By HARRIET RAMOS
President Donald Trump falsely claimed victory over Joe Biden early Wednesday morning despite a significant number of ballots still uncounted in nine states.
In an address from the White House, Trump insisted the states that currently showed him in the lead should be called in his favor.
“This is a fraud on the American public. This is an embarrassment to our country,” Trump said. “We want all voting to stop.”
As of press time, the race was still undecided. Biden held 220 of the 270 electoral votes needed to win to Trump’s 213.
Biden, addressing supporters at an outdoor, drive-up gathering, encouraged the public to be patient.
“We feel good about where we are,” he said. “We believe we’re on track to win this election. … It ain’t over until every vote is counted.”
The coronavirus complicated the election this year as more people opted to vote by mail. The key battleground states of Michigan, Pennsylvania and Wisconsin were too close to call at 2 a.m. with a large number of mail-in ballots to count. Alaska, Nevada, Georgia and North Carolina were also outstanding, according to the Associated Press.
Democrats maintained a majority in the U.S. House of Representatives. As of 2 a.m., Democrats and Republicans were tied 47-47 for control of the Senate with five races, all leaning Republican, still undecided. A sixth race was headed to a runoff.
In Texas, Senator John Cornyn defeated opponent MJ Hegar and won a fourth term.
“Together we’ll get down the road and we’ll work hard to make sure our state continues to be the best place in the world to live, work and raise a family,” Cornyn said shortly after Hegar conceded the race.
The 2020 presidential election has been like no other in recent memory. COVID-19, racial turmoil over the death of George Floyd, record-breaking natural disasters and Amy Coney Barrett’s controversial confirmation to the Supreme Court after the death of Ruth Bader Ginsburg characterized the months leading up to Nov. 3.
When COVID-19 upended the campaign this year, forcing the candidates to cancel in-person appearances, Biden moved his campaign to the recreation room of his basement.
Trump’s approach to downplay the virus drew criticism from his opponents. He continued to hold in-person rallies even at the height of the pandemic.
In preparation for the election, Dallas County Republican Party Chairman Rodney Anderson and Dallas County Democratic Chairwoman Carol Donovan issued a joint statement encouraging voters to be patient while officials count the votes.
“Let us all do our part to keep our community strong and together, looking for the common bonds among neighbors in spite of political differences,” the statement said.
Gov. Greg Abbott put the National Guard on standby to respond to any election-related violence, but they were not at any polling locations.
At the American Airlines Center, a steady stream of voters came and went. Oscar Cruz, an Air Force veteran, said he felt disrespected by the current administration and came out to support Biden. He came dressed in his uniform and held a sign reading “Veterans for Biden.”
“Hopefully some independent voters that don’t know where to go might see me out here and say ‘I’m going to vote for Biden,’” he said. “I’m doing it for my daughter, and I’m doing it for my country.”
Edwin Engram, 27, said he had heard of the possibility of riots, but he didn’t believe either side was inherently violent.
“I just think it’s a really good moment,” he said. “Regardless of the pandemic and some of the challenges we’re facing as a nation, that we’re all coming together regardless and taking our democratic powers and putting them to good use.”
Turnout was light at the El Centro polling location on Election Day, but downtown was bustling with street traffic, businesses were hurriedly boarding up windows, and there was a noticeable police presence.
Meg Bakich, 51, a first-generation American citizen whose parents were from Armenia, said she voted early but was volunteering at the El Centro campus as a first-time poll watcher on Election Day.
“I am hopeful that people are seeing how lucky and blessed they are to live in a country where they can vote, their vote counts and they can be a part of the process in electing their leadership,” she said. “I chose to be a poll worker so that I could be a part of the process and to serve my country.”
—Jordan Lackey and Camille Schuh contributed to this article.