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Biden Inches Closer To 270, Takes Leads In Pa., Ga.


Former Vice President Joe Biden has taken the lead in Pennsylvania after trailing behind President Trump there for days. Joe Biden's narrow lead puts him back on track to win the Electoral College and the presidency. Many votes remain to be counted, mostly mail-in ballots that are believed to favor Biden. Vote counting put Biden slightly ahead in Georgia. If he wins that state, he'll be the first Democratic nominee to do so since Bill Clinton was on the ticket in 1992.

We're going to go to several of our reporters now in these key states, beginning with NPR's Alina Selyukh, who is in Philadelphia. Alina, good morning. According to...


MARTIN: ...Data from The Associated Press, as we have said, Joe Biden is in the lead in Pennsylvania now. We want to emphasize that the AP has not yet called this race, but President Trump had the lead there for days. So this is significant. What more can you tell us?

SELYUKH: Right. His lead is - I mean, it's still such a close count. I mean, we're talking about - at this moment - I'm looking at the numbers - about 6,000 ballots. What happened here today was the - a new batch of ballots, Philadelphia, got added to the count. And you're describing exactly what happened. And this has been happening in other states, as well. President Trump was really dominating the in-person Election Day votes. And the state has been, lately, mainly counting the mail-in votes that have arrived. And the Democrats had really embraced the mail-in vote, and so that's what we're seeing now. There are still thousands of ballots to count. But the sense is that today we should get a sense of a clear winner, at least that's what a - the secretary of state here has been projecting all week.

MARTIN: Have they said, Alina, when they expect to finish the count?

SELYUKH: Not yet.

MARTIN: Not yet. So we await that information. So meanwhile, President Trump and his campaign's lawyers have filed suit in Pennsylvania. When he was ahead, they had wanted to stop the counting. They had wanted more access to ballot-counting centers. Can you tell us where those suits stand?

SELYUKH: Yeah, there's several suits, actually. And the one that you're talking about yesterday was kind of a whirlwind of a day. It got kind of filed and resolved in a matter of hours. Everything was happening really fast. And that one had to do with exactly what you're saying, this idea of fair access to meaningfully observe the vote counting that's happening at the massive ballot-counting center in the convention center here in Philadelphia. There are also legal skirmishes around some provisional ballots and absentee ballots. Actually, just to circle back to the access question, yesterday ended with a federal judge dismissing that case after all parties kind of reached a deal that both parties would get, you know, access with more observers up to 60, within 6 feet, et cetera.

MARTIN: OK. So you also have been witness - there has been some - there have been some kind of protests in Philadelphia, have there not?

SELYUKH: Yesterday was an exciting day. It was a moderately sized protest. And it was kind of interesting in the sense that there were two protests kind of rivaling each other. They were separated by barricades. The anti-Trump and the pro-Trump folks, they were literally across the street from each other stating their case, one side shouting, count every vote; the other side shouting, count legal votes. Today - I just wandered down there - there's a few people and a real sense of sort of the suspended expectation as everyone's waiting for some kind of call.

MARTIN: Right, a lot of attention on Pennsylvania today. Alina, thank you.

I want to turn now to Stephen Fowler, reporter with Georgia Public Broadcasting. Stephen, thanks for being here. Biden took a lead in Georgia overnight. What can you tell us right now?

STEPHEN FOWLER, BYLINE: So there are still more than 8,000 absentee ballots that we know of that still have to be counted, Rachel. And mainly, that's in suburban Gwinnett County, which is one of the most diverse counties in Georgia, and probably it will have a Democratic edge. Overnight, Clayton County, which is in the 5th Congressional District, which is where Representative John Lewis represented, they worked through the night to process more than 4,000 absentee ballots there. It's the most Democratic county in the state. And the mail-in ballots there are what has put this margin of Joe Biden up by more than 1,000 votes at this point.

Today's also the deadline for provisional ballots to be cured, military and overseas ballots to come in. So we will still see votes trickle in throughout the day before we know a final margin. But it's a razor, razor-thin race.

MARTIN: In the meantime, let's just fact-check something President Trump said last night. He called out Georgia as a place with suspicious vote counting, saying Democrats are in charge of the process. That is not true, correct?

FOWLER: Correct. You know, Georgia is a Republican state with a Republican governor and a Republican secretary of state, the top elections official. And, you know, while most of the votes are coming from the Democratic, big metro Atlanta counties, you know, a Republican's in charge of the vote counting. And he has stressed that this is a safe, secure process and that everyone should trust the outcome no matter who wins.

MARTIN: Stephen Fowler with Georgia Public Radio, thank you.

And now we turn to NPR's Leila Fadel in Las Vegas, Nev. Leila, what's going on?

LEILA FADEL, BYLINE: Well, we're waiting. We're expecting some new accounts to be released by 10 a.m. local time. The race remains really tight. Biden has a slight lead. And Clark County's registrar of voters, Joe Gloria - that's where 90% of the ballots that are left to count are - he said he didn't expect to see - to release the count of the majority of those votes until the weekend. Clark County, the most populous in Nevada, where Las Vegas is - and the state is accepting mail-in ballots that are postmarked by November 3 until November 10.

MARTIN: Also, you've been able to talk or at least get statements from some of the poll workers there. Local, state election officials, they're feeling the pressure, aren't they?

FADEL: They are. Gloria, the registrar of voters, you know, he was saying that with these protests and accusations, they're worried about their safety. This is him describing that fear yesterday.


FADEL: Well, he basically said that his wife and his mother were very concerned that - about his security. He's worried. He's boosting security outside. They're monitoring vehicles coming in and out of counting centers, but they won't stop counting.

MARTIN: All right. NPR's Leila Fadel in Las Vegas; Georgia Public Broadcasting, Stephen Fowler; and we heard from NPR's Alina Selyukh in Philadelphia. Thanks to all of you. Transcript provided by NPR, Copyright NPR.

Alina Selyukh
Alina Selyukh is a business correspondent at NPR, where she covers retail, low-wage work, big brands and other aspects of the consumer economy. Her work has been recognized by the Gracie Awards, the National Headliner Award and the Society of American Business Editors and Writers.
Stephen Fowler
Leila Fadel
Leila Fadel is a host of Morning Edition, as well as NPR's morning news podcast Up First.