US President-elect Joe Biden has solidified his victory over President Donald Trump after the state of Georgia went his way, leaving Trump little hope of reversing the outcome through legal challenges and recounts.
Edison Research, which made the call, also projected on Friday that North Carolina, the only other battleground state with an outstanding vote count, would go to Trump, finalising the electoral college vote tally at 306 for Biden to 232 for Trump.
The numbers gave Biden, a Democrat, a resounding defeat over Trump in the electoral college, equal to the 306 votes Trump, a Republican, won to defeat Hillary Clinton, a 2016 victory that Trump called a “landslide”.
While Trump had yet to concede, Biden officials reiterated they were moving ahead with transition efforts regardless.
Although the national popular vote does not determine the election outcome, Biden was ahead by more than 5.3 million votes, or 3.4 percentage points. His share of the popular vote, at 50.8 per cent, was slightly higher than Ronald Reagan’s share in 1980 when he defeated Jimmy Carter.
Trump, a Republican, has claimed without evidence that he was cheated by widespread election fraud and has refused to concede. State election officials report no serious irregularities and several of his legal challenges have failed in court.
To win a second term, Trump would need to overturn Biden’s lead in at least three states but he has failed to produce evidence he could do so in any of them. States must certify their election results before the electoral college meets to select a new president on December 14.
A Michigan state court on Friday rejected a request by Trump to block the certification of votes in Detroit, which went heavily in favour of Biden. And lawyers for Trump’s campaign dropped a lawsuit in Arizona after the final vote count rendered it moot.
Federal election security officials found no evidence any voting system deleted or lost votes, changed votes “or was in any way compromised”, the lead US cybersecurity agency said in a statement.
Trump was set on Friday afternoon to make his first public remarks since Biden was projected as the election’s winner on November 7. The White House said he would address the nation on the efforts to develop effective treatments for the coronavirus pandemic.
Biden officials said they would press forward with the transition, identifying legislative priorities, reviewing federal agency policies and preparing to fill thousands of jobs in the new administration.
However, Jen Psaki, a senior adviser to Biden’s transition team, stressed on a conference call that Biden still needed “real-time information” from the Trump administration to deal with the resurgent pandemic and national security threats.
Fox News correspondent Geraldo Rivera, a Trump confidant, said he had spoken to the president by phone on Friday and “he told me he would do the right thing”.
“He told me he’s a realist,” Rivera said in an interview with Fox. “He just wants a fair fight.”