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Trump or Biden? America votes to elect 46th President

By Lalit K Jha
Last updated on: November 04, 2020 03:15 IST
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Americans were voting in large numbers on Tuesday in one of the most divisive bitter presidential elections in decades in which incumbent Republican Donald Trump is challenged by Democrat Joe Biden.

 

IMAGE: People line up outside a polling station during the Election Day in Houston, Texas. Photograph: Go Nakamura/Reuters

Amidst a resurgent COVID-19 pandemic, nearly 100 million people have already cast their ballots in early voting, putting the country on course for its highest turnout in a century. Some 239 million people are eligible to vote this year.

The mail-in ballots could take days or weeks to be counted in some states -- meaning a winner might not be declared in the hours after polls close on Tuesday.

Biden has pocketed his first election victory by winning all five votes of a small New Hampshire town that's always quick to declare its result.

The outcome in Dixville Notch on the US-Canada border was revealed just after midnight on Tuesday, marking 60 years since the tradition began.

Meanwhile in Millsfield, 20 km to the south, President Trump won 16 votes to Biden's five.

IMAGE: Voters line up at a polling station during the election in Columbus, Ohio. Photograph: Megan Jelinger/Reuters

Election observers often take note of the two tiny New Hampshire communities, but Dixville Notch does not always vote in line with the national outcome.

In 2016, the town opted for then-Democratic nominee Hillary Clinton, who lost to Trump in the electoral college.

Over 1.3 million Indian-Americans are voters in key battleground states, including Texas, Michigan, Florida and Pennsylvania.

Large lines were seen and hundreds of people had queued up before polling stations, in particularly in the key battleground States like Pennsylvania and Wisconsin.

The timing of the start of the polling differs from State to State, mainly due to the different time zones. 

IMAGE: Voters wait in line to enter a polling station inside the Frank P Zeidler Municipal Building in downtown Milwaukee, Wisconsin. Photograph: Bing Guan/Reuters

People mostly in the East coast started trickling down to the polling stations as many States opened up the polling stations at around 6 am (4.30 pm IST).

These States include Virginia, New York, New Jersey, and Maine. Polling in California starts at 7 am (8.30 pm IST).

Trump in the wee hours of Tuesday urged Americans to vote for him.

'VOTE, VOTE, VOTE!' Trump said in a tweet with a short video of him dancing at election rallies.

IMAGE: A woman fills in a ballot at the Fairfax County Government Center in Fairfax, Virginia. Photograph: Hannah McKay/Reuters

'Vote like your freedoms, your livelihood, and our future depends on it. Because they do!' said Trump, who is seeking to avoid becoming the first incumbent president to lose a re-election since George H W Bush in 1992.

Biden also tweeted urging people to vote. 'It's Election Day. Go vote, America!' he tweeted.

'In 2008 and 2012, you placed your trust in me to help lead this country alongside Barack Obama. Today, I'm asking for your trust once again, this time, in Kamala and me. We can heal the soul of this nation -- I promise we won't let you down,' Biden tweeted.

IMAGE: Voters fill ballots at the Kentucky Exposition Center in Louisville, Kentucky. Photograph: Bryan Woolston/Reuters

Biden's running mate, Kamala Harris, urged voters to not to 'allow anything to come between you and your vote. If you have any questions or concerns about voting, reach out to our voter hotline'.

In another tweet, she said, 'If you've already voted, thank you. But we still need your help. Take 20 minutes to help voters in critical battleground states find their polling location. This election is too important to leave anything to chance.'

Poll experts said that the turnout is going to be the key in the election results.

According to The Hill newspaper, the key to White House depends on the election results of five States -- Pennsylvania, Wisconsin, Georgia, North Carolina and Arizona.

IMAGE: Voters wait in a socially distanced line to cast their ballots in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania. Photograph: Rachel Wisniewski/Reuters

Nearly 9.1 million people have voted in Florida, CNN reported, citing state data.

That's about 95 per cent of the 9.6 million total votes in the 2016 election.

Trump is expected to visit a Republican election office in Arlington, a Virginia suburb of Washington DC. Biden started his day with a visit to Church for prayer and participate in a mass.

IMAGE: A voter is given direction on where to drop her ballot after voting on Election Day in Charlotte, North Carolina. Photograph: Sam Wolfe/Reuters

Thereafter, he was scheduled to travel to the battleground State of Pennsylvania for campaign stops.

In the evening, Biden and Harris will address the nation on Election Night in Wilmington, Delaware. Trump is scheduled to watch the election results from the White House.

He has invited a select guests at the White House.

National polls continue to show Biden leading Trump, by a comfortable 8 percentage points.

IMAGE: Voters stand in line with an hour and a half wait time on Election Day inside St Louis City Library, Missouri. Photograph: Lawrence Bryant/Reuters

US elections, however, are not determined by the national popular vote, but rather in the 538-member Electoral College, with each candidate needing a majority of 270 to win the presidency.

In all but two of the country's 50 states, either Trump or Biden will win all the electors from each state by winning the popular vote there, with the most populous states holding the most electors.

IMAGE: Poll workers wait in line to grab breakfast prior to the polls opening at the Registrar of Voters in San Diego, California. Photograph: Mike Blake/Reuters

The coronavirus pandemic is a major topic during this election.

The US has recorded more cases and more deaths than any other country worldwide, reporting more than 81,000 new infections on Sunday alone.

Some 9.2 million people are also affected by the disease.

IMAGE: Voters wait in line at a polling site in Bethany, Oklahoma. Photograph: Nick Oxford/Reuters

The US economy saw record-breaking 33 per cent growth in the third financial quarter of this year, following a record 31 per cent contraction in the second.

The November 3 presidential election has been billed as one of the most divisive in recent American history.

Before the campaign closed, 74-year-old Trump toured the key voting battlegrounds of Wisconsin, Michigan, North Carolina and Pennsylvania while his 77-year-old rival campaigned in Pennsylvania and Ohio, urging Americans to back them in the race for the White House.

IMAGE: People vote on Election Day at the James Weldon Johnson Community Center in Harlem in the Manhattan borough of New York City. Photograph: Andrew Kelly/Reuters

'To all of our supporters: thank you from the bottom of my heart. You have been there from the beginning, and I will never let you down.

'Your hopes are my hopes, your dreams are my dreams, and your future is what I am fighting for every single day!' Trump tweeted past midnight.

'A vote for Sleepy Joe Biden is a vote to give control of government over to Globalists, Communists, Socialists, and Wealthy Liberal Hypocrites who want to silence, censor, cancel, and punish you. Get out and VOTE #MAGA tomorrow!,' the President wrote in another tweet, attacking Biden.

IMAGE: People line up to vote at a polling station in Columbus, Ohio. Photograph: Megan Jelinger/Reuters

The Republican Party in a tweet said, 'Let's Make America Great Again and re-elect our fantastic president!'

Biden, the former US vice president, said he was 'running as a proud Democrat, but I will govern as an American President.'

'I will work with Democrats and Republicans, and I'll work as hard for those who don't support me as for those who do.

'Because that's the job of a President,' he wrote.

If elected as president, Biden said he will rebuild the infrastructure, combat climate change and create millions of good-paying and union jobs.

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Lalit K Jha
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