US Elections: What you need to know right now in 500 words

With five yet-to-be decided states still counting ballots, Joe Biden has a lead in projected Electoral College votes.

Counter-protesters chant during a 'Stop the Steal' protest by supporters of President Donald Trump at an election centre in Las Vegas, Nevada, on November 4 [Steve Marcus/Reuters]

The race for the presidency between Joe Biden and Donald Trump is coming down to a count of ballots in Pennsylvania and four other states after Biden secured wins in Wisconsin and Michigan.

For President Trump, the math is not encouraging. Biden holds a lead in the Electoral College. Pennsylvania’s 20 electoral votes would put him over the 270 he needs to win.

Biden, who is 77, was born in Scranton, Pennsylvania, a Rust Belt industrial city in the state’s northeast. He and Trump campaigned hard there. Biden leads the state presently by 142,000 votes, or 2.6 percent, according to data reported by The Associated Press news agency.

There are about 700,000 mail ballots still to be counted in Pennsylvania. Most of those are from Philadelphia and surrounding suburbs where Biden has been leading the race.

Georgia meanwhile is a cliffhanger. Trump’s lead in Georgia dwindled overnight to just 18,000 votes, or about 0.4 percent, as more ballots were counted.

Small but aggressive crowds sprung up in Phoenix, Arizona, Detroit, Michigan and Las Vegas, Nevada where votes are still being counted. The Trump campaign has filed lawsuits seeking to stop the counts and challenge ballots in key states. The Biden campaign is demanding every vote be counted.

The president tweeted his displeasure with the process on Thursday morning.

Democratic lawyers scoffed at the Trump campaign’s new lawsuits in Pennsylvania, Michigan and Georgia, saying they appeared to lack merit.

Pennsylvania Attorney General Josh Shapiro has maintained that all votes would be counted and urged the president to stop his threats and tweets.

Both campaigns, however, are assembling teams of lawyers and raising money for legal battles that could draw out the election process for several weeks.

In Philadelphia, the president’s personal lawyer Rudy Giuliani joined the president’s son Eric Trump on Wednesday to accuse Pennsylvania Democrats of fraud. There has been no evidence of any improper voting or ballot counting.

The president’s opponents in New York, Portland, Seattle and other cities marched on Wednesday to demand a complete tally of the ballots.

In Arizona, Biden leads by some 68,000 votes, or a 2.4 percent margin. Trump was gaining on him as mail ballots have been counted but the AP has declared Biden the winner in Arizona, flipping the longtime Republican state that Trump won in 2016.

Nevada is expected to release more results on Thursday that could help determine the likely outcome there.

At stake in Nevada are six Electoral votes. Arizona has 11 Electoral votes. Their 17 combined would give Biden the presidency if he wins both.

Some states appear headed for potential recounts including Wisconsin where Biden leads by about 20,000 votes. In Georgia, regardless of who wins, the final margin of victory could be less than half a percent.

The Biden campaign on Wednesday launched its transition website – – announcing it is preparing to assume the presidency.

“The transition team will continue preparing at full speed so that the Biden-Harris Administration can hit the ground running on Day One,” it said.

Source: Al Jazeera and news agencies