By Ochiaka Ugwu with agency report
The outcome of the US presidential election is still uncertain, with President Donald Trump and his rival Joe Biden neck and neck in key swing states.
Mr Biden’s campaign said the race was “moving to a conclusion in our favour”. But Mr Trump, a Republican, claimed to have won and vowed to launch a Supreme Court challenge, without providing evidence of fraud. Millions of votes remain uncounted and no candidate can credibly claim victory yet.
The US is on course for the highest electoral turnout in a century. More than 100 million people cast their ballots in early voting before Election Day, and tens of millions more added their vote on Tuesday. With these uncertainty, the final result may not be known for days.
Mr Trump has defied the pre-election polls to do better than predicted, but Mr Biden has a narrow lead in several key states.
In the US election, voters decide state-level contests rather than an overall, single, national one. To be elected president, a candidate must win at least 270 votes in what is called the Electoral College. Each US state gets a certain number of votes partly based on its population and there are a total of 538 up for grabs.
The Rust Belt battlegrounds of Pennsylvania, Michigan and Wisconsin – which propelled Mr Trump to the White House four years ago – are very close. But the Biden campaign said it had won Wisconsin, expected to win Michigan and was confident that mail-in votes would overturn a Trump lead in Pennsylvania. Mr Biden could also snatch Arizona, a once reliably conservative state, and is ahead in Nevada, although counting is not expected to resume there until Thursday. The Biden campaign said it expected a result in its favour by the end of Wednesday.
However, the president is projected to have held the must-win state of Florida, and another conservative sunbelt state, Texas, where the Biden campaign had dreamed of an upset victory. Mr Trump will keep hold of Ohio and Missouri, known as bellwether states because they have so often predicted the eventual winner, according to the BBC’s projection. Mr Trump is also projected by the BBC to win Nebraska, though Mr Biden picked up one vote there in the electoral college, which could turn out to be crucial.
Mr Trump hosted an election night gathering inside the White House with about 100 guests. In a speech at about 02:30 local time (07:30 GMT) he said: “We were getting ready to win this election. Frankly, we did win this election.” He went on to allege “major fraud on our nation” without providing evidence, adding: “We’ll be going to the US Supreme Court.”
“We want all voting to stop,” the president said, apparently meaning that he wants to block the counting of postal ballots, which can be legally accepted by some state election boards after Tuesday’s election.
Millions of ballots have yet to be counted and there is no evidence of fraud.
Later he alleged in a tweet that there had been “surprise ballot dumps”, causing his lead in several states to disappear, again without providing any evidence. Twitter labelled the tweet as possibly disputed and misleading.