Biden gains ground in key states as Trump accuses Democrats, without evidence, of trying to ‘steal’ election

The latest:

  • Electoral college vote stands at 253 for Biden, 214 for Trump.
  • Election observer says no evidence for Trump’s fraud claims.
  • Michigan, Georgia judges dismiss Trump campaign lawsuits.
  • Get all the U.S. election results as they come in.
  • How the electoral college determines who wins the U.S. presidency.
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Democratic presidential candidate Joe Biden gained more ground on U.S. President Donald Trump in the battleground states of Georgia and Pennsylvania on Friday, edging closer to the White House hours after Trump falsely claimed the election was being “stolen” from him.

Biden had a 253 to 214 lead in the state-by-state electoral college vote that determines the winner and was inching toward securing the 270 votes needed in the remaining undecided swing states.

In Georgia, which has 16 electoral votes, Biden edged into the lead by about 900 votes early Friday morning. In Pennsylvania, which has 20 electoral votes, Biden cut Trump’s lead to just over 18,000.

The numbers in Georgia and Pennsylvania were expected to continue to move in Biden’s favour, with many of the outstanding ballots being from areas that typically vote Democratic, including the cities of Atlanta and Philadelphia.

Biden did see his lead in Arizona shrink to around 47,000 earlier, and was still ahead in Nevada by only 12,000 votes. The Associated Press and Fox News have called Arizona for Biden, but CBC News still considers it too close to call and is waiting to make the determination.

Biden would become the next president by winning Pennsylvania, or by winning two out of the trio of Georgia, Nevada and Arizona. Trump’s likeliest path appeared narrower — he needed to hang onto both Pennsylvania and Georgia and also to overtake Biden in either Nevada or Arizona.

As the country held its breath three days after Tuesday’s election day, Georgia and Pennsylvania officials expressed optimism they would finish counting on Friday, while Arizona and Nevada were still expected to take days to finalize their vote totals.

WATCH | Trump makes unfounded allegations about ‘illegal’ votes:

Republican presidential candidate Donald Trump said Thursday that Democrats could ‘try to steal the election from us’ if ‘illegal votes’ cast after election day were counted. There is no evidence that ballots were cast after Nov. 3. 0:40

Trump has sought to portray as fraudulent the slow counting of mail-in ballots, which surged in popularity due to fears of exposure to the coronavirus through in-person voting. As counts from those ballots have been tallied, they have eroded the initial strong leads the president had in states like Georgia and Pennsylvania.

States have historically taken time after election day to tally all votes.

Trump continues baseless allegations

In an extraordinary assault on the democratic process, Trump appeared in the White House briefing room on Thursday evening and without basis alleged the election was being “stolen” from him.

Offering no evidence, Trump lambasted election workers and sharply criticized polling before the election that he said was designed to suppress the vote because it favoured Biden.

“They’re trying to rig an election, and we can’t let that happen,” said Trump, who spoke for about 15 minutes in the White House briefing room before leaving without taking questions. Several TV networks cut away during his remarks, with anchors saying they needed to correct his statements.

Biden, who earlier in the day urged patience as votes were counted, responded on Twitter: “No one is going to take our democracy away from us. Not now, not ever.”

With ballots still to be tabulated, Biden already had received close to 74 million votes, the most in U.S. history, while Trump had more than 69 million, about seven million more than in 2016. “Democracy is sometimes messy,” Biden said from Wilmington, Del. “It sometimes requires a bit of patience, too.”

WATCH | ‘Democracy is sometimes messy,’ Biden says: 

Democratic presidential candidate Joe Biden calls on Americans to be patient and calm as the final ballots are counted in crucial swing states. 1:14

And he reiterated that he feels good about where things stand and is confident he will be the winner when the count is complete. 

On Thursday, a Michigan judge dismissed a Trump campaign lawsuit in a dispute over whether Republican challengers had access to the handling of absentee ballots. The lawsuit claimed Secretary of State Jocelyn Benson, a Democrat, was allowing absentee ballots to be counted without teams of bipartisan observers as well as challengers. 

Michigan First District Court of Appeals Judge Cynthia Stephens said that the lawsuit was filed late Wednesday afternoon, just hours before the last ballots were counted. She also said Benson was the wrong person to sue because she doesn’t control the logistics of local ballot counting even if she is the state’s chief election officer.

Much of the dispute centred on the TCF Center in Detroit where pro-Trump protesters gathered while absentee ballots were being counted.

WATCH | Trump supporters angry as race tightens in Georgia:

Donald Trump supporters protested in Georgia as the lead he initially had over Joe Biden dwindled as more ballots were counted, with some making claims about fraudulent ballots. 2:09

A judge in Georgia, where Trump and Biden were neck and neck Thursday night with 98 per cent of votes reported, also dismissed a lawsuit over the vote in that state late Wednesday. 

It was unclear if any of the Trump campaign’s legal manoeuvring over ballot counting would succeed in shifting the race in his favour. Late Thursday afternoon, the campaign said it had launched yet another lawsuit, this time against the Philadelphia board of electors, seeking an injunction to bar ballot counting unless Republican observers are present. 

Pennsylvania Secretary of State Kathy Boockvar said on Thursday afternoon that she was unaware of any allegations of voter fraud in her state as the final votes were being counted. 

WATCH | Pennsylvania’s secretary of state says it’s not yet clear who the winner is:

Pennsylvania Secretary of State Kathy Boockvar told reporters Thursday that several hundred thousand ballots remain to be counted in the state where results are highly anticipated amid a tight national electoral race. 0:54

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