The people of the United States have been voting in large numbers on Tuesday in one of the most divisive and bitter US presidential elections in decades in which incumbent Republican Donald Trump is challenged by Democrat Joe Biden.
Amidst a resurgent COVID-19 pandemic, over 100 million people have already cast their ballots in early voting, putting the country on course for its highest turnout in a century. Some 239 million people are eligible to vote in 2020.
The question arises in the minds of many people on what is the significance of the number '270' behind the US presidential election. It is a magic number and mathematical game that determines as the electorate who will sit in the White House for the next four years.
Going by the importance of the electoral college, its importance can be gauged from the fact that in the 2016 presidential election, Hillary Clinton got nearly 29 lakh more votes, but still, she lost the election. Donald Trump was victorious in this election because he had success in the statistics of the electoral system of the US Constitution.
Results: 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. Biden has pocketed his first election victory by winning all five votes of a small New Hampshire town that's always quick to declare its result. The outcome in Dixville Notch on the US-Canada border was revealed just after midnight on Tuesday, marking 60 years since the tradition began.
Numbers so far: Meanwhile in Millsfield, 20 km to the south, President Trump won 16 votes to Biden's five. Election observers often take note of the two tiny New Hampshire communities, but Dixville Notch does not always vote in line with the national outcome. In 2016, the town opted for then-Democratic nominee Hillary Clinton, who lost to Trump in the electoral college.
What is 270: National polls continue to show Biden leading Trump, by a comfortable 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. Members of the Electoral College cast their ballots for president. In all but two of the country's 50 states, either Trump or Biden will win all the electors from each state by winning the popular vote there, with the most populous states holding the most electors.
In order to become the President of the United States in this magic number system, any candidate needs at least 270 votes of the electoral college. This is a magical figure of majority in the 538-member electorate of 50 states of the country. Each state is allocated a different number of electoral college votes based on how many members it has in the House of Representatives. Two senators are also added to it.
Magic number: The state of California has the highest number of 55 electoral votes. After this, there are 38 such votes in Texas. A candidate who wins in New York or Florida can proceed towards the magical circle of '270' with 29 electoral votes. There are twenty-two such opinions in Illinois and Pennsylvania. After this, there are 18 such votes in Ohio, 16 in Georgia and Michigan, and 15 in the state of North Carolina.
Trump has many ways to reach this magical figure, but the best way for him is to win in Florida and Pennsylvania. If he wins in both states and gains in North Carolina and Arizona, Georgia and Ohio, he will win. Florida is the most important state for Trump with 29 electoral votes. If he loses in this state, his dream of reaching the White House again will probably be incomplete.
Democratic Party candidate for President Joe Biden has paid less attention to the Midwestern states and has focused more on states such as Michigan, Wisconsin and Pennsylvania, where Trump suffered a setback in 2016. Biden has also paid considerable attention to Florida, where Trump will likely lose the electoral battle if Florida shifts towards the Democratic Party.
Voters: Over 1.3 million Indian-Americans are expected to play a major role this year in key battleground states, including Texas, Michigan, Florida and Pennsylvania. There is an estimated four million Indian-American population of which about 2.5 million are potential voters in the November 2020 presidential election.
Large lines were seen and hundreds of people had queued up before polling stations, in particular in the key battleground states like Pennsylvania and Wisconsin. The timing of the start of the polling differs from state to state, mainly due to the different time zones. People mostly in the East coast started trickling down to the polling stations as many states opened up the polling stations at around 6 am (4.30 pm IST). These states include Virginia, New York, New Jersey, and Maine. Polling in California starts at 7 am (8.30 pm IST).
Donald Trump: Trump, 74, on Tuesday urged Americans to vote for him. 'VOTE, VOTE, VOTE!' Trump said in a tweet with a short video of him dancing at election rallies. "Vote like your freedoms, your livelihood, and our future depends on it? Because they do!" said Trump, who is seeking to avoid becoming the first incumbent president to lose re-election since George HW Bush in 1992.
Joe Biden: Biden, 77, also tweeted urging people to vote. "It's Election Day. Go vote, America!? he tweeted. "In 2008 and 2012, you placed your trust in me to help lead this country alongside Barack Obama. Today, I'm asking for your trust once again this time, in Kamala and me. We can heal the soul of this nation. I promise we won't let you down," Biden tweeted.
Kamala Harris: Biden's running mate, Kamala Harris, urged voters to not to "allow anything to come between you and your vote. If you have any questions or concerns about voting, reach out to our voter hotline." In another tweet, she said, "If you've already voted, thank you. But we still need your help. Take 20 minutes to help voters in critical battleground states find their polling location. This election is too important to leave anything to chance."
"Today we must vote like our lives depend on it. Because they do. We must vote like our democracy depends on it. Because it does. And we must vote like justice, equality, and opportunity are possible. Because they are," she said in another tweet.
Poll experts: Poll experts said that the turnout is going to be the key in the election results. According to The Hill newspaper, the key to White House depends on the election results of five states--Pennsylvania, Wisconsin, Georgia, North Carolina and Arizona.
Nearly 9.1 million people have voted in Florida, CNN reported, citing state data. That's about 95 per cent of the 9.6 million total votes in the 2016 election. Trump is expected to visit a Republican election office in Arlington, a Virginia suburb of Washington DC. Biden started his day with a visit to a church for prayer and participate in a mass. Thereafter, he was scheduled to travel to the battleground state of Pennsylvania for campaign stops.
In the evening, Biden and Harris will address the nation on Election Night in Wilmington, Delaware. Trump is scheduled to watch the election results from the White House. He has invited select guests at the White House.
Coronavirus pandemic: The coronavirus pandemic is a major topic during this election. The US has recorded more cases and more deaths than any other country worldwide. Some 9.2 million people are also affected by the disease. The US economy saw record-breaking 33 per cent growth in the third financial quarter of this year, following a record 31 per cent contraction in the second.
The November 3 presidential election has been billed as one of the most divisive in recent American history. Before the campaign closed, 74-year-old Trump toured the key voting battlegrounds of Wisconsin, Michigan, North Carolina and Pennsylvania while his 77-year-old rival campaigned in Pennsylvania and Ohio, urging Americans to back them in the race for the White House.
Security: Meanwhile, security has been tightened at the White House and major commercial avenues across the US, with retailers boarding up their stores to head off any damages amid fears that Election Day could bring violence and looting. Vital government installations are on high alert while the Secret Service has fortified the White House. A "non-scalable" wall has been temporarily erected around the sprawling presidential complex. About 600 National Guard troops have also been designated to help respond to protests around the country if requested.