The US presidential election has reached its climax, after voters braved long queues and the threat of coronavirus to cast ballots backing Republican incumbent Donald Trump or Democratic challenger Joe Biden.
Nearly 100 million Americans had already voted – a record number – in an election dominated by the candidates’ handling of the pandemic, as well as issues around racial justice and economic fairness.
Addressing supporters in Wilmington after polls closed, Mr Biden said: “We believe we are on track to win.”
Mr Trump, meanwhile, said: “We will win this and as far as I’m concerned we already have won it.”
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Joe Biden’s campaign said it will fight any efforts by Donald Trump’s campaign to go to the US Supreme Court to prevent ballots from being counted.
Biden campaign manager Jen O’Malley Dillon described Mr Trump’s statement that he will “be going to the US Supreme Court” and that he wants “all voting to stop” as “outrageous, unprecedented and incorrect”.
She said the Biden campaign has “legal teams standing by ready to deploy to resist that effort”.
Legal experts are dubious of Donald Trump’s declaration that he would take the election to the Supreme Court to stop the counting of votes.
“I do not see a way that he could go directly to the Supreme Court to stop the counting of votes,” said Rick Hasen, a professor of law and political science at the University of California-Irvine. “There could be fights in specific states, and some of those could end up at the Supreme Court. But this is not the way things work.”
In the race to the 270 electoral votes needed to win, Mr Biden has 238 while Mr Trump has 213.
Joe Biden won at least three of Maine’s four electoral votes in his bid to unseat President Donald Trump.
Mr Biden won the state-wide tally and the 1st Congressional District, which is good for three electoral votes. Mr Trump, meanwhile, hoped to claim one electoral vote in a win in the 2nd Congressional District, which has not yet been called.
Maine is one of only two states that divides its electoral votes. The other is Nebraska.
Joe Biden wins Maine.
Joe Biden’s win in Arizona gave him 11 electoral votes, as he flipped a critical battleground state that Donald Trump won four years ago and that could help determine which candidate wins the presidency.
The victory by Mr Biden was a huge blow to Mr Trump’s chances for re-election. Arizona has backed a Democratic presidential candidate only once in the last 72 years.
Keep the faith, guys. We’re gonna win this.
— Joe Biden (@JoeBiden) November 4, 2020
Arizona is among the more than half a dozen states that will help determine which candidate gets the 270 electoral votes to capture the White House.
Joe Biden wins Arizona.
Appearing before supporters at the White House, Donald Trump cast the night as a disenfranchisement of his voters.
He said: “We will win this and as far as I’m concerned we already have won it.”
Mr Trump added: “We’ll be going to the US Supreme Court.”
Donald Trump claimed there is a “fraud on the American nation” and that “we did win this election” and said he will go to the Supreme Court to get vote counting stopped.
Millions of people following election coverage in the US went to bed without knowing the answer to the question they had waited hours for: who is going to be in the White House for the next four years?
Joe Biden told supporters in Delaware: “It’s not my place or Donald Trump’s place to declare who’s won this election. That’s the decision of the American people.”
Joe Biden has won at least one of Maine’s four electoral votes.
Mr Biden won the state’s 1st Congressional District, which is good for one electoral vote.
Maine’s state-wide vote, which is worth two electoral votes, and the state’s 2nd Congressional District have yet to be called.
Maine split its electoral votes four years ago, awarding three to Hillary Clinton and one to Donald Trump.
Donald Trump won four of Nebraska’s five electoral votes, while Joe Biden won one electoral vote from the state.
The 1st Congressional District was called for Mr Trump. He also won the 3rd Congressional District earlier, as well as the state-wide vote. Mr Trump gets one electoral vote for each congressional district, plus two electoral votes for winning the state-wide vote.
Mr Biden’s win in the 2nd Congressional District, which includes Omaha, is a flip from 2016, when Mr Trump narrowly won it against Hillary Clinton.
While Mr Trump easily carried the state itself, Nebraska is one of only two states that divides its electoral votes.
In 2016, Mr Trump won all five of Nebraska’s electoral votes.
Donald Trump claimed victory and said his opponents were trying to steal the election.
Saying the Republicans were up big he said “votes cannot be cast after the poles (sic) are closed”.
That tweet was quickly suppressed by Twitter.
Addressing supporters in Wilmington, Delaware, Mr Biden said that votes must be counted and that he was counting on victory.
“We believe we are on track to win,” Mr Biden said.
He told supporters they would have to be patient.
The confidence of Republicans in victory in the key state of Florida proved justified when Donald Trump claimed its 29 electoral votes in one of the key battlegrounds.
The president spends lots of time in the Sunshine State in his residence at Mar-a-Lago and has entertained world leaders there.
Florida has backed the winner in every election since 1996 and has only gone with the loser twice since 1928.
Meanwhile, tensions were evident in Washington DC where there were clashes between police and protesters.
Donald Trump also won Montana and Iowa, another of the swing states he claimed in 2016.
With Mr Trump’s camp confident of victory in Florida, the race to 270 electoral votes was looking tight with other key states still up for grabs.
Joe Biden foiled Donald Trump’s bid to win the state of Minnesota from the Democrats but it was the president who held on to Ohio, a state that has picked the winner in every presidential election since 1960 when it supported Richard Nixon’s candidacy against victor John F Kennedy.
Ohio was one of the states Mr Trump took from the Democrats in 2016.
Joe Biden and Donald Trump were still locking horns in the swing states that will determine the result.
The former vice president was inching towards the magic figure of 270 electoral votes but Mr Trump could still win a second term by fending off his challenger in key states.
Donald Trump’s campaign has insisted he has won Ohio, one of the states he took from Democrats four years ago.
— Team Trump (Text VOTE to 88022) (@TeamTrump) November 4, 2020
The result has not yet been declared.
Democrats are gathering in Wilmington, Delaware, the long-time home of Joe Biden.
Voters are also making their choices for Congress.
The Democrats hope to keep control of the House of Representatives while Republicans are aiming to stay in charge of the Senate.
Democrats were hopeful of winning Arizona for the first time since Bill Clinton’s presidency with Mr Trump’s standing in the state damaged by his personal animosity to the late John McCain who was Barack Obama’s Republican opponent in 2008. Mr McCain and Mr Biden were friends despite their different allegiances.
No quarter was being given in the battle for electoral votes with Mr Biden’s total boosted by his west coast haul but with the former vice president still needing to wrest states from Mr Trump if he is to evict him from office.
Mr Biden will need to succeed where Hillary Clinton failed four years ago if he is to reach the all-important figure of 270 electoral votes.
All eyes were on the swing states likely to decide who will get the keys to the White House.
Joe Biden’s tally of electoral votes was boosted by expected victories in the west coast states of Washington, Oregon and California, the state with the largest number of electoral votes, while Donald Trump prevailed in Idaho.
Mr Biden had also fended off a challenge from Mr Trump in New Hampshire where the president lost by a narrow margin to Hillary Clinton four years ago.
Supporters of Joe Biden and Donald Trump were watching with bated breath with no swing states yet declared.
Donald Trump’s victory in Missouri earned him that state’s 10 electoral votes.
Donald Trump was also declared the winner in Kansas, as expected.
There were no surprises in the electoral map in the first hours of results.
There was another expected win for former vice president Joe Biden in the state of Colorado.
Donald Trump’s campaign followed Florida governor Ron DeSantis in claiming the president had secured the key state’s 29 electoral votes.
A tweet showing a picture of Mr Trump giving a thumbs up and with the slogan “President Trump wins Florida” was posted on the TeamTrump feed.
— Team Trump (Text VOTE to 88022) (@TeamTrump) November 4, 2020
The result in the state has not been called.
Anticipation was building in central Washington DC as nervous voters wait for the national picture to become clearer.
As temperatures drop, some of those gathered on Black Lives Matter Plaza Northwest huddled around a projector showing TV news bringing live updates from across the US.
While the vast majority of the crowd of thousands is made up of Joe Biden supporters, the few Donald Trump fans walked freely while wearing Make America Great Again caps and there has so far been no sign of the unrest feared by many.
President Donald Trump has won Louisiana, Nebraska, Nebraska’s third Congressional District, North Dakota, South Dakota and Wyoming, while Democrat Joe Biden has won New Mexico and New York.
Nebraska, one of two states that divides its electoral votes, has five total electoral votes up for grabs.
Mr Trump won the statewide vote, which is good for two electoral votes and also won the third congressional district, which nets him a third vote.
Nebraska’s first and second congressional districts have not yet been called.
Mr Trump nets 20 electoral votes from his wins in Louisiana, Nebraska, Nebraska’s third district, North Dakota, South Dakota and Wyoming, while Mr Biden claimed 34 electoral votes for winning New Mexico and New York.
Donald Trump claimed the state of Indiana, where his running mate Mike Pence was formerly the governor.
The governor of Florida, one of the key battlegrounds, claimed that the state was delivering 29 electoral votes to Donald Trump.
Ron DeSantis tweeted that it was a “big win” for the president.
— Ron DeSantis (@RonDeSantisFL) November 4, 2020
The result is yet to be confirmed.
The US Postal Service said it could not meet a federal judge’s order to sweep processing centres for undelivered mail-in ballots, arguing that doing so would disrupt its election day operations.
US District Judge Emmet G. Sullivan of Washington DC gave the agency until Tuesday afternoon to search 27 facilities in several battleground areas for outstanding ballots and send out those votes immediately.
Donald Trump claimed another expected success in Arkansas.
A judge in the state of Nevada has ordered 30 Las Vegas-area voting sites to remain open for an extra hour after President Donald Trump’s campaign and Nevada Republicans cited reports that some locations did not open on time.
Joe Biden had 85 electoral votes while President Donald Trump had 55 with all the early state results going as expected.
Results in the swing states will likely determine which man will secure four years in the White House by passing the threshold of 270 electoral votes.
President Donald Trump has won Alabama, Mississippi, Oklahoma and Tennessee, while Democrat Joe Biden has won Connecticut, Delaware, Illinois, Maryland, Massachusetts, New Jersey and Rhode Island.
Mr Trump took 33 electoral votes for winning those four states, while Mr Biden added 69 electoral votes to his total for winning seven states.
The eventual winner will be the candidate who gets 270 electoral votes or more.
Donald Trump was also declared the winner in South Carolina with all the early results going as expected.
Former vice president Joe Biden was proclaimed the winner in Virginia.
He was awarded its 13 electoral votes.
Donald Trump was also declared the winner in West Virginia, as expected, claiming the five electoral votes for that state.
There were no surprises early in the night as media reported Joe Biden as the winner in Vermont while Donald Trump was declared the victor in Kentucky.
Kentucky is reliably conservative, while Vermont is considered one of the most liberal states.
Mr Trump claimed eight electoral votes from Kentucky, while Mr Biden took three for winning Vermont.
The victory threshold in electoral votes nationwide is 270 votes and the outcome is likely to be determined by the so-called swing states.
President Donald Trump called into talk radio shows in the battleground states of Pennsylvania and Wisconsin just hours before polls closed.
Mr Trump projected confidence that he will win key states like North Carolina and Florida and said he was expecting a “great” evening.
Vermont’s Governor Phil Scott said he voted for Joe Biden, making him the first Republican governor in the nation to acknowledge voting for the Democratic candidate.
The Republican governor told reporters after casting his ballot in his hometown of Berlin, Vermont, that he had never voted for a Democrat in his life.
“As many of you knew, I didn’t support President Trump. I wasn’t going to vote for him,” Mr Scott said.
“But then I came to the conclusion that it wasn’t enough for me to just not vote. I had to vote against.”
Protest group Shut Down DC has organised a demonstration in central Washington DC and said it has been preparing for clashes with authorities should violence flare.
Much of the area is boarded up ahead of any potential election night trouble.
Hope Neyer, 19 and a representative for Shut Down DC, told the PA news agency “direct action is what we know and direct action is what we do”.
She said: “It is something we’ve prepared for. We hosted protest health and safety training to teach us how to deal with everything from cold water to chemical weapons.”
Joe Biden didn’t make any predictions about the outcome of the election as the final hours of voting ticked down.
Speaking to reporters outside a Delaware community centre, Mr Biden said he was “superstitious” about offering predictions for election night but remains “hopeful”.
He said he had heard from aides that there was “overwhelming turnout” among young people, women and older black adults in places such as Georgia and Florida.
He said: “The things that are happening bode well for the base that has been supporting me – but we’ll see.”
Democratic vice presidential nominee Kamala Harris is heading to Delaware to join Joe Biden after spending the afternoon campaigning in battleground Michigan.
Ms Harris reminded voters at a Detroit church on Tuesday how slim Donald Trump’s margin of victory was in the state in 2016. She urged them to try to encourage two other people to vote.
She will join Mr Biden in Wilmington, Delaware.
In a sign of the times, hand sanitiser on voters’ hands caused a ballot scanner to jam at a polling station in Iowa.
The machine in Des Moines was fixed in about an hour, according to local officials.
To prevent another breakdown, workers moved the sanitising station further back in the queue so voters’ hands would be dry when they first touched the ballots.
Protesters have gathered at the Black Lives Matter Plaza outside the White House.
WATCH How does the electoral college work?
A federal judge in Washington DC has ordered US Postal Service inspectors to search more than two dozen mail processing facilities for lingering postal ballots and for those ballots to be sent out immediately.
The order, which includes centres in central Pennsylvania, Philadelphia, Detroit, Atlanta, south Florida and parts of Wisconsin, comes after national delivery delays leading up to the election and concerns the agency would not be able to deliver ballots on time.
The Postal Service’s ability to handle the surge of postal ballots became a concern after its new leader, Postmaster General Louis DeJoy, a major Republican donor, implemented a series of policy changes that delayed post nationwide this summer. Delivery times have since rebounded but have consistently remained below the agency’s internal goals of having more than 95% of first-class mail delivered within five days, with service in some battleground areas severely lagging, according to postal data.
WATCH Melania Trump votes in Florida
Richard Stoffel, 77, compared Donald Trump to Jesus Christ.
Wearing a Trump 2020 cap and a T-shirt reading “Jesus is my saviour, Trump is my president,” he praised the president for “bringing us back to our roots”.
“And he’s cleaning the swamp,” said Mr Stoffel, who described his occupation as “prayer warrior”.
“He’s doing the right thing, he’s brave. Like Jesus, he does the right thing no matter what the cost.”
Mr Stoffel said he is sure Mr Trump will win another term and predicted he would serve another four years after that, despite the constitution limiting a president to two terms.
Mr Stoffel refuses to wear a mask in public and believes the coronavirus pandemic is a manufactured crisis.
“He’s done a good job with the coronavirus,” he said of Mr Trump’s handling of the pandemic.
“The only better thing I thought he could have done is not kowtow to it as much as he did. It’s all a fake bunch of baloney.”
Supporters of both Donald Trump and Joe Biden have gathered near Lafayette Square in central Washington DC, a stone’s throw from the White House.
The area is at the heart of US power and nearby buildings include the FBI headquarters and the Treasury Department.
The street leading up to Lafayette Square was renamed Black Lives Matter Plaza Northwest in June and signs supporting the movement are plentiful.
Many businesses in central DC are boarded up in preparation for any unrest on election night while the White House itself is protected by a fence preventing anyone getting close.
There was a carnival atmosphere on Tuesday afternoon as supporters of Mr Trump and Mr Biden mixed without trouble, while a band performed and preachers delivered street sermons.
The latest tally of early voting in the US shows that almost 102 million Americans cast their votes before election day, a total that represents 73% of the total turnout of the 2016 presidential election.
The Associated Press tally reveals that the early vote in several states, including hotly contested Texas and Arizona, has already exceeded the total vote of four years ago.
Early voting – whether in-person or by post or absentee ballot – has swelled during the Covid-19 pandemic as voters have sought the safety and convenience it offers. The greatest gains have been witnessed in Kentucky, where almost 13 times as many voters cast their ballots early as in 2016.