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Biden eyes 270 as counts continue



Former U.S. Vice President Joe Biden took a major step forward in the 2020 presidential election Wednesday with wins in Michigan and Wisconsin, two of the three key battleground states.

Both are typically blue states President Donald Trump flipped from the Democrats in 2016 when he defeated former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton.

The two wins put Biden on the verge of clinching a victory, even without a decision in the third battleground state of Pennsylvania.

The president’s campaign is calling on the U.S. Supreme Court to halt vote counting in Pennsylvania and is asking for a recount in Wisconsin.

Nikkei Asia is following the results live. For all our coverage on the election, visit our U.S. Elections 2020 page.

Here are the latest developments (U.S. Eastern time):

Thursday, Nov. 5

1:50 a.m. Taiwanese President Tsai Ing-Wen has posted a message on her Facebook page, offering her people three assurances:

1) That her government will closely monitor the Taiwan Strait situation and maintain domestic political and economic stability.

2) That Taiwan will continue close exchanges with U.S. Republicans and Democrats alike.

3) That she has confidence that “supporting Taiwan” is the mainstream consensus in the U.S.

1:30 a.m. In Thailand, the chairman of the Federation of Thai Industries is hopeful that a Biden win would ease tensions between the U.S. and China — with knock-on benefits for his country, the region and the world economy.

FTI Chairman Supant Mongkolsuthree tells Nikkei Asia that although the trade war will not end immediately, “we still believe that the trade and investment outlook would be better and world trade would get back to normal, which is good for every country.” But he says Thailand would be closely watching Biden’s policies on the environment and human rights, wary that these issues could become nontariff trade barriers that “disrupt Thai exports in the future.”

12:45 a.m. The next update on Georgia is likely to come when the secretary of state there briefs the press at 10:30 a.m., according to a CNN correspondent, who notes there were about 90,000 outstanding ballots at last count.

12:30 a.m. In Indonesia, Trump’s premature victory claim in the early hours of Wednesday gave some a feeling of deja vu. 

Trump’s speech “is actually not too surprising for Indonesia because Prabowo had done that, too,” Kompas TV executive producer Aiman Witjaksono said earlier on a talk show, referring to Prabowo Subianto’s claims and accusations of fraud after two bitterly fought races he lost to President Joko Widodo.

Meanwhile, Indonesia’s former ambassador to the U.S., Dino Patti Djalal, is hopeful that bilateral relations would improve under a Biden administration.

“Biden is an international relations expert” Djalal notes, citing his experience as a senator and vice president. “That is different from Trump, who had dealt with businesses all the time before he became the president.”

12:15 a.m. As “Election Day” drags into yet another day, tentative reactions from around Asia continue to trickle in.

India’s foreign secretary, Harsh Vardhan Shringla, tells Germany’s DW News that his country’s ties with the U.S. can withstand any election outcome.

“Our relations with the United States are really based on bipartisan support — you see it in Congress, you see it at the public levels,” he said. He acknowledged that Trump and Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi developed a “special” rapport, but stressed Modi had a good relationship with former President Barack Obama and that Biden clearly “values a strong India-U.S. strategic partnership.”

Wednesday, Nov. 4

11:40 p.m. Pennsylvania’s secretary of state, Kathy Boockvar, has told U.S. media that the swing state is on track to finish counting its remaining ballots by Thursday local time.

11:20 p.m. Tensions flared in New York earlier tonight, after protesters took to the streets to demand that all ballots be counted. Demonstrators also chanted Black Lives Matter slogans, and sporadic clashes with police resulted in arrests.  

10:45 p.m. The race in Georgia is tightening. Trump now leads Biden by fewer than 32,000 votes, according to figures from the New York Times, which has pointed out that most of the remaining ballots are from counties that lean Democratic. 

10:20 p.m. Speaking to media, Biden said he was confident of winning Wisconsin, Michigan and Pennsylvania.

“Democracy is the heartbeat of this nation,” he said. “When the count is finished, we believe we will be the winners.

“Every vote must be counted. No one is going to take our democracy away from us. Not now, not ever.”

10:06 p.m. Biden’s running mate, Kamala Harris, is also calling for the electoral rules to be followed.

10:04 p.m. Japan’s equity benchmark Nikkei Stock Average topped the 24,000 line for the first time in more than nine months with investors buying semiconductor and other tech stocks after a rally in Wall Street. However, the index struggled to maintain the momentum and quickly lost steam as the election outcome remains unclear and the Trump campaign’s lawsuits weighing heavy on market sentiment.

9:53 p.m. In an interview with CNN Philippines, President Duterte’s spokesperson Harry Roque was asked about the impact of the US presidential election’s outcome on ties between the countries. Roque said he expects no major changes in relations with the U.S. but acknowledged “personal relations” between Duterte and Trump.

“And even of there is a new president, I am not saying that there will be, but in case there is a new president of the United States in the person of Senator Biden, I am confident that the resident can also developed close personal friendship with Mr. Biden,” Roque said. “May the best man win as of now.”

9:21 p.m. Taiwanese President Tsai Ing-wen said Wednesday that Taiwan would respect the U.S. people’s choice of the leader, and would do whatever Taiwan can to continue to seek strong support from the U.S. “Currently, we see strong and solid support for Taiwan from U.S. mainstream public opinions, and we will continue to deepen that trend of engagement and support.”

A spokesperson said on Thursday morning that Taiwan’s presidential office has closely monitored the developments of the vote counts and would not comment on other country’s internal affairs.

9:19 p.m. Following the tech-stock rally in the U.S., markets across Asia rose on Thursday morning. Japan’s Nikkei Stock Average climbed 1.2% while Hong Kong’s Hang Seng index jumped over 2%. China and Australia’s benchmarks also rose over 1%, and South Korea’s Kospi is up 1.6%.

Investors speculate a scenario where the Republican party maintains a majority in the Senate, which will make the U.S. government less likely to impose tighter regulations.

8:46 p.m. The AP corrects its story on the Trump campaign’s legal challenge in Georgia. The campaign has filed suit asking a judge to order Georgia election officials to follow the law on storing and counting absentee ballots, not on having Georgia pause the vote count.

8:44 p.m. On the day the U.S. officially withdraws from the Paris climate accord, Biden reiterates his pledge to rejoin it as soon as he takes office. His green policies could send ripples through Asia.

8:05 p.m. The Nikkei 225 stock index gains 1.06% on Thursday morning on expectations that the Republicans are likely to keep control of the Senate. Semiconductor manufacturers and tech related-stocks are surging in Tokyo on speculation regulations on the U.S. tech industry will not be as tough as in a Senate controlled by the Democrats.

7:42 p.m. Trump has tweeted a couple of times in the past hour, citing Breitbart News.

7:42 p.m. Trump campaign files lawsuit in Georgia — the third state in which it is making a legal challenge — as its seeks to pause the vote count in key battlegrounds.

7:05 p.m. All eyes on whether Republican lawmakers distance themselves from the president. Rep. Adam Kinzinger of Illinois replied to Trump on Twitter in harsh language. “Stop. Full stop. The votes will be counted and you will either win or lose. And America will accept that.”

If similar voices spread among the GOP, Trump will face an uphill battle.

6:10 p.m. As Trump claims victory in states that are still counting their votes, Biden supporters congregate in New York’s Bryant Park with “Count Every Vote” signs.

(Photo by Saqib Tanveer)
(Photo by Saqib Tanveer)
A person speaks on a stage as labor union activists rally at a park near the White House the day after the 2020 U.S. presidential election in Washington on Nov. 4.   © Reuters

5:53 p.m. Biden has won the most votes out of any candidate in history, according a tally from The AP.

The former vice president has gained over 70 million votes nationwide as of Wednesday afternoon, surpassing the 69.4 million votes former President Barack Obama won in 2008.

People call for the counting of every vote at New York’s Bryant Park. (Photo by Saqib Tanveer)

5:00 p.m. Twitter again adds a disclaimer to the president’s tweet. “Some or all of the content shared in this Tweet is disputed and might be misleading about an election or other civic process,” it wrote.

4:57 p.m. Trump tweets that he is claiming Pennsylvania, Michigan, Georgia and North Carolina.

4:17 p.m. CNN calls Michigan for Biden, giving him two of the three most crucial swing states. With the win, Biden needs only Arizona’s 11 votes and Nevada’s six votes to reach the 270 electoral college votes needed for victory.

4:10 p.m. Biden makes a brief statement in Wilmington, Delaware, appearing on stage with vice president candidate Sen. Kamala Harris.

Democratic presidential candidate former Vice President Joe Biden takes off his face mask as he arrives to speak in Wilmington, Delaware on Nov. 4.    © AP

“I’m not here to declare that we’ve won, but I am here to report, when the count is finished, we believe we will be the winners,” Biden says.

“Now, every vote must be counted,” he said. “No one’s going to take our democracy away from us, not now, not ever.”

U.S. recount law is governed by state law, and in Wisconsin “the rules are quite liberal, in the sense that any aggrieved candidate can bring a petition for a recount,” said Rebecca Green, co-director of the Election Law Program at William & Mary Law School.

In Michigan, where the Trump campaign has filed suit to demand observer access to counting locations and that officials halt the count until such access is given, “there’s an easy fix, which is just to give them access,” Green said.

“But the idea that that could translate to stopping the count or the count being declared illegal does not have a basis in law,” she added.

4:02 p.m. The post-Election-Day rally on the New York Stock Exchange saw the Dow Jones Industrial Average close 367 points, or 1.35%, higher at 27,847.66, marking three consecutive days of gains. The Dow rose over 800 points at one point. The wider S&P and the tech heavy Nasdaq rose 2.2% and 3.9% respectively.

The market is rife with speculation over a Biden presidency, a Republican Senate and a Democratic House.

4:00 p.m. The Trump campaign is requesting the U.S. Supreme Court to intervene in the vote counting at a key battleground state, saying “Bad things are happening in Pennsylvania.”

A statement issued by Deputy Campaign Manager Justin Clark alleges that Democratic officials “forced our observers to stay 25 feet or more from the counting process,” making it impossible to verify if the votes are being counted correctly.

The Trump team is asking the top court to temporarily halt the vote counting in the state “until there is meaningful transparency.”

3:10 p.m. The world watches closely.

An employee of the foreign exchange trading company watches a TV broadcast of U.S. President Donald Trump’s speech at a dealing room in Tokyo on Nov. 4.   © Reuters
A member of a conservative group waves a flag bearing a message of support for President Trump in front of the U.S. embassy in Seoul on Nov. 4.   © Reuters
A news report of the U.S. presidential election is seen on a television screen in Hong Kong on Nov. 4.   © Reuters

2:17 p.m. AP agrees that Biden has won Wisconsin.

2:01 p.m. CNN projects Biden win in Wisconsin, one of the key three swing states.

Election officials unpack blue bags containing ballots after Election Day at the Kenosha Municipal Building in Kenosha, Wisconsin on Nov. 4.   © Reuters

1:50 p.m. In India, supporters of U.S. vice presidential candidate Sen. Kamala Harris hold prayers near her ancestral village.

The southern Indian region where Harris’ maternal grandfather was born is rooting for the Democratic Party to win because of the family connection.

A villager carries a bucket of water and walks past a hoarding featuring U.S. Democratic vice presidential candidate Sen. Kamala Harris in Thulasendrapuram village, south of Chennai, in India on Nov. 4.   © AP

Meanwhile, a Hindu group that claims to have the support of 5 million believers is seeking divine blessings for Trump. It says it wants the president to be re-elected in order to keep India’s main rivals — Pakistan and China — in check.

A picture of U.S. President Donald Trump is seen as activists of Hindu Sena, a Hindu right-wing group, perform a special prayer to ensure his victory in the elections, in New Delhi, India on Nov. 3.    © Reuters

Over in Europe, one foreign leader seems to have jumped the gun. Slovenian Prime Minister Janez Jansa congratulates Trump for “four more years.”

1:05 p.m. The Trump campaign issues a statement requesting a recount in Wisconsin, citing irregularities.

12:45 p.m. The race to 270. Here’s our take.

12:15 p.m. The 2020 presidential election had the highest turnout rate since 1900, according to preliminary estimates by the United States Election Project.

University of Florida Professor Michael McDonald says that 160 million people voted in Tuesday’s election, for a turnout rate of 66.9%. That’s the highest in 120 years, since 73.7% turned out for the 1900 election.

Amid the coronavirus pandemic, at least 101 million Americans cast ballots before Election Day, compared with 47 million in 2016.

11:55 a.m. All of Wisconsin’s ballots have been counted. That’s according to the state’s Elections Commission Director Meagan Wolfe, who appeared on NBC via phone.

While there are no official announcements, most TV stations have Biden leading in the state. Ten electoral votes are on the line.

11:30 a.m. Amid the nail-biting vote count, the U.S. on Wednesday officially exited the Paris Agreement on climate change, fulfilling Trump’s promise to withdraw the world’s second-largest greenhouse gas emitter from the global pact.

10:30 a.m. The Dow Jones Industrial Average climbs more than 600 points Wednesday morning, as investors see the possibility of a blue sweep — where the Democrats win the White House, Senate and House — become less likely, easing fears of tax hikes and tougher regulations.

The tech-heavy Nasdaq jumped around 3.7%, with shares of Facebook, Amazon, Apple and Alphabet all up, reflecting an understanding that breakups of Big Tech were now less likely.

10:20 a.m. Trump and Biden open the day with morning tweets. The president expresses skepticism toward the vote-counting process. Biden calls for every vote to be counted.

9:30 a.m. Though the Democrats will retain a majority in the House of Representatives, hopes to flip anywhere from five to 15 Republican seats failed to materialize. “Instead, it was the Republicans who scored big,” The Hill reports, “knocking out at least a half dozen vulnerable Democrats with several more clinging to the ropes.”

“It was a reversal of fortunes for the Democrats, who had led big in the polls and the money race and were betting that President Trump at the top of the ticket would be a drag on GOP lawmakers all the way down the ballot,” the congressional news website wrote.

8:40 a.m. All four members of the “squad,” the Democratic lawmakers elected in 2018 who represent the younger political generation, won their seats. Reps. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez of New York, Ilhan Omar of Minnesota, Ayanna Pressley of Massachusetts and Rashida Tlaib of Michigan easily won reelection Tuesday night after fending off conservative challengers.

8:10 a.m. Trump leads in Pennsylvania — the largest swing state left on the table — with 85% of precincts reporting, but the race is still on. Only 44% of mail ballots have been counted as of 7:18 a.m., according to the Philadelphia Inquirer. Mail ballots that arrive by Friday, by rule, should be counted. This could change if the Supreme Court intervenes, as the president is suggesting.

7:55 a.m. Here is the state of Michigan, with 90% of the vote counted:

7:20 a.m. Democrats have a firm grip on the House of Representatives, but their roadmap to seizing a Senate majority from Republicans is rapidly narrowing. Mohamed El-Erian, chief economic adviser at Allianz, said Wednesday morning on CNBC that meaningful tax changes were now unlikely in the next two years.

“The Senate’s too close. The Senate’s not going to allow this,” he said.

7:10 a.m. Biden’s lead in Wisconsin widens a smidge as votes from Brown County (Green Bay) come in.

6:50 a.m. China’s media is making hay out of the tense and still-undecided U.S. election and Trump’s better-than-forecast performance. “The political demands of populist groups in U.S. society are becoming stronger,” says the author of an opinion piece published early Wednesday in The Global Times, a Communist Party mouthpiece. “A large swath of people firmly believe in a presidential candidate who does not believe in science at all. It mirrors the anti-intellectualism [that] is becoming a trend, even a culture in the U.S. Those populist forces and trends will pose an increasing influence in U.S. domestic politics and diplomacy. This is not a positive sign for the U.S., and the world.”

Global Times editor Hu Xijin tweeted earlier tonight that the polls are being “ridiculed” by Chinese netizens.

Another U.S. adversary beginning to chime in is Iran. President Hassan Rouhani says it does not matter who wins, but that the next U.S. president should “return to law” and respect international treaties, according to Al Jazeera.

6:40 a.m. Officials in Nevada, where Biden leads by around 8,000 votes, say further results will not come until noon Eastern time on Thursday as they work to include mail-in ballots received Tuesday. Six electoral votes are up for grabs there.

6:00 a.m. While we wait, Nikkei Asia continues to look into a burning question: How might this election affect the U.S.-China relationship?

We spoke with Jonathan Choi, chairman of the Chinese General Chamber of Commerce in Hong Kong, the largest pro-Beijing business organization in the territory. He believes Washington’s tough stance against Beijing — and the Beijing-backed Hong Kong government — will persist regardless of who wins the White House. Trump “may be more serious” while Biden could engage “in a more gentle way,” but for Choi, “American policy toward China and Hong Kong is quite clear, no matter who the president is.”

Earlier, Graham Allison, a Harvard University professor and leading national security analyst, offered his thoughts at an online forum hosted by Credit Suisse. He predicted a “more orderly, business-like relationship” if Biden prevails, while Trump would be “very idiosyncratic.”

“Even though [Trump] blamed China for everything, you could even imagine him going back and doing some grand deal,” Allison said. In any case, the professor predicted, “We may not know who the clear winner is for some days.”

5:35 a.m. A Wisconsin vote counting machine reportedly ran out of ink, holding up the results. The ink is being replaced.

5:30 a.m. U.K. bookmaker Ladbrokes now makes Biden the favorite to win the election. It’s still a tight market, though, with the Democratic candidate’s odds coming down to 8/11, compared with Trump’s 11/10.

4:55 a.m. Biden has taken a razor-thin lead in Wisconsin, according to multiple U.S. news outlets. But only around 10,000 votes separate him from Trump and there are still ballots to be counted.

4:35 a.m. The Democratic chair in Wisconsin expressed optimism a short while ago that Biden will ultimately carry the swing state Trump won in 2016. Ten electoral votes are up for grabs.

4:15 a.m. Biden’s campaign manager slams Trump’s victory claim and demand to stop counting votes, in a statement reported by U.S. media outlets. “The counting will not stop. It will continue until every duly cast vote is counted. Because that is what our laws — the laws that protect every Americans’ constitutional right to vote — require,” Jen O’Malley Dillon is quoted as saying.

3:50 a.m. Trump boasted earlier that he was up by 600,000 votes in Pennsylvania, arguing his lead was insurmountable. But the state’s governor, Democrat Tom Wolf, has insisted that every ballot must — and will — be counted.

3:35 a.m. U.S. media reports suggest a software issue is holding up the counting in Georgia — the outcome of which could have a major impact on who wins the White House. The New York Times estimates 130,000 votes for Biden in the state remain uncounted.

3:30 a.m. Biden has won Maine, according to AP. That gives him another four electoral votes in a race where it seems every one might matter.

3:15 a.m. Trump’s speech sends Dow Jones futures diving over 400 points, or 1.6%, while S&P futures slip 0.5%.

U.S. President Donald Trump, in an unprecedented Election Night speech from the White House, says the delay in declaring him the winner is a “fraud on the American public.”   © Reuters

2:55 a.m. AP calls Arizona for Biden, backing up FOX’s early call. This makes him the first Democrat to win the southwestern state since Bill Clinton — and marks the first state to flip sides from the 2016 election.

2:50 a.m. U.S. Treasury yields quickly fell as Trump claimed he would “go to the Supreme Court” to stop the voting. The benchmark 10-year yield was down 0.1 of a percentage point, trading at 0.77%.

Earlier, the Nikkei Stock Average closed up 1.7%.

2:25 a.m. Trump speaks off the cuff at the White House, telling supporters to get ready for a celebration and claiming that he’s won states that have not yet been called, including Georgia and North Carolina. “This is a fraud on the American public,” he says of delays in declaring the winner.

“As far as I’m concerned, we already have won,” Trump says.

“We’ll be going to the U.S. Supreme Court. We want all voting to stop. We don’t want them to find any ballots at 4 a.m. in the morning and add them to the list.”

2:05 a.m. Trump is expected to speak at any moment. While we wait, here’s a tweet from the attorney general of Pennsylvania, a crucial state that remains up in the air. It sounds like the result there may not be known anytime soon.

1:35 a.m. Meanwhile, Oregon earlier tonight became the first state in the nation to approve the use of psilocybin, also known as hallucinogenic mushrooms, according to the AP.

1:20 a.m. Rhode Island’s four electoral votes go to Biden, according to multiple outlets. With Trump’s tweets suggesting he’s ready to declare himself the winner, Biden fired back a little while ago.

1:08 a.m. AP calls Texas and its 38 electoral votes for Trump. Democrats were not counting on the typically solid red state to turn blue, but there had been signs they might be making inroads.

12:49 a.m. Trump accuses Democrats of trying to steal the election, despite his apparent position of strength at the moment. Twitter slaps a warning about possible misinformation over the tweet.

In a separate tweet, Trump says he intends to make a statement tonight, writing, “A big WIN!” Ahead of the election, many critics had expressed concern that the president might declare victory early, before the results in key states are clear.

12:45 a.m. Biden speaks at a drive-in election event, with his wife Jill. “We believe we’re on track to win this election,” he says, asking for patience while mail-in votes are counted.

“Keep the faith guys,” Biden says as supporters honk their horns. “We’re going to win this.”

Democratic candidate Joe Biden and his wife Jill arrive to address supporters in his home state of Delaware. “Keep the faith,” he tells them.   © Reuters

12:35 a.m. After a long wait, AP agrees with FOX: Trump has won Florida, repeating his victory there in 2016.

12:30 a.m. Biden is expected to speak at any moment. Let’s see what he has to say.

12:20 a.m. State by state results keep coming: AP calls Iowa and Montana for Trump, with Minnesota going to Biden. Georgia, a state Trump won in 2016, is tilting toward Biden, according to the New York Times.

12:10 a.m. U.K. bookmakers make Trump the favorite to win the election. Ladbrokes puts the odds on the president being re-elected at 8/13, with Biden at 6/5. Biden appears to have picked up Hawaii and Virginia.

12:05 a.m. Broadcasters NBC, ABC and CNN join FOX in calling Ohio for Trump.

12:01 a.m. Republican Sen. Lindsey Graham, who won in South Carolina against a well-funded Democratic challenger, says he has had two calls from the president tonight. “He’s going to win. To all the pollsters out there, you have no idea what you’re doing,” Graham says at his victory party.

Tuesday, Nov. 3

11:55 p.m. FOX, once again quick with its trigger, calls Ohio for Trump after giving him Florida. If these results hold, that would be two huge wins for the president, who also carried both states and their combined 47 electoral votes in 2016. But other media outlets still consider these races too close to call.

11:50 p.m. Google searches for “how to move to Canada” and “emigrating to Canada” have soared more than 600% in the last few hours in the U.S., amid the tight race.

11:30 p.m. After calling Florida for Trump, FOX again jumps ahead of the pack and chalks up Arizona’s 11 votes for Biden. The president carried the state in 2016.

11:25 p.m. Nate Silver, editor-in-chief of polling site FiveThirtyEight, tells U.S. network ABC that it might take days for the election to be resolved.

11:13 p.m. FOX is the first major U.S. network to call Florida and its critical 29 electoral votes for Trump. Other media outlets are still holding off, however.

11:10 p.m. U.S. stock futures turn volatile as the election results show Biden and Trump neck and neck. Nasdaq futures jumped over 3% at one point, enough to trigger a trading halt mechanism. S&P futures swung between gains and losses before climbing nearly 2% in the early afternoon, Tokyo time.

11:05 p.m. American networks are calling another batch of states: California, Oregon and Washington go to Biden, while Idaho goes to Trump. All are in line with expectations.

11:00 p.m. New Hampshire stays blue, with Biden picking up its four electoral votes, according to AP and other outlets. Clinton won the state narrowly in 2016. Most networks are calling Utah and its six votes for Trump.

10:40 p.m. Trump has won Missouri, AP projects. He also carried the state and its six electoral votes in 2016.

10:32 p.m. The Chinese yuan is falling, with the race between Trump and Biden going down to the wire in key battleground states — Ohio, North Carolina, Michigan and Pennsylvania among them. Bloomberg data shows the offshore yuan down as much as 0.7% to 6.7270 per dollar, with investors apparently factoring in the possibility of a second Trump term and continued pressure on Beijing.

Both candidates are shown on a screen in New York’s Times Square on Nov. 3. (Photo by Maho Kawachi)

10:30 p.m. U.S. networks are saying the Democrats will retain control of the House.

10:20 p.m. Republican Bill Hagerty, Trump’s former ambassador to Japan, has won his Senate race in Tennessee, according to AP. Meanwhile, the news agency has put New Mexico and its five electoral votes in the Biden column.

10:01 p.m. AP calls Kansas for Trump. The president’s key ally Sen. Lindsey Graham projected to win reelection from South Carolina.

9:52 p.m. Florida Sen. Marco Rubio tweets that the battle for Florida is “over,” and that the president won.

9:40 p.m. AP predicts Biden will win Colorado, one of the more contested states. Clinton won the state by 4.9% in 2016.

9:12 p.m. Young Republicans in New York boo at a watch party when their heavily blue state is called for Biden.

9:03 p.m. AP calls the states of Nebraska, Louisiana, Wyoming, South Dakota and North Dakota for Trump. New York for Biden. Once again, no surprises.

8:57 p.m. With over 70% of votes counted in the swing state of North Carolina, Biden leads Trump 51.7%- 47.2%. The state was won by Trump by 3.6% in 2016.

8:50 p.m. Americans across the country are holding watch parties to follow the election results. In this Republican watch party in New York, the crowd burst into loud cheers for conservative FOX anchor Tucker Carlson.

A young Republicans’ watch party in lower Manhattan, New York. (Photo by Marrian Zhou)

8:40 p.m. AP calls Arkansas for Trump. The president won the state by 26 percentage points last time.

8:33 p.m. While votes are still being counted, Biden looks to be making gains in Ohio and Texas, two major states Trump won in 2016. With over 50% of votes counted, Biden is leading Trump by double digits. The state, with 18 electoral votes, was won by Trump by 8 points in 2016. No Republican candidate for the presidency has ever won election without winning Ohio.

8:17 p.m. CNBC projects Senate majority leader Mitch McConnell to keep his seat in Kentucky.

Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell holds a post-election news conference as he declares victory, in Louisville, Kentucky on Nov. 3.   © Reuters

8:03 p.m. AP calls Rhode Island, Maryland, Connecticut, Delaware, Illinois, New Jersey and Massachusetts for Biden. Oklahoma, Alabama, South Carolina, Mississippi and Tennessee for Trump. CNN gives the District of Columbia to Biden. No surprises.

7:40 p.m. AP calls Virginia for Biden. Clinton won the state by 5 points in 2016, so the early call suggests the former vice president is performing well.

7:31 p.m. AP says Trump wins West Virginia. The president won the state by more than 40 points in 2016.

7:15 p.m. Japan’s equity benchmark Nikkei Stock Average opened higher on Wednesday morning, at one point rising over 500 points, or 2%, following an Election Day rally on Wall Street as investors hoped a clear winner would emerge.

7:01 p.m. CNN makes its first projection, giving the red state of Indiana to Trump. The president won the state in 2016 by 19 percentage points. AP calls the blue state of Vermont for Biden. Former Democratic candidate Hillary Clinton won the state by 26 points. AP also gives Kentucky to Trump. But all eyes are on Florida, with 29 electoral college votes. Experts agree that the president will suffer a major setback for reelection if he loses the state.

6:40 p.m. While the world watches Americans cast their ballots, U.S. presidents are not directly elected by popular vote. Instead, they are chosen by 538 so-called electors through a process known as the Electoral College.

Each state has a certain number of electors based on population. Based on Tuesday’s polls, the electors then are expected to cast a vote based on the popular vote of each state.

So even if a candidate wins a state’s vote by a wide margin, he or she is only awarded the electoral votes for that state. Sometimes, this results in a president winning an election despite losing the popular vote as was the case in the 2000 and 2016 elections.

It takes 270 electoral college votes for a candidate to win the presidency.

Tuesday’s results give the country a projected winner as the electors don’t actually cast their votes until more than a month after citizens vote. This year, electors are scheduled to cast their votes on Dec. 14. This gives election officials time to resolve any controversies before the electors vote.

While electors are not required by the U.S. Constitution to follow their state’s popular vote, many states’ laws do. Though it’s rare, electors have challenged those laws and voted for someone else.

The electoral votes then must arrive within nine days to president of the Senate and the new Congress counts the electoral votes on Jan. 6.

The President-elect and Vice President-elect are then sworn in on Jan. 20.

6:10 p.m. Trump and Biden get Twitter endorsements from family and friends aimed at turning out the vote.

6:05 p.m. Polls have closed in Kentucky and Indiana. A stage has been set up in Wilmington, Delaware where Biden is expected to address the nation later in the night. Security is tight.

Biden’s speech venue in Wilmington, Delaware waits for results. (Photo by Tatsuya Goto)

5:00 p.m. One hour until the first polls close on the East Coast. Never a dull moment in front of New York’s Trump Tower.

A man wearing a Trump masks gives a thumbs up in front of the Trump Tower on Election Day. (Photo by Saqib Tanveer)
 Trump supporters start showing up on Fifth Avenue near Trump Tower, where NYPD is bracing for potential demonstrations. (Photo by Alex Fang)

4:00 p.m. Will there be post-election unrest? Our reporters go live from Trump Tower.

3:30 p.m. As voters headed to polling stations across America, key buildings stepped up security measures anticipating possible unrest. Here are some scenes from Election Day.

Apple Store on Fifth Avenue, a mere block away from Trump Tower, fortified itself with black fences. (Photo by Alex Fang)
Erin Doherty hugs her mother Susanna Dew, 61, who is voting for the first time in her life, as they wait in line at a polling place on election day in the Mid City section of New Orleans on Nov. 3.   © AP
Security fencing surrounds the White House in Washington on Nov. 3.   © AP

2:45 p.m. What will the election mean for the tech industry? Silicon Valley correspondent Yifan Yu asks Robert Atkinson, president of Information Technology & Innovation Foundation, world’s top ranked tech policy think tank.

And TikTok?

2:30 p.m. Biden has been leading pre-election national polling since September 2019, with a steady double-digit advantage over Trump. The latest average polling numbers on tracking site RealClearPolitics (Oct. 25 – Nov.2) has Biden leading Trump nationally by 51%-44%, a 7-point difference.

Polling in swing states have been much closer.

1:30 p.m. A federal judge ordered the U.S. Postal Service to sweep facilities by 3 p.m. Eastern time, including in battleground states such as Pennsylvania and Florida, to ensure that no ballots have been held up and that they are immediately sent out for delivery. The decision is seen as a win for Biden, many of whose supporters have opted to vote by mail this year.

1:15 p.m. “We’re gonna have a great day. And we’re going to have — much more importantly — we’re gonna have a great four years,” Trump told reporters at his campaign headquarters in Arlington, Virginia early Tuesday afternoon, upon his return from campaigning in key swing states.

“Winning is easy, losing is never easy. Not for me. It’s not,” Trump said, saying he is not yet thinking of how to do a concession speech when asked by a reporter.

President Donald Trump speaks at campaign headquarters on Election Day in Arlington, Virginia.   © AP

The president talked up his experience going college in Pennsylvania, a battleground state both he and Biden are trying to win over, and again sowed doubt over the legitimacy of mail-in ballots, which no evidence suggests are more likely to be associated with fraud.

1:00 p.m. Biden visits his childhood home in Scranton, Pennsylvania on Election Day. He signs one of the living room walls, writing: “From this house to the White House with the grace of God. Joe Biden 11-3-2020.”

Both side have spent most of the last few days of campaigning in the Keystone State. In 2016, Trump narrowly won the state by less than 1 percentage point. But he also made history, for Pennsylvania voted for a Democratic president for the last six elections.

Democratic presidential nominee Joe Biden gestures outside of his childhood home on Election Day in Scranton, Pennsylvania.   © Reuters

12:30 p.m. First Lady Melania Trump votes in person at a community center in Palm Beach, Florida, about two miles north of Mar-a-Lago. The secret service cleared out the facility for the First Lady, who wore no mask.

Her husband voted early days ago.

U.S. first lady Melania Trump arrives to cast her vote during the 2020 presidential election at Morton and Barbara Mandel Recreation Center in Palm Beach, Florida on Nov. 3.   © Reuters

11:48 a.m. Here is the latest from New York’s Chinatown.

Alex Fang and Waj Khan discuss the election in New York’s Chinatown. (Photo by Saqib Tanveer)

11:40 a.m. Former presidential candidate Hillary Clinton tweets that she voted.

11:30 a.m. U.S. stocks are on an Election Day rally. The Dow Industrial Average gained over 680 points, or 2.5%, at one point. The S&P 500 gained 2.3% and the Nasdaq Composite advanced 2.2%.

In an election note released Monday, Wall Street firm BlackRock noted that a scenario under which the Democrats win the White House, the House and the Senate may have the most impact across fiscal policy, investment, taxation, regulation and trade. “A Democratic sweep would tip us to a more pro-risk investment stance,” the world’s largest asset manager said.

10:30 a.m. Trump tells Fox & Friends that he will declare victory “only when there’s victory,” and that “there is no reason to play games.” The president says the crowd size at his events are unprecedented and that he sees a “very solid chance at winning.”

9:30 a.m. Almost 100 million people, equivalent to roughly the entire population of Vietnam, voted early in the 2020 U.S. election, according to Michael McDonald, a political science professor at the University of Florida. About 35.7 million votes were cast in person while 63.9 million came from mail-in ballots.

Mail-in and absentee ballots that have arrived at the Allegheny County Election Division are kept in a secure area at the Elections warehouse in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, a key battleground state.   © AP

8:00 a.m. One notable store that is not boarded up: The Gucci store in Trump Tower.

The Gucci store at Trump Tower on New York’s Fifth Avenue seen on election day. (Photo by Ken Moriyasu)

5:00 a.m. The first polling places open in the state of Vermont. The first polls close on the East Coast at 6:00 p.m.

People line up to vote in the 2020 U.S. presidential election at P.S. 198 in the Manhattan borough of New York City on Nov. 3.   © Reuters

Here are the times when voting closes in some of the key states:

— 7:00 p.m. Georgia. If Biden wins Georgia, it will be the first time a Democrat has carried the state since 1992 and a big boost to the former vice president. Trump won here by five points in 2016.

The Senate races in Kentucky and South Carolina involve Republican heavyweights Mitch McConnell and Lindsey Graham, respectively.

— 7:30 p.m. North Carolina and Ohio.

— 8:00 p.m. Florida and Pennsylvania. Maine has a Senate race that is key to the Republicans holding on to their majority in the upper house.

— 9:00 p.m. Arizona, Michigan, Minnesota, Texas and Wisconsin. Key Senate races in Arizona, Michigan, Colorado and Texas.

— 10:00 p.m. Iowa and Nevada

Monday, Nov. 2

9:00 p.m. Trump and Biden spent their final day of the campaign in key battleground states. Both spent time Monday in Michigan and Pennsylvania.

U.S. President Donald Trump tosses a cap to supporters during a rally in Avoca, Pennsylvania on Nov. 2, the final day of the election campaign.    © Reuters
Democratic U.S. presidential nominee Joe Biden stands next to pop star Lady Gaga at the University of Pittsburgh’s voter activation center in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, on Nov. 2.   © Reuters

7:00 p.m. Stores across New York are boarded up on Monday, as the city braces for possible protests following the election. This summer, many shops in New York and other cities across the country were vandalized and looted during protests over the killing of George Floyd by police in Minneapolis, Minnesota.

Following monthslong shutdowns driven by the COVID-19 pandemic, retailers can ill afford more damage to their businesses. Here are some scenes from New York.

Workers in New York put up plywood boards to protect the windows of a Disney Store in New York on Nov. 2. (Photo by Marrian Zhou)
Pedestrians stand outside a boarded up Saks Fifth Avenue store in New York on Nov. 2. (Photo by Marrian Zhou)
A Michael Kors shop in New York is boarded up as the high-end clothing and accessories retailer braces for possible unrest following the U.S. presidential election. (Photo by Alex Fang)

6:40 p.m. Like Trump, Biden spends part of his last day campaigning in Pennsylvania, pitching himself as a “union man” and slamming the president in a strongly worded tweet.

5:50 p.m. According to a Reuters/Ipsos poll released Monday, probably the last of its kind ahead of election day, Biden appeared to hold a narrow lead over Trump in Florida.

The election is expected to come down to six swing states. Florida, with 29 electoral votes, is the biggest prize. The others are Pennsylvania with 20 votes, Michigan with 16 votes, North Carolina with 15 votes, Arizona with 11 votes and Wisconsin with 10 votes.

The Reuters poll shows Biden with a 50%-46% lead over Trump in Florida, a wider gap than the 49%-47% in the previous poll.

President Donald Trump’s inauguration ceremony outside the U.S. Capitol in Washington on Jan. 20, 2017: Trump trails Democrat Joe Biden in national polls ahead of the election.    © Reuters

Here are the numbers for the other battleground states:

Pennsylvania: Biden 49%, Trump: 47%

Michigan: Biden 52%, Trump 42%

North Carolina: Biden 49%, Trump 48%

Arizona: Biden 49%, Trump 47%

Wisconsin: Biden 53%, Trump 43%

5:00 p.m. In the last 40 years, all U.S. presidents bar one have been elected to two consecutive terms. The exception, George H.W. Bush, was booted out of office by Bill Clinton, whose campaign theme: “It’s the economy, stupid,” resonated with voters frustrated by a recession.

4: 24 p.m. In a tweet aimed at swaying voters in the critical battleground state of Pennsylvania, Trump criticized the former Democrat vice president as soft on China.