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COUNTING IS CONTINUING and we’re expecting the state of the race to become clearer in the coming hours as further batches of votes are added to states’ totals. 

As it stands per projections by Associated Press, Democrat Joe Biden has 264 electoral college votes and just one additional state should clinch him a victory. 

Biden would require a win in either Georgia, Nevada, North Carolina or his home state Pennsylvania to reach the necessary 270 votes.

Trump is still alive in the race however and disputes the call by AP and Fox News that Arizona has gone to Biden.

His path to victory is narrowing however, and Trump took to the podium at the White House tonight to claim, without evidence, that the election was being stolen from him. 

We’ve now closed this livebog and you can find Friday’s one here

Good morning! Hayley Halpin here to kick things off – welcome to our coverage. 

You can send me articles, videos, tweets or anything else that’s election-related by email at hayley@thejournal.ie, or on Twitter at @HayleyHalpin1.

Counting is continuing in the US this morning, so let’s take a quick look at how things currently stand. 

Democratic candidate Joe Biden is just one battleground state away from securing the magic number of 270.

After securing victories in Wisconsin and Michigan, Biden has 264 electoral college votes.

He now needs to secure one of Georgia, Nevada, North Carolina or his home state Pennsylvania to reach the necessary 270 to claim the country’s top position.

Donald Trump, however, needs to win all four states to reach 270. 

He has begun legal action in three of them to either stop the counting of votes or insist his team be provided with greater access to the process. 

If you had an early night last night, you may have missed Joe Biden’s latest speech. 

Speaking in his home state of Delaware, he said he would not declare victory, but believed he was on course to get enough votes in the electoral college system to beat Trump.

He said:

“It is clear that we are winning enough states to reach 270 electoral votes needed to win the presidency.

I am not here to declare that we have won, but, I am here to report that when the count is finished we believe we will be the winners.”

There was a bit of drama in Detroit last night, as dozens of Trump supporters began protesting outside a vote-tallying centre in the city, chanting “stop the count”. 

Video shot by local media shows people gathered outside the TCF Centre and inside the lobby, with police officers lined up to keep them from entering the counting area. 

Meanwhile, thousands have been marching in New York calling for every vote to be tallied.

count-every-vote-rally-in-new-york Demonstrators march demanding 'count every vote' rally in Manhattan Source: Anik Rahman/PA Images

Some more scenes from the Maricopa County voting centre in Arizona where huge crowds of protesters have gathered:

That’s all from me for the moment, my colleague Sean Murray will be taking you through the next few hours. 

Sean Murray back here.

I worked the overnight Tuesday into Wednesday, and we didn’t have a US President then.

24 hours after clocking off, and we still don’t. But Joe Biden is within touching distance.

But, as we’ve seen below, the seeds of discord and tension over the potential result have been well sown. 

In totally unrelated news, the United States set a new record for daily coronavirus cases with 102,831 yesterday, per data from Johns Hopkins.

In case you missed it, Trump was firing out the tweets rapidly yesterday.

Just before 10pm Irish time – in a post Twitter again labelled as misleading – he said: “We have claimed, for Electoral Vote purposes, the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania (which won’t allow legal observers) the State of Georgia, and the State of North Carolina, each one of which has a BIG Trump lead. 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!”

He had himself refused to say if he’d accept the result of the election prior to 3 November, and his speech yesterday and tweets like this suggest he’s not going to accept it now. Not yet, anyway. 

To say he’s “claimed” Pennsylvania when all the votes haven’t been counted yet is entirely misleading, and he’s already initiating legal action there. 

On election night itself, one of the most dramatic events of the night was when Fox News called Arizona for Joe Biden – it has since also been called for Biden by AP, putting Biden on 264 electoral college votes.

Trump and his camp were furious with Fox for calling Arizona so quickly (at 11.20pm on Tuesday night/4.20am Irish-time) saying that it set the narrative that he had lost. Vanity Fair says here that Trump phoned Rupert Murdoch to demand a retraction but Murdoch refused.

In fact, instead of retracting, Fox News doubled down and put its head of election decisions on air to defend it.

The New York Times says that it was this call that led to his “reckless” statement about the election several hours later where he dismissed the election as a fraud and said he wanted to stop the counting of remaining votes.

Here’s a refresher for where we are at the moment. 

Joe Biden is six electoral votes away from victory. He needs just one of four states and he’s there. 

The one to watch early today is Georgia where almost all votes are counted, and it’s extremely close.

2.56463002

International observers to the US election, meanwhile, have found that it was “competitive and well managed”.

However, observers also said the “campaign was characterised by deeply entrenched political polarisation that often obscured the broader policy debate and included baseless allegations of systematic fraud”.

Michael Georg Link, who lead the observer mission for the Organization for Security and Co-operation in Europe, said in a statement: “Nobody – no politician, no elected official – should limit the people’s right to vote. Coming after such a highly dynamic campaign, making sure that every vote is counted is a fundamental obligation for all branches of government.

“Baseless allegations of systematic deficiencies, notably by the incumbent President, including on election night, harm public trust in democratic institutions.”

Had a quick look around there for the best front pages summing up the situation.

I particularly like this one from the Irish Daily Star.

And, across the Irish Sea, the Metro has this good one.

As a complete aside, what is going on in this one?

Quite the statement just there from Bob Schmuhl, who’s Emeritus Professor of American Studies at Notre Dame just a few minutes ago on RTÉ’s Morning Ireland.

Describing the current state of US politics, he said it was “polarisation on steroids”.

He’s said there’s a rivalry between “two armed camps”.

Back to Arizona – which Trump was so furious about – and the Associated Press has said why it called the state for Biden.

Counting is still ongoing there but AP saying it’s gone to Biden is included in the figure of 264 electoral college votes he’s currently projected at.

In its explainer outlining why it called each states, here’s what it says about Arizona: “The AP called the race at 2:50 a.m. EST Wednesday, after an analysis of ballots cast statewide concluded there were not enough outstanding to allow Trump to catch up.

“With 80% of the expected vote counted, Biden was ahead by 5 percentage points, with a roughly 130,000-vote lead over Trump with about 2.6 million ballots counted. The remaining ballots left to be counted, including mail-in votes in Maricopa County, where Biden performed strongly, were not enough for Trump to catch up to the former vice president.”

A conspiracy theory being shared among Trump supporters on social media has been dubbed #Sharpiegate.

It’s claiming that there’s vote tampering in various states – the key ones Trump is losing – because Trump voters were forced to use sharpie markers and then had their vote disallowed because they couldn’t be read by voting machines.

“Arizona Secretary of State threw out my vote for Trump Bc I voted with a sharpie! I WAS HANDED A SHARPIE AND TOLD TO USE IT TO FILL OUT THE BALLOT!” said one person on Facebook in Arizona.

This claim is not true.

Politifcact in the US has reported that in Maricopa County in Arizona the Sharpie is the preferred pen for filling out ballots as it works best with the system for counting votes.

USA Today has also factchecked it as false.

The British journalist and commentator is right here, except for one point.

The CNN people seem marginally more excitable than they were seven hours ago. It’s the middle of the night there. Maybe it’s sleep deprivation. 

download (67) Source: PA Images

Michigan has been called for Biden and, as we’ve said, angry protesters supporting Donald Trump descended on a vote-tallying centre in Detroit last night.

Video shot by local media showed angry people gathered outside the TCF Centre and inside the lobby, with police officers lined up to keep them from entering the counting area. They chanted “Stop the count!” and “Stop the vote!”

Full story here

Georgia is the first state to watch early, with Trump ahead by just over 20,000 votes.

Its largest county still has around 10,000 absentee ballots left to count this morning.

Fulton County elections director Richard Barron told CNN that it’s been counting through the night, tabulating votes at a rate of 3,000 per hour. 

The city of Atlanta – a Democratic stronghold – is located in Fulton County. 

Trump has led all along in Georgia, but it’s too close to call at this moment in time as the remaining votes get counted. 

Back to those international observers of the US elections, it was former Polish diplomat Urszula Gaeck who reserved the harshest criticism for Donald Trump.

“The enormous effort made by election workers, supported by many engaged citizens, ensured that voters could cast their votes despite legal and technical challenges and deliberate attempts by the incumbent president to weaken confidence in the election process,” said Gacek.

“But this election is not over, and we remain here in DC and in key states around the country until it is. It is vital that every properly cast ballot is properly counted.”

My colleague Cónal Thomas has more on that report here

u-s-new-york-election-night-ballot-counting Source: Xinhua News Agency/PA Images

There’s a plethora of analysis out there on why the race is so close this year, given polls had suggested Biden would have an easier route to victory.

This analysis on CNN frames the vote for Trump against the backdrop of the Black Lives Matter movement, and describes the high vote for the president as “shameful” as his base among white voters remained steady.

The piece also mentioned exit polls showing Trump received more votes from people of colour than he did in 2016.

This in-depth look at the exit poll from NBC showed how black men have drifted from the Democrats towards Trump in record numbers.

This now-viral thread also shows some insights as to why Latinos voted for Trump in big numbers, which was vital to him winning Florida and keeping the race alive.

My colleague Gráinne Ní Aodha has this good piece from yesterday looking at all the angles on why Trump’s vote increased from 2016.

In other misinformation news, a video shared by Donald Trump’s son Eric purporting to show 80 “ballots” for Trump being burned is fake according to officials in Virginia Beach, Virginia.

CNN is reporting that the ballots aren’t real and are sample ballots rather than official ones since they lack the “bar code markings that are on all official ballots”. 

An astute – tongue-in-cheek – observation from Virgin Media News’ Gav Reilly here.

A 25-year-old Republican in North Carolina has become the youngest man in the US Congress, after winning his election over Democrat Moe Davis.

This piece on Buzzfeed News delves into the story of Madison Crawthorn, whose ties to the far right have been under scrutiny.

Here was his reaction when AP declared he’d won the seat.

TheJournal.ie’s Ian Curran writes the daily Morning Memo – our business and economic newsletter.

Here’s his insights today on the European reaction to events in the US:

“On our own side of the Atlantic, reaction to the likely outcome has been more muted than we might have expected. As we’re all aware, throughout the Trump presidency, the relationship between the US and some of its key global allies like the EU have been tested over and over again on important economic issues like trade and tariffs.

“You might expect a palpable sense of relief in Europe at the prospect of a Biden presidency. There will be some of that, of course, coupled with the hope that Biden can put the genie back into the bottle on issues like tariffs but so far, the reaction from some of Europe’s top policymakers has been rather subdued.

“On Tuesday, for example, French economy minister Bruno Le Maire issued a withering statement about how the election was shaping up. “Let’s not kid ourselves,” he said. “The United States has not been a friendly partner to European states for several years now. Whether Joe Biden or Donald Trump is elected by Americans tonight or tomorrow, nothing changes this strategic fact … The American continent has detached itself from the European continent.”

“Le Maire’s comments speak to a creeping uncertainty about America’s authority and its role on the global stage. Trump’s presidency stretched America’s relationships at the seams, and while a Biden presidency will certainly should different, it’s anyone’s guess as to whether it can address those concerns.”

You can sign up for the Morning Memo here.

So, we’re still waiting on Georgia as the counting continues there.

Don’t take this as gospel but we’re expecting to get a result from there in and around 1pm. 

Trump has been ahead there but Biden has been closing the gap as more votes are counted, particularly in the Democrat-leaning Atlanta.

The US President is currently ahead 49.6% to 49.1% with 95% of votes counted.

To win, Biden will need to win three out of every five votes remaining to be counted. 

Just on Georgia, both CNN and the New York Times are saying Trump’s lead in Georgia has been cut to just 18,000 votes. 

It’s on an absolute knife-edge here, with 96% of votes counted.

election-2020-georgia Democratic and Republican representatives review absentee ballots at the Fulton County Election centre in Atlanta, Georgia. Source: John Bazemore AP/PA Images

One feature of election night that was commented upon was the wild fluctuation in odds you could get on the candidates with bookmakers.

Biden was odds-on favourite going in but at one stage of the night you could get Trump at 1/7 on to win the election. 

The New York Times has done a piece on how gamblers outside the US took presidential odds on a wild ride.

An Australian bookmaker – perhaps prematurely – has already paid out almost €14 million on bets on Biden to win, Reuters reports.

u-s-presidential-election-nominee-statement Source: Xinhua News Agency/PA Images

For Trump to still win, he needs several things to happen.

He needs to win North Carolina and Georgia. In both he’s currently ahead but Biden is eating into his lead substantially in Georgia. 

Biden has the edge in Nevada and Arizona (which has already been called in his favour by AP), and Trump will need to overcome those advantages.

And then it’ll all come to Pennsylvania. Trump and his team have said he’s already won Pennsylvania. But it’s not over yet.

At one stage, he was ahead here by almost one million votes but as mail in ballots have been counted Biden has eaten into that lead considerably. Now, it’s only around 175,000 votes. It’s a considerable margin but there’s still 10% of votes left to be counted there.

And it’s almost morning in Washington DC. I’ll be shocked if he doesn’t start tweeting straight away once he’s up.

We’ve seen Trump claim victory in Pennsylvania because he was ahead by a wide margin before all votes were counted.

In a rather accurate tweet, he said about 16 hours ago that: “We are winning Pennsylvania big, but the PA Secretary of State just announced that there are “Millions of ballots left to be counted.””

He was winning. But now as more votes are counted that lead is narrowing.

This prescient piece on FiveThirtyEight.com from last week goes into why the vote count could – and did – change after election night in Pennyslvania.

The approach of the two big social media giants to covering what is said about the election has been interesting to watch.

Twitter has labelled some of Trump’s posts as misleading. The language is more equivocal from Facebook.

The two most popular posts in the US in the last 24 hours are two misleading statements from Trump, according to data from Crowd Tangle.

As CNN’s Donie O’Sullivan points out, the two most popular posts on Facebook are ones the social network itself views as problematic.

facebook crowd tangle

Given the race is still too close to definitively call, it’s not unfair to say that division in America has been further embedded with this presidential race.

BBC Radio 5 Live featured quite a heated exchange earlier between a Biden voter and Trump voter. 

It’s worth a listen… if you haven’t already had enough of this kind of thing.

I think Colm O’Regan might be onto something here.

Lenny Abrahamson to direct with Colin Farrell the grizzled veteran of a half-dozen general elections and Paul Mescal as the wide-eyed new vote counter who think they can all go home at midnight.

The New York Times’ Daily podcast is usually worth a listen.

This morning’s episode delves into why Joe Biden has the edge and what legal action Trump is taking in what states.

Back to Georgia now. 

Greg Bluestein from the local Atlanta-based AJC is saying it’s a nail-biter with only around 25,000 votes left to count.

Biden would need a huge turnaround here to win the state. Again, if he wins the state, he wins the election. 

He’s forecasting it could be later in the afternoon than we previously thought for a confirmed result.

Another tweet that’s gone viral in the last day or so – and has been viewed over one million times – is George HW Bush’s concession speech when he lost to Bill Clinton in 1992.

Different times, indeed.

Cónal Thomas has this handy main points piece for what you need to keep abreast of this afternoon.

Here’s what you need to know now:

  • Counting in Georgia, which carries 16 electoral college votes, is 96% complete with Trump now holding a lead of 18,000 votes, down from 23,000 when 95% of votes were counted. We could have a result here some time this afternoon. If Biden wins Georgia, he almost certainly wins the election.
  • Trump’s campaign said it will request a recount in Wisconsin after Biden won the state by less than 1% of the vote. It also looked to stop the count in Michigan. 
  • Counting is also still ongoing in Pennsylvania, North Carolina, Nevada and Arizona (and Alaska, but never mind that for now). Trump will likely need to win them all to win the election.
  • Here are the state result projections at the moment.

The BBC had the idea – that sounds rather alarming – of putting Republicans and Democrats in a group chat on election night.

Here’s how it went.

Elsewhere in Georgia – in the race for the Senate – you need a vote of over 50% to win a seat.

The Republican David Purdue is is in the lead there, but it’s very close and a drop below 50% could force a January run-off vote that’ll determine which party owns the Senate.

Back to Pennsylvania now.

Democrat Senator Bob Casey is on CNN and says he expects another tranche of votes to be announced around midday their time (around 5pm) Irish time.

He’s confident Biden will win this state. Again, if Biden wins Pennsylvania, he wins the election. 

The Philadelphia Inquirer is reporting that the state has around 763,000 mail-in ballots left to be counted. 

Of the mail-ins counted so far, 77% were in favour of Biden. If that was replicated across the remaining votes, Biden would win the state. 

A reminder of where we are currently.

You can also see which state has gone what way here.

2.56463003 Source: PA Graphics

People voted early and by mail in unprecedented numbers in this election due to the pandemic.

Local ABC news in Long Island, New York is reporting that 10 new Covid-19 cases are connected to an early polling site in Suffolk County.

Six of the cases are among workers at the polling site. 

Over 100,000 new cases of the virus were confirmed in the US yesterday.

Goof afternoon, Rónán Duffy here to keep his liveblog going for the next while.

We continue to wait for the votes to come in the the remaining states but there’s still much to talk about. 

Not least the lawsuits Donald Trump’s campaign have launched in Pennsylvania, Michigan, Georgia and Nevada.

My colleague Órla Ryan has taken a look at those lawsuits to see what they’re about and whether they have any basis. 

Basically, Trump’s team demanding better access for campaign observers at centres where ballots are being counted. The team has also made unsubstantiated claims about mail-in and absentee ballots.

PastedImage-18151 Source: Twitter

When he came out at 3am US time on Wednesday to prematurely claim victory in the election, Trump suggested that his team would be ‘going to the Supreme court’.

Trump provided no basis for saying why they would do this. Speaking this afternoon on NBC News, former US attorney in Michigan Barbara McQuade said it was “more bluster talking than reality”. 

“You can’t just go in the first instance to the Supreme Court, the Supreme Court hears appeals,” she said.

You start in a local district court or in a State court and then you work your way up to the Court of Appeals. And if you continue to lose, you can take it to the Supreme Court. In the Supreme Court, you ultimately have to convince the court that there is something meritorious, that there is something that’s an important issue stake. So if it’s one of his frivolous claims I think it’s unlikely they will get involved.

Meanwhile, over on Fox News former Trump advisor Kelly Anne Conway is urging for patience, saying there should be no rush among Democrats to complete the election count. 

“They spent three years investigating the president, impeaching the president. We can’t wait three hours, three days, three weeks to get a result in our great sturdy democracy. I mean, what is the rush all of a sudden,” Conway said.  

This plea goes against Trump’s pre-election claims that people should know they result on election day, and indeed his exhortations on Wednesday morning that counting should stop.

Back to the count, some eye-rolling news from Georgia is that there appears to be conflicting reports over how many ballots remain to be counted. 

It had been estimated that there were some 25,000 votes to be counted but the Secretary of State’s office has confirmed that this is now closer to 50,000

This is important because Trump currently leads in the state’s count by just over 18,000 votes. It means that Biden would need to benefit from about 70% of the remaining votes to overhaul Trump’s lead there. 

It’s possible, because many of the outstanding ballots are from urban areas like Fulton County in Atlanta and Chatham County in Savannah where Biden has been polling ahead of Trump.

Right on cue as we’re talking about the last of the votes being counted in Georgia, Trump tweets unambiguously that he wants counting to stop. 

If counting were to actually stop now, Biden would have victory in Nevada and would be projected to have 270 electoral votes and the presidency. 

Seán Murray back here taking over from Rónán. 

I see Trump has tweeted. 

Meanwhile, his campaign is planning a “major announcement” in Las Vegas, later (about 4.30pm Irish time).

Nevada is one of the key states left still to declare a result. Biden is ahead – just – here. It’s already been signalled the Republicans will be taking legal action of some sort to try swing it in Trump’s favour.

We’re waiting (still) on results from Pennsylvania and North Carolina.

While there’s hope we could be a great deal closer to knowing who the next president will be by later on this evening Irish time, that’s by no means certain.

Ceimin Burke has been taking a look at why it’s taking so long and why, in 2020, some states have handling holding an election during a pandemic better than others.

download (68) Officials opening mail-in ballots in Pennsylvania. Source: SIPA USA/PA Images

We now go live to Ballina…

us-presidential-candidate-joe-bidens-ancestral-home-in-ireland A man stops to read a plaque below a mural of US Presidential candidate Joe Biden in his ancestral home of Ballina, Co. Mayo where he visited in June 2016 as Vice President. Source: PA Images

More on those Georgia ballots.

The Washington Post is reporting that 61,000 votes remain to be counted.

Trump has a lead of 18,000. Whatever happens it’s going to be very close.

The Philadelphia Inquirer is reporting that Montgomery County has finished counting its 505,120 ballots.

Joe Biden has gotten over 300,000 of those votes and leads Trump here by 26 points. The county just outside Philadelphia is one that Biden hopes to make big gains in to overturn Trump’s lead in Pennsylvania.

Still a long way to go there, but positive signs for Biden. 

In response to Trump’s “stop the count” tweet, the state’s Democrat governor Tom Wolf has said: “Pennsylvania is going to count every vote and no amount of intimidation will stop our dedicated election officials in our municipalities.”

A local news anchor in Arizona is tweeting that organisers of the protest where they’re counting the votes in Maricopa County are organising another rally at Phoenix City Hall. 

There’s all sorts of misinformation being spread on social media about the election, particularly from Trump supporters aimed at undermining the election.

At the time of writing there’s a Facebook group called Stop the Steal with almost 300,000 followers. It was created yesterday.

There’s all manner of conspiracy theories in there, running with the baseless claim perpetuated by Trump that the election has been stolen from him. 

Gráinne Ní Aodha has more here on the more prevalent pieces of misinformation being spread about the election in the past 48 hours. 

Trump has tweeted again.

What he’s most likely referring to here is Pennsylvania. 

As Ceimin Burke explains here, the Keystone State is also allowing mail-in votes to be received up until tomorrow if they were postmarked by Election Day. This has become a bone of contention for the Trump campaign which is desperately clinging on to its narrow lead in the crucial state.

The campaign said it would challenge late-arriving mail-in ballots at the Supreme Court. However, the votes are unlikely to change the result in the state as election officials have said that only a few hundred late votes have been received. 

The narrative that late mail in ballots should not be counted and would allow Democrats to “steal” the election has been a refrain from Trump.

Nevada has just six electoral college votes but these votes could be crucial. 

Here, the editor of the Nevada Independent Jon Ralston talks us through what we can expect there today. However, given it’s almost on America’s west coast, it could be late enough by the time we get definitive results.

His closing line: “Could be close. Buckle up.”

Mick M

This afternoon, US Special Envoy to Northern Ireland Mick Mulvaney is delivering an online address at the Institute of International and European Affairs.

Here’s what he had to say about what stance the White House may take in future with Ireland and the UK given its support of the Good Friday Agreement and the effects of Brexit.

Gráinne Ní Aodha is listening in, and here’s what he’s been saying:

“I was speaking to a think tank in London and they said ‘look if it comes down to picking between the Irish and the British, who you’re going to side with?’ and I just laughed and I said ‘look we’re working hard to not have to make those kinds of decisions because these are our two closest friends in the whole world’. The Australians always get upset when I say that but it’s true.”

NBC White House correspondent Kelly O’Donnelly is reporting that Trump campaign officials are saying that a ruling allows campaign observers to watch the counting process in Philadelphia.

The campaign is accusing the “left wing political machine of trying to steal the vote” and says “this is a victory for all Pennsylvanians”. 

She’s also tweeted this in the last few minutes. I did a double take initially, but I assume it means in the context of the presidential race.

Twitter has again added a disclaimer to a Trump tweet.

It’s on his latest one claiming “any vote that came in after election day will not be counted”. 

misleading

More from NI Special Envoy Mick Mulvaney now.

He says he would “discourage” the British government from waiting until the outcome of the US election before deciding to strike a trade deal with the EU.

He says it may stretch out until late November or early December.

It won’t take that long to sort this all out, right? Right?

Okay, I’m more disposed to Mr Mulvaney now after this comment. 

I am fascinated at his way of describing things.

So we’ve an update in Georgia.

The Secretary of State’s office is saying that they expect to have finished counting all of its votes today, but they’re prioritising counting them accurately rather than quickly. 

That’s good to know. A Biden win here would seal the election. He’s currently behind Trump here by 18,000 votes.  

We should have results from the largest area left to count – Fulton County – fairly soon. 

NBC reporter Charlie Gile is saying we can expect the results of 5,000 votes in Fulton County, Georgia in the next little while and another 5,000 later on. 

These numbers are included within the 60,000 or so votes still to count in the state. 

That’s it from me for now, but I leave you in the capable hands of Rónán Duffy for the coming hours.

Hi, Rónán Duffy here again as we continue to monitor the count. 

In Georgia, where Biden is currently trailing in counted ballots but could still win, there is an appeal for patience. 

Election official Gabriel Sterling says: “The secretary begs you to be patient but I think everyone agrees that having an accurate count and a fair count is more important than having a fast count.”

He also provides one surprising reason for part of the delay:

Before we continue, one important point to make.

It can sometimes be difficult to wrap your head around the fact that reporters talk about a certain candidate ‘leading’ in the race, even though all the votes have technically been cast. 

What they actually mean is that, among votes that have been counted, this is who is ahead so far. 

And when you hear of more votes ‘coming in’, what that actually means is votes that have been counted that haven’t actually been included in the overall count yet. 

In this tweet here, CNN’s John King gives a breakdown of the number of votes left to be counted in four key states:

  • Arizona (where Biden is leading)
  • Georgia (where Trump is leading)
  • Nevada (where Biden is leading)
  • Pennsylvania (where Trump is leading)

The Biden campaign has been providing an update to US-based journalist on where they see the ongoing counts. 

With so many eyes on Georgia and whether Biden can pull out an unexpected flip of the state, his campaign thinks they will get there. 

PastedImage-16283

Of the votes counted so far, Biden trails by about 18,500 votes but there are about 61,000 votes still to be counted. 

More from the briefing by the Biden campaign. 

Campaign manager Jen O’Malley Dillon has told reporters that “the story of today is going to be a very positive story” for their campaign. 

He cautioned that as the counting continues, “we need to allow it to get done and get done well.”

Earlier we heard that US Special Envoy to Northern Ireland Mick Mulvaney was delivering an online address at the Institute of International and European Affairs.

Our reporter Gráinne Ni Aodha was listing in and heard Mulvaney make this eye-raising prediction.

He’s the first person to make it mind but significant coming from someone who was acting White House Chief of Staff until earlier this year. 

As Wolf Blitzer might and in fact just did say, KEY RACE ALERT!

We’ve got some more votes in from Nevada, and its good news for Biden. His lead has gone up by about 5,000 votes and he now has a lead of 12,042.

These additional votes were about 14,000 votes in total, so Biden won about 64% of them.

If he continues those kind of numbers he’s home and hosed in the state that would take him over the threshold of 270.

Speaking of Nevada, the State’s Attorney General was speaking to CBS News and defended criticism from Trump about mail-in votes in state that includes Las Vegas.  

Nevada sent mail in ballots to everyone registered to vote in the State as part of efforts to reduce Covid-19 transmission. 

Responding to Trump, Aaron Ford said what he said is not important in this context: 

I’ll leave the hysteria and the hyperbole to those who are trying to undermine and denigrate the electrical political process here. Politicians however won’t be deciding who wins the election here in Nevada, or in the United States, but Americans decide who wins this election and the only voice that matters is the voice of the voters.

On Nevada, we’re seeing Biden gradually increase his lead (increased again from what is in that screenshot below by a few hundred votes). 

Though those blue strips – Las Vegas at the bottom, Washoe County at the top – seem small in comparison, both account for almost two-thirds of the state’s population.

Nevanda Source: Twitter

This just in: A court in Georgia has dismissed Donald Trump’s legal action alleging improper handling of absentee ballots, saying there was no evidence to back up those claims. 

The statement:

The court finds that there is no evidence that the ballots referenced in the petition were received after 7pm on election day, thereby making those ballots invalid. Additionally, there is no evidence that the Chatham County Board of Elections or the Chatham County Board of Registrars has failed to comply with the law.

CNN’s Jim Acosta is now reporting that aides within the White House are suggesting that Trump could host a “resurrection run” in 2024.

That’s all off out in the distance yet, but it would put a Biden presidency into perspective. 

John King estimates that Joe Biden needs around 63% of the remaining 50,000 ballots in Georgia to win the state – and so far, he is getting that percentage. 

Trump is in the lead by 13,500 as it stands.

The current President needs both Georgia and Pennsylvania to win the election. 

Evening. 

Daragh Brophy taking over the liveblog here for a while. 

It’s 10.23am in Nevada, where the Registrar of Voters for Clark County – the most populous county in the state and home to Las Vegas – has been giving an update on the state of play. 

There are over 63,000 ballots yet to be counted, Joe Gloria told local reporters: 

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Gloria said he is hoping that the bulk of Clark’s ballots will be counted by Saturday or Sunday.

Biden leads in Clark County by 53.1% to Trump’s 45.2% – and results from that county could be decisive for the state race, which Biden also currently leads. 

Nevada’s six electoral college votes remain in play. 

Another interesting line from that press conference from Joe Gloria of Nevada. 

He said they still don’t know exactly how many votes are yet to come in. 

clark2

The Secretary of State for Pennsylvania has been giving an update on progress to CNN’s Jake Tapper. 

Kathy Boockvar said the state, which remains to close to call, is expecting to have the “overwhelming majority” of its votes counted by the end of today.  

Trump currently has a lead in the state – which is an essential win for the president if he’s to make it to that all important figure of 270 electoral college votes. 

Biden has been steadily closing the gap on Trump as additional votes from urban areas are added to his tally. 

We could know the destination of the state’s 20 votes by the end of the day (local time, of course). 

As a famous Pennsylvania resident once observed … it ain’t over till its over. 

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PastedImage-23420 Source: Facebook

The above is what you get on Facebook when you go to a group called ‘Stop the Steal’ that was set up on election day.

The group had promoted the baseless claim from Donald Trump and other Republicans that their opponents were attempting to ‘steal the election’. 

Despite the falsehood, membership of the group on Facebook was growing at a rapid rate. Hundreds of thousands of people had joined since yesterday with some 100 more every ten seconds. 

The group has now been shut down by Facebook, however. A Facebook spokesperson said in a statement: 

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… organised around the delegitimization of the election process and we saw worrying calls for violence from some members of the group

And if you were unsure where these baseless claims about electoral fraud were coming from, Eric Trump made exactly this claim to Channel 4 News.

Asked by Lindsey Hilsum why they don’t want ‘all the votes to be counted’, Eric Trump responded: “Because they’re committing fraud right now.”

Election days in the US always throw up some strange side-stories alongside the headline stories. Here’s a quick one for some light relief. 

It involves the liberal Pacific state of Oregon and two rural counties within the state that don’t want want to join the more conservative state of Idaho next door. 

Union and Jefferson counties voted on Tuesday in favour of a non-binding measure to “Move Oregon’s Borders”. 

Oregon — whose politics are dominated by the liberal city of Portland — has not voted Republican in a presidential contest since 1984, while landlocked Idaho to the east last chose a Democrat in 1964.

But the high desert and mountainous swathes of eastern Oregon — where resource-intensive industries such as timber, ranching and mining prevail — are far more conservative than the environment-minded coastal stretches of the state.

To succeed, the breakaway would need state and congressional approval — considered highly unlikely. Tuesday’s votes simply require county officials discuss the plan, and similar measures were rejected in two other Oregon counties. 

election-2020-washington Capitol Hill where congress sits. Source: PA Images

Órla Ryan has put together a report on how the races for the Senate and House of Representatives have gone. 

The Democrats had hoped to capitalise on anti-Trump sentiment and take control of the Senate from Republicans but this now looks unlikely. 

There were 35 of the Senate’s 100 seats up for election on Tuesday. Senators serve six-year terms and a third of the seats are up for re-election every two years. 

Republicans held a 53-47 Senate majority prior to the election. As things stand, with 31 of 35 races called, the Republicans have 48 seats to the Democrats’ 46.

It means that control of the Senate could be decided by two head-to-head elections in Georgia in January. 

If Joe Biden gets in, as predicted, a Republican-led Senate won’t make things easy for him. 

PastedImage-32622 Source: PA Images

In the House of Representatives, where Democrats took control in 2018, they are on track to keep control but with a smaller majority. 

Republicans have picked up six seats so far, deflating Nancy Pelosi’s hopes to increase her majority.

To date, Democrats have 208 seats to the Republicans’ 190; 218 seats are needed for a majority in the 435-member House. Members serve two-year terms.

Here’s a quick reminder of what the electoral college map looks like, per Associated Press projections. 

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There are just five states set to be decided, with any one of Nevada, Georgia, Pennsylvania, North Carolina or Alaska being enough for Biden.

Those last two states will likely go to Trump but the race is still on in the first three. 

PastedImage-95369 Source: CNN

We’re getting an update from Georgia voting official Gabriel Sterling, or Gab as I call him such is my familiarity with him today. 

The headline news is that there are about 47,000 absentee ballots still to be counted, with Biden now 12,835 votes behind Trump. 

Crucially, though 17,1017 of the votes remaining are in Chatham County, which contains the city of Savannah, and 7,305 are in Fulton County which contains Atlanta. 

PastedImage-27718 Source: CNN

We mentioned earlier that the Trump campaign was furious on election night when Fox News and then Associated Press called Arizona for Joe Biden. 

Vanity Fair even reports that Trump phoned Rupert Murdoch to demand a retraction but Murdoch refused. 

There has been significant questioning of that decision, with Nate Silver of the Five Thirty Eight website among those saying that the call was premature. 

Trump remains behind in Arizona by about 68,000 votes but he has been slowly closing that gap as more votes have been counted.  

Fox News have been defending their decision on Arizona, with anchor Chris Wallace saying in the past hour: “I checked in with our decision desk…and they are not wavering.”

AP’s executive editor Sally Buzbee is saying this about the call on Arizona. They’re sticking with the decision, for now anyway: 

The Associated Press continues to watch and analyse vote count results from Arizona as they come in. We will follow the facts in all cases.

We’ve mentioned a number of times already that there’s already talk of a Trump 2024 run should he lose here, which is still much more likely than not

Well, his son Don Jr has now come out to suggest just this.

It will be fascinating to see how the Republican party adjusts to a post-Trump era, but Don Jr is obviously keen to say we’re not there yet. 

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Joe Biden is making comments now. 

He and Kamala Harris are just out of a briefing on coronavirus. 

Each and every vote must be counted, he says. Democracy at some times may feel messy but it’s important for the process to be seen through. 

Echoing comments he made around this time last night, he appealed for calm and said he believed he and his running mate would be declared winners by the time all votes were counted. 

Here are those Biden comments in full. 

The remarks came in at less than two minutes but you can bet they’ll be repeated ad nauseam by US networks, starved of any real developments in the race, in the next few hours. 

Source: USA TODAY/YouTube

Biden made a similar – slightly longer – speech around this time last night.

Meanwhile, there’s been no sight of President Trump since this tirade in the early hours of the morning yesterday, Washington time. 

The Secretary of State of Arizona is speaking to CNN now.

Katie Hobbs says they’re working towards getting results out as fast as possible – there’ll be more announced at around 2am Irish time.

“After today and tomorrow we’ll have a much more clear picture of what Arizona looks like,” she said.

However, the full results won’t be known until the weekend or perhaps even into the early days of next week.

Again, Associated Press and Fox News have called the state for Biden but other outlets are being more careful.

Pressed by Wolf Blitzer on when a clear winner may be declared in Arizona, Hobbs will only say we’ll have a much clearer picture of where things stand by the time Maricopa County (the largest county in the state, home to Phoenix) announces tomorrow’s batch of results. 

shutterstock_399172996 Phoenix, Arizona. Source: Shutterstock/Dreamframer

That will be about 2am Irish time (Friday into Saturday).  

We could still be waiting days for a final result in the national election. 

That said, we may also have a major development in the coming hours – officials in Pennsylvania have said the overwhelming majority of the vote will be counted today. 

Just as a reminder that people in the US vote on all sorts of everything on election day, the state of Colorado voted to reintroduce wolves.  You can read the whole article here

It is hoped that the idea will provide a bridge between grey wolf populations in the north and south of the country, helping the species rebound, some 80 years after they disappeared from the state. 

It’s not such a mad idea, really. Remember earlier this year Irish Green Party leader called for the predators to be reintroduced into Ireland.

Then Culture Minister, Josepha Madigan, said the government had no plans to do so.

Pennsylvania Secretary of State says it's still too close to call

The Secretary of State for Pennsylvania said that the voting process there has been “very secure”.

“Counties are continuing to count,” Kathy Boockvar said this evening.

Earlier, speaking to CNN, she said that there could be a winner in the state by the end of the day. 

“The closer the race is,” she said tonight, “the longer it takes.”

There are hundreds of thousands of votes yet to be counted, a majority of them are postal ballots which are greatly favouring Joe Biden. 

Trump is currently ahead by 90,000 votes in the state but Biden is quickly narrowing the gap as postal ballots are counted. 

The question now is if there are enough votes left to give Biden the state and guarantee he is the next president of the US. 

Trump to give his first address since election night

Trump is due to speak in the next hour.

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Trump’s remarks, which are expected any minute, will be his first public comments since he called the election a “fraud on the American people” late on election night. 

Speaking at the White House shortly after 8am Irish time on Wednesday morning Trump said “we’re getting ready to win this election” and claimed “frankly, we did win this election”. 

The two candidates appeared to be neck-and-neck in the race at the time, but as the following day unfolded counts in key states began to turn in Biden’s favour as the tallying of postal ballots began. 

Source: Daily Mail/YouTube

Trump is speaking now. 

If you count the legal votes, I easily win, he says. 

He goes on to complain about the counting of “illegal votes” and “votes that came in after election day” (referring to postal ballots). 

There was no “blue wave” Trump says, insisting there was instead a “red wave”. 

The media were very impressed by that red wave, he says. 

Democrats are the party of big media and big tech and the Republicans have become the party of the people and the party of inclusion, he says, before hitting out at what he calls “phoney” polls and “suppression polls”. 

His demeanor seems calm, and he’s reading from prepared remarks – apparently on paper rather than on a teleprompter. 

“Our numbers miraculously began being whittled away in secret,” he says of counts in key states, insisting observers weren’t allowed close enough to the counting process. 

The postal ballot system “makes people corrupt” even if they don’t want to be, he says. 

Speaking of the race in Pennsylvania, he complains that the postal ballots that are “being found” tend to favour Democrats so strongly (even though this is, obviously, due to Biden encouraging his supporters to utilise postal ballots, due to the pandemic and Trump calling on his supporters to turn out on polling day).  

Trump goes on to express his “wonder” over why various other things are happening, again complaining about his votes being “whittled down”. 

“We’re on track to do okay in Arizona,” he says (this is the one positive note, from the Trump campaign point of view, expressed so far).

There is “tremendous litigation” going on right now, he says. 

He repeats his claim that people are trying to steal the election from him.

Observers are being made stay so far away from the counting process that people are using binoculars, Trump claims. 

tr4

You can imagine the kind of reaction those incendiary comments have generated. 

Even over at Fox News, they’re no longer buying what Trump is selling tonight. 

trumpreax

You can watch Trump’s full comments here (18 minutes in): 

Source: PBS NewsHour/YouTube

Here’s some more detail on his comments, via quotes filed by the Press Association:

Trump said 2020 had been “the year of the republican woman”, saying that more female members of the party had been elected to the US Congress than “ever before”.

He added he had won the largest share of non-white voters in 60 years including “historic” numbers of Latino-American, African-American, Asian-American and native Americans.

“We grew our party by four million voters, the greatest turnout in Republican party history”, he said.

“Republicans have become the party of the American worker and that’s what’s happened, and we’re also the party of inclusion.”

Trump said that media polling was “election interference in the truest sense of that word”.

“These really phoney polls, I have to call them phoney polls, fake polls, were designed to keep voters at home.”

Trump claimed the Republicans were “winning in all the key locations” but then their lead had been “whittled away in secret”.

“We were winning in all the key locations by a lot, actually, and then our numbers started miraculously getting whittled away in secret”, he said.

Referring to legally permissible observers, the US President claimed that when observers arrived, they were told to be “100 feet away” from the count.

“When the observers got there, they wanted them 60, 70 feet away, 80 feet, 100 feet away, or outside the building, to observe people inside the building”, he told reporters.

On the postal vote system, Mr Trump added: “I’ve been talking about mail-in voting for a long time. It’s really destroyed our system, it’s a corrupt system.”

Trump claimed the “blue wave” predicted by the polls had never materialised and there had been a “big red wave instead”.

He added: “The pollsters got it knowingly wrong.

“There was no blue wave that they predicted, they thought there was going to be a big blue wave – that was false, it was done for suppression reasons.

“But instead there was a big red wave and it has been properly acknowledged by the media, they were, I think, very impressed but that’s after the fact.”

Meanwhile, back at the horserace… 

trump

Trump’s lead is shrinking dramatically in Georgia. 

Keefe, a senior reporter for Atlanta TV station WXIA 11Alive, adds: 

Joe Biden needs to win 59.6% of the remaining 18,936 ballots to be counted. He’s so far outperformed in every county reporting since last night. That’s why the percentage he needs keeps dropping (it was 68% last night).

pa2

Trump was in the lead in the state by around 600,000 votes in Pennsylvania yesterday morning, but that lead has been steadily reduced ever since. 

There were still an outstanding 1.8 million postal and absentee ballots to be worked through at that point.

Those votes have broken overwhelmingly for Biden.

It’s the opposite story in Arizona, where Trump edges closer to Biden as votes continue to come in. 

jeremy

As the drama continues, let’s check in on what’s been happening in the last few hours: 

  • Trump made a number of illogical and baseless remarks about how the election was conducted in a press conference at the White House. 
  • Biden has announced he has “no doubt” he is going to win the election. He also called on people to be calm and patient. 
  • Counting is continuing in the key states that will decide the election: Arizona, Georgia, Nevada and Pennsylvania
  • The Democrats look unlikely to flip the Senate
  • We published this from our columnist Larry Donnelly who looks at what Trumpism means for America’s future.
  • Colorado has voted to reintroduce wolves to its western mountains. 
  • And …. Why is this taking so long? The pandemic, mainly. 

It’s coming up to 1.30am Irish time (8.30pm in Pennsylvania, 6.30pm in Arizona) so we’re going to end the liveblog here for the night.

Rest assured we’ll be back on if there are any major updates in the coming hours. 

Fresh count in from Arizona, where we’ve just received results from Maricopa county – the state’s most populous county, and home to the city of Phoenix.  

Biden’s lead in the state has been narrowing significantly over the past day or so.

Following this latest dump of votes he’s ahead now by 46,257, with Trump making further gains. 

Pollster Nate Silver reckons the Trump campaign would have been hoping for a more favourable breakdown from that latest dump of votes. 

silver

Meanwhile in Georgia, Trump’s lead is down to a mere 2,497. There are just under 15,000 votes remaining.

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