Polling has begun to elect the next President of the United States.
Earlier, people voted in record numbers – nearly a billion – in postal ballot and absentee vote, putting the country on course for its highest turnout in a century.
However, President Donald Trump has indicated that he will challenge early voting. The Trump campaign said that it will sue the state of Pennsylvania from counting postal ballots received three days after the election.
“We’re going to go in the night of, as soon as that election is over, we’re going in with our lawyers,” Trump told reporters in one of his campaign rallies at the weekend.
A federal judge in Texas rejected Republicans’ challenge against drive-through voting in the Houston area.
The first results went in favor of Democratic candidate Joe Biden. He took all 5 votes in Dixville Notch. The ballots were cast shortly after midnight in the tiny New Hampshire township along the U.S.-Canada border, which is one of the first to announce results on Election Day.
National polls give a clear 9 point lead to Biden, but the closer race in key battleground states leave the outcome uncertain.
Pennsylvania, Florida and Arizona, where the two candidates are in a dead heat, are decisive, political pundits say.
CNN predicted that Biden will get a total of 279 electoral votes, 9 votes more than what is required to win.
If elected, 77-year old Biden will become the oldest person to assume the U.S. presidency.
This is the first presidential election in which both the major candidates are aged above 70.
96 electoral votes in the battleground states of Arizona, Florida, Georgia, Iowa, Maine, Pennsylvania, North Carolina and Ohio holds the key to open the doors of the White House to the next president.
Hillary Clinton, who led in opinion polls and won majority of popular votes in the 2016 election, lost to Trump as he had an upper edge in electoral votes.
A fence was erected around the White House amid fears that post-election violence could break out.
Counting of votes is not expected to complete on election night as rules on processing mail-in ballots are different in various states.
Meanwhile, CNN reported quoting a senior Trump campaign adviser that the Trump campaign is prepared to declare victory if the President moves close to the 270 electoral votes threshold needed to win re-election.
The 74 year-old Republican candidate addressed five rallies on a hectic penultimate day of the election, which extended into the early hours of Tuesday.
Speaking at his final campaign rally in Grand Rapids in Michigan, Trump said Biden’s refugee admissions plan would overwhelm the U.S. communities and turn Michigan, Minnesota, Wisconsin and the entire Midwest into “a virtual refugee camp.”
Both the candidates spent time in Pennsylvania, where the fight is tight.
Singer Lady Gaga joined Biden at a rally in Pittsburgh, while musician John Legend addressed voters with Democratic vice-presidential candidate Kamala Harris.
The presidential election will be held along with elections to the Senate and the House of Representatives. Gubernatorial and legislative elections will also be held in several states.
The election follows the United States’ worst-ever week for new coronavirus cases, with daily casualties crossing 1,000. Trump’s handling of the pandemic was one of the hot topics in this election campaign.
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