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AMERICAN ELECTION DAY UPDATE

Americans head to polling stations in large numbers
Polls will open and close across the US at different times Tuesday, anywhere after 6 am and before 9 pm local time. Over 95 million people have already cast their votes in person or by mail-in ballots.

Democratic presidential candidate former Vice President Joe Biden and US President Donald Trump addressing campaign rallies at Pittsburgh and Michigan, respectively a day before the election.
US Election 2020 Live Updates: 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.

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.

Meanwhile, urging people to place faith in him and his running mate Kamala Harris, Democratic presidential nominee Joe Biden said together they can “heal the soul of this nation” and they won’t let the people down. “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,” he tweeted.

The eve of Election Day 2020 was packed with rallies; US President Donald Trump visited four battlegrounds states Monday — North Carolina, Pennsylvania, Michigan and Wisconsin — while his Democratic challenger Joe Biden spent his day in Pennsylvania supported by former president Barack Obama, who made stops in Florida and Ohio.

Polls will open and close across the US at different times Tuesday, anywhere after 6 am and before 9 pm local time. India is between 10½ and 13½ hours ahead, depending on where in the US you’re looking. However, over 100 million people have already casted their votes, according to a tally by the US Elections Project at the University of Florida. Due to this, counting of votes could take longer as some states won’t start opening ballots until polling day.

In the past, the election results have seldom been declared on Election Night. As The New York Times reports, Americans are accustomed to knowing who won because of projections made by news organisations.

Nation by nation, the world watches Election Day in the US
For four years, the world’s nations have watched as a very different American president engages with the international community – or doesn’t.

Longtime alliances have been strained, agreements wiped away, tariffs erected, funding withdrawn.

Some nations have been the objects of presidential derision. Others, like North Korea, have been on the receiving end of diplomatic overtures once considered unthinkable. For countries around the planet, the presidency of Donald Trump in its first term has been, it is safe to say, a singular experience to watch. Now that an inflection point in Trump’s time in office is at hand with Tuesday’s U.S. election, what’s at stake if his presidency ends – or if it continues? Nation by nation, how is Election Day in the United States being watched, considered, assessed?

In Pennsylvania, hundreds seen outside polling booths
Initial reports indicated an early large turnout. In the battle ground State of Pennsylvania, hundreds of people were seen outside polling booths even before the start of the polling.

Long lines seen outside polling stations as Americans head to polling stations
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 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.

19:45 (IST)
03 NOV 2020

Joe Biden urges citizens to vote

We can heal the soul of this nation: Joe Biden on election eve
Urging people to place faith in him and his running mate Kamala Harris, Democratic presidential nominee Joe Biden said together they can “heal the soul of this nation” and they won’t let the people down.

US stocks: Futures rise as investors bet on Biden victory, more stimulus
US stock index futures rose on Tuesday as investors bet on a Joe Biden victory followed by a swift deal on more fiscal stimulus in one of the most divisive presidential races in US history.

After slumping to five-week lows last week, the S&P 500 and the Nasdaq began November on a strong footing as the consistent lead for Democratic presidential nominee Biden in national opinion polls raised hopes of a bigger stimulus package after the election.

Democrats are also favored to emerge from 14 hotly contested US Senate races with full control of Congress in Tuesday’s election, although final results from at least five of those contests may not be available for days, and in some cases, months.

“Currently, the market is betting on a Biden win,” said Christian Stocker, UniCredit’s lead equity sector strategist. “Under a Biden presidency, the US economy should be more supportive for equity markets – an economy with more stimulus programs will be perfect for the outperformance of cyclical sectors.”

Irrespective of the winner of presidential polls, India-US relationship to remain strong
Irrespective of the outcome of Tuesday’s keenly-contested US presidential election, America’s strategic relationship with India is expected to maintain the current momentum and strengthen further, policy documents and remarks from the two campaigns indicate.

President Donald Trump, in the first term of his presidency, has emerged as the best friend of India at the White House taking the relationship to a new level and his friendship with Prime Minister Narendra Modi is well known, which was reflected in the two leaders addressing two joint rallies in the US and India in less than a year.

Highlighting the great relationship that he has developed with Modi, Trump in September said that he has “great support from India”. “Prime Minister Modi is a friend of mine and he’s doing a very good job. Nothing easy, but he’s done a very good job,” Trump said as he recollected his historic address at the ‘Howdy Mody’ event in Houston last September.

Iran’s supreme leader, quoting Trump, mocks US election
Iran’s supreme leader mocked America’s presidential election Tuesday in a televised address, quoting President Donald Trump’s own baseless claims about voter fraud to criticise the vote as Tehran marked the 1979 US Embassy hostage crisis.

Ayatollah Ali Khamenei reiterated a long-standing Iranian position that it didn’t matter whether Trump or Joe Biden wins the vote, but the stakes couldn’t be higher for the Islamic Republic. Another four years could see Trump’s maximum-pressure campaigns further expand as it crushes the Iranian economy and stops Tehran from openly selling its crude oil abroad.

Biden meanwhile has said he would consider re-entering Tehran’s 2015 nuclear deal with world powers, providing possible relief to the beleaguered Iranian rial. “If you look at their own situation, it’s lovely to watch. The incumbent president, who is supposed to hold the elections, says this is the most-rigged US election throughout history,” Khamenei said, not acknowledging that individual US states run the vote.

And what about Joe Biden?
Democrat Joe Biden’s campaign is laser-focused on the states in the Midwest and close by that Trump flipped in 2016 – Michigan, Wisconsin and Pennsylvania. He’s also making a big play for Arizona, a state that hasn’t backed a Democratic presidential candidate since 1996. Biden is also redoubling his focus on Florida, the biggest prize among the perennial battlegrounds and a state that would virtually block Trump’s reelection if it swings Democratic.

As far as Electoral College votes are concerned, what is Trump’s best path to winning a second term in office?
Trump has several paths to 270, but his best route hinges on winning Florida and Pennsylvania. If he wins both states and holds onto North Carolina and Arizona, which he narrowly carried in 2016, and also Georgia and Ohio, which he won in 2016 but is now competitive, he will win. With 29 electoral votes, Florida is arguably the most crucial state for Trump. A loss there would make it nearly impossible for him to retain the White House. (AP)

Fearing poll-related violence, security tightened across US
Security has been tightened at the White House and major commercial avenues across the US, with retailers boarding up their stores to head off any damages as America braced for possible unrest and violence in a bitter and divisive presidential race.

Vital government installations are on high alert while the Secret Service has fortified the White House. A “non-scalable” wall has been temporarily erected around the sprawling presidential complex ahead of the voting on Tuesday. About 600 National Guard troops have also been designated to help respond to protests around the country if requested.

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. Stores along the posh 5th Avenue in Manhattan as well as across the New York city boarded up and workers were seen drilling plywood onto the stores’ facade late in the night, amid fears that Election Day could bring violence, looting and clashes, similar to the chaos seen in the summer during protests over the death of George Floyd. (PTI)

Will work with Democrat and Republicans: Joe Biden
Democratic presidential nominee Joe Biden said on being elected as a president, he would work with both Democrats and Republicans because this is the “job of a president”. “I’m 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 tweeted.

Nearly 100 million voters have already voted
Nearly 100 million people have already casted their votes, a tally by the US Elections Project at the University of Florida revealed. This record has been facilitated by the sharp increase in mail-in and early -in-person voting.

Adding fears in an already chaotic environment, misinformation regarding in-mail voting that led to false claims that ballots have been tampered with is on the rise. According to data published by the New York Times, the highest volume of misinformation regarding in-mail voting has been floating in the battleground states. Of the 1.1 million total voting-by-mail falsehoods that Zignal tallied, Pennsylvania topped the list with 227,907 of them. This comes after Trump’s repeated attacks on the credibility of the system.

The issue of voter fraud was brought up on the last day of campaigning as US President Donald Trump sought to know the results on time. “The Election should end on November 3rd., not weeks later!” he tweeted on Friday.

With Trump threatening legal battles over the declaration of results, several Democratic and Republican lawyers have already gone to court over these issues in the run-up to Tuesday’s election. Both sides say they’re ready, with thousands of lawyers on standby to march into court to make sure ballots get counted, or excluded.

In the national polls, Trump continues to trail Biden with a 42 per cent chance, according to the latest Reuters poll. Similarly, a poll by The New York Times showed Biden holding a clear advantage over 4 important swing states — Wisconsin, Pennsylvania, Florida and Arizona. Biden’s electoral position appears to put him in a stronger position than any presidential candidate since 2008.

Meanwhile, Indian-American supporters of both President Donald Trump and his Democratic rival Joe Biden on Sunday intensified their campaigns, particularly in battle ground states, asking the community members to get out and vote and support their respective leaders.

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