Trump decries election as fraudulent with zero evidence
In his first address since his post-election speech in the early hours of Wednesday morning, President Donald Trump appeared to shrug off his Democratic challenger Joe Biden’s growing lead in the presidential election and made baseless claims that the election was driven by fraud and corruption..
‘If you count the legal votes I easily win. If you count the illegal votes they can try to steal the election from us,” Trump told reporters in the White House briefing room, repeating a statement his campaign sent out earlier Thursday on his behalf.
Trump also dismissed polls showing that the U.S. was bracing for a “blue wave,” pointing to GOP successes in both the Senate and the House.
“The pollsters got it knowingly wrong, they got it wrong,” he said. ” 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.”
The president’s comments came as his lead in several states including Georgia and Pennsylvania continued to shrink as more ballots were counted, narrowing his path to victory as Biden inched toward the majority threshold of 270 electoral votes needed to win the election.
He acknowledged that a few states had yet to be decided in the presidential race but said they the elections were run “by Democrats.” Georgia and Arizona, two states that still have outstanding votes, are run by Republican governors.
“We were winning in all the key locations by a lot, actually. And then our numbers started miraculously getting whittled away in secret,” Trump said.
There has been no evidence of voter fraud. Several states have experienced delays in counting a surge of mail-in ballots – legally cast – this year due to the pandemic.
The president’s campaign has mounted several legal challenges in states that could tip the election in favor of Biden, undercutting the validity of the election system. Two lawsuits in Michigan and Georgia were dismissed earlier on Thursday.
“Our goal is to defend the integrity of the election,” he said. “We will not allow the corruption to steal such an important election.”
Trump has been out of the public eye since early Wednesday morning, when he prematurely declared victory even as hundreds of thousands of ballots had yet to be counted. . He also threatened to ask the U.S. Supreme Court to halt the counting of legally cast absentee ballots.
Trump, without providing any evidence, also accused Democrats of trying to “steal” and “rig the election. He refused to take questions about his claims after the 17-minute speech.
Earlier on Thursday, Biden urged Americans to be patient as votes were counted but said he had “no doubt” that he and his running mate Sen. Kamala Harris would win the White House.
“It is the will of the voters, no one, not anything else, that chooses the president of the United States of America,” he said. “Democracy is sometimes messy. It sometimes requires a little patience as well. But that patience has been rewarded now for more than 240 years with a system of governance that’s been the envy of the world.”
Trump’s remarks drew swift criticism. Republican strategist Doug Heye called it “dangerous rhetoric.”
Yet again, dangerous rhetoric from the President. Appalling. Proactive and self-serving irresponsibility,” he said. “These dangerous lies are not improv, these are prepared remarks. A team effort. Shameful.”
— David Jackson and Courtney Subramanian
Trump’s lead over Biden narrows in Georgia
The gap between President Donald Trump and Democratic presidential nominee Joe Biden continues to shrink as fewer than 20,000 outstanding ballots remain.
Georgia Secretary of State Brad Raffensperger said as of 7:15 p.m., there are approximately 18,936 ballots still outstanding in the state.
Chatham County, where Savannah is located, in the past several hours had reported the bulk of their outstanding ballots. Many of the remaining ballots are in counties surrounding Atlanta.
There are now 3,486 votes, or about 0.1%, that separate Trump and Biden.
– Rebecca Morin
Pennsylvania races to finish counting ‘overwhelming majority’ of ballots
Pennsylvania Secretary of State Kathy Boochvar said election officials hope to have the “overwhelming majority” of the state’s outstanding absentee ballots counted by Friday.
“We’re coming into the homestretch,” Boochvar said at a news briefing Thursday evening, adding that the plan is to count into the night.
Pennsylvania, with 20 electoral votes in play in the race for president, had 326,248 outstanding absentee ballots still to count as of 6 p.m. EST.
President Donald Trump holds a 78,314-vote lead over Democratic challenger Joe Biden. But Biden has made up significant ground – and is expected to continue to so – as mail-in ballots that skew Democratic are tallied across the state, including from two Democratic strongholds, Philadelphia and Pittsburgh.
State law prevented election officials from beginning to process mail-in ballots until Election Day, making it will take days to get a final tally.
Mail-in ballots can be received in Pennsylvania by Nov. 6 if they are postmarked by Election Day. Officials are segregating these ballots from others, however. Boockhar said the absentee ballots now being counted only include those that arrived by Election Day.
“I don’t expect it to be a significant amount,” she said of the ballots received post-Election Day.
Late-arriving absentee ballots have been the subject of litigation from Republicans. The U.S. Supreme Court for the second time last month refused to change Pennsylvania’s election rules at the 11th hour, handing Republicans a defeat in their effort to reimpose an Election Day deadline for absentee ballots.
However, justices said that if the state turns out to be pivotal, the high court could reconsider the challenge after the election.
– Joey Garrison
White House is hopeful, but also bracing for a loss – and is mad at other Republicans
Some aides to President Donald Trump said they’re not giving up on the election, but they’re also bracing for the worst.
They’re also upset with other Republicans who have not spoken out against the ongoing election count as forcefully as Trump has.
Ongoing vote counts could preserve Trump’s leads in Pennsylvania and Georgia and fuel comebacks in Arizona and Nevada, aides said – but some also acknowledged that many of the remaining votes appear to be from pro-Biden areas.
Some advisers are also skeptical that the campaign’s lawsuits will do anything to change the vote count. They are also concerned that Pennsylvania will finish its count soon, and that networks will project a Biden victory in the state, essentially making him president-elect.
“We’re just watching,” one aide said.
On election night, as Tuesday turned to Wednesday, Trump campaign and White House officials expressed rising confidence as the president won the vote in Florida and built big leads in Georgia, North Carolina and other states.
That confidence began to dissipate after Fox News, and then the Associated Press, called Arizona for Biden (a call the campaign still protests). The Trump team’s mood continued to sour as late counting gave Biden wins in Wisconsin and Michigan.
Aides, speaking on condition of anonymity to discuss sensitive matters, also expressed frustration that more Republican officials have not spoken out against the counting, especially in the states still being contested.
Pennsylvania Gov. Tom Wolf has held news conferences about events in his state, but not folks like Georgia Gov. Brian Kemp and Arizona Gov. Doug Ducey – both Republicans, another aides said.
“Where are Kemp and Ducey at?” the aide said.
Donald Trump Jr., and his brother, Eric, have also protested the relative silence from prominent Republicans.
“Where is the GOP?!” tweeted Eric Trump. “Our voters will never forget…”
Trump himself has spoken to a variety of Republicans officials about the situation, including state governors, but few have spoken out against the election the way he has.
The president spent Thursday as he spent Wednesday, tweeting out complaints – “STOP THE COUNT!” – and staying out of the public eye.
He has not been seen in public since his angry speech that ended at around 2:30 a.m. on Wednesday.
– David Jackson
Biden urges patience, remains confident of victory
Democratic presidential nominee Joe Biden urged patience Thursday in waiting for ballots to be counted in the election against President Donald Trump.
“I ask everyone to stay calm – all the people to stay calm,” Biden said. “We’ll know very soon.”
The statement came after Biden and his running mate, Sen. Kamala Harris of California, received a briefing at The Queen theater in Wilmington, Delaware, about the economy and the coronavirus pandemic.
“We continue to feel very good about where things stand,” Biden said. “We have no doubt that when the count is finished, Sen. Harris and I will be declared the winners.”
– Bart Jansen
Pennsylvania expects majority of ballots to be counted today
The majority of votes in Pennsylvania are expected to be counted Thursday, Secretary of State Kathy Boockvar said.
Earlier, she had indicated she expected the majority of the counting to be finished by Friday.
“It’s looking like we’re ahead of schedule,” she told CNN.
Mail ballots that arrive in election offices up to three days after the election are not expected to “make or break” the results of the election, Boockvar said.
Some smaller counties reported receiving zero ballots, and some larger ones have received about 500 the day after Election Day. That’s not many, she said.
Under the three-day extension, which is being challenged in court, mail ballots with the Nov. 3 postmarked can arrive in local election offices until 5 p.m. Friday. President Donald Trump’s campaign has asked the U.S. Supreme Court to intervene. Those ballots are being segregated.
“Unless it’s super close, I don’t see them making or breaking this one way or another,” Boockvar told CNN.
About 550,000 ballots were still in the process of being counted, she said.
– York Daily Record
About 47,300 ballots are left to count in Georgia, state says
A top Georgia election official said Thursday afternoon the state had about 47,300 votes left to count as the gap slowly closed between President Donald Trump and former Vice President Joe Biden.
The two were separated by a difference of about 13,000 votes, or about 0.2%, with 99% of the estimated vote counted.
Gabriel Sterling, Georgia’s voting system implementation manager, rejected claims of fraud brought by Trump and his allies, saying, “We’ve taken the steps at every level to secure that vote and make sure the integrity of the ballot is protected.”
Many of the remaining votes are coming from Democratic-leaning counties expected to yield more votes for Biden.
Sterling acknowledged there may be a recount given the slim margin, but “people will see these outcomes stay basically the same.”
– Nicholas Wu
Votes are still being counted in communities of color
As the nation awaits results in the 2020 presidential election, thousands of the outstanding votes are in counties with high proportions of Black and Hispanic Americans.
USA TODAY looked at U.S. Census data in large counties that had outstanding ballots — some with enough to tip the election in a given state. The analysis looked at two counties each in Arizona, Georgia, Nevada, North Carolina and Pennsylvania.
The information suggests that voters of color will play a key role in deciding the nail-biter election in all of the five states where votes are being counted and the outcome of the election is still in question.
Washoe and Clark counties in Nevada are 25% and 32% Hispanic, respectively. A local official in Clark County told the Reno Gazette-Journal that a count of outstanding ballots would not be released until Thursday.
Pima and Maricopa counties in Arizona are 38% and 31% Hispanic, respectively. The Arizona Republic reported there were about 48,000 outstanding ballots in Pima as of Wednesday and at least 426,000 outstanding ballots in Maricopa as of Wednesday.
Chatham and Fulton counties in Georgia are 41% and 45% Black, respectively. There were about 17,157 outstanding ballots in Chatham as of Wednesday, according to the Savannah Morning News and about 20,000 outstanding ballots in Fulton as of Wednesday, according to CNN.
Cumberland and Wake counties in North Carolina are 39% and 21% Black, respectively. The Secretary of State said Wednesday there were about 4,100 ballots outstanding in Cumberland as of Wednesday and 15,000 outstanding in Wake.
Philadelphia County is 44% Black. There were 104,607 outstanding ballots as of Thursday, according to the York Daily Record.
Allegheny County, which includes Pittsburgh, has Black and Hispanic populations below national averages. There were 35,806 ballots outstanding as of Thursday, according to the York Daily Record.
– Erin Mansfield and Matt Wynn
Biden trails Trump by 2 points in Pennsylvania as state continues ballot count
As of 12:30 p.m. EST Thursday, 22% of the mail-in ballots still need to be counted across Pennsylvania, or more than 570,000 votes statewide.
Republican President Donald J. Trump still holds a narrow lead of 115,069, or 1.8% of the vote. His lead has steadily dwindled from 11 points and about 618,000 votes on election night as mail-in votes have been tallied.
Democratic challenger Joe Biden and his supporters expect that gap to close further when the remaining hundreds of thousands of mail-in ballots are counted, particularly in the Democratic stronghold of Philadelphia.
“He’s going to win the state,” said Sen. Bob Casey, a Democrat from Scranton. “No question about it.”
– Candy Woodall
Biden expands lead slightly in Nevada
With a nation anxiously watching the Nevada’s potentially pivotal six Electoral College votes, the overall result remained in limbo Thursday. Former Vice President Joe Biden slightly increased his lead over President Donald Trump in Nevada, according to the latest vote totals released by the Nevada Secretary of State on Thursday morning.
Biden now has 597,353 votes to Trump’s 585,311 votes — a lead of 12,042, up from fewer than 8,000 through Wednesday.
– Reno Gazette Journal
Biden campaign sees votes tightening in battlegrounds
Biden campaign manager Jennifer O’Malley Dillon continued to voice confidence in former Vice President Joe Biden winning the election as votes continued to be counted in a handful of battleground states.
Bob Bauer, a legal adviser to the campaign, called a variety of President Donald Trump’s campaign lawsuits in the states “meritless” and “comic.”
“We are absolutely confident that Joe Biden will be the next president of the United States,” O’Malley Dillon said.
She said results would bounce up and down in Nevada and Arizona on Thursday as ballots were counted, and results might not be completed in Arizona until Friday. But the Biden campaign is confident that Arizona, which The Associated Press called in favor of Biden, would go in his favor.
“We expect the margin to be closing,” O’Malley Dillon said. “We will win by tens of thousands of votes, but that margin will close.”
The campaign continued to monitor Georgia and North Carolina, but was not as confident in those states.
“The race is a true tossup,” O’Malley Dillon said of Georgia, with Trump leading by about 18,000 votes. But she said the outstanding ballots are in counties that lean toward Biden.
North Carolina is leaning toward Trump, but is tightening, she said.
“This race continues to be very tight,” O’Malley Dillon said.
– Bart Jansen
Georgia Secretary of State official: about 60,000 votes outstanding
An official from the Georgia Secretary of State said there were about 60,000 votes still outstanding in the state as of Thursday mid-morning, many of which were set to come from Democratic-leaning jurisdictions.
Gabriel Sterling, Georgia’s voting system implementation manager, said the state anticipated it would finish counting the remainder of the ballots today but was prepared to count into the evening if necessary.
Roughly a quarter of the remaining ballots were from Democrat-leaning Chatham County, which includes Savannah. And many of the other ballots were set to come in from Fulton, Cobb, Gwinnett and Clayton Counties, all Atlanta-area counties that could yield more Democratic votes.
He also acknowledged there were still outstanding absentee ballots from overseas military personnel and provisional ballots that needed to be accepted or verified by Friday.
He said the state was working with county governments to get their results processed, though some of them had forgotten to “press the upload button” when submitting results, so the state had sent out reminders Thursday morning.
The state’s 16 electoral votes hang in the balance as both presidential candidates jockey for the majority 270 required to win. Biden has secured 264, and Trump has 214.
Counting the state’s outstanding ballots was a “long process,” Sterling said, but while “fast is great, we appreciate fast. We more appreciate accuracy.”
– Nicholas Wu
Pennsylvania governor vows to ‘protect our election workers and our votes’
Pennsylvania Gov. Tom Wolf vowed to continue counting votes in his state after President Donald Trump demanded to end the count.
“The planned attacks on our elections this morning are undemocratic and all elected officials must denounce them,” Wolf said in a statement Thursday morning. “Pennsylvania will be prepared to protect our election workers and our votes.”
Pennsylvania elections officials have not yet tabulated all of the mail-in ballots cast in the state, many from counties that have favored Joe Biden. Trump’s lead in Pennsylvania has narrowed to roughly two percentage points.
The Trump campaign announced Wednesday it is pursuing court actions to stop ballot counting in Michigan and Pennsylvania, and to prevent the counting of absentee ballots in Georgia that it claims arrived after an Election Day deadline.
– Tom Vanden Brook
Pennsylvania: More than 700k ballots yet to be counted
Pennsylvanians are waking up to a tighter presidential race.
The Department of State website shows little change overnight. About 29% of mail-in votes still need to be counted, or about 763,000 ballots.
Overall, 89 percent of the Pennsylvania vote has been tallied, including mail-in ballots and in-person voting.
As of 7:35 a.m. Thursday, Trump had 3,215,969 votes, or 50.7% of the vote, and Biden had 3,051,555 votes, or 48.1% of the vote. Trump’s lead is at 164,414 votes, down about 22,000 votes since 10:30 p.m. last night.
– Candy Woodall
Georgia presidential race continues to tighten, Perdue close to a runoff
The presidential race in Georgia continued to tighten Thursday as the state counted its remaining votes. Democratic presidential nominee Joe Biden had slowly closed the gap with President Donald Trump, trailing by about 18,000 votes with 98% of the vote counted.
And a second Senate race was close to a runoff election in Georgia, with incumbent Republican Sen. David Perdue leading Democratic nominee Jon Ossoff with about 50.0% of the vote share. Perdue needs to secure at least 50% of the vote to avoid a runoff, and Ossoff and Libertarian candidate Shane Hazel have chipped away at his numbers.
The state’s other Senate election is set for a January runoff between incumbent Republican Sen. Kelly Loeffler and Democrat Raphael Warnock, the senior pastor of Ebenezer Baptist Church in Atlanta.
Georgia Secretary of State Brad Raffensperger told Atlanta radio station WSB there were about 50,000 ballots left to count. The state would be done with its count by noon EST Thursday, he told WSB-TV.
– Nicholas Wu
Who is winning?
Former Vice President Joe Biden is just six electoral votes to reaching 270 in the presidential race after he was named the winner in Wisconsin and Michigan.
The race is now down to Pennsylvania, Georgia, Nevada, and North Carolina, while interesting numbers also emerge from Arizona.
President Donald Trump has 214 electoral votes, and his team has filed lawsuits in Pennsylvania and Georgia to prevent the counting of ballots.
With votes still being counted, Biden has broken the record for most votes received by a candidate, amassing nearly 72 million. As of Wednesday evening, he was leading Trump by more than 4 million.
Where do the final states stand as of 3 a.m. EST?
Biden maintained a lead in Arizona over Trump, but his margin shrunk in a new batch of results posted Wednesday evening and early Thursday morning consisting mainly of early ballots from Maricopa County, which the president carried in 2016.
A new tally is not expected until later this morning after officials updated the numbers at 2:40 am EST.
The Associated Press has defended their early call that Biden is projected to win Arizona despite calls from the Trump campaign to retract. Arizona’s 11 electoral votes are factored into USA TODAY’s electoral college count.
Trump and his supporters have alleged voting irregularities and other issues. There is no evidence of any vote counting issues in Arizona.
Georgia was on the mind of Americans Wednesday night as Biden gained significantly on Trump in the traditionally red state.
With an estimated 96% of the state reporting their votes, Biden is trailing the president by roughly 23,000 votes. Trump’s lead over Biden has shrunk as more votes get counted. Earlier Wednesday, he had a lead of over 100,000 votes.
Many of the outstanding ballots that needed to be counted were in counties surrounding Atlanta, like Fulton. A Fulton County official said on CNN last night they expected full results there between midnight and 3 a.m. EST.
Biden needs six electoral college votes. Nevada, where Biden is leading, has six electoral college votes. But updates to the state results were not announced Wednesday night.
State officials in Nevada are sticking to their original plan of updating results mid-day EST Thursday.
North Carolina, a state that’s is crucial to Trump’s reelection, was close as of Wednesday night, with the president leading 50.1% to 48.7%.
Full results in North Carolina are not expected until next week, according to local media outlets, to allow outstanding mail-in and provisional ballots to be counted.
The president’s lead in Pennsylvania shrunk as mail-in ballots have broken for Biden by a large margin.
If Biden remains on the current track, and Democratic turnout remains high in cities like Philadelphia, the former Vice President could take the lead in that state Thursday.
The president’s campaign team prematurely and incorrectly stated they had won the state Wednesday, despite hundreds of thousands of ballots being unaccounted for. Social media posts claiming victory were flagged as disinformation.
Pennsylvania still has hundreds of thousands of absentee ballots to count, but the Secretary of State said they expected to be counted by the end of the day Thursday.
This article originally appeared on USA TODAY: Election results updates: Trump calls election fraudulent with zero evidence, still trails Biden in electoral votes