Highest-ever voter turnout elects United States president

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More than 100 million Americans voted nationwide before the polls opened yesterday, according to a survey of election officials by CNN, Edison Research, and Catalist.

These votes represent more than 47 per cent of registered voters nationwide. Twenty-one states and Washington, DC, have seen more than half of their registered voters cast ballots already.

Pre-Election Day voting skyrocketed nationwide despite the ravaging coronavirus pandemic. At least, six states – Texas, Hawaii, Nevada, Washington, Arizona and Montana – have surpassed their total turnout from the 2016 general election in recent days.

In seven other states, the pre-election vote represents at least 90 per cent of their 2016 total vote. The states are North Carolina, Oregon, Colorado, New Mexico, Georgia, Florida and Tennessee.

Nationwide, the 100.2 million ballots already cast represents 73 per cent of the more than 136.5 million ballots cast in the 2016?presidential election.

As Americans voted on Tuesday, the coronavirus pandemic continues to worsen with 40 states seeing a 25 per cent rise in cases over the last two weeks.

The U.S. has recorded 9.3 million coronavirus cases, out of which more than 232,000 people have died.

Americans cast their votes on Tuesday in a bitterly contested presidential race between incumbent President Donald Trump and challenger former Vice President Joe Biden after a tumultuous four years under the Republican businessman-turned politician.

The country has been left deeply divided more than any time in recent history.

According to the NBC News Polling Average, Biden yesterday led Trump nationally 51.5 per cent to 44.4 per cent.

Trump made a brief Election Day visit to the Republican National Committee annex office in Arlington, Virginia, which is where his campaign headquarters is based.

He said he felt good about his chances for victory, 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.

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.

Trump, however, a warned that “cheating” in the key state of Pennsylvania could lead to violence in the streets.

Trump’s inflammatory behaviour, according to analysts, threatened to exacerbate already fraught national tensions amid fears of civil unrest that prompted businesses in some cities to board up their premises.

Incumbent Trump, 74, is seeking another four years in office after a chaotic first term marked by the coronavirus crisis, an economy battered by pandemic shutdowns, an impeachment drama, inquiries into Russian election interference, U.S. racial tensions and contentious immigration policies

Trump, looking tired and sounding hoarse after days of frenetic campaigning, struck a decidedly less belligerent tone yesterday than he did on the trail over the weekend. He was expected to spend most of yesterday at the White House, where an election night party is planned for 400 guests, all of whom will be tested for COVID-19.

Biden, 77, is looking to win the presidency after a five-decade political career including eight years as vice president under Trump’s predecessor, Barack Obama. He mounted unsuccessful bids for the Democratic presidential nomination in 1988 and 2008.

The two candidates have spent the final days barnstorming half a dozen battleground states, with Pennsylvania emerging as perhaps the most hotly contested. Biden will have made at least nine campaign stops in Pennsylvania between Sunday and yesterday.

Biden’s poll lead has forced Trump to play defence as almost every competitive state was carried by him in 2016.

The Biden campaign, meanwhile, took advantage of the final hours of the campaign to get out the vote in states that Trump won in 2016, whose electoral votes could be the key to winning.

Biden travelled to the battleground state of Pennsylvania, where he visited his hometown of Scranton and Philadelphia.

Before leaving for the final events of his campaign, the former vice president and some of his family members attended a church service at St. Joseph on the Brandywine Roman Catholic Church just after 7am ET in Wilmington, Delaware.

He visited his family’s gravesite where his son Beau Biden, who died in 2015 after battling brain cancer, is buried.

Biden stopped by a canvass kickoff event at the Carpenters Local Union Hall 445, welcomed by Sen. Bob Casey, D-Pa.

During his Scranton stop, Biden visited his childhood home with his granddaughters and was greeted by Anne Kearns who has lived in the house for years. Supporters lined the street, cheering him on. One person shouted “four more years.”

Biden told the crowd it felt good to be back home and waved to an elderly woman at a home across the street, who he said has lived there since he was a child. Biden then asked Kearns if he could show Finnegan and Natalie the kitchen, the location of many memories he has recounted on the campaign trail.

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