Polling opens in four eastern states, Trump’s security official urges patience over vote count

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Polling opens in four eastern states, Trump’s security official urges patience over the vote count

Americans on Tuesday will decide who will occupy the White House for the next four years — incumbent President and Republican nominee Donald Trump or former Vice President and Democratic nominee Joe Biden — as the Election Day has finally arrived.

In one of the most polarising presidential races in U.S. history, citizens will also have to brave the COVID-19 pandemic threat before stepping out to exercise their franchise.

Here are the live updates (all times IST)

8.45 p.m.

Trump’s top domestic security official urges patience over the vote count

Donald Trump’s top domestic security official urged voters on Tuesday to be patient in waiting for election results after reports that the president could rush to claim victory.

“Voters should be patient while waiting for the outcome of this year’s election,” said Chad Wolf, the acting secretary of homeland security.

“It is important to recognize that this process may require time.”

Trump reportedly told confidants that he would declare victory late on Tuesday if it looked like he was ahead in the voting, though he denied the accusation.

As voting opened, he told Fox News that there was “no reason to play games” over declaring victory early.

Officials in many states have said that counting the large numbers of mail-in votes could take at least another day, and perhaps three days.

Wolf told a press briefing that US election systems remain “resilient” despite attempts by foreign countries like Iran and Russia to hack them and to obtain voter data.

“We have no indications that a foreign actor has succeeded in compromising or affecting the actual votes cast in this election. But we do remain on high alert,” said Wolf.

Chris Krebs, the head of the Cybersecurity and Infrastructure Security Agency, which is in charge of election security, said he is confident that the vote results, which will only begin coming in on Tuesday evening, will be secure.

“There may be other events or activities or efforts to interfere and undermine confidence in the election,” Krebs said. “So I ask all Americans to be patient, to treat all sensational and unverified claims with skepticism,” he said.

– AFP

7.10 p.m.

Trump says he feels ‘very good’ about chances

President Donald Trump said he felt good about his chances for victory as US election day opened on Tuesday, predicting that he would register big wins in key states such as Florida and Arizona.

“We feel very good,” a hoarse-voiced Trump told Fox News in a phone interview. Mr. Trump said he expected victory in all the key states that will decide the election, but said he would not “play games” by declaring his win too early.

“We think we are winning Texas very big. We think we are winning Florida very big. We think we are winning Arizona very big,” he said.

“I think we are going to do very well in North Carolina. I think we are going to do well in Pennsylvania. We think we are doing very well everywhere.”

Running behind in most opinion polls, Mr. Trump bashed Democratic opponent Joe Biden, “biased” media and the “extreme” left as he repeated his argument for re-election to four more years in the White House.

“Joe Biden is not prime time” he said.

Mr. Trump called it “terrible” and “dangerous” that millions of votes mailed in might still not be counted on Wednesday.

But he downplayed allegations that he planned to prematurely declare victory on Tuesday evening before enough of the vote is tallied to determine the winner.

“I think we’ll have victory, but only when there’s victory,” he said. “Theres no reason to play games.”

– AFP

5.30 pm

Polls open in four States

Polls opened at 6:00 am (16:30 IST) in the eastern states of New York, New Jersey, Virginia, Connecticut, and Maine.

But the first polling stations to open in the country were in two New Hampshire villages, Dixville Notch and Millsfield, starting at midnight.

A tiny hamlet of 12 residents in the middle of the forest, near the Canadian border, Dixville Notch has traditionally voted “first in the nation” since 1960.

The vote took minutes, as did the count: five votes for Biden, and none for Trump. – AFP

5.20 pm

Watch | Battleground USA: Inside the race to the White House

A video explainer on the 2020 U.S. Elections with The Hindu’s U.S. Correspondent Sriram Lakshman

5.10 p.m.

The Hindu In Focus podcast | Will there be a result on November 3?

There is a chance — in fact, a large chance — that the hugely consequential United States Presidential Election 2020 may not be straightforward. A huge proportion of voters in the U.S. have opted for early voting and mail-in voting, and in different states in the U.S there are different rules for the counting of these votes. Over the last six months, President Trump has sought to claim on Twitter that mail-in voting would lead to voter fraud and the Republicans are likely to throw in legal challenges in several States. Taking us through the scenarios and analyzing the situation for each campaign as we head into our election coverage is Narayan Lakshman, Associate Editor of The Hindu and former U.S. correspondent.

5pm

10 states to watch out for

President Donald Trump and Democratic challenger Joe Biden each have a path to win the White House. The former vice president is competitive in all the battleground states Trump carried in 2016, and has put a handful of traditionally Republican states, including Georgia and Arizona, in play. Trump can win by defending a wide swath of territory he won in 2016, but his hopes for reelection are heavily dependent on the swing states of Florida and Pennsylvania.

Grab the binoculars and focus on these 10 states as election returns start rolling in:

4.50 pm

What to watch on Election Day in America

Election Day is finally here. Or at least what we still call Election Day, since nearly 100 million Americans had already cast ballots by Tuesday.

That’s the result of an election system that has been reshaped by the worst pandemic in a century, prompting many voters to take advantage of advance voting rather than head to polling places in person at a time when coronavirus cases are rising.

Here’s what to watch as the final votes for President Donald Trump and Democratic challenger Joe Biden are cast:

4.30 pm

Fearing poll-related violence, White House, U.S. businesses take additional security cover

Security has been tightened at the White House, major commercial avenues, and shopping districts in the United States as officials feared street violence on election day.

Vital government installations are on high alert. The Secret Service has fortified the White House; a non-scalable high wall has been temporarily erected around the sprawling presidential complex ahead of the voting on Tuesday.

On election eve, contractors were seen busy boarding up major stores and businesses from New York and Boston in the north to southern Houston to Washington DC and Chicago in the east to San Francisco in the West.

Boarding is the commercial term used for installing wooden platforms as protective covers for windows, it includes other makeshift security measures.

4.20 pm

Judge rejects GOP effort to throw out 127,000 Houston votes

A federal judge on Monday rejected another last-ditch Republican effort to invalidate nearly 127,000 votes in Houston because the ballots were cast at drive-thru polling centers established during the pandemic.

The ruling came in response to a lawsuit by conservative GOP activists, who have filed a battery of court challenges over moves to expand voting options during the COVID-19 pandemic. The challenges have not involved Trump’s campaign.

 

How is the President of the United States elected?

The United States President is elected every four years and can serve only two terms. According to the Constitution of the U.S., the President must be a natural-born citizen of at least 35 years of age and a resident for at least 14 years.

A quick look at the oldest and youngest U.S. presidents

This year, voters in the U.S. will choose between two of the oldest presidential candidates. 74-year-old Donald Trump and Joe Biden aged 77 will be the oldest in the country’s history. Trump, at the age of 70, became the oldest incoming president in 2016. On average, U.S. presidents are inaugurated at 55 years of age.

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