It is looking increasingly likely that Joe Biden will be the next president of America, but Donald Trump is claiming he won and the election is being stolen from him.
Although millions of ballots have still to be counted, Joe Biden is edging ahead of Donald Trump in the race for president of the United States of America.
At time of writing, the Democratic nominee has 50.5% of the vote compared to 47.9% for the current Republican incumbent. However, in America the president is not directly elected by the voters, they are chosen by an electoral college which is based on the states.
Biden currently has 253 electoral votes to Trump’s 214, so if he wins two more states he will win. Biden is currently leading in Arizona and Nevada, while Pennslyvania, North Carolina and Georgia are all too close to call.
However, Trump has refused to accept the result and has instead declared himself the winner. In a series of tweets he suggested fraud may be occurring, claiming his lead in some states “started to magically disappear as surprise ballot dumps were counted.”
He claimed Democrats are trying to make votes for him disappear and declared “We are up BIG, but they are trying to STEAL the Election.”
He also said it was “widely reported” that a large number of his votes were secretly dumped to prevent him winning the key states of Michigan, but he has not provided any evidence for this or cited where it was reported.
Twitter has labelled several of his tweets as containing content that is “disputed or might be misleading” and made them less visible.
Facebook has banned several groups claiming the election is being stolen, in order to stop the spread of misleading information and conspiracy theories.
This has provoked some conservatives to claim Twitter and Facebook are censoring him and thousands of his supporters have taken to social media to express their support for Trump and their belief the election is being stolen.
Trump has gone as far as launching a legal effort to halt the counting of votes, an unprecedented move that critics have denounced as undemocratic.
Trump supporters, some of them armed, have begun protesting outside count centres, but lack a clear message as some chant “Stop the vote!” while others chant “Count every vote.”
Biden’s campaign has slammed Trump’s comments, calling them “outrageous, unprecedented, and incorrect” and “a naked effort to take away the democratic rights of American citizens.”
No evidence has been provided to suggest any fraud took place. Due to the Covid-19 pandemic, a large number of people have voted by mail instead of in person.
Democrats in particular were wary of going in person to the polls due to Covid-19 and were more likely to vote by mail.
Thus if in-person votes are counted first, this can show Trump in the lead, but once postal votes are added, Biden may come out ahead.
There has been a surge in the number of voters in the election, with turnout expected to be the highest since 1900. While experts are predicting a Biden victory, it is not the landslide some were predicting or hoping for.
The elections to Congress which are also taking place are less positive for Democrats. It seems likely they will maintain their control over the House of Representatives but not make any gains, while it seems likely Republicans will maintain their control of the Senate.
If so, they could use the veto power of the Senate to block much of Biden’s policies, potentially leading to years of political gridlock.
It may be days before all the votes are counted and Trump is unlikely to accept defeat without a fight. America could face weeks of disputes and challenges over the election results and some may never believe that Biden won fairly.