Watch live: Election Day 2020: Polls open to voters in Eastern, Central, Mountain, Pacific time zones
Nov. 3 (UPI) — Polling places opened up and down the East Coast on Tuesday morning to formally begin Election Day, for what many Americans view as one of the most important elections in modern history.
It has been 1,446 days since Americans elected Donald Trump to office — and Tuesday is the culmination of a campaign that began in earnest more than three years ago, when Rep. John Delaney became the first Democratic candidate to announce a run for the White House in mid-2017.
Democrats are looking to keep control of the House, retake a majority in the Senate for the first time since 2015 and occupy the White House. At the same time, Republicans are aiming to pick up gains in the House, hold their Senate majority and keep Trump in the Executive.
Democrats need to win just four seats for a Senate majority if Trump is re-elected, and only three if Biden wins the presidency.
According to the Election Project, 100 million Americans have voted early this year, twice the figure from four years ago.
Polls opened at different times in different states:
Eastern Time Zone
Polls opened in Virginia, New York, New Jersey, Maine, Kentucky, Connecticut, Indiana and New Hampshire at 6 a.m.
New York Mayor Bill de Blasio said Monday the city does not anticipate rioting on Tuesday night but will “be ready for anything.”
“I want to emphasize at this moment, we don’t see a specific challenge, we are ready for all sorts of challenges,” he said at a briefing. “A lot of preparations have been happening over the last few weeks.”
De Blasio said he’s had discussions with the city’s police commissioner but that there were no specific threats.
Dry, cool conditions with sunshine were forecast for Election Day on the East Coast. Long lines were seen as soon as polls opened in many locations, like New York City and the Washington, D.C., area.
Polls opened at 6:30 a.m. in North Carolina, Ohio and West Virginia.
Civil rights advocates in North Carolina filed suit Monday against law enforcement officials in Graham, N.C., after activists in the city were pepper-sprayed while marching to the polls over the weekend.
Police said they resorted to pepper spray after repeatedly warning the marchers that they were violating the city’s protest permit by blocking a road.
The North Carolina ACLU and the Lawyers Committee said police “violently” dispersed a peaceful crowd of demonstrators and the actions violated the Ku Klux Klan Act and Voting Rights Act.
Polls opened at 7 a.m. in Delaware, the District of Columbia, Florida, Georgia, Maryland, Massachusetts, Michigan, Pennsylvania, Rhode Island and South Carolina.
President Donald Trump and Democratic nominee Joe Biden focused their attention on the key swing states of Pennsylvania, Florida and Michigan during Monday’s final campaign push.
Biden and running mate Kamla Harris barnstormed through Pennsylvania, placing last-minute focus on a state that’s expected to factor heavily into the election outcome, while Trump wrapped up his campaign in Grand Rapids, Mich., the same place where he concluded his upset 2016 run.
Central Time Zone
Polls opened at 6 a.m. in Illinois, Kentucky, Louisiana and Missouri.
In Chicago, Marisel Hernandez, chairwoman of the city’s board of election commissioners, said she’s ready for a massive turnout.
“We’ve been planning for a larger turnout because presidential elections historically have a larger turnout,” Hernandez told the Chicago Tribune at the United Center, the home of the NBA’s Chicago Bulls that for the first time is being used a polling place.
“We’ve been planning just to give voters a good experience, and a transparent experience,” she said.
Polls opened at 7 a.m. in Alabama, Iowa, Kansas, Minnesota, Mississippi, Oklahoma, South Dakota, Texas and Wisconsin.
Long lines were reported in metro areas like Chicago, Milwaukee, Houston and Minneapolis.
in Texas, a federal judge on Monday threw out a last-minute lawsuit by Republican Party candidates seeking to disqualify some 127,000 ballots cast at drive-thru polling stations, stating the challenge lacked legal standing.
U.S. District Judge Andrew Hanen dismissed the case filed last week by three Republican candidates running for office and a GOP activist who argued curbside voting in Harris County was unconstitutional.
Polls in Texas will close at 7 p.m. and those in Wisconsin an hour later. Both states have been key targets for Biden’s campaign, which is particularly hoping to become the first Democratic candidate to carry Texas since Lyndon Johnson in 1964.
Polls in Nebraska opened at 8 a.m. and will close at 8 p.m.
Mountain Time Zone
Polls in Arizona opened at 6 a.m. and will close at 7 p.m. Voting in Colorado, Montana, New Mexico, Utah and Wyoming opened at 7 a.m.
Pacific Time Zone
Polls in California, Nevada and Oregon opened at 7 a.m. In Washington state, the opening times varied by county.
In California, law enforcement officials in Sacramento said Monday they’re on standby in case Election Day demonstrations that turn violent.
Metal barricades were placed around the California State Capitol and the state’s Highway Patrol denied permits to demonstrate around the building.
In Los Angeles, storefronts along the city’s upscale Rodeo Drive shopping district were boarded up in preparation for possible violence.
Polls close in California at 8 p.m.
Alaska and Hawaii
Polls in Alaska open at 7 a.m. and close at 8 p.m., while Hawaiians will be allowed to vote from 7 a.m. to 7 p.m.