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Politics Trump, Biden wait with the world for election results in a contest to decide course of America

02:25  04 november  2020
02:25  04 november  2020 Source:   usatoday.com

How battleground states process mail ballots -- and why it may mean delayed results

  How battleground states process mail ballots -- and why it may mean delayed results More Americans are voting by mail this election than usual, due to the pandemic. But processing those ballots takes more time. Here's how it works in battleground states. Because of the pandemic, more voters are opting to cast their ballots by mail this year. While the expanded access and increased use of mail-in voting is good for voters, it does create hardships for already strained election officials in many states, including key battlegrounds.

WASHINGTON – A months long presidential race that both Donald Trump and Joe Biden framed as the most consequential in history was winding down Tuesday as the first polls began to close in early battleground states and the candidates began the long wait to determine who voters would choose to lead the nation through one of its most challenging moments.

Millions turned out to polls for an election that will determine how to respond to a pandemic that has killed a quarter of a million Americans, bolster an economy that has taken a beating from the virus and heal deep divisions over racial injustice.

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Polls closed at 7 p.m. ET in some parts of the critically important battleground of Florida – a state Trump narrowly carried in 2016 – and Georgia, which has also been competitive. Ohio and West Virginia were set to close their polls at 7:30 p.m. ET. The largest block of states, a group that includes one of the most closely watched states in the country,  Pennsylvania, were set to close at 8 p.m. ET.

Joe Biden, Donald Trump are posing for a picture: Former Vice President Joe Biden, left, ad US President Donald J Trump. © Getty Images, AP Former Vice President Joe Biden, left, ad US President Donald J Trump.

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The pandemic was foremost on voters' minds, according to a survey of the electorate, conducted by the Associated Press.

Forty-two percent said it's the most important issue facing the country, by far the highest response to the question. Twenty-seven percent picked the economy, which is related.

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Nearly all – 95% – said the federal government's response to the pandemic was a factor in deciding how to vote. The same share said the economic downturn was also factor. That's a slightly higher share than said the same of protests over police violence (92%) or Supreme Court nominations (90%).

And more voters disapproved of Trump's handling of the pandemic than approved: 58% to 42%.

By the end of an emotionally draining and bitter contest, the two candidates had spent more money than any campaign in history and were expected to generate record turnout, with more than 100 million Americans casting ballots before any polling location opened on Election Day. Long lines formed at schools and government buildings, underscoring the significance of the choice for many voters.

"Winning is easy. Losing is never easy – not for me, it’s not,” Trump said during at his campaign headquarters Tuesday, adding he had not readied a victory or a concession speech. “Everybody should come together and I think success brings us together.”

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How to watch: Here's when you'll start seeing results and what to expect

Fundamental questions about the direction of the country and its democracy were at stake. Throughout the campaign, Trump cast the election as America’s last chance to avoid careening left. Biden ran a race that focused heavily on his character and the promise of avoiding another four years of chaos, division and Trump-style drama.

Biden started the day at church with his wife, Jill, and two granddaughters. He flew to his birthplace of Scranton, Pa., where he signed the living room wall in his childhood home.

"From this house to the White House with the grace of God,” he wrote.

Highest stakes

Biden walked into Election Day with a wider path to the presidency. Polls indicated he held a steady lead nationally and in two of the battlegrounds – Michigan and Wisconsin – that thrust Trump to victory against Hillary Clinton in 2016. Polls have shown a narrower lead for him in Pennsylvania. If Biden captures all three states, the election would represent a rebuilding of the “blue wall” that has benefited Democrats as far back as Bill Clinton.

Police, experts monitoring extremist groups to see if poll watchers try to disrupt voting

  Police, experts monitoring extremist groups to see if poll watchers try to disrupt voting The states with the highest risk for election-related violence by armed extremist groups are Michigan, Pennsylvania, Wisconsin, Georgia and Oregon.President Donald Trump, who has falsely claimed voter fraud is widespread, has called for an army of poll watchers to ensure the election is fair. Right-wing extremist groups have signaled they plan to heed the call. Left-wing groups have vowed to confront people they believe are engaged in voter suppression.

Trump and his aides insisted the polls underestimated his support.

Trump and Biden offered stark contrasts on policy as well as style, with the president vowing to continue his efforts to curb legal and illegal immigration, cut taxes, push federal courts to the right and pursue an “America first” foreign policy that has threatened to upend the global order that emerged after World War II.

Live: House Democrats say they're set to gain seats, warn of 'Election Week'

Biden: Biden heads to church, Scranton home on Election Day

a group of people standing in front of a crowd: Democratic presidential nominee Joe Biden visits a neighbor's house after stopping at his childhood home on Nov. 03, 2020 in Scranton, Pennsylvania. © Drew Angerer, Getty Images Democratic presidential nominee Joe Biden visits a neighbor's house after stopping at his childhood home on Nov. 03, 2020 in Scranton, Pennsylvania.

Biden hopes to shore up the 2010 Affordable Care Act he helped shepherd through Congress with his former boss, President Barack Obama, reduce the nation’s reliance on fossil fuels and reset relationships between the U.S. and its allies.

"This election is one that historians and political scientists are going to be talking about for a long time," said William Galston, a senior fellow at the Brookings Institution, "because of the massive outpouring of Americans who are determined to vote and determined that their vote will count."

World watches: As America votes, its friends and foes alike are watching

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  'It's not over': Trump supporters begin flocking to state capitols after Biden victory is announced Trump supporters gathered at state capitols in Lansing, Raleigh and elsewhere after Biden was announced the winner of the presidential election.Some supporters of President Donald Trump flocked to state capitols as encouraged by a campaign called "Stop the Steal," an effort to delegitimize the vote count that was booted from Facebook for spreading misinformation and inciting violence.

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Eric Cantor, a former Republican congressman from Virginia, described the decision in weighty terms.

“What’s at stake in this election is the American position in the world in terms of its economic competitiveness, as well as its military dominance,” he said.

COVID redraws the map

No issue featured as prominently, or threw the differences between the two candidates into such stark relief, as COVID. Trump’s administration encouraged rapid progress on a vaccine, but the president handed much of the response to the virus to state leaders as he sidelined his own top scientists and dismissed their recommendations.

A watershed event that could have brought people together instead split them further apart as other nations got a better handle arresting the spread of infections and death.

That contrast was on display throughout a surreal campaign in which Trump himself was hospitalized with the virus, recovered and used the episode to argue the virus wasn’t all that bad – even as he was forced to repeatedly acknowledge that the treatment he received was out of reach for most Americans.

Trump: Trump visits campaign HQ on Election Day

Bill Stepien, Donald Trump standing in front of a crowd: President Donald Trump visits his campaign headquarters in Arlington, Virginia on Nov. 3. © SAUL LOEB, AFP via Getty Images President Donald Trump visits his campaign headquarters in Arlington, Virginia on Nov. 3.

Campaign methods differed as much as the candidates during the pandemic. After briefly suspending his massive rallies, Trump resumed the boisterous events – packing mostly maskless supporters shoulder to shoulder on airport tarmacs across the country.

Fact check: States don't have more than 100% voter turnout in an election

  Fact check: States don't have more than 100% voter turnout in an election A post uses outdated data to argue there are more votes than registered voters in key battleground states. Data shows no state exceeds 100% turnout.“Huh. It just so happened that we are on track to have more votes than registered voters in every single state that could potentially win Trump the election,” claims an image posted to Facebook on Nov. 4. “You’ve been caught Dems.

“This is a poll,” Trump of the supporters who came out for his final, post-midnight, rally in Grand Rapids, Mich. “This is not the crowd of somebody who’s going to lose this state.”

He repeatedly mocked Biden for “hiding” in his basement and wearing a mask, arguing that a president had to project an image of confidence rather than setting an example for others to follow.

Puerto Rico unearths over 100 briefcases with uncounted ballots a week after election

  Puerto Rico unearths over 100 briefcases with uncounted ballots a week after election Puerto Rico’s elections commission said it has found over 100 briefcases with uncounted ballots a week after the U.S. territory held its election.Francisco Rosado, the commission’s new president, said the briefcases were found in a secured vault and blamed the situation on what he said was an underfunded and understaffed administrative board responsible for counting a record number of absentee and early votes.

Biden did campaign mainly from home for months, holding virtual fundraisers and inviting Sen. Kamala Harris, D-Calif., to be his running mate on a video call. As the weeks went by, he began holding more small events, with participants donning masks and maintaining social distance, sometimes from their cars at drive-in rallies.

Biden chose western Pennsylvania for his first and last major campaign event, telling supporters in Pittsburgh Monday night that they “represent the backbone of this nation.”

Protests, BLM alter course

Racial justice protests during the summer revealed another stark contrast.

The death of George Floyd in police custody in Minneapolis on May 25 sparked nationwide protests for racial justice. The incident rekindled attention on the shooting death of Breonna Taylor during a police raid on March 13 in Louisville, Kentucky. And outrage erupted Kenosha, Wisconsin, after a police officer shot and paralyzed Jacob Blake on Aug. 23.

Trump campaigned as the law-and-order president, supporting police as protests occasionally turned violent with arson, burglaries and shootings. He accused state and local officials such as the mayor of Portland and governor of Oregon of timidity in quieting the protests. Federal authorities cleared a path June 1 with batons and tear gas for Trump to walk from the White House to a nearby church to hold a Bible aloft.

More: Black, Latino, Asian and Native Americans flock to polls amid difficult year

More: Before polls close , demonstrators will be in Washington and elsewhere

Biden walked a line between supporting peaceful protests while denouncing violence. He urged greater training for police to calm tense confrontations, while dismissing proposals from more progressive supporters to defund police. And Biden, who had lost his wife, a daughter and a son to an accident and illness, met relatives of the victims.

“He talked about how nothing was going to defeat him, how whether he walked again or not, he wasn’t going to give up,” Biden said of Jacob Blake.

A nation holds its breath

Both men ratcheted up their rhetoric during the campaign, describing their opponent as dangerous and wildly out of step with mainstream American values. As both parties launched a series of last-minute legal battles over voting laws, Trump repeatedly sought to undermine confidence in election systems, arguing any votes counted after the polls closed on election night should be considered suspect.

The argument and claims of widespread fraud were demonstrably false: Millions voted on paper ballots effortlessly because of the pandemic. There was little indication of major problems at the polls on Tuesday.

Voters decide: It's up to the voters: Presidential election to set the country's course

Closers: Trump, Biden deliver last arguments as millions decide nation's future

The tensions that have plagued the country since before Trump took office remained at an elevated state heading into the election, with law enforcement agencies preparing for violence regardless of who wins. Authorities erected a new fence around the White House late Monday night, with memories of the Black Lives Matter protests from the summer still fresh.

The FBI is reviewing a Texas highway incident last week in which a caravan of vehicles waving Trump flags swarmed a Biden campaign bus. Similar incidents have occurred in other states since then.

Donald Trump, Joe Biden are posing for a picture: President Donald Trump and former Vice President Joe Biden debate in September at Case Western University in Cleveland. © Patrick Semansky, AP Images President Donald Trump and former Vice President Joe Biden debate in September at Case Western University in Cleveland.

Trump, a real-estate magnate and former reality TV star, won the White House in 2016, despite polls heading into Election Day that showed Hillary.

For Biden’s part, the campaign marked his third attempt at the presidency, after serving eight years as vice president and 36 representing Delaware in the Senate.

Whoever wins will be the oldest president sworn in – older than Ronald Reagan when he was sworn in for a second term in 1985. Trump is 74 and Biden turns 78 on Nov. 20.

Battleground states: These are the 12 states that will determine the 2020 election

Can the GOP keep the Senate?: Can Republicans hold on to the Senate majority? Here's how Democrats could win control from the GOP.

Can Democrats expand advantage in House?: Will Democrats expand their control in the House? Here are the races and surprises to watch

This article originally appeared on USA TODAY: Trump, Biden wait with the world for election results in a contest to decide course of America

Puerto Rico unearths over 100 briefcases with uncounted ballots a week after election .
Puerto Rico’s elections commission said it has found over 100 briefcases with uncounted ballots a week after the U.S. territory held its election.Francisco Rosado, the commission’s new president, said the briefcases were found in a secured vault and blamed the situation on what he said was an underfunded and understaffed administrative board responsible for counting a record number of absentee and early votes.

usr: 1
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