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Biden gains ground on Trump in Georgia and Pennsylvania
[WASHINGTON] Democratic presidential candidate Joe Biden took a narrow lead over President Donald Trump in the battleground states of Georgia and Pennsylvania on Friday, edging closer to winning the White House in a nail-biting contest as a handful of undecided states continue to count votes.
Mr Biden has a 253 to 214 lead in the state-by-state Electoral College vote that determines the winner, according to most major television networks. Winning Pennsylvania's 20 electoral votes would put the former vice president over the 270 he needs to secure the presidency, while taking just Georgia's 16 electoral votes would put him on the cusp of victory.
In Pennsylvania, Mr Biden moved ahead of Trump by 5,500 votes on Friday morning, while in Georgia, he had opened up a 1,097-vote lead.
Mr Biden, 77, would become the next president by winning Pennsylvania, or by winning two out of the trio of Georgia, Nevada and Arizona. Mr Trump's likeliest path appears narrower - he needs to hang onto both Pennsylvania and Georgia and also to overtake Mr Biden in either Nevada or Arizona.
Mr Biden moved ahead of Mr Trump by 1,097 votes in Georgia, where counting continued early on Friday.
The shift in Georgia came hours after Mr Trump appeared at the White House to falsely claim the election was being "stolen" from him. His campaign is pursuing a series of lawsuits across battleground states that legal experts described as unlikely to succeed in altering the election outcome.
Mr Trump's lead had steadily diminished in Georgia, a Southern state that has not voted for a Democratic presidential nominee since Bill Clinton took the White House in 1992, as officials worked through tens of thousands of uncounted votes, many from Democratic strongholds such as Atlanta.
The Georgia secretary of state reported late on Thursday there were about 14,000 ballots still to count in the state.
The state also will have to sift through votes from military personnel and overseas residents as well as provisional ballots cast on Election Day by voters who had problems with their registration or identification.
Mr Biden has been steadily chipping away at the Republican incumbent's lead in Pennsylvania as well. His deficit there had been as high as 678,000 votes early on Wednesday.
Mr Biden also maintained slim advantages in Arizona and Nevada.
In Arizona, his lead narrowed to about 47,000 votes, and in Nevada he was ahead by about 11,500.
As the country held its breath for a result in the White House race, Georgia and Pennsylvania officials expressed optimism they would finish counting on Friday, while Arizona and Nevada were still expected to take days to complete their vote totals.