The outcome of the US presidential election remained in the balance early today as a handful of battleground states complete their vote counts.
Democrat Joe Biden has racked up at least 253 of the 270 electoral votes that he needs, according to US network projections — and 264 if Arizona is included, which Fox News and The Associated Press have called in his favour.
Donald Trump has amassed 214 electoral votes so far, and is still in contention in several states that would afford the Republican incumbent a path to reelection.
Overnight, Biden pulled ahead in the count in the south-eastern state of Georgia, which has 16 electoral votes, but it remains too close to call.
Here is a look at the situation in the key states that are still up for grabs, and paths to victory for each candidate:
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 per cent of the vote counted, Biden was leading by less than 11,500 votes in the Western state that is home to gambling mecca Las Vegas.
In North Carolina, which has 15 electoral votes, Trump had a lead of around 77,000 votes with 95 per cent of the ballots tabulated. He had around 50 per cent of the total compared to Biden’s 48.6.
Trump is favoured to win the south-eastern state, but mail-in ballots sent on or before election day in North Carolina can be counted until November 12.
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 just 1,096 votes, and he currently holds 49.4 per cent of the total. Some 98 per cent 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.
Pennsylvania is the biggest prize remaining, with 20 electoral votes. Trump is currently leading, but the majority of votes left to be counted are in Democratic-leaning areas such as greater Philadelphia.
Trump’s lead had dwindled to about 18,000 votes with 95 per cent of the ballots counted.
The remaining votes are expected to favour Biden, but the race there remains too close to call.
One wild card that could upset these calculations: Arizona. Fox News and The Associated Press have already called the state’s race in Biden’s favour, but other networks including CNN and NBC have said it’s still too close to call.
Biden had a lead of about 47,000 votes with about 90 per cent of the ballots counted. He holds 50.1 per cent of the total compared to Trump’s 48.5.
Arizona has 11 electoral votes.
Paths to victory
Much of the delay has resulted from a flood of mail-in ballots due to the coronavirus pandemic — and those votes have tended to favour Democrats.
If Biden’s lead in Arizona holds, and he wins Nevada or Georgia, he would pass the threshold of 270 electoral votes.
Should Trump hold North Carolina and Georgia but lose Arizona, he must take Nevada as well as Pennsylvania to win.
Simply winning Pennsylvania will not be enough for the president.
Much to Trump’s chagrin, Pennsylvania has decided to allow mailed ballots sent by election day but received up to three days afterwards to be counted. Authorities expect to complete the count by today.
Another factor that could keep the battle alive: The Trump campaign has unleashed a legal blitz in key states vital to the incumbent’s reelection.
It has sued to disqualify late-arriving ballots in Pennsylvania, sued in Nevada and Georgia over alleged irregularities, and has demanded a recount in Wisconsin.