Democratic presidential candidate Joe Biden has taken the lead in the US state of Georgia – one of the final states still in play in the presidential election – with just a small fraction of the votes left to be counted.
A win for Biden in Georgia – not at all certain given that the margin is less than 1,000 votes, according to multiple media reports – would hand him the state’s crucial 16 Electoral College votes. A candidate needs at least 270 electoral votes to win the White House.
If Georgia, which has voted Republican every election cycle since 1992, is called for Biden and Arizona holds for the Democrat, this would push him over the 270 mark.
The vote count is in its final stages in the remaining key states, with the pressure rising on Republican President Donald Trump, who has fewer paths to victory.
Election officials say staff are diligently working in several states to count every vote, noting that mail-in balloting has added some time to the tallying process.
Pennsylvania and Nevada have not yet been called for either candidate, though both are trending well for Biden.
Trump has made repeated unsubstantiated claims of “fraud” since Tuesday’s election, with Twitter slapping warning signs on post after post, saying the president is apparently spreading misinformation. No election officials have reported fraud.
In a speech from the White House, his first since the night of polls closing, Trump railed against his opponents, claiming they were aiming to “rig” the election against him.
The president blamed a conspiracy of “big media, big money, and big tech” for the whittling away of his lead.
Biden has struck a markedly different tone, noting that votes take time to tally and that he was content to wait until the end of counting, saying he has “no doubt” that he would emerge the winner.
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“Democracy is sometimes messy and sometimes requires a little patience as well,” he said in brief remarks from his home state of Delaware on Thursday.