Biden edges closer to presidency by overtaking Trump in Georgia and Pennsylvania

Joe Biden was edging closer to victory in the presidential race as he overtook the lead in the key battleground states of Pennsylvania and Georgia in potentially decisive moments.

With forecasts putting him just one state from victory, the Democratic challenger surpassed Donald Trump in the swing states on Fridays as officials continued counting votes.

Former vice president Mr Biden overhauled the Republican incumbent's leads by more than 9,000 votes in Pennsylvania and more than 1,500 in Georgia.

Mr Trump, who is mounting legal challenges to improve his chances of re-election amid baseless allegations of fraud, has to win both of those states if he is to stay in contention.

Georgia, which the president won by more than 200,000 votes in 2016, has not been won by the Democrats since 1992. Pennsylvania, Mr Biden's birth state, was narrowly seized from the Democrats by Mr Trump in the last election.

The president said in a statement in Friday evening: "From the beginning we have said that all legal ballots must be counted and all illegal ballots should not be counted, yet we have met resistance to this basic principle by Democrats at every turn.

"We will pursue this process through every aspect of the law to guarantee that the American people have confidence in our government. I will never give up fighting for you and our nation."

Mr Biden was expected to address the nation later on Friday night.

He earlier appealed for calm and patience in stark contrast to Mr Trump who used an extraordinary White House press conference to scatter unsubstantiated claims that he was being cheated out of re-election as he launched legal battles.

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NORTH LAS VEGAS, NEVADA - NOVEMBER 05: President Donald Trump supporters protest outside the Clark County Election Department, where ballots from the election are being counted, on November 5, 2020 in North Las Vegas, Nevada. Democratic presidential nominee Joe Biden holds a slim lead over Donald Trump in the battleground state, which is still too close to call after Tuesday's election. (Photo by Ethan Miller/Getty Images)
PHILADELPHIA, PA - NOVEMBER 5: Supporters of President Trump gather outside the Pennsylvania Convention Center to protest mail in ballots being counted to determine the winner of the 2020 Presidential election in the state on November 5, 2020 in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania. (Photo by Andrew Lichtenstein/Corbis via Getty Images)
A woman yells her anger in a microphone as Trump supporters gather in front of the Maricopa County Election Department where ballots are counted after the US presidential election in Phoenix, Arizona, on November 5, 2020. - President Donald Trump erupted on November 5 in a tirade of unsubstantiated claims that he has been cheated out of winning the US election as vote counting across battleground states showed Democrat Joe Biden steadily closing in on victory. (Photo by OLIVIER TOURON / AFP) (Photo by OLIVIER TOURON/AFP via Getty Images)
PHILADELPHIA, PA - NOVEMBER 5: Anti-Trump voters hold a dance party and demand that every ballot be counted outside the Pennsylvania Convention Center where mail in ballots are being counted to determine the winner of the 2020 Presidential election in the state on November 5, 2020 in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania. (Photo by Andrew Lichtenstein/Corbis via Getty Images)
Jake A, 33, aka Yellowstone Wolf, from Phoenix, holds a QAnon sign, as he presents himself as a shamanist and consultant for the Trump supporters gathered in front of the Maricopa County Election Department where ballots are counted after the US presidential election in Phoenix, Arizona, on November 5, 2020. - President Donald Trump erupted on November 5 in a tirade of unsubstantiated claims that he has been cheated out of winning the US election as vote counting across battleground states showed Democrat Joe Biden steadily closing in on victory. (Photo by OLIVIER TOURON / AFP) (Photo by OLIVIER TOURON/AFP via Getty Images)
NORTH LAS VEGAS, NEVADA - NOVEMBER 05: President Donald Trump supporters protest outside the Clark County Election Department, where ballots from the election are being counted, on November 5, 2020 in North Las Vegas, Nevada. Democratic presidential nominee Joe Biden holds a slim lead over Donald Trump in the battleground state, which is still too close to call after Tuesday's election. (Photo by Ethan Miller/Getty Images)
DETROIT, MICHIGAN - NOVEMBER 05: Trump supporters mix with counter protesters outside the TCF election center November 05, 2020 in Detroit, Michigan. Two days after the U.S. presidential election, states continue counting votes as protesters stage dueling demonstrations outside election centers. (Photo by John Moore/Getty Images)
US President Donald Trump looks on after speaking during election night in the East Room of the White House in Washington, DC, early on November 4, 2020. (Photo by MANDEL NGAN / AFP) (Photo by MANDEL NGAN/AFP via Getty Images)
Protesters burn the American flag outside the Mark O. Hatfield United States Courthouse in Portland, Oregon, on November 4, 2020. - President Donald Trump and Democratic challenger Joe Biden are battling it out for the White House, with polls closed across the United States Tuesday -- and a long night of waiting for results in key battlegrounds on the cards. (Photo by Ankur Dholakia / AFP) (Photo by ANKUR DHOLAKIA/AFP via Getty Images)
WASHINGTON, DC - NOVEMBER 04: Vice President Mike Pence speaks as U.S. President Donald Trump and first lady Melania Trump watch on election night in the East Room of the White House in the early morning hours of November 04, 2020 in Washington, DC. Trump spoke shortly after 2am with the presidential race against Democratic presidential nominee Joe Biden still too close to call. (Photo by Chip Somodevilla/Getty Images)
WILMINGTON, DELAWARE - NOVEMBER 04: Democratic presidential nominee Joe Biden speaks at a drive-in election night event as Dr. Jill Biden looks on at the Chase Center in the early morning hours of November 04, 2020 in Wilmington, Delaware. Biden spoke shortly after midnight with the presidential race against Donald Trump still too close to call. (Photo by Win McNamee/Getty Images)
TRAVERSE CITY, MI - NOVEMBER 02: Guests wait for President Donald Trump to speaks at a rally on November 2, 2020 in Traverse City, Michigan. President Trump and former Vice President Democratic presidential nominee Joe Biden are making multiple stops in swing states ahead of the general election on November 3rd. (Photo by Rey Del Rio/Getty Images)
PITTSBURGH, UNITED STATES - 2020/11/03: Young students female voters with "Every Vote Counts" hoodies. On the University of Pittsburgh campus many students organizing get out the vote campaigns through signs, stickers, and text messaging their friends during the United States Election Day. (Photo by Aaron Jackendoff/SOPA Images/LightRocket via Getty Images)
BEIJING, CHINA - NOVEMBER 04: A waitress wears a protective mask as she watches a speech by U.S. President Donald Trump on a television during an election watching event at a local bar on November 4, 2020 in Beijing, China. After a record-breaking early voting turnout, Americans head to the polls on the last day to cast their vote for incumbent U.S. President Donald Trump or Democratic nominee Joe Biden in the 2020 presidential election. (Photo by Kevin Frayer/Getty Images)
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WASHINGTON, DC - NOVEMBER 03: President Donald Trump arrives at the White House on Marine One on November 3, 2020 in Washington, DC. The President is returning from his final campaign rallies before polls open for the Presidential Election. (Photo by Samuel Corum/Getty Images)
CHARLESTON, SC - NOVEMBER 03: A woman casts her vote at the Hazel Parker Playground on Election Day on November 3, 2020 in Charleston, United States. After a record-breaking early voting turnout, Americans head to the polls on the last day to cast their vote for incumbent U.S. President Donald Trump or Democratic nominee Joe Biden in the 2020 presidential election. (Photo by Michael Ciaglo/Getty Images)
WASHINGTON, D.C., USA - NOVEMBER 3, 2020: A voter wears a face mask and a face shield outside a polling station on Election Day during the 2020 general elections. The USA elect a president and vice president, 35 Senators, all 435 members of the House of Representatives, 13 governors of 11 states and two US territories, as well as state and local government officials. Incumbent Republican President Donald Trump and Democratic Party nominee Joe Biden are running for president. Yegor Aleyev/TASS (Photo by Yegor Aleyev\TASS via Getty Images)
Kosovo artist Alkent Pozhegu works on the final touches of an image made with grain and seed, depicting the portrait of Joe Biden, the US Democratic presidential nominee, in the town of Gjakova on November 3, 2020. - The United States started voting on November 3, 2020, in an election amounting to a referendum on Donald Trump's uniquely brash and bruising presidency, which Democratic opponent and frontrunner Joe Biden urged Americans to end to restore "our democracy." (Photo by Armend NIMANI / AFP) / RESTRICTED TO EDITORIAL USE - MANDATORY MENTION OF THE ARTIST UPON PUBLICATION - TO ILLUSTRATE THE EVENT AS SPECIFIED IN THE CAPTION (Photo by ARMEND NIMANI/AFP via Getty Images)
WASHINGTON, D.C., USA - NOVEMBER 3, 2020: A voter wears a face mask outside a polling station on Election Day as she waits in line to vote in the 2020 general elections.The USA elect a president and vice president, 35 Senators, all 435 members of the House of Representatives, 13 governors of 11 states and two US territories, as well as state and local government officials. Incumbent Republican President Donald Trump and Democratic Party nominee Joe Biden are running for president. Yegor Aleyev/TASS (Photo by Yegor Aleyev\TASS via Getty Images)
Conservative activists prepare flags as they gather to mark the US election day outside the US embassy in Seoul on November 3, 2020. (Photo by Ed JONES / AFP) (Photo by ED JONES/AFP via Getty Images)
OAKMONT, PA - NOVEMBER 03: Cookies representing the presidential candidates for sale at the Oakmont Bakery on November 3, 2020 in Oakmont, Pennsylvania. After a record-breaking early voting turnout, Americans head to the polls on the last day to cast their vote for incumbent U.S. President Donald Trump or Democratic nominee Joe Biden in the 2020 presidential election. (Photo by Jeff Swensen/Getty Images)
Democratic presidential candidate Joe Biden departs Wilmington, Delaware on November 3, 2020. - The United States started voting Tuesday in an election amounting to a referendum on Donald Trump's uniquely brash and bruising presidency, which Democratic opponent and frontrunner Joe Biden urged Americans to end to restore "our democracy." (Photo by Angela Weiss / AFP) (Photo by ANGELA WEISS/AFP via Getty Images)
NEW YORK CITY, USA - NOVEMBER 3, 2020: A polling station in Manhattan on Election Day. The USA elect a president and vice president, 35 Senators, all 435 members of the House of Representatives, 13 governors of 11 states and two US territories, as well as state and local government officials. Incumbent Republican President Donald Trump and Democratic Party nominee Joe Biden are running for president. Maria Khrenova/TASS (Photo by Maria Khrenova\TASS via Getty Images)
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US President Donald Trump stands on stage with Vice President Mike Pence at the conclusion of his final Make America Great Again rally of the 2020 US Presidential campaign at Gerald R. Ford International Airport November 3, 2020, in Grand Rapids, Michigan. (Photo by Brendan Smialowski / AFP) (Photo by BRENDAN SMIALOWSKI/AFP via Getty Images)
US President Donald Trump (back) leaves after speaking at his final Make America Great Again rally of the 2020 US Presidential campaign at Gerald R. Ford International Airport November 3, 2020, in Grand Rapids, Michigan. (Photo by Brendan Smialowski / AFP) (Photo by BRENDAN SMIALOWSKI/AFP via Getty Images)
Tom Tillotson drops his son's Tanner's ballot into the ballot box at the Hale House at the historic Balsams Resort during midnight voting as part of the first ballots cast in the United States Presidential Election in Dixville Notch, New Hampshire on November 3, 2020. - Voters in Dixville Notch, a village of 12 residents in the US state of New Hampshire, kicked off Election Day at the stroke of midnight on Tuesday by voting unanimously for Democratic nominee Joe Biden. (Photo by Joseph Prezioso / AFP) (Photo by JOSEPH PREZIOSO/AFP via Getty Images)
The votes are tallied, five in favor of Former vice-president and Democratic presidential nominee Joe Biden against zero for US President Donald Trump during the historic midnight vote at the Hale House at the historic Balsams Resort during midnight voting as part of the first ballots cast in the United States Presidential Election in Dixville Notch, New Hampshire on November 3, 2020. - Voters in Dixville Notch, a village of 12 residents in the US state of New Hampshire, kicked off Election Day at the stroke of midnight on Tuesday by voting unanimously for Democratic nominee Joe Biden. (Photo by Joseph Prezioso / AFP) (Photo by JOSEPH PREZIOSO/AFP via Getty Images)
KENOSHA, WISCONSIN, USA - NOVEMBER 2: Supporters gather for U.S. President Donald J. Trumpâs a campaign rally held at the Kenosha Regional Airport in Kenosha, Wisconsin, United States on November 02, 2020. (Photo by Joshua T. Kozlowski/Anadolu Agency via Getty Images)
Vice President Mike Pence before US President Donald Trump's final Make America Great Again rally of the 2020 US Presidential campaign at Gerald R. Ford International Airport on November 2, 2020, in Grand Rapids, Michigan. (Photo by JEFF KOWALSKY / AFP) (Photo by JEFF KOWALSKY/AFP via Getty Images)
A supporter of US President Donald Trump wears an anti Gretchen Whitmer mask as people arrive to attend his final Make America Great Again rally of the 2020 US Presidential campaign at Gerald R. Ford International Airport on November 2, 2020, in Grand Rapids, Michigan. (Photo by JEFF KOWALSKY / AFP) (Photo by JEFF KOWALSKY/AFP via Getty Images)
Supporters of US President Donald Trump arrive for his final Make America Great Again rally of the 2020 US Presidential campaign at Gerald R. Ford International Airport on November 2, 2020, in Grand Rapids, Michigan. (Photo by JEFF KOWALSKY / AFP) (Photo by JEFF KOWALSKY/AFP via Getty Images)
WASHINGTON, D.C., UNITED STATES - NOVEMBER 2, 2020: Election commission members at Super Vote Center at the University of the District of Columbia (UDC) during early voting in the 2020 US presidential election. The country elects a president and vice president, 35 Senators, all 435 members of the House of Representatives, 13 governors of 11 states and two US territories, as well as state and local government officials. Incumbent Republican President Donald Trump and Democratic Party nominee Joe Biden are running for president. Vladimir Kostyrev/TASS (Photo by Vladimir Kostyrev\TASS via Getty Images)
WASHINGTON, D.C., UNITED STATES - NOVEMBER 2, 2020: A woman in a face mask at Super Vote Center at the University of the District of Columbia (UDC) during early voting in the 2020 US presidential election. The country elects a president and vice president, 35 Senators, all 435 members of the House of Representatives, 13 governors of 11 states and two US territories, as well as state and local government officials. Incumbent Republican President Donald Trump and Democratic Party nominee Joe Biden are running for president. Vladimir Kostyrev/TASS (Photo by Vladimir Kostyrev\TASS via Getty Images)
AVOCA, PENNSYLVANIA - NOVEMBER 02: President Donald Trump speaks at a rally on November 02, 2020 in Avoca, Pennsylvania. Donald Trump is crossing the crucial state of Pennsylvania in the last days of campaigning before Americans go to the polls on November 3rd to vote. Trump is currently trailing his opponent Joe Biden in most national polls. (Photo by Taylor Hill/Getty Images)
PHILADELPHIA, PA - NOVEMBER 02: Democratic vice presidential nominee Sen. Kamala Harris (D-CA) and husband, Douglas Emhoff, embrace on stage after Democratic presidential nominee Joe Biden spoke in Pittsburgh at a simultaneous drive-in election eve rally on November 2, 2020 in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania. Democratic presidential nominee Joe Biden, who is originally from Scranton, Pennsylvania, remains ahead of President Donald Trump by about six points, according to a recent polling average. With the election tomorrow, Trump held four rallies across Pennsylvania over the weekend, as he vies to recapture the Keystone State's vital 20 electoral votes. In 2016, he carried Pennsylvania by only 44,292 votes out of more than 6 million cast, less than a 1 percent differential, becoming the first Republican to claim victory here since 1988. (Photo by Mark Makela/Getty Images)
PHILADELPHIA, PA - NOVEMBER 02: Democratic vice presidential nominee Sen. Kamala Harris (D-CA) takes the stage to speak at a drive-in election eve rally on November 2, 2020 in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania. Democratic presidential nominee Joe Biden, who is originally from Scranton, Pennsylvania, remains ahead of President Donald Trump by about six points, according to a recent polling average. With the election tomorrow, Trump held four rallies across Pennsylvania over the weekend, as he vies to recapture the Keystone State's vital 20 electoral votes. In 2016, he carried Pennsylvania by only 44,292 votes out of more than 6 million cast, less than a 1 percent differential, becoming the first Republican to claim victory here since 1988. (Photo by Mark Makela/Getty Images)
WASHINGTON, D.C., UNITED STATES - NOVEMBER 2, 2020: A woman in a face mask casts a ballot at Super Vote Center at the University of the District of Columbia (UDC) during early voting in the 2020 US presidential election. Yegor Aleyev/TASS (Photo by Yegor Aleyev\TASS via Getty Images)
BETHLEHEM, PA - NOVEMBER 02: Greg Snyder wears a campaign themed face mask while listening to Sen. Kamala Harris (D-CA) speaks at a drive-in rally on the eve of the general election on November 2, 2020 in Bethlehem, Pennsylvania. Democratic presidential nominee Joe Biden, who is originally from Scranton, Pennsylvania, remains ahead of President Donald Trump by about six points, according to a recent polling average. With the election tomorrow, Trump held four rallies across Pennsylvania over the weekend, as he vies to recapture the Keystone State's vital 20 electoral votes. In 2016, he carried Pennsylvania by only 44,292 votes out of more than 6 million cast, less than a 1 percent differential, becoming the first Republican to claim victory here since 1988. (Photo by Mark Makela/Getty Images)
PHILADELPHIA, PA - NOVEMBER 02: Model Chrissy Teigen, wife of singer John Legend, waits before taking the stage before Democratic vice presidential nominee Sen. Kamala Harris (D-CA) speaks at a drive-in election eve rally on November 2, 2020 in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania. Democratic presidential nominee Joe Biden, who is originally from Scranton, Pennsylvania, remains ahead of President Donald Trump by about six points, according to a recent polling average. With the election tomorrow, Trump held four rallies across Pennsylvania over the weekend, as he vies to recapture the Keystone State's vital 20 electoral votes. In 2016, he carried Pennsylvania by only 44,292 votes out of more than 6 million cast, less than a 1 percent differential, becoming the first Republican to claim victory here since 1988. (Photo by Mark Makela/Getty Images)
DETROIT, MI - NOVEMBER 04: Workers with the Detroit Department of Elections inspect absentee ballot at the Central Counting Board in the TCF Center on November 4, 2020 in Detroit, Michigan. After a record-breaking early voting turnout, Americans head to the polls on the last day to cast their vote for incumbent U.S. President Donald Trump or Democratic nominee Joe Biden in the 2020 presidential election. (Photo by Elaine Cromie/Getty Images)
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In Georgia, the former vice president took a slender lead over Mr Trump with an estimated 98% of the ballots counted.

Both there and in Pennsylvania, recounts are expected under state law if there is less than half a percentage point between the two candidates.

The winner needs to collect 270 electoral college votes by winning states. Victory in Pennsylvania, where around 5% of ballots still need counting, would hand the presidency to Mr Biden by all counts with its 20 votes.

Georgia, with 16 electoral votes, is a more complicated scenario.

Not everyone agrees that Mr Biden has beyond all probability won in Arizona, and without that Georgia would leave him one vote short of overall victory.

He has secured victories in the battleground states of Wisconsin and Michigan, but Nevada and North Carolina also remain too close to call after Tuesday's election.

Prime Minister Boris Johnson continued to say he has "every confidence" in the checks and balances of the American constitution and said he would "work closely with whoever is the president" but declined to comment further.

Mr Trump on Thursday night alleged he is the victim of interference from "phoney polls" as well as "big media, big money and big tech" and the Republicans took court action in attempts to improve his chances of victory.

"If you count the legal votes, I easily won. If you count the illegal votes, they can try to steal the election from us," Mr Trump said, with multiple major US television networks pulling away from his baseless claims, which he has provided no evidence to support.

Earlier Mr Biden had used a measured tone to say "democracy is sometimes messy, it sometimes requires a little patience". He added that he had "no doubt" he will eventually be declared the winner.

"Each ballot must be counted and that's what we're going to see going through now and that's how it should be," he said from a stage in his hometown of Wilmington, Delaware, next to his running mate Kamala Harris.

Elections are run by individual state, county and local governments, and Mr Trump's public comments have no impact on the tallying of votes across the country.

The Trump campaign requested a recount in Wisconsin and filed lawsuits in Pennsylvania, Michigan and Georgia.

ELECTION US
(PA Graphics)

But judges in Michigan and Georgia dismissed the actions launched by the Trump campaign. Additional legal action was also expected in Nevada, the campaign indicated.

Georgia's secretary of state Brad Raffensperger said there would be a recount in the state "with a margin that small".

"The interest in our election obviously goes far behind Georgia's borders. The final tally in Georgia at this point has huge implications for the entire country," the Republican told reporters.

"The stakes are high and emotions are high on all sides. We will not let those debates distract us from our work, we will get it right and we will defend the integrity of our elections."

The Associated Press news agency, which PA relies on to call states, has projected Mr Biden as winning Arizona and its 11 electoral college votes.

That looks likely as he has a strong lead with more than 90% of the votes tallied, but Mr Trump's campaign disagrees and other news organisations are not so certain.

The appearance of Mr Biden coming back from behind is an artificial one. Many of the outstanding ballots are postal votes and absentee ballots which are being added to the tally later than their in-person counterparts.

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