While President Donald Trump was still leading the vote count in Pennsylvania on Thursday morning, Democratic presidential nominee Joe Biden has cut into that lead quite a bit as mail-in ballots — which Democratic voters favored in 2020 by huge margins — continue to be tallied.
As of about 9 a.m. Thursday, the Pennsylvania Department of State election returns site reported Trump with 3,207,795 votes and Biden with 3,031,627 votes — a difference of just over 176,000. Biden has closed the gap considerably, as late Wednesday morning he had just under 2.5 million votes, while Trump at the time had just over 3 million.
If Biden is declared the winner in Pennsylvania — which is allotted 20 electoral votes — that would put him over the 270 electoral votes needed to win the presidency. Biden's electoral vote total as of Thursday morning remained at 253.
The number of ballots left to count in Pennsylvania appears to be a point of contention — and certainly will change as new batches are added to the total. But Julian Routh, the politics reporter for the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette, has been closely following the Pennsylvania returns and noted just after 1 a.m. Thursday that, by his estimates, there were about 488,000 mail-in ballots left to count.
The New York Times reported early Wednesday that Biden was winning absentee ballots by an overwhelming margin, according to data from the secretary of state, and that he'd take the Keystone State if the trend continued.
The other side of the aisle
The Trump camp on Wednesday afternoon saw things differently.
"We are declaring a victory in Pennsylvania," Trump's campaign manager Bill Stepien said during a media call, according to Time White House Correspondent Tessa Berenson. "This is not based on gut or feel. This is based on math."
In addition, the Associated Press reported late Wednesday that Trump's campaign is suing to stop the Pennsylvania vote count over lack of "transparency" and is seeking to intervene in the Supreme Court case. Fox News said the lawsuit is meant to overturn a SCOTUS decision that allows Pennsylvania to continue counting mail-in ballots received after Tuesday until Friday, as long as they were postmarked by Nov. 3.
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The Supreme Court last month ruled 4-4 to keep a lower court decision in place that allows ballots postmarked by Election Day to be counted for another three days despite a Republican request for a stay on that decision. And last week the high court denied a Republican request to fast-track their appeal to block the extended deadline.
Trump campaign manager Justin Clark accused Democrats of "scheming" to "disenfranchise and dilute" Republican votes.
"Pennsylvania's unhinged, radical left Secretary of State Kathy Boockvar has tried her hardest to bake in a backdoor to victory for Joe Biden with late, illegal ballots in collusion with the partisan state supreme court," Clark said in a statement, according to Fox News.
"The United States Constitution is clear on this issue: the legislature sets the time, place, and manner of elections in America, not state courts or executive officials," Clark added, according to the cable network.