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Nations to observe: the place the campaigns combat it

Donald Trump made wild, unsubstantiated claims of election fraud during the U.S. presidential election and threatened to proceed with lawsuits in battlefield states on Thursday as his lead slipped at the biggest prices on the voting card.

In both Pennsylvania and Georgia, Trump saw his rival Joe Biden make huge margins in urban and suburban counties during the day, getting the Democratic candidate within reach of the 270 votes required to take over the White House.

Even as Trump's leadership dwindled in both states, his legal team suffered setbacks in courts in Michigan, Pennsylvania and Georgia, where lawsuits from state judges were either dismissed or viewed with skepticism.

Here is the state of affairs in the swing states as to who will be sworn in as US President on January 20th.

2016 winner: Donald Trump

STATUS 2020: Ballot papers are still being counted

The biggest setback for Mr Trump was the Pennsylvania election, where a head start that once stood at hundreds of thousands of votes shrank to around 22,000 early Friday.

Mr Biden was aided by postal ballot papers counted in the heavily Democratic city of Philadelphia and its neighboring suburbs, and poll workers expressed confidence that they would make even bigger profits once the Pittsburgh area renewed its count on Friday.

"We're coming to the home stretch here," said Kathy Boockvar, Pennsylvania Secretary of State. "You work incredibly hard and will keep counting into the evening."

In Pennsylvania, the Trump campaign also launched its fiercest legal challenges to both stop the vote count and demand that Republican observers have better access to Philadelphia counting centers.

Mr Trump's team touted a legal victory early in the day in Philadelphia, but the verdict simply disrupted the count in Pennsylvania's largest city. By evening, a judge had dismissed the case after Democrats and Republicans agreed to allow 60 observers into counting centers.

The Trump campaign has also sought permission to participate in pending Supreme Court litigation over how long the state can collect postal ballot papers. The US Supreme Court previously refused to remove an extension of the deadline for such votes, even though the case is not yet closed.

"As the president rightly said, the Supreme Court needs to resolve this crucial controversial legal issue," said Justin Clark, deputy manager of the Trump campaign.

Ms. Boockvar said that the polling desks "segregate" late-arriving postal ballots in the event that they are challenged by the Supreme Court, but said the number of late-arriving ballots had remained low.

For the FT's final look at Mr Trump's eleventh hour advance in Pennsylvania and why it is critical to his re-election, please click here.

2016 winner: Donald Trump

Status 2020: Ballot papers are still being counted

Despite maintaining a head start in Georgia, Mr Trump had shrunk to less than 2,000 votes by early Friday after the president suffered a similar ailment to Pennsylvania: mail-in votes in urban and suburban counties.

The voting suburbs around Atlanta and Fulton County, which includes the city itself, helped narrow Mr Trump's lead over the course of Thursday, with returns for Mr Biden increasing sharply.

With Mr. Trump's lead narrowing, the presidential campaign announced a lawsuit in Georgia state court questioning whether election officials mis-counted mail-in ballots that had arrived after the election day deadline .

On Thursday, a Georgia judge dismissed the case, saying the campaign did not have enough evidence that the ballot papers were late.

2016 winner: Hillary Clinton

Status 2020: Ballot papers are still being counted

Nevada was the last state Mr. Trump's legal team targeted on Thursday when the president's campaign announced it would file a lawsuit alleging authorities miscalculated the votes of people living outside the state.

Mr Biden was ahead on Thursday and his narrow lead grew slightly with the numbers released that morning. However, no further results were expected to come by Friday, so the state – the only one remaining eligible for Ms. Clinton in 2016 – was too close to call him.

Barbara Cegavske, the Nevada Secretary of State, said late Thursday that there were around 190,000 ballots left. However, she said about 90 percent of them are in the Democratic stronghold of Clark County, which includes Las Vegas, which gives the Biden campaign reason to believe that their lead would continue to grow.

Clark County election officials said they wanted to count 51,000 ballots on Thursday but won't release the results until Friday.

The new lawsuit against the Trump campaign marks the second time the president's legal team has questioned the Nevada census. In the run-up to Election Day, his legal team had attempted to stop processing some mail-in ballots in Clark in an urgent procedure with the state's Supreme Court.

A lower state court rejected the challenge, as the district checks signatures on postal ballot papers, as well as the process of "duplication", with which it is ensured that ballot papers can be fed into counting machines.

2016 winner: Donald Trump

Status 2020: possible recount

Election officials in Wisconsin, another part of the once invincible "blue wall" of the Democrats in the industrial north, have said their count is complete and the Associated Press has called the state with 20,517 votes for Mr Biden.

But even before the vote was over, Mr Trump's campaign manager Bill Stepien said in a statement that the president's team would request a recount immediately, arguing that the "paper-thin" margin "is within the threshold of one To request recount ". .

Scott Walker, former Republican governor of Wisconsin, wrote on Twitter that 20,000 votes could be a "high hurdle," noting that previous state recounts had changed the final record by no more than a few hundred votes. In addition, government rules prevent a campaign from officially requesting a recount until the count is confirmed. This can take several days.

It was always expected that Wisconsin would take a while to complete its count as electoral rules, like in Pennsylvania, meant that early ballot papers could not be processed before election day.

For an FT look at voter turnout in Wisconsin and how Democrats sought to encourage African American participation in Milwaukee and other cities, click here.

2016 winner: Donald Trump

Status 2020: OFFERED

Before Michigan was called for Mr Biden on Wednesday night, the Trump campaign filed a lawsuit to stop the state's vote count because it had not been given "reasonable access" to watch the count in multiple locations.

Mr Stepien said in a statement that the lawsuit filed in the state court aimed to stop counting until they were granted access, as well as a "review" of ballots that had already been counted. The lawsuit specifically asked that the counting of postal ballot papers that were believed to favor Democrats be stopped.

But a Michigan state judge dismissed the lawsuit Thursday, saying it was too late and questioning his claims. "The essence of the count is complete," Judge Cynthia Stephens said at a hearing Thursday.

2016 winner: Donald Trump

Status 2020: Ballot papers are still being counted

The issue of voting deadlines is also being contested in North Carolina, a "new south," which has always been seen as a long road for Mr. Biden.

The State Elections Board in a court-approved settlement stated that postal ballot papers could arrive up to six days after November 3rd. The U.S. Supreme Court declined to issue an injunction against the extension last week, but the case remains alive in the lower courts.

Mr Biden has clearly outperformed 2016 Democratic nominee Hillary Clinton in suburban counties like Wake, home of the state's famed "Research Triangle". Ms. Clinton won almost 20 percentage points in Wake County, but Mr. Biden rose 27 points, with nearly 95 percent of the vote.

The former U.S. Vice President's strength in the suburbs put him within striking distance of Mr Trump, but it can simply limit its margin of loss to the incumbent, who was more than 1 percentage point ahead of 95 percent of the nationwide vote.

For an FT look at the changing demographics of the "New South" and how North Carolina was brought into play, see here.

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