•Prospective US President Joe Biden

Hopes of re-election for embattled US President Donald Trump have faded, with Democratic candidate Joe Biden extending his lead as the vote count nears the end.

As at about 6am Nigerian Time on Thursday, Biden had won 264 electoral votes – needing only 16 to hit the 270 needed for victory. He had also won 72,115,841 (50.35%) of the popular votes.

Trump trailed with 214 electoral votes and 68,774,585 or 48.02% of popular votes.

Voting has closed in the United States and all eyes are on the count in key states of Pennsylvania, Georgia, Nevada and North Carolina to decide the race for the White House.

Michigan, an important swing state, has been called for Biden by the Associated Press.

Addressing supporters, Biden said he “believes” he will win. He flipped Arizona and Wisconsin, while taking California, Washington, New York and Illinois.

Trump claimed victory prematurely and has continued to falsely claim ballots counted after Election Day signal malfeasance. He takes Florida, Ohio, Iowa, Missouri and Texas.

Early voting surged to unprecedented levels, with just over 100 million early votes cast either in person or by mail before polls opened on Election Day.

•Based on reports by Yahoo News and Al Jazeera.

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