US Voters Head to Polls after Long, Bitter Campaign

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Americans are going to the polls across the country Tuesday to elect a new president, following a long and bitter election campaign, with Democrat Hillary Clinton and Republican rival Donald Trump making last minute appeals to voters.

Clinton called the election “the test of our time” while Trump, declared “today is our Independence Day.” Each delivered their remarks early Tuesday, as their final busy day of campaigning stretched past midnight.

Clinton edges Trump in first in-person voting

The events — Clinton’s in North Carolina and Trump’s in Michigan — were still going on when results came in from the first in-person voting on Election Day. Clinton got the most votes in the tiny New Hampshire town of Dixville Notch, beating Trump four to two.

Results from New Hampshire, the other 49 U.S. states, and the District of Columbia will not be announced until after polls close in each one. By 8 p.m. Washington time (0100 GMT) polls will be closed in much of the eastern and central parts of the country, a group of states that accounts for more than half of the 538 electoral votes at stake.

Clinton struck a tone of unity in her final address in North Carolina, telling supporters she wants to be president for both those who vote for her and those who do not.

“Years from today, when your kids and grandkids ask what you did in 2016, when everything was on the line, you’ll be able to say you voted for a stronger, fairer, better America,” she said. “An America where we build bridges not walls, and where we prove conclusively that, yes love trumps hate.”

Trump told his Michigan crowd that his win would bring “real change” to the country and allow working class people to “strike back” at what he said were corrupt politicians and special interests that have ruled the country.

“So the first thing we should do, let’s get rid of Hillary, okay? That would be a very good first step,” he said.

Trump also made stops Monday in North Carolina, Florida, Michigan and Pennsylvania, all places that will be key in deciding who takes over the White House in January.

“We will make American wealthy again, we will make America strong again, we will make American safe again, and yes, we will make America great again,” the Republican told his Pennsylvania supporters.

Clinton had her own major rally in the state, where her husband, former President Bill Clinton, President Barack Obama and his wife Michelle Obama, joined her in Philadelphia.

Clinton said she believes in a “hopeful, inclusive, big-hearted America” and that she wants to build on what Obama achieved during his eight years in office.

Obama has campaigned for Clinton, who served as secretary of state during his first term, since she became their party’s nominee. He told the crowd in Philadelphia that Clinton has the respect of other leaders around the world and that she is “strong, steady and tested.”

Polls heading into Election Day Tuesday gave Clinton a 2-3 point lead over Trump.

Tens of millions of Americans took advantage of early voting provisions in their states to cast ballots before Tuesday.

Also Monday, the U.S. Supreme Court rejected a last-minute lawsuit by the Ohio Democratic Party seeking an order to prevent Trump supporters from carrying out actions that could be interpreted as voter intimidation.

Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg said Ohio already has laws in place to prevent such harassment.

Trump has called on his backers to watch polling places where he has said the voting might be rigged. Trump has not presented any evidence to back up his suspicion, but some Democratic officials say Trump was thinking about African-American neighborhoods that lean heavily toward the Democrats.

By Voice of America

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