Surge of early voting hits record levels ahead of US election

Eight days ahead of Americans going to the polls, early voting turnout has surpassed that of the 2016 election.

Almost 60 million people have already cast their ballots, with the pace of early voting suggesting this election could lead to the highest voter turnout in more than a century.

Most votes have been cast in Texas, California and Florida so far, according to the US Elections Project, with the majority thought to be backing Joe Biden.

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Biden: We’ve got to come together

It’s adding pressure on Donald Trump, as he continued to chase a comeback with visits on Sunday to the battleground states of New Hampshire and Maine.

While Mr Biden, who has been much less visible on the campaign trail, keeps a lower profile speaking at a virtual concert. The former vice president has more to lose at this stage but his lead is much narrower in many of the battleground states that will decide this election.

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‘I voted for a guy named Trump’

Speaking at his latest rally in New Hampshire on Sunday, President Trump once again told supporters “we’re rounding the turn” and the pandemic will soon end.

But it’s not even over in his own White House.

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Infection has now spread to the vice president’s team with at least five members testing positive for COVID-19. Mike Pence and his wife have both tested negative, and he does not plan to alter his campaign schedule.

Meanwhile, it’s understood Mr Trump plans to hold up to five rallies a day in the final stretch, returning to Pennsylvania again on Monday. He won the key swing state by fewer than 45,000 votes in 2016 and even a marginal change there could flip it back to the Democrats.

This comes as positive coronavirus cases spike in the battlegrounds states of Ohio, Michigan, North Carolina, Pennsylvania and Wisconsin.

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The US recorded more than 84,000 positive cases on Friday – its highest count so far in a 24-hour period, with hospitalisations increasing in 38 states in the last week.

The country looks set to be entering its toughest months for coronavirus yet the pandemic continues to converge with politics.

Mark Gibson

Graduates in Northwestern University, Evanston, Illinois 1990. Move to Los Angeles California in 2004. Specialized in Internet journalism.

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