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U.S. presidential elections | Joe Biden on verge of victory as Donald Trump goes to court

Former New York City Mayor Rudy Giuliani, personal attorney to U.S. President Donald Trump, speaks during a news conference held to discuss filing election-related lawsuits at Atlantic Aviation PHL private air terminal in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, U.S. November 4, 2020.   | Photo Credit: REUTERS

America awoke on Thursday morning to another day of uncertainty around the winner of the presidential election, even as Joe Biden appeared to be on the verge of reaching the 270 of 538 Electoral College votes needed to win the White House, after he won Michigan and Wisconsin. President Donald Trump’s campaign mounted legal challenges in several States. Mr. Trump’s supporters, some armed, protested in Arizona and hundreds of anti-Trump protests in Minneapolis blocked a highway.

The nation’s focus had narrowed to four States by Thursday — Georgia, Pennsylvania, Arizona and Nevada. Results were also not in for North Carolina and Alaska. Mr. Biden’s lead shrunk in Arizona by Thursday while Mr. Trump’s leads in Georgia and Pennsylvania went down.

As of this writing, Mr. Biden led Nevada by over 7,600 votes (six electoral seats) and Arizona by just over 68,000 votes (11). Mr. Trump led Georgia by over 18,500 votes (16), North Carolina by around 76,700 votes (15) and Pennsylvania by about 1,35,700 votes.

An increasingly frustrated President with limited paths to victory took to Twitter to air his grievances on Thursday morning.

“STOP THE COUNT!” Mr. Trump tweeted as Mr. Biden appeared to be inching towards 270.

“Here, the people rule. Power can’t be taken or asserted. It flows from the people,” Mr. Biden said in an address on Wednesday afternoon, in Delaware. He said while he was not yet declaring victory, he believed he would win when the votes were in.

“And 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.

Click here for Live updates on U.S. election results

Nevada and Georgia were expected to wrap up counting on Thursday. Pennsylvania has been given time until the end of Friday to finish the count. Democrats continued to be optimistic about Pennsylvania as mailed-in ballots tend to be used more by Democrats than Republicans and as of this writing, some 7,00,000 ballots were yet to be counted.

In Philadelphia county alone — which is a Democrat stronghold — some 1,20,000 votes were yet to be counted. Democrats were banking on counties in the southeastern parts of the State as well as Allegheny County in the west (where Pittsburgh is) to boost their numbers.

The Trump campaign was hoping that the mailed-in ballots from Trump-dominated counties would help the President maintain his lead.

Several news agencies, including the Associated Press, projected that Mr. Biden would win Arizona, a significant flip, that would take the former Vice-President’s tally from 254 to 263 seats.

The State, home to the late John McCain, a high-profile Republican, has been a traditional Republican stronghold. It last voted for a Democratic presidential candidate in 1996 (Bill Clinton). Arizona has witnessed a shift in recent years, electing its first Democratic Senator in decades, Krysten Sinema, in 2018. This year’s Democratic Senate candidate, astronaut Mark Kelly, defeated incumbent Martha McSally to claim the U.S. Senate seat left vacant by McCain’s death in 2018.

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Several media outlets and poll trackers kept Arizona’s result open on Thursday.

In Phoenix, Arizona, Mr. Trump’s supporters were seen chanting “Same on Fox” in a video (posted on Twitter by a New York Times reporter). Fox News had projected that Mr. Biden would win Arizona. The Times reported that at least one individual was seen carrying a rifle.

A Democrat has not won Maricopa County, home to Phoenix, since 1948. Pro-trump protesters chanted “Let us in!” and “Count the votes!” outside a ballot processing centre in the county — which houses 60% of the State’s population and therefore key to winning the State.

The Trump campaign went to court in Pennsylvania, Georgia and Michigan to stop counting or to seek greater access for Republican observers to ballot processing centres. In Pennsylvania, it is seeking a U.S. Supreme Court intervention in a case where the State’s highest court had granted permission for counting to go on until the end of Friday. The campaign also said it planned to ask for a recount in Wisconsin, which Mr. Biden has won.

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Printable version | Jan 17, 2021 6:46:57 AM | https://www.thehindu.com/news/international/us-presidential-elections-trump-mounts-legal-battle-in-several-states/article33027199.ece

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