Democrat Joe Biden on Wednesday predicted a US election win over President Donald Trump after pivotal victories in Michigan and Wisconsin, while the Republican incumbent sought to offset a narrowing path to re-election with lawsuits and demands for a recount.
Victories in those Midwestern states gave Biden, a former vice president who has spent five decades in public life, a critical boost in the race to obtain 270 electoral votes in the state-by-state Electoral College needed to win the White House.
Trump, who won both states in 2016, now has fewer options to secure a second four-year term. With the count still under way, he has falsely declared victory, accused the Democrats of trying to steal the election and vowed to fight the states in court.
US election experts say fraud is very rare.
Trump's campaign fought to keep his chances alive with the demand for a Wisconsin recount as well as lawsuits in Michigan and Pennsylvania to stop vote counting. Michigan Secretary of State Jocelyn Benson called his team's lawsuit "frivolous."
His campaign filed a lawsuit in Georgia to require that Chatham County, which includes the city of Savannah, separate and secure late-arriving ballots to ensure they are not counted.
It also asked the US Supreme Court to allow Trump to join a pending lawsuit filed by Pennsylvania Republicans over whether the battleground state should be permitted to accept late-arriving ballots.
The maneuvers amounted to a broad effort to contest the results of a still undecided election a day after millions of Americans went to the polls during the coronavirus pandemic that has upended daily life.
While fighting to stop the count in states where he feared losing, Trump blasted news organizations that projected losses in Arizona and Nevada, two states he thought he should be winning. He tweeted his consternation over mail-in voting.
"They are finding Biden votes all over the place -- in Pennsylvania, Wisconsin, and Michigan. So bad for our Country!" he posted on Twitter.
Biden said every vote must be counted. "No one's going to take our democracy away from us, not now, not ever," he said.
Voting concluded on Tuesday night, but many states routinely take days to finish counting ballots, bolstered by a surge in mail-in ballots nationally because of the coronavirus pandemic.
Other closely contested states, including Arizona, Georgia, Nevada and North Carolina, were still counting votes, leaving the national election outcome uncertain.