It’s election day in the United States, and Americans are flocking to the polls to have their say in a vote that’s been called a referendum on Donald Trump. All 435 seats in the House of Representatives and 35 in the Senate are up for grabs in the midterms. If the polls are accurate, the Democrats could win the 23 seats they need to seize the majority in the lower house, and stop the President passing the legislation he wants. Times in EST.
Donald Trump has finally tweeted, but it’s an unusually brief statement from the President, who simply shared a link to where to vote.
Since voting isn’t compulsory in the US, a big part of how well a party fares is whether they can persuade their core demographic to head to the polls.
For the Democrats, that means persuading Latino and African American voters to turn out. Mrs Clinton shared a post from Voto Latino offering free Lyft ride shares in selected locations. Lyft, Uber and city bike companies are all offering promotions today.
Google says that “donde votar,” meaning “where to vote” in Spanish, was the top trending search in the US this morning.
Three of the five top trending searches are election related — polling place, voting and election day.
In fact, three of the top five trending search topics in the US right now are for the #midterms:
Polling place: +350%
Election day: +300%
— GoogleTrends (@GoogleTrends) November 6, 2018
Despite the driving rain and fierce winds sweeping the east coast of the US, voters are determined to get out the vote.
US markets cautiously advanced on Tuesday morning, with all eyes on the midterm elections and what they will mean for Washington — and the market, Dow Jones reports.
House Democratic leader Nancy Pelosi said the midterm elections were a referendum on Republican efforts to scrap “Obamacare”.
The California Democrat told a Tuesday morning press conference that the election was “about health care.” Ms Pelosi credited Democratic politicians and activists across the country with helping to fend off attempts to repeal the Affordable Care Act following 2016 election results that left Republicans in control of Congress and the White House.
She said that after 2016 Democrats “didn’t agonise, we organised“, forecasting Democratic victories across the country, but with a small overall margin of victory. She predicted that as few as 25,000 votes nationwide could swing the results.
— With wires
Barack Obama has tweeted: “Today is the day. Today, it’s your turn to raise your voice to change the course of this country for the better. So make it count.”
Yesterday, he shared a poignant thread about voting, saying: “Tomorrow’s elections might be the most important of our lifetimes.
“When we’ve been at such crossroads before, Americans have made the right choice. Not because we sat back and waited for history to happen — but because we marched, and mobilized, and voted. We made history happen.”
Hillary Clinton tweeted: “For the past two years, we’ve watched this administration attack and undermine our democratic institutions and values. Today, we say enough.”
Former Vice President Joe Biden added: “This election is bigger than politics. Today we have a chance to reclaim our American ideals and take this country back.”
For the past two years, we’ve watched this administration attack and undermine our democratic institutions and values. Today, we say enough.
— Hillary Clinton (@HillaryClinton) November 6, 2018
Today is the day. Today, it’s your turn to raise your voice to change the course of this country for the better. So make it count. Get out there and vote. Go to https://t.co/NKXRGNgbZX or call 833-336-VOTE to confirm where you can vote and check voting hours. pic.twitter.com/6xdMbKhwkr
— Barack Obama (@BarackObama) November 6, 2018
Russia’s Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov said he hopes the outcome of the election will ease domestic tensions in the US, lamenting that Russian-American ties have become “hostage to internal political squabbles in America.”
Donald Trump has uncharacteristically not yet tweeted today, but said at a Cleveland rally yesterday: “If the radical Democrats take power they will take a wrecking ball to our economy and our future.
“The Democrat agenda is a socialist nightmare.”
Democrats, whose relevance in the Trump era depended on winning at least one chamber of Congress, were laser-focused on health care as they predicted victories that would break up the GOP’s monopoly in Washington and state governments.
“They’ve had two years to find out what it’s like to have an unhinged person in the White House,” said Washington Gov. Jay Inslee, who leads the Democratic Governors Association.
— With AP
Some of the biggest problems at the polls are in Georgia, a state with a hotly contested gubernatorial election. Voters reported waiting up to three hours to vote.
At a polling place in Snellville, Georgia, more than 100 people took turns sitting in children’s chairs and on the floor as they waited in line for hours. Voter Ontaria Woods said about two dozen people who had come to vote left because of the lines.
At a poll site in Atlanta, voters waited in the rain in long lines that stretched around the building.
Hannah Ackermann said officials at the polling site offered various explanations for the delay, including blaming workers who didn’t show up and overloaded machines.
Celebrities have flocked to the polls, with Drew Barrymore, Olivia Wilde and Nicole Richie all posting photos of themselves after voting, encouraging others to do the same.
Late night TV host Seth Meyers tweeted a photo of himself voting with his family, while Chelsea Clinton shared a guide to states where voters can still register.
Many voted or spoke out earlier, with Leonardo DiCaprio and Brad Pitt filming a video asking Americans to go beyond just voting. “This election might be the most consequential of our lifetim” tweeted DiCaprio.
Blake Lively dubbed husband Ryan Reynolds “Sexiest Voter Alive”, while Taylor Swift, who was previously criticised for her silence on politics, begged her fans: “Please don’t sit this one out.”
Jake Gyllenhaal on Sunday shared a photo of himself in a T-shirt emblazoned with the name Beto O’Rouke, who is running against Ted Cruz in Texas. Endorsing a number of Democrats, he wrote: “Vote for change, for compassion, for civility, for wisdom.
“Vote because you can, because we fight for rights by exercising them.”
Actress America Ferrera celebrated “phenomenal Latinas” and Veep star Julia Louis-Dreyfus posted an emotional video, with the caption: “For years Donald Trump has been spreading fear, encouraging racism and inciting violence. On Nov.6 the hatred ends.”
Election Day is a few hours away!! I want you to post a picture of yourself after you’ve voted, tagging me and using #VoteWithUs. I’ll be reposting as many of you as I can in my IG story until the polls close! WE got this!!! 💥💥💥💜💜💜 #Vote pic.twitter.com/mXGiJkrLYX
— Alicia Keys (@aliciakeys) November 6, 2018
It’s packed at the polls, with lines stretching down the streets and voters saying the number of people out at the polls is twice what they’ve seen before, even at presidential elections.
Sherri Haddock, a 60-year-old fashion stylist at the NYU polling place near Union Square in Manhattan, told news.com.au she waited an hour to vote. “It’s very busy,” she said. “We need change.
“I’m trying to be positive but the last election I was very positive it would go my way and I was quite surprised.”
At Public School 316 in Crown Heights, Brooklyn, people were reportedly leaving because there was a two-hour wait, with some machines broken.
The crowds could get even worse after work, with polls closing at 9pm.
Election day is finally here and the excitement and tension in the United States is palpable. It’s been the most expensive midterm election campaign in history, and the world is waiting to see how Americans are feeling about their President.
The Democrats are forecast to win the 23 seats they need for the majority in the House of Representatives, allowing them to vote down Donald Trump’s policies. But the polls are tight, so anything could happen. The Republicans are expected to retain control of the Senate, since they are only defending nine seats, while the Democrats have 26 up for re-election. Again, with emotions at fever pitch across the US, nothing can be taken for granted. Expect some surprises.
Originally published as ’Most important vote of our lives’