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Trump sues as path to victory over Biden narrows

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The BBC projects Mr Biden won Michigan and Wisconsin. No result has yet emerged in Pennsylvania.

Donald Trump and Joe Biden each claim to be ahead in the US presidential election, even as the final outcome hangs on a razor’s edge and both sides gear up for legal action.

The Trump campaign is contesting counts in the key states of Nevada, Wisconsin, Georgia, Pennsylvania and Michigan, BBC report said.

The BBC projects Mr Biden won Michigan and Wisconsin. No result has yet emerged in Pennsylvania.

Winning all three of these Rust Belt states would hand Mr Biden victory.

The Democratic candidate is also currently leading in Nevada and Arizona, while the gap is closing between him and Mr Trump as counting continues in Georgia.

Mr Biden has stopped short of declaring victory, but said he was confident he was on course to beat his Republican rival.

Overall turnout in Tuesday’s election was projected to be the highest in 120 years at 66.9%, according to the US Election Project.

Mr Biden had the support of 70.5 million voters, the most won by any presidential candidate ever. Mr Trump has pulled in 67.2 million votes, four million more than he gained in 2016.

The bitter election race was dominated by the coronavirus pandemic, which hit a new record high of 103,000 daily cases in the US on Wednesday, according to the Covid Tracking Project.

But the economy, which has been badly affected by the pandemic, was the most important single issue to voters, exit poll data indicated.

What are the campaigns saying?

On Wednesday afternoon, Mr Biden told reporters in Wilmington, Delaware: “When the count is finished, we believe we will be the winners.”

“I will govern as an American president. The presidency itself is not a partisan institution.”

He and his running mate Kamala Harris have launched a website for the transition of power, which says that their team “will continue preparing at full speed so that the Biden-Harris Administration can hit the ground running on Day One.”

Mr Biden also said he was feeling “very good” about Pennsylvania, although President Trump’s campaign said it was “declaring victory” in the state on the count of “all legal ballots”.

Mr Trump has attempted, without evidence, to sow doubt about the validity of ballots counted after election day and cast by mail.

Senior Trump campaign aide Jason Miller said: “By the end of this week, it will be clear to the entire nation that President Trump and Vice-President Pence will be elected for another four years.”

Can Trump still win?

Mr Biden has 253 Electoral College votes, giving him the edge in the race to accumulate the 270 needed to win the White House. Mr Trump has 214.

In the US election, voters decide state-level contests rather than a single, national one. Each US state gets a certain number of electoral college votes partly based on its population, with a total of 538 up for grabs.

Now Mr Trump is projected to lose Wisconsin (10 electoral college votes), he must win Georgia (16 votes), North Carolina (15), Pennsylvania (20) and either Arizona (11) or Nevada (6) to prevail.

On Thursday morning, an election official in Georgia said there were about 60,000 votes left to count in the state. “We anticipate getting through this process today,” a spokesman for Georgia’s Secretary of State said, without giving a specific timeline. “Every ballot will be counted.”

The gap between Mr Trump and Mr Biden has dwindled to about 18,000 votes in the state, the latest estimates suggest.

In Arizona, Mr Biden was leading by about 80,000 votes, with further results expected on Thursday. CBS has categorised it as a “likely” win for the Democrat. Supporters of Mr Trump gathered outside a vote counting centre in Maricopa County (which includes Phoenix, the largest city in the state), where officials vowed to “continue our job”.

An update on the count in Nevada – where Mr Biden is slightly ahead – is not expected until Thursday afternoon, while in Philadelphia, counting is not expected to finish for several days.