PHILADELPHIA (CBS/AP) — Former President Barack Obama is hitting the campaign trail for Democratic presidential nominee Joe Biden and his first stop will be in Philadelphia next Wednesday. It will be Obama’s first campaign event for Biden.

Additional details will follow on where in Philadelphia the campaign event will take place.

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Pennsylvania is an important battleground state for Biden and President Donald Trump in the 2020 election. According to the CBS News Battleground Tracker, Biden holds a six-point lead over Trump — 52% to 46%.

Trump narrowly won Pennsylvania and it’s 20 electoral votes in 2016. He was the first Republican presidential candidate to carry the state since 1988.


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Election officials in Philadelphia, home to one-fifth of the state’s Democratic voters, have been sued by Trump’s campaign, blasted by the president as overseeing a place “where bad things happen” and forced to explain security measures after a theft from a warehouse full of election equipment.

Add to that an investigation into military ballots that were mistakenly discarded in one swing county, partisan sniping in the state Capitol over the processing of what is expected to be an avalanche of mailed-in ballots and an 11th hour attempt by Republican lawmakers to create an election integrity commission.

One of the most hotly contested presidential battleground states is trying to conduct a pandemic election in a hyper-partisan environment where every move related to the voting process faces unrelenting scrutiny from both sides. State and local election officials say they are doing all they can to make sure Pennsylvania doesn’t end up like Florida two decades ago, when the last drawn-out presidential tally ended before the U.S. Supreme Court.

The biggest challenge could simply be verifying and counting the crush of mail-in ballots, with some 3 million voters expected to request them. That would be over 10 times the number from four years ago. As of Tuesday, more than 2.6 million registered voters had already applied for mail-in ballots.

The Republican-controlled state Legislature has so far refused to allow local election offices to start processing those ballots before Election Day. That all but ensures the vote count will continue for days, if not weeks, and perhaps delay a final result in the presidential election.

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(© Copyright 2020 CBS Broadcasting Inc. All Rights Reserved. The Associated Press contributed to this report.)