Election Day: With polls closing in hours, stakes for Trump, Biden reach their peak

By Ronn Blitzer | Fox News

Trump predicts economic depression if Biden wins, while Biden says Trump is ‘a threat to this nation’.

The day has arrived for Americans across the country to have their voices heard, as they vote for president and vice president of the United States while anxiously awaiting the culmination of a year and a half of feverish campaigning.

An increasingly polarized electorate appears to be resulting in record-setting numbers of Americans casting ballots in 2020. A staggering 100 million people had already cast their ballots before Tuesday, according to data from the University of Florida’s Election Project. This a combination of in-person early voting and expanded absentee ballot opportunities afforded to voters in many states due to the coronavirus pandemic. That number is more than 72% of the total number of voters in the 2016 election.

WHEN DO POLLS CLOSE IN EACH STATE?

President Trump was optimistic during an Election Day interview with “Fox & Friends,” expressing confidence in his chances of securing reelection and saying he believes he has a “solid chance of winning” another four years in the White House. He even predicted that he would garner more than the 306 electoral votes he won in 2016.

“I think we will top it,” he said. “I’ll leave it at that. I think we’ll get better.”

Campaigning on Monday in Pittsburgh, Biden also sounded confident.

“Folks, I have a feeling we’re coming together for a big win tomorrow,” he said.

The two campaigns appear to have markedly different approaches to the final day of the race.

President Trump, having worked furiously in recent days — holding 14 events in 72 hours – is keeping Tuesday relatively simple. He gave a telephone interview to “Fox & Friends” early in the morning before paying a visit to thank campaign staff in Arlington, Va. For the remainder of the day he is expected to be back in Washington, D.C., where Vice President Mike Pence has been doing radio interviews.

VOTING AMID CORONAVIRUS TIPS TO STAY SAFE ON ELECTION DAY

Biden, meanwhile, seems to be cramming in some last-minute campaigning in the swing state of Pennsylvania, traveling with reporters through his childhood hometown of Scranton.

“I noticed that Biden went out, and I think he’s campaigning a little because he’s worried,” Trump said Tuesday morning.

Trump narrowly won Pennsylvania in 2016, but Biden has led there in recent polls.

Biden is later scheduled to be in Philadelphia, before going to his current home state of Delaware. He will meet up with running mate Sen. Kamala Harris of California in Wilmington, where he is expected to deliver an address at an unknown time.

Earlier in the day, Harris was to be in another battleground state, campaigning in Detroit, Mich. Trump won Michigan in 2016 by less than half a percentage point. 

According to the candidates, the stakes in this election could not be higher. 

Trump has stated that a Biden win would result in an economic depression. Tuesday morning, he said that if Democrats were to have control of the White House, Senate, and House, “our country could never be the same country.”

Biden, meanwhile, has accused Trump’s presidency of posing “a threat to this nation.” He has also blamed Trump for COVID-19 deaths and job losses caused by the ensuing economic shutdown.

Cities across the country have been bracing themselves for Tuesday night in fear of violence. In some cases, businesses have boarded up their windows in anticipation of looting and rioting by those unhappy with the outcome.

In reality, however, there is a significant chance that there will not be a clear outcome Tuesday night or even by Wednesday morning, as many states are allowing mailed ballots to be counted several days after Election Day if they are postmarked by Nov, 3.

Depending on how many outstanding mail-in ballots remain by the end of Tuesday night, some states – and the election itself – may be too close to call.

Meanwhile, Democrats have been concerned that the U.S. Postal Service could be delaying the delivery of mail-in ballots in order to impact the election results.

On Tuesday, U.S. District Judge Emmet Sullivan ordered the USPS to send personnel to 12 districts, including areas in Pennsylvania, Michigan and Florida, to “sweep the facilities” and “ensure that no ballots have been held up and that any identified ballots are immediately sent out for delivery.”

VOTING AMID CORONAVIRUS TIPS TO STAY SAFE ON ELECTION DAY

In addition to the delay that could come from counting late absentee ballots, there is also the question of how many of them will ultimately be considered valid.

Republicans in Pennsylvania asked the Supreme Court to review a State Supreme Court order that extended the acceptance deadline to Nov. 6 for ballots postmarked by Nov. 3, or for those that have no postmark at all unless there is evidence they were sent late.

The high court denied the request to hear the case before the election, citing a lack of time, after they had refused to block the state court’s order for the duration of the case.

The Supreme Court may still take the case, however, and Pennsylvania Secretary of State Kathy Boockvar said that in the meantime those ballots will be counted but set aside pending the litigation’s outcome.

The Trump and Biden campaigns have already geared up for continuing their battle for the White House in courtrooms after Election Day, amassing squadrons of attorneys to handle potential legal challenges.

Right now, with just hours left for the American people to submit their ballots, all that is left is to vote and wait for what happens next.

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