US election 2020: Biden takes lead in key states of Pennsylvania and Georgia

·4-min read

Joe Biden has taken the lead in the key states of Pennsylvania and Georgia in the fight for the White House.

As votes continue to be counted in Pennsylvania, the Democratic hopeful now has almost 7,000 more votes than Donald Trump.

US election 2020 live: Follow the latest updates

Mr Biden has 253 Electoral College votes and needs 270 to win.

If he wins Pennsylvania, which has 20 Electoral College votes, he will become president-elect.

In Georgia (16 votes) - where counting also continues - Mr Biden is now leading in the normally-Republican state by 1,097 votes.

Mr Biden and Mr Trump are in a statistical dead heat in the state, locked on 49.4% each.

Despite his opponent now leading in two key states, the Trump campaign has released a statement declaring the election is "not over".

"The false projection of Joe Biden as the winner is based on results in four states that are far from final," campaign general counsel Matt Morgan said in a statement.

It comes after Mr Trump doubled down on unsubstantiated claims his political opponents are trying to rig and steal the US election.

In his first public appearance for 36 hours, the president said "we can't allow anyone to silence our voters and manufacture results" - but declined to offer any evidence for his allegations of corruption and wide-scale ballot tampering.

He insisted during a White House speech that "if you count the legal votes, I easily win", despite no victor having been announced yet and Joe Biden leading in both the Electoral College and the popular vote.

Several US news networks stopped broadcasting the president's address after he shared unfounded claims of fraud in states where Mr Biden is eating into his lead.

ABC, NBC, MSNBC, CBS and USA Today were among the broadcasters who cut away from the event before it finished.

Earlier, Mr Biden declared "each ballot must be counted" and urged people to "stay calm" because "the process is working".

He said he felt "very good about where we stand", adding he had "no doubt" he will be declared the winner.

It comes as five nail-biting races in battleground states remain too close to call after many hours of counting.

On election night, Mr Trump claimed victory before key results had been announced and accused his political opponents of a "fraud on the American public" without providing any evidence, demanding counts in four states to cease.

In his latest remarks, the president promised there will be "a lot of litigation" because "they're trying to steal an election, they're trying to rig an election and we can't let that happen".

Despite his campaign being pressed repeatedly for proof to verify those accounts, Mr Trump offered none - only vowing: "It's going to end up perhaps at the highest court in the land."

But Mr Biden's team hit back, calling the intervention "desperate, baseless and a sure sign he's losing".

Mr Trump's son, Donald Jr, has called for him to "go to total war" over the "cheating" - again unsubstantiated - "that has been going on for far too long".

The president has launched legal action in several states in a bid to halt counting, but already had one bid denied in Michigan.

It is possible the race for the presidency will be dragged out into a third day.

In Nevada, more results are not expected until Friday.

And in Pennsylvania, secretary of state Kathy Boockvar said "the overwhelming majority of ballots will be counted by Friday".

She also denied there was any evidence of voter fraud apart from one case of a man trying to get a ballot for a deceased relative that was discovered several weeks ago.

A final result in the US presidential election is taking some time partly because of the huge numbers of voters who cast their ballot by post due to the coronavirus, and also because the margins in some states are still razor-thin.

Mr Biden failed to get the early, convincing wins in key targets including Ohio and Florida or other "ruby red" states like Texas under the landslide some pollsters predicted, so the final result is going down to the wire.