Biden nears victory but Trump wants recount
The Trump campaign has called for a recount of votes in Wisconsin as Joe Biden gains ground in the crucial "Rust Belt" state.
On Twitter, Wednesday local time, the Trump campign acccount tweeted that there has been "reports of irregularities" in the votes and it would be requesting a recount to dispute Mr Biden's knife-edge lead.
Trump campaign manager Bill Stepien:— Trump War Room - Text TRUMP to 88022 (@TrumpWarRoom) November 4, 2020
"There have been reports of irregularities in several Wisconsin counties which raise serious doubts about the validity of the results. The President is well within the threshold to request a recount and we will immediately do so.” pic.twitter.com/YwiNAxzocx
Mr Biden is currently ahead by a little over 20,000 votes in Wisconsin.
The state has not been called yet as a Biden win.
It comes as presidential nominee Joe Biden won the state of Maine with 53 per cent and Mr Trump trailed with 44 per cent.
Mr Biden also surged past Mr Trump in the critical battleground state of Michigan.
Mr Biden's lead is due to the counting of early mail-in ballots in the suburbs which were always expected to favour the Democrats.
Mr Trump held a significant lead in Michigan last night, but the margin in favour of Mr Biden widened quickly this morning, which may make any legal challenge to the final result problematic for Mr Trump.
America has a nail-biter election on its hands with Mr Trump declaring early victory and vowing to fight for it in the Supreme Court as Mr Biden's camp said he was poised to win.
Mr Biden's campaign manager Jen O'Malley Dillon announced on Wednesday local time, "Joe Biden is on track to win this election and he will be the next President of the United States."
But claims of victory on both sides come amid conflicting verdicts in battleground state Arizona, and ongoing counting of a record number of ballots, many of which were mailed in even as Mr Trump disputed the validity of those ballots.
Last night, a defiant Mr Trump accused his opponent of "trying to steal" the election.
Mr Biden had 227 of the necessary 270 electoral college votes to Mr Trump's 213.
But as Wednesday morning dawned in the US, Mr Biden had gained ground in counting in two crucial Rust Belt states where the pair remained separated by less than a point as absentee ballots were counted overnight.
A verdict on Wisconsin's 10 electoral college votes is expected within hours.
The Attorney General of Pennsylvania said the eastern state would continue to count every vote cast up until Friday, despite the objections of President Trump.
"We said we would secure, protect and count the vote," said Josh Shapiro, Attorney General of PA.
Mr Trump was leading in Pennsylvania by a massive 600,000 votes. But that was before 1 million mail-in votes were counted - which are skewing heavily in favor of Mr Biden.
"The will of the people of Pennsylvania will be respected. We need an accurate count, the will of the people needs to be respected," said Mr Shapiro.
"It is going to take as long as it takes to get an accurate count. Ballots can be received and counted up until Friday.
"The president wants this settled, Joe Biden wants it settled, my kids want it settled! The best way to settle this is to male sure that all of these ballots are counted.
"These are legal, eligible votes. This is a matter of state law. Our state supreme court says these are eligible votes which need to be counted."
HOW CLOSE IS IT?
If Mr Biden takes both states of Michigan and Wisconsin and retains the disputed Arizona, he reaches the 270 votes.
If they are split between the candidates, the contest boils down to Pennsylvania, where scrutineers have said the count could take days.
There are 16 electoral colllege votes at stake in Michigan, which would nudge Mr Biden to within just 30 votes of victory.
But Mr Trump has promised a legal challenge to the continued counting of a record number of mail-in ballots.
"This is a fraud on the American public. This is an embarrassment to our country," he said.
"We were getting ready to win this election. Frankly, we did win this election.
"So our goal now is to ensure the integrity for the good of this nation. This is a very big moment."
Mr Trump has claimed to have won a series of states that are yet to be decided, including Georgia, North Carolina and Pennsylvania.
"This is a major fraud on our nation. We want the law to be used in a proper manner. So we'll be going to the US Supreme Court. We want all voting to stop. We don't want them to find any ballots at 4 o'clock in the morning and add them to the list," he said.
"To me this is a very sad moment. And we will win in. As far as I'm concerned, we already have won it."
His inflammatory words threw fuel on an already volatile situation and sparked fears of widespread social unrest.
Mr Trump tweeted frequenlty on Wednesday morning, with Twitter flagging his tweets as "misleading".
WHAT IS THIS ALL ABOUT? https://t.co/6487pYLZnL— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) November 4, 2020
Mr Trump continued to dispute the validity of mail-in votes:
How come every time they count Mail-In ballot dumps they are so devastating in their percentage and power of destruction?— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) November 4, 2020
An update gives Biden 100% of new votes — 128k+ pic.twitter.com/SPUrTf8gXN— Matt Mackowiak (@MattMackowiak) November 4, 2020
Earlier, Mr Biden addressed supporters in a car park in Delaware and said "every vote" needed to be counted before there was a result.
"Your patience is commendable. We knew it would be long but who knew it would go this long, until maybe tomorrow," Mr Biden said beside his wife Jill.
"We feel good about tonight, we really do.
"It ain't over until every vote is counted. We're feeling good about where we are.
"I'm optimistic about this outcome.
"Keep the faith guys, we're going to win this."
Both Mr Trump and Mr Biden retained pathways to the 270 electoral college votes necessary to win the White House, in the early hours of Wednesday morning, local time.
Pennsylvania, Michigan, Wisconsin, Nevada, North Carolina and Georgia were too close to call, said the Fox News Decision Desk.
Mr Biden's camp said they believed he could win Pennsylvania, which could take several days to finish counting, as well as Michigan and Wisconsin.
Mr Trump was ahead in Georgia and North Carolina but the Midwest states were on a knife edge.
US ELECTION: WATCH
There was controversy about the decision by Fox News to call Arizona for Joe Biden so early in counting.
Fox News' decision desk called the state after 11pm Eastern Time and Trump 2020 Adviser Jason Miller said it should be retracted because about a million votes were yet to be counted.
"WAY too soon to be calling Arizona … way too soon," said Mr Miller on Twitter.
Arizona's Republican Governor Doug Ducey also weighed in.
"It's far too early to call the election in Arizona. Election Day votes are not fully reported, and we haven't even started to count early ballots dropped off at the polls. In AZ, we protected Election Day. Let's count the votes - all the votes - before making declarations," he said on Twitter.
Despite the dramatic end to an unorthodox campaign, the candidates took part in several poll day traditions.
Gaffe-prone candidate Joe Biden was true to form, confusing his granddaughter Finnegan with his late son Beau, when he introduced her to supporters in Philadelphia during his last campaign stop.
He then said her name was Natalie, before then introducing the actual Natalie to the crowd.
Mr Trump started his day with trademark confidence, predicting he would win given the "massive" size of his rally crowds and internal Republican polling.
Sounding hoarse and exhausted after his breakneck 17 rallies over the past four days, he also promised he wouldn't declare an early victory over Mr Biden.
Later, when he thanked campaign workers at Republican National Committee headquarters in Arlington, Virginia, he was almost philosophical about his chances.
"Winning is easy. Losing is never easy, not for me it's not," he said.
He also said he expected his Electoral College would exceed the 2016, when he took 304 votes to Hillary Clinton's 227.
"I think we will top it, I think we will get better," he said.
Mr Biden made an early-morning stop at the graves of his late wife, daughter and son, Beau, after attending a church service with his wife Jill and two of his granddaughters, Maisie and Natalie.
A week after her husband voted for "a guy named Trump", First Lady Melania Trump cast an in-person ballot at a recreation centre near the couple's home in Palm Beach, Florida.
Saying she was feeling "great", Mrs Trump wore a sleeveless Gucci sundress.
"It's Election Day, so I wanted to come here to vote today for the election," she said when asked why she had not voted with Mr Trump.
Originally published as Biden nears victory but Trump wants recount