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Donald Trump and Joe Biden both have paths to victory in the US election after steadily accumulating Electoral College votes — but neither has reached the all-important 270. The former vice president, though, stands in a stronger position to take the White House.
Hundreds of thousands of ballots, many sent in by mail, remain to be counted – a fact seized upon by the president to claim he had already won, even though several key battleground states remain in play.
“We did win this election,” Mr Trump declared in an inflammatory and falsehood-laden address to family and supporters in the White House early on Wednesday. He said he would try to prevent legitimate ballots from being counted in states where he was ahead, while claiming he was really trying to maintain the “integrity” of the vote.
He returned to the theme later on Wednesday by complaining that his early lead in “many key states” had disappeared overnight as a result of what he claimed were “surprise ballot dumps”. Meanwhile Mr Biden’s campaign said the Democratic candidate was “on track” for the Oval Office.
“I am not here to declare that we've won. But I am here to report when the count is finished, we believe we will be the winners,” Mr Biden said during a speech on Wednesday afternoon. His running mate, Kamala Harris, said of Mr Trump’s attempt to disrupt vote counting: “Americans should have faith in the voting process and have the constitutional right to have their lawfully cast ballots counted. That simple proposition is a cornerstone of American democracy.”
Mr Trump has won Texas, Florida, Ohio, West Virginia, South Carolina, Kentucky, Indiana, Tennessee, Arkansas, Mississippi, Louisiana, Alabama, Oklahoma, Nebraska, Kansas, South Dakota, North Dakota, Montana, Utah, Idaho, Iowa, and Wyoming, according to AP. He has not yet been declared the winner in Georgia, despite saying he had.
Mr Biden, the former vice president, has won New York, District of Columbia, Connecticut, Rhode Island, Vermont, Massachusetts, Maine, New Hampshire, New Jersey, Virginia, Maryland, Delaware, Illinois, Colorado, Minnesota, California, Washington, Oregon, New Mexico, Hawaii, Michigan, and Wisconsin.
This article will be updated regularly throughout the day. Click here to follow The Independent's live coverage on the 2020 election.
AP has also called Arizona for the Democrat after calculating that Mr Trump was too far behind with 84 per cent of votes cast, but the Trump campaign has claimed uncounted votes will swing the state in their favour.
As of Thursday at 12am EST, Mr Biden holds his lead in the state. But that lead has diminished throughout the day on Wednesday.
Five states remain to be called: Alaska, Georgia, Nevada, North Carolina, and Pennsylvania. In Georgia, reports say very few votes remain to be counted and the race has tightened significantly, with Mr Trump just 0.4 percentage points ahead.
Mr Biden has 264 Electoral College votes so far, if he keeps Arizona, while Mr Trump has 214. All eyes are now on the key Rust Belt state of Pennsylvania, again, and Nevada and Georgia.
The so-called “blue wall” states of Michigan, Wisconsin, and Pennsylvania have thus far swung in favour of Mr Biden, something his campaign pushed for this election cycle after Hillary Clinton lost those states in 2016. Pennsylvania remains too close to call with pile of mail-in ballots still to be counted, thus delaying the announcement of an overall winner.
The Trump campaign has called for a recount in both Michigan and Wisconsin, but the lead Mr Biden holds in those states will likely remain.
Georgia’s count was set back for several hours by a burst water pipe and a software glitch, while Nevada - where Mr Biden has a razor-thin lead with 86 per cent of votes counted - announced in the early hours of the morning that further results would not be announced until Thursday.
Earlier Mr Trump secured a must-win victory in Florida, the swing state where he has his Mar-a-Lago estate. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez, the left-wing Democrat, tweeted her frustration at her party’s failure to engage Latino voters. “The necessary effort simply hasn’t been put in,” the New York congresswoman said.
Mr Biden’s early leads in the battlegrounds of Ohio and North Carolina melted away amid a Trump resurgence. Ohio was eventually called for Mr Trump as his lead widened, while North Carolina has not yet been called for either candidate due to the number of uncounted ballots.
In a brief address to supporters overnight, Mr Biden urged them to “keep the faith”, and have patience while votes were counted. While he said it was not for him or his opponent to declare final victory, he told cheering fans that he believed he would prevail. Facebook added an explanatory note to a post the Democrat made saying he expected to win.
The Biden campaign also declared they would resist any attempts by Trump to stop votes being counted. Manager Jen O'Malley Dillon called Trump's statement "outrageous, unprecedented and incorrect" and said the Biden campaign has "legal teams standing by ready… and they will prevail."
State and national surveys had previously shown Mr Biden with a considerable lead over Mr Trump, including in states the Republican incumbent won in 2016, like Arizona, Pennsylvania, Wisconsin, and Michigan.
However, the former vice president’s lead in some of those key battlegrounds was just above the margin of error in some polls, causing many experts to consider states like Pennsylvania a tossup in this election cycle.
A final poll released by YouGov had placed Mr Biden nine points ahead of Mr Trump in a national average, with a 3.2 percent margin of error. The polling site also predicted Mr Biden would receive 382 votes in the Electoral College, stating it was 95 percent confident the former vice president would fall into a range of 314-412 electoral voters.
The Independent will continue to update this article throughout Election Day. Check back regularly for new analysis and coverage.