•Former vice president says all votes must count
By Martins Ifijeh in New Jersey, USA
Former United States Vice President Joe Biden was on the cusp of victory yesterday as he surged his path to triumph with a win of Michigan that added 16 Electoral College votes to his ballots, rallying them up to 264.
Biden is only six electoral votes shy of garnering the legally-required 270 tally to land him in the White House. Nevada’s six votes, which he is expected to win, will make the outcome of the votes in five remaining states surplus to requirement.
The former vice-president also leads with 50.3 per cent of the popular votes to President Donlad Trump’s 48.1 per cent.
So far, Biden has won in 23 states while his closest opponent, Trump is trailing behind with 214 votes. Although he has also won 23 states, his chances of returning as the 46th president are dim.
But the final results may not be known until as late as tomorrow as Trump and Biden await results from six battleground states to know the winner of this year’s quadrennial election.
The outstanding results, held up by the counting of mail-in ballots are from Alaska (three), North Carolina (15), Pennsylvania (20), Arizona (11), Georgia (16) and Nevada (6). As at press time, vote counting was still ongoing in the battleground states.
The prospect of losing his re-election bid has prompted Trump to threaten lawsuits, especially to stop the counting of mail-in ballots that he did much to deligitimise prior to Tuesday’s presidential poll.
Already, the president has headed to the Supreme Court to arrest further counting of votes from Pennsylvania.
In contradistinction to Trump’s surly mood yesterday, the former vice president was upbeat about victory as he called for patience and for all votes to count, at a press conference he addressed later yesterday.
Although Trump is leading in four of the remaining states, Biden would only need six electoral votes from one state to emerge the 46th president of the US.
Sensing he is an inch away from winning, Biden called on both Republicans and Democrats to unite in building the nation, saying there was a lot of work ahead, which would require the support of every American.
He said: “We are campaigning as Democrats, but I will govern as an American president. The presidency, itself, is not a partisan institution. It’s the one office in this nation that represents everyone and it demands a duty of care for all Americans and that is precisely what I will do.”
He talked about the anxiety and division that many Americans feel, saying that although there are opposing views across the country, “We have to stop treating our opponents as enemies. We are not enemies. What brings us together as Americans is so much stronger than anything they can tear us apart.
“It’s time for us to do what we have always done as Americans – to put the harsh rhetoric of the campaign behind us, to lower the temperature, to see each other again, to listen to one another, to hear each other again and respect and care for one another; to unite, to heal, to come together as a nation.”
After initially declaring himself the winner of the poll in the early hours of yesterday, Trump has set the stage for a potential legal battle, vowing to challenge results of the 2020 election at the Supreme Court.
He accused Biden of electoral fraud, saying voting was still going on in many polling centres after expiration of voting time.
In a briefing at the White House yesterday, Trump said: “This is a fraud on the American public. This is an embarrassment to our country. We were getting ready to win this election.
“Frankly, we did win this election. 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. This is a major fraud in 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 four o’clock in the morning and add them to the list. Okay? It’s a very sad moment. To me, this is a very sad moment and we will win this. And as far as I’m concerned, we already have won it.”
Later yesterday, his campaign said it had asked a court to stop the counting of votes in the pivotal state of Michigan, where Biden held a thin lead.
Trump campaign manager, Mr. Bill Stepien, alleged, without providing evidence, that his team had not been allowed legally guaranteed access to observe the vote counting in “numerous” locations.
Similarly, the Trump campaign said it was demanding a recount in Wisconsin, a crucial state which Biden won with a slender lead.
“There have been reports of irregularities in several Wisconsin counties which raise serious doubts about the validity of the results,” Stepien said in a statement.
“The president is well within the threshold to request a recount and we will immediately do so.”
A recount in Wisconsin during the 2016 presidential election, in which Trump took the state as part of his win against Democrat Hillary Clinton, found only 131 extra votes for Trump.
“20,000 is a high hurdle,” former Wisconsin governor Scott Walker, a Republican, tweeted.
The US media outlets projected wins for the Republican incumbent in 23 states, including big prizes Florida and Texas, as well as Indiana, Kentucky, Missouri and Ohio — all states he won in 2016.
Biden has also captured 23 states, including his home state Delaware and big prizes California and New York, as well as the US capital, Washington DC.
The former vice president has flipped one state won by Trump in 2016 — Arizona, in the southwest.
Nebraska split its electoral votes between the two — four for Trump and one for Biden. Maine was won by Biden, but so far, he has only three of the four electoral votes on offer, with the last still to be decided.