Biden takes vote lead in Georgia after all-night ballot count

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Election workers look at a phone after finishing counting ballots at State Farm Arena on Thursday, Nov. 5, 2020, in Atlanta. (AP Photo/Brynn Anderson)

Democrat Joe Biden is now leading President Donald Trump in the battleground state of Georgia.

By Friday morning, Biden overtook Trump in the number of ballots counted in the battleground, a must-win state for Trump that has long been a Republican stronghold. Biden now has a 917-vote advantage.

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The contest is still too early for The Associated Press to call. Thousands of ballots are still left to be counted — many in counties where the former vice president was in the lead. The shift toward Biden further dims hopes of a comeback for President Trump.

An AP analysis showed that Biden’s vote margins grew as counties processed mail ballots cast in his favor.

There is a potential that the race could go to a recount. Under Georgia law, if the margin between Biden and Trump is under half a percentage point of difference, a recount can be requested.

Georgia has long been a Republican stronghold. Voters there haven’t swung for a Democratic presidential candidate since Bill Clinton in 1992. Trump beat Hillary Clinton there by 5 percentage points in 2016. And the state’s government is dominated by the GOP.

But the party’s grip has loosened. As older, white, Republican-leaning voters die, they are being replaced by younger and more racially diverse cast of people, many of whom moved to the booming Atlanta area from other states — and brought their politics with them.

Overall, demographic trends show that the state’s electorate is becoming younger and more diverse each year. Like other metro areas, Atlanta’s suburbs have also moved away from Republicans. In 2016, Hillary Clinton flipped both Cobb and Gwinnett counties, where Biden is currently leading.

With his pathway to re-election appearing to shrink, Trump on Thursday made unsupported accusations of voter fraud to falsely claim that his rival was trying to seize power. It amounted to an extraordinary effort by a sitting American president to sow doubt about the democratic process.

“This is a case when they are trying to steal an election, they are trying to rig an election,” Trump said from the podium of the White House briefing room.

The Associated Press contributed to this report.

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