Biden wins key battleground states in step towards victory – LATEST

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ith just a handful of states still up for grabs, the Democrat candidate now needs to clinch one of the key swing states – Georgia, Nevada, North Carolina, or his home state Pennsylvania – to reach the necessary 270 to secure the White House.

Donald Trump, however, is running out of time to save his presidency and must win all four states. In what has become an ugly election finale, he has also begun legal action in three of them to either stop the counting of votes or insist his team be provided greater access to scrutinise the process.

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The path to victory

 Joe Biden is favourite to become president as votes are counted in the battleground states that will decide the US election.  He needs to win 270 Electoral College votes to take the White House. But what is his path to victory? Here is a guide to what states he needs

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#SharpieGate

Arizona officials had to debunk an online conspiracy theory claiming special pens were given to Trump supporters to invalidate their ballots.

#SharpieGate emerged on social media on Wednesday as Republican supporters suggested that election officials in Maricopa County provided voters with the felt-tipped pens to interfere with their ballots. 

“The poll workers were taking the pens from voters and making them use Sharpies. Sharpies bleed through. All of the votes marked with Sharpies couldn’t be read,” one Facebook post read.

Democrats said the claims  were part of a misinformation campaign to undermine Joe Biden’s lead in a state which is traditionally a Republican heartland. There were protests outside a counting centre. With 85% of the vote counted in Arizona, Biden was ahead by more than 79,000 votes, but reports are Trump is now closing that gap.

The Maricopa County Elections Department released a statement:

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Trump supporters descend on US election voting centres demanding ‘stop the vote!’ and ‘stop the steal!’

Protests grew at vote-counting centres in key US election battleground states.

The protests came as President Trump insisted without evidence there were major problems with the voting and the ballot counting, especially with mail-in votes, and as Republicans filed suit in various states over the election.

A confrontation in Detroit started shortly before the Associated Press declared that Mr Biden had won Michigan.

In Phoenix, Arizona, dozens of Trump fans chanted “stop the steal” and “four more years” – as they demanded a complete count of ballots amid signs they were clawing back the Democrat’s lead in the state.  

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Record number of coronavirus cases in the US

The coronavirus pandemic has been a key issue for US voters.  Donald Trump has been accused of being too slow to respond to the crisis and criticised for not taking it seriously enough.  The virus is still having a devastating impact on the country – with the US recording more than 1,000 deaths yesterday and a record number of cases 

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Police in tactical gear attend count protest in Arizona

The sheriff’s department was called to a counting centre in Maricopa county, Arizona, after Trump supporters gathered outside responding to claims on social media that votes likely to be for Trump would not be counted. Some protesters even made their way into the centre and were escorted out.  

The result in Arizona – a traditionally Republican state – is too close to call. As of 11pm local time on Wednesday (06:00 GMT on Thursday), 82% of the vote in Maricopa county had been counted, with Joe Biden leading – officials say they have more than 400,000 ballots still to tally.

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Biden: ‘I’m confident we will emerge victorious”

Joe Biden has posted some of his speech from Wilmington, Delaware.

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What would a Biden presidency mean for the environment?

More on Biden reaffirming he would take the States back into the Paris agreement; here is a closer look at the environmental policies of Joe Biden and Donald Trump

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UK wants a “smooth transition” whatever the result

The UK’s Justice Secretary Robert Buckland has said the UK wants  a “smooth transition” following the US presidential election whatever the result, and that there was confidence in the country’s legal system to sort any disputes.

Neither candidate has enough votes yet to be declared winner and the Republicans have started legal action in some states.

Mr Buckland told Sky News: “We wish them well and look on with huge interest and the support for a democratic process and a constitution that of course has seen tensions in the past….

“We very much hope all these issues can be resolved and that the transfer of power, the change to a new administration can be as smooth as possible.

“I think any allegations about the vote process are concerning but as I say there is a legal route that can be taken – and I understand it is being taken – and if that is the case then the courts will have to decide on any issues and we hope that any result will be swift and soon, not just for the interests of the American people but the wider world too.”

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Biden already outlining policy

Joe Biden is already outlining policies he will bring in to the American  people.  He has tweeted that he will reverse president Trump’s decision to take the US out of the Paris Agreement on climate change which the States left yesterday.

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Biden just one battleground state away

Joe Biden is just one battleground state away from securing enough electoral college votes to achieve what he called a ‘victory for the American people’.

After securing victories in Wisconsin and Michigan, the Democrat had 264 electoral college votes and needed to secure one of Georgia, Nevada, North Carolina or his home state Pennsylvania to reach the necessary 270 to claim the country’s top position.

Mr Trump, however, must win all four states, and has begun legal action in three of them to either stop the counting of votes or insist his team be provided greater access to scrutinise the process.

The president had earlier falsely claimed victory and threatened to go to the US Supreme Court, as he warned a “fraud on the American nation” was being carried out over the way votes were being counted.

Mr Biden’s campaign said the president’s extraordinary comments, made in the White House against a backdrop of US flags, were a “naked attempt to take away the democratic rights of American citizens”.