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WHY THE ASSOCIATED PRESS CALLED ARIZONA:

State officials say there are about 250,000 votes still to be counted in Arizona, a Western presidential battleground state, where Democrat Joe Biden has a 1.6 percentage point lead over Republican Donald Trump, an advantage of about 46,250 votes.

The Associated Press has called the race in Arizona for Democrat Joe Biden. The AP said Thursday it is monitoring the vote count in the state as ballots continued to be tallied.

"The Associated Press continues to watch and analyze vote count results from Arizona as they come in," said Sally Buzbee, AP's executive editor. "We will follow the facts in all cases."

The vast majority of the ballots still being counted are from Maricopa County, the most populous area of the state. The next update from elections officials there is expected around 11 a.m. EST on Friday.

The Trump campaign says it is confident the president will overtake Biden when all votes in the state are tallied.

The AP called the race in Arizona for Biden at 2:50 a.m. EST Wednesday after an analysis of ballots cast statewide concluded Trump could not catch up in the ballots left to be counted.

Arizona has a long political history of voting Republican. It's the home state of Barry Goldwater, a five-term, conservative senator who was the Republican nominee for president in 1964. John McCain, the party's 2008 presidential nominee, represented the state in Congress from 1983 until his 2018 death.

But changing demographics, including a fast-growing Latino population and a boom of new residents — some fleeing the skyrocketing cost of living in neighboring California — have made the state friendlier to Democrats.

Many of the gains have been driven by the shifting politics of Maricopa County, which is home to Phoenix and its suburbs. Maricopa County accounts for 60% of the state's vote, and Biden leads there by 3.4 percentage points in votes that have already been tabulated.

WHY THE NEW YORK TIMES HAS NOT CALLED ARIZONA: 

The Associated Press and Fox News have called Arizona for Joe Biden. The New York Times has not.

In most races, The Times automatically accepts the race calls made by The A.P. But in the most important races, we independently evaluate whether to accept an A.P. call, based on our own analysis.

The main reason we have not yet accepted the call in Arizona? We do not believe there's solid enough data on the votes that remain to be counted after Election Day. The data we do have suggests that President Trump could fare well. Mr. Biden was and is still favored in our view. But on Tuesday night and afterward, there was no way to preclude, based on hard evidence, the possibility that Mr. Trump could win. That's what a race call means to us.

As of 1:30 p.m. Eastern time Thursday, CNN, NBC News, ABC News, CBS News, DecisionDesk HQ and Reuters Arizona.

The Associated Press stands by its call. Associated Press calls are displayed by hundreds of newspapers nationwide, as well as by Google. Sally Buzbee, executive editor of The A.P., said: "The Associated Press continues to watch and analyze vote count results from Arizona as they come in. We will follow the facts in all cases."

The late count in Arizona includes ballots in three categories: ballots that arrived in the mail in the final days before the election; mail ballots that were dropped off at polling places on Election Day; and provisional ballots, which are given to voters who cannot be validated as eligible to vote when they appear on Election Day. Usually, all three lean Democratic. This year, it's not so clear.

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