The outcome of the US presidential election remained in the balance Friday as a handful of battleground states complete their vote counts, but Joe Biden was edging toward victory — barring a surprise.
The Democrat has racked up at least 253 of the 270 electoral votes that he needs, according to US network projections, and has taken the lead in Pennsylvania, which would put him over the top.
Donald Trump has amassed 214 electoral votes so far, and while the Republican incumbent was still in contention in several states that could afford him a path to reelection, that path was narrowing.
In addition to Pennsylvania, Biden has pulled ahead in the southeastern state of Georgia, which has 16 electoral votes, but it remains too close to call.
There is some uncertainty surrounding Arizona, which has 11 electoral votes.
Fox News and The Associated Press have called Arizona in Biden’s favor, but other media have been more cautious.
With Arizona, Biden would currently have 264 electoral votes.
Much of the delay in key states has resulted from a flood of mail-in ballots due to the coronavirus pandemic — and those votes have tended to favor Democrats.
Here is a look at the situation in the key states that are still up for grabs:
Pennsylvania is the biggest prize remaining, with 20 electoral votes. Trump had been ahead, but Biden overtook him on Friday morning by more than 6,800 votes.
The majority of votes left to be counted are in Democratic-leaning areas such as greater Philadelphia.
With some 95 percent of the ballots counted, Biden had 49.4 percent of the total compared to Trump’s 49.3.
In Georgia, Trump’s initial lead over Biden steadily slipped away as vote counting continued in heavily Democratic areas, and the former vice president is now slightly ahead.
Biden’s lead is about 1,100 votes. Some 98 percent of the ballots have been counted.
Georgia has not chosen a Democrat for president since Bill Clinton in 1992. Its 16 electoral votes would put Biden just under 270 — or over the top if he holds Arizona.
Biden had been favoured to win Nevada, and its six electoral votes could put him precisely at the number needed to win if he keeps Arizona.
With more than 89 percent of the vote counted, Biden was leading by more than 11,000 votes in the Western state, home to gambling hub Las Vegas.
In North Carolina, which has 15 electoral votes, Trump had a lead of around 77,000 votes with 95 percent of the ballots tabulated. He had around 50 percent of the total compared to Biden’s 48.6 percent.
Trump is favoured to win the southeastern state, but mail-in ballots sent on or before election day in North Carolina can be counted until November 12.
Biden had a lead of about 47,000 votes with about 90 percent of the ballots counted. He holds 50.1 percent of the total compared to Trump’s 48.5.
If Biden wins Pennsylvania, he does not need to hold on to Arizona.