American voters in polling stations for US presidential race

November 8, 2016 12:17 pm

Democratic vice presidential candidate Senator Tim Kaine (D-VA) arrives to cast his ballot accompanied by his wife Anne Holton (L) at the Hermitage Methodist Home polling station in Richmond, Virginia, November 8, 2016. (Photo by Reuters)

American voters are heading to polling stations to choose between two starkly different candidates, Republican Donald Trump and Democrat Hillary Clinton, in one of the most divisive presidential races in US history.
Of the nearly 230 million Americans eligible to vote, more than 120 million are expected to partake in the polls. More than 41 million Americans have already voted in 37 states and the District of Columbia, where some forms of early voting were offered. Opinion polls suggest Clinton has a slight edge.
– Connecticut, Indiana, Kentucky, Maine, New Hampshire, New Jersey, New York, Vermont and Virginia were the first states to officially open the polling booths at 6:00 am (1100 GMT) on Tuesday.
Other states are due to begin the process within hours. Timings vary for each state.
Three tiny towns in the US state of New Hampshire have cast the first votes in a traditional midnight voting on Election Day.
Dixville Notch, Hart’s Location, and Millsfield were allowed to begin
the process under New Hampshire law, which states communities with fewer
than 100 voters can open the polling stations at midnight and close
them when all registered voters cast their vote.
According to USA Today, voters
in the small communities favored Republican presidential nominee Donald
Trump, putting him ahead of his Democratic rival Hillary Clinton, 32-25.
The tradition of midnight voting began in Hart’s Location in 1948, but
Dixville Notch is the best-known of the trio, having voted at midnight
every presidential election since 1960.

A
clerk tabulates ballots at a polling station just after midnight  in
Dixville Notch, New Hampshire, November 8, 2016. (Photo by AFP)

Voters in other parts of New Hampshire should wait till the voting officially begins at 7 a.m. local time (1100 GMT).
All 50 states and Washington DC will open polling booths on Tuesday
across six time zones. Timings vary for each state. While most states
have 12 hours to wrap up voting, some would continue until 9 pm local
time.
Of the nearly 230 million Americans eligible to vote, more than 120 million are expected to partake in the poll.
Voting experts and officials are concerned about unusually high levels of chaos and voter intimidation at polling stations.

And if you follow the simple rules of mathematics, the reality looks even worse for Republican nominee Donald Trump, who faces an almost impossible task to clinch the presidency.
According to the latest Reuters/Ipsos States of the Nation project, Clinton has around a 90 per cent chance of winning the race to the White House.
The survey, released just hours out from the big day, shows Clinton leading her rival by 45 per cent to 42 per cent in the popular vote.

Each candidate must secure 270 electoral votes to secure victory.It also showed the former Secretary of State is predicted to win 303 votes in the Electoral College, compared to Trump’s 235.
But according to online lecturer in and PhD candidate at Swinburne University, Bryan Cranston, polling aside, it is actually mathematically impossible for Trump to win the US election.
Writing in TheIndependent, Cranston said that it was clear victory was a much bigger task for Trump, who must not only win states that Republican predecessors Mitt Romney and John McCain had previously, but also those they were not able to win.
Admitting the popular vote wasn’t always a guarantee of victory, as Al Gore discovered in 2000, he went on to explain the winner of the presidential election would be the candidate who wins the absolute majority of votes in the US Electoral College.
Of the 50 US states plus DC, all are either classified as safe Democrat, safe Republican, likely Democrat, likely Republican or toss-up states.
Cranston said Clinton already has 19 “safe” states, adding up to a total of 242 electoral votes. Trump on the other hand has 22 “safe” states, which only give him 180 guaranteed electoral votes.
This leaves five states considered “likely” to fall one way or the other, of which Ms Clinton has three and Mr Trump two. Then there are five crucial swing states at stake.

Republican presidential candidate Trump and Democratic presidential nominee Hillary Clinton are making a last-ditch effort to win votes. Photos / AP

If Clinton wins all the “likely Democratic” states, then she only needs to win either Nevada and Colorado, or one of Virginia, Florida or Ohio.
In other words, it is possible for her to win without Florida and Ohio, which are usually the decisive states. But Trump has to win both, as well as every traditional Republican state, plus Virginia and one more.
“If Trump does not win at least all three of the big swing states, then he has no mathematical chance at winning a majority in the electoral college. Not only must Trump win every state that Mitt Romney and John McCain won before him, but he must win states that they were not able to win,” he wrote.
Speaking to .com.au, Cranston said his modelling was different to antiquated polls which he said “weren’t always accurate and didn’t provide a good reflection of the voting electorate”.
He said he believed it was impossible for Trump to win “on so many levels”.
“It’s really the Democrats’ race to lose because they have a solid electoral advantage,” he said.

The electoral college map following Barack Obama’s win in 2012. Photo / Fox News

Cranston said it was vital for the Republican nominee to win both Ohio and Florida due to the high number of Electoral College votes at stake there.
However it was less crucial to his rival, who he predicted would take Virginia, considered a swing state as well.
According to his predictions, Ms Clinton is also expected to take Ohio, but only just, and Florida.
“Clinton has also expanded the map as she looks likely to take North Carolina – a Republican state – this makes it even harder for Trump to win,” he said.
‘VIRTUALLY IMPOSSIBLE’
John Hart, a research fellow at the ANU School of History and a specialist in American politics and elections, said Clinton was already close to securing enough electoral college votes.
He therefore agreed it was virtually impossible for Trump to win.
“I just don’t see how he can get the 270 electoral college votes,” he said.
Dr Hart also said while Utah was regarded as a solid Republican state, he didn’t think Mr Trump would even win there.
He said Trump’s divisive talk hadn’t gone down with Hispanic voters, who were more likely to give their vote to Clinton in Florida, a state with 29 Electoral College votes.
Dr Hart also pointed out Clinton’s big gains were already taking place in states such as California and New York which had a huge number of Electoral College votes, while Mr Trump was doing well in the smaller states.
Professor Simon Jackman, chief executive officer at the US Studies centre at the University of Sydney, said Ohio was crucial to Trump’s chances of winning the presidency.
He said no Republican has ever become president without winning the state.
Prof Jackman said it was also vital Trump didn’t give up the states that McCain and Romney did.
“He absolutely has to improve on that,” he said.
Prof Jackman said Clinton had several pathways to securing the 270 votes, whereas those pathways were more limited for Trump.
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