WASHINGTON - Democratic candidate Joe Biden urged patience on Thursday (Nov 5), as vote counting continued in key battleground states where he was leading or steadily eating into President Donald Trump’s lead.
He also hit back against Mr Trump’s unsubstantiated claims of voter fraud, which the President made in an address to the nation from the White House, and lawsuits to stop or stall vote counting in swing states where Mr Trump’s lead was dwindling.
“The people will not be silenced, be bullied, or surrender. Every vote must be counted,” Mr Biden wrote on Twitter.
“No one is going to take our democracy away from us. Not now, not ever. America has come too far, fought too many battles, and endured too much to let that happen,” he added.
As the counting of votes continues in Georgia, Pennsylvania, Nevada and elsewhere, Americans have rallied in support of both the President and Mr Biden, gathering outside vote counting centers to demand a stop to the tallying or taking to the streets to demand every vote be counted.
“Each ballot must be counted, and that’s what we’re going to see,” Mr Biden said from his hometown of Wilmington, Delaware earlier on Thursday afternoon.
“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,” he added.
The battleground states of Georgia, Pennsylvania and Nevada currently hold the key to the presidential election. Mr Biden has 264 electoral votes including 11 from Arizona, which some outlets have not called for him, six away from the 270 needed to win the White House.
A win in Pennsylvania would put Mr Biden over the top, regardless of whether he holds Arizona. Mr Trump needs both Georgia and Pennsylvania to win the White House, but Mr Biden closed in on his lead in both states as more votes were counted and overtook him in Georgia early Friday morning.
Mr Biden said that he and his running mate, California senator Kamala Harris, were confident that the final count would show they had won.
“We continue to feel very good about where things stand,” he said. “So I ask everyone to stay calm. The process is working, the count is being completed, and we’ll know very soon.”
Mr Biden is solidly ahead in the popular vote, with Friday morning’s count showing that 73.5 million Americans or 50.5 per cent voted for him, while 69.6 million or 47.9 per cent voted for Mr Trump.
The previous record was set by Mr Biden’s previous boss, former president Barack Obama, who got 69.5 million votes in 2008.
On Thursday, Mr Biden and Mrs Harris were briefed in the afternoon by a panel of experts on the coronavirus pandemic and the economic crisis.
“Cases are on the rise nationwide and we’re nearing 240,000 deaths due to Covid, and our hearts go out to each and every family who has lost a loved one to this terrible disease,” he said in his remarks.
The US Secret Service, which is in charge of protecting America’s highest leaders, sent more agents to Wilmington in anticipation of Mr Biden’s potential win, the Washington Post and CNN reported.
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