OBINNA EZUGWU

US president, Donald Trump and his democratic challenger, Joe Biden both steadily accumulated Electoral College votes on election night, after voters turned out in huge numbers. Some 100 million had cast their ballots early.

Mr Trump has won Florida, Ohio, West Virginia, South Carolina, Kentucky, Indiana, Tennessee, Arkansas, Mississippi, Louisiana, Alabama, Oklahoma, Nebraska, South Dakota, North Dakota and Wyoming, per AP. Mr Biden, the former vice president, has won New York, Connecticut, Rhode Island, Vermont, Massachusetts, New Jersey, New York, Virginia, Maryland, Delaware, Illinois, Colorado, Minnesota and New Mexico.

Mr Biden has 224 Electoral College votes so far, while Mr Trump has 213. But it is early in the night, and all eyes are on the Rust Belt – again.

Democrats may be eyeing fearfully the current state of the vote in the so-called “blue wall” states of Michigan, Wisconsin and Pennsylvania, but many ballots there are still to be tallied; in Philadelphia and Detroit piles of mail-in ballots will not be counted until into Wednesday and possibly later, potentially delaying the announcement of an overall winner into midweek.

Mr Trump scored a victory in Florida, a must-win for him and the state where he has his Mar a Lago estate, according to The Independent.

Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez, the left-wing Democrat, tweeted her frustration at her party’s failure to engage Latino voters in the state. “The necessary effort simply hasn’t been put in,” the New York congresswoman said.

Meanwhile, Mr Biden’s early leads in the battlegrounds of Ohio and North Carolina were being curtailed by a Trump resurgence as votes cast on election day – as opposed to the early ones – were being counted.

To be clear, both Mr Trump and Mr Biden maintained pathways to the White House on election night, though the president’s options were further and fewer in between.

Whereas his Democratic opponent needed to win at least a few key battleground states like Michigan, Wisconsin and Pennsylvania, Mr Trump had a narrower, more limited path to securing the 270 electoral votes required to remain in the Oval Office.

In a brief address to supporters overnight, Mr Biden urged them to “keep the faith”, and have patience while votes were counted. While he said it was not for him or his opponent to declare final victory, he told cheering fans that he believed he would prevail. Facebook added an explanatory note to a post the Democrat made saying he expected to win.

The president tweeted angrily, and without proof, that Democrats were “trying to STEAL the Election” and promised his own statement to supporters. Twitter marked his post as misleading.

State and national surveys had previously shown Mr Biden with a considerable lead over Mr Trump, including in states the Republican incumbent won in 2016, like Arizona, Pennsylvania, Wisconsin and Michigan.

However, the former vice president’s lead in some of those key battlegrounds was just above the margin of error in some polls, causing many experts to consider states like Pennsylvania a tossup in this election cycle.

A final poll released by YouGov placed Mr Biden nine points ahead of Mr Trump in a national average, with a 3.2 percent margin of error. The polling site also predicted Mr Biden would receive 382 votes in the Electoral College, stating it was 95 percent confident the former vice president would fall into a range of 314-412 electoral voters.

Parts of this report is credit to UK Independent.