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Philly Mail-in Ballot Counting Continues After Stopped For Short Time As President Trump Holds Slim Lead In Pennsylvania

PHILADELPHIA (CBS) -- In Pennsylvania, the race between President Donald Trump and Joe Biden is tightening. The president's lead slipped throughout the day Thursday as more votes were counted, and there are still thousands of more ballots that need to be counted.

The process of counting the votes has prompted protests from both Biden and Trump supporters as a large demonstration took place outside the Pennsylvania Convention Center.

Pennsylvania Secretary of State Kathy Boockvar says it's possible the commonwealth may know a winner tonight but that's more likely to come Friday.

Philadelphia has resumed its mail-in ballot counting after it was stopped for a short time Thursday morning due to a court order.

President Donald Trump still has a lead of 90,000 votes in the Keystone State.

Trump campaign senior adviser Corey Lewandowski posted a video online today of an attorney he says is Michelle Hangley, who represented Philadelphia in this morning's hearing. Lewandowski can be heard arguing with her over why the city won't comply with the judge's order.

"The court order is in effect," Lewandowski said while speaking outside the Pennsylvania Convention Center.

Lewandowski explained an appellate court sided with the Trump campaign earlier today by allowing political observers to be within six feet of ballot counters inside the convention center. Previously, observers had to be at least 20 feet away.

"The commonwealth court said they had to be allowed closer, so Philadelphia had to reconfigure their operations to allow that. They had appealed because I think their operations worked better the way they had it arranged, but they're complying with the court order and appealing it," Boockvar said.

The court order went into effect at 10:30 a.m. but Lewandowski says the city did not immediately enforce it.

"They will not give us access," Lewandowski claimed. "And the sheriff has decided to not come down here to enforce that court order."

Later in the day, a federal judge denied the campaign's request to enforce the six-foot distance, but city officials said in a statement that they will continue with it anyway.

"They had at least 19 party representatives as observers in the Convention Center this afternoon, and more than 15 in the room while the case was being heard this evening," the statement read.

Late this afternoon, the Trump campaign filed another suit in federal court connected to the ballot counting. Despite the legal challenges, the Philadelphia City Commissioners Office says the ballots will continue to be counted.

On Thursday night, President Trump voiced concerns with what he baselessly believes is corruption tied to the tallying of mail-in votes.

"They talk about votes and I think they should talk about legal, we want every legal vote counted," Trump said without presenting evidence. "The officials overseeing the counting in Pennsylvania are all part of a corrupt Democratic machine."

In Philadelphia, the massive undertaking is a bipartisan effort where Republican City Commissioner Al Schmidt said this week that campaign observers have been welcome in the counting room since the start.

Former Vice President Joe Biden said he is confident that he and Sen. Kamala Harris will be declared the winners once the count is finished.

President Trump has indicated that in states like Pennsylvania, the counting of mail-in ballots should not have continued past Election Day even if they arrived weeks prior.

The Philadelphia-based nonpartisan group Committee of Seventy denounced the president's unfounded claim of election fraud, saying "We should all question the motives of anyone who seeks to reject the legitimacy of ballots cast by registered voters and discounts the civic responsibility and accountability of our local election officials. President Trump's repeated efforts to paralyze the democratic process here in Pennsylvania through disinformation and frivolous lawsuits are a shameful attack on the will of the people."

CBS3's Matt Petrillo and Alexandria Hoff contributed to this report.


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