US goes to polls today

President Donald Trump and his Democratic challenger Joe Biden were making a last ditch efforts on Monday to convince undecided voters of their plans and policies on the final day of the campaign in critical battleground states, with polls indicating that the race for the White House could be headed for a photo-finish.

The two candidates spent Sunday making their final pitches to voters ahead of Tuesday’s election. Trump, 74, toured five battleground states of Michigan, Iowa, North Carolina, Georgia and Florida while his 77-year-old rival spoke at a campaign event in Pennsylvania, where the race also looks tight.

Trump, a Republican, plans a hectic campaign trip through Wisconsin and Pennsylvania on Monday, aimed at saving the key states he won four years ago.

Both Biden and Trump are also trying to woo Indian-American voters, one of the critical voting blocs in this year’s election.

There is an estimated four million Indian-American population of which about 2.5 million are potential voters in the November 2020 presidential elections. Over 1.3 million Indian-Americans are voters in key battleground states, including Texas, Michigan, Florida and Pennsylvania.

Amidst the raging COVID-19 pandemic, Americans have voted in large numbers, already casting a record 93 million ballots, about two-thirds of the overall 2016 vote count of 138.8 million. 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. The figure of 93 million includes 33 million in-person votes and 58 million mail-in ballots.

National polls continue to show Biden leading Trump, by about 8 percentage points.

US elections, however, are not determined by the national popular vote, but rather in the 538-member Electoral College, with each candidate needing a majority of 270 to win the presidency.

The coronavirus pandemic is a major topic during this election. The US has recorded more cases and more deaths than any other country worldwide, reporting more than 81,000 new infections on Sunday alone. Some 9.2 million people are also affected by the disease.

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