The lead of Democratic presidential candidate Joe Biden in Arizona narrowed on Friday when election officials reported results that split between Biden and President Donald Trump.
According to the Arizona Republic, the results reported on Friday morning appeared to be evenly split between the president and the former vice president. However, matches from Mojave County and Navajo County announced later that day showed that Trump received a greater percentage of the votes from these areas, the newspaper reported.
Pinal County results released Friday afternoon also showed gains for Trump, reducing Biden’s lead to just over 39,000 votes in the state.
Further results from Maricopa County were due to be announced at 19:00 local time.
Biden led the state earlier this week with more than 79,000 votes. His lead shrank as more results came in over the past few days, turning the state into a battleground with no clear winner by Friday night.
Both candidates hope to win the 11 electoral votes of Arizona. While Biden led the nation in terms of automatically triggered recounts in both the popular vote and the electoral college on Friday night, neither candidate had the 270 votes needed to secure the presidency. Four other states-Georgia, Nevada, North Carolina and Pennsylvania-also stood for election three days after election day.
Despite the influx of new votes for Trump, Arizona Secretary of State Katie Hobbs told KTAR-FM on Friday afternoon that the chances of an automatic nationwide recount were slim. Between 250,000 and 270,000 ballots had still not been counted on Friday morning, Hobbs said. About half of these are in the Maricopa district, Hobbs added. Trump won the county, which is the most populous in Arizona, by nearly 3 percent in 2016. Biden was ahead of Maricopa County by more than 60,000 votes on Friday morning, according to the Maricopa County election results database.
Hobbs explained to KTAR-FM that state election laws require that the margin between Biden and Trump be either 200 votes or one-tenth of one percent, whichever is less, to automatically trigger a recount.
“There is no legal basis on which anyone can go to court and demand a recount that is outside that range,” Hobbs said.
Hobbs said she expected most of the votes to be counted by the end of this weekend, and said the provisional ballots would probably be completed next week.
If Biden is declared the winner in Arizona, it would be only the second time in the last 50 years that a Democratic presidential candidate leaves the state, with former President Bill Clinton being the youngest candidate to run in 1996.
Washington Newsday asked Biden’s campaign for a comment, but did not receive a response in time for publication.
This story was updated with additional information and background.