PHILADELPHIA (NewsNation Now) — Legal challenges and a mountain of uncounted ballots promised a long watch Wednesday to find out who the people of Pennsylvania chose as president.
The Associated Press has not declared a winner in the battleground state of Pennsylvania, because there are more than 1.5 million votes left to be counted in the contest between President Donald Trump and Democrat Joe Biden.
Pennsylvania is among a handful of battleground states Trump and Biden are narrowly contesting as they seek the 270 electoral votes needed to win the presidency.
Gov. Tom Wolf, and Secretary of State Kathy Boockvar held a press conference on the state’s vote count Wednesday at 9:30 a.m. EST.
Boockvar said the state is approaching 50% of mail ballots counted and vowed that every vote will be tallied before results are announced.
“There are still millions of ballots left to be counted,” she said. “We are going to count every single ballot.”
This is the first general election in which Pennsylvania voters did not need an excuse to vote by mail. More than 3 million applied to do so, which Boockvar said is ten times the amount of mail-in ballots received in 2016.
Trump, who held a 675,000-vote lead early Wednesday, prematurely declared victory in the state. Trump won the state in 2016.
“We’re winning Pennsylvania by a tremendous amount. We’re up 690,000 votes in Pennsylvania. These aren’t even close. It’s not like, ‘Oh, it’s close,’” Trump said during an appearance at the White House.
Biden, briefly appearing in front of supporters in Delaware, urged patience, saying the election “ain’t over until every vote is counted, every ballot is counted.”
“It’s not my place or Donald Trump’s place to declare who’s won this election,” Biden said. “That’s the decision of the American people.”
Yet, the vast majority of the votes left to be counted there were cast by mail, a form of voting that Biden has carried by a large margin.
“What’s most important is that we have accurate results and that every vote is counted, even if that takes a little longer,” Wolf said after polls closed. “So I’m urging Pennsylvania to just to remain calm, be patient, stay united on election night and in the days ahead.”
Democrats had long considered Pennsylvania a part of their “blue wall” — a trifecta that also includes Wisconsin and Michigan. In 2016, Trump won each by less than a percentage point.
Biden, who was born in Scranton, claims favorite-son status in the state and has long played up the idea that he was Pennsylvania’s “third senator” during his decades representing neighboring Delaware. He’s also campaigned extensively in the state from his home in Delaware.
NewsNation’s television broadcast and digital properties will rely on The Associated Press for all vote counting and race calls. NewsNation chose to rely on the AP because they call races based on the facts.
The Associated Press contributed to this report