The presidential election continued to hang in the balance as of 4 p.m. Wednesday afternoon, with Democrat Joe Biden holding a narrow lead over President Donald Trump that — if it holds — will deliver him the White House.
Both camps have expressed confidence the tallies are on their side.
In the popular vote, as of 5 p.m. Wednesday, Biden had received 71,707,723 votes (50.36%) and Trump had received 68,371,529 (48.01%).
A Biden victory would be an enormous one for Democrats, particularly as their hopes to recapture the U.S. Senate from Republicans all but vanished as Tuesday night dragged on.
Several states continued to count mail-in ballots Wednesday.
Michigan and Wisconsin turned blue as counting continued overnight Tuesday. But a profusion of mail-in ballots remained uncounted in Pennsylvania as of Wednesday morning. The Trump campaign said Wednesday it was taking legal action over the count of Pennsylvania’s absentee ballots.
With Michigan and Wisconsin, the Electoral College tally moved to 264 for Biden and 214 for Trump, who sued to stop the vote-counting in Michigan and called for a recount in Wisconsin.
Either candidate needs 270 electoral votes to win.
Election officials expected to have results in Georgia sometime Wednesday.
Nevada elections officials said their tallies won’t be updated again until Thursday. Biden was ahead by a single point in Nevada as of Wednesday afternoon; Nevada’s 6 electoral votes would put Biden at the 270-vote threshold for the win.
Pennsylvania’s presidential election tally will take much longer, with results not expected until Friday at the earliest.
Prognosticators and pollsters who had the presidential election as a landslide for Biden were wrong, as election night provided a roller coaster ride for both parties and both candidates fought to a draw. As of Tuesday night, Trump and Biden were dozens of electoral votes short of the 270 needed to win the presidency.
But Trump made an appearance before supporters in the early morning hours and cast doubt on the integrity of the election, calling it a fraud and declaring a premature victory — a move that was roundly criticized by pundits and lawmakers on both sides of the aisle and walked back nearly immediately but Vice President Mike Pence as Trump looked on.
The Trump campaign’s lawyers have filed three lawsuits in Pennsylvania. One in Montgomery County asks a judge to sequester mail-in ballots with signature issues.
Georgia and North Carolina have also not been called, though Trump leads in both states by just one point each as counts continue, according to the Associated Press.
Biden had hoped to carry those two states as well as Florida and Ohio, both of which went firmly to Trump. The relative ease of the GOP victories in Florida and Ohio cast doubt as to whether both can even be called battlegrounds any longer.
Control of the Senate may hinge on Georgia, where a pair of races featuring Republican incumbents trying to fend off Democratic challengers remain inconclusive.
Jon Ossof, the Democrat, has fought incumbent Senator David Perdue to an essential draw as ballots remain uncounted. Democrat Raphael Warnock will face off against Republican incumbent Kelly Loeffler in a runoff.
The Democrats did not win a seat in Maine, as Republican incumbent Susan Collins held her lead against Democrat Sara Gideon in a tight race that was too close to call until Wednesday.
Democrats managed to wrest some seats away from Republicans, however. Former Colorado Governor John Hickenlooper beat Republican Senator Corey Gardner handily. And former space shuttle commander Mark Kelly, a Democratic candidate from Arizona, took a Senate seat from GOP incumbent Martha McSally in a close race.
Democrats had designs on Republican-held seats in Iowa, South Carolina and Montana, but were rebuffed. They also had their sights set on Lindsey Graham, a Republican senator from South Carolina who has closely aligned himself with Trump.
Democrats had hoped the electorate would repudiate Trump and all those aligned with him, but instead many of his Senate allies prevailed. And the presidential race remains too tight to be able to construe the results as an unequivocal rebuke of the president.
In Texas, where Democrats dreamed of making inroads in a rapidly changing state, Republican incumbent John Cornyn prevailed comfortably over Democratic challenger Mary Hegar.
More than 56 races for the U.S. House of Representatives remained too close to call Wednesday morning.
Most pundits expect Democrats to retain control of the House.
This report was updated at 4:45 p.m. Wednesday.