US Elections Special: Fears of unrest grip America on Voting Day

Michal Michelle Divon (Reporting from New York)/New York
Filed on November 3, 2020 | Last updated on November 3, 2020 at 12.07 pm

A clear win for Trump or Biden could be the best result for the nation

Election Day has arrived in America and voters will head to the polls today to decide who they will be sending home; Democratic Joe Biden or Republican Donald Trump.

Also read: Trump, Biden and the great American divide

After a tense and seemingly chaotic election campaign, candidates Trump and Biden made their final appeals Monday, focusing largely on voters in key battleground states.

The Republican president’s final day had him sprinting through five rallies, spanning North Carolina, Michigan, Wisconsin and Pennsylvania. Democratic Biden meanwhile, focused on a star-studded drive-in finale in Pittsburgh, that featured mega-celebrity Lady Gaga.

With each candidate preparing for his Covid-authorized viewing party Tuesday evening, voters should keep in mind that a winner will likely not be announced on Election night - unless there is a landslide.

More than 96 million Americans have already voted in this election - reaching 70% of votes cast in 2016. These votes represent more than 45% of registered voters nationwide according to CNN, and 18 states and Washington, DC, are reporting that more than half of their registered voters have already cast their ballots.

The downside of an unprecedent volume of mail-in-ballots (cast in the millions) is the delayed result that could come with it. Many are fearing such a delay will push the country into a state of uncertainty at best, or chaos and civil unrest at worst. In this case, the president has the authority to call in troops under the Insurrection Act, which would allow him to take control of state National Guard troops and deploy the Army or Marines. With communities bracing for potentially violent protests, the National Guard is already on standby in several states.

Although Biden narrowly leads over Trump in six swing states according to a CNBC/Change Research poll taken in the final stretch before Election Day, many voters remain sceptical and distrusting of the polls, referring back to 2016.

The train to 270 electoral votes has left the station, and this is the final call for Americans to exercise their democratic right and make a difference. -

Michal Michelle Divon is a journalist based in New York

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