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Thursday midday update: The latest news with the presidential vote count

The count continued to trend toward Biden in Pennsylvania, Nevada, and Georgia — but we don’t yet know whether it will be enough for him.

People gathered in support of counting all votes in Philadelphia on November 4.
Spencer Platt/Getty Images

The vote counts in Pennsylvania, Nevada, and Georgia continued to trend in Joe Biden’s direction Thursday morning, though not yet by enough for any of the three states to be called.

As of 2:15 pm Eastern, five key states still remain uncalled by Vox’s partner Decision Desk: Pennsylvania, Nevada, Georgia, Arizona, and North Carolina. (Alaska also hasn’t been called but that is just due to a slow count, it is very likely to go to Trump.)

Decision Desk

Among these states, eyes are on Pennsylvania and its 20 electoral votes. If Biden wins Pennsylvania, he wins the presidency, regardless of what happens in these other uncalled states.

And the news in Pennsylvania is just that the state’s slow count is continuing, and that Trump’s election night lead is continuing to diminish, at about the rate elections analysts have predicted. Trump led the Pennsylvania count by 167,000 votes Wednesday evening; by Thursday midday, his lead had dropped to 114,000.

Hundreds of thousands of mail ballots remain to be counted, and all indications are that they will continue to heavily favor Biden. (This was long expected because Democrats were more likely to vote by mail, Republicans were more likely to vote in person on Election Day, and the in-person votes were counted more quickly.)

Many elections analysts believe Biden is on track to win Pennsylvania, but we’ll have to wait a bit longer to know for sure. State officials predict most of the remaining vote will likely be counted today, but whether that’s enough for a call will depend on the margin.

Nevada also delivered some encouraging news for Biden in its first significant vote count update in some time. The Democratic candidate’s narrow lead over Trump expanded to about 1 percentage point, or about 13,000 votes. More than 100,000 votes remain to be counted, but Nevada politics expert Jon Ralston tweeted that the remaining vote will favor Biden and that he sees “no path left for Trump.”

A Nevada win would only be necessary for Biden if he loses Pennsylvania, but if that does happen, Nevada combined with any of the remaining uncalled states would get him above 270 electoral votes.

Georgia, meanwhile, just keeps on getting closer. Trump’s lead in the state is now down to just 0.27 percent, or about 13,000 votes. About 50,000 votes remain to be counted — and once again, the remaining vote is expected to heavily favor Biden, though it’s not clear whether it will be by enough to make up the difference, and a recount is possible if it’s close enough.

But in Arizona, unlike these previous three states, the vote count has actually been improving in Trump’s direction as it has continued. The reason is that Republicans in Arizona had more of a history of mail voting, and tended to return their ballots somewhat later than Democrats. Biden’s lead in Arizona is now down to 2.35 percentage points, or 68,000 votes, with hundreds of thousands of votes still to be counted.

Though Fox News and the Associated Press have called Arizona for Biden already, other election-calling outlets, including Decision Desk, have been more cautious. And given how the newly counted vote looked Wednesday night, Arizona may get significantly closer. We can’t know yet whether that would be enough to give Trump the lead there, but it seems to be at least possible.

Finally, there is no update on the North Carolina count. Officials are continuing to count late-arriving mail ballots and deal with provisional ballots, but they won’t be significantly updating their public vote totals until next week, until the count is essentially complete.