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Democrat Joe Biden has pushed closer to the 270 Electoral College votes he needs to win the White House as the US continues its uneasy wait for a winner days after Election Day.
There is growing hope a result will be declared within 24 hours as several states across the country still count ballots that were cast ahead of or on Election Day, and a handful of battlegrounds remain up for grabs.
The official Associated Press count as of 7am (AEDT) has Biden with 264 electoral votes to Trump’s 214.
As Georgia and Pennsylvania restart their vote counts there are hopes a winner could be declared today, but there and many factors at play.
However, there is growing anticipation the two states will play a key role in who will be the US president for the next four years, as Nevada and North Carolina also sit on a knife edge.
With the nation on tenterhooks, the feeling of uncertainty was only intensified by Trump’s flurry of fraud allegations on Twitter.
Neither candidate had amassed the votes needed to win the White House, but Biden’s victories in Michigan and Wisconsin put him on the brink.
When can we expect a winner?
There are some hopes that Pennsylvania or Georgia’s counts will be completed today, giving us a winner. But there are no guarantees and several states still hang in the balance.
Officials in Nevada say the bulk of Clark County mail votes, a county where most voters including Las Vegas residents live, won’t be counted until the weekend.
Under state law, ballots postmarked by Election Day will still be counted if they arrive by Tuesday.
Among the ballots still left to be processed in Nevada this year are provisional ballots, including 60,000 in Clark County.
Biden leads by less than 1 percentage point in Nevada over Trump, with more than 1.2 million ballots counted.
The state’s six electoral votes would give Biden the exact 270 he needs to presidency however, he may rely on victory in other states earlier to reach the total.
Yet he’d have to do so in states that Trump has already, albeit prematurely, claimed victory in.
Trump has wrongly called victory in Georgia in an early White House appearance on Thursday (local time).
With an estimated 99 per cent of the vote counted there, Trump’s lead over Biden has shrunk to about 13,000 votes, with tens of thousands more ballots left to be counted.
That includes mailed ballots from population-dense counties in the Atlanta metro region that lean Democratic. Biden is over-performing Hillary Clinton’s 2016 showing in those counties, including in their more upscale suburban reaches.
There are 16 electoral votes on offer in Georgia.
North Carolina appears more of a difficult challenge for Biden.
Trump held a near 77,000-vote lead going into Thursday however, the race is too early to call with up to 116,000 mail ballots left to count, as well as about 41,000 provisional ballots statewide.
As long as those ballots are postmarked by November 3, state election officials have until November 12 to count them.
And when it comes to mail ballots, Biden was outperforming Trump. That means the ballots yet to be counted could give Biden a lead.
Hundreds of thousands of votes left to count in Pennsylvania
In Pennsylvania, where 20 electoral votes are up for grabs, there are hundreds of thousands of votes left to be counted Thursday morning (local time).
Trump, who held a 675,000-vote lead early Wednesday, prematurely declared victory in the state.
“We’re winning Pennsylvania by a tremendous amount. We’re up 690,000 votes in Pennsylvania. These aren’t even close. It’s not like, ‘Oh, it’s close,’” Trump said during an appearance at the White House.
By Thursday afternoon, his lead had slipped to about 114,000 — and the race is destined to get tighter.
One reason is because elections officials are not allowed to process mail-in ballots until Election Day under state law.
It’s a form of voting that has skewed heavily in Biden’s favour after Trump spent months claiming, without proof, that voting by mail would lead to widespread voter fraud.
A final vote total may not be clear for days because the use of mail-in ballots, which take more time to process, has surged as a result of the coronavirus pandemic.
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