US President Donald Trump and Democratic challenger Joe Biden spent the final days of campaigning appealing to undecided voters in critical battleground states. 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.
National polls continue to show Biden leading Trump, by about 8 percentage points. Both Biden and Trump are also trying to woo Indian-American voters, one of the critical voting blocs in this year's election.
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. 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.
Ahead of Election Day on Tuesday, November 3 in the United States, here are fine things you need to know:
â–º Storefronts, luxury properties and government buildings across the country were boarded up ahead of Election Day in the United States, in anticipation of possible civil unrest that may occur due to the results of the election, or even a lack of clarity over the race. High-end brands like Ferragamo, Prada and Dolce & Gabbana installed boards over their window fronts on Rodeo Drive in Californiaâ€™s Beverly Hills, the Washington Post reported, as have shops in New York City. Businesses in Washington D.C., have also taken precautions, as well as a government centre in Minneapolis.
â–º The White House is also preparing for possible violence and protests on Election Day. â€˜Non-scalableâ€™ fencing has been erected around the White House, and fences have been put up around Lafayette Square, where this past summer, protesters gathered as part of the Black Lives Matter movement. State governors have also stated that the National Guard is ready to be deployed if necessary.
â–º President Trump has threatened to legally challenge the results of the election day, particularly in swing states. Trump has stated several allegations that there could be fraud if ballots are allowed to be counted beyond election day, though there is no evidence to support this.
â–º Americans have voted in large numbers, already casting a near 100 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. Citizens stood in long lines at early voting polls as well as sending in ballots via mail, shattering previous voting records.
â–º Even as the nation braces for one of its most important elections in recent history, the coronavirus pandemic is a looming threat. The US has reported more than 81,000 new infections on Sunday alone. Some 9.2 million people are also affected by the disease, and over 231,000 deaths have been reported from the country. Key battleground states, such as Florida, Arizona and Pennsylvania, are also reporting surges in COVID-19 numbers.
With PTI inputs