Democrat Joseph R. Biden moved into the lead in Georgia and Pennsylvania on Friday, a fatal blow to President Trump’s reelection prospects if the challenger’s advantage holds in both battleground states.
Mr. Biden’s lead expanded slightly in both states, plus Nevada, as additional ballots were counted Friday, but Mr. Trump gained ground on him in Arizona.
With 99% of the votes counted in Georgia, Mr. Biden led Mr. Trump by about 4,200 votes out of about 4.9 million votes cast for the two candidates.
Both Georgia Secretary of State Brad Raffensperger and the Trump campaign predicted that the race will go to a recount there.
In Pennsylvania, Mr. Biden took a 49.5% to 49.3% lead on Friday, a margin of about 14,500 votes, with an estimated 96% of the votes reported.
The president had been leading Mr. Biden in Pennsylvania by about 600,000 on election night, but mail and absentee ballots from the Democratic-leaning Philadelphia area were counted throughout the week.
SEE ALSO: Brad Raffensperger, Georgia secretary of state, predicts recount
Philadelphia City Commissioner Chairwoman Lisa Deeley said Friday afternoon that about 40,000 ballots still need to be counted, including provisional ballots. Mr. Biden has been winning those ballots by a roughly four-to-one margin.
“It may take several days to complete the reporting of that,” she said.
If Mr. Biden also holds onto his lead in Arizona, it would put him well above the 270 electoral votes needed to win the presidency.
More votes remain to be counted in Arizona as well, and Trump campaign officials say they expect the president will triumph there.
Mr. Trump says “legal” ballots should be counted and “illegal” ballots should not be counted.
“We will pursue this process through every aspect of the law to guarantee that the American people have confidence in our government,” the president said. “I will never give up fighting for you and our nation.”
Jenna Ellis, a senior legal adviser to the Trump campaign, said on Twitter of Mr. Biden pulling ahead in Georgia, “Republicans who stayed home or voted third party in GA thinking ‘my vote doesn’t matter,’ you were wrong.”
The Trump campaign has filed lawsuits in several states seeking better access to monitor vote-counting, or to hold a recount. Trump allies also have asserted numerous examples of vote fraud in Nevada, where Mr. Biden is leading and the counting of ballots continues.
“We have had reports of specific things. We [send] investigators out to look for specific evidence and the reality behind those,” Gabriel Sterling, voting system implementation manager for Georgia, said Friday morning on ABC.
Mr. Sterling said they always receive complaints about irregularities in elections.
“We have not seen anything so widespread that it could potentially affect the outcomes,” he said. “But as you know, when you have a race that’s this close even the smallest thing can affect those outcomes.”
In Arizona, Mr. Biden held a 49.9% to 48.6% lead over Mr. Trump, a margin of just under 40,000 votes, with an estimated 94% of the votes reported.
The Democrat had been up by about 100,000 votes earlier in the week, but the president closed the gap as additional votes from Maricopa County and elsewhere were tabulated.
The Associated Press and Fox News had called Arizona for Mr. Biden earlier in the week, but the president’s team has been unwavering in their view that the calls were premature and Mr. Trump would eventually overtake the former vice president.
In Nevada, Mr. Biden held a 49.7% to 48.1% lead over Mr. Trump, a margin of about 20,100 votes, with an estimated 92% of the votes reported.
The secretary of state’s office had said Thursday that about 190,000 ballots were still to be counted of what the state had received to that point, 90% of which were from Democrat-leaning Clark County.
Mail ballots that arrive by Nov. 10 will be counted as long as they were postmarked by Nov. 3.
In North Carolina, Mr. Trump had a 50% to 48.6% lead over Mr. Biden, a margin of about 77,000 votes, with about 95% of the estimated votes reported.
Some areas in the state indicated that they wouldn’t be finished counting until at least Nov. 12 or Nov. 13. Mail ballots will be counted if they arrive by Nov. 12 as long as they’re postmarked by Nov. 3.
Mr. Biden’s team has indicated that their deficit in the state will be tough to overcome.
Several Republicans, including Maryland Gov. Larry Hogan, have denounced Mr. Trump’s claims of vote fraud.
Former New Jersey Gov. Christine Todd Whitman said the president “has to stop undermining our democracy.”
“If he has real evidence of fraud, present it in court. Otherwise he should stop demeaning himself any further,” she tweeted.