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Fired-up New Yorkers stand in line for hours to cast early votes

Fired-up New Yorkers stand in line for hours to cast early votes

Voters line up to cast ballots outside the Barclays Center which is used as a polling station, on the first day of early voting in Brooklyn, New York, U.S. October 24, 2020. REUTERS/Jeenah Moon

NEW YORK: New Yorkers jammed polling places and stood in line for hours to cast ballots on the state's first day of early voting on Saturday (Oct 24), rushing to record their choices 10 days ahead of the Nov 3 presidential election.

Long lines formed before polls opened across New York City and Long Island, videos on social media showed, as New Yorkers joined a flood of more than 56 million Americans across the country who have cast early ballots at a record-setting pace.

Saturday was the first time that voters in New York, a reliably Democratic state where Democrat Joe Biden has a wide lead in polls over Republican President Donald Trump, have been allowed to vote early in a presidential election.

A majority of New York voters haven't supported a Republican candidate for president since Ronald Reagan's re-election in 1984. Early in-person voting will continue in the state until Nov 1.

READ: Trump votes in Florida a day after worst US COVID-19 spike

Voters line up to cast ballots outside Madison Square Garden which is used as a polling station in Manhattan, New York, on Oct 24, 2020. (Photo: Reuters/Jeenah Moon)

Vanessa Reilly, 38, a computer programmer, cast an early vote for Biden at the Barclays Center arena in Brooklyn. She said she wanted to be sure her vote was counted.

"I just want to avoid all the chaos on Election Day itself," Reilly said, adding that a lot of people were showing up to register their opposition to Trump.

"Given this year and given the current president we need to send a clear message that his policies don’t work, that they’re offensive, that they don’t represent American values," she said.

About 56.5 million Americans already have cast early ballots across the country either in person or by mail, a pace that could lead to the highest voter turnout rate in more than a century, according to data from the US Elections Project.

READ: As COVID-19 hits swing states, Biden and Trump show sharp contrast

Voters cast their ballots at the Barclays Center which is used as a polling station in Brooklyn, New York, on Oct 24, 2020. (Photo: Reuters/Jeenah Moon)

The rush to vote is a sign of intense interest in the contest between Trump and Biden, as well as concerns about avoiding crowded polling places on Election Day and reducing the risk of exposure to the coronavirus pandemic, which has killed more than 224,000 Americans.

The high level of early voting has led Michael McDonald, the University of Florida professor who administers the US Elections Project, to predict a record turnout of about 150 million, representing 65 per cent of eligible voters, the highest participation rate since 1908.


Source: Reuters/zl

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