In the battleground states of Georgia and Pennsylvania on Friday, Democratic presidential candidate Joe Biden took a narrow lead over President Donald Trump, edging closer to winning the White House in a nail-biting competition as a handful of undecided states continue to count votes.
According to most major TV networks, Biden has a 253 to 214 lead in the state-by-state Electoral College vote that determines the winner. Winning the 20 electoral votes in Pennsylvania would put the former vice president above the 270 he needs to secure the presidency while taking only the 16 electoral votes in Georgia would put him on the verge of victory.
In Pennsylvania, on Friday morning, Biden moved ahead of Trump by 5,500 votes, while he opened up a 1,097-vote lead in Georgia.
By winning Pennsylvania, or by winning two out of the trio of Georgia, Nevada, and Arizona, Biden, 77, would become the next president. The most likely path of Trump appears narrower-he needs to hang on both Pennsylvania and Georgia and either Nevada or Arizona to overtake Biden.
In Georgia, where counting continued early on Friday, Biden moved ahead of Trump by 1,097 votes.
The shift in Georgia came hours after Trump appeared at the White House to falsely claim that he was "stealing" the election. His campaign is pursuing a series of lawsuits across battleground states described by legal experts as unlikely to succeed in changing the result of the election.
In Georgia, a Southern state that has not voted for a Democratic presidential nominee since Bill Clinton took the White House in 1992, Trump's lead has steadily decreased as officials worked through tens of thousands of uncounted votes, many from Democratic strongholds like Atlanta.
Late on Thursday, the Georgia Secretary of State reported that there were around 14,000 ballots still to be counted in the state.
As well as provisional ballots cast on Election Day by voters who had problems registering or identifying them, the state will also have to sift through votes from military personnel and overseas residents.
In Pennsylvania, too, Biden has been steadily chipping away at the Republican incumbent's lead. There, his deficit was as high as 678,000 votes early on Wednesday.
Slim benefits in Arizona and Nevada were also maintained by Biden. His lead narrowed to around 47,000 votes in Arizona, and he was ahead by about 11,500 in Nevada.
Georgia and Pennsylvania officials expressed optimism that they would finish counting on Friday, as the country held its breath for a result in the White House race, while Arizona and Nevada were still expected to take days to complete their voting totals.