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Biden breaks Obama’s record for most votes ever cast for a U.S. presidential candidate

As of midday Thursday, Biden has 253 Electoral College votes and Trump has 213.
Democratic presidential candidate former Vice President Joe Biden speaks to supporters, early...
Democratic presidential candidate former Vice President Joe Biden speaks to supporters, early Wednesday, Nov. 4, 2020, in Wilmington, Del. (AP Photo/Paul Sancya(Paul Sancya | AP)
Published: Nov. 5, 2020 at 7:52 PM CST
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(CBS) -- In 2008, Barack Obama earned 69,498,516 votes in the presidential election, the most ever. Now, Obama’s former vice president, Democratic nominee Joe Biden, has surpassed that tally, with a record 72,263,868 votes (50.4% of the total), and counting, in the 2020 election.

Biden is currently leading the popular vote against President Donald Trump, who has 68,508,167 votes (47.8 %), and counting, as of Thursday morning. The race for the White House continued to tighten on Thursday, hinging on just a few battleground states that are still too close to call.

With hundreds of thousands of votes still to be counted, it’s possible both candidates will break Obama’s record, set in the race against Senator John McCain, thanks in large part to record early voter turnout during the coronavirus pandemic.

Winning the popular vote, however, does not secure the election — in 2016, Hillary Clinton won the popular vote by nearly 3 million votes but still lost the election to Trump.

As of midday Thursday, Biden has 253 Electoral College votes and Trump has 213. It takes 270 to win the presidency.

Mr. Trump won several large battleground states, including Ohio, Florida and Texas, which Democrats had hoped could flip blue this year.

The number of legally cast but yet-to-be-counted ballots in Pennsylvania, Georgia and Nevada are boosting Democrats' hopes. Biden appears likely to win Arizona, which hasn’t voted for a Democratic presidential candidate since 1996. If Biden were to prevail in both Arizona and Nevada, he would have precisely 270 Electoral College votes, enough to win the White House.

Speaking at the White House in the early hours Wednesday, President Trump falsely claimed he had won the election and vowed to challenge the continued counting of legal ballots all the way to the Supreme Court. Biden’s campaign called the remarks a “naked effort to take away the democratic rights of American citizens.”

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