Suspended animation: Rely drags on as Biden nears victory


WASHINGTON (AP) — 4 days after the election, the U.S. presidential race hovered in suspended animation Saturday because the lengthy, exacting work of counting votes introduced Democrat Joe Biden ever nearer to a victory over President Donald Trump.

The decision delay will be attributed to excessive turnout, a large variety of mail-in ballots and slim margins between the 2 candidates. However Biden held leads in Pennsylvania, Nevada and Georgia, placing him in an ever-stronger place to seize the 270 Electoral School votes wanted to take the White Home.

There was intense deal with Pennsylvania, the place Biden led Trump by greater than 27,000 votes, and Nevada, the place the Democrat led by about 22,000. The extended wait added to the nervousness of a nation going through historic challenges, together with the surging pandemic and deep political polarization.

Biden addressed the nation Friday night time close to his house in Wilmington, Delaware, and acknowledged the sluggish tempo of the depend “will be numbing.” However he added: “Always remember the tallies aren’t simply numbers: they symbolize votes and voters.”

He expressed confidence that victory in the end could be his, saying, “The numbers inform us a transparent and convincing story: We’re going to win this race.”

Standing alongside his operating mate, Sen. Kamala Harris, and in opposition to a backdrop of flags, Biden wasn’t capable of give the acceptance speech his aides had hoped. However he hit notes of unity, seemingly aimed toward cooling the temperature of a heated, divided nation.

“We’ve got to recollect the aim of our politics isn’t whole unrelenting, never-ending warfare,” he mentioned. “No, the aim of our politics, the work of our nation, isn’t to fire up battle, however to resolve issues, to ensure justice, to provide everyone a good shot.”

Trump stayed within the White Home and out of sight because the outcomes step by step expanded Biden’s lead in must-win Pennsylvania. Within the West Wing, televisions had remained tuned to the information amid trappings of normalcy on Friday, as reporters lined up for coronavirus assessments and outside crews labored on the North Garden on a gentle, muggy fall day.

Trump’s marketing campaign was principally quiet — a dramatic distinction from earlier within the week, when officers vocally projected confidence and held a flurry of press conferences asserting litigation in key states. However his internal circle was touched as soon as once more by the coronavirus pandemic.

White Home chief of employees Mark Meadows contracted the virus, in keeping with two senior White Home officers who spoke on situation of anonymity as a result of they weren’t licensed to publicly talk about non-public issues. A number of different members of the White Home employees and Trump’s marketing campaign staff additionally examined optimistic.

Trump’s dealing with of the pandemic has been the defining difficulty of the marketing campaign. The president, first girl Melania Trump and a number of other different folks in Trump’s orbit have fallen unwell.

A handful of states remained in play — Georgia and North Carolina nonetheless too early to name together with Pennsylvania and Nevada. In all 4 states the margins between Trump and Biden have been too slim and the variety of ballots left to be counted too nice for the AP to declare a victor.

The uncertainty left People throughout the nation glued to their TVs and smartphones, checking for updates to a vote depend that, for a lot of, appeared to inch alongside.

The delays — and the explanations — different from state to state. In Pennsylvania, officers weren’t allowed to start processing mail-in ballots till Election Day beneath state legislation. In Nevada, there have been numerous provisional ballots solid by voters who registered on Election Day, and officers needed to confirm their eligibility. And recounts could possibly be triggered in each Pennsylvania and Georgia.

Together with his pathway to reelection showing to significantly slim, Trump was testing how far he might go in utilizing the trimmings of presidential energy to undermine confidence within the vote.

He took to Twitter late Friday to pledge additional authorized motion, tweeting that “Joe Biden shouldn’t wrongfully declare the workplace of the President. I might make that declare additionally. Authorized proceedings are simply now starting!”

Trump did declare that he gained late on Election Night time. He additionally tweeted that he had “such an enormous lead in all of those states late into election night time, solely to see the leads miraculously disappear as the times glided by,” though it was well-known that votes solid earlier than Tuesday have been nonetheless being legally counted.

The uncertainty carried a touch of hazard in some locations.

Professional-Trump protesters — a few of them overtly carrying rifles and handguns — rallied exterior vote-tabulation facilities in a number of cities across the nation Friday, responding to Trump’s groundless accusations that the Democrats have been attempting to steal the White Home. Roughly 100 Trump supporters gathered for a 3rd straight day in entrance of the elections heart in Phoenix, the place tons of of employees have been processing and counting ballots.

Maryland GOP Gov. Larry Hogan, a possible presidential hopeful who has usually criticized Trump, mentioned there “no protection” for Trump feedback “undermining our Democratic course of. America is counting the votes, and we should respect the outcomes as we all the time have earlier than.”

However others who’re rumored to be contemplating a White Home run of their very own in 4 years aligned themselves with the incumbent, together with Sen. Josh Hawley, R-Mo., who tweeted assist for Trump’s claims, writing that “If final 24 hours have made something clear, it’s that we’d like new election integrity legal guidelines NOW.”

Trump’s marketing campaign has engaged in a flurry of authorized exercise throughout the battleground states.

On Friday night, Supreme Court docket Justice Samuel Alito accepted a GOP request ordering county boards to adjust to Pennsylvania state steering to maintain the late ballots separate from these obtained earlier than or on Election Day. Nonetheless, Alito didn’t direct election officers to cease counting the ballots, because the Republicans had additionally sought.

However judges in Michigan, Georgia and Pennsylvania shortly swatted down different authorized motion. A federal choose who was requested to cease vote counts in Philadelphia as an alternative pressured the 2 sides to achieve an settlement with out an order over the variety of observers allowed.

This 12 months a document 103 million People voted early, opting to keep away from ready in lengthy strains at polling places throughout a pandemic. With counting nonetheless persevering with in some states, Biden had already obtained greater than 74 million votes, greater than any presidential candidate earlier than him. Greater than 236,000 People have died throughout the coronavirus pandemic, practically 10 million have been contaminated and tens of millions of jobs have been misplaced.


Weissert reported from Willmington, Del. Related Press writers Colleen Lengthy, Brian Slodysko and Alexandra Jaffe in Washington contributed to this report.

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