Democratic nominee Joe Biden steadily gained ground on President Trump in both Pennsylvania and Georgia as more mail votes were counted Thursday and overnight into Friday, inching the former vice president closer to the 270 electoral votes needed to win the presidency.
In Georgia specifically, Biden now leads.
Biden sits at 264 electoral votes in states where races have been called while Trump has 214 in called races. Biden needs just one win in any of the swing states with races that have not yet been called by the Fox News Decision Desk — Nevada, Pennsylvania, North Carolina and Georgia — while Trump would need to win all four of those states plus Alaska, which he is expected win but is too early to call because of a lack of votes reported.
“We continue to feel very good about where things stand. We have no doubt that when the count is finished, Sen. Harris and I will be declared the winners,” Joe Biden said in brief remarks on Thursday. “So I ask everyone to stay calm, all the people to stay calm. The process is working. The count is being completed, and we’ll know very soon.”
Trump, meanwhile, accused Democrats of trying to “steal” the election in remarks he made from the White House.
“Our goal is to defend the integrity of the election, we will not allow the corruption to steal such an important election or any election for that matter,” Trump said, though the only specific accusation of voter fraud his campaign has presented — one woman in Nevada — was disputed by the voter registrar in the county where the campaign made the allegation.
His campaign also claimed broadly it is possible that thousands of people who no longer live in Nevada, citing “publicly-available data,” voted improperly there. But the legal merits of its claims are disputed by liberal groups like the American Civil Liberties Union, which says laws around legal residency generally favor people who temporarily leave the state.
The Trump campaign also complained that it is not being given good enough access to observe votes being tallied in Michigan and Pennsylvania. It says it will demand a recount in Wisconsin, though it appears unlikely a recount could close the margin of about 20,000 votes between Trump and Biden there.
Lawsuits by the Trump campaign were dismissed in Michigan and Georgia. But the Trump campaign got a favorable ruling on that issue from a judge in Pennsylvania. It required Philadelphia election officials to let GOP observers within 6 feet of workers counting ballots. But the campaign maintained the city was not following the ruling. And it lost a federal lawsuit asking for vote-counting in Philadelphia to stop.
“If you count the legal votes, I easily win. If you count the illegal votes, they can try to steal the election from us,” Trump said Thursday evening.
The Biden campaign has said the Trump legal efforts are “pathetic.”
“This is not the behavior of a winning campaign,” Biden spokesman Andrew Bates added. “Plain and simple, Donald Trump has lost Wisconsin, he is losing Michigan, and he is losing the presidency.”
Here’s where things stand in the major swing states that have not yet been called.
Trump’s lead in Pennsylvania was hundreds of thousands of votes after Election Day. But Democrats requested and returned mail ballots at a much higher rate than Republicans, which are being counted later because they are far more labor-intensive to count than in-person votes.
Trump’s lead continually narrowed over Wednesday and Thursday and as of early Friday morning was just over 18,000 votes with 97% reporting.
Most areas in the state, including conservative rural areas and Democrat-leaning suburbs, were reporting approximately 95% of votes or more as of Friday morning. But the two heavily Democratic counties encompassing Pittsburgh and Philadelphia — Philadelphia County and Allegheny County — were only reporting 91% and 90%, respectively, as of Friday morning.
This means it is possible Biden further closes the gap in the state, which for months has been considered the most important battleground in the 2020 election.
A similar situation existed in Georgia over Wednesday and Thursday, with Trump leading after Election Day but Biden closing the gap as more mail ballots are counted.
And on Friday morning Biden officially overtook Trump in the vote total there, taking a razor-thin, 917-vote lead in the state with 99% of votes reporting.
On Thursday afternoon, Georgia Secretary of State Brad Raffensperger’s office said nearly 50,000 votes remained to be counted. It is unclear how many more were counted overnight and thus could remain to be reported.
Votes have come in slowly in Nevada, with 84% reporting as of Friday morning.
But Biden has maintained a lead in the state, which as of Friday morning was over 11,400 votes. That equates to nine-tenths of a percent.
Votes that haven’t been counted in Nevada come approximately uniformly from Republican-leaning and Democrat-leaning counties.
If the Nevada race is projected for Biden it could make the tense vote counts in places like Pennsylvania and Georgia irrelevant, as its six electoral votes would give Biden exactly 270.
Trump appears the strongest among the remaining battleground states in North Carolina.
With 94% of the votes in as of Friday morning, the president leads by more than 76,000 votes in the state.
The static nature of the North Carolina race is unlikely to change until next week, Karen Brinson Bell, the executive director of the state elections board, said Thursday. She said with “very few exceptions would North Carolina’s numbers move before the 12th or the 13th.”
This is partially because the state accepts mail ballots that were sent by Election Day but arrive up to nine days later. County elections boards also have to handle provisional ballots.
Democrats voted by mail in much larger numbers than Republicans this year. But Biden has a large Trump lead to overcome in North Carolina, though he does not need to win the state to win the presidential election.
Fox News’ Sarah Tobianski contributed to this report.