The United States Secret Service has increased its protective bubble around the Democratic Party’s Presidential candidate, Joe Biden, who last night overtook his closest rival, President Donald Trump in the count in Pennsylvania, putting him an inch away from becoming the United States’46th President.
The Secret Service sent an extra squad of agents to Biden’s campaign headquarters in Wilmington, Delaware as expectations rose that the Democratic candidate was inching towards victory yesterday.
Biden is currently leading the presidential race with 264 Electoral College votes to his credit, while his closest rival, President Donald Trump is on 214 Electoral College votes.
The required college votes to be declared winner is pegged at 270.
The nation awaits final results from Pennsylvania, Georgia, Nevada, and North Carolina. Already, Biden is leading in Nevada, and Pennsylvania appears to be tilting towards him. Georgia has ordered a recount of votes.
The Secret Service, an agency under the Department of Homeland Security, is in charge of protecting the White House and senior government officials, visiting high officials, and others.
It had already deployed some agents to protect Biden around early July after he triumphed in the Democratic Party’s presidential primaries.
Airspace over Joe Biden’s home has also been classified as “Restricted Airspace “. No civilian, private, commercial or military flying objects are permitted to fly around and through that area.
As a former vice president, Biden could have requested Secret Service protection before then, but reportedly did not.
If Biden becomes president-elect, Secret Service protection is expected to ramp up to a higher level.
Meanwhile, Biden has overtaken President Donald Trump in the count in Pennsylvania, putting him an inch away from becoming the United States president.
He had earlier overtaken Trump in Pennsylvania. The state’s 20 electoral votes would put Biden over the 270 votes needed to win the contest.
Thousands of requested overseas and military ballots were being awaited by the deadline yesterday, and there are provisional ballots left to count.
Biden pulled ahead in Pennsylvania yesterday with the release of the vote count of mail-in ballots from heavily Democratic Philadelphia.
Prior to the latest release, Biden had been trailing Trump by about 18,000 votes in Pennsylvania.
Pennsylvania was among the most hotly contested states of the cycle, with both Biden and Trump making regular trips to the state for most of the campaign.
Both candidates spent considerable time there in the final days of the race, with Biden holding a final rally in Pittsburgh the night before the election.
Election officials had cautioned that the winner of the presidential election might be unknown days after the election is over.
Rules in some states don’t allow election workers to begin the labour-intensive work of processing mail-in ballots until election day. And with a record number of voters casting their ballots by mail, the influx could delay final tallies for days.
On the allegations by the Trump campaign team, election law experts and state election officials had overwhelmingly said there had been no sign of widespread or even sporadic voter fraud.
They said counting votes just took more time than in past years because the coronavirus pandemic had changed the way people go about it.
But the Trump campaign said the lawsuits were necessary.
Meanwhile, Biden’s campaign attorney, Bob Bauer, said the suits had no merit and were meant to spread a false narrative about the electoral process.
He said it is more about “Trump’s own effort to discredit the election.”
Trump’s campaign lost court rulings in the closely-contested states of Georgia and Michigan on Thursday, even as it vowed to bring a new lawsuit challenging what it called voting irregularities in Nevada.
In the Georgia case, the campaign alleged 53 late-arriving ballots were mixed with on-time ballots.
In Michigan, it sought to stop votes from being counted and obtain greater access to the tabulation process.
State judges tossed out both suits on Thursday.
Judge James Bass, a superior court judge in Georgia, said there was “no evidence” that the ballots in question were invalid.
In the Michigan case, Judge Cynthia Stephens said: “I have no basis to find that there is a substantial likelihood of success on the merits.”
Trump allies alleged that there had been voting irregularities in Nevada’s populous Clark County, which includes Las Vegas. A Trump campaign spokeswoman did not respond to requests for comment by Reuters on the Michigan and Georgia rulings.
Georgia to Recount Votes
The US state of Georgia said yesterday it would recount votes from the election in which Biden has eked out a razor-thin lead over Trump.
“With a margin that small, there will be a recount in Georgia,” Georgia Secretary of State Brad Raffensperger told reporters in Atlanta.
Raffensperger, the top elected official overseeing elections, said that the presidential contest in the state “remains too close to call.”
Almost complete results as of yesterday morning showed Biden leading by just over 1,500 votes in Georgia, where changing demographics and strong turnout from African-Americans have put in play a Southern state once seen as reliably backing Trump’s Republicans.
Georgia is equally critical as it is the only state holding elections for both its Senate seats this year, meaning it will determine which party is in control.
“The final tally in Georgia at this point has huge implications for the entire country,” Raffensperger said.
“The stakes are high and emotions are high on all sides. We will not let those debates distract us from our work. We’ll get it right and we’ll defend the integrity of our elections.”
He said that Georgia was letting observers from both campaigns watch the counting after Trump, with no evidence, alleged widespread fraud nationwide.
Biden Overtakes Trump in Pennsylvania, Edges Close to Winning
Jonathan: It is Better to Lose Power and Gain Honour
Perhaps, urging Trump to accept defeat, former President Goodluck Jonathan, yesterday posted that it was better to lose power and gain honour.
Jonathan stated this in a Facebook post and recommended this philosophy “to all leaders facing challenging situations at the polls”.
He wrote: “Nobody’s ambition is worth the blood of any citizen. It is better to gain honour at the cost of losing power than to gain power at the cost of losing honour. At any point in time, the power of love should matter more than the love of power. This is my philosophy. I have lived it. It has brought great peace to both my beloved nation and I. And I recommend it to all leaders facing challenging situations, either in government, or at the polls, or even in their dealings with fellow political actors.”
Jonathan, who sought re-election on the platform of the Peoples Democratic Party in 2015, had conceded defeat to the incumbent President Muhammadu Buhari of the All Progressives Congress.
Although Jonathan was not specific about the world ‘leaders’ he made the recommendation to, his statement was made at a time when the United States is electing a new President to lead the nation for another four years.
The incumbent President Trump, and his Democrat challenger Biden are presently slugging it out at the polls.