WILMINGTON, DELAWARE - Former vice-president Joe Biden called for patience early on Wednesday (Nov 4) in an address to the nation, saying that he believed he was on track to win the election amid a tight race and early leads taken by Mr Donald Trump in key battleground states.
"We knew because of the unprecedented mail-in vote it's going to take awhile," he said. "It ain't over until every vote is counted, every ballot is counted."
"We knew this would go on, but who knew we would go into maybe tomorrow morning, maybe longer," Mr Biden said as he stood beside his wife, Jill, on an outdoor stage in his hometown of Wilmington, Delaware, half an hour past midnight.
The Democratic candidate highlighted what his campaign has called a path to victory - the three Midwestern states of Wisconsin, Michigan and Pennsylvania, where early numbers have Mr Trump ahead but which still has to count a sizable number of mail-in ballots.
"We're feeling real good about Wisconsin and Michigan, and by the way, it's going to take time to count the votes but we're going to win Pennsylvania," he told supporters at the parking lot he gave his speech from, who were gathered in their cars honking.
Mr Biden highlighted his likely win in Arizona, as well as his victory in Minnesota, both battleground states.
In Georgia, which has not been called by media outlets yet but where Mr Trump is ahead, Mr Biden said he was "still in the game", which was unexpected of the red-leaning state.
"We can know the results as early as tomorrow, it may take a little longer," he said.
"It's not my place or Donald Trump's place to declare who won the election, that's the place of the American people. But I'm optimistic about the election," said Mr Biden.
"Keep the faith, we're going to win this. Thank you, thank you, thank you. Your patience is great," he added.
The US election appears to be coming down to what election watchers have feared: a tight race that could be decided by mail-in ballots in battleground states that take longer to count, and unfounded accusations from one or both candidates - in this case President Trump - that the other side is trying to steal the election.
Mr Biden’s statement that every vote must be counted, and Mr Trump’s attempted invalidation of mail-in ballots, are in direct opposition to each other.
Add to that the possibility of a red mirage: that the later-counted ballots in Wisconsin, Michigan and especially Pennsylvania will go for Mr Biden in margins large enough to erase Mr Trump’s early lead after all. In the current political climate of animosity and anxiety, there’s no guarantee that this combination of events will not spark unrest on the streets of American cities.
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