Texas, California call for power restraint during heatwave

(Reuters) -Texas and California urged consumers to conserve energy this week to reduce stress on the grid and avoid outages as homes and businesses crank up air conditioners to escape a scorching heatwave blanketing the U.S. Southwest.

High temperatures were expected to top 110 degrees Fahrenheit (43 Celsius) through the weekend in parts of several states including California, Arizona and Nevada.

“The public’s help is essential when extreme weather or other factors beyond our control put undue stress on the electric grid,” said Elliot Mainzer, chief executive of the California ISO, which operates the grid in most of California.

Over the past year, Texas and California imposed rotating or controlled outages to prevent more widespread collapses of their power systems – California during a heatwave in August 2020 and Texas during a brutal freeze in February 2021.

The Electric Reliability Council of Texas (ERCOT), the state’s grid operator, expects Thursday’s demand to break the June record set on Monday. In February, ERCOT imposed rotating outages as extreme cold froze natural gas pipes and wind turbines, leaving millions of customers without power – some for days.

ERCOT has been under fire for the design of its system, which is not connected to other U.S. grids to avoid federal oversight, and because they do not operate a “capacity” market that keeps power generation on stand-by during extreme weather events.

The California ISO said its Flex Alert, or call for conservation, “is critical because when temperatures hit triple digits across a wide geographic area, no state has enough energy to meet all the heightened demand.”

The ISO said evening is the most difficult time of day because demand remains high but solar energy diminishes. So far this year, solar has provided 22% of the grid’s power.

Real-time prices in ERCOT have remained below $100 per megawatt hour (MWh) since Tuesday evening as more power plants returned to service from forced outages that caused prices to soar over $1,900 for two 15-minute periods on Monday.

(Reporting by Scott DiSavino; Editing by Nick Zieminski and Edmund Blair)

Nevada’s top court rejects Trump campaign’s appeal to overturn election results

(Reuters) – The Supreme Court of Nevada rejected an appeal late Tuesday from President Donald Trump’s campaign to overturn the election results in the state.

Last week, a district court in Nevada ruled that the Trump campaign had not proven a claim that there had been a malfunction in voting devices and the contest between Trump and Biden had been manipulated.

“We also are not convinced that the district court erred in applying a burden of proof by clear and convincing evidence, as supported by the cases cited in the district court’s order,” Nevada’s Supreme Court said in its judgement.

Nevada’s Republican Party said it was “extremely disappointed” by the decision.

“We were not afforded an opportunity to write our brief or argue the case in front of the Court,” Nevada’s GOP said in a statement. “Full denial of legitimate due process and appellate rights is truly unprecedented, shocking and extraordinary.”

Tuesday was marked as the so-called safe harbor deadline for states to resolve disputes arising from the election. Under U.S. law, Congress will consider a state’s election result to be “conclusive” if it is finalized by the safe harbor date.

(Reporting by Aakriti Bhalla in Bengaluru; Editing by Peter Graff)

U.S. nuclear power industry group sees reprocessing as potential waste fix

WASHINGTON (Reuters) – The head of the top U.S. nuclear power group said that reprocessing of nuclear waste, a technique that has not been practiced in the United States for decades because of proliferation and cost concerns, could help address a growing problem building up at nuclear plants across the country.

“Reprocessing is a very interesting part of the solution set,” Maria Korsnick, the head of the Nuclear Energy Institute, said during an interview last week that will be part of Reuters Events Energy Transition North America on Friday. The technology “would be really closing the fuel cycle in a very useful way” because it squeezes more energy from the waste that cannot be used when it is disposed permanently.

France and other countries reprocess nuclear waste by breaking it down into uranium and plutonium and reusing it to make new reactor fuel.

But nonproliferation experts say militants could target the reprocessing supply chain, which would be far longer in the United States, to seize materials that could be used to make a crude nuclear weapon.

Former President Jimmy Carter halted reprocessing in 1977, citing proliferation concerns. President Ronald Reagan lifted Carter’s moratorium in 1981 but high costs have prevented plants from opening.

Now the United States has a growing problem with nuclear waste, currently kept at the country’s nuclear reactors, first in spent fuel pools, and then in steel and concrete casks. While about $8 billion has been spent on the Yucca Mountain permanent nuclear waste repository project in Nevada, it has never opened due to local opposition.

President Donald Trump’s administration wanted to open Yucca, but Trump began opposing it in February as the presidential campaign got under way.

Two sites in New Mexico and Texas could serve as interim nuclear waste storage sites, but local concerns are mounting that those places could become the default permanent fix.

Rita Baranwal, the top U.S. Energy Department official on nuclear power, has said it is a shame to permanently dispose of nuclear waste and that the country should look at reprocessing and potentially export the waste to countries that could do it.

Korsnick said the nuclear power industry is eager to work with the incoming administration of President-elect Joe Biden on energy issues including nuclear waste. Biden’s transition website lists driving down costs of advanced nuclear power and commercializing it as one way to fight climate change.

Korsnick also applauded a decision this summer by the Development Finance Corporation (DFC), a U.S. development agency, to lift a ban on funding nuclear projects.

She said the move would help the United States compete with Russia and China, which are also looking to export nuclear technology. The export market for U.S. advanced nuclear power technology could be worth up to $2 trillion, she said. The DFC’s move was criticized by some development experts who say bringing nuclear projects to poor countries would do little to address poverty.

On reprocessing, France has demonstrated it can be done safely, Korsnick said. “These are all conversations that we would have to step through as we design our final solution,” she said. “I’m confident that we have the technological expertise to do this well.”

(Reporting by Timothy Gardner in Washington; Editing by Matthew Lewis)

Biden close to U.S. election victory as a defiant Trump vows to fight

By Trevor Hunnicutt, Steve Holland and Joseph Ax

WILMINGTON, Del./WASHINGTON (Reuters) – Democrat Joe Biden edged closer to winning the White House on Friday, expanding his narrow leads over President Donald Trump in the battleground states of Pennsylvania and Georgia even as Republicans sought to raise $60 million to fund lawsuits challenging the results.

Trump remained defiant, vowing to press unfounded claims of fraud as a weary, anxious nation waited for clarity in an election that only intensified the country’s deep polarization.

On the fourth day of vote counting, former Vice President Biden had a 253 to 214 lead in the state-by-state Electoral College vote that determines the winner, according to Edison Research.

Securing Pennsylvania’s 20 electoral votes would put Biden over the 270 he needs to win the presidency after a political career stretching back nearly five decades.

Biden would also win if he prevails in two of the three other key states where he was narrowly ahead on Friday: Georgia, Arizona and Nevada. Like Pennsylvania, all three were still processing ballots on Friday.

As Biden’s lead grew in Pennsylvania, hundreds of Democrats gathered outside Philadelphia’s downtown vote-counting site, wearing yellow shirts reading “Count Every Vote.” In Detroit, a crowd of Trump supporters, some armed, protested outside a counting location, waving flags and chanting, “Fight!”

Biden planned to deliver a prime-time address on Friday, according to two people familiar with his schedule. His campaign expected that could be a victory speech if television networks call the race for him in the coming hours.

Meanwhile, Trump showed no sign he was ready to concede, as his campaign pursued a series of lawsuits that legal experts said were unlikely to alter the election outcome.

“From the beginning we have said that all legal ballots must be counted and all illegal ballots should not be counted, yet we have met resistance to this basic principle by Democrats at every turn,” he said in a statement released by his campaign.

“We will pursue this process through every aspect of the law to guarantee that the American people have confidence in our government,” Trump said.

Trump earlier leveled an extraordinary attack on the democratic process, appearing at the White House on Thursday evening to falsely claim the election was being “stolen” from him. Election officials across the nation have said they are unaware of any significant irregularities.

The Republican National Committee is looking to collect at least $60 million from donors to fund Trump’s legal challenges, two sources familiar with the matter said.

In both Pennsylvania and Georgia, Biden overtook Trump as officials processed thousands of mail-in ballots that were cast in urban Democratic strongholds including Philadelphia and Atlanta.

The number of Americans voting early and by mail this year surged due to the coronavirus as people tried to avoid large groups of voters on Election Day. The methodical counting process has left Americans waiting longer than they have since the 2000 election to learn the winner of a presidential contest.

A sense of grim resignation settled in at the White House on Friday, where the president was monitoring TV and talking to advisers on the phone. One adviser said it was clear the race was tilting against Trump, but that Trump was not ready to admit defeat.

The campaign’s general counsel, Matt Morgan, asserted in a statement on Friday that the elections in Georgia, Nevada and Pennsylvania all suffered from improprieties and that Trump would eventually prevail in Arizona.

He also said the campaign expected to pursue a recount in Georgia, as it has said it will do in Wisconsin, where Biden won by more than 20,000 votes. A margin that wide has never been overturned by a recount, according to Edison Research.

Georgia officials said on Friday they expect a recount, which can be requested by a candidate if the final margin is less than 0.5%, as it currently is.

Biden expressed confidence on Thursday he would win and urged patience. In response to the idea that Trump might not concede, Biden spokesman Andrew Bates said in a statement on Friday, “The United States government is perfectly capable of escorting trespassers out of the White House.”

BIDEN MOMENTUM

The messy aftermath capped a vitriolic campaign that underscored the country’s enduring racial, economic and cultural divides, and if he wins Biden might face a difficult task governing in a divided Washington.

Republicans could keep control of the U.S. Senate pending the outcome of four undecided Senate races, including two in Georgia that will be likely decided in January runoffs, and they would likely block large parts of his legislative agenda, including expanding healthcare and fighting climate change.

The heated campaign unfolded amid the pandemic that has killed more than 235,000 people in the United States and left millions more out of work. The country has also been grappling with the aftermath of months of protests over racism and police brutality.

In Pennsylvania, Biden moved ahead of Trump for the first time and had a lead of 13,558 votes by midday Friday, while in Georgia, he was 1,579 votes ahead. Both margins were expected to grow as additional ballots were tallied. Pennsylvania officials estimated on Friday they had 40,000 ballots left to count, while Georgia officials said on Friday morning there were around 4,000 regular ballots remaining.

Biden, 77, would be the first Democrat to win Georgia since fellow Democrat Bill Clinton in 1992.

In Arizona, where officials said at least 142,000 uncounted ballots remained, Biden’s lead was at 41,302 votes. His margin in Nevada, where there were 63,000 mail-in ballots left to count, jumped to 20,352.

Pennsylvania, one of three traditionally Democratic states that handed Trump his 2016 victory, had long been seen as crucial to the 2020 race, and both candidates lavished enormous sums of money and time on the “Rust Belt” state.

While many rural areas in Pennsylvania remain in favor of Trump, Democrats are strong in big cities such as Pittsburgh and Philadelphia.

Trump, 74, has sought to portray as fraudulent the slow counting of mail-in ballots. He has unleashed a series of social media posts baselessly claiming fraud, prompting Twitter and Facebook to append warning labels.

States have historically taken time after Election Day to tally all votes, although in most presidential elections the gap between candidates is big enough that television networks project the winner and the losing candidate concedes before counting formally ends.

(Reporting by Trevor Hunnicutt in Wilmington, Delaware and Steve Holland in Washington; Additional reporting by Jarrett Renshaw in Philadelphia; Michael Martina in Detroit; and John Whitesides, Steve Holland, Simon Lewis and Daphne Psaledakis in Washington; Writing by Joseph Ax; Editing by Scott Malone and Alistair Bell)

Which states could tip U.S. election and when will they report results?

(Reuters) – Democratic candidate Joe Biden’s margins over Republican President Donald Trump in Pennsylvania and Georgia grew on Friday, as the vote counts in five battleground states trickled in.

To capture the White House, a candidate must amass at least 270 votes in the Electoral College. Edison Research gave Biden a 253-214 lead over the incumbent.

Here is the state of play in the five states. The vote counts are supplied by Edison Research.

PENNSYLVANIA (20 electoral votes)

Biden has a lead of 13,558 votes, or a 0.2 percentage point margin, as of 2 p.m. ET (1900 GMT) Friday, with 96% of the estimated vote counted. Under Pennsylvania law, a recount is automatic if the margin of victory is less than or equal to 0.5 percentage point of the total vote.

In Philadelphia, the state’s largest city, about 40,000 ballots remained to be counted, the majority of them provisional and military ballots, according to Pennsylvania’s election commissioner, who said the final count could take several days.

Friday is the last day that Pennsylvania can accept mail-in ballots postmarked on or before Election Day.

GEORGIA (16 electoral votes)

Biden is ahead of Trump by 1,554 votes as of 2 p.m. ET (1900 GMT) Friday, with 99% of votes counted according to Edison. Trump needs both Pennsylvania and Georgia to win a second term.

Brad Raffensperger, Georgia’s secretary of state, said he expects the margin to be just a few thousand votes, which would trigger an automatic recount. A recount must wait until Georgia’s results are certified, expected on or before Nov. 20.

About 9,000 military and overseas ballots were still outstanding and could be accepted if they arrive on Friday as long as they were postmarked Tuesday or earlier.

ARIZONA (11 electoral votes)

Biden has 50.0% versus Trump at 48.6%, a lead of 43,779 votes, with 93.0% of the expected vote tallied as of 2 p.m. (1900 GMT).

Maricopa County, which includes heavily populated Phoenix, has 142,000 early ballots left to count, as well as some provisional ballots. Biden has a 3.2 percentage point lead in the county, with 92.2% of the estimated vote counted.

The majority of Maricopa’s votes could be tallied as soon as Saturday, said Megan Gilbertson, the communications director for the county’s elections department.

NEVADA (6 electoral votes)

Biden led Trump by 20,137 votes, or 1.6 percentage points, with about 8% of the vote left to be counted.

The state’s biggest county, Clark, which includes Las Vegas, has 63,000 ballots remaining to be counted. The next update of the vote count is expected at around 7 p.m. ET (0000 GMT) and the majority of mail-in ballots is expected to be counted by Sunday.

NORTH CAROLINA (15 electoral votes)

Trump led by 76,737 votes, or 1.4 points, with about 5% of the vote left to counted.

State officials have said a full result would not be known until next week. The state allows mail-in ballots postmarked by Tuesday to be counted if they are received by Nov. 12.

(Reporting by Leela de Kretser and Tiffany Wu; Editing by David Clarke and Leslie Adler)

Factbox: U.S. presidential election moves to the courts

WILMINGTON, Del. (Reuters) – With the U.S. presidential election between Republican President Donald Trump and Democratic challenger Joe Biden too close to call, the Trump campaign and Republicans turned to the courts to try to invalidate votes in Pennsylvania and block Michigan officials from counting ballots.

For the lawsuits to have any impact on the outcome, the election would have to come down to one or two states and hang on the outcome of a few thousand votes, which seemed unlikely, legal experts said.

Below is a list of the cases that will play out in the coming days and possibly weeks:

PENNSYLVANIA COURT BATTLES

The Trump campaign sued Pennsylvania’s Secretary of State Kathy Boockvar and county election officials to limit the time election officers have to contact mail-in voters to correct defects on their ballots.

The Commonwealth Court will hear the case on Friday.

A similar case in U.S. District Court in Philadelphia by Republican officials against election officials from Montgomery County got a skeptical reception from the federal judge.

The Republican officials on Thursday withdrew their request for an injunction.

The Trump campaign is also fighting Philadelphia election officials over observing vote counting in the city and was granted better access to the proceedings. An appeal is pending in the state’s supreme court.

Republicans in the state have also asked the U.S. Supreme Court to review a decision from the state’s highest court that allowed election officials to count mail-in ballots postmarked by Tuesday’s Election Day that are delivered through Friday.

On Wednesday, Trump’s campaign filed a motion to intervene in the case.

U.S. Supreme Court justices said last week there was not enough time to decide the merits of the case before Election Day but indicated they might revisit it afterwards.

Justice Samuel Alito, joined by fellow conservatives Clarence Thomas and Neil Gorsuch, said in a written opinion that there is a “strong likelihood” the Pennsylvania court’s decision violated the U.S. Constitution.

Pennsylvania election officials said they will segregate properly postmarked ballots that arrived after Election Day.

With about 92% of the vote counted, Trump led Biden in Pennsylvania with 50.2% of the vote to 48.5%, according to Edison Research.

MICHIGAN BALLOT-COUNTING FIGHT

Trump’s campaign on Wednesday filed a lawsuit in Michigan to stop state officials from counting ballots until it has an election inspector at each absentee-voter counting board. The campaign also wanted to review ballots that were opened and counted before an inspector from its campaign was present.

On Thursday, Michigan Court of Claims Judge Cynthia Stephens dismissed the case.

Biden was projected to win the state with 50.6% of the vote, with 99% of the expected vote in, according to Edison Research.

GEORGIA BALLOT FIGHT

The Trump campaign on Wednesday filed a lawsuit in state court in Chatham County that alleged late-arriving ballots were improperly mingled with valid ballots, and asked a judge to order late-arriving ballots be separated and not be counted.

The case was dismissed on Thursday.

Trump leads Biden 49.5% to 49.2% with 98% of Georgia’s expected votes counted, according to Edison Research.

NEVADA

Trump campaign officials said they planned to file a lawsuit in the state after alleging without evidence that thousands of improper votes were cast by dead people and by voters who were no longer residents of populous Clark County.

Biden leads Trump in Nevada 49.4% to 48.5% with 89% of the expected vote counted, according to Edison Research.

U.S. POSTAL SERVICE LITIGATION

A U.S. judge on Wednesday said Postmaster General Louis DeJoy must answer questions about why the U.S. Postal Service failed to complete a court-ordered sweep for undelivered ballots in about a dozen states before a Tuesday afternoon deadline.

U.S. District Judge Emmet Sullivan is overseeing a lawsuit by Vote Forward, the NAACP, and Latino community advocates who have been demanding the postal service deliver mail-in ballots in time to be counted in the election.

(Reporting by Tom Hals in Wilmington, Delaware; Editing by Kevin Liffey and Sonya Hepinstall)

Timeline: Which states could tip U.S. election and when will they report results?

(Reuters) – The outcome of the U.S. presidential election hung in the balance on Thursday as five swing states continued to count their ballots.

To capture the White House, a candidate must amass at least 270 votes in the Electoral College.

Edison Research gave Democratic challenger Biden a 243 against 213 lead over Republican President Donald Trump in Electoral College votes. Other networks said Biden had won Wisconsin, which would give him another 10 votes.

Results in Pennsylvania (20 electoral votes), Georgia (16), North Carolina (15), Arizona (11) and Nevada (6) remained uncertain as of Thursday afternoon, according to Edison Research.

ARIZONA

Biden led by 2.4 percentage points as of Thursday afternoon, or more than 68,000 votes, with about 14% of the vote left to be counted.

More results from densely populated Maricopa County, which includes Phoenix, were not expected until 7 p.m. local time (9 p.m. EST, 0200 Friday GMT), the county elections department said.

There were at least 275,000 ballots in the county left to be counted, the elections department said. Biden was leading by 4 percentage points in the votes counted so far, indicating he was in a strong position to maintain his lead.

GEORGIA

Trump held onto to a lead of 0.3 percentage points, or 12,835 votes, with 2% percent of the vote left to be counted.

Counting was continuing on Thursday afternoon, with just 47,000 outstanding ballots, Georgia Secretary of State Brad Raffensperger said in a press conference.

NEVADA

Biden led Trump by 11,438 votes, or 0.9 percentage points, with about 12% of the vote left to be counted.

The state’s biggest county, Clark, expected to count the majority of its mail ballots by Saturday or Sunday, but would continue to count certain ballots after the weekend, according to its registrar, Joe Gloria.

All properly received ballots will be counted for up to nine days after the election, but the exact number left to be counted was unknown, said Nevada Secretary of State Barbara Cegavske.

The outstanding votes are mail-in ballots and those cast by voters who registered to vote at polling place on Election Day, she said.

NORTH CAROLINA

Trump led by more than 76,000 votes, or 1.4 points, with about 5% of the vote uncounted.

State officials have said a full result would not be known until next week. The state allows mail-in ballots postmarked by Tuesday to be counted if they are received by Nov. 12.

PENNSYLVANIA

Trump led by 1.7 percentage points, or more than 108,000 votes, with 8% of the vote outstanding.

About 370,000 ballots were still in the process of being counted on Thursday, according to the Department of State’s website, giving Biden a chance to catch Trump if enough of them were from Democratically friendly areas such as Philadelphia. Pennsylvania Secretary of State Kathy Boockvar said she expected the “overwhelming majority” to be counted by the end of Thursday.

Philadelphia County reported more than 252,000 ballots were cast by mail but did say how many remained to be counted.

A final count may not be available until at least Friday as Pennsylvania can accept mailed-in ballots up to three days after the election if they were postmarked by Tuesday.

(Reporting by Daniel Trotta and Julia Harte; Editing by Scott Malone and Daniel Wallis)

Judge orders twice daily sweeps for states still receiving ballots in U.S. election

By David Shepardson

(Reuters) – A judge on Thursday ordered twice daily sweeps at U.S. Postal Service (USPS) facilities serving states with extended ballot receipt deadlines as votes were still being counted in U.S. election battleground states.

Some states, including still undecided Nevada and North Carolina, are counting ballots that are received after Election Day Tuesday. Plaintiffs lawyers in a lawsuit said the Postal Service delivered roughly 150,000 ballots nationwide on Wednesday. Of those, roughly 8,000 or 9,000, were delivered after Tuesday even though they had been mailed by Sunday.

U.S. District Judge Emmet Sullivan said the processing centers must perform morning sweeps and then afternoon sweeps “to ensure that any identified local ballots can be delivered that day.”

USPS must report to headquarters “the total number of ballots identified and confirm that those ballots have been expedited for delivery to meet applicable extended state deadlines,” Sullivan added in an order.

Sullivan has been urging USPS to take all possible steps to ensure ballots are delivered before deadlines. He ordered the sweeps in response to lawsuits by groups including Vote Forward, the NAACP, and Latino community advocates.

“The pressing issues are where are the ballots and how do we get them delivered so they can be counted,” Sullivan said on Wednesday.

Ballots were still being counted by election officials in battleground states two days after polls closed in one of the most unusual elections in U.S. history because of the novel coronavirus pandemic. Democratic candidate Joe Biden was cutting into Republican President Donald Trump’s leads in Pennsylvania and Georgia but retained slim margins in Nevada and Arizona.

USPS is using priority mail networks through Saturday to deliver any remaining ballots.

(Reporting by David Shepardson; editing by Grant McCool)

Trump campaign loses legal fights in Georgia and Michigan, vows Nevada lawsuit

By Tom Hals and Jan Wolfe

(Reuters) – President Donald Trump’s campaign lost court rulings in the closely-contested states of Georgia and Michigan on Thursday, even as it vowed to bring a new lawsuit challenging what it called voting irregularities in Nevada.

In the Georgia case, the campaign alleged 53 late-arriving ballots were mixed with on-time ballots. In Michigan, it had sought to stop votes from being counted and obtain greater access to the tabulation process.

State judges tossed out both the suits on Thursday.

Judge James Bass, a superior court judge in Georgia, said there was “no evidence” that the ballots in question were invalid.

In the Michigan case, Judge Cynthia Stephens said: “I have no basis to find that there is a substantial likelihood of success on the merits.”

Trump allies alleged that there had been voting irregularities in Nevada’s populous Clark County, which includes Las Vegas.

A Trump campaign spokeswoman did not respond to requests for comment on the Michigan and Georgia rulings.

Votes are still being counted in all three states, among a handful of battleground states that could decide the presidency. Democratic challenger Joe Biden has a narrow lead in Nevada, Trump a narrow lead in Georgia, and Biden has been projected to win in Michigan.

At a news conference in Las Vegas on Thursday, former Nevada Attorney General Adam Laxalt and other Trump campaign surrogates, including former administration official Richard Grenell, gave no evidence to support their allegations of irregularities and did not answer questions from reporters.

“We believe that there are dead voters that have been counted. We are also confident that there are thousands of people whose votes have been counted that have moved out of Clark County during the pandemic,” Laxalt said.

He said a lawsuit would be filed in federal court to ask the judge to “stop the counting of improper votes.”

Joe Gloria, an election official in Clark County, told reporters there was no evidence of improper ballots being processed.

Bob Bauer, a senior advisor to Biden’s campaign, called the various Trump lawsuits a “meritless” distraction and said the strategy was designed to undermine the integrity of the electoral process.

“This is part of a broader misinformation campaign that involves some political theater,” he said.

“They’re intended to give the Trump campaign the opportunity to argue the vote count should stop. It is not going to stop,” he told reporters on Thursday.

Election legal experts have said Trump’s legal strategy is unlikely to have a decisive impact on the outcome of the election.

Trump has repeatedly said that he expects the U.S. Supreme Court, which has a 6-3 conservative majority including three justices he appointed, to have a key role.

But it is unlikely the court would have the final word in any decisive way and any challenge would have to make its way through the usual court process, legal experts say.

In Pennsylvania, where Trump is narrowly leading but Biden is making gains, the Trump campaign and other Republicans have already filed various legal challenges.

An appeals court in Pennsylvania on Thursday ordered that Trump campaign officials be allowed to more closely observe ballot processing in Philadelphia, which led to a brief delay in the count.

(Reporting by Steve Holland, Doina Chiacu, Tom Hals, Karen Freifeld, Julia Harte, Jan Wolfe, Daphne Psaledakis and Lawrence Hurley; Writing by Lawrence Hurley; Editing by Peter Graff, Sonya Hepinstall and Noeleen Walder)

Factbox: Seven states that are deciding the U.S. presidential election

(Reuters) – The U.S. presidential election will be decided in seven states where votes are still being counted that could swing the outcome to either Republican President Donald Trump or his challenger Joe Biden.

Biden held a lead in four of the states that together award 43 Electoral College votes, which could just allow the Democrat to reach the 270 votes he would need to win, while Trump led in three that hold 51 Electoral College votes, which would push his total to 265.

Here’s a state-by-state look:

ARIZONA

Electoral votes: 11

Rating: Leaned Democratic ahead of the vote

Vote counting: This one appears to be in the Biden column, but only two of the six news organizations that Reuters is following have called Arizona for Biden, and Edison Research has not yet done so. All absentee ballots had to arrive by the close of polls on Election Day. Ballots could be scanned and tabulated starting 14 days before Tuesday.

GEORGIA

Electoral votes: 16

Rating: Leaned Republican ahead of the vote

Vote counting: No organization had yet to call the presidential contest. Trump has a lead but Biden could make up ground in the uncounted votes around Atlanta. Absentee ballots had to be received by clerks by the close of polls on Election Day. Ballots could be opened and scanned on receipt, but they could not be tallied until after the polls closed on Tuesday. Officials in Fulton County, home to Atlanta and a tenth of all Georgians, warned on Tuesday that its vote count would not be finalized until Wednesday.

PENNSYLVANIA

Electoral votes: 20

Rating: Leaned Democratic ahead of the vote

Vote counting: No organization had yet to call the presidential contest in Pennsylvania. Trump appeared to have a substantial lead but many of the outstanding mail-in ballots yet to be counted were from strongly Democratic areas. Absentee ballot counting began at 7 a.m. on Election Day. Last week, the U.S. Supreme Court let stand a ruling by Pennsylvania’s top court that officials in the state could accept mail-in ballots three days after Tuesday’s election, so long as they were postmarked by Election Day.

WISCONSIN

Electoral votes: 10

Rating: Leaned Democratic ahead of the vote

Vote counting: Two of the six news organizations that Reuters is following have called Wisconsin for Biden, and a third has called Biden the apparent winner, pending a potential recount. Edison Research has not yet called the race. Biden held a thin lead within the margin that would allow the Trump campaign to call for a recount. The state’s election officials could not count mail-in ballots that arrive after Election Day, the U.S. Supreme Court ruled on Oct. 26. Ballots could not be counted until polls opened on Tuesday.

MICHIGAN

Electoral votes: 16

Rating: Leaned Democratic ahead of the vote

Vote counting: No organization has yet to call a winner in the presidential contest in Michigan, though Biden held a small lead. Absentee ballots had to arrive at clerks’ offices by the close of polls on Election Day. Some densely populated jurisdictions in the state, such as Detroit, began sorting absentee ballots on Monday, but the vast majority did not. Clerks could begin scanning and counting absentee ballots at 7 a.m. on Tuesday. Michigan Secretary of State Jocelyn Benson said on Wednesday the state would have a clearer picture by the end of the day.

NORTH CAROLINA

Electoral votes: 15

Rating: Leaned Republican ahead of the vote

Vote counting: No organization has yet called a winner in the presidential election, though Trump held a lead. Edison and three news organizations have called the governor’s race for incumbent Roy Cooper, a Democrat.

North Carolina absentee ballots could be scanned weeks in advance, but results could not be tallied before Election Day. In a defeat for Trump, the U.S. Supreme Court declined last week to block the state’s plan to tally ballots that are postmarked by Tuesday and arrive by Nov. 12.

NEVADA

Electoral votes: 6

Rating: Leaned Democratic ahead of the vote

Vote counting: No organization has yet to determine a winner in the presidential election. Biden held a razor-thin lead but final results could be delayed until later in the week. Absentee ballots could be processed upon receipt starting 14 days before the election, but results are not released until election night. Mail-in ballots postmarked by Tuesday will be counted so long as they arrive within seven days after the election.

(Reporting by Michael Martina and Julia Harte, Rich McKay, Brendan O’Brien, Jarrett Renshaw and Daniel Trotta; Editing by Scott Malone and Angus MacSwan)