Voting for the 2020 US presidential election is underway and President Donald Trump and his rival Joe Biden have urged their supporters on Twitter to come out and vote. This election, which comes in the midst of the Covid-19 pandemic that has severely hit the US, is largely being seen as a referendum on the four years of the Trump administration.
The US is more divided and angry than at any time since the Vietnam War era of the 1970s, said AFP in a report announcing the start the of Tuesday's voting. It added that fears that Donald Trump could dispute the result of the election are only fuelling these tensions further.
On Tuesday, polls opened at 6:00 am (4:30 pm IST) in the eastern states of New York, New Jersey, Virginia, Connecticut and Maine. However, the first polling stations to open in the country were in two New Hampshire villages, Dixville Notch and Millsfield, starting at midnight.
Since 1960, the tiny hamlet of Dixville Notch, located in the middle of a forest near the Canadian border, has been the one to vote "first in the nation". As per reports, it currently has just 12 residents. "The vote took minutes, as did the count: five votes for Biden, and none for Trump," AFP reported.
Here are the latest developments on 2020 US elections:
1) Just ahead of the commencement of today's voting, Donald Trump posted a campaign video and urged people to come out and vote. "VOTE! VOTE! VOTE!" he tweeted.
In another tweet, Trump thanked his supporters and said he will fight for every single day of his life. "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!"
VOTE! VOTE! VOTE!pic.twitter.com/85ySh1KYkh— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) November 3, 2020
2) Joe Biden, Donald Trump's Democratic rival, too appealed to his supporters to come out and vote. "It's Election Day. Go vote, America!" he said in a tweet.
Kamala Harris, the Democrat's vice-president candidate made a similar appeal. "Election Day is here, and polling places across the country are starting to open. Mask up and find your polling place at http://IWillVote.com," Kamala Harris 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.
3) As per news reports, 77-year-old Joe Biden leads in almost every opinion poll conducted in the run-up to the election. "It's time for Donald Trump to pack his bags and go home," Biden told his supporters in Cleveland on Monday, addressing his last rally.
"We're done with the chaos! We're done with the tweets, the anger, the hate, the failure, the irresponsibility," he said.
4) However, the opinion polls appeared not to have dampened Trump's spirits as he campaigned throughout the country at a frantic pace and was able to draw massive crowds to his rallies despite the pandemic.
Even in 2016, most opinion polls and news reports had opined against him but the results proved them wrong.
Concluding his campaign in Michigan on Monday, Trump said, "We're going to have another beautiful victory tomorrow." To this crowd chanted back: "We love you, we love you!" "We're going to make history once again," AFP quoted him as saying.
5) What's also interesting is that while Tuesday is formally the Election Day in the US, the fact is that millions of Americans have already been voting for weeks. With a huge expansion in mail-in voting to safeguard against the Covid-19 pandemic, nearly 100 million people have already made their choice.
6) As per Reuters, this number is equal to 72.3 per cent of the entire turnout in 2016 and experts have predicted that turnout this time would easily surpass the 138 million who voted in 2016.
(Source for Interactive explainer: Reuters)
7) Over the last few weeks, there have been worries in the US that if the election results are close, the US could possibly see an extended legal chaos and perhaps violent unrest could also ensue. Distrust and doubt over the voting process was one of the key planks in Donald Trump's campaign.
8) On Tuesday, Joe Biden headed to Philadelphia and his native Scranton as part of a closing get-out-the-vote effort before awaiting election results in his hometown of Wilmington, Delaware. His running mate, Kamala Harris, is visiting Detroit, a heavily Black city in battleground Michigan.
On the other hand, Donald Trump made a morning appearance on Fox News Channel and later planned to visit his campaign headquarters in Virginia, the Associated Press reported.
9) Apart from the electing the US president, voters in the US will also decide which political party will control US Congress for the next two years, with Democrats pushing to recapture a Senate majority and expected to retain their control of the House of Representatives.
10) While the results of the 2020 US presidential elections are yet to be out, one thing that is ample clear is that the next president of the United States will inherit an anxious nation that is battered by the Covid-19 pandemic and whose economy is at one of the weakest phases, if not the weakest, in its history.
(With inputs from Reuters, AFP and the Associated Press)
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