Home / News / World /  US presidential election: It’s too close to call

Close contests in five key states mean the US presidential election may not be decided for days, or longer, even as President Donald Trump’s falsely claimed victory over Democrat Joe Biden with millions of ballots still to be counted.

As of 6am New York time Wednesday, Biden had 238 electoral votes while Trump had 213, leaving both shy of the 270 needed to secure immediate victories.

In a middle of the night speech from the White House, Trump threatened to ask the US Supreme Court to intervene to stop what he called the disenfranchisement of Republican voters, without offering evidence that any wrongdoing had occurred.

“Frankly, we did win this election," he said, noting that he held a lead in a number of states whose results were still uncertain. “So we’ll be going to the US Supreme Court. We want all voting to stop."

It wasn’t immediately clear what Trump meant, as states including Michigan, Pennsylvania, Wisconsin, Georgia and Nevada were counting legally cast votes. It is routine for states to continue counting votes after Election Day, and Pennsylvania said results likely wouldn’t be finalized for several days.

The unusually large number of absentee ballots cast due to the pandemic meant counting wasn’t complete. The unresolved outcome risks stoking tensions further in the US, beset by an economic downturn and the raging virus.

Graphic: Mint
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Graphic: Mint

Despite the president’s claims, Biden ended election day with a strong chance of unseating the incumbent. A Biden win in the battleground state of Arizona, which Trump carried in 2016, opened up a number of pathways to clinch a majority of electoral college votes, primarily through Rust Belt states where both campaigns fought hard.

Trump tried to create doubt about the legitimacy of the vote count early Wednesday after spending weeks warning without evidence of ballot tampering that would favour the former vice-president. Trump’s comments drew criticism from Biden’s campaign and at least one of the president’s allies.

Former New Jersey governor Chris Christie, a close Trump ally, told ABC News he disagreed with Trump’s remarks about the election results and said, “There’s just no basis to make that argument tonight. There just isn’t."

Biden’s campaign manager, Jen O’Malley Dillon, said in a statement that Trump’s remarks were “outrageous, unprecedented and incorrect" and “a naked effort to take away the democratic rights of American citizens".

Earlier, Biden told supporters sitting in cars outside the Chase Center in Wilmington, Delaware, that he was “on track to win this election" and urged his supporters to be patient as they waited for the ballots to be counted.

The Associated Press, relied on by many news organizations for election calls, said in a statement it “is not calling the presidential race yet because neither candidate has secured the 270 electoral college votes needed to claim victory".

Both men still have paths to victory, though it appears that Biden has more options than Trump does. Trump needs at least four of the following states to pass 270 electoral votes: Georgia, North Carolina, Michigan, Pennsylvania, and Wisconsin. He won them all in 2016.

If Biden wins any two of Michigan, Wisconsin, Pennsylvania and Georgia, he’ll win.

There were few surprises among states where the AP announced winners, with Republican and Democratic states generally falling in line.

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