It became apparent yesterday that Democratic candidate, Joe Biden, will become the 46th President of the United States of America after taking a lead over incumbent Donald Trump in Pennsylvania, putting him on course to secure more than the 270 electoral college votes needed to win the presidency.
Absentee ballots in Pennsylvania gave Biden enough votes to beat the incumbent President Donald Trump in the battleground state.
As of the time of filing this report, Biden was up by more than 12,000 votes in the battleground state as state officials continued to tabulate ballots from the heavily Democratic precincts in and around Philadelphia, Pennsylvania’s largest city
Political analysts in that country have said the Democratic candidate is on the brink of winning the race for the White House, starting a new chapter in American history after the turbulence of Mr Trump’s four years in office.
Biden’s lead over Donald Trump in Pennsylvania has placed him on course to win more than the 270 electoral college votes needed to become the next US President.
According to experts, if Biden wins Pennsylvania’s 20 electoral votes, he would have more than enough to win the presidency.
He maintained leads in three other states that were yet to be declared yesterday.
Polls overstated the standing of the Democratic nominee and former Vice President in key states, leaving Biden to slog to victory over the Republican president by flipping the midwestern states of Michigan and Wisconsin after a bitter campaign dominated by the coronavirus and its effects on Americans and the economy.
With his re-election chances fading, Trump escalated his attacks on the results, appearing at the White House to claim the election was being “stolen” from him.
As Biden moved closer to victory, hundreds of Democrats gathered outside Philadelphia’s downtown vote-counting site, wearing yellow shirts that read, “Count Every Vote.”
Trump’s campaign is pursuing a series of lawsuits across battleground states, but legal experts described them as unlikely to succeed in altering the election outcome.
Judges in Georgia and Michigan promptly dismissed two lawsuits on Thursday.
The campaign’s general counsel, Matt Morgan, asserted in a statement yesterday that the elections in Georgia, Nevada and Pennsylvania all suffered from improprieties and that Trump would eventually prevail in Arizona.
“This election is not over,” he said. “Biden is relying on these states for his phony claim on the White House, but once the election is final, President Trump will be re-elected.”
He also said the campaign expected to pursue a recount in Georgia, as it has said it will do in Wisconsin, where Biden won by more than 20,000 votes.
Biden, who spent four decades in Washington as former President Barack Obama’s vice president and a longtime Delaware senator, called for all votes to be counted on Thursday.
He offered reassurance that the counting could be trusted and declared “each ballot must be counted.”
“I ask everyone to stay calm,” he said. “The process is working.”
Biden will turn 78 in two weeks, making him the oldest elected President. He has placed himself in the center of the Democratic Party from the 1970s through today, even as a recent progressive movement sweeps his party.
He will take over the response to the coronavirus, which has killed 233,000 Americans as cases continue to rise across the country and caused a deep recession with no end in sight.
With millions of ballots yet to be tabulated, Biden already had received more than 72 million votes, the most in history. It could take several more days for the count to conclude.
While President Trump has insisted that ballot counting should stop, it was unclear exactly what that included.
He also was benefiting from the continued counting of votes in Arizona early Thursday after the Associated Press and Fox News called the state for Biden a day earlier but Decision Desk HQ and other news organizations declined to join them.
Trump has fixated on Pennsylvania, where the Supreme Court refused to toss a three-day extension.
Biden’s attorney, Bob Bauer, said the suits were meritless and were made “to create an opportunity for them to message falsely about what’s taking place in the electoral process.”
Meanwhile, thousands of anti-Trump protesters are demanding a complete tally of the ballots in the still-undecided election and have taken to streets in cities across the US.
Also, the Trump supporters have been chanting “Stop the count!” and “Stop the steal!” slogans. The protests came as the President insisted without evidence that 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.
Also referred to as absentee ballots – as the name suggests mail-in ballots allow voters to send in their votes early by mail in the event they cannot make it to the polling station on Election Day. Typically, the category of mail-in ballots comprises citizens staying overseas and military personnel.
The US is a federal structure and this translates to states having their own laws for mail-in ballots too.
For example, Pennsylvania was still
accepting ballots yesterday, after the state Supreme Court extended the deadline and the US Supreme Court voted 4–4 to leave that timeline intact. But this court now has a ninth judge.
The Senate recently confirmed Justice Amy Coney Barrett, who is a Republican nominee, after Ruth Bader Ginsburg passed away in September.
The Trump camp has now gone back to the court in a last-ditch attempt to push the deadline back to Election Day.
Speaker Nancy Pelosi Calls Biden ‘President-elect’
Meanwhile, United States House Speaker and the top Democrat in Congress, Nancy Pelosi, yesterday called Joe Biden the “president-elect” of the United States after he pulled ahead in key election results.
“This morning it is clear that the Biden- Harris ticket will win the White House,” Pelosi told reporters after Biden overtook President Donald Trump in the potentially decisive state of Pennsylvania.
“President-Elect Biden has a strong mandate to lead,” she said, adding that it is “a happy day for our country. Joe Biden is a unifier, because he is determined to bring people together.”
Pennsylvania is believed to be enough to put Biden past the magic number of 270 votes in the state-by-state Electoral College, which determines the presidency.
Biden also took a razor-thin lead in votes counted from Georgia, which Trump until late in the campaign did not consider to be in play.
The Democrat has stopped short of declaring victory but said he expected that he and his running mate, Kamala Harris would triumph.
Trump has angrily made unsubstantiated claims of fraud and sought to halt vote counting after prematurely declaring victory himself following the close of polls on Tuesday.
Biden’s performance came despite projections that Democrats will lose several seats in the House of Representatives, a major disappointment for the party which had hoped to expand its majority.
Pelosi played down the losses but said that the next House election in 2022 “will be a steeper climb” without Trump on the ballot.
The party of the president nearly always loses seats in Congress in the first midterm election.
Airspace Restricted Over Biden’s House As Secret Service Tightens Security Around Him
Meanwhile, the United States Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) has put the residence of presidential candidate Joe Biden under a temporary flight restriction.
This is even as the US Secret Service has sent additional agents to Delaware in an effort to increase protection around Democratic candidate, Joe Biden, who is inching closer to becoming the next US president.
The ‘no-fly zone’ – which has a radius of one nautical mile – covers the airspace over Biden’s Delaware house and will last until 7 November.
The decision, which was taken by the FAA, was announced through a Notice to Airmen and listed under ‘special security reasons’.
Despite no official statement by the agency, the Independent interpreted it as a way to increase security in the event of Biden winning the elections.
According to the Notice to Airmen, which provides information on temporary changes to the National Airspace System, pilots are not allowed to fly over the area, except in extraordinary circumstances, such as safety and emergency reasons.
This is not the first time the FAA lists US presidential candidates’ residences as ‘no-fly zones’.
In 2016, Trump Tower as well as Mike Pence’s Indianapolis home were put under restrictions before they took office.
The domiciles of Hillary Clinton and former vice-presidential candidate Tim Kaine were protected during election night but lost all privileges when results came in.
The move to also send more secret service operatives to Biden’s house was made after his campaign noted that they would be making use of the Wilmington convention center for one more day, suggesting that the former vice president could make a major announcement on Friday, November.
Two sources told CNN that the extra Secret Service agents were sent to Delaware on Thursday November 5.
Delaware News Journal also reported that flights are temporarily restricted over Biden’s Wilmington home and the Chase Center in the city.
The Federal Aviation Administration listed the restriction over the Chase Center where Biden has delivered speeches for “VIP movement,” while the one over Biden’s home is for “special security reasons.”
Only flights arriving or leaving the New Castle Airport and those on active firefighting, law enforcement or ambulance duties are allowed to enter the restricted air space.
The zone over the Chase Center which is set to expire on Friday, extends three nautical miles from the surface to a 2,999- foot altitude.
The one over Biden’s home which expires on Saturday November 7 spans one nautical mile and an altitude of 1,000 feet.
Violators face an up to 12-month prison sentence and $100,000 fine and could have their pilot’s license suspended or revoked.
Upon a presidential win, the USSS detail for a president-elect would get larger and mirror the size and scope of a president’s. Additional airspace security measures are also implemented, a source familiar with USSS protocols said.
A source told CNN: “This is as expected. It’s actually a little bit delayed. It’s not telegraphing any specific concern.”
BY KINGSLEY OPURUM with Agency Report