DONALD Trump has sensationally claimed ballots have "magically disappeared in key states" as Joe Biden has taken a nail-biting lead in Wisconsin and Michigan.
The President continued to rail against 'major voter fraud' despite no evidence to support the claim and not all of the ballots even being counted.
⚠️ Read our US election live blog for the very latest on the 2020 race to the White House
The mail-in ballots being counted in Rust Belt states are coming down the wire.
President Trump tweeted: "Last night I was leading, often solidly, in many key States, in almost all instances Democrat run & controlled.
"Then, one by one, they started to magically disappear as surprise ballot dumps were counted. VERY STRANGE, and the “pollsters” got it completely & historically wrong!
Press conferences are expected later this afternoon in Georgia, Wisconsin and Michigan over the counting of their mail-in ballots.
Trump earlier today claimed victory for the election despite counting still being done.
Biden could bag 26 crucial electoral votes from Wisconsin and Michigan – edging him closer to securing 270.
The heated contest has come right down to the key Rust Belt states that Trump won in 2016: Pennsylvania, Michigan, and Wisconsin.
The candidates each need 270 electoral votes to be declared the winner – and either could secure their spot in the White House if they pick up a win in two of the three vital states.
Overnight Biden had failed to deliver a knockout blow by winning key states that paved a clear path to the presidency and yet again Trump defied the opinion pollsters to deliver an election night upset.
Before today, opinion polls had predicted for months that Biden would win by a large margin after four years of a turbulent Trump presidency.
But the race has become much closer than they had foreseen with the 'shy Trump vote' becoming a reality – just like in 2016.
At one point in Wisconsin, there were less than 10,000 votes between the candidates in Biden's favour.
The state was still counting ballots coming in from Milwaukee – a Democrat stronghold – accelerating Biden's lead by more than 20,000 votes.
Biden has taken a razor-thin lead in Michigan as 90 per cent of the vote has been counted with him leading by just over 11,000 votes.
Trump is currently ahead in Pennsylvania, but only 75 per cent of votes have been tallied.
As of Wednesday morning, 1.4million or 56 per cent of mail-in ballots for the state had not yet been counted or the totals had not been published yet.
The ballots that are left to be counted are coming from four of Philadelphia's suburbs – a region that is predicted to swing towards Biden.
It comes as:
- Biden has pulled ahead marginally in Michigan and significantly in Wisconsin
- Trump tweets ballots are "magically disappearing"
- Trump won race key Ohio seat with 53.3% of the vote
- President declares victory in crucial Florida with 51.2% of the vote
- Trump wins Texas with 52.2% with more than 80% of vote counted
- President could also secure battleground state North Carolina with 50.1% of vote
- Biden wins Arizona with 51.8% of the vote
- Trump claims to have already won the election
- Biden hits back at Trump's victory claim branding it "outrageous, unprecedented and incorrect"
Trump won Florida early on and despite initial indications of possible shock wins for Biden in red states, the Democrat's lead was eaten away during the evening as more votes were counted – leaving the election on a knife edge.
The Republican firebrand then won Ohio and Texas for a combined 56 electoral votes.
Early in the evening on Tuesday, the President's election team declared victory in Florida taking a huge 29 electoral votes.
In response to the result, a Biden campaign source said: "Not worried. Our path doesn’t include Florida. Ohio and NC I’m hearing good things."
Florida is a key indicator as to who will win the overall race as the state has only backed the losing candidate in the election twice since 1928.
In the early hours of the contest, Indiana and Kentucky were called for Trump while Vermont went for Biden.
The Democrat then bagged the traditionally-blue states of Delaware, Rhode Island, New Jersey, Massachusetts, Maryland, Illinois, Connecticut, Colorado, Illinois, New Mexico and New York.
Meanwhile, Trump was declared the winner of Oklahoma, Tennessee, Mississippi, Alabama, West Virginia, Arkansas, Louisiana, Wyoming and North and South Dakota.
In 2016, Trump won the election with 306 electoral votes, meaning Biden will need to take back at least three sizable swing states to put him over the 270 mark.
What happens if both candidates get 269 electoral votes?
As the election is coming down to the wire, let’s take a look at what happens if both candidates get 269 electoral votes.
A 269-269 tie is unlikely, but there are possible different scenarios that could occur.
If neither presidential candidate gets 270 Electoral College votes, the Constitution requires the House of Representatives to pick the president.
The Senate would then pick the vice president.
The House has decided only two elections – both occurring before the current threshold of 270 electoral votes needed to win.
Thomas Jefferson defeated Aaron Burr in 1800 (fans of the Broadway play "Hamilton" should know this well). Jefferson and Burr were both part of the Democratic-Republican Party and finished in a 73-73 tie before the House gave the win to Jefferson.
It comes as Trump already sensationally said he won the race to the White House and accused Biden of "stealing" the election.
In a dramatic TV address, the President appeared to claim victory and railed against 'major voter fraud' despite no evidence to support the claim and not all of the ballots even being counted.
Speaking early this morning, the President said: "This is a fraud on the American public, this is an embarrassment to our country.
"We were getting ready to win this election – frankly we did win this election.
"So our goal now is to ensure the integrity for the good of this nation. This is a very big moment. This is a major fraud on our nation.
"We want the law to be used in a proper manner. So we will be going to the US Supreme Court, we want all voting to stop."
Biden's team furiously hit back saying Trump's speech was "outrageous, unprecedented and incorrect".
The Democrat candidate's camp said in a statement his team was ready to challenge the president over his unsubstantiated claims.
They said: "If the president makes good on this threat to go to court to try to prevent the proper tabulation of votes, we have legal teams standing by ready to deploy to resist that effort. And they will prevail."
In Trump's earlier speech, he went on to claim victories in the crucial Rust Belt states that could see him clinch the 270 electoral seats to keep him in the White House.
Should Trump and Biden take the states they are expected to win then the race could come down to Pennsylvania and the result may be days or even weeks away.
He added: "Most importantly, we are winning Pennsylvania by a tremendous amount.
"Arizona, we have a lot of life in that. As far as I’m concerned, we already have won."
Shortly after, Biden secured victory in Arizona – inching the former Vice President 11 electoral votes closer to 270.
His speech came hours after he tweeted wild claims the Democrats were trying to "steal" the election.
The president's tweet, which was flagged by Twitter as misleading, read: "We are up BIG, but they are trying to STEAL the Election. We will never let them do it."
"Votes cannot be cast after the Polls are closed!"
Facebook has also added labels to social media posts by both candidates explaining that votes are still being counted.
The President has also sensationally claimed victory of several key states such as Georgia, Pennsylvania and North Carolina when they have not finished counting their votes.
Several states – including Pennsylvania – are allowing mail-in votes to be accepted after Election Day.
Former New Jersey Governor Chris Christie said "there was no basis" for Trump's claims.
The Republican, who ran against Trump in 2016, said: "There's just no basis to make that argument tonight – there just isn't."
New York representative Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez tweeted: "Donald Trump's premature claims of victory are illegitimate, dangerous, and authoritarian. Count the votes. Respect the results."
And Minnesota congresswoman Ilhan Omar tweeted: "The irony of worrying about people turning America into Somalia, while allowing Trump to do literally what Somali dictators used to do.
"Wake up, he is destroying everything that sets us apart. We send election observers into other countries, we shouldn't need ours monitored."
Rick Santorum, a former Republican Senator from Pennsylvania, said he was "very distressed" by Trump's comments.
He said: "Using the word fraud…I think is wrong."
Ben Shapiro, a conservative commentator and critic of Trump, tweeted calling the comments "deeply irresponsible".
Speaking in Delaware early this morning alongside his wife Jill, Biden said: "We feel good about where we are. We feel we are on track to win this election.
"It ain't over until every vote is counted.
"We're feeling real good about Wisconsin and Michigan. We're going to win Pennsylvania."
He thanked his supporters telling them to "keep the faith."
The 2020 election has seen the highest US voter turnout in a century.
A record number of Americans voted in this historic election as the country battles the Covid-19 pandemic.
Those voting in person joined 102 million citizens who voted early, a figure that represents 73 per cent of the total turnout of the 2016 election.
Postal voting is set to play a crucial role in this year's contest due to the virus outbreak which has killed more than 200,000 in the US.
Trump has repeatedly slammed the expansion of mail-in ballots claiming it will lead to widspread fraud – a claim which has been criticised as unsubstantiated.
When will we find out election results?
Election Day is November 3 – the last day Americans are allowed to vote in the 2020 races.
The first polls will close at 7pm ET (midnight GMT) and all polling stations have to close by 9pm ET on November 3.
In 2016, the election was called at 2.30am ET (7.30am GMT) when Donald Trump won Wisconsin pushing him over the 270 votes he needed to win.
But in 2020, due to increased postal ballots because of coronavirus, a clear result might not be known until some time after Election Day.
Media organizations declare winners on election night in thousands of races on election night based on the results that are in, voter surveys, and other political data.
These predictions are provisional until a result from the mail-in ballots has been determined.
The winner of the 2020 presidential election is scheduled to be inaugurated on January 20, 2021.
ECONOMY: Invest in green energy, raise minimum wage
HEALTHCARE: National Covid test and trace programme
FOREIGN POLICY: Fix America’s relations with Nato
IMMIGRATION: End separation of kids from parents at Mexican border
CLIMATE: Rejoin Paris Climate Accord
ECONOMY: Repair Covid damage
HEALTHCARE: End ‘Obamacare’, lower drug prices
FOREIGN POLICY: Bring home Afghanistan troops
IMMIGRATION: Keep building Mexico border wall
CLIMATE: Approve oil and gas drilling
Florida (29 electoral votes) – Trump won in 2016 – Biden leading by 2.2 per cent in polls
Pennsylvania (20 electoral votes) – Trump won in 2016 – Biden leading by 5.0 per cent in polls
Ohio (18 electoral votes) – Trump won in 2016 – Trump leading by 2.0 per cent in polls
Michigan (16 electoral votes) – Trump won in 2016 – Biden leading by 8.6 per cent in polls
North Carolina (15 electoral votes) – Trump won in 2016 – Biden leading by 1.6 per cent in polls
Arizona (11 electoral votes) – Trump won in 2016 – Biden leading by 2.5 per cent in polls
Wisconsin (10 electoral votes) – Trump won in 2016 – Biden leading by 7.4 per cent in polls
Iowa (6 electoral votes) – Trump won in 2016 – Trump leading by 0.4 per cent in polls
Nevada (6 electoral votes) – Hillary Clinton won in 2016 – Biden leading by 5.3 per cent in polls
Trump’s tumultuous four years
TRUMP’S reign – facts and figures
ZERO: times he repeated his suggestion that drinking bleach could fight Covid-19. After global ridicule, he insisted he was joking.
SEVEN: times he’s called himself a “stable genius”.
14: key aides he’s got through, more than any other US President.
84: number of cans of Diet Coke teetotal Trump is said to drink a week.
130: number of Barack Obama’s regulations he’s rolled back or scrapped.
239: at 239lbs (17st) he weighs in as the third heaviest President in US history.
279: estimated days playing golf while President.
371: miles of wall he’s built on the Mexico border. He’s pledged to build 500 by the end of this year.
845: times he has typed the words “Fake News” on Twitter.
20,555: false statements he’s been accused of making while President.
21,000: tweets while in office (and counting).
55,000: amount in pounds he reportedly spends on hairdressing a year.
308,000: his annual salary in pounds as President. Trump gives it all to charity.
3.3billion: his estimated wealth in dollars
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