Key events so far…
The US presidential election is on track to have the highest voter turnout percentage-wise in more than a century, reflecting the high stakes in the race between Donald Trump and his Democrat challenger, Joe Biden.
How many people have voted?
Michael McDonald, a University of Florida professor who runs the US Elections Project, said 93,131,017 people had voted as of Sunday. In the entire 2016 election, 136.5 million people voted, CNN said, so turnout is already more than two-thirds that number. The voting-eligible population – people who should be able to vote if registered – is 239,247,182.
Can this election set a record?
McDonald predicted that around 150 million Americans may vote, comprising 65% of eligible voters. That would be the highest turnout in percentage terms since 1908. However, many states are already reporting unprecedented turnout. Most strikingly, Texas and Hawaii have exceeded their total turnout in 2016, per CNN.
How are people voting?
Early voting includes in-person votes and mail-in and absentee ballots. According to McDonald, as of Sunday afternoon 34,004,455 in-person votes and 59,126,562 mailed ballots had been returned to election authorities. There were still 32,084,041 outstanding mail ballots.
Here’s more from Trump’s late Sunday night rally at a Miami-area airport:
Trump’s rally in Florida, a critical swing state he needs to hold to win the election, was held as Covid-19 cases in the state continued to surge. Like countless Trump campaign rallies there was no social distancing and thousands of attendees did not wear face masks.
Miami-Dade county, where the event took place, has a midnight curfew to mitigate the spread of the virus. The county ordinance states the curfew is “necessary to safeguard life and health, as parties and gatherings late at night have the potential to spread Covid-19”. Trump’s speech continued well past midnight and attendees were still leaving the venue after 1am.
The rally was Trump’s fifth event of the day, in a packed schedule that saw him visit five separate states as the election reaches its final day of campaigning. Polls showed Trump behind in Florida by an average of 2.2%, foreshadowing a close race.
Why has Dr Anthony Fauci incurred the active wrath of the president? In a hard-hitting interview at the weekend, the doctor repeated his warning about difficult days ahead for the United States, which is registering an ever-increasing number of daily coronavirus cases.
The US should prepare for “a whole lot of hurt” under the coronavirus pandemic, Fauci said, predicting a winter of 100,000 or more cases a day and a rising death toll.
“We’re in for a whole lot of hurt,” Fauci told the Washington Post in a hard-hitting interview published on Saturday night, three days out from election day, immediately angering the Trump White House.
“It’s not a good situation. All the stars are aligned in the wrong place as you go into the fall and winter season, with people congregating at home indoors. You could not possibly be positioned more poorly.”
Guardian US southern bureau chief Oliver Laughland has just finished attending Trump’s final Sunday/Monday rally at an airport in Miami. He writes;
President Donald Trump has indicated he could fire America’s top infectious disease expert, Dr Anthony Fauci during a midnight rally in Miami, Florida, less than 48 hours before America’s critical presidential election.
As crowds at the Miami Opa-Locka airport chanted “Fire Fauci”, Trump stood for a number seconds and allowed the chants to continue before responding: “Don’t tell anybody, but let me wait until a little bit after the election. I appreciate the advice. I appreciate it.”
He continued: “Nah, he’s been wrong on a lot. He’s a nice man though. He’s been wrong on a lot.”
Fauci, one of the world’s foremost infectious diseases experts, has served for over three decades as the director of the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases [NIAID]. He is one of the lead experts on Trump’s coronavirus taskforce, and has frequently offered frank public health guidance in contrast to the president’s repeated falsehoods on the severity of the Covid-19 pandemic.
Pay a visit to Oliver’s Twitter for some colorful rally footage: