Joe Biden has told the nation it will need to be “patient” as the count of votes for 2020 US presidential election continues to tighten.
Biden, the Democratic Party nominee, told supporters in Delaware “we are going to win this” but warned patience would be needed, and the election would not be over until every vote was counted.
He said: “We can know the results as early as tomorrow morning but it may take a little longer. As I’ve said all along, it’s not my place or Donald Trump’s place to declare who’s won this election, that’s the decision of the American people.
“But I’m optimistic about this outcome and I want to thank every one of you who came out and voted in this election.”
He later added: “I’m grateful to the poll workers, to our volunteers our canvassers, everyone who participated in this democratic process.
“And I’m grateful to all my supporters here in Delaware and all across the nation.
“Thank you, thank you, thank you.”
He closed his speech with: “Keep the faith guys, we’re going to win this.”
US President Donald Trump hit back, suggesting his opponents were trying to “steal” the elections.
In reaction to Biden’s speech, Trump tweeted: “We are up BIG, but they are trying to STEAL the election. We will never let them do it. Votes cannot be cast after the Polls are closed!”
Trump and Biden are locked in a nail-biting challenge for the White House after early results from the presidential election showed a tight race in a number of key battleground states.
Biden was projected to win the first swing state of the night with New Hampshire, in a relatively minor victory in a state that the Republicans had hoped to steal from the Democrats.
Trump, on the other hand, has claimed victory in Florida, a fiercely contested state deemed essential for Trump to remain in the White House, and Iowa.
The race is also tight in the swing states of Georgia, Ohio, Pennsylvania and North Carolina.
There were no upsets in safe states with both men winning predictable victories after a divisive presidential election overshadowed by the coronavirus pandemic.
The Republican took states including Mississippi, Oklahoma and Alabama, while Mr Biden won in his home state of Delaware, Illinois and Massachusetts, as well as predictably winning the heavily populated California and New York.
But projections in the Midwest and the Rust Belt, including Pennsylvania, Michigan, Wisconsin and the key bellwether state of Ohio put them as having the potential to go either way.
Partial results, however, gave the Democratic challenger a lead in Arizona, which would be a major coup in a state that was once reliably Republican.
Trump earlier said he believes he has a “very solid chance at winning”, while his Democratic challenger cautiously said he remains “hopeful”.
National polls have consistently put Biden ahead, but the race was predicted to be closer in the battleground states.
Nigel Farage, the Brexit Party leader who has joined Trump on the campaign trail, told the PA news agency high turnout could be bad news for his ally.
He said: “Obviously, it’s tough to judge. We’re dealing with a huge turnout, unprecedented in modern times. I have memories of the UK referendum, we had a huge turnout and Brexit won.”
But the election night itself looked unlikely to reveal the definite answer many want with results as close as are were.
Trump had already jeopardised the likelihood of a simple race by refusing to commit to a peaceful transition of power and having warned of a “rigged election”.
Along with his attacks, which have largely centred on unfounded claims over postal voting, he has threatened to challenge the result in the courts if it is not in his favour.