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‘The vote is sacred’: Biden says he has no doubt he has won but democracy requires patience

Joe Biden has urged people to be patient to allow every vote to be counted in the US presidential election, even while insisting he was confident he had defeated Donald Trump.

As America and the world waited on the outcome of four states – Georgia, Nevada, Pennsylvania and Arizona – which should determine the next occupant of the Oval Office, the former vice president spoke briefly on Thursday evening.

“In America, the vote is sacred. It’s how people in this nation express their will,” he said.

“And it is the will of the voters, not anything else, that chooses the president of the United States of America.” 

He added: “So, each ballot must be counted. And that’s what we’re going to see going through now. And that’s how it should be. Democracy is sometimes messy.

The former vice president spoke, standing close to his running mate, Kamala Harris, as officials in a handful of states continued to count the votes cast.

Four states will determine the outcome of the election, Georgia, Pennsylvania, Arizona and Nevada. The Associated Press has already called Arizona for Mr Biden, placing him on 264 electoral votes, six shy of the threshold required to win the White House.

Trump supporters and Count Every Vote demonstrators surround Pennsylvania Convention Centre

While Mr Biden did not mention the Trump campaign, his insistence that every vote should be counted soon as something of a rebuke.

The president’s campaign has sought to stop voting in Pennsylvania and Georgia, and is seeking a recount in Wisconsin, which Mr Biden won by around 20,000 votes.

Up to a dozen people were arrested after protests in Portland, Seattle and Minneapolis, against the president.

“We continue to feel very good about where things stand. We have no doubt that when the count is finished, Senator Harris and I will be declared the winners. So I ask everyone to stay calm – all the people to stay calm,”  said Mr Biden.

“The processes is working, the count is being completed. And we’ll know very soon. So, thank you all for your patience. But you got to count the votes.”