WASHINGTON: Election Day voting kicked off in the United States early Tuesday morning with first ballots cast in Dixville Notch and Millsfield, two small towns in the northeastern state of New Hampshire, reported Xinhua news agency.
Voters are choosing their preferred candidates for US president and New Hampshire governor, as well as federal and state legislative seats in the midnight voting, a tradition that began in Dixville Notch in 1960.
In the makeshift “Ballot Room” at Dixville Notch’s Balsams Resort, Les Otten, one of the only five local registered voters, cast the first ballot.
Otten, identifying himself as “a lifelong Republican,” said that he is voting this time for Democratic presidential nominee and former US Vice President Joe Biden, who’s challenging sitting President Donald Trump.
“I don’t agree with him on a lot of issues,” Otten said of Biden in a video posted on Twitter before the voting. “But I believe it’s time to find what unites us as opposed to what divides us.”
The 2020 US elections, including presidential and congressional races, came amid a surging COVID-19 pandemic in the country, with over 9.2 million cases and more than 230,000 deaths reported as of Monday evening, both the highest in the world.
The raging pandemic has partially contributed to an unprecedented early voting turnout. More than 97 million Americans have cast ballots ahead of Election Day by ways of early voting or mail-in ballots, according to the US Elections Project website.
Moreover, many voters are worried by the reality of an increasingly divided nation suffering from bitter partisan fights, violent racial conflicts, and worsening social injustice.