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Big day is here: US votes today and world watches

Along with the president, Americans to also vote for House of Representatives, members of Senate, governors and local legislators

us presidential election Updated: Nov 08, 2016 10:57 IST
Yashwant Raj
Yashwant Raj
Hindustan Times
Hillary Clinton,Donald Trump,US president
Supporters of Hillary Clinton, 2016 Democratic presidential nominee are seen during a rally the Independence Mall in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania.(AFP Photo)

The United States will on Tuesday vote to elect the next president, 435 members of the House of Representatives and 34 of the Senate, 12 state governors and lieutenant governors, 1,212 state senators and 2,711 state house legislators. Some election, phew!

Here are three main storylines to watch out for: Will the United States make history by electing its first woman president, joining countries such as India which elected Indira Gandhi as its first woman prime minister in 1966, or go with a real estate billionaire who has both captivated and scared the world?

Will the tiny but prosperous Indian-American community make history by winning more than one seat in US congress? Will it pick up its first Senate seat? There have never been as many desis at this stage of the race -- past primaries -- as this time.

And, finally, can Democrats wrest control of the Senate from Republicans, as is widely expected? And will Republicans hang on to the House of Representatives, which they are expected to but with and what kind of a majority?

Read| US presidential election: Clinton, Trump in frenzied final push for votes

Dixville Notch, in New Hampshire state, will kick off polling just past midnight on November 8 in a decades-long tradition, with a handful of voters -- actually all of them together -- showing up to cast their votes around the same time.

Most other areas will start around 7am and finish around 8pm, in their respective time zones – there are six of them. It will be late Tuesday night (early Wednesday India time) when a winner will be called, ending one of the most unpredictable presidential elections in recent memory.

The two leading nominees, Hillary Clinton and Donald Trump, are locked in a race that has swung wildly in recent days, with the Democratic nominee ahead by three points in the RealClearPolitics average of polls on election eve, on Monday.

The other candidates in the race are Libertarian Party’s Gary Johnson, a two-time governor; Green Party’s Jill Stein, a physician; and Independent Evan McMullin, a former CIA operative fielded by NeverTrump Republicans.

The big battle is between Clinton and Trump, who can barely stand each other — they refused to acknowledge each other in the last two presidential debates, and who have focussed all their energies on portraying each other unfit for office.

There are real policy differences between them too, such as their vision for US as a world power — and Russia, trade, taxes, healthcare, rights to bear arms, supreme court appointments, but they have tended to focus on fitness.

Their fates may already have been decided, by voters who cast their vote early, an estimated 50% of the 218 million Americans eligible to vote. The number of Americans who registered to vote is smaller -- 146 million -- but voters can register any time.

According to Statistic Brain, an independent body of number-crunchers, 69% of Americans have said they will definitely vote in the 2016 presidential election. But 76% of Americans had said they would definitely vote in 2012, only 57.5% did.

Read| Why a Trump presidency would be bad for the world economy

For full coverage on US presidential election, click here

First Published: Nov 08, 2016 09:27 IST