Biden needs one more state to claim US election win as Trump sues over counting

5 November 2020, 00:12 | Updated: 5 November 2020, 11:37

Donald Trump is claiming that "secretly dumped ballots" are the reason behind him potentially losing to Joe Biden
Donald Trump is claiming that "secretly dumped ballots" are the reason behind him potentially losing to Joe Biden. Picture: PA

By Kate Buck

Joe Biden has pulled ahead in the US Presidential election, saying he is "confident" he will take the White House, as incumbent rival Donald Trump sued to stop counting in some key states.

The pair have been locked in a bitter rivalry for the White House, with the incumbent Trump beginning legal action and demanding a recount in Wisconson and filing lawsuits in Pennsylvania, Michigan and Georgia. There has been no evidence of any signs of wrongdoing at any of the counts.

Biden is just one battleground state away from securing enough electoral college votes to win the White House and achieve what he calls a 'victory for the American people'.

After securing victories in Wisconsin and Michigan, Biden had 264 electoral college votes and needs to secure any one of Georgia, Nevada, North Carolina or his home state Pennsylvania to reach the necessary 270 to win.

Mr Trump, however, must win all four states, and has begun legal action in three of them to either stop the counting of votes or insist his team be provided greater access to scrutinise the process.

Speaking in Delaware, Biden all but claimed victory saying it was "clear" his party was winning enough states to reach the number of required votes.

"Now, after a long night of counting, it's clear that we're winning enough states to reach 270 electoral votes needed to win the presidency," he said.

"I'm 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 added: "Indeed, Senator (Kamala) Harris and I are on track to win more votes than any ticket in the history of this country that ever won the presidency and vice-presidency."

He also said it was time to "lower the temperature" following the campaign trail.

"Once this election is finalised, and behind us, it will be time for us to do what we've always done as Americans," he told the crowd in Delaware.

"To put the harsh rhetoric of the campaign behind us, to lower the temperature, to see each other again, to listen to one another, to hear each other again, to respect and care for one another.

"I know how deep and hard the opposing views are in our country on so many things. But I also know this as well. To make progress, we have to stop treating our opponents as enemies. We are not enemies."

Trump has continually claimed if he is to lose the election, he will legally contest it
Trump has continually claimed if he is to lose the election, he will legally contest it. Picture: PA

But Trump responded by claiming the states in which is is predicted to have lost will have slipped from his grasp due to ballots being "secretly dumped". He did not offer evidence to support his claim.

Twitter also later added a warning onto the Tweet saying the states he had claimed to have won may not have been officially called.

He tweeted: "We have claimed, for Electoral Vote purposes, the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania (which won't allow legal observers) the State of Georgia, and the State of North Carolina, each one of which has a BIG Trump lead. Additionally, we hereby claim the State of Michigan if, in fact,..........there was a large number of secretly dumped ballots as has been widely reported!"

Read more: Professor who predicted last 13 US election results says Joe Biden will win

Joe Biden won the battleground prizes of Michigan and Wisconsin on Wednesday, reclaiming a key part of the "blue wall" that slipped away from Democrats four years ago and dramatically narrowing US President Donald Trump's pathway to re-election.

In one of the tightest Presidential elections in modern memory, it seemed as though Biden was pulling ahead almost 24 hours after the first polls closed
In one of the tightest Presidential elections in modern memory, it seemed as though Biden was pulling ahead almost 24 hours after the first polls closed. Picture: PA

A full day after election day, neither candidate had cleared the 270 electoral college votes needed to win the White House.

But Mr Biden's victories in the Great Lakes states left him at 264, meaning he was one state away - any state - from crossing the threshold and becoming president-elect.

Trump early Wednesday morning falsely proclaimed that he had won the election, even though millions of votes remained uncounted and the race was far from over.

Read more: Trump claims he has won and Biden's team is trying to 'steal' election

The Associated Press called Wisconsin for Mr Biden after election officials in the state said all outstanding ballots had been counted, save for a few hundred in one township and an expected small number of provisional votes.

Statewide recounts in Wisconsin have historically changed the vote tally by only a few hundred votes; Mr Biden led by 0.624 percentage point out of nearly 3.3 million ballots counted.

For four years, Democrats had been haunted by the crumbling of the blue wall, the trio of Great Lakes states - Pennsylvania is the third - that their candidates had been able to count on every four years.

But Mr Trump's populist appeal struck a chord with white working class voters and he captured all three in 2016 by a total of just 77,000 votes.

Both candidates this year fiercely fought for the states, with Mr Biden's everyman political persona resonating in blue collar towns while his campaign also pushed to increase turnout among black voters in cities like Detroit and Milwaukee.

Pennsylvania remained too early to call Wednesday night.

Read more: Which are the key swing states?

Read more: Where are the swing states and what are the polls predicting?

Read more: What is the electoral college and how does it work?

It was unclear when or how quickly a national winner could be determined after a long, bitter campaign dominated by coronavirus and its effects on Americans and the national economy.

But Mr Biden's possible pathways to the White House were expanding rapidly.

After the victory in Wisconsin and Michigan, he held 264 electoral college votes, just six away from the presidency.

A win in any state, including Nevada with its six votes, would be enough to end Mr Trump's tenure in the White House.

Mr Trump spent much of Wednesday in the White House residence, huddling with advisers and fuming at media coverage showing his Democratic rival picking up key battlegrounds.

It looks as though it is going to be a defeat for Donald Trump - but there is still everything to play for
It looks as though it is going to be a defeat for Donald Trump - but there is still everything to play for. Picture: PA

Mr Trump falsely claimed victory in several key states and amplified unsubstantiated conspiracy theories about Democratic gains as absentee and early votes were tabulated.

Trump campaign manager Bill Stepien said the president would formally request a Wisconsin recount, citing "irregularities" in several counties.

And the campaign said it was filing suit in Michigan and Pennsylvania to halt ballot counting on grounds that it was not given proper access to observe.

At the same time, hundreds of thousands of votes were still to be counted in Pennsylvania, and Mr Trump's campaign said it was moving to intervene in the existing Supreme Court litigation over counting mail-in ballots there.

Yet, the campaign also argued that it was the outstanding votes in Arizona that could reverse the outcome there, showcasing an inherent inconsistency with their arguments.

In other closely watched races, Mr Trump picked up Florida, the largest of the swing states, and held on to Texas and Ohio while Mr Biden kept New Hampshire and Minnesota and flipped Arizona, a state that had reliably voted Republican in recent elections.

The unsettled nature of the presidential race was reflective of a somewhat disappointing night for Democrats, who had hoped to deliver a thorough repudiation of Trump's four years in office while also reclaiming the Senate to have a firm grasp on all of Washington.

But the Republican party held on to several Senate seats that had been considered vulnerable, including in Iowa, Texas, Maine and Kansas. Democrats lost House of Representative seats but were expected to retain control there.

The high-stakes election was held against the backdrop of a historic pandemic that has killed more than 232,000 Americans and wiped away millions of jobs.

The candidates spent months pressing dramatically different visions for the nation's future, including on racial justice, and voters responded in huge numbers, with more than 100 million people casting votes ahead of election day.

Mr Trump, in an extraordinary move from the White House, issued premature claims of victory - which he continued on Twitter Wednesday - and said he would take the election to the Supreme Court.

It was unclear exactly what legal action he could try to pursue.