Joe Biden has delayed his primetime address to the nation as he inches towards victory with his lead in Pennsylvania, where he is now ahead by more than 21,000 votes.
The former vice president was expected to deliver a speech to the country on Friday evening, regardless of whether the election has been called in his favor, his campaign announced earlier.
Biden is yet to make any remarks as of 9pm, but he will speak at some point tonight even if the race remains undecided, campaign officials have confirmed, according to the NYT.
Biden is just 17 electoral votes shy of winning the presidency, meaning he only needs to secure Pennsylvania to bring him past the 270 threshold.
Earlier on Friday night, Justice Samuel Alito announced all Pennsylvania counties must segregate ballots that arrived after Election Day, following an appeal lodged by Republicans earlier to exclude those votes from the total count.
Trump’s campaign had filed a motion to intervene in a decision by the state’s highest court that allowed election officials to count mail-in ballots postmarked by Tuesday’s Election Day that are delivered through Friday.
Alito’s order, however, comes after PA Secretary of State Kathy Boockvar had already instructed election officials to separate the ballots – limiting Trump’s ability to claim the court order as a victory.
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
But whether or not those ballots are ultimately counted seems unlikely to affect who gets the state’s 20 electoral votes now that Biden is leading by more than 21,705 votes.
The former vice president continues to inch towards victory with a 0.3% lead over Trump in the state.
If he secures Pennsylvania, he’ll automatically win the presidency. The Associated Press waits for a candidate to have a 0.5% lead to call a race.
As of early Friday evening, there were approximately 102,000 mail ballots still to be counted in Pennsylvania, including 36,000 in Allegheny County, the second largest county in the state.
Additionally, there are potentially tens of thousands of provisional ballots that remain to be tabulated, though an exact number remained unclear. Those ballots will be counted after officials verify their eligibility to be included.
Allegheny, which includes Democratic strongholds of Philadelphia and Pittsburgh, could be what brings Biden to 270 electoral votes.
AFTER THE ELECTION: THE DATES YOU NEED TO KNOW
NOVEMBER 23: All swing states election results are certified by this date
DECEMBER 8: ‘Safe harbor’ deadline which means the statutory deadline for resolving disputed results. If the states have followed correct procedures, whatever the result is on Dec. 8 stands, even if one side still disputes it
DECEMBER 14: Electoral college electors are chosen and sworn in
JANUARY 5: Georgia run-off elections for two Senate seats, determining who controls the Senate
JANUARY 6: Congress certifies the Electoral College votes
JANUARY 20: At midday the new president is sworn in and assumes all of the powers of commander-in-chief – including the ability to direct the Secret Service and U.S. Marshals to remove unwanted White House guests
He currently has 253, 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.
Philadelphia Mayor Jim Kenney earlier on Friday said it was time for Trump to ‘put his big boy pants on’ and concede.
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.
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.
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
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
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
Trump supporters protest in front of the Pennsylvania Commonwealth capitol building in Harrisburg, Pennsylvania, on Thursday
Trump’s court battle to challenge votes in Pennsylvania, Nevada, Georgia, and Michigan
Several court battles are pending in the battleground state of Pennsylvania.
The Trump campaign sued Pennsylvania Secretary of State Kathy Boockvar and county election officials to limit the time election officers have to contact mail-in voters to correct defective ballots.
Separately, two Republican candidates and several voters are seeking to prevent election officials from “curing” invalid mail-in ballots. The Commonwealth Court on Friday ordered election officials to set aside provisional ballots cast on Election Day by voters whose absentee or mail-in ballots were received on time.
The Trump campaign is also fighting Philadelphia election officials over vote counting in the city, and the campaign on Thursday was granted better access to the proceedings, which officials have appealed. A similar case filed in federal court was tossed.
On Wednesday, Trump’s campaign filed a motion to intervene in a case pending before the U.S. Supreme Court challenging a decision from the state’s highest court that allowed election officials to count mail-in ballots postmarked by Tuesday’s Election Day that are delivered through Friday.
U.S. Supreme Court justices have said there was not enough time to decide the merits of the case before Election Day but indicated they might revisit it afterwards.
Justice Samuel Alito, joined by fellow conservatives Clarence Thomas and Neil Gorsuch, said in a written opinion that there is a “strong likelihood” the Pennsylvania court’s decision violated the U.S. Constitution.
Pennsylvania election officials said they would segregate properly postmarked ballots that arrived after Election Day.
A voter, a member of the media and two candidate campaigns sued the secretary of state and other officials to prevent the use of a signature-verification system in populous Clark County and to provide public access to vote counting.
Thursday’s lawsuit came after Trump campaign officials said they planned to file a lawsuit in the state after alleging without evidence that thousands of improper votes were cast by dead people and by voters who were no longer residents of Clark County, which contains Las Vegas.
GEORGIA BALLOT FIGHT
The Trump campaign on Wednesday filed a lawsuit in state court in Chatham County that alleged late-arriving ballots were improperly mingled with valid ballots, and asked a judge to order late-arriving ballots be separated and not be counted.
The case was dismissed on Thursday.
MICHIGAN BALLOT-COUNTING FIGHT
Trump’s campaign on Wednesday filed a lawsuit in Michigan to stop state officials from counting ballots until it has an election inspector at each absentee-voter counting board. The campaign also wanted to review ballots that were opened and counted before an inspector from its campaign was present.
On Thursday, Michigan Court of Claims Judge Cynthia Stephens dismissed the case.
U.S. POSTAL SERVICE LITIGATION
The U.S. Postal Service said about 1,700 ballots had been identified in Pennsylvania at processing facilities during two sweeps Thursday and were being delivered to election officials, according to a court filing early Friday.
The Postal Service said 1,076 ballots, had been found at its Philadelphia Processing and Distribution Center. About 300 were found at the Pittsburgh processing center, 266 at a Lehigh Valley facility and others at other Pennsylvania processing centers.
U.S. District Judge Emmet Sullivan is overseeing a lawsuit by Vote Forward, the NAACP, and Latino community advocates who have been demanding the Postal Service deliver mail-in ballots in time to be counted in the election.
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.
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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.
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.
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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.
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.
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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.