Election Day, also officially referred to as "the Tuesday next after the first Monday in the month of November", is finally here in the United States. The day has been constitutionally fixed in the US for conducting the presidential election at an interval of every four years. The fate of President Donald Trump and his Democratic challenger Joe Biden lies in the ballot choice of 257 million registered American voters. Stay tuned here for the live news updates on US Presidential Election 2020 from all 50 provinces, the exit poll predictions, the early trends as counting of votes begins and get the real-time data on results.
Till the day of voting, Biden continued to maintain a 7-point lead in the aggregate of most major pre-poll surveys. Trump, who was strongly dismissive of the opinion polls, launched a campaign blitz in battleground states throughout Monday to give a final push to his prospects. Electoral College Map 2020 Projection: Donald Trump or Joe Biden? State-Wise Prediction of US Election Results.
Poll pundits claim that the battle for popular vote count is nearly over, as an estimated lead of 7 percentage point is unlikely to be overturned unless the American psephologists end with their worst-ever forecast in the last 40 years.
The lead of Biden, in the surveys, is more than double of what his predecessor Hillary Clinton held against Trump ahead of the elections in 2016. The pundits were accurate enough to predict her victory in terms of total quantum of votes, but had severely erred in their arithmetic of electoral college votes.
The backers of Trump are hopeful that his narrow path towards retaining the presidency would again go through a unique phenomenon -- where a candidate ends up winning the battle at the electoral college despite losing the overall vote count.
In recent history, two American presidents - George W Bush and Trump - benefited from this electoral arithmetic. The latter had, in 2016, won 46.1 percent votes as compared to Clinton's 48.2 percent. He still ended up winning the presidency due to the victory in big-ticket states which are represented by higher number of delegates in the electoral college.
The timing of polls differ from province-to-province, and begin at the earliest in Vermont where the voting stations open at 5 am ET. In most other states, the polling stations will open up at 6 am, and voting will continue till around 7-8 pm (local time) in most of the provinces. New York and Iowa are among exceptions, where the polling continues till 9 pm.
Around 91 million voters, who form over one-third of the total electorate in the US, have already voted using alternative options. A bulk of the voter used the facility of mail-in ballots that was extended by most states to all electorates - rather than only outstation voters - in view of the COVID-19 pandemic.
Trends, Exit Polls and Results
The early trends and exit polls would be projected in the evening hours, after the polling ends in states where the time is restricted till 7 pm ET. The exit polls, a continuation of the ongoing real-time poll trackers, are considered to be more credible in predicting the poll outcome as it involves inputs taken from the sample size of voters who have registered their mandate on the Election Day. The early trends, on the other hand, would forecast the state-wise winners based on the initial counting of votes.
The official results would be delayed this year, due to the unprecedented use of mail-in ballots. The early voting held in most provinces would also end up increasing the time to count all the votes cast. The delay in declaration of the election winner may even stretch to a week, pollsters claimed.
The results that will emerge after the counting of popular votes would determine the set of "formal electors" or delegates who would be members of the electoral college. This electoral college, whose delegate members would be either pledged Democrats or pledges Republicans, would officially elect the next President.
Apart from the presidential poll, the voters will also register their mandate for the Senate elections - in the 35 constituencies - where the polling will be held. The result of Senate elections would also be projected simultaneously, along with the Trump vs Biden election outcome. The Democrats, according to pollsters, hold a solid chance of overturning the Republican majority in the Upper Chamber of Congress.