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Anxious nation awaits final vote tally as Biden takes lead in Georgia and narrows margins in Pennsylvania

All eyes will be on Pennsylvania, and its 20 electoral votes, as ballot counting continues Friday.
Image: An election worker distributes ballots as vote counting in the general election continues at State Farm Arena on Thursday, Nov. 5, 2020, in Atlanta.
An election worker distributes ballots in Atlanta, Georgia, on Thursday as vote counting in the presidential election continues.Brynn Anderson / AP

Good morning, NBC News readers.

The nation — and the world — is holding its collective breath as officials in several key swing states hurry to finish counting votes so we can all find out who won the presidential election.

Here's what we know so far this Friday morning.

Biden erases Trump lead in Georgia, margin shrinks in Pennsylvania

As an anxious nation watched into the wee hours of Friday morning, Joe Biden took a slim lead in Georgia with the fate of the presidency still unknown.

All eyes are on five states — Pennsylvania, Georgia, North Carolina, Arizona, and Nevada — which NBC News has deemed either too close or too early to call.

Biden currently holds a 253 to 214 lead in Electoral College votes, according to NBC News Decision Desk. A candidate needs to secure 270 electoral votes to win.

Biden erased Trump's lead in Georgia early Friday and currently holds a slim 917 vote-lead as ballot counting continues. His numbers in Georgia have steadily improved as absentee ballots from large Democratic counties have been counted. A win there would leave him one electoral vote shy of the presidency.

The former vice president has also tightened the margin in Pennsylvania, which has 20 electoral votes. If Biden pulls out a victory in Pennsylvania, he will win the election.

Much of the remaining votes to be counted in Pennsylvania are of the mail-in variety and from Philadelphia and the surrounding counties, both of which have voted substantially in Biden's favor.

Trump falsely claims fraud in vote counting, again

President Trump made his first public appearance in two days Thursday evening and delivered remarks about the state of the undecided presidential election that were largely false.

"If you count the legal votes, I easily win. If you count the illegal votes, they can try to steal the election from us," Trump said, offering no evidence.

Trump's statement from the White House podium was riddled with falsehoods about the state of the presidential race. Check out our fact check on his comments.

But the president didn't stop there. He took to Twitter at about 2 a.m. ET and repeated several of the same false and misleading claims.

Some Republicans have started to distanced themselves from the president's attacks on the electoral system, while others have echoed his rhetoric.

Pennsylvania's Republican Senator Pat Toomey called for patience as the votes get counted.

"All votes that comply with Pennsylvania law must be counted, regardless of how long the process takes," Toomey said in a statement.

He added that once the states final election count is reached, "all parties involved must accept the outcome of the election regardless of whether they won or lost."

Meantime, Trump's campaign is continuing to press its legal challenges in swing states across the country.

'Democracy is messy' and requires 'patience,' says Biden

For his part, Biden continued to project confidence Thursday that he would win the 2020 race after all the votes are counted.

"We have no doubt that when the count is finished, Sen. Harris and I will be declared the winners," Biden said Thursday during brief remarks alongside his running mate, Sen. Kamala Harris, in Wilmington, Delaware.

The former vice president said "democracy is sometimes messy" and "sometimes requires a little patience."

He reiterated his call that “each ballot must be counted,” urging supporters to "stay calm." "The process is working," he said.

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THINK about it

Historic 2020 turnout highlights one of the Electoral College's more subtle downsides, Seth Masket, director of the Center on American Politics at the University of Denver, writes in an opinion piece.


The truth about MSG and your health, according to experts.

Quote of the day

"It's important to act quickly, but it's more important to get it right."

Republican Georgia Secretary of State Brad Raffensperger said in a statement Thursday evening.

One fun thing

As the world watches American democracy in action, one renowned Indian sand artist went to work.

Sudarshan Pattnaik created a work of art on Friday depicting the current uncertainty over the race to the White House.

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Thanks, Petra