Trump claims victory, after rival Biden voices confidence

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WILMINGTON, Del./WASHINGTON (Reuters) – President Donald Trump on Wednesday falsely claimed that he had won the U.S. election with millions of votes still uncounted after his Democratic rival, Joe Biden, said he was confident of winning a contest that will not be resolved until a handful of states complete vote-counting over the next hours or days.

“Frankly, we did win this election,” Trump said after claiming he was winning several battleground states where votes were still being tallied.

“This is a fraud on the American public,” Trump said without providing any evidence to support the claim. Election laws in all U.S. states require all votes to be counted. More votes still stood to be counted this year than in the past as people voted early by mail and in person in the face of the coronavirus pandemic.

Trump won the battlegrounds of Florida, Ohio and Texas, dashing Biden’s hopes for a decisive early victory, but Biden said he was on track to winning the White House by taking three key Rust Belt states.

Biden, 77, was eyeing the so-called “blue wall” states of Michigan, Wisconsin and Pennsylvania that sent Trump, 74, to the White House in 2016 for possible breakthroughs once those states finish counting votes in hours or days to come.

“We feel good about where we are,” Biden said in his home state of Delaware, shouting over a din of supporters in cars honking their horns in approval. “We believe we’re on track to win this election.”

Trump has repeatedly and without evidence suggested that an increase in mail-in voting will lead to an increase in fraud, although election experts say that fraud is rare and mail-in ballots are a long-standing feature of American elections.

Reporting by Trevor Hunnicutt in Scranton, Pennsylvania, and John Whitesides in Washington; Additional reporting by Jason Lange, Jeff Mason, Steve Holland and Susan Heavey in Washington, Katanga Johnson and Rich McKay in Atlanta, Tim Reid in Los Angeles, and Lewis Krauskopf in New York; Writing by John Whitesides; Editing by Howard Goller

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