US election live updates: Donald Trump or Joe Biden - Americans decide their next President

live 04/11/2020

The US election count has extended into its third day as the final states tally their ballots, with Democratic candidate Joe Biden creeping closer to victory.

Several states are yet to finish counting their ballots, including some of the most competitive battlegrounds. Biden has more paths to the 270-vote threshold for victory in the Electoral College than the incumbent, President Donald Trump.

Refresh the page for the latest updates.

What you need to know 

  • Biden has 253 electoral votes locked in, while incumbent President Donald Trump has 214.
  • The states Biden's won: Vermont (3), Virginia (13), Delaware (3), Rhode Island (4), New Jersey (14), Massachusetts (11), Nebraska CD2 (1), Maryland (10), Illinois (20), Connecticut (7), New Mexico (5), New York (29), District of Columbia (3), Colorado (9), California (55), Oregon (7), Washington state (12), Hawaii (4), New Hampshire (4), Minnesota (10), Maine (3), Wisconsin (10), Michigan (16).
  • The states Trump's won: South Carolina (9), Kentucky (8), West Virginia (5), Oklahoma  (7), Tennessee (11), Mississippi (6), Alabama  (9), Arkansas (6), Indiana (11), Wyoming (3), South Dakota (3), North Dakota (3), Louisiana (8), Nebraska (4), Kansas (6), Missouri (10), Idaho (4), Utah (6), Maine CD2 (1), Florida (29), Ohio (18), Montana (3), Iowa (6), Texas (38).
  • States still up-for-grabs: Nevada (6), Arizona (11), Georgia (16), North Carolina (15), Pennsylvania (20), Alaska (3).
  • Lawsuits filed by the Trump campaign in Michigan and Georgia have been dismissed, while another has been filed in Nevada, where Biden holds a slim lead.
  • Mail-in votes, counted last in most states, are heavily favouring Biden, with the Democrats saying they're confident of victory even in states where they're currently behind. 

Follow Newhubs live updates below.

5:25pm - At least nine popular YouTube channels were promoting on Thursday debunked accusations about voting fraud in the US presidential race, conspiratorial content that could jeopardise advertising and memberships revenue they get from the video service.

Reuters found the channels, ranging from ones with 1000 followers to more than 629,000, endorsing claims that fact-checking units of the Associated Press, Reuters and other organisations have deemed false or inaccurate.

YouTube, owned by Alphabet Inc's Google, has rules that forbid channels using its revenue-generation tools from making "claims that are demonstrably false and could significantly undermine participation or trust in an electoral or democratic process".

Google did not immediately respond when asked if it would suspend ads and membership sales on the channels, a penalty commonly known as "demonetisation."

One of the channels seen by Reuters, JohnTalks, shared two videos on Thursday about alleged voter fraud in Michigan - a key battleground state in the election that Biden has won - generating more than 90,000 views in eight hours.

Among the claims cited was that wagons, suitcases and coolers were used to smuggle ballots into a counting center. At least three news outlets investigated the claim and determined the items carried food for election workers and camera equipment for a local TV station.

JohnTalks did not immediately respond to an emailed request for comment.

The liberal online watchdog group Media Matters for America said in a report on Thursday that it found videos making dubious claims post-election have garnered more than 1 million views collectively.

- Reuters

5:10pm - Protests have broken out around the United States as the results of the 2020 election trickle in on Thursday night (US time).

Black Lives Matter and LGBT supporters are marching in Manhattan, New York.

In Detroit, Michigan Trump supporters gathered outside the TCF election centre and at least one person has been pepper-sprayed by police.

Trump supporters are also protesting outside the Clark County Election Department in North Las Vegas, Nevada, and at the Maricopa County Elections Department office in Phoenix, Arizona. 

4:33pm - Political commentators have reacted to Donald Trump's speech on Friday in shock and disgust.

The incumbent President prematurely declared victory, saying he would easily win if the election was counted off "legal votes", but said the Democrats are trying to "steal the election" with "illegal votes".

CNN's Chief Washington correspondent Jake Tapper said it was a "sad night" for the US.

"It's not true, it's ugly, it's frankly pathetic," he said.

"He did not win, he has not won - the President falsely depicting the counting of votes as a fraud and an embarrassment - that is not what's going on." 

Read more here.

4:20pm - There are still 35,000 ballots unaccounted for in Pennsylvania,  Allegheny County executive Rich Fitzgerald told CNN on Friday.

"They are all mail-in," he said.

"Those are the ballots that weren't able to be processed. One of the 28,000 of those is a batch that was mailed to the wrong address, and then we're re-mailed, and because of a court order, by a federal court, we are not allowed to begin processing and counting those ballots until 5pm on Friday."

4:10pm - The gap again narrows between the candidates in Georgia. Over 300 new votes just got counted, bringing Trump's lead is down to 1797.

4pm - New votes have just come in from Pennsylvania where Trump's lead is dwindling. An hour ago there were 48,854 votes separating the candidates, now there are now only 42,142.

The majority of the incoming votes are leaning heavily in Biden's favour.

3:35pm - Trump and Biden are now neck and neck in Georgia - both on 49.4 percent. However Trump has a minor lead by just under 2000 votes.

  • Trump - 2,447,223
  • Biden - 2,445,321

3:30pm - 75,314 new votes have come in from Arizona, with the majority showing support for Trump. Biden now only holds the lead by 46,257 votes with 315,927 still to be counted. 

  • Biden - 50.1 percent
  • Trump - 48.5 percent

3:28pm - It may seem like the votes are only trickling in slowly, but CNN reports that in Pennsylvania, over 512,000 have been counted on Wednesday (US time).

3:20pm - There are now only 2497 votes separating Biden and Trump in Georgia. Trump is just hanging onto the lead at 49.4 percent to Biden's 49.3 percent. If Biden can hold the current trend of winning over 65 percent of the new votes coming in, it's likely he will take the lead.

There are only 11,936 votes left to be counted in the state.

3pm - New votes are in from Pennsylvania, Georgia and Arizona. 

Alaska, North Carolina and Nevada haven't recorded any new votes in the past seven hours.

Here's how many votes now separate the candidates in the states with new votes:

  • Pennsylvania - Trump ahead by 53,221 votes (his lead has decreased from a 114,341 difference eight hours ago)
  • Georgia - Trump ahead by 3486 votes (his lead has decreased from a 13,539 difference eight hours ago)
  • Arizona - Biden ahead by 56,833 votes (his lead has decreased from a 68,575 difference seven hours ago)

2:40pm - Trump's lead in the battleground state of Pennsylvania is again narrowing. New votes have come in pushing Biden to 49.0 percent, with Trump remaining steady on 49.8 percent.

Only six hours ago, Trump had a lead of over 100,000 votes, but now he just leads by 58,286.

2:35pm - Twitter has banned Trump's former top campaign advisor Steve Bannon on Friday after he called for violence against two federal officials.

NBC reports Youtube has also removed one of his videos after Bannon said in a podcast that he wanted to behead FBI Director Christopher Wray and top infectious diseases expert Dr Anthony Fauci.

Bannon said he would "put the heads on pikes" as a "warning to federal bureaucrats".

In a statement, Twitter said the "@WarRoomPandemic account has been permanently suspended".

2:25pm - To put the final battles in perspective, here's how many votes are still to be counted in the remaining states and how many each candidate currently has:

Nevada (6):

  • Trump - 604,251 (49.4 percent)
  • Biden - 592,813 (48.5 percent)
  • Remaining - 146,757

Arizona (11) :

  • Trump - 1,496,142 (50.3 percent)
  • Biden - 1,438,298 (48.3 percent)
  • Remaining - 378,029

Alaska (3):

  • Trump - 108,231 (62.9 percent)
  • Biden - 56,849 (33 percent)
  • Remaining - 193,975

Georgia (16):

  • Trump - 2,446,850 (49.4 percent)
  • Biden - 2,443,364 (49.3 percent)
  • Remaining - 22,856

North Carolina (15):

  • Trump - 2,732,120 (50 percent)
  • Biden - 2,655,383 (48.6 percent)
  • Remaining - 190,621

Pennsylvania (20):

  • Trump - 3,267,050 (49.8 percent)
  • Biden - 3,206,299 (48.9 percent)
  • Remaining - 370,911

2:10pm - Mitt Romney, a former Republican presidential nominee and current Utah Senator, has told his followers to remain patient as the votes are counted.

"Counting every vote is at the heart of democracy. That process is often long and, for those running, frustrating," he tweeted on Friday.

"The votes will be counted. If there are irregularities alleged, they will be investigated and ultimately resolved in the courts. 

"Have faith in democracy, in our Constitution, and in the American people."

2:05pm - As more votes are counted around the United States, here's how the candidates are doing in each of the states yet to declare a winner:

  • Nevada (6) -  Biden ahead on 49.4 percent to Trump's 48.5 percent with 89 percent of the votes counted
  • Arizona (11) - Biden ahead on 50.2 percent to Trump's 48.3 percent with 87 percent of the votes counted
  • Alaska (3) - Trump ahead on 62.9 percent to Biden's 33.0 percent with 56 percent of the votes counted
  • Georgia (16) - Trump ahead on 49.4 percent to Biden's 49.3 percent with 98 percent of the votes counted
  • North Carolina (15) - Trump ahead on 50.0 percent to Biden's 48.6 percent with 95 percent of the votes counted
  • Pennsylvania (20) - Trump ahead on 49.8 percent to Biden's 48.9 percent with 94 percent of the votes counted

1:57pm - At the same time, 7456 new votes just came in for Arizona where Trump is dominating the incoming votes.

The incumbent Republican President won 76.1 percent of the new votes, with Biden only gaining 23.9 percent.

However, the former Vice President is still ahead in the state on 50.3 percent to Trump's 483 percent.

There are 57,000 votes currently separating the candidates.

1:50pm - New votes have just come in from Georgia where the candidates are neck and neck for the state's 16 electoral votes. 

Just over 2000 votes came in at 1:45pm with the majority in favour of Democratic candidate Biden. Here's the breakdown of the new votes:

  • Trump - 47.4 percent 
  • Biden  - 52.6 percent

If Biden continues the trend with a high percentage of the incoming votes, he is on track to win the state.

Here's how many votes and the percentage of each candidate overall in the state:

  • Trump - 49.4 percent (2,446,850)
  • Biden - 49.3 percent (2,443,364)

1:23pm - Trump's lead in Pennsylvania just got a whole lot smaller - cut by more than 9000 in the latest batch of votes reported - 87.5 percent of which went to Biden. 

Biden needs just 58 percent of the remaining 372,000 votes to take out the state and win the presidency.

Another White House journo has chimed in on Trump's speech, this time the New York Times' Maggie Haberman.

"Two Trump aides told me people were generally relieved Trump hadn't been around reporters since early Wednesday morning's speech because they feared this kind of tirade. Nonetheless, here we are."

1:20pm - CNN's Anderson Cooper has described Trump's performance as like "an obese turtle on his back flailing in the hot sun, realising his time is over".

1:10pm - Despite Trump's bullishness, his chances of victory are continuing to slide, as states slip out of his grasp. 

The margin in Georgia has been dramatically cut to just 3635 as mail-in ballots are counted. With about 25,000 yet to be counted, at the rate Biden is gaining, he will take out the state which is crucial to Trump's chances of victory.

There are just 73,609 votes seperating the two in Pennsylvania also, with 385,000 votes left to count. Biden too here is gaining fast, on track to overtake the incumbent. 

12:48am - US President Donald Trump has claimed he will "easily win" the election if only the "legal votes" are counted.

"A lot of votes came in late. I have already decisively won," he claimed, in his first public appearance since falsely claiming victory on the night of the election.

He said "big media" and "big tech" had been against him, yet he "won" anyway. 

Mail-in votes that arrive after election day are typically counted, as long as they were posted on or before election day. Many have favoured Biden, with Democrats apparently more likely to post their vote and avoid queues amid the pandemic, than Republicans.

Trump has not yet won, with most pundits picking Biden to take out the election.

He went on to say "fake polls" were used to discourage his supporters from voting.

"There are now only a few states left to be decided... the voting apparatus in those states are run by Democrats," he claimed, saying his vote is being "whittled away in secret". There is no evidence of this.

He called mail-in voting a "corrupt system", though no widespread evidence of voter fraud through the mail has ever been found, and that the Democrats were stealing the election, also without evidence.

12:25pm - Trump might have broken the law by using the White House as a base of operations on election day.

The US Office of Special Counsel has opened an investigation, Reuters reports.

It's alleged he might have broken The Hatch Act, which - according to the office - "limits certain political activities of federal employees".

12:20pm - An NBC political analyst has hit back at people think he's been alarmist for sounding warnings over Trump's authoritarian nature.

"Election officials are saying they fear for their lives. The president's son is calling for 'total war.' The president's former top adviser is calling for the beheading of the FBI chief," tweeted Mehdi Hasan, who has called Trump an 'autocrat' in the past.

"But yeah, those of us who talk of authoritarianism & fascism, we're the alarmists, right?"

More on what Hasan is talking about, with links, can be found below.

12:05pm - Trump's lead in Pennsylvania is fast diminishing - the latest batch of votes counted cutting it from 90,000 to 78,000, with nearly 400,000 to go.

12pm - Donald Trump will speak publicly for the first time since claiming victory two days ago, at 12:30pm (NZ time).

11:53am - Donald Trump Jr has called on his dad to "go to total war" to "expose all of the fraud, cheating" in the election, of which no one has provided any proof. 

"The best thing for America’s future is for @realDonaldTrump to go to total war over this election to expose all of the fraud, cheating, dead/no longer in state voters, that has been going on for far too long," he tweeted.

"It's time to clean up this mess & stop looking like a banana republic!"

Twitter added a label to the tweet, saying "some or all of the content shared in this Tweet is disputed and might be misleading about an election or other civic process". The social media site has done the same to several tweets by his dad. 

11:42am - A Trump campaign legal adviser has said she expects the Supreme Court to "step in and do something" to award the election to Trump, claiming - without evidence - there is vote-tampering happening, saying counters wearing Biden-Harris masks are filling out voting forms before counting them. 

"We're waiting for the United States Supreme Court - of which the President has nominated three justices - to step in and do something. And hopefully Amy Coney Barrett will come through and pick it up," Harmeet Dhillon told Fox News.

COVERAGE CONTINUES FROM ROUGHLY MIDDAY NZ TIME

3:55pm - Along with the election to elect a new President, Americans have also been voting for the Senate and House. Here's how they are currently going: 

Senate:

  • Democrats - 48
  • Republicans - 48
  • Remaining - 4

Democrats need to gain four seats to guarantee control of the Senate after a six-year Republican majority, the New York Times reported. But if Biden becomes President, and Kamala Harris Vice President, then the Democrats only need to secure three seats, and Harris can cast a tie-breaking vote.

House:

  • Democrats - 205
  • Republicans - 190
  • Remaining - 40

Democrats are expected to keep control of the House after caputuring the majority in the 2018 midterm election.

3:43pm - US President Donald Trump's reelection campaign on Wednesday said it had filed a lawsuit in Georgia to require that Chatham County separate and secure late-arriving ballots to ensure they are not counted.

The lawsuit, brought against the Chatham County Board of Elections, asked a judge to order the county to secure and account for ballots received after 7 pm on Election Day, according to a court document released by the campaign.

The campaign said it filed the suit after receiving information that late-arriving ballots in the county, which includes Savannah, were improperly mingled with valid ballots.

"President Trump and his team are fighting for the good of the nation to uphold the rule of law, and Georgia's law is very clear: to legally count, mail ballots must be received by 7:00pm on Election Day," deputy campaign manager Justin Clark said in a statement.

- Reuters

3:35pm - Here's how the popular vote is currently stacking up:

  • Biden - 71,774,695 votes (50.4 percent) 
  • Trump  - 68,231,937 votes (47.9 percent)

Here's how it compares to the final results from the 2016 election where Clinton won the popular vote, but Trump took out the electoral vote and Presidency.

  • Clinton - 65,853,625 votes (48.0 percent)
  • Trump - 62,985,106 votes (45.9 percent)

3:25pm - Fulton County (Georgia) elections director Richard Barron says he expects all their votes to be counted by the end of Wednesday night (US time).

"We are bringing in fresh people, because people have been here all day. We expect this probably to go until midnight or more," he told reporters.

"We are going to finish tonight.. As long as it takes, we are going to be here, that's why we're bringing in fresh bodies."

3:06pm - Biden is currently leading Arizona, which could be crucial to obtaining the Presidency. The former Vice President is now on 50.7 percent with Trump on 47.9 percent. So far 86 percent of the votes have been counted.

3:05pm - New results have come in for Maricopa County in the battleground state of Arizona showing Biden on 51.8 percent and Trump on 46.8 percent.

3pm - The Democratic candidates have launched a "Biden-Harris Transition" website in anticipation of the results from the US election.

The website called "Build Back Better" says votes are still being counted in several states, but the team is preparing to take the White House.

"The crises facing the country are severe - from a pandemic to an economic recession, climate change to racial injustice - and the transition team will continue preparing at full speed so that the Biden-Harris Administration can hit the ground running on Day One."

2:50pm - "New York is already on fire."

Hundreds of people gathered in Manhattan on Wednesday evening (US time) to protest how the votes are being counted in the election.

But as it nears 9pm in the city, images and video shows protesters setting fires on the streets and clashing with police.

2:45pm - There are six states left to declare a winner, with the candidates less than 5 percentage points apart in each. Here's who's currently ahead: 

  • Nevada (6) -  Biden ahead on 49.3 percent to Trump's 48.7 percent with 86 percent of the votes counted

  • Arizona (11) - Biden ahead on 51.0 percent to Trump's 47.6 percent with 86 percent of the votes counted

  • Alaska (3) - Trump ahead on 62.9 percent to Biden's 33.0 percent with 56 percent of the votes counted

  • Georgia (16) - Trump ahead on 49.8 percent to Biden's 49.0 percent with 95 percent of the votes counted

  • North Carolina (15) - Trump ahead on 50.1 percent to Biden's 48.7 percent with 95 percent of the votes counted

  • Pennsylvania (20) - Trump ahead on 50.9 percent to Biden's 47.8 percent with 88 percent of the votes counted

2:30pm - It's got even closer in Georgia. There is now just 0.8 percent separating Trump and Biden. That's with 95 percent of the vote returned. 

2:20pm - If you are looking above and see that we have Biden on 253 electoral college votes, but that other news outlets have him on 264, here's the reason: Different news outlets will call or project states at different times.

For example, Fox News and AP have called Arizona for Biden. However, Newshub is using the New York Times for our count above. It and CNN have not yet called Arizona. 

But regardless of whether our count changes, if a major news outlets makes a projection, we will let you know in our updates.

2:15pm - CNN is reporting that a source within the Trump campaign says if the Republican candidate loses Georgia, then he will lose the election. 

Georgia remains extremely close with Trump only leading Biden by 1 percent. 

2pm - The Trump campaign continues to be confident it will win Pennsylvania. Votes are still being counted and Trump is in the lead. But there is still a way to go.

1:55pm - Ardern says as votes are still being counted, the whole world is waiting for the result of the US election.

We can continue to have "faith in the institutions in the United States", Ardern says, but as there is no final count yet, she won't comment further. 

"Our strong view is that other democracies should be left to run their course."

She will work with whoever America decides upon and takes the job of advocating for Kiwis very seriously.

1:50pm - Donald Trump has become such a divisive figure that most of the world wants to "move on" from him, according to The AM Show sports reader Mark Richardson.

Richardson made the comments after he and co-hosts Duncan Garner and Amanda Gillies had finished speaking to Newshub national correspondent Patrick Gower, who's in the US covering the knife-edge election between Trump and Democrat Joe Biden, during Thursday morning's show.

Read more here.

1:40pm - NZ Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern is expected to speak to media soon. You can watch that in the video above. It's likely she will be asked about the US election.

1:30pm - According to CNN, there has been no formal communication between Biden and Trump on Thursday. 

1:25pm - While the focus is on the electoral college, it's interesting to look at the popular vote. 

Biden now has 71,185,821 votes - the most of any US presidential candidate ever. Trump has 67,739,934 votes - the highest of any Republican candidate ever and about 5 million more than what he got in 2016. 

1:20pm - We have some new results in for Georgia and its bringing Biden closer to Trump. There is now just 1 percent in it between the two candidates with 95 percent of the vote counted. Many of those votes came from the counties around Atlanta, which lean to the Democrats.

1:15pm - Sportsbet.com.au has tweeted that it is calling the election for Joe Biden. No major news outlet has declared victory for either candidate.

1:05pm - The Associated Press is reporting that the Trump campaign is filing a lawsuit in Georgia to halt the vote count there.

1pm - CNN reports that we can expect a big dump of votes from Georgia's Fulton County soon. That's a big one for the Democrats as it includes Atlanta and many suburbs. At the moment, in that single county, Biden is leading 72 percent to Trump's 26.8 percent.

In Georgia overall, Trump leads 50 percent to Biden's 48.8 percent with 94 percent of the vote returned. 

12:55pm - Pennsylvania Secretary of State Kathy Boockvar say it will be "a matter of days before the overwhelming majority of ballots are counted."

According to the New York Times, just 19 of 67 countries in the state have reported absentee votes.

Trump is sitting on 51.4 percent to Biden's 47.3 percent with 86 percent of the vote reported.

12:50pm - Unsubstantiated claims alleging some votes cast for President Donald Trump were not counted in Maricopa County, Arizona - an important battleground in the 2020 US election - because voters used Sharpie pens began spreading among right-wing social media accounts on Tuesday night as election results trickled in.

Dubbed "Sharpiegate" by conservatives on social media, the allegations could be used to try to undermine election results in the historically Republican state of Arizona, which the Associated Press called for Democratic presidential candidate Joe Biden with 51 percent of the vote.

Similar rumors about Sharpies or other writing tools and ballots have circulated in Chicago, Michigan, Massachusetts and Connecticut in recent days.

Maricopa County officials were trying to inform voters that Sharpies did not interfere with ballots, and had posted a video explaining that on Election Day.

The county - which includes Arizona's biggest city, Phoenix - last year rolled out new tabulation equipment that made Sharpie pens the best option on Election Day because they have the fastest drying ink, said Megan Gilbertson, the Maricopa County Elections Department's communications director.

"The Sharpies are just fine to use," Gilbertson said in an interview. "They do not impact tabulation, and we encourage them on Election Day because of how fast the ink dries."

By Tuesday night, some Arizona Trump voters had begun to question whether ballots had been counted.

Andrea Thiele, 48, of Surprise, Arizona, said in an interview that when she took her daughter to vote she noticed Sharpies and found them "fishy."

The voting machine accepted her daughter's ballot, she said.

Later, however, she discovered a viral Facebook video saying that Trump voters had their ballots rejected after Maricopa County poll workers had given voters Sharpies.

Now, she is concerned the ballot wasn't counted.

"I suspect there's fraud happening, absolutely," she said.

The state attorney general's office said in a statement to Reuters on Wednesday it had received hundreds of complaints about Sharpie use and sent a letter to Maricopa County officials to investigate the concerns.

"There is no concern about ballots being counted because of the pen being used to count ballots," Arizona Secretary of State Katie Hobbs said on CNN Wednesday.

By Wednesday afternoon, the video Thiele saw had been shared on Facebook 101,000 times, and had been promoted by prominent conservatives, including Sidney Powell, the attorney representing former Trump national security adviser Michael Flynn.

Following those 101,000 shares, it was labeled "false information" on Facebook by fact-checkers who have partnered with the social media company to root out disinformation about the 2020 election.

Facebook has also blocked the hashtag "#sharpiegate," Facebook spokeswoman Andrea Vallone said, while a Twitter spokeswoman said the social media company was labeling tweets that "misleadingly claim ballots were invalidated."

American Conservative Union Chairman Matt Schlapp has also repeated the fraud claims on Twitter and urged voters to report them to the Arizona attorney general's office.

Schlapp and Powell could not immediately be reached for comment.

Alex Stamos, Facebook's former chief technology officer and now director of the Stanford Internet Observatory, told reporters Wednesday the allegations were "disinformation."

"Once this idea was out there in the zeitgeist, it was picked up," he said.

- Reuters

12:40pm - On top of Georgia, Biden is also close to surpassing Trump in Pennsylvania. He is now at 47.2 percent compared to 51.5 percent for Trump. About 86 percent of the estimated vote has been returned. 

The areas still needing to return their vote include Philadelphia and Pittsburgh, Democrat centres

12:25pm - We are expecting a lot of Arizona vote to drop at 3pm and 6:30pm. There have also been reports that officials will begin releasing more results from Nevada this afternoon.

12:20pm - Biden has significantly closed in on Trump in Georgia. There is roughly only 60,000 votes now in it. Trump has been leading there since early on Wednesday afternoon. However, most of the votes coming in now are from Atlanta, a strong city for the Democrats. 

About 94 percent of the vote has been counted and Trump is leading 50 percent to Biden's 48.

12:15pm - The US Ambassador to New Zealand has spoken out against President Donald Trump, saying it was wrong of him to declare victory before the votes have been counted.

Scott Brown told The AM Show on Thursday that while he was happy with the voter engagement, he didn't agree with Trump's decision to declare the election for himself.

"Should he have gone on TV and announced victory? I think no."

Read more here.

12pm -  AP has now called Michigan for Biden. That puts AP in line with Fox with Biden at 264 electoral college votes. Both of those outlets have also called Arizona for Biden, which the likes of CNN and the New York Times have not. 

11:55am - Australian Prime Minister Scott Morrison is refusing to criticise Donald Trump's election night comments.

"I'm not a participant in the US political process. I'm a partner. Australia is a partner with the United States and we respect the decisions that the American people make in their democracy. And we'll be patient and we'll await the outome of their process."

11:35am - It's unlikely we will be hearing from Trump on Thursday, according to this tweet.

11:30am - A reminder that to win the presidency, a candidate needs 270 electoral college votes. Currently, Biden has 253 votes to Trump's 213. That's based on what states have so far been called.

In states yet to be called, Trump is leading in Georgia, North Carolina, Alaska and Pennsylvania. But things can change, especially in Pennsylvania, which is taking its time with counting mail-in votes that favour Biden. Both campaigns expect to win that state.

Biden is leading in Arizona and Nevada. However, again, it's close and votes are still being counted.

If Biden can hold Arizona and Nevada, then he becomes President. If Trump can win the states he is leading in, and add either Arizona or Nevada, then he can win. 

CNN's Jim Acosta reports that the mood is darkening within the Trump campaign.

11:20am - Emotions are certainly running high in the United States. Here's a video out of Nevada, which is still counting votes.

11:10am - Twitter has now put a warning on those two Trump tweets

"Some or all of the content shared in this Tweet is disputed and might be misleading about an election or other civic process," the warning says. 

11:02am - New tweets in from Trump where he claims to have won Pennsylvania, Georgia, and North Carolina - three states that major news outlets are yet to call. He is leading in each, but there are votes still to be counted.

The President cannot declare he has won states when there are still votes to be returned.

"Additionally, we hereby claim the State of Michigan if, in fact, there was a large number of secretly dumped ballots as has been widely reported!"

That last statement by the President is not verified in anyway. There is no evidence of dumped ballots.

Meanwhile, Joe Biden is again saying every vote must be counted.

"No one is going to take our democracy away from us, not now, not ever."

11am - CNN reports that at about 3pm (NZT) on Thursday, we should get more results from Arizona. The Trump team really needs to win that.

There are also reports that Nevada will release more results sometime in the coming hours.

10:55am - Fox News currently has Biden on 264 electoral votes. That's because it has called Arizona for the former vice-President. AP has also done this, but CNN is yet to. The Trump campaign is adamant it can win the state.

10:50am - According to CNN's Jim Acosta, the Trump campaign may not request a recount in Wisconsin as it previously said it would.

10:45am - Rudy Giuliani, Donald Trump's lawyer, is currently speaking to supporters. He is echoing comments from the campaign that legal action will be taken after observers allegedly couldn't have access to some vote counting sites.

He claims Trump has won the election.

10:40am - "Power can't be taken or asserted, it flows from the people, and it's their will that determines who will be the President of the United States," tweets Biden.

10:30am - So, let's have a look at Michigan, the state CNN has just called for Biden.

With 97 percent of the vote returned, Biden is leading 49.8 percent to Trump's 48.6 percent. Breaking it down by county, Wayne County - where Democrat stronghold Detroit is found - has only returned 85 percent of its vote. That's one of the key areas where this late Biden surge is coming from. There are Republican counties with vote not yet counted, but these have fewer people in them so won't make as much of a difference.

The New York Times also says that just 13 of 83 counties in the state have reported absentee votes. These have been favouring Biden 68.3 percent to Trump's 30.4 percent.

10:20am - In a big projection, CNN says Joe Biden will win Michigan. CNN is the first major news outlet to make that call. We will wait for another outlet, such as AP, to call it before we add Michigan to Biden's count above.

If Biden can now hold Nevada and Arizona (with Michigan), he will become the 46th President of the United States.

10:15am - Biden says that he and Kamala Harris will receive more votes than any other ticket in history. After the election, he says the rhetoric of the campaign needs to be put "behind us" and for people to listen to each other.

He says it will be hard to come together as a nation, but to make progress, people have to start treating their opponents not as enemies. 

Biden promises to govern as an American President, not as a Democrat. He says the office of President is for every American. 

"The presidency is not a partisan institution. It is the office that governs for all Americans. I will govern as hard for everyone who didn't vote for me as who voted for me."

He wants every vote to be counted.

"No one is going to take our democracy away from us... America has come too far," Biden tells supporters.

10:10am - Biden says democracy is the heartbeat of the United States as it has been for two centuries, pointing out that more Americans have voted in this election that in any other election. That's despite the world being in the middle of a pandemic.

"More Americans voted this election than ever before in American history. Over 150 million people cast their votes. I think that is just extraordinary. And if we had any doubts, we shouldn't have any longer about a government of, by and for the people. It is very much alive, very much alive in America."

He says the people rule and that power flows from the people. It is their will who determines who will be President.

It is clear that he is winning enough states to get to 270 electoral votes, Biden says. But he is not going to declare just yet. 

"Now after a long night of counting, it's clear that we are winning enough states to reach 270 electoral votes needed to win the presidency. I'm not here to declare that we have won. But I am here to report when the count is finished, we believe we will be the winners."

Biden says he expects to win in Pennsylvania as the remaining mail-in votes should mostly go his way.

10:05am - Joe Biden is about to speak in Delaware. 

10am - According to Vanity Fair reporter Gabriel Sherman, Trump was so annoyed by Fox's call that Arizona was going to Biden that he rang Rupert Murdoch for a retraction. Murdoch stood by his Fox team. The Trump campaign still believes it can win Arizona, where Biden leads.

9:55am - Protests have begun in Michigan, where Donald Trump wants vote counting to be halted. His campaign claims observers haven't had meaningful access to watch the count.

Meanwhile, in a bit of non-presidential race news, NBC projects the Democrats to win 227 seats in the 435-seat House of Representatives.

9:40am - Biden is finally on his way to speak.

9:35am - Eric Trump, the son of the President, has tweeted: "We have won Pennsylvania".

Again, to be clear, votes are still being counted in PA. Many mail-in ballots won't be counted there for days. Trump is currently leading with 82 percent of the vote counted, but many of the votes still to come in are from Democrat areas which are heavily favouring Joe Biden. Only 28 percent of counties have reported absentee votes.

Thursday, 9:45am - 82 percent of votes counted in PA:

Donald Trump: 52.6 percent

Joe Biden: 46.1 percent.

We are expecting to hear from the Trump campaign soon. The Guardian reports campaign manager Bill Stepien as declaring victory on a press call.

9:15am - New from the Trump campaign:

Justin Clark, the Trump campaign deputy manager, says "bad things are happening in Pennsylvania" where the President is currently leading. There are still many more votes to be counted in the state, however.

Clark says "Democrats are scheming to disenfranchise and dilute Republican votes" and that the Trump team is "fighting to put a stop to it".

He then accuses the local Secretary of State of trying to "bake in a backdoor to victory for Joe Biden with late, illegal ballots in collusion with the partisan state Supreme Court".

Clark mentions the campaign will make several legal moves. 

9:10am - Donald Trump's speech on the night of the US election, in which he falsely claimed victory, has been condemned as being more appropriate for a dictator than a US President.

With counting still going on in a number of battleground states key to victory, Trump wrongly claimed he'd already defeated Joe Biden - and went on to say counting every vote, such as those sent by mail, would be a "fraud on the American public". 

Read more here.

9am - If you are just joining us, we are waiting for Biden to speak. He was expected to come out at 8:30am, but there has been no sign of him yet.

8:55am - Trump has threatened to go to the Supreme Court. But can he?

While President Donald Trump has promised to ask the US Supreme Court to weigh in on a presidential race that is still too close to call, the nation's top judicial body may not be the final arbiter in this election, legal experts said.

Election law experts said it is doubtful that courts would entertain a bid by Trump to stop the counting of ballots that were received before or on Election Day, or that any dispute a court might handle would change the trajectory of the race in closely fought states like Michigan and Pennsylvania.

With vote-counting still underway in many states in the early hours of Wednesday morning, Trump made an appearance at the White House and declared victory against Democratic challenger Joe Biden.

"This is a major fraud on our nation. We want the law to be used in a proper manner. So we'll be going to the US Supreme Court. We want all voting to stop," he said.

The Republican president did not provide any evidence to back up his claim of fraud or detail what litigation he would pursue at the Supreme Court.

As of Wednesday afternoon, the election still hung in the balance. A handful of closely contested states could decide the outcome in the coming hours or days, as a large number of mail-in ballots cast amid the coronavirus pandemic appears to have drawn out the process.

However, legal experts said that while there could be objections to particular ballots or voting and counting procedures, it was unclear if such disputes would determine the final outcome.

Ned Foley, an election law expert at Ohio State University, said on Twitter that the Supreme Court "would be involved only if there were votes of questionable validity that would make a difference, which might not be the case."

Both Republicans and Democrats have amassed armies of lawyers ready to go to the mat in a close race. Biden's team includes Marc Elias, a top election attorney at the firm Perkins Coie, and former Solicitors General Donald Verrilli and Walter Dellinger. Trump's lawyers include Matt Morgan, the president's campaign general counsel, Supreme Court litigator William Consovoy, and Justin Clark, senior counsel to the campaign.

Benjamin Ginsberg, a longtime Republican election lawyer, said on CNN that any attempt to toss out legally cast votes would likely "be viewed by any court including the Supreme Court as just a massive disenfranchisement that would be frowned upon." Ginsberg represented George W. Bush's presidential campaign in 2000 when the Supreme Court ended a recount in Bush's favor against Democrat Al Gore.

Trump attorney Jenna Ellis on Wednesday defended Trump's bid to challenge the vote count and evaluate his legal options. "If we have to go through these legal challenges, that's not unprecedented," Ellis told Fox Business Network in an interview. "He wants to make sure that the election is not stolen."

Bringing a case to federal court immediately was one possibility, she added, without giving further details. "We have all legal options on the table."

The case closest to being resolved by the Supreme Court is an appeal currently pending before the justices in which Republicans are challenging a September ruling by Pennsylvania's top court allowing mail-in ballots that were postmarked by Election Day and received up to three days later to be counted.

The Supreme Court previously declined to fast-track an appeal by Republicans. But three conservative justices left open the possibility of taking up the case again after Election Day.

Even if the court were to take up the case and rule for Republicans, it may not determine the final vote in Pennsylvania, as the case only concerns mail-in ballots received after Nov. 3.

In a separate Pennsylvania case filed in federal court in Philadelphia, Republicans have accused officials in suburban Montgomery County of illegally counting mail-in ballots early and also giving voters who submitted defective ballots a chance to re-vote.

If Biden secures 270 electoral votes without needing Pennsylvania, the likelihood of a legal fight in that state diminishes in any case, legal experts said.

And any challenge would also need to make its way through the usual court hierarchy.

"I think the Court would summarily turn away any effort by the President or his campaign to short-circuit the ordinary legal process," said Steve Vladeck, a professor at the University of Texas at Austin School of Law.

"Even Bush v. Gore went through the Florida state courts first."

- Reuters

8:50am - To put the US President's request for a Wisconsin recount into context, the state's Governor Scott Walker says Trump has a high hurdle to pass. 

8:45am - So, it looks like Donald Trump won't be present at the 9:30am press conference we reported earlier. His family will be though.

8:35am - Donald Trump's campaign team is very confident it can still win Arizona.

8:30am - We are waiting for Joe Biden to speak. We will carry that live in the video above.

8:25am - AP and the New York Times has now called Wisconsin for Biden.

8:20am - Speaking to The AM Show, US Ambassador to NZ Scott Brown said the political pollsters were once again wrong. He points to the fact that Republicans will continue to control the Senate and that no real blue wave has eventuated in the presidential race.

He said it is Trump's legal right to request a recount in Wisconsin. 

"There is a sense of frustration certainly with the President. Should he have gone on TV and declared victory? I think no," Brown said.

8:10am - Donald Trump has tweeted: "We are winning Pennsylvania big, but the PA Secretary of State just announced that there are 'Millions of ballots left to be counted'."

The result of PA remains unknown.

8:05am - CNN has just called Wisconsin for Biden. Trump has requested a recount here.

8am - The Trump campaign is claiming that it hasn't had access to several counting locations in Michigan to "observe the opening of ballots and the counting process, as guaranteed by Michigan law". 

Trump's campaign manager says the campaign has "filed suit today in the Michigan Court of Claims to halt counting until meaningful access has been granted".

It also wants to "review those ballots which were opened and counted while we did not have meaningful access".

"President Trump is committed to ensuring that all legal votes are counted in Michigan and everywhere else". 

Michigan remains on the knife-edge, with Biden ahead just.

7:55am - Reuters reports that the Trump campaign will hold a press conference in Philadelphia - one of the Pennsylvania Democrat strongholds awaiting results - at 9:30am (NZT). It's unclear if Donald Trump himself will be there.

7:50am - Another misleading claim from Donald Trump. He says that Michigan "has now found the ballots necessary to keep a wonderful young man, John James, out of the US Senate".

"What a terrible thing is happening".

To be clear, state officials aren't just finding random votes, they are still in the process of counting those legitimately cast. 

7:45am - With ballots still to be counted, Joe Biden has received more votes than any other candidate in US history. Donald Trump has received about 4 million more votes than he did in 2016, the most any Republican has ever got. 

Thursday 7:40am (NZT):

  • Joe Biden: 69,763,198
  • Donald Trump: 66,836,998.

7:30am - Kia Ora, good morning. If you are just waking up now, here's a look at the current play of the key states still up for grabs. We'll use The New York Times' current set of results/projections for this.

Nevada: This western US state was narrowly won by Hillary Clinton in 2016 and the Trump campaign wanted to try and take it from the Democrats this election. With 86 percent of the vote counted, it's unclear if the incumbent will pull that off. Biden sits on 49.3 percent and Trump is at 48.7 percent. But according to the Times, only 6 percent of counties here have reported their absentee votes and those are very, very heavily favouring Biden.

Arizona: This state was won by Trump in 2016, but looks to be going Biden's way with 86 percent of the vote returned. Biden is at 51 percent to Trump's 47.6 percent. Both Fox News and the Associated Press has called it for Biden, but others are yet to so far. The Trump campaign is confident they can pull off a win here, touting a possible election-day surge. Unlike in Nevada, all absentee votes have been counted here.

Georgia: Another normally Republican state currently still in play, Georgia looked to be a win for Trump early on Wednesday night, but has since tightened as votes from Democrat-stronghold Atlanta have come in. Trump is leading 50.3 percent to Biden's 48.5 percent with 93 percent counted. However, in some Democrat areas, there is still a good chunck of vote to count.

North Carolina: With 95 percent of the vote counted, Trump holds a 50.1 percent to 48.7 percent lead. Mail ballots postmarked by election day can be accepted here until November 12.

Wisconsin: This is the first of the so-called rust-belt states. Trump destroyed the 'blue wall' here in 2016 and Biden wants to rebuild it. The vast majority of votes have been counted here and Biden leads 49.4 percent to Trump's 48.8 percent. Trump looked like he was leading early in the night, but that was before Democrat areas like Milwaukee came in. The incumbent has already called for a recount here.

Michigan: Another state which has switched from Trump to Biden over the course of the night. Biden is leading here 49.6 percent to Trump's 48.7 percent with 94 percent of the vote counted. There are still many absentee votes to count here, however. Those are favouring Biden. A "very clear picture" of the result is expected sometime Thursday afternoon (NZT).

Pennsylvania: Finally, this state is in a similar position where not all mail-in ballots have been counted. Officials expect they will be counted by Saturday (NZT). At the moment, Trump is leading 53.4 percent to Biden's 45.3 percent. But massive Democrat strongholds like Philadelphia and Pittburgh only have about three-quarters of their vote counted so far.

Alaska: Alaska is still up-for-grabs, but this will likely go Trump's way. It's one of the last states to start counting votes so results are not quick to come through. It's currently 61.4 percent for Trump to 34.7 percent for Biden with 36 percent of the vote counted.

6:50am - Trump's campaign has requested a vote recount in Wisconsin as Biden leads the state with 49.6 percent to Trump's 48.9.

"Despite ridiculous public polling used as a voter suppression tactic, Wisconsin has been a razor thin race as we always knew it would be," read a statement from the president's campaign manager Bill Stepien.

"The President is well within the threshold to request a recount and we will immediately do so."

6:30am - Another of Donald Trump's tweets has been flagged by Twitter for being misleading.
Earlier on Thursday the President tweeted "They are working hard to make up 500,000 vote advantage in Pennsylvania disappear — ASAP. Likewise, Michigan and others!"
This has now been hidden by the social media platform's fact-checking service.

6.10am - Washington DC police have rescinded on a claim that a stabbing overnight was related to conflict between members of the far-right Proud Boys movement and the Black Lives Matter protests.

Authorities now say they cannot confirm identities or ideologies of the three victims or suspects.

"The incident remains under investigation," police said in an update Wednesday, "and (the police department) cannot verify any specific affiliation of the suspects."

Initially police said the victims were Proud Boys. The victims allegedly told police they were attacked by members of the Black Lives Matter movement.

6:08am - Trump says "they" are "finding" votes for his opponent Biden "all over the place".

"In Pennsylvania, Wisconsin and Michigan. So bad for our Country!"

6:03am - Trump has continued his false claims of election fraud, tweeting that "they are working hard to make up a 500,000 vote advantage in Pennsylvania disappear - ASAP.

Likewise, Michigan and others".

It is unclear who "they" are.

5:56am - Six states are still too close to call for Biden or Trump. Biden leads Wisconsin by approximately 20,000 votes and Nevada by a narrow margin.

Nevada officials have said no more results will be released until noon on Friday (NZ time). 

In Michigan, Biden has a slim lead of 10,000 votes with final results expected to be released on Thursday. 

Pennsylvania is led by Trump with an 11-point lead, But there are still 1.4 million absentee votes left to count, not including ballots which could arrive over the next day or so. State officials say the majority of the votes will be counted by Saturday.

Trump leads Georgia too, by two points - more than 90 percent of the votes have been counted. 

In North Carolina, Trump is also ahead by a fairly wide margin. However Georgia accepts late mail ballots until November 12, and there were approximately half-a-million absentee ballots still outstanding on election day, reports the New York Times.

5:40am - Scattered protests took place from Washington DC to Washington state overnight in the US but as of Thursday morning there was little sign of widespread unrest or violence.

Demonstrations in Seattle, Washington and New York were largely peaceful.

"Some people would like to cause mayhem and trouble," Washington Mayor Muriel Bowser said earlier on Wednesday. She told AP she had never seen so many businesses being boarded up: "That all saddens me."

UPDATES CONTINUE FROM THE WARLU HOURS OF THURSDAY MORNING NZ TIME.

7:15pm - Trump tweeted earlier claiming the Republicans are "up BIG" in the election results but the Democrats were "trying to STEAL the Election".

"We will never let them do it. Votes cannot be cast after the Polls are closed!" he said.

But Twitter has now flagged the tweet.

"Some or all of the content shared in this Tweet is disputed and might be misleading about an election or other civic process," a note attached to it reads.

It also offers viewers more information about election security efforts.

7:05pm - The New York Times has called Biden as the winner of Minnesota with 82 percent of the votes counted.

Biden has 54 percent, with Trump trailing behind on 44 percent.

The win bring's Biden's total electoral college votes to 223, while Trump is on 174. The candidates need a majority of 270 to win the election, and the Presidency.

7:00pm - Tune in now to Newshub US Election Special: America Decides hosted by Samantha Hayes and Tom McRae from 7pm for the latest.

Democratic presidential nominee Joe Biden speaks at a drive-in election night event as Dr Jill Biden looks on at the Chase Center in the early morning hours of November 04, 2020 in Wilmington, Delaware. Photo credit: Getty

6:55pm - Here's how many electoral votes each candidate currently has:

Biden - 213

Trump - 174

Remaining - 151

 

6:47pm - Biden has addressed supporters in Delaware saying his team "feel good about where we are, we really do".

"We believe we're on track to win this election," he said.

But he told supporters the winner won't be known until tomorrow.

"We are going to have to be patient until the hard work of tallying the votes is finished. It ain't over until every ballot is counted."

He said he won't be calling the winner early as it's "not my place or Donald Trump's place to say who's won this election".

The former Vice President said he is grateful to poll workers, volunteers and everyone who had participated in the election so far.

"Keep the faith, guys, we're going to win this. your patience is great."

Social distanced chairs are laid out for reporters at Biden's speech in Wilmington, Delaware on election night. Photo credit: Getty

6:35pm - Biden is expected to address supporters and the media shortly from his home state of Delaware (3) which he won with 58 percent of the vote.

6:32pm - While many US states have been called, there are still votes rolling in, here's how some of the undecided states are looking: 

  • Georgia (16) - Trump ahead on 53 percent with 80 percent of votes counted. 
  • North Carolina (15) - Trump ahead on 50.1 percent with 95 percent of votes counted
  • Pennsylvania (20) - Trump ahead with 56.4 percent with 58 percent of votes counted
  • Michigan (16) - Trump ahead with 54 percent with 53 percent of votes counted
  • Wisconsin (10) - Trump ahead with 51.6 percent with 68 percent of votes counted
  • Minnesota (10) - Biden ahead with 53.5 percent with 67 percent of votes counted
  • Texas (38) - Trump ahead with 52.2 percent with 90 percent of votes counted

6:29pm - Trump has won the battleground of Iowa (6).

6:24pm - Donald Trump has edged out Joe Biden to win the state of Montana, according to the New York Times. The state has 4 electoral votes. He managed 49.5 percent of the vote to Biden's 47.6 percent.

6:15pm - Here's how many electoral votes each candidate currently has:

Biden - 213

Trump - 136

Remaining - 189

 

6:14pm - The New York Times has called Ohio (18) for Trump and Hawaii (4) for Biden.

6pm - Tune into Newshub live at 6pm with Samantha Hayes and Tom McRae for the latest on the election straight from the US.

5:50pm- Fox News has controversially called the winner of Arizona as Biden- despite only 76 percent of the votes counted and it remains a reasonably tight race. 

Trump campaign manager Jason Miller said the call was "WAY too soon".

"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."

5:40pm - Newshub's national correspondent Patrick Gower, who is reporting from the United States, says Trump is doing well in places where COVID-19 is doing "terribly".

He says Trump supporters are just "deciding to live with it [COVID-19]" and feel like they understand the virus better since Trump and his family contracted it in early October.

Currently the US has recorded the most cases of any country is the world at 9.692 million and the death toll stands at 238,000 according to Worldometre.

5:35pm - Newshub has called Trump as the winner of battleground Florida and the 29 electorate votes up for grabs. The incumbent President is currently on 51.2 percent of Biden's 47.7 percent with 94 percent of the votes counted.

5:32pm - Dr Maria Armoudian, an expert in politics and lecturer at the University of Auckland, says an important issue to factor into poll results is that "people lie to pollsters".

Biden was ahead in the polls for preferred President and in many battleground states but Trump is putting up a fight with the candidates neck and neck in Ohio, Texas and Florida throughout Wednesday.

Armoudian says Trump supporters were telling others to provide wrong information about their voting intentions to pollsters.

"Make sure to vote twice, once to the pollsters and once to the ballot," she said they were saying, meaning they would tell pollsters they are voting for Biden then go and vote for Trump.

5:22pm- Here's how many electorate votes each candidate currently has:

Biden - 209

Trump - 118

Remaining - 211

 

5:17pm - The New York Times is reporting Trump has taken out Utah (6).

5:14pm - Danielle Mclaughlin, a Kiwi living in the US, says the way states are counting their votes -  mail-in or in-person votes - is important.

Speaking from Washington she says she hoped the Biden campaign could have "flipped" Florida because it would have "saved democrats a lot of pain".

Currently, Trump is in front in the battleground state and Fox News has called the win as his. Other news outlets are hesitant too considering how narrow the lead is with hundreds of votes still to be counted.

Commenting on the political division of the US Mclaughlin says Trump has "turned the country against itself'' and it's "very clear" he is "not the president of all Americans".

5:10pm - CBS reporter Michael George says Democrat supporters are filling a parking lot in their vehicles for a socially distanced rally in Wilmington, Delaware for Democratic candidates Biden and Harris.

He says "everyone in the Biden camp is keeping their eyes glued to the results".

5:07pm - The former Vice President Biden has also taken out Democratic stronghold New Hampshire.

5:05pm - Biden has taken out California with 55 electorate votes, along with Oregon and Washington state according to the New York Times. Trump has increased his electorate votes too with Idaho.

5:03pm - US ambassador to New Zealand Scott Brown is at the US embassy election party in Wellington as the results come in.

"I still think it's going to be close and I think it's going to come down to Pennsylvania," he told Newshub on Wednesday.

In terms of dealing with the pandemic Brown says the US is not perfect: "we can always do better", and believes Americans will have to  "find a way to live with" COVID-19.

In preparation for the election, stores across the US have been boarding up their doors and windows with plywood and increasing security.

People are reportedly fearful there will be riots and protests no matter who the winner is.

Brown says the boarding up of shops is "very disturbing" and believes the violence will be in "isolated parts" of the country.

4:54pm - Trump has increased his lead in Ohio and is now on 52.7 percent to Biden's 45.8 percent. So far 82 percent of the votes have been counted.

4:50pm - Newshub's Tova O'Brien has revealed Trump is currently ahead in 8 out of  10 battleground states.

4:45pm - Trump has won Missouri and its 10 electoral college votes. According to The Guardian, Biden currently has 131 electoral votes to Trump's 108 but Trump is ahead in many states yet to declare a winner.

4:40pm - Votes are coming in across the United States, here's how some of the states are looking:

  • Florida (29) - Trump ahead on 51.2 percent with 94 percent of the votes counted

  • Georgia (16) - Trump ahead on 55.4 percent with 56 percent of the votes counted

  • North Carolina (15)- Trump ahead on 49.8 percent with 89 percent of the votes counted

  • Pennsylvania (20) - Trump ahead on 53.9 percent with 32 percent of the votes counted

  • New Hampshire (4) - Biden ahead on 53.8 percent with 37 percent of the votes counted

  • Ohio (18) - Trump ahead on 51.8 percent with 74 percent of the votes counted

  • Michigan (16) - Trump ahead on 54.5 percent with 34 percent of the votes counted

  • Wisconsin (10) - Trump ahead on 50.3 percent with 37 percent of the votes counted

  • Iowa (6) - Biden ahead on 60.4 percent with 20 percent of the votes counted

  • Minnesota (10) - Biden ahead on 60.8 percent with 36 percent of the votes counted

  • Texas (38) - Trump ahead on 51.3 percent with 81 percent of the votes counted

4:30pm - Political commentator Tracy Barnett says she is finding results surprising but "it's too early" to tell where things are going due to the amount of mail-in ballots.

"I think one of the most important things we say tonight is that it's too early to call it," she says.

"We have places that won't be recording all of their votes until November 6."

Political commentator and Republican Amy Barker Benjamin says people find Trump's personality to be "fabulous." 

She says they vote for him because he "isn't loathsome" and "doesn't have a penchant for lying" unlike other politicians.

4:24pm - Betting market odds on the US presidential election have flipped to favour Republican President Donald Trump over Democratic candidate Joe Biden, according to data from two aggregators.

Bettors on British betting exchange Betfair are giving Trump a 60 percent chance of winning a second term in the White House, up from 39 percent when polls opened on Tuesday morning.

Biden's odds of a win among bettors on the Betfair Exchange have fallen to 40 percent from 61 percent earlier.

"Trump has overtaken Biden significantly and is now in pole position, suggesting it could be a very nervous night ahead for Biden," Betfair spokesperson Sam Rosbottom said.

UK-based Smarkets Exchange is giving Trump 65 percent win-odds, up from 39 percent when polls opened. Biden's win-odds have fallen to 35 percent from 61 percent earlier.

4:21pm - CBS correspondent Micheal George is in Wilmington, Delaware - Biden's hometown- and he says Biden is currently at home with a "small number" of family and campaign workers. 

George says the Democrats are so far "encouraged" by the number of early voters in key states.

Biden and his running mate Kamala Harris plan to text supporters who will come and watch them speak this evening from their cars.

4:12pm - Newshub political editor Tova O'Brien says the US election is "shaping up to be a mother of all battles" as the results come in.

Reporting from Washington DC Patrick Gower says protests flared up outside the White House when Florida started to go Trump's way earlier on Wednesday.

"It's a sign of the trouble that may well come," he said.

Gower says a major fear American people have is that Trump will declare victory tonight even if he hasn't won which: "will set off all sorts of problems".

4:08pm - Trump has taken a slight lead in Ohio with 50.5 percent of the votes. So far 69 percent have been counted and Biden is sitting on 48 percent.

4:04pm - Donald Trump has won Kansas and all of the state's 6 electoral votes. Just 60 percent of the votes have been counted in the state with Trump ahead 51.8 percent to Biden's 45.7 percent but the New York Times and The Guardian have called the win.

4pm Newshub's America Decides Special has begun with host Paul Henry. The special will be followed by Newshub Live at 6pm with Tom McRae and Samantha Hayes, then Newshub US Election Special: America Decides from 7pm.

3:50pm - The votes are also close in Ohio where there are 18 votes up for grabs. Biden is only just ahead with 49.5 percent while Trump is on 49.2 percent with 64 percent of the votes counted.

3:43pm - Biden has been declared the winner of Colorado and its nine electorate votes. The Guardian reports his electoral vote count now stands at 131, while Trump has captured 92 electoral votes so far.

3:40pm - Trump has retaken the lead from Biden in Texas, with 49.6 percent of the votes. Biden's on 49 percent with 74 percent of the votes counted. The battleground state could push one candidate significantly ahead with the state's 38 electoral votes up for grabs. Trump and Biden need at least a majority of 270 votes to win the Presidency.

3:31pm - Biden has won the District of Columbia (3), according to the New York Times.

3:30pm- Biden holds a narrow lead in Texas, which keeps switching between the two candidates. Currently Biden is on 49.6 percent with 72 percent of the votes counted. Trump is on 49 percent.

3:27pm - Senate elections are also held on Wednesday and Delaware has elected America's first transgender Senator, Sarah McBride. 

She thanked voters via Twitter for the win: "I hope tonight shows an LGBTQ kid that our democracy is big enough for them too".

Sarah McBride
Sarah McBride. Photo credit: Getty

3:14pm - In Florida, 93 percent of the votes have been counted with Trump in front on 51 percent. Biden is currently on 48 percent.

Final votes are cast
Final votes are cast. Photo credit: Getty

3:04pm - The New York Times has reported Trump has won Indiana, Louisiana, North Dakota, South Dakota, Wyoming and Nebraska.

Biden has picked up New Mexico and the state of New York.

3pm - Voting has closed in more US states including Iowa, Montanna, Nevada and Utah .

2:58pm - Votes are trickling in from eastern states here's how the preliminary votes are looking:

  • Georgia (16) - Trump ahead on 55.8 percent with 28 percent of the votes counted
  • North Carolina (15)- Trump ahead on 51.9 percent with 72 percent of the votes counted
  • Pennsylvania (20) - Biden ahead on 68.3 percent with 13 percent of the votes counted
  • Ohio (18) - Biden ahead on 54.5 percent with 50 percent of the votes counted
  • Michigan (16) - Trump ahead on 57.1 percent with 11 percent of the votes counted
  • Missouri (10)  - Biden ahead on 64.1 percent with 10 percent of the votes counted
  • Maine (4) - Trump ahead on 50.1 percent with 2 percent of the votes counted
  • New Hampshire (4) - Biden ahead on 53.3 percent with 13 percent of the votes counted
  • Kansas (6) -  Biden ahead on 52.5 percent with 36 percent of the votes counted
Protestors unfurl a banner that says "remove Trump" in front of the White House on election day. Photo credit: Getty
Protestors unfurl a banner that says "remove Trump"

2:44pm - The gap is closing is Texas with less than 4 percentage points seperating the contenders. Trump is currently trailing on 47.6 percent to Biden's 51 percent. 61 percent of the votes have been counted.

2:42pm - Trump is retaining his lead in Florida with 91 percent of the votes counted. The incumbent President os on 50.6 percent and Biden on 48.4 percent.

2:35pm - Trump has won Arkansas- he was expected to win the safe Republican state. The state had six electoral votes up to grabs.

2:28pm - The Fox News Decision Desk has predicted that Trump will win Florida, however there are currently only 2 percentage points between the candidates.

2:25pm- Newshub's coverage of the US election begins with America Decides at 4pm with Paul Henry.

2:20pm - Biden is currently ahead in the swing state of Texas which has a large amount of electoral votes up for grabs - 38. The former Vice President is currently on 55.3 percent and Trump is on 43.3 percent with 26 percent of the votes counted.

2:15pm - New Zealand's newly appointed Foreign Affairs Minister Nanaia Mahuta has commented on the US election, saying the final result is up to American voters to decide.

"In a day or so we’ll know the outcome and then we’ll be in a position to continue conversations."

She says from a foreign affairs perspective it's important to "foster and strengthen" relationships with other countries and she wasn't in a position to comment on the outcome of the election.

2:13pm - Trump has pulled ahead in Florida on 50.1 percent with 87 percent of votes counted. Biden is trailing on 48.9 percent.

2:10pm - Biden has won seven more states including his home state of Delaware, AP has called. The other states are Rhode Island, New Jersey, Massachusetts, Maryland, Illinois, Delaware and Connecticut.

Trump has also picked up some more states: Oklahoma, Tennessee, Mississippi and Alabama.

2:05pm - Trump has won South Carolina and it's nine electoral votes.

2pm - More voting booths across the United States have now closed and the results will start coming in. They include the battleground states of Arizona, Michigan, Minnesota, Texas and Wisconsin.

1:56pm - Donald Trump has pulled ahead in Florida, sitting on 49.6 percent. Biden is trailing by 10,000 votes on 49.5 percent. 81 percent of the state's votes have been counted.

1:51pm - It's currently neck and neck in Florida with only 0.1 percent points seperating Biden and Trump. Biden is currently on 49.6 percent and Trump on 49.5 percent.

1:48pm - Biden is only just ahead in the key swing state of Florida, with 29 electoral votes. CNN has Biden on 49.9 percent and Trump on 49.1 percent with 79 percent of the votes counted.

1:42pm - Biden has won Virginia, where there were 13 electoral votes up for grabs.

1:38pm - AP has called that Trump has won West Virginia, giving the incumbent President five electral votes.

1:35pm - Polls have closed in North Carolina (15 electorate votes) and Ohio (18) which are both battleground states in the 2020 election.

1:25pm - One of the key areas of Florida not looking good for Biden is Miami-Dade.  He's ahead there, but not by much.

1:17pm - With 44 percent of the vote counted, Biden (51.3 percent) remains ahead of Trump (47.9 percent) in Florida. He is also ahead in Georgia, but that still only has 3 percent reporting.

1:16pm - And Biden is now in the lead in Florida. He is doing better than Clinton did in several key counties.

1:15pm - With 3 percent of the vote in, Biden has taken the lead in Georgia. 

1:12pm - With 16 percent of the state vote counted, the gap between Trump and Biden is narrowing in Florida. Trump is on 51.4 percent compared to Biden's 47.7 percent.

1:10pm - With just 1 percent of the vote counted, Trump has an early lead in Georgia. That's normally a Republican state, but is expected to be a tight one this year.

1:06pm - Fox News has called Kentucky for Donald Trump. Virginia goes Biden's way, as does Vermont. Those are two Democrat states.

1:05pm - Trump has taken an early lead in Florida. That's with just 1 percent of the vote reporting. 

1:02pm - CNN projects Trump to win Indiana. That's no surprise.

1pm - Polls are now closing in several states, including Florida and Georgia. Trump won both in 2016 and will need to again to be re-elected President.

12:58pm - We are moments away from seeing results from the key states of Florida and Georgia. Early votes will come in first, which are expected to favour Biden.

12:55pm - And Kentucky is back in Trump's (51.3 percent) hands. Biden has 47.2 percent support. These are early votes, however. A lot can change.

12:52pm - According to a CNN report, the Trump campaign feels more confident than it did in 2016.

"Where we, where we disagree with the Biden campaign is their view of what is happening on election day. They believe that election, and the makeup of voters who are voting today on Election Day, will resemble those who voted on election day in 2016," says Trump campaign manager Bill Stepien.

"Where their theory breaks down, is that the Biden campaign cannibalised their votes, something you've heard a lot of over the course of the last week, something we've been saying and predicting quite a bit over the last couple of weeks. They simply moved those who traditionally vote on election day to vote early. Congratulations.”

12:50pmTrack when polls will close in each state here.

12:35pm - Biden (53.2 percent) is still holding a lead over Trump (45.3 percent) in Kentucky. But that is largely because it is mostly suburban and early votes that have been counted so far. It's likely to switch back to Trump as more votes come in from rural parts. If Biden was to hold in Kentucky, that would be significant.

12:30pm - We won't update you on every change in results (that will become impossible when all of the states are reporting), but in two Trump states, here's how we are looking:

Indiana: Trump (68.2 percent), Biden (30.1 percent). Reporting: 3 percent.

Kentucky: Biden (58.9 percent), Trump (42.2 percent). Reporting: 7 percent.

12:20pm - Results are so far only in for Indiana and Kentucky (two Trump-friendly states), but the US President says he is "looking really good all over the country".

12:15pm -  Kentucky: Trump (66 percent), Biden (33 percent). Reporting: 1 percent

12:10pm - While it's exciting to have results in, it's important to note the Indiana and Kentucky results aren't an accurate representation of what we might see in other areas of the US.

At 1pm, battleground states like Florida and Georgia will start reporting. That's when things will get interesting. 

12:05pm - Initial results from Indiana - which is expected to go Trump's way - show 72 percent behind the incumbent and 26.1 percent in support of Biden. That's with 1 percent reporting.

12pm - Polls are now starting to close in parts of Indiana and Kentucky. 

11:50am - The first polls will close at 12pm in some parts of Indiana and Kentucky. But those state results are not likely to reflect the overall results. That's because both Indiana and Kentucky are meant to go Trump's way.

11:30am - Reminder: Newshub's election coverage begins at 4pm with America Decides hosted by Paul Henry, followed by Newshub Live at 6pm, and then from 7pm - Newshub US Election Special: America Decides, hosted by Samantha Hayes and Tom McRae.

11:20am - An international anti-semitism organisation is outraged after headstones at a Jewish cemetery in Michigan were deliberately spray-painted in red with the words "Trump" and "MAGA" (Make America Great Again) the day before the US election.

The Anti Defamation League (ADL), a US-based Jewish group, posted photos of the vandalism online on Monday (local time) saying it was "appalled" at the gravestones being desecrated.

Read more here.

11:10am - CNN has released an exit poll on the top issues for voters.

  • Economy: 34 percent
  • Racial Inequality: 21 percent
  • Coronavirus: 18 percent
  • Crime and Safety: 11 percent
  • Healthcare policy: 11 percent

Interestingly, on the question of whether US efforts to contain the coronavirus are going well, 48 percent say they is and 51 percent say they are going badly. CNN commentators are saying that is a very good result for Donald Trump as the number of people choosing the 'going well' option is higher than what polls suggested.

11am - Joe Biden won't say if he plans to speak to Americans later on Wednesday.

"There’s just so much in play right now … We'll see. If there's something to talk about tonight, I'll talk about it. If not, I’ll wait ‘til the votes are counted the next day," Biden said.

If Trump speaks, will Biden respond?

"It depends on what he says and how he says it," he said, according to CNN.

"Presidents can’t determine what votes counted or not counted and, you know, voters determine who is president...No matter what he does or what he says, the votes are going to be counted."

10:55am - Americans by the millions waited patiently to cast ballots at libraries, schools and arenas across the country on Tuesday, in an orderly show of civic duty that belied the deep tensions of one of the most polarising presidential campaigns in US history.

The face masks worn by many voters and the sight of boarded-up stores in some city centers were reminders of two big issues shaping the 2020 election, with COVID-19 still ravaging parts of the country after a summer of sometimes violence-marred protests against police brutality and racism.

While civic rights groups said they were monitoring for any signs of voter interference and law enforcement agencies were on high alert for disruption at the polls, their worst fears had not materialised by early afternoon.

In New York City, some voting lines snaked around blocks, but in many places, from Los Angeles to Detroit and Atlanta, lines were short or non-existent. Poll workers guessed this was due to an unprecedented wave of early voting. More than 100 million ballots were cast before Election Day, a new record.

Elsa Avalos, 79, was leaving a polling station on Tuesday morning after voting with her husband in Huntington Park in Southern California.

"Every election we've voted. We've done our duty," she said. "I was afraid we'd have a line today, but nothing."

In Atlanta, about a dozen voters were lined up before sunrise at the Piedmont Park Conservancy. First in line was Ginnie House, shivering in the cold, waiting to cast a vote.

"I lost my absentee ballot and I'm not going to miss this vote," said House, a 22-year-old actor and creative writing student, who had flown back to Atlanta from New York just for this purpose.

She said she was voting for Democratic candidate Joe Biden, a former vice president seeking to replace the Republican incumbent Donald Trump in the White House.

At a polling station in Houston, Texas, Andy Valadez was blowing a shofar, a trumpet used in Jewish and some Christian ceremonies. In this instance, the horn was a way to pray for a Trump victory, Valadez said.

"We want to pray for a fair election," the 55-year-old marketing executive said, his shofar wrapped in a US flag. "We believe in America and want everyone to have a safe voting experience.

- Reuters

10:50am - A Republican Governor has voted for Democrat Joe Biden.

Phil Scott from Vermont has previously said he wouldn't vote for Donald Trump, but wouldn't say if Biden would get his tick. 

"It's been a bit of a struggle for me, but I ended up voting for Joe Biden," he said on Saturday.

Scott didn't vote for Trump in 2016.

10:35am - Wondering what time the polls close in each state? This New York Times article provides a breakdown using New Zealand Time.

The first polls will close at 12pm in some parts of Indiana and Kentucky. The last polls will close at about 7pm in Alaska.

10:30am - A number of Instagram users have complained online about a feature telling them election day is tomorrow. Instagram has now responded on Twitter, saying the notice was turned off last night, but was cached for a small group of users "if their app hadn't been restarted".

"It's resolving itself as people restart. Today, people will get 'It's the Last Day to Vote' at the top of feed."

10:15am - Despite historic numbers of Americans getting out to vote early, there are still lines outside many voting booths.