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Election hinges on crucial battlegrounds slightly favoring Biden

After an extraordinary night that put the country’s democracy to the test, Wednesday’s presidential election relied on results in several crucial battlegrounds that favored Joseph R. Biden Jr., who took over Wisconsin and Michigan held a slim lead in Arizona, all the states President Trump carried in 2016.

With votes still being counted from coast to coast, Mr. Biden pushed Mr. Trump back to the West, where the late vote tally shrank the former vice president’s margin and he gradually declined. built an advantage in the Great Lakes states that tipped the presidency. Four years ago.

In mid-afternoon, the Associated Press declared Mr. Biden the winner in Wisconsin, where he held a lead of less than 1%, and in Michigan. He also held a 93,000-vote lead in Arizona, but Republicans argued that the remaining uncounted votes could reduce the former vice president’s advantage. Mr Biden led with just 8,000 votes in Nevada, where no news agency made a statement, but a number of uncounted mail-in ballots are expected to favor him there.

If Mr. Biden held Mr. Trump back in Arizona and Nevada and maintained his lead in Michigan, he would have enough electoral votes to claim victory.

But as one of the most unusual presidential elections in history continued into its second, but certainly not the last, count day, Mr Trump himself seemed determined to fuel an atmosphere of anxiety and friction. Politics: After using an election night speech to attack the integrity of the vote, the president maintained his barrage on Wednesday, amplifying baseless conspiracy theories about the build-up of votes for Mr Biden in slow-counting states .

But while Mr Trump has called for an end to the count – in fact demanding that millions of voters be disenfranchised – and threatened to take it to court over it, his campaign has taken no legal action. Wednesday, and it wasn’t clear. that the Trump team had a real theory of how to turn the president’s grievances into litigation.

At around 2 a.m. on Wednesday, Mr. Trump showed up at the White House to falsely insist that he won and demand that the votes stop being counted. The president denounced Wednesday morning on Twitter the votes Mr. Biden got overnight.

“How is it that every time they count the postal ballot dumps, they’re so devastating in their percentages and destructive power?” he wrote, as if expressing his inner monologue as he watched his opponent take the lead in two pivotal Midwestern states.

Mr. Biden was winning Michigan by 67,000 votes when the PA declared him the winner.

Wisconsin’s margin is small enough to allow for a recount, but, as former Gov. Scott Walker of Wisconsin, a Republican, put it, “If it holds up, 20,000 is a tall order.”

Mr Trump’s campaign manager Bill Stepien released a statement Wednesday afternoon promising to call for a state recount.

Even though Wisconsin and Michigan were emerging as the most critical states, North Carolina, Georgia and Pennsylvania were also still pending on Wednesday.

North Carolina was leaning toward Mr. Trump, who was hanging on to a 77,000 vote lead, with 95% of the votes counted. But there was more uncertainty in Georgia, where a few hundred thousand outstanding votes, mostly in the Atlanta area, offered Mr. Biden a chance to reduce Mr. Trump’s 87,000-vote lead.

Pennsylvania was perhaps the most important question mark, in part because it had only counted about 80% of its votes by noon on Wednesday and expected more ballots to arrive this week. Both campaigns used conference calls with reporters to express confidence in their potential to win, even though Mr Biden had the most obvious path.

Jennifer O’Malley Dillon, her campaign manager, said they expected Michigan and Wisconsin to be called up for them today and projected the confidence they would claim in Pennsylvania later in the week. .

“We think it’s already taken for granted, but there are still a few states that are still at stake, which are a little closer, but we think that this could push us even further beyond 270” said Ms. O’Malley Dillon, after noting their lead in Arizona, Nevada, Wisconsin and Michigan.

In his remarks, Mr. Stepien stressed that Wisconsin will narrate and project its confidence in maintaining Georgia. But Mr Stepien insisted that Nevada’s mail-in ballots would be passed to Mr Trump, even though they overwhelmingly favored Mr Biden, and said the president would win Pennsylvania by about 40,000 votes. .

“If we count all the legal ballots, the president wins,” he said.

On Tuesday night, Mr. Trump dashed Democrats’ hopes to take back both Florida and Ohio, two swaying states that have leaned to the right in recent years, and which Mr. Trump carried four years ago. . He also fended off a challenge from Mr. Biden in Iowa, a small state where Mr. Biden made a late effort to collect his six constituency votes.

In Georgia, it appears that there have been a large number of uncounted ballots in the Atlanta metro area, and those votes are expected to tip solidly in Mr. Biden’s favor. And in a number of rural counties across the state, Mr Biden was slightly outperforming the margins posted by Stacey Abrams, a Democrat who lost a gubernatorial race two years ago by around 55,000 votes.

The vote count was moving relatively slowly in some battlefield states on Tuesday night due to the scale of the turnout, a backlog of mail-in ballots and patchy issues with the processing of the vote. And each state has handled the counting and publication of its ballots differently.

Ohio, for example, released the results of all its mail-in ballots after the polls closed – making the state appear to be leaning towards Mr Biden until more votes are cast. cast on polling day. Likewise, Michigan released its voting day in the early hours after polling closed, suggesting Mr. Trump had a large advantage in a highly contested state.

Much of the uncertainty over the elections arose from the inconsistent or disparate panoply of state policies hastily put in place to allow voting in the midst of a public health disaster. In a number of states, such as Pennsylvania and Michigan, local Republican officials have blocked Democratic efforts to facilitate the counting of ballots before election day, raising the possibility of an extended count. in some of the most important battlefields – the event itself. Mr. Trump protested Wednesday morning.

Democrats feared that in some cases a Supreme Court now dominated by Tory judges could ultimately limit the vote count in a way that would help Mr. Trump, a possibility the president touched on in his remarks.