Americans headed to the polls on Tuesday in one of the most consequential elections in US history. As the night wore on it appeared that the country was in for a long and agonising fight for the White House. Here is what we know so far:
Trump falsely declares victory
So far Joe Biden has 238 electoral votes and Donald Trump has 213; a candidate needs 270 electoral votes to win the presidency. The race has been much closer than many expected.
Even though the most important battleground states remain too close to call, Trump has baselessly claimed victory. He has also claimed without evidence that there has been a “fraud on the American public” and threatened to challenge results at the supreme court.
Election officials in Michigan, Wisconsin and Pennsylvania have said they will not be announcing the winners of their states tonight. Analysts have highlighted the importance of races in the three battlegrounds in the midwest, where the vote count is expected to take the longest. Trump leads in these states for now but absentee ballots that haven’t been counted yet skew towards Biden.
Biden has been declared the winner of Arizona and its 11 electoral votes, limiting Trump’s path to victory. With Arizona in his column, Biden could potentially afford to lose Pennsylvania and still win the election if he carries Wisconsin and Michigan.
Trump has won Florida with its 29 electoral college votes, dealing a blow to Biden.
Biden addressed supporters shortly after Florida was called for Trump, saying, “I believe we’re on track to win this election.” Speaking in Delaware, he said, “We knew this was going to be long,” but “we feel good about where we are.”
States called so far
Polls have closed in all 50 states and results have been called in 39 states so far.
States to have been called so far for Biden include Arizona, Minnesota, California, Colorado, Connecticut, Delaware, Hawaii, Illinois, Maryland, Virginia, Massachusetts, New Hampshire, New Jersey, New Mexico, New York, Oregon, Rhode Island, Vermont and Washington State.
Those called for Trump include Alabama, Arkansas, Florida, Idaho, Indiana, Iowa, Kansas, Kentucky, Louisiana, Mississippi, Missouri, Montana, North Dakota, Nebraska, Ohio, Oklahoma, South Dakota, Tennessee, Texas and Wyoming.
Republicans are set to keep control of the Senate, after a string of crucial wins, including Lindsey Graham in South Carolina, Steve Daines in Montana, Tommy Tuberville in Alabama.
In Colorado, the Democrats picked up their first Senate seat of the night after John Hickenlooper beat Cory Gardner.
Democrats needed a net gain of four seats to win control of the Senate.
Democrats Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez, Ilhan Omar, Rashida Tlaib and Ayanna Pressley have each won re-election.
Democratic House speaker, Nancy Pelosi, has won re-election in California’s 12th Congressional district. Republican Senate majority leader Mitch McConnell has also been re-elected in Kentucky.
Pelosi said Democrats have held the House. “Our purpose in this race was to win so that we could protect the Affordable Care Act and that we could crush the virus,” she said.
The US is on course to record the highest voter turnout in over a century. More than 101m people voted early: the equivalent of 73% of the total votes cast in 2016, according to the US Elections Project. Experts predict the total turnout could ultimately be as high as 67%.
Nevada’s district court judge agreed to extend hours for some Last Vegas-area polling sites until 8pm PT (11pm ET). It came after the Trump campaign filed a lawsuit requesting the extension following reports of opening delays due to technical problems. Polls have now closed, but results are not yet out.
According to a CNN nationwide exit poll, about a third of voters said the economy was most important to them, around one in five said racial inequality and about one in six said the coronavirus pandemic.
More details soon – follow this story through the night for “at a glance” updates of the key developments …