Donald Trump repeats claims of ‘stolen election’; recount in Georgia.
As the counting of mailed-in ballots continued across the U.S., Democratic candidate Joe Biden appeared to be on the edge of victory, as he pushed past incumbent President Donald Trump in the crucial swing State of Pennsylvania on Friday morning.
A win would make Mr. Biden’s running mate, Kamala Harris, the first woman Vice-President of the U.S. and the first Indian American and African American person in that position.
In addition, Mr. Biden had also moved ahead in Georgia.
On Thursday evening, Mr. Trump addressed the media, making several unsubstantiated claims that procedural irregularities and fraud were responsible for his precarious electoral position.
Georgia Secretary of State Brad Raffensberger announced on Friday morning that there would be a recount due to the slim margin between the candidates. Candidates can request a recount as per State law if the margin is within 0.5%.
Mr. Biden’s lead in Pennsylvania came as he performed strongly with postal ballots in counties such as Philadelphia and Bucks, giving him over a 13,000-vote lead over Mr. Trump in the State by early Friday afternoon.
Bucks County is the most conservative among Democratic counties (i.e., Mr. Trump is competitive there).
So while it is possible in theory for Mr. Trump to get ahead of Mr. Biden in Pennsylvania as more votes are counted, it will be a challenge.
In Georgia, Mr. Biden led by around 1,100 votes. Based on the arithmetic, a Biden victory here or in Pennsylvania would mean the end of the road to 270 for Mr. Trump, who is at 214 votes. Mr. Biden’s lead on Friday in Georgia — traditionally a Republican state — emerged as votes came in for Clayton County, which is part of the Atlanta metropolitan area. Democrats have performed strongly in the cities and suburbs of the State.
In North Carolina, Mr. Trump was ahead by more than 76,000 with 6% of the votes left to count. In Nevada, Mr. Biden was ahead by over 22,000 votes with 14% left to count. Mr. Biden’s lead in Nevada has been growing with votes coming in from Democratic counties.
“If you count the legal votes, I easily win. If you count the illegal votes, they can try to steal the election from us,” Mr. Trump said at a speech in the White House press briefing room on Thursday.
His sons, Don Jr. and Eric, called out Republicans on Twitter for not backing Mr. Trump. “The total lack of action from virtually all of the ‘2024 GOP hopefuls’ is pretty amazing,” the junior Trump said.
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“He [Trump] and the American people deserve transparency & fairness as the votes are counted. The law must be followed. We have to keep the faith that the truth will prevail,” Nikki Haley, former UN Ambassador and Governor of South Carolina, tweeted shortly afterwards. Ms. Haley, who is of Indian descent, is a potential 2024 GOP presidential candidate.
While many Republicans stayed silent, some others, including Senator Lindsay Graham and House Minority Leader Kevin McCarthy backed Mr. Trump on Thursday.
The President’s campaign has gone to court in several States to either have counting stopped or to seek greater access for observers to vote counting centres. However, judges dismissed lawsuits in Michigan and Georgia. The campaign has said it is considering a recount request in Wisconsin, which Mr. Biden won but any recount will have to wait until the election is certified — the State has until December 1 to complete that process.
The Trump campaign has also sought an intervention by the Supreme Court, where ballots postmarked by November 3 may be counted until Friday (the court has thus far declined to intervene but it could still step in).
Twitter labelled a number of Mr Trump’s tweets on Thursday as misleading with regard to electoral participation. In his campaign speeches, Mr. Trump had of late added “big tech” to the establishment he was running and governing against these past years.
“Twitter is out of control, made possible through the government gift of Section 230!” he tweeted in the early hours of Friday. [Section 230 of the Communications Decency Act of 1996 is about liability for Internet companies].
On Thursday, Mr. Biden told supporters that he and Ms. Harris had attended a briefing on the coronavirus pandemic and the economic crisis in America. He urged people to stay calm and said every ballot would be counted.
“…It is the will of the voters, no one, not anything else, that chooses the President of the United States of America. So each ballot must be counted…,” he said.