennsylvania on Friday and is now ahead by 9,000 votes. He is likely to be called the winner there on Friday, with the remaining votes coming from Philadelphia, where he leads with 82% of the vote. 

In Georgia, the pair are neck-and-neck and a recount has been called because the margin is so thin.  

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

 

Election officials arrive for work at the Maricopa County Recorder's Office on Thursday in Phoenix. Hundreds of pro-Trump protesters gathered outside the ballot counting facility on Wednesday evening as outstanding votes were counted after Democratic challenger Joe Biden was reported to have flipped the Republican stronghold of Arizona.

Election officials arrive for work at the Maricopa County Recorder’s Office on Thursday in Phoenix. Hundreds of pro-Trump protesters gathered outside the ballot counting facility on Wednesday evening as outstanding votes were counted after Democratic challenger Joe Biden was reported to have flipped the Republican stronghold of Arizona.

Trump supporters gathered in front of the Maricopa County Election Department on Thursday where ballots are still being counted

Trump supporters gathered in front of the Maricopa County Election Department on Thursday where ballots are still being counted

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. 

He would only need to win Nevada, Georgia, or North Carolina to claim victory if his Arizona lead holds. 

In Georgia, the race is still too close to call after Trump’s lead shrunk to less than 1,500 votes early Friday, putting both candidates neck and neck, with each holding 49.4 per cent of the vote.  

Georgia holds 16 electoral votes and has 14,000 ballots left to count as of Friday morning. The count is expected to be completed there today.

If Biden loses Arizona to Trump, Trump goes from 214 electoral college votes to 225. He would then only need 42 additional electoral college votes from  Georgia (16), North Carolina (15) and Pennsylvania (20) – all states in which he is leading – to claim victory, assuming he wins Alaska’s three electoral college votes which he is all but guaranteed to. 

The delay prolongs an already excruciating wait to find out who will be the next President for frustrated Americans and people all over the world who are now asking why it is taking so long to reach a conclusion. 

Adjudicators continue to check ballots at the Maricopa County Recorder's Office Thursday  as votes continue to be counted in several key battleground states

Adjudicators continue to check ballots at the Maricopa County Recorder’s Office Thursday  as votes continue to be counted in several key battleground states

There has been no simple answer so far. In some states it’s because the margin is incredibly tight. In others, it’s because mail-in ballots haven’t yet arrived and can be counted for days yet.

Official counts are never normally returned on election day or even in the immediate aftermath. The election is always called instead by a TV or news network based on analysis of possible outcomes. 

But none are calling it this year, because the race in the remaining swing states has been so tight.    

Even though hundreds of thousands of votes remain uncounted, Trump is already demanding a recount in Wisconsin and he’s asking that the vote counting stop in Georgia, Pennsylvania, Michigan and Nevada. He hasn’t requested anything in Arizona yet. 

The margin for a recount in Arizona is tiny at only 200 votes. It is possible in Wisconsin and Georgia; in Wisconsin, it needs to be fewer than 1 percent, which the result was. In Georgia, it needs to be within 0.5 percent which is seeming more and more likely. 

In Nevada, it needs to be requested within three days of the final, certified result but Nevada has no minimum margin for a recount. In Pennsylvania, the margin is 0.5 percent.   

Trump is calling foul on the entire election, claiming that votes are being counted improperly and demanding recounts.

He has filed lawsuits in Pennsylvania, Georgia and Michigan asking that the counting be halted, and he is also demanding a recount in Wisconsin.

A recount in Arizona is not likely. The rules there mean that only a margin of 200 votes or fewer allow it. It’s unclear if the Trump campaign will try to question the results in Arizona. They have not yet taken any action against it. 

Hobbs said she didn’t know what option Trump had to call it into question.

On Wednesday night, dozens of protesters descended on a counting center – forcing it to close. They were Trump supporters.  

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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‘I don’t understand what these protesters are interested in. We’re going to keep counting ballots. If they’re supporting the president they should want us to continue counting. I just don’t know what their goal is. Absolutely they are not disrupting what we’re doing,’ she said. 

Several members of the group AZ Patriots did successfully manage to make their way inside the building, one wearing a military vest, where they argued that the pens in the count had been changed to Sharpies, before they were kicked out of the building. 

Media crews were escorted from the center at around 12.30am and some staff were also escorted from the building at the end of their shifts as the shouts of the crowd grew louder. There have been no reports of violence although several members of the press claimed they were threatened. 

Inside, the count continued, with the center vowing that it would continue until the last update of the night. 

The President on Thursday morning tweeted: ‘Stop the count!’ 

Joe Biden, meanwhile, has been relatively quiet on Twitter. 

On Wednesday, he gave a confident press conference with his running mate Kamala Harris, saying he felt ‘good’ about his chances at victory and that he’d likely win enough seats to take the White House eventually, but that he would wait until all the votes had been counted to claim it. 

Meanwhile in Michigan, Trump protesters also surrounded an election center in Detroit where they called on the count to be stopped as the state was declared for Biden. 

Republicans have also filed a lawsuit in Michigan demanding that all vote counting stop because Trump’s people weren’t giving proper access to voting sites and couldn’t oversee the counting process to ensure it was fair.

In Georgia, the lawsuit claims that a GOP poll observer witnessed 53 late absentee ballots added to a pile in Chatham County while two additional actions in Pennsylvania claim a Senator there has given Biden back-door votes to try to push Trump out.

And in Wisconsin, the campaign is demanding a recount, despite Biden winning by more than 20,000 votes which represents around 0.6 percent of the vote. 

The figure falls within the state’s recount rules which allows for anything within a one-point margin to qualify for a a recount. 

In Pennsylvania, where a result is unlikely before Friday, Rudy Giuliani – Trump’s personal lawyer – and Trump’s son, Eric, arrived to spearhead ‘critical legal actions’ in the state.  

The Trump campaign has announced that it will wade into a case currently before the Supreme Court which challenges state law that allows for mail-in ballots that arrive up to three days after election day. 

Deputy Trump Campaign Manager Justin Clark said the campaign will be suing to stop ‘Democrat election officials from hiding the ballot counting and processing’ from GOP poll-watchers.

He claimed that Republican observers in Philadelphia were ordered to stand 25 meters away from counting staff, making it impossible to watch. 

 

Trump has also accused Pennsylvania’s Secretary of State Kathy Boockvar of unilaterally extending the deadline by which mail-in voters whose voter ID was missing to provide proof.

In a press conference held in Philadelphia on Wednesday afternoon Giuliani and Eric claimed the president won the state, despite roughly one million mail-in ballots still needing to be counted.

Trump on Thursday tweeted demanding to 'stop the count'

Trump on Thursday tweeted demanding to ‘stop the count’

Like Trump himself, neither man offered a legal argument for a win or proof of any voter fraud, but nonetheless made claims of cheating.

‘They’re trying to cheat, they’re trying to cheat,’ Eric Trump said repeatedly of the Democrats.

Giuliani ranted for several minutes about mail-in ballots which he claimed – without proof – could be falsified.

‘This is beyond anything I have ever seen before,’ he said. ‘Do you think we’re stupid? Do you think we’re fools?

‘You know something, Democrats do think you’re stupid,’ Giuliani added. ‘And they do think you’re fools. That’s why you get called ‘deplorable’ and ‘chumps’.

Maricopa County Sheriff's Deputies stand at the door of the Maricopa County Recorder's Office as President Donald Trump supporters rally outside, Wednesday, Nov. 4, 2020, in Phoenix

Maricopa County Sheriff’s Deputies stand at the door of the Maricopa County Recorder’s Office as President Donald Trump supporters rally outside, Wednesday, Nov. 4, 2020, in Phoenix

Video from outside the count center showed the angered crowd as they shouted that the vote was being suppressed

Video from outside the count center showed the angered crowd as they shouted that the vote was being suppressed

Chaos hit the election count center in a crucial Arizona county on Wednesday night after a large group of Trump supporters gathered outside to protest, some carrying weapons as the chanted for the vote to continue

Chaos hit the election count center in a crucial Arizona county on Wednesday night after a large group of Trump supporters gathered outside to protest, some carrying weapons as the chanted for the vote to continue

Supporters of President Donald Trump rally outside the Maricopa County Recorder's Office, Wednesday, Nov. 4, 2020, in Phoenix

Supporters of President Donald Trump rally outside the Maricopa County Recorder’s Office, Wednesday, Nov. 4, 2020, in Phoenix

Vote counting in Arizona is likely to continue until Friday, stretching out the excruciating wait for a result by even longer

Vote counting in Arizona is likely to continue until Friday, stretching out the excruciating wait for a result by even longer 

‘We’re going to stick with this. We’re going to win this election. We’ve actually won it.

‘It’s just a matter of counting the votes fairly.’

THE RECOUNT RULES – WHERE CAN TRUMP GET ONE AND WILL HE? 

Even though hundreds of thousands of votes remain uncounted, Trump is already demanding a recount in Wisconsin and he’s asking that the vote counting stop in Georgia, Pennsylvania, Michigan and Nevada. He hasn’t requested anything in Arizona yet. 

Trump though has to wait for all of the votes in each state to be counted and then certified, then show evidence for a recount, before he can request one which could take days if not weeks

The Secretary of State in each of the states has to request it which is also an uncertainty for Trump 

ARIZONA 

The margin for a recount in Arizona is tiny at only 200 votes so is unlikely that he will get one.

WISCONSIN 

It is possible in Wisconsin and Georgia; in Wisconsin, it needs to be fewer than 1 percent, which the result was. Trump has three days to request it after the final tally.

GEORGIA 

In Georgia, it needs to be within 0.5 percent which is seeming more and more likely. It has to be requested by the Secretary of State.

NEVADA 

In Nevada, it needs to be requested within three days of the final, certified result but Nevada has no minimum margin for a recount. 

PENNSYLVANIA  

In Pennsylvania, the margin to get an automatic recount is 0.5 percent. The Secretary of State has to request it. 

MICHIGAN 

Candidate has to lose by 2,000 votes or less  

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Giuliani complained the mail-in ballots could have come from Mars or Canada – or could simply be one person who sent in 100,000 votes.

‘Staff at the @maricopacounty Elections Department will continue our job, which is to administer elections in the second largest voting jurisdiction in the county,’ the department tweeted.

‘We will release results again tonight as planned. We thank the @mcsoaz for doing their job, so we can do ours.’

Among the protesters was local Congressman Paul Gosar who joined the crowd in complaining that votes were not being counted, blasting the Arizona Secretary of State as a ‘joke’ and praying, before demanding an update on the tally.

‘Some shady things are happening in Arizona…’ he tweeted earlier in the day.

Gosar made the claim after Fox News faced outrage for deciding to call the state’s eleven electoral college seats for Biden before midnight on election night. The Associated Press has since also called a Biden victory but the New York Times and CNN are among the major news organization believing the race is still there for either candidate.

On Wednesday night, Florida Governor Ron DeSantis railed against the decision to call Arizona and said that Fox should immediate rescind the decision.

‘Trump is gaining in Arizona. There are probably 500,000…’ DeSantis said during an interview with Fox. ‘Here’s my thing, if you’re quick on the trigger, then be quick on the trigger for both sides and stand by it. With Trump, they never want to call the state. Biden, they will do it right away. It’s inconsistent and unacceptable. Look, North Carolina should be called for the president, for sure. Arizona — Fox should rescind that call.’

‘We have to do this in a right way,’ DeSantis continued. ‘I thought it was really poor how it was done. Florida, we didn’t even need the panhandle coming in. The president was up so much with the basis of Miami-Dade [county] early in mail voting that here was no way he would lose by Florida and won by 400,000 votes in the end.’

FiveThirtyEight’s Nate Silver, who has himself been criticized for wildly inaccurate polling data, also said that Fox and the Associated Press should retracted the projection.

The Arizona call from Fox was the first of the states that appeared to have flipped from red to blue, marking a major loss for the Trump campaign in this must-win state if it were accurate.

Yet the Trump campaign has argued that the voting is not yet over, dismissing the call and predicting that the president will eventually win by some 30,000 votes once all ballots are counted.

They have also said they are considering contesting the result but have not indicated what action they would take after calling for a recount in Wisconsin and filing lawsuits over vote counting in Pennsylvania, Michigan and Georgia.

‘@FoxNews is a complete outlier in calling Arizona, and other media outlets should not follow suit,’ fumed Trump campaign senior adviser Jason Miller on Tuesday night.

‘There are still 1M+ Election Day votes out there waiting to be counted – we pushed our people to vote on Election Day, but now Fox News is trying to invalidate their votes!

‘We believe over 2/3 of those outstanding Election Day voters are going to be for Trump. Can’t believe Fox was so anxious to pull the trigger here after taking so long to call Florida. Wow,’ he continued.

‘Retract AZ!’ added Republican National Committee spokesperson Liz Harrington.

Arizona’s governor Doug Ducey, a Republican, also pushed back at the Fox News result calling it ‘far too early’ to have declared Biden the winner in the early hours of Wednesday morning.

‘Election Day votes are not fully reported, and we haven’t even started to count early ballots dropped off at the polls. In AZ, we protected Election Day. Let’s count the votes—all the votes—before making declarations.’

Biden takes the lead over Trump in Pennsylvania by 19,584 votes with about 102,000 still to count

Joe Biden has taken the lead in the key state of Pennsylvania with 19,584 votes. 

Biden is now ahead with 49.5% of the votes compared to Trump’s 49.2%. 

There are about 102,000 ballots still to count.

If Biden holds on to his lead here then he will be the 46th President of the United States – even if he loses every other state that is still in contention.

He currently has 253 electoral votes, compared to Trump’s 213, meaning he can win the presidency in one of two ways.  

If he wins Pennsylvania, he gains 20 votes and no longer needs either Arizona or Nevada. But if he wins Arizona – which has 11 electoral college votes – and Nevada – which has 6 – he no longer needs Pennsylvania.  

Trump, who held a 675,000-vote lead early Wednesday, prematurely declared victory in the state on election night, only to see his lead evaporate in the coming days. By early Friday, Trump’s lead had slipped to about 18,229 votes before the state flipped blue later in the morning. 

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. 

If Biden holds on to his lead here then he will be the 46th President of the United States, even if he loses every other state that is still in contention.

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. 

Results are expected to be in for Pennsylvania by Friday. 

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. 

Meanwhile, Trump 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.

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. 

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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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