Trump votes in Florida before rallies in three states

Updated 25 Oct 2020

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US President Donald Trump waves after voting in the 2020 presidential election at the Palm Beach County Library in West Palm Beach on Oct 24. — Reuters
US President Donald Trump waves after voting in the 2020 presidential election at the Palm Beach County Library in West Palm Beach on Oct 24. — Reuters

WEST BEACH: President Donald Trump voted in his adopted home of Florida before hitting the campaign trail for rallies in three swing states on Saturday, joining more than 54 million Americans who have cast early ballots at a record-setting pace ahead of the Nov 3 election.

Trump voted at a library in West Palm Beach, near his Mar-a-Lago estate, after switching his permanent residence and voter registration last year from New York to Florida, a must-win battleground for his re-election bid.

“I voted for a guy named Trump,” he told reporters after casting his ballot.

Democratic rival Joe Biden and his wife Jill also hit the campaign trail on Saturday, traveling to the battleground of Pennsylvania for two events. Former President Barack Obama will campaign in Florida, making his second appearance on behalf of his former vice president after a stop in Pennsylvania on Wednesday.

With 10 days to go in the campaign, about 54.2 million Americans have already cast early ballots, a pace that could lead to the highest voter turnout in more than a century, according to data from the US Elections Project.

The rush to vote is a sign of the intense interest in the contest between Trump and Biden, as well as concerns about avoiding crowded polling places on Election Day and reducing the risk of exposure to the coronavirus. Many states have expanded in-person early voting and mail-in ballots as a safer way to vote during the pandemic.

Trump, who has regularly condemned mail-in voting without evidence as prone to fraud, even though experts say it is as safe as any other method, voted by mail in two elections since he switched his address to Florida, a presidential primary in March and a state election in August.

On the campaign trail on Friday, Biden and Trump renewed their battle over Trump’s handling of the Covid-19 pandemic. Biden said Trump had given up on containing the virus, while Trump accused Biden of overstating the health crisis to scare Americans into voting for him.

Opinion polls show Biden leading Trump nationally, but the race is much closer in the crucial battleground states that will decide the election. Trump will head to three of those after voting, holding rallies in North Carolina, Ohio and Wisconsin.

Published in Dawn, October 25th, 2020