The closely fought presidential race in the United States entered a new phase Wednesday as officials counted a record number of votes from 170 million Americans. Tuesday was Election Day.
The campaign of Republican President Donald Trump said it has begun legal actions to halt ballot counting in the states of Michigan, Pennsylvania, and Georgia. The campaign argues that it was blocked from "meaningful access" to vote counting sites in some states.
The Trump campaign also said it would request a recount in the state of Wisconsin.
The Associated Press, Voice of America, and several other news organizations have called Biden the winner of Wisconsin and Michigan. He is also ahead in the vote count in Nevada and Arizona. Trump is leading in Pennsylvania, North Carolina, Georgia, and Alaska.
In 2016, Trump won the presidency over Hillary Clinton with victories in Wisconsin, Michigan, Arizona, and Pennsylvania.
In the early morning hours, Trump declared that he had won the election. He called the voting process "a major fraud," and said, "we will be going to the U.S. Supreme Court." On Twitter later, the president claimed himself the winner of voting in Pennsylvania, Georgia, and North Carolina.
Speaking from his hometown of Wilmington, Delaware, Biden said, "Now after a long night of counting, it's clear that we are winning enough states to reach 270 electoral votes needed to win the presidency. I'm not here to declare that we have won," Biden said. "But I am here to report when the count is finished, we believe we will be the winners."
Across the nation, Biden has received more than half of the votes that have been counted. He has more than 70 million votes, a record amount in American elections. Trump has about 67 million votes.
More than 100 million voters sent their ballots through the mail or voted early, some did so as the result of new voting rules linked to the COVID health crisis.
Trump's campaign manager Bill Stepien told reporters, "If we count all legal ballots, we win." However, Biden's legal adviser Bob Bauer said, "We're going to defend this vote, the vote by which Joe Biden has been elected to the presidency."
Presidential race decided by legal action
The last U.S. presidential election to be decided by legal action was the race in 2000 between Al Gore and George W. Bush.
The U.S. Supreme Court stopped the recount by hand of ballots in the state of Florida. The action effectively awarded Florida's electoral vote to Bush and he won the election. Justice Ruth Bader Ginsberg famously objected to the court's majority ruling at the time saying, "I dissent."
Ginsberg died in September. Last month, Trump appointed Amy Coney Barrett, a conservative judge, to replace Ginsberg. The Republican-controlled Senate quickly confirmed her appointment just before Election Day.
I'm Caty Weaver.