Nick Abbot 12am - 1am
Trump claims Biden's team is trying to 'steal' election
4 November 2020, 05:54 | Updated: 5 November 2020, 06:48
Donald Trump has accused Joe Biden of trying to "steal" the presidency from him with the election contest too close to call.
Mr Trump posted online this morning: "We are up BIG, but they are trying to STEAL the Election. We will never let them do it. Votes cannot be cast after the Polls are closed!"
The post was quickly marked "disputed" and flagged as "potentially misleading" by Twitter.
He then appeared before the American public to make accusations of a "fraud on the American nation," adding that "we did win this election" and saying he will go to the Supreme Court to get vote counting stopped.
The race to 270 Electoral College votes is extremely close with both Biden and Trump awaiting the results of the 2020 Presidential election.
We are up BIG, but they are trying to STEAL the Election. We will never let them do it. Votes cannot be cast after the Polls are closed!— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) November 4, 2020
As the results stretched into the night, it became clear the outcome was becoming too close to call and every vote counted as the Republican and Democrat rivals vied for the top spot.
Despite the uphill battle, Mr Biden took to a stage in Delaware "we're feeling good about where we are" while hoping for gains in swing states yet to be called.
"I'm here to tell you tonight, we believe we're on track to win this election," he told supporters.
"We knew because of the unprecedented early vote, the mail-in vote, that it's going to take a while, we're going to have to be patient.
"It ain't over until every vote is counted, every ballot is counted."
Trump was predicted to have won Florida, giving him a hugely valuable 29 votes.
He also managed to cling onto Ohio - giving him 18 votes - shortly before Biden managed to turn the red state of Arizona blue, making Trump's path to re-election far harder.
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Mr Biden picked up the first battleground state of the night, New Hampshire, a small prize that Mr Trump tried to steal from Democrats. But races were too early to call in the most fiercely contested and critical states on the map, including Florida, North Carolina, Georgia and Pennsylvania.
Biden won California, the nation's biggest electoral haul, and other predictable victories including Colorado and Virginia, two former battlegrounds that have become Democratic strongholds. Mr Trump's wins included Kansas, North Dakota and other conservative bastions.
Americans made their choices as the nation faced historic crises with each candidate declaring the other fundamentally unfit to navigate the challenges. Daily life has been upended by coronavirus, which has killed more than 232,000 Americans and cost millions of jobs.
Millions of voters put aside worries about the virus - and some long queues - to turn out in person, joining 102 million fellow Americans who voted days or weeks earlier, a record number that represented 73% of the total vote in the 2016 presidential election.
Early results in several key battleground states were in flux as election officials processed a historically large number of postal votes. Democrats typically outperform Republicans in postal voting, while the Republicans look to make up ground in polling day turnout. That means the early margins between the candidates could be influenced by which type of votes - early or polling day - were being reported by the states.
Mr Biden entered polling day with multiple paths to victory, while Mr Trump, playing catch-up in a number of battleground states, had a narrower but still feasible road to clinch 270 electoral college votes.but it remained too close to call, as both Mr Trump and his Democratic challenger won predictable victories early in the night.
The Republican took Mississippi, Oklahoma and Alabama, while Mr Biden won in New York, Virginia and his home state of Delaware.
To take the White House and be the next President of the United States, one of the candidates must get 270 votes out of the 538 available in the Electoral College. Trump said he believes he has a "very solid chance at winning", while his Democratic challenger cautiously said he remains "hopeful".
Mr Biden, a former vice-president, has painted the election as the "battle for the soul" of the nation, saying democracy itself is at stake, while Mr Trump has reprised his "make America great again" mantra.
Both men have clashed over the Covid-19 response, as the nation reels from more than 230,000 coronavirus deaths in the US and millions more having lost their jobs.
Mr Trump has sought to downplay the pandemic's effect, saying the nation is "rounding the corner", while his opponent has accused the president of having surrendered to the disease.
Steady lines of voters flocked to the polls on Tuesday after around 100 million Americans voted early, setting the nation on course for a record turnout figure.
A noticeably hoarse Mr Trump, spoke to Fox News by phone to speak up his "very solid" odds, predicting he could win with a larger margin in electoral college votes than in 2016 against Hillary Clinton.
But, during a later visit to campaign headquarters, he spoke more gravely saying "winning is easy" but "losing is never easy, not for me it's not".
Mr Biden, after a last pitch in the crucial state of Pennsylvania, struck a cautious tone, saying that "it's just so uncertain".
"I'm superstitious about predicting what an outcome's gonna be until it happens ... but I'm hopeful," he added.
National polls have consistently put Mr Biden ahead, but the race has been close in the battleground states, including Florida, Georgia and Arizona, which hold the keys to the White House.
Each state gets a number of electoral college votes roughly in line with its population, and they largely hand them all to the winner in that state. With 538 up for grabs across the States, 270 is the key number to win the presidency.
But the election night itself may not reveal the definite answer many want, with Mr Trump having refused to commit to a peaceful transition of power and having warned of a "rigged election".
Along with his attacks, which have largely centred on unfounded claims over postal voting, he has threatened to challenge the result in the courts if it is not in his favour.
The president has invited hundreds of supporters to an election party inside the White House, while Mr Biden will await the results in his hometown of Wilmington, Delaware.
More to follow...