US Elections: Biden in striking distance of electoral votes to win; Trump goes to court

BY ARUL LOUIS AND NIKHILA NATARAJAN

New York: Democratic presidential nominee Joe Biden, edging closer to electoral votes needed to win, has declared that he was ready to “govern as an American President”, while incumbent President Donald Trump has gone to the courts in a bid to stop his rival.

To contrast his style from Trump’s, Biden declared victory on Wednesday but with a caveat to seem he wasn’t.

“I’m not here to declare that we’ve won, but I am here to report that when the count is finished, we believe we will be the winners,” he said.

As of Wednesday night, Biden had 264 electoral college votes, six short of the 270 needed to become President, and Trump had only 214, according to media tally.

The only way Trump can get re-elected is by capturing 54 of the remaining 60 votes.

Biden also created a record for the highest number of popular votes polled by a presidential candidate with 70.3 million ballots as of Wednesday afternoon, and still counting.

Trump had polled 67.5 million votes.

The winner is determined not by the popular votes but by the number of votes in the electoral college where the votes are distributed according to the size of the states.

Faced with Trump’s court cases against continuing the counting of postal ballots, Biden said: “Every vote must be counted. No one is going to take our democracy away from us. Not now, not ever.”

“We the people will not surrender,” he said in Delaware with his running mate Kamala Harris at his side.

Around the country, protests, which has been so far peaceful, echoed the demand.

Several thousand demonstrators marched in New York City before converging on a park shouting, “every vote counts”.

Trump, who was ahead in several key states Wednesday morning found his lead whittled down by the evening, tailing Biden’s tally by 50 electoral college votes as more of the postal ballots were counted.

Trump, who stayed in the White House and did not meet supporters or reporters, took to Twitter to cast doubts on the electoral system’s integrity,

“Last night I was leading, often solidly, in many key States, in almost all instances Democrat run and controlled. Then, one by one, they started to magically disappear as surprise ballot dumps were counted. Very strange, and the ‘pollsters’ got it completely and historically wrong,” he tweeted.

In another tweet, the President further questioned the validity of the postal ballots, saying: “They are finding Biden votes all over the place a” in Pennsylvania, Wisconsin, and Michigan. So bad for our country.”

The Trump re-election campaign filed lawsuits in Pennsylvania, Michigan and Georgia, casting a wide net to contest battleground states as he trails Biden.

Some states and their courts have allowed the ballots received after the closing of polls on Tuesday to be counted and Trump wants that stopped.

His courts also raised issues like having access to where the postal votes are kept and examined.

The President’s campaign is seeking to reignite a Pennsylvania case at the Supreme Court which questions the counting of ballots received up to three days after the election.

His critics describe the lawsuits as “frivolous”.

Pennsylvania continues to process ballots postmarked by Election Day and received until Friday, as per an order by the state’s highest court.

Trump said early Wednesday morning that he would take his case to the Supreme Court, which seldom deals with matters of state law, leaving it to state courts.

Trump’s lawyers may find a way around it by calling the Pennsylvania case a federal issue by arguing that the extension in deadline was made by a state court violates the constitution which says the state legislatures regulate elections.

Because of the raging Covid-19 pandemic, postal ballots, which were sent to all voters in some states like New Jersey and California, were more widely used to minimise chances of contagion at the polling stations.

According to the US election project, 62.1 million postal ballots were used as of Sunday.

Biden’s speech on Wednesday took on a certain decisiveness in tone as confidence grew with the Democratic party with back to back wins in Wisconsin and Michigan.

These wins are part of the Democratic effort to reclaim a key part of the “blue wall” that slipped away four years ago.

“I will govern as an American President,” Biden said. “There will be no red states and blue states when we win. Just the United States of America.”

As of Wednesday night with results incomplete there was a tie in the party standings in the Senate, with each side having 48 seats.

In the House of Representatives, Democrats had 205 seats to Republicans’ 190.

Trump and the Republicans have managed to avoid the rout that the pollsters and the media had predicted, again shaking their credibility — if not integrity.

Even in some of the states that Trump is losing like Wisconsin, the margin is less than 1 per cent, nowhere near the 11 per cent predicted by a New York Times poll or the 10 per cent by a Reuters poll.

(IANS)

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