President Donald Trump’s vote deficit in Arizona has narrowed, with a recent tally reported from the state’s largest county showing that Democratic challenger Joe Biden’s lead in the battleground has shrunk to around 68,390 votes.
Updated vote totals released by Maricopa County early Thursday (pdf) show Biden with 912,585 votes to Trump’s 838,071, a difference of around 75,000 votes. Previously, Maricopa was reporting 887,457 votes for Biden and 802,160 for Trump, a spread of just over 85,000 votes.
According to an Associated Press tally, with 88 percent reporting, Biden has 1,469,341 votes in all of Arizona, while Trump has 1,400,951, a difference of 68,390 votes. The tally is based on a total of 2,910,677 votes, with Libertarian candidate Jo Jorgensen receiving 39,761 votes.
While the voting results for Arizona were called early for Biden by several news outlets, including Fox, Phoenix-based data analysis and political consulting firm Data Orbital said the ballots still being counted may be heavily Republican, with enough to potentially flip the state for Trump.
The Maricopa County announcement came as Trump supporters converged on a vote-counting center in Phoenix, chanting “stop the steal!” in reference to the president’s claims of election fraud. Trump has insisted that there were major problems with the voting and the ballot counting, especially with mail-in votes, while Republicans filed suits in various states over the election.
Rep. Paul Gosar, an Arizona Republican, joined the crowd, declaring: “We’re not going to let this election be stolen. Period.”
Observers from both major political parties were inside the election center as ballots were processed and counted, and the procedure was live-streamed online. Two top county officials—one a Democrat, the other a Republican—issued a statement expressing concern about “misinformation spreading about the integrity of our elections.”
“Vote counting is not a Republican or Democrat issue; everyone should want all the votes to be counted, whether they were mailed or cast in person,” said the statement signed by Clint Hickman, the GOP chair of the Maricopa County Board of Supervisors, and Democratic Supervisor Steve Gallardo. “An accurate vote takes time. … This is evidence of democracy, not fraud.”
They also addressed speculation that had spread on social media about the use of Sharpies, saying that the felt pens “do not invalidate ballots.”
On Nov. 4, President Donald Trump declared victory in North Carolina, Pennsylvania, and Georgia. He also said his campaign would “hereby claim the State of Michigan if, in fact there was a large number of secretly dumped ballots as has been widely reported!” Twitter put a label under Trump’s post that votes may still need to be counted.
If Trump secures the four states, he would win reelection with 281 Electoral College votes. No news outlets or organizations have called the states for Trump.
About an hour prior to Trump’s statement, Biden held a news conference, in which he did not declare victory, but asserted, “When the count is finished, we believe we will be the winner.”