WILMINGTON (DELAWARE) – Democratic candidate Joe Biden has won the two crucial battleground states of Wisconsin and Michigan on Wednesday (Nov 4) afternoon, US networks projected, putting him closer to the 270 electoral votes needed to win the presidency, although the race remained too close to call.
With Michigan’s 16 electoral votes and Wisconsin’s 10, Mr Biden now has a total of 264 – six shy of the 270 needed, according to US network projections.
President Donald Trump’s campaign said it would seek a recount in Wisconsin and file legal suits to stop the counting of votes in Michigan and Pennsylvania.
Alaska, Georgia, Pennsylvania, Nevada and North Carolina have yet to be called, but if Mr Biden wins Nevada where he has a slim lead, it would give him the six votes needed
Speaking from his hometown of Wilmington, Delaware, Mr Biden said he was not declaring victory but that vote counts from Wisconsin, Michigan and even Pennsylvania showed he was winning in enough states to reach the 270 electoral votes needed to win the presidency.
“I am not here to declare that I have won. I am here to report that when the count is finished, I believe I will be the winner,” he said, calling for unity in the aftermath of an election marked by rancour.
Mr Biden said that with all the votes counted, he had won Wisconsin and its 10 electoral votes by 20,000 votes, “virtually the same margin President Trump won the state by four years ago”, he added.
The Wisconsin race was called by the Associated Press at 3.16am Singapore time, although the Trump campaign had already said before then that it would request a recount.
In Wisconsin, a recount can be requested if the margin between the top two candidates is less than 1 per cent, said the New York Times.
“Despite ridiculous public polling used as a voter suppression tactic, Wisconsin has been a razor thin race as we always knew it would be,” said Trump campaign manager Bill Stepien in a statement. “The President is well within the threshold to request a recount and we will immediately do so.”
Mr Stepien said that the Trump campaign had not been given “meaningful access” to several counting locations in Michigan and had filed a suit to halt counting until access was given. He added later that the Trump campaign would also mount a challenge in Pennsylvania.
Early poll counts on Tuesday night had Mr Trump winning more votes in Wisconsin, Pennsylvania and Michigan, but Mr Biden gained ground as absentee and mail-in ballots, as well as ballots from Democratic strongholds, were counted later.
Mr Trump alleged without evidence that voter fraud was happening, in several tweets that were flagged by Twitter.
He also claimed victory in Pennsylvania, Georgia and North Carolina, where counting is still ongoing and where he has a lead for now over Mr Biden.
“Additionally, we hereby claim the State of Michigan if, in fact, there was a large number of secretly dumped ballots as has been widely reported!” Mr Trump said in a tweet that Twitter marked as misleading.
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