Arizona Secretary of State reveals result won't be announced until Friday because of 450,000 outstanding votes, stretching out the agonizing wait for an overall election result after a night of chaos which saw Biden's lead shrink considerably and put the state back in play for Trump.
Biden is ahead in Arizona but only by about 67,000 votes after his majority shrank overnight. Of the 450,000 remaining votes there, 300,000 are in Maricopa County where Biden holds a two point lead, and where he is expected to win.
The AP and and Fox News both called Arizona early on Wednesday morning, claiming there was no possible way for Trump to claw it back from him - a move which is now being called into question.
Arizona holds 11 crucial electoral college votes which, when giving them to Biden now, poises him for the White House with 264 of the 270 that he needs. He would only need to win Nevada, Georgia, or North Carolina to claim victory if his Arizona lead holds.
Nevada holds 6 electoral college votes and will be announced at noon EST. Georgia holds 16 and will be announced later. Trump is ahead in Georgia by only 18,000 votes and there are still some 60,000 votes left to count. The count is expected to be completed there today.
If Biden loses Arizona to Trump, Trump goes from 214 electoral college votes to 225. He would then only need 42 additional electoral college votes from Georgia (16), North Carolina (15) and Pennsylvania (20) - all states in which he is leading - to claim victory, assuming he wins Alaska's three electoral college votes which he is all but guaranteed to.
Even though hundreds of thousands of votes remain uncounted, Trump is already demanding a recount in Wisconsin and he's asking that the vote counting stop in Georgia, Pennsylvania, Michigan and Nevada. He hasn't requested anything in Arizona yet.
The margin for a recount in Arizona is tiny at only 200 votes. It is possible in Wisconsin and Georgia; in Wisconsin, it needs to be fewer than 1 percent, which the result was. In Georgia, it needs to be within 0.5 percent which is seeming more and more likely.
In Nevada, it needs to be requested within three days of the final, certified result but Nevada has no minimum margin for a recount. In Pennsylvania, the margin is 0.5 percent.
As the excruciating wait dragged on on Thursday morning, Katie Hobbs, Arizona Secretary of State, said the process would simply take as long as it takes.
'There are just under 300,000 votes left to count in Maricopa County which is two thirds of the voting population. Statewide, just under 450,000 votes left to count so we're getting there, we have said from the beginning this take's time. We're going to focus on making sure every valid vote counts.
'I haven't gotten an estimate from Maricopa County about how long it's going to take them to get through the ballots. It's not looking like today - probably closer to tomorrow that we'll be looking at getting through those ballots, 'she told Good Morning America.
Nevada will announce a result at 12 EST and Georgia is expected some time around then too. North Carolina has not said when it will announce and Pennsylvania will announce on Friday.
Trump is calling foul on the entire election, claiming that votes are being counted improperly and demanding recounts.
He has filed lawsuits in Pennsylvania, Georgia and Michigan asking that the counting be halted, and he is also demanding a recount in Wisconsin.
A recount in Arizona is not likely. The rules there mean that only a margin of 200 votes or fewer allow it. It's unclear if the Trump campaign will try to question the results in Arizona. They have not yet taken any action against it.
Hobbs said she didn't know what option Trump had to call it into question.
On Wednesday night, dozens of protesters descended on a counting center - forcing it to close. They were Trump supporters.
'I don't understand what these protesters are interested in. We’re going to keep counting nerds. If they're supporting the president they should want us to continue counting. I just don't know what their goal is. Absolutely they are not disrupting what we're doing, 'she said.
Several members of the group AZ Patriots did successfully manage to make their way inside the building, one wearing a military vest, where they argued that the pens in the count had been changed to Sharpies, before they were kicked out of the building.
Media crews were escorted from the center at around 12.30am and some staff were also escorted from the building at the end of their shifts as the shouts of the crowd grew louder. There have been no reports of violence although several members of the press claimed they were threatened.
Inside, the count continued, with the center vowing that it would continue until the last update of the night.
The President on Thursday morning tweeted: 'Stop the count!'
Joe Biden, meanwhile, has been relatively quiet on Twitter.
On Wednesday, he gave a confident press conference with his running mate Kamala Harris, saying he felt 'good' about his chances at victory and that he'd likely win enough seats to take the White House eventually, but that he would wait until all the votes had been counted to claim it.
Meanwhile in Michigan, Trump protesters also surrounded an election center in Detroit where they called on the count to be stopped as the state was declared for Biden.
Republicans have also filed a lawsuit in Michigan demanding that all vote counting stop because Trump's people weren't giving proper access to voting sites and couldn't oversee the counting process to ensure it was fair.
In Georgia, the lawsuit claims that a GOP poll observer witnessed 53 late absentee ballots added to a pile in Chatham County while two additional actions in Pennsylvania claim a Senator there has given Biden back-door votes to try to push Trump out.
And in Wisconsin, the campaign is demanding a recount, despite Biden winning by more than 20,000 votes which represents around 0.6 percent of the vote.
The figure falls within the state's recount rules which allows for anything within a one-point margin to qualify for a a recount.
In Pennsylvania, where a result is unlikely before Friday, Rudy Giuliani - Trump's personal lawyer - and Trump's son, Eric, arrived to spearhead 'critical legal actions' in the state.
The Trump campaign has announced that it will wade into a case currently before the Supreme Court which challenges state law that allows for mail-in ballots that arrive up to three days after election day.
Deputy Trump Campaign Manager Justin Clark said the campaign will be suing to stop 'Democrat election officials from hiding the ballot counting and processing' from GOP poll-watchers.
He claimed that Republican observers in Philadelphia were ordered to stand 25 meters away from counting staff, making it impossible to watch.
STOP THE COUNT!— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) November 5, 2020
Big legal win in Pennsylvania!— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) November 5, 2020
Trump has also accused Pennsylvania's Secretary of State Kathy Boockvar of unilaterally extending the deadline by which mail-in voters whose voter ID was missing to provide proof.
In a press conference held in Philadelphia on Wednesday afternoon Giuliani and Eric claimed the president won the state, despite roughly one million mail-in ballots still needing to be counted.
ANY VOTE THAT CAME IN AFTER ELECTION DAY WILL NOT BE COUNTED!— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) November 5, 2020
Like Trump himself, neither man offered a legal argument for a win or proof of any voter fraud, but nonetheless made claims of cheating.
'They're trying to cheat, they're trying to cheat,' Eric Trump said repeatedly of the Democrats.
Giuliani ranted for several minutes about mail-in ballots which he claimed - without proof - could be falsified.
'This is beyond anything I have ever seen before,' he said. 'Do you think we're stupid? Do you think we're fools?
'You know something, Democrats do think you're stupid,' Giuliani added. 'And they do think you're fools. That's why you get called 'deplorable' and 'chumps'.
'We're going to stick with this. We're going to win this election. We've actually won it.
'It's just a matter of counting the votes fairly.'
Giuliani complained the mail-in ballots could have come from Mars or Canada - or could simply be one person who sent in 100,000 votes.
'Staff at the @maricopacounty Elections Department will continue our job, which is to administer elections in the second largest voting jurisdiction in the county,' the department tweeted.
'We will release results again tonight as planned. We thank the @mcsoaz for doing their job, so we can do ours. '
Among the protesters was local Congressman Paul Gosar who joined the crowd in complaining that votes were not being counted, blasting the Arizona Secretary of State as a 'joke' and praying, before demanding an update on the tally.
'Some shady things are happening in Arizona ...' he tweeted earlier in the day.
Gosar made the claim after Fox News faced outrage for deciding to call the state's eleven electoral college seats for Biden before midnight on election night. The Associated Press has since also called a Biden victory but the New York Times and CNN are among the major news organization believing the race is still there for either candidate.
On Wednesday night, Florida Governor Ron DeSantis railed against the decision to call Arizona and said that Fox should immediate rescind the decision.
'Trump is gaining in Arizona. There are probably 500,000… 'DeSantis said during an interview with Fox. 'Here's my thing, if you're quick on the trigger, then be quick on the trigger for both sides and stand by it. With Trump, they never want to call the state. Biden, they will do it right away. It's inconsistent and unacceptable. Look, North Carolina should be called for the president, for sure. Arizona - Fox should rescind that call. '
'We have to do this in a right way,' DeSantis continued. 'I thought it was really poor how it was done. Florida, we didn't even need the panhandle coming in. The president was up so much with the basis of Miami-Dade [county] early in mail voting that here was no way he would lose by Florida and won by 400,000 votes in the end. '
FiveThirtyEight's Nate Silver, who has himself been criticized for wildly inaccurate polling data, also said that Fox and the Associated Press should retracted the projection.
The Arizona call from Fox was the first of the states that appeared to have flipped from red to blue, marking a major loss for the Trump campaign in this must-win state if it were accurate.
Yet the Trump campaign has argued that the voting is not yet over, dismissing the call and predicting that the president will eventually win by some 30,000 votes once all ballots are counted.
They have also said they are considering contesting the result but have not indicated what action they would take after calling for a recount in Wisconsin and filing lawsuits over vote counting in Pennsylvania, Michigan and Georgia.
'@FoxNews is a complete outlier in calling Arizona, and other media outlets should not follow suit,' fumed Trump campaign senior adviser Jason Miller on Tuesday night.
'There are still 1M + Election Day votes out there waiting to be counted - we pushed our people to vote on Election Day, but now Fox News is trying to invalidate their votes!
'We believe over 2/3 of those outstanding Election Day voters are going to be for Trump. Can't believe Fox was so anxious to pull the trigger here after taking so long to call Florida. Wow, 'he continued.
'Retract AZ!' added Republican National Committee spokesperson Liz Harrington.
Arizona's governor Doug Ducey, a Republican, also pushed back at the Fox News result calling it 'far too early' to have declared Biden the winner in the early hours of Wednesday morning.
'Election Day votes are not fully reported, and we haven't even started to count early ballots dropped off at the polls. In AZ, we protected Election Day. Let's count the votes — all the votes — before making declarations. '