Tuesday, November 8, 2016

Clinton, Trump cast their ballots in historic US election

CHAPPAQUA, United States: Hillary Clinton and Donald Trump cast their ballots on Tuesday (Nov 8) as the extraordinary US presidential race draws to a close, with the divided nation choosing whether to elect its first woman president or populist Trump
Democratic presidential nominee Hillary Clinton greets supporters after casting her vote in Chappaqua, New York on Nov 8, 2016. (Photo: AFP/Eduardo Munoz Alvarez)
Chanting “Madam President,” about 150 supporters turned out to cheer on the Democratic nominee who voted with husband Bill Clinton at an elementary school near their home in Chappaqua, New York.
“I’m so happy, I’m just incredibly happy,” said a smiling Clinton as she emerged from the polling station, shaking hands, mingling and chatting with people in the crowd, many of whom recorded the moment on their smartphones.
Clinton told reporters after casting her ballot that it was “the most humbling feeling” to vote for herself as she seeks the nation’s highest office.
“I know how much responsibility goes with this and so many people are counting on the outcome of this election, what it means for our country,” she added. “And I will do the very best I can if I’m fortunate enough to win today.”
Republican presidential nominee Trump cast his ballot under a hail of boos near his home in the Democratic stronghold of New York. Accompanying him were his wife Melania, his daughter Ivanka and her husband Jared Kushner and the couple’s daughter Arabella.
Trump arrived around 11.00am (1600 GMT) with a motorcade of limousines to the polling station at Public School 59 Beekman Hill International in midtown Manhattan where he was greeted with shouts of “New York hates you!” from among the hundreds outside.
Some – including about half a dozen construction workers doing work on the street and wearing hard hats with Trump’s campaign stickers – did applaud him, but they were less vocal.
After casting his vote in the school’s basketball court, the 70-year-old real estate mogul quipped to reporters that it was a “tough decision.”
“We’ll see what happens,” said Trump, dressed in a dark suit with a bright blue tie, when asked whether he would concede if the election were called for Clinton.
A similar response during his last presidential debate with Clinton last month was harshly criticised by Democrats and others for calling into question the peaceful transfer of power, a hallmark of the American electoral system.
“It’s looking very good. Right now it’s looking very good. It will be an interesting day. Thank you,” Trump added at the rowdy polling station. He bought a sweet from a child manning a stand.
Earlier, two unidentified topless women were escorted out of the same polling station, shouting “out of our polls, Trump!” NBC4 News reported.
In Indianapolis, Indiana, Trump’s running mate Mike Pence cast his vote after a bike ride.
“I just would encourage every American who believes like we do that America can be stronger at home and abroad, America can be more prosperous, that we can chart a future on our highest ideals, to take time today to vote and join us in supporting Donald Trump as the next president of the United States,” Pence said.
Clinton has enjoyed a bounce in her poll standing in recent days and leads her rival by 3.3 points nationally in the rolling RealClearPolitics poll average.
The race is expected to come down to a handful of battleground states like Florida, Nevada, North Carolina and Ohio.
Trump insists he is tied or leading in some states like Michigan and Pennsylvania which have voted Democratic in the last several presidential elections.
Later Tuesday, former secretary of state Clinton heads to the Jacob Javits Convention Center in New York where she will ring in the election under a real glass ceiling, a nod to her oft-repeated assertion that electing a woman president would burst through “the highest, hardest glass ceiling.”
The Trump campaign holds its election party at the New York Hilton Midtown, less than 3.2 kilometres away from Clinton’s event.
The two candidates hop-scotched across swing states on Monday, with Clinton and Trump each hosting large midnight rallies where they made their final pitches to America’s voters.
“Today is our independence day,” Trump declared just after midnight on Tuesday in Grand Rapids, Michigan. “Today the American working class is going to strike back, finally.”
Trump kept up a frenetic pace in the election’s closing days, hitting 10 states in the last 72 hours.
Clinton was racing around the country too, making her last-minute case in seven states over the same period including a huge, high-profile rally in Philadelphia with President Barack Obama, her husband Bill Clinton, and rocker Bruce Springsteen.
Source AFP


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