US election 2020: All you need to know

US election 2020: All you need to know

NEW DELHI: After months of high-voltage campaigning in the US presidential elections, the much-awaited election day is here. Americans will deliver their final verdict today, giving either incumbent President Donald Trump another four years or bestowing reins to Democratic opponent and former Vice President Joe Biden.
But American voters are not only electing the President. Elections are also taking place for all 435 US House seats, 33 US Senate seats and 11 governorships members.
Here is all you need to know about the US elections:
Trump or Biden: Americans write final chapter of presidential battle
Americans headed to the polls on Tuesday to choose either incumbent Donald Trump or challenger Joe Biden as their next President, after a tumultuous four years under the businessman-turned-politician that have left the country as deeply divided as at any time in recent history.
Biden, the Democratic former vice president and a career politician, has had a strong and consistent lead in national polls.
But the Republican Trump is close in enough swing states to possibly piece together the 270 state-by-state Electoral College votes needed to hold on to the presidency, which he won in a surprise 2016 election result despite losing the popular vote to Democrat Hillary Clinton by nearly 3 million ballots.
Each state in the US will begin to certify the results of ballots from November 10, which can be delayed. Each state, except California, has to complete the process of certification by December 8.
Voting amid pandemic
Amid a resurgent Covid-19 pandemic, nearly 100 million people have already cast their ballots in early voting, putting the country on course for its highest turnout in a century. Some 239 million people are eligible to vote this year.
Polls opened in some Eastern states at 6 am EST (1100 GMT). The most closely watched results will start to trickle in after 7 pm EST (2400 GMT) when polls close in states such as Georgia, though definitive national results could take days if the contest is tight.
There is an estimated four million Indian-American population of which about 2.5 million are potential voters in the November 2020 presidential elections. Over 1.3 million Indian-Americans are voters in key battleground states, including Texas, Michigan, Florida and Pennsylvania.
The record-shattering total is already more than 70% of the total 2016 vote, according to the US Elections Project at the University of Florida. Experts predict the vote could reach 160 million, far exceeding the 138 million ballots cast four years ago.
Control of Congress at stake
Along with the presidential election, the House of Representatives and one-third of the Senate will also be elected. Both the House (lower House) and Senate (upper House) comprise the two chambers of Congress.
Voters will decide whether Republicans or Democrats control the US Senate in a Tuesday election battle spanning 14 competitive races, though the final outcome may not be clear for some time. Republicans currently hold a majority of 53 seats in the 100-seat Senate. Meanwhile, Democrats are expected to retain their control of the House of Representatives.
Both parties see paths to victory, and the outcome might not be known on election night.
From New England to the Deep South, the Midwest to the Mountain West, Republican senators are defending seats in states once considered long shots for Democrats.
Trump and Biden swooped in on key states important to the Senate as they propelled their own campaigns in a final stretch.
Securing the Senate majority will be vital for the winner of the presidency. Senators confirm administration nominees, including the Cabinet, and can propel or stall the White House agenda. With Republicans now controlling the chamber, 53-47, three or four seats will determine party control, depending on who wins the presidency because the Vice President can break a tie.
New Congress could have more Indian-Americans
The US elections could very well see the expansion of the so called “Samosa Caucus”, a termed coined by Congressman Raja Krishnamoorthi for informal grouping of Indian-American lawmakers.
The “Samosa caucus” comprises of five Indian-American lawmakers, including four members of the House of Representatives and Senator and Democratic vice presidential nominee Kamala Harris.
In the House of Representatives, senior most Dr Ami Bera, Congressmen Ro Khanna and Krishnamoorthi along with Pramila Jayapal, who is the first and the only Indian American women in the House, are projected to be re-elected on November 3.
11 states to choose their governor
In 11 states, voters will also pick their next governor. It’s more common to hold governors’ races during midterm elections, so the few gubernatorial contests held in presidential election years sometimes get overlooked while the spotlight is on for the federal office. But these elections will affect states’ policies and other important political matters.
States choosing their governors are: Delaware, Indiana, Montana, Missouri, North Carolina, North Dakota, New Hampshire, Utah, Vermont, Washington and West Virginia.
Swing states that could decide the US presidential election
The US presidential election will be decided by about a dozen states that could swing to either President Donald Trump, a Republican, or Democratic challenger Joe Biden.
These states will play a critical role in delivering the 270 Electoral College votes needed to win the White House. Due to a surge in mail voting amid the coronavirus pandemic – as well as the states’ varying rules for when ballots can be counted – the results may not be known on Tuesday’s Election Day.
The swing states are: Texas (38 Electoral votes), Florida (29 Electoral votes), Pennsylvania (20 Electoral votes), Ohio (18 Electoral votes), Michigan (16 Electoral votes), Georgia (16 Electoral votes), North Carolina (15 Electoral votes), Arizona (11 Electoral votes), Wisconsin (10 Electoral votes), Minnesota (10 Electoral votes), Nevada (6 Electoral votes), Iowa (6 Electoral votes) and New Hampshire (4 Electoral votes).
Legal challenges
Trump says he’s planning an aggressive legal strategy to try to prevent Pennsylvania from counting mailed ballots that are received in the three days after Tuesday’s election.
The deadline for receiving and counting absentee ballots in the battleground state is Friday, an extension ordered by Pennsylvania’s top court. But it’s unclear what other legal issues may arise on Election Day.
Like Pennsylvania, North Carolina also has seen a court fight between Democrats who support extending the deadline for absentee ballots and Republicans who oppose it. The six-day extension was approved by a state court.
Since the 2000 presidential election, which was ultimately decided by the Supreme Court, both parties have enlisted legal teams to prepare for the possibility that voting wouldn’t settle the contest.
When will the race be called?
Absentee voting amid coronavirus has changed the vote-counting timeline, and there aren’t uniform practices for counting across the states. That makes it difficult to predict when certain key battlegrounds might be called.
For example, Pennsylvania and Michigan – battlegrounds Trump won by less than 1 percentage point in 2016 – aren’t expected to have complete totals for days. Florida and North Carolina, meanwhile, began processing early ballots ahead of time, with officials there forecasting earlier unofficial returns. But those two states also could have razor-thin margins.
Early returns, meanwhile, could show divergent results. Biden’s expected to lead comfortably among early voters, who tend to skew toward Democrats. Trump is likely to counter with a lead among Election Day voters. Depending on which counties report which batch of votes first, perennially close states could tempt eager partisans to reach conclusions that aren’t necessarily accurate.
Election result delay possible?
We may not know who won the presidential election on Tuesday night. And if so, it does not necessarily mean anything is broken, fraudulent, corrupted or wrong.
The biggest factor that may slow things down this year is clear: Millions of Americans decided to vote by mail rather than risk contracting coronavirus at a polling place. And in general, those mail ballots take longer to count.
Each state in the US will begin to certify the results of ballots from November 10, which can be delayed. Each state, except California, has to complete the process of certification by December 8.
Following the certification of ballots, electors will formally cast their votes on December 14 and sent them to the capital, Washington.
To win the presidency, either Trump or Biden must acquire over 50 per cent of the electoral college vote, which are 538 in total. Therefore, each candidate must get a minimum of 270 electoral votes to clinch the presidency.
The winner of the presidential race will assume office on January 20, 2021.
Law enforcement gears up in US for possible unrest post election day
Federal law agencies in the US are preparing for possible unrest over the outcome of the presidential elections.
According to The Hill, The National Security Integration Center (NSIC), a key national security and counterterrorism component within Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) warned in an internal email late last week about protests inside the Beltway.
“From November 4 – 7, Civil Unrest is planned throughout Downtown Washington DC. LE Intelligence Agencies have monitored several messages on protesters’ social media sites stating, ‘If you want to throw down come to Washington DC on November 4th,'” reads one of the bullets in the email, as obtained by The Hill.
It further reported that the authorities are preparing for the worst, a non-scalable fence has been put around the White House ahead of Election day to create “a buffer” in case protests turn violent. In the DC area and across the country, cities are boarding up their windows as a protection.
(With inputs from agencies)

Source From : Times Of India

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