Trump closes gap on Biden in Arizona as mail-in ballots are counted


Donald Trump has closed the gap on Joe Biden in Arizona to less than 47,000 votes, following a dump of mail-in ballots from Maricopa County Thursday night. 

Biden remains in the lead in the state but only by 46,257 or 50.1 per cent, compared to Trump’s 48.5 per cent, with approximately 200,000 ballots left to count.   

The AP and and Fox News had both called Arizona early on Wednesday morning, claiming there was no possible way for Trump to claw it back from him – a move which was later called into question.  

Arizona holds 11 crucial electoral college votes which, when giving them to Biden now, poises him for the White House with 264 of the 270 that he needs. He would only need to win Nevada, Georgia, or North Carolina to claim victory if his Arizona lead holds. 

Georgia holds 16 and will be announced later. Trump is ahead in Georgia by only 18,000 votes and there are still some 60,000 votes left to count. The count is expected to be completed there today.

If Biden loses Arizona to Trump, Trump goes from 214 electoral college votes to 225. He would then only need 42 additional electoral college votes from  Georgia (16), North Carolina (15) and Pennsylvania (20) – all states in which he is leading – to claim victory, assuming he wins Alaska’s three electoral college votes which he is all but guaranteed to. 

The delay prolongs an already excruciating wait to find out who will be the next President for frustrated Americans and people all over the world who are now asking why it is taking so long to reach a conclusion. 

There has been no simple answer so far. In some states it’s because the margin is incredibly tight. In others, it’s because mail-in ballots haven’t yet arrived and can be counted for days yet.

Official counts are never normally returned on election day or even in the immediate aftermath. The election is always called instead by a TV or news network based on analysis of possible outcomes. 

But none are calling it this year, because the race in the remaining swing states has been so tight.   

 

Even though hundreds of thousands of votes remain uncounted, Trump is already demanding a recount in Wisconsin and he’s asking that the vote counting stop in Georgia, Pennsylvania, Michigan and Nevada. He hasn’t requested anything in Arizona yet. 

The margin for a recount in Arizona is tiny at only 200 votes. It is possible in Wisconsin and Georgia; in Wisconsin, it needs to be fewer than 1 percent, which the result was. In Georgia, it needs to be within 0.5 percent which is seeming more and more likely. 

In Nevada, it needs to be requested within three days of the final, certified result but Nevada has no minimum margin for a recount. In Pennsylvania, the margin is 0.5 percent.   

Trump is calling foul on the entire election, claiming that votes are being counted improperly and demanding recounts.

He has filed lawsuits in Pennsylvania, Georgia and Michigan asking that the counting be halted, and he is also demanding a recount in Wisconsin.

A recount in Arizona is not likely. The rules there mean that only a margin of 200 votes or fewer allow it. It’s unclear if the Trump campaign will try to question the results in Arizona. They have not yet taken any action against it. 

Hobbs said she didn’t know what option Trump had to call it into question.

On Wednesday night, dozens of protesters descended on a counting center – forcing it to close. They were Trump supporters.  

STATES STILL IN PLAY

ARIZONA – 11 electoral college votes: Votes still being counted, deadline for result unclear

50.6% BIDEN

48.54% TRUMP

Fox and the AP gave Arizona to Biden before dawn on Wednesday. On Wednesday afternoon, officials said that there were still 600,000 votes left to be counted which suggested that it could be put back in play. 

The AP is standing by its call, saying the outstanding votes are in Biden strongholds that will not flip back to Trump. 

PENNSYLVANIA – 20 electoral college votes: Result expected Friday

49.7% TRUMP 

49.0% BIDEN

GEORGIA – 16 electoral colleges votes: Result expected sometime on Thursday

49.4% TRUMP

49.2%  BIDEN

NEVADA – 6 electoral college votes: Result expected Friday

49.4% BIDEN 

48.5% TRUMP  

NORTH CAROLINA – 15 electoral college votes: Result expected some time Thursday

50.09% TRUMP

48.69% BIDEN 

‘I don’t understand what these protesters are interested in. We’re going to keep counting ballots. If they’re supporting the president they should want us to continue counting. I just don’t know what their goal is. Absolutely they are not disrupting what we’re doing,’ she said. 

Several members of the group AZ Patriots did successfully manage to make their way inside the building, one wearing a military vest, where they argued that the pens in the count had been changed to Sharpies, before they were kicked out of the building. 

Media crews were escorted from the center at around 12.30am and some staff were also escorted from the building at the end of their shifts as the shouts of the crowd grew louder. There have been no reports of violence although several members of the press claimed they were threatened. 

Inside, the count continued, with the center vowing that it would continue until the last update of the night. 

The President on Thursday morning tweeted: ‘Stop the count!’ 

Joe Biden, meanwhile, has been relatively quiet on Twitter. 

On Wednesday, he gave a confident press conference with his running mate Kamala Harris, saying he felt ‘good’ about his chances at victory and that he’d likely win enough seats to take the White House eventually, but that he would wait until all the votes had been counted to claim it. 

Meanwhile in Michigan, Trump protesters also surrounded an election center in Detroit where they called on the count to be stopped as the state was declared for Biden. 

Republicans have also filed a lawsuit in Michigan demanding that all vote counting stop because Trump’s people weren’t giving proper access to voting sites and couldn’t oversee the counting process to ensure it was fair.

In Georgia, the lawsuit claims that a GOP poll observer witnessed 53 late absentee ballots added to a pile in Chatham County while two additional actions in Pennsylvania claim a Senator there has given Biden back-door votes to try to push Trump out.

And in Wisconsin, the campaign is demanding a recount, despite Biden winning by more than 20,000 votes which represents around 0.6 percent of the vote. 

The figure falls within the state’s recount rules which allows for anything within a one-point margin to qualify for a a recount. 

In Pennsylvania, where a result is unlikely before Friday, Rudy Giuliani – Trump’s personal lawyer – and Trump’s son, Eric, arrived to spearhead ‘critical legal actions’ in the state.  

The Trump campaign has announced that it will wade into a case currently before the Supreme Court which challenges state law that allows for mail-in ballots that arrive up to three days after election day. 

Deputy Trump Campaign Manager Justin Clark said the campaign will be suing to stop ‘Democrat election officials from hiding the ballot counting and processing’ from GOP poll-watchers.

He claimed that Republican observers in Philadelphia were ordered to stand 25 meters away from counting staff, making it impossible to watch. 

 

Trump has also accused Pennsylvania’s Secretary of State Kathy Boockvar of unilaterally extending the deadline by which mail-in voters whose voter ID was missing to provide proof.

In a press conference held in Philadelphia on Wednesday afternoon Giuliani and Eric claimed the president won the state, despite roughly one million mail-in ballots still needing to be counted.

Trump on Thursday tweeted demanding to 'stop the count'

Trump on Thursday tweeted demanding to ‘stop the count’

Like Trump himself, neither man offered a legal argument for a win or proof of any voter fraud, but nonetheless made claims of cheating.

‘They’re trying to cheat, they’re trying to cheat,’ Eric Trump said repeatedly of the Democrats.

Giuliani ranted for several minutes about mail-in ballots which he claimed – without proof – could be falsified.

‘This is beyond anything I have ever seen before,’ he said. ‘Do you think we’re stupid? Do you think we’re fools?

‘You know something, Democrats do think you’re stupid,’ Giuliani added. ‘And they do think you’re fools. That’s why you get called ‘deplorable’ and ‘chumps’.

Maricopa County Sheriff's Deputies stand at the door of the Maricopa County Recorder's Office as President Donald Trump supporters rally outside, Wednesday, Nov. 4, 2020, in Phoenix

Maricopa County Sheriff’s Deputies stand at the door of the Maricopa County Recorder’s Office as President Donald Trump supporters rally outside, Wednesday, Nov. 4, 2020, in Phoenix

Video from outside the count center showed the angered crowd as they shouted that the vote was being suppressed

Video from outside the count center showed the angered crowd as they shouted that the vote was being suppressed

Chaos hit the election count center in a crucial Arizona county on Wednesday night after a large group of Trump supporters gathered outside to protest, some carrying weapons as the chanted for the vote to continue

Chaos hit the election count center in a crucial Arizona county on Wednesday night after a large group of Trump supporters gathered outside to protest, some carrying weapons as the chanted for the vote to continue

Supporters of President Donald Trump rally outside the Maricopa County Recorder's Office, Wednesday, Nov. 4, 2020, in Phoenix

Supporters of President Donald Trump rally outside the Maricopa County Recorder’s Office, Wednesday, Nov. 4, 2020, in Phoenix

Vote counting in Arizona is likely to continue until Friday, stretching out the excruciating wait for a result by even longer

Vote counting in Arizona is likely to continue until Friday, stretching out the excruciating wait for a result by even longer 

‘We’re going to stick with this. We’re going to win this election. We’ve actually won it.

‘It’s just a matter of counting the votes fairly.’

THE RECOUNT RULES – WHERE CAN TRUMP GET ONE AND WILL HE? 

Even though hundreds of thousands of votes remain uncounted, Trump is already demanding a recount in Wisconsin and he’s asking that the vote counting stop in Georgia, Pennsylvania, Michigan and Nevada. He hasn’t requested anything in Arizona yet. 

Trump though has to wait for all of the votes in each state to be counted and then certified, then show evidence for a recount, before he can request one which could take days if not weeks

The Secretary of State in each of the states has to request it which is also an uncertainty for Trump 

ARIZONA 

The margin for a recount in Arizona is tiny at only 200 votes so is unlikely that he will get one.

WISCONSIN 

It is possible in Wisconsin and Georgia; in Wisconsin, it needs to be fewer than 1 percent, which the result was. Trump has three days to request it after the final tally.

GEORGIA 

In Georgia, it needs to be within 0.5 percent which is seeming more and more likely. It has to be requested by the Secretary of State.

NEVADA 

In Nevada, it needs to be requested within three days of the final, certified result but Nevada has no minimum margin for a recount. 

PENNSYLVANIA  

In Pennsylvania, the margin to get an automatic recount is 0.5 percent. The Secretary of State has to request it. 

MICHIGAN 

Candidate has to lose by 2,000 votes or less  

Giuliani complained the mail-in ballots could have come from Mars or Canada – or could simply be one person who sent in 100,000 votes.

‘Staff at the @maricopacounty Elections Department will continue our job, which is to administer elections in the second largest voting jurisdiction in the county,’ the department tweeted.

‘We will release results again tonight as planned. We thank the @mcsoaz for doing their job, so we can do ours.’

Among the protesters was local Congressman Paul Gosar who joined the crowd in complaining that votes were not being counted, blasting the Arizona Secretary of State as a ‘joke’ and praying, before demanding an update on the tally.

‘Some shady things are happening in Arizona…’ he tweeted earlier in the day.

Gosar made the claim after Fox News faced outrage for deciding to call the state’s eleven electoral college seats for Biden before midnight on election night. The Associated Press has since also called a Biden victory but the New York Times and CNN are among the major news organization believing the race is still there for either candidate.

On Wednesday night, Florida Governor Ron DeSantis railed against the decision to call Arizona and said that Fox should immediate rescind the decision.

‘Trump is gaining in Arizona. There are probably 500,000…’ DeSantis said during an interview with Fox. ‘Here’s my thing, if you’re quick on the trigger, then be quick on the trigger for both sides and stand by it. With Trump, they never want to call the state. Biden, they will do it right away. It’s inconsistent and unacceptable. Look, North Carolina should be called for the president, for sure. Arizona — Fox should rescind that call.’

‘We have to do this in a right way,’ DeSantis continued. ‘I thought it was really poor how it was done. Florida, we didn’t even need the panhandle coming in. The president was up so much with the basis of Miami-Dade [county] early in mail voting that here was no way he would lose by Florida and won by 400,000 votes in the end.’

FiveThirtyEight’s Nate Silver, who has himself been criticized for wildly inaccurate polling data, also said that Fox and the Associated Press should retracted the projection.

The Arizona call from Fox was the first of the states that appeared to have flipped from red to blue, marking a major loss for the Trump campaign in this must-win state if it were accurate.

Yet the Trump campaign has argued that the voting is not yet over, dismissing the call and predicting that the president will eventually win by some 30,000 votes once all ballots are counted.

They have also said they are considering contesting the result but have not indicated what action they would take after calling for a recount in Wisconsin and filing lawsuits over vote counting in Pennsylvania, Michigan and Georgia.

‘@FoxNews is a complete outlier in calling Arizona, and other media outlets should not follow suit,’ fumed Trump campaign senior adviser Jason Miller on Tuesday night.

‘There are still 1M+ Election Day votes out there waiting to be counted – we pushed our people to vote on Election Day, but now Fox News is trying to invalidate their votes!

‘We believe over 2/3 of those outstanding Election Day voters are going to be for Trump. Can’t believe Fox was so anxious to pull the trigger here after taking so long to call Florida. Wow,’ he continued.

‘Retract AZ!’ added Republican National Committee spokesperson Liz Harrington.

Arizona’s governor Doug Ducey, a Republican, also pushed back at the Fox News result calling it ‘far too early’ to have declared Biden the winner in the early hours of Wednesday morning.

‘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.’

Finally! Pennsylvania says it could have election result TODAY

Pennsylvania’s Secretary of State has the state could return an election result on Thursday – a day earlier than expected – that could put an end to the agonizing wait for the next President.  

Trump is still leading in Pennsylvania by 115,000, a two point lead, that has been gradually shrinking while Biden collects more votes from urban areas.  Pennsylvania holds 20 electoral college votes. 

If Biden wins it, he wins the election. Currently, he has 264 votes – including Arizona despite that coming slightly back into play. 

Even without Arizona, if he won Pennsylvania, he would take the White House. 

Trump cannot win on Pennsylvania alone; with 214 electoral college votes, he’d still need to pick up either Georgia, North Carolina, Arizona or Nevada – the four other states where a result is yet to be officially confirmed. 

‘I think we definitely could. I think there’s about 550,000 some odd — you know, plus or minus — ballots that are still in the process of being counted today. 

‘Some of those may have already been counted but are not yet uploaded. But yeah, they’re coming in. We’re getting 10,000 here, 20,000 here, counties are furiously at work.

Pennsylvania 's Secretary of State Kathy Boockvar told CNN on Thursday afternoon that the state could report an election result tonight - a day early

Pennsylvania ‘s Secretary of State Kathy Boockvar told CNN on Thursday afternoon that the state could report an election result tonight – a day early 

 ‘I think no matter what happens, I don’t think it’s going to be a tremendous impact on this race,’ Kathy Boockvar told CNN’s Jape Tapper on Thursday afternoon.

Trump is already suing in Pennsylvania to undermine whatever election result is returned.

Voting was temporarily halted in Philadelphia and Pittsburgh on Thursday as a result of the legal row.

A judge intervened and allowed it to continue; there are still 550,000 votes left to count there. 

In Nevada, there are only around 51,000 left to call before tomorrow and they say they need that much time Arizona also says they need until tomorrow to deliver a result on their remaining 450,000 votes. 

Pennsylvania said it would continue counting mail-in ballots until Friday so long as they were post-marked from November 3.  

The Trump campaign had a brief legal victory in Pennsylvania on Thursday when a judge ruled ballot observers can watch officials count ballots within six feet. Representatives of both campaigns were in the room to watch the counts but at a further distance because of the coronavirus. A county judge agreed with the Trump campaign, but the state Supreme Court rejected it.

The situation in Pittsburgh is complicated by about 30,000 outstanding ballots, where a vendor sent the wrong ballots to voters and had to reissue new ballots with the correct races.

Poll workers now have to examine these ballots to make sure that people don’t vote twice, or, if they sent in the wrong ballot, they didn’t vote in races they aren’t eligible for.

They cannot legally be counted until Friday when Allegheny County, where Pittsburgh sits, swears in a special board to examine these ballots, as required by law

Trump’s team of lawyers have filed lawsuits on multiple fronts – to try to stem the flow of presumably pro-Biden mail ballots into the system, and to try to force greater access for observers so they presumably can challenge more individual ballots.

They scored an initial win Thursday morning, which former Florida Secretary of State Pam Bondi, a Trump backer, brandished at a press conference.

The ruling, by the Commonwealth Court of Pennsylvania, reverses a decision by the Court of Common Pleas of Philadelphia. It lets Trumps observers ‘be permitted to observe all aspects of the canvassing process, within 6 feet, while adhering to all COVID-19 protocols, including wearing masks and maintaining social distancing.’

Trump touted the ‘Big legal win in Pennsylvania!’ on Twitter. But then the Supreme Court of Pennsylvania almost instantly struck it down when Democrats appealed. 

The reason of the appeal was not concern over the watching itself, experts said, but because Democrats say Republicans accepted the rules on watching before they went into effect.

Conceding that the rules could be changed after they had been agreed would open the way to more rules being changed, they argue.

That is not the end of the road for the Trump campaign. 

The big battle, with a greater potential to affect the count, could come in an effort to challenge an earlier Supreme Court decision allowing the state to count mail-in ballots that come in three days after Election Day.

Conservative justices had indicated that it could get another hearing should these ballots that get counted later prove decisive.

But a decisive win by Biden with votes that came in before Election Day would undercut the need for the suit – and Biden was chipping away at Trump’s lead with hundreds of thousands of ballots outstanding.

Pennsylvania Democrats, mindful of potential challenges and alarmed by reports the Republican-controlled legislature might seek to intervene, have been segregating mail-ballots that come in later to prevent the state’s entire result from being thrown out.

Pennsylvania’s Attorney General blasted the move on Thursday.

‘That question is a question of state law,’ he said, noting it was decided by the state supreme court. ‘It was decided that those ballots and they will be counted,’ he told CNN.

‘We’re following the law here in Pennsylvania here. We’re counting these legal votes,’ he said.

Nevada delays election result until Friday

Nevada has inexplicably delayed giving its election result, saying they need until at least tomorrow to count the remaining votes, as the country and the world wait in agony to find out who would be the next President.

It’s unclear exactly how many votes there are left to count across the entire state but in Clark County, where Las Vegas is an which accounts for 800,000 of the 1.1million votes that have already been counted, officials say there are 51,000 that they won’t be able to return a result on until tomorrow. 

They claim it’s because that is simply how long the process takes, despite somehow being able to count 15 times as many votes since polls closed on Tuesday.     

Biden is leading in Nevada but only by 11,545 votes which is around 1 percent. If he claims the state today, he will win another 6 electoral college points, giving him 270 when factoring in the 11 that come from Arizona.

Arizona was called for him on Wednesday morning by Fox and the AP but with 450,000 votes still outstanding, it remains in play for Trump. If Biden loses Arizona, he has 259 electoral college votes. He’d need another 11 from either Georgia – which holds 16 – North Carolina – which holds 15 – or Pennsylvania – which holds 20 – to win.

Ric Grenell, Donald Trump adviser and former acting director of national intelligence, speaks during a news conference in front of the Clark County Election Department, Thursday. They say they have 'evidence' that tens of thousands of votes were cast fraudulently in Nevada

Ric Grenell, Donald Trump adviser and former acting director of national intelligence, speaks during a news conference in front of the Clark County Election Department, Thursday. They say they have ‘evidence’ that tens of thousands of votes were cast fraudulently in Nevada 

It’s unclear when North Carolina will announce, but it is expected to go to Trump as it did in 2016. The race in Nevada has been tight. For most of the morning, Biden led by only around 7,000 votes there.  

Trump’s team is crying fraud. They say they have ‘evidence’ that ‘tens of thousands of votes’ had been cast there fraudulently. 

‘We are confident that when all legal votes are tallied — and only legal votes are tallied — President Trump will win the state of Nevada,’ Former Director of National Intelligence Ric Grenell told Fox News on Thursday morning. 

‘The reality is transparency is not political. Ballots are not automatically legal votes until they’re checked. We are not being able to check.

‘There’s a 30 day residency requirement in the state of Nevada. If you haven’t been in the state for 30 days it is illegal to vote.

‘We are filing this federal lawsuit to protect legal voters. 

‘It is unacceptable in this country to have illegal votes counted. That is what’s happening in the state of Nevada,’ Grenell claimed at a press conference. 

Nevada law states that to be eligible to vote, a person has to have been a resident of the state for at least 30 days before the election. 

That does not necessarily mean that they have to have been physically in the state for the 30 days preceding the election.  

Trump’s people also claim that many of the votes in Nevada came from people who no longer live there, or were cast under the names of deceased people. 

 

Georgia’s election result hangs on its last 47,227 votes

Georgia's Voting System Implementation Manager, Gabriel Sterling

Georgia’s Voting System Implementation Manager, Gabriel Sterling

Georgia still won’t call its election because there are still 47,227 votes left to be counted, officials said on Thursday, and the race there is still too tight to make a prediction on. 

Biden could win the election with Georgia on Thursday, landing another 16 electoral college points, if he holds on to his lead in Arizona. The result in Arizona is not expected until Friday because there are still 450,000 votes left to count. 

Trump’s lead in Georgia shrank from 18,000 to 9,000 from Wednesday to Thursday night.

Officials in both Arizona and Nevada – where only 51,000 need to be counted – say they need at least another day to get through them and get through them accurately, despite the fact that they’ve rattled through many, many more votes in the last few days alone.

In Georgia, nearly 5million votes have been counted but the result hangs in the last 47,227. 

Why it is taking so long to reach a conclusion is a question that millions of frustrated Americans are asking and it’s being heard around the world. There is no simple answer for it. 

In one Georgia county, there was a corrupt memory card on one scanner which meant 400 had to be recounted. Officials in some counties are also using paper ballots for the first time in 20 years because they voted earlier this year that machine voting was not secretive enough. They are then scanning all of the paper votes which is an ‘arduous’ process, it was said on Thursday. 

In some states, it’s because the race is simply tighter than it was in the last election so is difficult for news and TV networks – who ordinarily call elections – to make a decisive projection. Another reason is that there are more mail-in ballots this year than in elections gone by because of COVID-19. They are taking longer to pour in and different states had different rules on when those could start being counted. 

In any event, Trump is already contesting the results in several states. He says there has been voter fraud in Nevada, with people sending in ballots under dead residents’ names, and from non-residents. 

In Georgia, he says they weren’t able to verify that the count was being done properly.  

In Wisconsin, he is also demanding a recount, and in Michigan and Pennsylvania, he wants the counting to be halted. 

Trump has not been seen in person since 2.30am on Wednesday, when he prematurely claimed election vctory and said the entire process had been a ‘fraud on the American people.’ 

In almost every state that Biden has won, Trump’s lead has been strong at first then shrank as more ballots- specifically mail-in ballots – have been tallied up. 

He thinks it is suspicious. 

Speaking on Thursday, Georgia’s Voting System Implementation Manager, Gabriel Sterling, said there was nothing suspicious or strange about the process, but that elections were never normally so close so it doesn’t always have to come down to an official count. 

‘We can’t know how long the process will take. We hope to have clarity but “done” is a very relative term at this point.

‘As we’ve been stating for weeks and months, it’s going to take time.  The effort here is to make sure everybody’s legal vote is counted properly.

‘The issue we have in Georgia is it’s a close vote. There’s other states that have more votes to count than we do but it’s a wide margin so nobody cares,’ Sterling said. 

He said he did anticipate giving a result by the end of the day. 

In Georgia, Superior Court judge James Bass said there was ‘no evidence’ to the Trump suit’s claims that a 53 ballots arrived late and got mixed with other ballots. In Michigan, Judge Cynthia Stephens ruled against the Trump campaign’s push to stop the count in order to gain additional access for its observers. ‘I have no basis to find that there is a substantial likelihood of success on the merits,’ she said.

‘All of the recent Biden claimed States will be legally challenged by us for Voter Fraud and State Election Fraud,’ Trump tweeted Thursday amid the nationwide blitz of court challenges. ‘Plenty of proof – just check out the Media. WE WILL WIN! America First!’

Trump’s team scored a win in a Pennsylvania court, but not on an issue that appears likely to sway a race with thousands of ballots being processed.

‘The Trump campaign called it a ‘major victory,’ but state officials appealed, saying it ‘jeopardizes both the safety of the City Defendants’ canvass, plus the privacy of voters.’

Even if the Trump legal efforts don’t ultimately prevail, they are already succeeding in slowing down the voting process, and Trump’s allies are using them to claim Trump has seized an ‘overwhelming victory’ among ‘verifiable’ ballots. 



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