Joe Biden has urged his followers to remain patient, but it's a message the rest of the world might need to heed, too.

A huge backlog of mail-in votes has delayed the result in a knife-edge election well past midnight in the US where a small handful of states stand between victory and defeat.

Michigan, Pennsylvania and Wisconsin are too close to call and will not be called for a while.

The counting will continue today despite President Donald Trump making an extraordinary and unprecedented claim of "fraud" and insisting postal votes lodged legitimately should be discounted.

He foreshadowed a Supreme Court challenge which could drag the result out even further.

Mr Biden, who addressed supporters just before midnight in Wilmington, Delaware, said he is confident the result will fall his way.

"We are feeling real good about Wisconsin and Michigan. And, by the way, it is going to take time to count the votes. We are going to win Pennsylvania."

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But Mr Trump would not allow that sort of chest thumping without a Trump-esque response.

Speaking from the East Room of the White House, he boasted: "We were getting ready to win this election. Frankly, we did win this election.

"So our goal now is to ensure the integrity for the good of this nation, this is a very big moment, this is a major fraud on our nation. We want the law to be used in a proper manner.

"So we'll be going to the US Supreme Court. We want all voting to stop. We don't want them to find any ballots at 4:00 in the morning and add them to the list, OK?

"It's a very sad - it's a very sad moment. To me this is a very sad moment. And we will win in. As far as I'm concerned, we already have won it, so I just want to thank you for your support."

 

 

 

RESPECTIVE PATHS TO THE WHITE HOUSE

There was no election night win for Mr Trump this time around, whatever he might have you believe. Instead, we are left with an incomplete picture of who America wants to lead.

Dozens of states have been called already, including several of the biggest.

Mr Trump claimed Florida despite Mr Biden leading early.

He also won in Indiana, Arkansas, Kentucky, West Virginia, South Carolina, Alabama, Mississippi, Oklahoma Nebraska, Louisiana, Wyoming, South Dakota, North Dakota, Missouri, Utah, Wyoming, Idaho, Ohio, Texas, Iowa and Tennessee.

For the Democratic Party, victories were confirmed in Vermont, Massachusetts, Maryland, Delaware, Illinois, Connecticut, New Mexico, New York, New Jersey, New Hampshire, Maine, Colorado, the District of Columbia, Washington, Oregon, Virginia, Hawaii, Minnesota, Arizona and California.

It leaves Mr Biden on 238 Electoral College votes out of 270 required to win the White House, according to a Fox News count. Mr Trump trails narrowly with 213 Electoral College votes.

States still in play include Wisconsin, Michigan, Pennsylvania, North Carolina, Georgia, Nevada and Alaska.

If Mr Biden wins Pennsylvania and Michigan, it's over. But to do so, he will need to rely heavily on mail-in votes because Mr Trump leads Pennsylvania by more than 700,000 votes.

If Mr Biden doesn't win Pennsylvania, he can still win the White House by winning Michigan, Wisconsin and Nevada.

Mr Trump can win a second term but he needs to win two of either Pennsylvania and Wisconsin or Pennsylvania and Michigan.

The road home for Trump would likely also need to include wins in North Carolina and Georgia, where he leads by only a narrow margin.

'YOUR PATIENCE IS COMMENDABLE'

Mr Biden told supporters it would be a long night, but even he didn't expect the race to drag on this long.

"We knew this was going to go long, but who knew we were going to go into tomorrow morning, maybe longer?" he said.

"We feel good about where we are. We believe we're on track to win this election.

"We're going to have to be patient until the hard work of tallying votes is completed. And it ain't over until every vote is counted. But we're feeling good about where we are.

"We're still in the game in Georgia. And we're feeling real good about Wisconsin and Michigan.

"It's going to take time to count the votes, but we're going to win Pennsylvania.

"We could know the results as early as tomorrow, maybe a little longer.

"It's not my place or Donald Trump's place to declare who has won the election, that's the place of the American people.

"Keep the faith guys, and we're going to win this. Thank you, thank you, thank you."

Originally published as When we will know who has won election


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