November 3, 2020 is Election Day in the United States. For the first time in four years, the American people will choose their next president: Donald Trump (Republican) or Joe Biden (Democrat). But that’s not all that’s going on today: Voters have the chance to vote for members of Congress, and policy propositions in different states. All seats in the House of Representatives are on the ballot, as well as 35 Senate seats.
What the Contenders Are Up To
Joe Biden is on record as the leader in most polls, with Donald Trump trailing behind. However, these surveys also said Trump would lose the 2016 election, which turned out to be false. Ultimately, nobody knows who the American people will choose. So, what are the candidates up to?
Joe Biden started Election Day in his hometown of Scranton, Pennsylvania, at an event to encourage people to vote. He also visited his childhood home where he was greeted by supporters, before departing on a tour of the state. He also attended a morning church service and visited the grave on his son Beau, who passed away in 2015. As to whether he thinks he will win the election, Biden wrote a message on the wall of his childhood home: “From this house to the White House, with the grace of God.”
Donald Trump kept campaigning up until the last minute, holding 14 rallies in three days, mostly in swing states to win over extra voters. He paid a visit Republican staff at party headquarters, and will be watching the election results from the White House at a party with family, staff members and supporters. In an interview on election morning, Trump seemed confident, saying, “I think we’ll have victory… I think we have a very solid chance of winning.”
Voting in the Time of Coronavirus
This has been an unusual election year, as people have been worried about mixing with crowds at election locations during the coronavirus pandemic. The virus compelled a record early voter turnout via mail, as Americans hoped to avoid large public gatherings. As well as that, mail-in voting has been a major issue this election. The Democrat Party encouraged mail-in voting, saying voters shouldn’t have to expose themselves to COVID-19 by mixing in public during Election Day, while the Republicans have expressed concern that mail-in voting is more vulnerable to fraud and dishonest voting practices. In turn, Democrats have accused Republicans of trying to shut down voting and intimidate voters.
Some states have also created election extensions, so mail-in votes that arrive after Election Day can be counted. This could delay the vote count, so Americans could be left guessing about the results for longer than usual.
Each side has already accused the other of trying to “steal the election,” causing many to wonder how the vote will be resolved.
What’s Happening Around America on Election Day?
Americans can vote in-person on November 3, plus some states will be accepting mail-in ballots for several more days. Counting of early votes has already started and the count will continue from tonight onwards.
Here are just some of what’s been going on as Americans head to the polls:
- First Lady Melania Trump voted in Palm beach Florida. When she was asked why she didn’t vote early with her husband, she said, “It’s Election Day, so I wanted to come here to vote today for the election.”
- Female voters in Rochester, New York, have been putting “I Voted” stickers on the gravestone of Susan B. Anthony, who worked hard to get women the right to vote.
- Americans with coronavirus are allowed to vote in person, and the Centers for Disease Control (CDC) warned that hand sanitiser could damage ballots.
- Even though 100 million Americans voted early, some areas still have long lines at polling stations. On the other hand, some areas have no lines at all.
- Hip Hop star Kanye West voted for himself. He said: “Today I am voting for the first time in my life for the President of the United States, and it’s for someone I truly trust…me.”
- Lochel’s bakery in Pennsylvania says it has successfully predicted the last three elections based on how many blue or red cookies it sells. According to the bakery, who is in the lead for this year? Apparently, Trump cookies have so far outsold Biden cookies by 6 to 1.
- Some are worried about violence based on the election results; many business in cities have boarded up their windows, while a fence was put up around the White House.