U.S. early voting kicks off in Virginia, Minnesota

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A voter marks his ballot during early voting in Minneapolis, Minnesota

Fairfax, United States:

Voters in Virginia lined up for up to four hours Friday to vote on the state’s first day of early voting, coming out strong in the fiercely contested US presidential race.

The neighboring state of the US capital Washington has joined Minnesota, South Dakota and Wyoming to launch advance voting operations in person ahead of the November 3 election between President Donald Trump and his Democratic rival Joe Biden .

Of the four states, the hotly contested Minnesota was the focal point for the two candidates, who traveled there separately for campaign events as they sought to win voters over on the Midwestern battlefield.

In Virginia, a line of some 300 people, many of whom expressed a sense of urgency about this year’s contest and the president’s rhetoric on mail-in voting, slipped through the doors of the Fairfax County Government Center.

“There have been so many concerns about the efforts to attack the post office and absentee voting, and the efforts to interfere with the voting, we thought we wanted our vote recorded as soon as possible,” AFP Nell Minow, a resident of McLean.

“We’re not taking any risks,” added her husband David Apatoff.

Asked about standing in line for hours, sometimes near other voters, Apatoff was adamant. “It’s a risk worth taking,” he said, stressing that everyone wore masks. “There is nothing more important.”

Some voters worried about the threat of the coronavirus pandemic said they sought to avoid crowds on election day, while others expressed concern about the process given Trump’s repeated and unfounded allegations that the postal voting is somewhat fraudulent.

In Nevada last Saturday, Trump once again criticized a long-standing and secure electoral process of voting by mail, saying states would send out 80 million ballots with “no idea where they’re going.”

“It’s the Democrats, they’re trying to rig this election,” Trump said.

Trump’s scathing comments – made without any evidence to back up his claims – may have had a role in blocking early voting sites by citizens to remove any potential ambiguity.

“It’s better than mailing a ballot where you don’t know where it’s going,” said Tom Laurya, first voter in Arlington. “There is a good reason to vote in person to be sure you do.”

Virginia has voted Democratic in the last three presidential elections, and Biden holds a substantial lead here.

But Trump still fought for the state, tweeting his hostility to the “mad” Democratic governor of Virginia and appealing to the state’s large employee population.

“I play for your weapons and I play for your values,” wrote the president. “For all the federal employees in Virginia, remember, I got you the federal pay raises, not Sleepy Joe Biden.”

(This story was not edited by GalacticGaming staff and is auto-generated from a syndicated feed.)

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