PHILADELPHIA – As the attention of an anxious nation shifted among the handful of states that remained too close to be called, Pennsylvania election officials said they would release more votes early on Friday, providing more clarity on which could capture the state’s 20 electoral votes.
Since election night, when President Trump took the lead, Joseph R. Biden Jr. has gradually caught up.
If the former vice president wins the state, he will capture the White House outright.
As of Friday morning, he followed Mr. Trump by 18,229 votes, or 0.3 percentage point, with 95% of the votes counted. There were about 163,000 mail-in ballots left to count, according to the official total on the state’s website.
Philadelphia City Commissioner Al Schmidt told CNN that the vote counters had been counting the votes for several hours and that the city would have an update on the vote count on Friday morning. Most of the outstanding ballots came from denser population centers, including Philadelphia and its suburban counties, and Allegheny County, home to Pittsburgh.
“The count in Philadelphia has gone uninterrupted from the start,” Schmidt said. “We had a brief hiatus yesterday for about two hours as a result of some litigation, but it is just essential that we continue to count every eligible vote cast by voters in Philadelphia.”
The Trump campaign has filed several lawsuits in Pennsylvania, including one aimed at giving election observers closer access to Philadelphia election workers, which a judge granted Thursday morning. The Trump campaign has also filed a motion to intervene in a case in the United States Supreme Court, challenging a state rule that allows the counting of postmarked ballots on election day but arriving until three days later.
Pennsylvania Secretary of State Kathy Boockvar said Thursday evening that election officials did not see a large influx of late ballots and did not expect them to affect the final tally.
“Unless it‘s really close,” she said, “I don’t see them doing this or breaking somehow. But in the meantime, we’ll be counting all the ballots.