Joe Biden Beats Barack Obama's Popular Vote Record: Associated Press Tally

Joe Biden has broken president Barack Obama's popular vote record set 12 years ago. The Democratic challenger is at 69,512,303 votes (50.1 percent) to Donald Trump's 67,069,982 votes (48.3 percent), according to The Associated Press' election results tracking at the time of writing.

This means Biden beat Obama's record of 69,498,516 in 2008. However, there are still millions more votes to be counted as almost 100 million people across the country cast their ballots in early voting before election day.

In 2008, Obama won 52.93 percent of the popular vote against John McCain and 51.1 percent four years later against Mitt Romney when voters backed him to serve another term.

The popular vote is the total number, or percentage, of votes cast by American citizens for a particular candidate, with the person who receives the most votes seizing the popular vote crown. However, getting more votes nationwide does not mean a candidate has won the election.

In 2016, Hillary Clinton won the popular vote by almost 3 million but still lost the race to Donald Trump. She received 48.2 percent of all votes cast compared to Trump's 46.1 percent. But the Electoral College votes went to Trump, 304 to Clinton's 227.

The Electoral College was first established in 1787, set up as a compromise between electing a president by a vote in Congress or by qualified citizens. It has 538 members, and the contender that wins 270 (half plus one) electoral votes wins the seat at the White House. This is apportioned by population across the 50 states and Washington, D.C.

According to FiveThirtyEight's election forecast, Biden had a 97 percent chance of winning the popular vote regardless of whether he wins the Electoral College.

The 2020 election race could take days to reach a final official result, with votes in a number of key states still left to be counted, including Arizona, Georgia, Wisconsin, Michigan, and Pennsylvania, at the time of writing.

Early on Wednesday, Donald Trump declared an unsupported victory and said that he plans to go to the U.S. Supreme Court to intervene in the election process. He claimed that a "major fraud" had been committed, calling on voting to stop.

The president said: "This is a fraud on the American public. This is an embarrassment to our country. We were getting ready to win this election. Frankly, we did win this election.

"We want the law to be used in a proper manner so we'll be going to the U.S. Supreme Court. We want all voting to stop. We don't want them to find any ballots at four o'clock in the morning and add them to the list. This is a very sad moment."

The results of the election are incomplete, vote counting is ongoing, and Trump presented no evidence of any fraud in the process.

Joe Biden election 2020
According to FiveThirtyEight’s election forecast, Biden had a 97 percent chance of winning the popular vote regardless of whether he wins the Electoral College. Tasos Katopodis/Getty Images