US early voting breaks records amid Facebook’s warnings of post-poll unrest

Trump and his Democratic challenger Biden will campaign in Wisconsin and Minnesota, both battleground states. Biden will also be in Iowa, which he is hoping to flip, while Trump will visit Michigan, which he won in 2016.
US President Donald Trump and US first lady Melania Trump leave after speaking during a Make America Great Again rally in Raymond James Stadium's parking lot October 29 in Tampa, Florida.(AFP)
US President Donald Trump and US first lady Melania Trump leave after speaking during a Make America Great Again rally in Raymond James Stadium's parking lot October 29 in Tampa, Florida.(AFP)
Updated on Oct 30, 2020 11:49 PM IST
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Hindustan Times, Washington | ByYashwant Raj

As early voting in the US broke records, Facebook chief Mark Zuckerberg has warned of possible civil unrest when ballots are counted, calling it “a test” for the social network.

“I’m worried that with our nation so divided and election results potentially taking days or weeks to be finalised, there is a risk of civil unrest across the country,” Zuckerberg said on Thursday during a call on the company’s quarterly earnings. He went on to list steps taken to prevent poll misinformation.

Confusion early this week over political ads at Facebook marred the onset of what was supposed to be a cooling-off period ahead of the US presidential election on November 3.

In the Facebook’s library of paid posts, which is viewable by the public, for President Donald Trump’s campaign, what appeared to be a victory ad is already visible.

Trump and his Democratic challenger Biden will campaign in Wisconsin and Minnesota, both battleground states. Biden will also be in Iowa, which he is hoping to flip, while Trump will visit Michigan, which he won in 2016.

Biden’s running mate Kamala Harris was in Texas, which on Thursday created a record for early-voting turnout, surpassing the total for 2016 with still a day left of early voting. More than 9 million Texans have voted, which is only 35% of registered voters, but more than the state’s total turnout of 8.9mn in 2016. The Texas Tribune expects the turnout to go past 60% of registered voters at the end of election day and early voting, a first since the early 1990s.

Other states have reported high early voting turnouts too. North Carolina, for instance, had reported more than 4mn votes by Thursday evening, which is 53% of all registered voters. Countrywide, more than 84 mn Americans have already cast their ballots, which is 35% of the 240 eligible voters in all.

Democrats and pollsters believe Texas is a close fight now, and there are calls for Biden to invest more there in the final days.

Harris, meanwhile, appears to be the target of more misinformation online than any other white man who has run for vice-president, including Mike Pence, the incumbent, according to a medial intelligence firm, as first reported by AP.

(With inputs from Agencies)

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Sunday, November 28, 2021