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Analysis: America's political fate in the balance as key vote counts go on

November 4, 2020. Summarized by summa-bot.

NORTH LAS VEGAS, NEVADA - NOVEMBER 03: Workers process polling place equipment and materials at the Clark County Election Department after polls closed on November 3, 2020 in North Las Vegas, Nevada. 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 Ethan Miller/Getty Images)

The election duel between President Donald Trump and Democrat Joe Biden is coming down to counts of hundreds of thousands of legal votes in a handful of key battlegrounds after a night of dramatically shifting fortunes that left a deeply divided America's political fate on a knife edge.

(CNN)The election duel between President Donald Trump and Democrat Joe Biden is coming down to counts of hundreds of thousands of legal votes in a handful of key battlegrounds after a night of dramatically shifting fortunes that left a deeply divided America's political fate on a knife edge.

While counts are still ongoing, the President is making baseless claims that the election, which had looked more favorable to him late on Tuesday before hauls of early votes started being tabulated, is being stolen from him and demanding that vote counting should stop.

And while the President threatened legal challenges to the election, the voting itself largely passed off peacefully, without violence at polling places or intimidation of people casting their ballots that had been widely feared given, especially given Trump's attempts to discredit the election ahead of time.

In Pennsylvania, Trump is ahead by around 600,000 votes with 1. 4 million ballots yet to be counted.

Trump is up by about 100,000 votes in Georgia but several heavily Democratic counties have yet to finish their counts.

"It ain't over until every vote is counted," Biden said.

Even within Trump's short speech, there was a glaring inconsistency in his position as he advocated for votes to continue to be counted in Arizona, a state that he believes is more favorable to him, while expressing anger that one network had called it early.

Having encouraged Republican efforts in multiple states to prevent the legal counting of these ballots before Election Day, now Donald Trump is saying these ballots can't be counted after Election Day either. "

Clinton built up Democratic margins in populous Maricopa County, which includes Phoenix and its suburbs -- and the majority of the state's voters -- and Biden appears to be continuing that trend Tuesday night, with turnout looking strong in that key county.

At the same time, the President's team seems to have succeeded in turning out their voters as promised -- in some cases making up for what appeared to be an advantage for Democrats in the early vote count in key swing states.

For weeks now, Trump has hammered the message that voters should know the results on election night -- even though that is rarely the case in America -- while suggesting that a later count could be a sign of voting irregularities, even though there is no evidence to support that and counting has been much more complex this cycle because so many people cast votes by mail in order to stay safe during the pandemic.

The tipping point state of Pennsylvania may see some of the longest delays, not only because of its very complex ballot with its inner and outer envelopes, but also because election officials were not permitted to start counting the vote-by-mail ballots until Election Day. Late Tuesday night, the Pennsylvania secretary of state urged patience and told result-watchers to expect batches of vote totals to come in in fits and starts throughout the night.

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