US election: Huge numbers cast early ballots, as Trump and Biden pitch for votes | US News


Huge numbers of votes have already been cast in the US election as Donald Trump and Joe Biden strive to win over those as yet undecided.

More than 22 million Americans have already cast ballots, a record-breaking number by this stage, driven by the enthusiasm of Democrat supporters and the impact of the pandemic.

The 22.2 million early votes lodged by Friday night is 16% of all the ballots cast in the 2016 presidential election, with eight states yet to report their totals.

Americans’ rush to vote is leading election experts to predict the turnout could be higher than in any previous election since 1908.

With Democrats out-voting Republicans 2-1 at this early stage, supporters of Mr Trump have been preparing for an early advantage for Mr Biden as their president has railed against postal ballots and raised unfounded concerns about fraud.

Mr Trump attacked his opponent’s family and defended his efforts to control the coronavirus on Friday as he campaigned in Florida and Georgia.

Mr Biden, who was in the Midwest, pressed home his message on health care.

In Florida on Friday, the president attacked the Bidens as “an organised crime family”, renewing his claims about the candidate’s son, Hunter, and his business dealings in Ukraine and China.

He also spoke directly to elderly people, many of whom have been unimpressed by his handling of the pandemic.

Mr Trump said: “I am moving heaven and earth to safeguard our seniors from the China virus.

President Trump speaks at a campaign rally in Macon, Georgia
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President Trump promised to give first doses of a vaccine to the elderly

“We are prevailing,” he added, as he promised to deliver the first doses of a vaccine to pensioners when it is ready.

But his actions continued to stoke controversy.

All the president’s security personnel and support staff were wearing face masks when Air Force One touched down, but Mr Trump and Florida’s Republican governor Ron DeSantis were bare faced.

It came despite former New Jersey governor Chris Christie, who coached Mr Trump ahead of the last presidential debate, saying he was wrong not to wear a mask at the White House, after he and the president both came down with the virus.

Many in the crowd at the president’s events were without masks as well.

Joe Biden talks to reporters in Michigan wearing two face masks
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Joe Biden said Mr Trump was ‘living in a dream world’

It contrasted with Mr Biden’s arrival at a suburban Detroit community centre, where all participants wore masks throughout the event, except when they were speaking, and a small crowd of dozens of reporters and supporters were separated by social distancing.

Mr Biden attacked Mr Trump’s optimism about the pandemic, saying: “He’s living in a dream world.”

Newly released finance figures revealed Mr Trump’s campaign raised $247.8 million (£191.9 million) in September, well short of the $383 million (£296.5 million) raised by Mr Biden’s campaign.

In North Carolina, which Mr Trump won by 3% in 2016 and needs to win again if he is to triumph, a long line of people snaked around a school in Charlotte where early in-person voting was underway on Thursday.

Every one of more than a dozen people interviewed by AP said they chose to show up because they worried that postal ballots could get lost.



Sky News