US President Donald Trump has repeated unsubstantiated claims that the Democrats are trying to steal the US election.
In an extraordinary speech at the White House on Friday (AEDT) Mr Trump falsely claimed he has won key states that no US network has called.
“If you count the legal votes, I easily win. If you count the illegal votes, they can try to steal the election from us.”
“We were up by nearly 700,000 votes in Pennsylvania. I won Pennsylvania by a lot and it gets riddled down to a think by 90,000 votes and they keep coming and coming and they find them all over,” he said.
Mr Trump also laid claim to winning Georgia.
“In Georgia, I won by a lot, with a lead getting close to 300,000 votes on election night in Georgia and by the way you got whittled down and now it is getting to a point where I go from winning by a lot to perhaps being even down a little bit.”
However, latest reports indicate the state is too close to call, with Mr Trump’s lead having been cut to just 3635 votes, a lead of just 0.07 per cent.
A weary looking Mr Trump used provocative language to cast doubt on the counting of mail-in ballots, saying he believed matters would end up “at the highest court in the land”.
“In Philadelphia, observers are being kept faraway, very far away, so far that people are using binoculars to try and see and that has been tremendous problems cause.
“They put paper on all of the windows so you cannot see in and the people that are bad are very unhappy and become somewhat violent.”
Mr Trump went on to characterise much of the vote counting as “corrupt”, focusing on the issue of mail-in ballots.
“I have been talking about mail-in voting for a long time and it has destroyed our system. It is a corrupt system and it makes people corrupt even if they are not by nature but they become corrupt. It is too easy,” he said.
“They want to find out how many votes they need and then they seem to be able to find them, they wait and wait, and then they find them and we see that on election night.
“Democrat officials believe they could never win the election and that is why they did the mail-in ballots where there is tremendous corruption and fraud going on.
“Tens of millions of unsolicited ballots without any measures whatsoever and I told everybody that these things would happen because I have seen it happen.”
His presidential rival Joe Biden earlier called for calm, as competing protests unfold on the America’s streets as counting continues in key battleground states.
The Democrat challenger is hopeful counting of mail-in ballots will deliver him enough votes to capture the 270 votes to deliver the presidency.
I ask people to stay calm.
The process is working.
The count is being completed.
— Joe Biden (@JoeBiden) November 5, 2020
Mr Trump had previously taken to Twitter to continue his ongoing attack on the vote-counting process, demanding it be stopped and repeating his accusations of fraud.
Mr Biden spoke briefly at the Queen Theatre in Wilmington, Delaware, flanked by Senator Kamala Harris, as the outcome in Pennsylvania and a few other states remained too close to call.
“The senator and I continue to feel very good about where things stand,” Mr Biden said.
“We have no doubt that when the count is finished, Senator Harris and I will be declared the winners.”
Mr Biden said he had received a briefing on the coronavirus pandemic. He also said that democracy is sometimes “messy” and requires “patience”.
“I ask everyone to stay calm,” he said. “The process is working. The count is being completed, and we’ll know very soon.”
Mr Trump has not spoken publicly since his appearance early Wednesday morning at the White House, in which he claimed that he had won and alleged election fraud.
Media tallies have given Mr Biden either 253 electoral votes or 264 votes, depending on whether the media outlet has called Arizona for Mr Biden.
Mr Biden leads in Arizona by 68,000 votes, but that lead is expected to narrow as more ballots are counted Thursday and Friday.
Mr Biden’s lead in Nevada expanded to about 11,000 votes early on Thursday when ballots from Clark County were added to the tally.
Mr Trump’s campaign lost court rulings in the closely-contested states of Georgia and Michigan, even as it vowed to bring a new lawsuit challenging what it called voting irregularities in Nevada.
In the Georgia case, the campaign alleged 53 late-arriving ballots were mixed with on-time ballots. In Michigan, it had sought to stop votes from being counted and obtain greater access to the tabulation process.
State judges tossed out both the suits on Thursday.
Judge James Bass, a superior court judge in Georgia, said there was “no evidence” that the ballots in question were invalid.
In the Michigan case, Judge Cynthia Stephens said: “I have no basis to find that there is a substantial likelihood of success on the merits.”
Trump allies alleged that there had been voting irregularities in Nevada’s populous Clark County, which includes Las Vegas.
A Trump campaign spokeswoman did not respond to requests for comment on the Michigan and Georgia rulings.
Mr Trump’s lead in Georgia is less than 10,000 votes.
Pennsylvania could report enough ballots by the end of the day for a call there. Mr Trump’s lead in that state shrunk to less than 100,000, with about 340,000 mail ballots left to count.
The Biden campaign has said it expects to prevail there once all ballots are counted.