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FORMER VICE PRESIDENT Joe Biden is within touching distance of the US presidency and is preparing to make an address later this evening. 

Counting is continuing in the crucial states of Georgia, Pennsylvania, Nevada and Arizona.

Biden has dramatically overtaken Trump’s lead in Georgia and Pennsylvania, and a win in either would mean Trump could not make it to the magic number of 270 electoral college votes. 

Biden only really needs Pennsylvania, which has 20 electoral college votes, and the presidency is his. Trump likely needs to win all four.

Meanwhile, Trump has continued to attract criticism after he made a series of unsubstantiated claims about the election being stolen from him in the White House last night. He has been continuing to make similar claims on Twitter. 

We’re not sure when an official call will be made. 

Here’s what happened on Friday: 

Sean Murray here with you this morning as we go again.

There’s still not a result in the US election.

And there’s been a bit happening overnight so here’s what you need to know. 

Biden is on 264 electoral college votes – according to projections from the Associated Press that include the state of Arizona and its 11 electoral college votes. The race has tightened there, however, and is so very close everywhere else.

  • Georgia

Trump’s lead has been consistently eaten away here as the mail in ballots were counted. At around 4am our time, his lead over Biden was just 1,800 with 14,000 ballots left to be counted. 

  • Pennsylvania

Trump’s lead here dropped to around 23,000 votes overnight. To put that in context, before we came to the mail ins, his lead was several hundred thousand. It shows how much Democrat voters opted for voting by post this year as had been well flagged.

  • Arizona

Biden’s lead has been narrowing here all the time. It’s now about 46,000 with around 293,000 votes left to be counted. We could have results here, but it’ll be later in the day. 

  • Nevada

Biden is also still leading here, and there’s around 190,000 votes left to be counted. Around 90% of them are in Clark County where Las Vegas is located. 

The two latter states are located in the western half of the states and have a greater time difference. It’s the first two we should be watching earlier today. 

It’s really hard to overstate how incendiary Trump’s remarks were last night.

However, he was talking without his usual bombast and seemed more subdued than usual as he gave his address.

Trump made a series of false claims about how the election has been stolen from him but major US television networks ABC, CBS and NBC all cut away from him as he spoke from the White House.

MSNBC’s Brian Williams also interrupted the president. Fox News Channel and CNN aired the president’s full address, after which CNN’s Anderson Cooper said Trump was “like an obese turtle on his back, flailing in the hot sun realising his time was over”.

Here’s a flavour of how it went:

Source: TheJournal.ie/YouTube

Some Republicans have begun to break ranks from Trump’s unfounded rhetoric in the past day.

Representative Adam Kinzinger, a Republican from Illinois, tweeted that the president’s claims of fraud were “getting insane”. If Trump had “legit” concerns about fraud they needed to be based on evidence and taken to court, Kinzinger said, adding: “STOP Spreading debunked misinformation”.

Maryland’s Republican governor Larry Hogan, a potential 2024 presidential hopeful who has often criticised Trump, said unequivocally: “There is no defense for the President’s comments tonight undermining our Democratic process. America is counting the votes, and we must respect the results as we always have before.”

Other criticism, though less direct, came from members of Congress. Senator Marco Rubio, a Florida Republican who spoke at a recent Trump campaign rally, said in a tweet that if any candidate believes “a state is violating election laws they have a right to challenge it in court & produce evidence in support of their claims”.

Rubio said earlier: “Taking days to count legally cast votes is NOT fraud. And court challenges to votes cast after the legal voting deadline is NOT suppression.”

Retired Republican senator Jeff Flake of Arizona, was more direct: “No Republican should be okay with the President’s statements just now. Unacceptable. Period.”

He added: “Fellow Republicans, don’t wait until the election is called to defend our elections and our democratic institutions. The time is now.”

Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell, a Trump ally who won re-election Tuesday in Kentucky, told reporters that “claiming you’ve won the election is different from finishing the counting”. His office declined to comment after Trump’s address.

Source: TheJournal.ie/YouTube

A bit of a different one here, but supporters of Joe Biden in his ancestral home of Ballina in Mayo are confident they will welcome him back as the new US president.

As the Democrat edges closer to the White House, residents in Ballina, Co Mayo, are already planning to roll out the red carpet for his return.

Biden’s great-great-great-grandfather Edward Blewit emigrated from the town almost 200 years ago, having worked as a brick-maker and as a civil engineer helping to map Ireland.

Here’s a breakdown of the current leads in the key states from BBC New York correspondent Nick Bryant.

RTÉ’s Washington correspondent Brian O’Donovan is always enjoyable to listen to.

He’s on Morning Ireland now and has just described Trump’s speech from the White House as “pick your conspiracy theory off the internet”. 

The Washington Post is reporting this morning that the Secret Service is sending officers to ramp up protection for Joe Biden.

“The Secret Service is sending reinforcements to Wilmington, Del., starting Friday to help protect former vice president Joe Biden as his campaign prepares for the possibility he may soon claim victory in his bid for the White House, according to two people familiar with the plans,” it reported.

“The Secret Service summoned a squad of agents to add to the protective bubble around Biden after his campaign alerted the Secret Service the Democratic nominee would continue utilizing a Wilmington convention center at least another day and could make a major speech as early as Friday, according to the people, who spoke on the condition of anonymity to describe the security protocols.”

Trump is still awake and is tweeting.

He’s making reference to how the control of the Senate is up for grabs.

There’ll be two run-off elections in Georgia that may decide who’ll have a Senate majority in January. 

A Biden presidency would face problems with a Republican majority so those races will become all-important once the dust settles on this presidential election. 

Trump is sending out a number of tweets.

Again, he’s saying he’s won the election. He’s claiming observers weren’t allowed and says loads of votes must be deemed illegal. 

He also says the Supreme Court must decide.

There’s been no definitive evidence of any major voter fraud in any of the races so far. And it’s unclear what exactly he’d be asking the Supreme Court to decide on. 

He’s still going. 

Twitter is under his scrutiny now. The social network has marked numerous tweets from the US President as misleading in recent days as he claims fraud. 

Here, he’s talking about provision within law that helps to shield social media companies from liability. 

In other social media news, Facebook yesterday banned a large group called Stop the Steal that supporters of Donald Trump were using to organise protests against the presidential vote count.

Set up on Wednesday, it had gotten 350,000 members before it was taken down.

Some members had called for violence, while many falsely claimed Democrats were “stealing” the election from Republicans.

“In line with the exceptional measures that we are taking during this period of heightened tension, we have removed the Group ‘Stop the Steal’, which was creating real-world events,” Facebook said in a statement.

“The group was organised around the delegitimisation of the election process, and we saw worrying calls for violence from some members of the group.”

trump-adviser-arrest Source: Al Drago/PA Images

Former Trump ally Steve Bannon has been banned from Twitter.

As well as falsely claiming Trump had won the election, Bannon also said yesterday that the heads of Dr Anthony Fauci and FBI Director Christopher Wray should be “put on pikes”. 

In recent times, Bannon has also been charged for his alleged role in defrauding millions from donors to a campaign to build a Mexican border wall. 

download (69) A Trump supporter dressed in military-style clothes confronts a counter protester in Detroit Source: David Goldman/PA Images

We’ve seen protests and counter-protests in the key states in the past two days.

And election officials in several US states have expressed fears about the safety of their workers amid a stream of threats and gatherings of angry protesters outside their doors, spurred by Donald Trump’s claims of a corrupt election.

Groups of Trump supporters have gathered at vote tabulation sites in Phoenix, Detroit and Philadelphia, decrying counts that showed Democrat Joe Biden leading or gaining ground.

While the protests have not been violent or very large, local officials were distressed by the crowds and concerned about the relentless accusations.

We’ve got more on that here

Big news coming from Georgia.

MSNBC’s Kyle Griffin is saying Trump’s lead has been cut to just 665 votes.

They’re counting through the night in Pennsylvania and Georgia.

That really slim margin for Trump in Georgia comes with over 98% of votes counted. 

Clayton County in Georgia has just 3,500 mail in ballots left to count.

The director of the county’s board of elections Shauna Dozier told CNN that they’ll keep going through the night until every ballot is counted.

She said: “We are going to stay here until every single absentee ballot is counted. We are going to continue forward … whatever it takes to get that done, we’re going to do it. We’re committed.”

This county trends Democrat so Trump will need to watch his razor thin margin in the state closely. 

Amidst Trump’s anger, here’s a reminder of what Joe Biden had to say yesterday evening.

He urged Americans to “stay calm” and to wait until every vote was counted.

“We continue to feel very good about where things stand. We have no doubt that when the count is finished, Senator (Kamala) Harris and I will be declared the winners,” Biden told reporters in his hometown of Wilmington, Delaware.

Source: Sky News/YouTube

One of the latest videos to go viral as we await the election result is this from late night talk show host Stephen Colbert from just a few hours ago. 

At the time of writing, it’s been viewed almost two million times.

One potential reason for Trump appearing a bit subdued and less fiery than usual while claiming election fraud last night is that he was actually reading out a statement, rather than making his usual off the cuff remarks.

This great shot from the Associated Press’ Evan Vucci shows White House press secretary Kayleigh McEnany closing a notebook containing text of what may have been Trump’s speech last night.

election-2020-trump Source: Evan Vucci/PA Images

We’ve more ballots in from Georgia, and Trump’s lead has shortened again.

Now, he’s just 463 votes ahead of Biden.

However, even if Biden goes ahead, that may not simply mean the networks then call it for him.

Here’s more on the Republicans turning their back on the president given his baseless claims – as well as the few that are still backing him

Senators Lindsey Graham and Ted Cruz are among those who’ve enthusiastically backed Trump in back-to-back appearances on Fox News.

“I’ll tell you the president is angry and I’m angry and the voters ought to be angry,” Cruz told the network’s host Sean Hannity, whose evening show is a favourite of Trump.

Cruz alleged falsely that Pennsylvania’s Democratic attorney general had ordered vote-counting in the state’s largest city of Philadelphia “until Joe Biden wins”.

“We need to get in there now,” Cruz said of voting centres.

Asked by Hannity if the Pennsylvania legislature could refuse to recognise the results and instead give the state’s electoral votes to Trump, Graham replied, “I think everything should be on the table.”

Over in Germany, leading publication Bild is comparing a tweet from Donald Trump Jr to an “infamous speech by Hitler’s Propaganda Minister Josef Goebbels” in February 1943.

The president’s son had posted: “The best thing for America’s future is for [Donald Trump] to go to total war over this election to expose all the fraud, cheating, dead/no longer in state voters, that has been going on for far too long.”

Bild’s article ends: “The question remains whether he was aware of the historical significance of these words.”

An interesting one here. More people have written in their own candidate than the current margin between Trump and Biden in Georgia.

Still counting in Clayton County, Georgia.

Reporters are in the next room watching the 20 or so people still count ballots through a window.

And Biden is now AHEAD in Georgia.

Reminder: the state is too close to call but Biden has now erased Trump’s lead.

It’s still an if right now, but if Biden wins Georgia it’ll be the first time a Democrat has won the state since Bill Clinton in 1992.

So a brief reminder of where a Georgia win would put us.

Going by AP’s projections, Biden would exceed the 270 electoral votes needed for the presidency. 

But most US networks haven’t called Arizona yet, and have Biden currently at 253. 

The 16 electoral votes in Georgia would leave him just short of the presidency in that case. 

However, a win in Pennsylvania and its 20 electoral college votes would erase all doubt. And they’re still counting there through the night. 

Oh well now. As pointed out by Ceimin Burke here, Biden winning Georgia means it’s still possible – but not likely – for the electoral college to be a 269-269 draw.

And what a wonderful goal that was.

philadephia-police-investigate-planned-attack-2 A screengrab from a local news helicopter shows the Hummer close to the election count centre. Source: 6ABC.com

There was a rather worrying development last night in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, where counting remains ongoing overnight.

Shortly after 10pm (3am Irish time), a man was detained outside the Philadelphia Convention Centre, over what US media has said was a plan to attack it. 

Local television channel 6ABC Action News reports that police received a tip that an armed group had driven from Virginia to Philadelphia, a drive of several hours, to carry out some kind of attack at the count centre. 

The group is possibly a family, the site reports. 

Police have recovered a weapon and seized the Hummer vehicle that the group travelled in. No injuries have been reported.

Christine Bohan has more on that here

That’s it from me for the moment. I leave you in the capable hands of Stephen McDermott from Aidan McGeady-tweet fame.

Good morning. Stephen McDermott here to take you through the next few hours

If you’re just joining, you’ve arrived at a crucial time: Joe Biden has just taken the lead in Georgia with 99% of the vote counted. A win there would leave him one Electoral College vote shy of becoming the next president.

It’s important to point out that although Biden taking the lead in Georgia is significant, the race is by no means over.

Even a Biden win in Georgia would only put him on 269 Electoral College votes (out of 270 required). Trump could theoretically still win every other state and then it would be up to the US Congress to decide who wins.

Then there is the minuscule number of votes between them. Biden currently leads by 917 votes out of 4,897,825 in the state – a margin of 0.01%, making it a statistical dead heat.

Even though Biden could stretch his lead as more postal ballots are counted, Trump could still call for a recount.

Here’s an interesting take on the two states that Biden has potentially managed to flip, Arizona and Georgia. 

Both were the home states of thorns in Donald Trump: John McCain and John Lewis.

 

The actual reasons for both states flipping are more nuanced than that, but it’s an interesting side note.

On Pennsylvania, which holds 20 Electoral College votes and could also be crucial to the race, CNN is reporting that there’ll be an update “in the next hour or two”.

Al Schmidt, the commissioner in Philadelphia County is telling the news network that there were 360,000 mail-in ballots there, with around 50,000 left to count.

Schmidt also explained that Democrats requested postal votes at a rate 16 times more than Republicans in the county.

If that trend plays out when the remaining postal ballots are counted, Biden would add 47,000 votes to his total, compared to just 3,000 for Trump.

Alternatively, the vote split in the county is currently 80% to Biden, which would give him around 30,000 additional votes if that split continues to play out among the votes left to be counted.

Trump currently leads in Pennsylvania by around 18,000 votes, so Biden could be on course to flip the state as well.

For a snapshot of where things are in the four key states that remain, here’s a handy update from NBC:

Of course, the election is being played out in the context of the Covid-19 pandemic, which has been a huge factor behind the surge in postal voting this year.

The US – one of the hardest-hit countries in the world – has reported 123,085 new cases of the virus in the past 24 hours, a new daily increase that saw almost a 25% increase on the previous daily record, set on Wednesday.

More on that here.

Biden has stretched his lead in Georgia to 1,096 votes.

CNN’s use of the ‘magic wall’ has given a good breakdown of the state of play in Georgia, which has flipped to Biden overnight.

The majority of the outstanding ballots are to be counted in Gwinnett County, a Democrat stronghold where 4,500 votes remain to be tallied.

Although there are some smaller Republican counties left to count as well, it appears as if Biden’s slim lead in the state could be buffered by the votes that remain.

As a new morning dawns Stateside, here’s where we stand:

  • Joe Biden currently holds 264 electoral college votes to Donald Trump’s 214 votes (based on projections from the Associated Press that include the state of Arizona).
  • Biden took the lead in Georgia, which holds 16 electoral college votes, overnight. He’s currently ahead by a wafer-thin 1,096 votes with 99% of ballots counted.
  • An updated count from Pennsylvania - where Trump leads by 18,229 votes – is expected in the next hour or two. Biden is expected to take a sizeable number of votes via postal ballot across the state.
  • Biden also leads by 11,438 votes in Nevada, with about 10% of ballots left to count there.  
  • However, Biden’s lead in Arizona has continued to narrow. It’s now about 46,000 with around 293,000 votes left to be counted.
  • Last night, Trump made a series of illogical and baseless remarks about how the election was carried out during a White House press conference.
  • Biden announced he has “no doubt” he is going to win the election. He also called on people to be calm and patient.

You can read all of the election main points in our longer piece here.

There’s been a bit of a lull here in the past few minutes. All eyes are on Pennsylvania for an apparently imminent update on the situation there.

To speculate, there is a potential pathway to a 269-269 tie.

Unlike the Associated Press, CNN and others still haven’t called Arizona and its 11 electoral college votes for Biden, leaving the Democrat on 253 votes.

If Biden takes Georgia (which has 16 votes), it would put him on 269 under CNN’s projections.

Trump could theoretically hold Pennsylvania and North Carolina, putting him on 248 votes. If he adds Alaska and what’s left of Maine, as expected, it would bring him up to 262.

That puts the focus on Arizona and Nevada. Biden leads in each state, but both have about 10% of their votes left to count.

If the president takes the two western states on top of Pennsylvania and North Carolina – where he leads – and Alaska and Maine (where he is expected to win), it would put him on 269 with Biden if the Democrat takes Georgia.

The cards would have to fall in a very specific way for this to happen, and we should caveat this predication by saying that others have already called Arizona for Biden and project a possible win for him in Pennsylvania.

But it’s not entirely out of the question that there could be a draw and the result could go to the US Congress.

Meanwhile, Biden has added to his lead in Georgia – by a single vote.

He led by 1,096 at the last count. It’s now at 1,097.

The Taoiseach has had his say on Irish interest in the election after a meeting of the British-Irish Council Summit, as my colleague Gráinne Ní Aodha reports:

John King on CNN is giving more good analysis of the overall election vote using the magic wall to look at Pennsylvania as a case study.

For context, Trump is currently leading in the crucial state, but Biden is expected to close the gap and possibly even win there when the 168,000 votes that remain are tallied.

Trump won the state, along with Wisconsin and Michigan, in what were key wins in 2016. This time, Biden has taken the latter two and could sweep to victory by taking Pennsylvania as well.

So what happened Trump?

Well, King points out that the president didn’t actually under-perform in a single county Pennsylvania – a pattern that generally tallies with his performance across the country.

Underperformance

The reason the state – and the presidency – could flip is because Biden simply got more voters out.

Largely assisted by postal ballots, more people have voted for the Democrat than any other candidate in US election history.

If you’re wondering why it’s taking so long for some states to count votes, the Washington Post’s Aaron Blake has a concise explainer here:

Some Republicans are breaking with Donald Trump’s attempts to falsely declare victory in the election and claim without evidence that Democrats are trying to “steal” it.

Former New Jersey governor Chris Christie, a Trump ally who is an analyst for ABC News, said there was no basis for Trump’s argument.

Christie called Trump’s attack on the integrity of the election “a bad strategic decision” and “a bad political decision, and it’s not the kind of decision you would expect someone to make … who holds the position he holds”.

You can read who else has been criticising him here.

Some clarity on what’s still to come in Georgia, where Biden holds the narrowest of leads:

And as we continue to wait for an update in Pennsylvania, I’ll leave you in the capable hands of my colleague Sean Murray. Over to you, Sean…

Cheers, Stephen.

As we still await further results from Pennsylvania, in particular, I’d like to draw your attention to this rather large fence Republican Senate majority leader Mitch McConnell is sitting on.

Falling short of either completely siding with Trump, or outright rebuking him, McConnell has opted for a placating statement.

Some of the legal cases taken by Trump so far have been about getting additional observers in while the ballots are being counted.

Local media in Nevada are reporting his campaign team have told the state Supreme Court that they’re willing to drop its lawsuit against Clark County if they’re allowed extra access to a counting site.

The question mark in this headline doesn’t fill me with confidence.

More results were due soon in Pennsylvania several hours ago now.

Anyone who’s been tuning into CNN regularly can relate.

Axios is reporting that Trump aides are dreading the prospect of Fox calling Pennsylvania for Biden, thus declaring him the next president, and it becoming the first network to call who’s won the election.

Trump’s camp have been fuming at Fox since it called Arizona – which is still up in the air – for Biden early on election night. 

BIDEN TAKES THE LEAD IN PENNSYLVANIA.

This is huge.

If Biden wins this state, he wins the election.

Biden has overturned a huge deficit in Pennsylvania, which has been counting its mail-in ballots last.

At last count, he was losing by 18,000. Now he’s winning by 5,587.

There’s still counting left to be done, but the remaining ballots come from areas strong with the Democrats.

Will any US networks call Pennsylvania – and with that the election – for Biden soon?

In all the key states still counting, Biden is ahead in all of them.

On CNN, John King is saying the end is in sight.

CNN is “not yet ready to make a projection” on Pennsylvania.

The counting in Democrat strongholds in Philadelphia has boosted Biden significantly as the mail-in ballots were factored in.

Analysts are saying Trump cannot win back the lead in Pennsylvania, based on the data available. 

Still waiting on the big networks to declare, though.

White smoke from NBC.

They’re referring to him as President-Elect.

If Joe Biden wins in the remaining states that he’s ahead in, he’ll win the electoral college by the exact same amount that Donald Trump did in 2016.

CNN is reporting that a national defence airspace is being established over Joe Biden’s home in Wilmington, Delaware.

FiveThirtyEight.com is reporting that if Pennsylvania is declared for Biden, then the legal actions Trump is taking will be irrelevant.

Fox News, meanwhile, is reporting that Trump is seeking more recounts and has no plans to immediately concede.

A recount in Pennsylvania would put an immediate stay on any celebrations for Joe Biden. 

However, ABC reporter Adam Kelsey is reporting that Biden’s eventual margin of victory could mean a recount wouldn’t be triggered.

The Trump campaign is not admitting defeat yet.

They’ve issued a statement to say “this election is not over”. 

It claims false projections for Biden and says that Trump will be re-elected. 

In reality, however, it looks like Joe Biden cannot lose at this point.

Interesting from Fox News. Even as it approaches the time it could call the election for Biden, it’s being reported that its on-air reporters and analysts have been told not to refer to Joe Biden as the President-Elect.

It’s been over seven hours since Trump has tweeted. Given the recent statement from his campaign saying he is the rightful winner of the election, it wouldn’t be unexpected if he unleashed another tweetstorm soon. 

A good guess on when would be when Fox calls the election for Biden.

Donald Trump Jr, for the moment, is the one sending a flurry of tweets aimed at casting doubts on the results coming in.

And there I shall leave you for the day. Thanks for reading the liveblog this far. But make sure to stick with it, as it’s likely a victory could be declared for Joe Biden very soon. 

I leave you in the hands of Stephen McDermott for the foreseeable. G’luck.

Thanks Sean. Stephen McDermott back here to take you through the next few hours.

If you’re just joining, the big news this afternoon is that Joe Biden has taken the lead in Pennsylvania. And he’s just extended his lead again, thanks to a vote in Bucks County:

Annnnd the president’s son-in-law Jared Kushner, who has been one of the president’s senior advisors, has deleted all of his tweets:

EmJiBv1XgAUsjlE

And the latest slew of tweets has begun:

We should point out that there is no evidence that fraud or issues regarding the integrity of the vote in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania or any other city or state.

Interesting comments from Joe Biden’s campaign team:

He has made similar remarks previously, but it’s still quite jarring to consider that a defeated US president may have to be physically removed from the White House after refusing to accept the election results.

The Lieutenant Governor of Pennsylvania John Fetterman has come out to bate for the state’s electoral system (and possibly given Trump an idea):

Now the president’s eldest – considered by some as a possible candidate to run in 2024 – has had her say.

Once again, we should clarify that there is no disagreement that legally cast votes should be counted and illegally cast votes should not.

The problem is that there is no evidence of widespread illegal voting.

Website Fivethirtyeight.com has given an update on Alaska and North Carolina, two states where Trump is expected to win.

It’s reported that absentee ballots in the two states won’t be counted until 10 and 12-13 November respectively – partly as both accept ballots that arrive as late as next week.

So the final result of this race may not be known until at least this day next week, even if Biden crosses the line today.

Here’s where we currently stand as per the latest tallies in the four key states which are still counting:

  • In Pennsylvania, Biden leads Trump by 6,826 votes with 95% of ballots counted.
  • In Georgia, Biden leads Trump by 1,579 votes with 99% counted.
  • In Arizona, Biden is ahead by 47,052 votes with 90% counted.
  • And in Nevada, Biden leads by 11,438 votes with 89% counted.

Biden currently sits on 264 electoral college votes compared to 213 for Trump (although this includes a win in Arizona, which has been called for the former vice president by the Associated Press).

As per that projection, he needs just one of the states to get to the 270 votes required to take the presidency.

There’s been a lot of talk about recounts, with Trump already requesting this in some states he’s lost.

The rules state that a recount can be requested where the winner’s margin of victory is less than 0.5% of the total number of votes.

Trump currently trails by that margin in Georgia and Pennsylvania – although both states still have plenty of counting to do.

Here’s the scene at the White House today, where protesters have left signs on a fence near Black Lives Matter Plaza:

news-election-2020-in-washington-dc Source: SIPA USA/PA Images

news-election-2020-in-washington-dc Source: SIPA USA/PA Images

In case you thought Pennsylvania will be called any time soon, the Pennsylvania Department of State has come to dash your hopes.

They report that there are 124,169 absentee ballots left to be counted in the state, including 23,222 in Philadelphia County and 36,456 in Allegheny County (where the city of Pittsburgh is based).

Both counties are expected to see a tranche of votes go to Biden, but for context, there were 168,000 votes to be counted first thing this morning – so it could be a few hours before Pennsylvania is finalised.

Biden’s lead in Arizona has narrowed slightly to 43,569, after Trump won Maricopa County.

There are 223,000 outstanding votes – or around 8% – of the total votes in the state left to count. CNN report that Biden would need 39% to 41% of those votes to win, but Trump would need 58% to 60% to overtake him.

Trump only won Maricopa County with 51% of the share.

Associated Press is saying Pennsylvania – where Biden has just increased his lead to 9,027 votes – remains too close to call.

The former vice president is continually extending his lead as counting of postal ballots from in and around Philadelphia and Pittsburgh continues.

But ominously, Bloomberg report that Associated Press believe a recount could happen in the state. Remember, Biden’s lead needs to be 0.5% or less for that to take place.

There’s been a big development in Nevada.

Ballots from Clark County have handed a huge boost to Biden, who has doubled his lead to around 22,000 votes the Silver State, with 8% of ballots left to be counted.

A reminder from the Associated Press that we still don’t have a winner, and that they’ll update people when they declare one:

Biden’s lead in Pennsylvania has slipped slightly. He’s now ahead by just 8,667 votes.

Here’s the latest from four of the key states still counting (and North Carolina):

key states

The Secretary of State of Georgia – where Biden leads by around 1,500 votes – has said he expects there to be a second count. He’s quoted as saying:

“With a margin that small, there will be a recount in Georgia.”

And Biden’s lead in Pennsylvania has extended again: it’s back to 9,746 votes, following a count in Bucks County.

There isn’t a whole lot going on right now (aside from the counting of votes, obviously).

So now is a good time to remind you that if you like our US election coverage, you can support it and our other journalism by making a one-off or monthly contribution to us at thejournal.ie/contribute

He hasn’t officially won yet, but one person who isn’t afraid to call Joe Biden president-elect is House Speaker Nancy Pelosi:

It’s reported that Joe Biden will give a speech from his base in Wilmington, Delaware at “prime time” local time tonight – so probably a bit later Irish time.

That’s all the information there is at the moment. Admittedly, the “prime time” schedule covers several hours, so many of us might be in bed.

Last night we had Anderson Cooper describing Donald Trump as “an obese turtle on its back” following his White House speech.

Now his CNN colleague Jake Tapper has taken aim at the president’s Twitter feed – or “spawn” – as he called it. Tapper said the president’s posts were like “rantings in crayon that sound like somebody having an LSD trip”.

The Chairwoman of Philadeliphia City Commissioners has given a press update, saying that 40,000 votes in the county remain to be counted, and this may take several days.

Local leaders are calling on people to exert patience and to allow them to complete the counting process.

Speaking of Philadelphia, a new count has come in for the state of Pennsylvania. Biden now leads by 12,390 votes, 2,643 of which have come from Lehigh County.

And as the gap continues to grow in Pennsylvania, that’s it from me for the evening. I’ll leave you in the hands of Adam Daly. Over to you, Adam.

Thanks, Stephen. Adam Daly here to take you through the next few hours.

We have an update from Nevada where Biden’s lead has grown to 20,137 votes.

The Clark County Registrar of Voters in Nevada Joe Gloria has just been briefing the press and says there are some 60,000 provisional ballots left to be processed, the counting of which may run into the weekend. 

Trump has just released a statement saying he will never give up fighting.

“We will pursue this process through every aspect of the law to guarantee the American people have confidence in our government. I will never give up fighting for you and our nation.”

Snag_b395a2 Source: CSPAN

If you need a refresher of the current state of play, here’s where we stand:

  • Joe Biden currently holds 264 electoral college votes to Donald Trump’s 214 votes (based on projections from the Associated Press that include the state of Arizona).
  • Biden is holding onto his lead in Georgia (16 electoral college votes). He’s currently ahead by a wafer-thin 1,561 votes with 99% of ballots counted.
  • Biden is pulling further ahead in Pennsylvania (20 electoral college votes). He’s currently ahead of Trump by 13,410 with 96% of ballots counted. 
  • Biden also leads by 20,137 votes in Nevada (6 electoral college votes), with about 8% of ballots left to count there. 
  • In Arizona (11 electoral college votes) Biden is 43,779 votes ahead with around 93% counted.
  • Trump is holding onto his healthy lead in North Carolina (15 electoral college votes) up 76,737 votes on Biden with 95% of votes reported. 

With Biden continuing to pull ahead, White House correspondents are reporting that Trump’s officials are quietly backing away from him. 

The Georgia Secretary of State Brad Raffensperger says the state is still too close to call, and that there will likely be a recount due to the current margin of 1,585. 

“We are committed to doing anything and everything to maintaining trust in our electoral process here for every Georgian, regardless of partisan preference,” the Republican said, out of step with the GOP party line. 

Addressing a conspiracy theory about missing military ballots in the state, touted by Trump, Georgia elections official Gabriel Sterling said: 

“That does not mean there’s a bucket of 8,410 votes ready to be counted. That means that there are 8,410 votes that could have been postmarked on Tuesday and received by the elections official today.”

Biden has extended his lead in Pennsylvania again, now 14,733 votes ahead of Trump. 

If you’re wondering why the state hasn’t been called yet, NBC’s Steve Kornacki explains why. 

Essentially, of the 200,000 ballots left to be counted about half of them are mail-in ballots, and half of them are provisional ballots. The postal ballots have been favouring Biden so far, while Pennsylvania’s provisional ballots have been Trump-friendly. 

Far-right radio talk show host Alex Jones is among those at a rally for President Donald Trump outside the Maricopa County Recorder’s Office in Arizona. 

electon-2020-protests-phoenix Source: Ross D. Franklin/PA

Arizona Secretary of State Katie Hobbs told CNN the state has an estimated 250,000 to 270,000 unaccounted ballots left to count – 137,000 of those ballots are in Maricopa County. 

Sky News reporter Helen-Ann Smith is at the election office there where protesters are armed. Voting is expected to go on into the weekend. 

Two men armed with handguns were arrested earlier today near the Philadelphia convention centre.

PA is reporting that the men, aged 42 and 61, travelled to the city from the Virginia Beach area in a Hummer and did not have permits to carry the weapons in Pennsylvania.

Philadelphia Police Commissioner Danielle Outlaw said they were arrested after the FBI in Virginia relayed a tip about their plans to Philadelphia police. 

A silver Hummer with Virginia licence plates was parked at the location where police say they found the men. It was adorned with an American flag and a window sticker for the right-wing conspiracy theory QAnon.

election-2020-protests-philadelphia Source: Rebecca Blackwell/PA

Hi, folks. Garreth MacNamee here with you for the next while. We’re getting there!

Listening to the major US networks, we’re expecting Biden to give a speech in the next couple of hours – whether it’s a victory speech remains to be seen. 

Biden has expanded his lead in Georgia to a little over 4,000 votes. We already know there were will be a recount there. 

It’s looking more likely that it’s when not if Biden wins Pennsylvania – a state worth 20 electoral college votes which would put the race to bed (if it were any other race other than 2020). 

As we know, Trump is going on the offensive and actioning legal challenges over what he has described, without any evidence whatsoever, as election fraud. 

CNN is reporting that hundreds of voters have been called to the Clark County Election Centre to verify their votes. This is for people who may have recently moved into the State or those whose IDs officials wanted to recheck.

This is now as “curing the ballot”.

Southampton just went top of the Premier League – they’re also getting in on the shenanigans. 

This liveblog doesn’t have the staying power of Mr King and CNN so we’re going to shut up shop, and start a new one. 

Join us there from 11.30pm as we await more results from Pennsylvania, and a call from the US networks. 

About the author:

Sean Murray

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