Early voting began on Monday (October 19) in Florida, a battleground state that could decide the Nov. 3 presidential election, while a record 28 million Americans already have cast ballots nationwide with barely two weeks remaining in the U.S. campaign.
Democratic vice presidential nominee Kamala Harris kicked off the day in Orlando with a drive-in rally where she urged Floridians to vote early.
“What you will do by early voting is you will be the first to put our country back on the right track,” Harris told the crowd who honked their car horns in response. Socially distanced crowds and events where participants can remain in their vehicles, are a nod to the impact coronavirus has had on campaign events.
It was one of several events Harris was scheduled to attend in Florida. Her running mate, Joe Biden, who campaigned on Sunday (October 18) in North Carolina, was expected spend the day at his home base in Delaware preparing for Thursday’s presidential debate.
Harris took aim at President Donald Trump, calling his handling of the coronavirus pandemic “the greatest failure of any presidential administration in the history of America.”
Florida is widely seen as a must-win for Trump, whose path to victory becomes razor-thin if he loses the southern state. The state’s prize of 29 electoral votes is tied with New York for third most, behind only California and Texas, in the race for the 270 Electoral College votes that determine the presidential winner under the U.S. system.
An Oct. 7-14 Reuters/Ipsos survey of the state showed Biden with 49% of the support and Trump 47%, within the survey’s credibility interval of 4 percentage points.
Both campaigns have poured advertising money into Florida, although Biden, who has significantly outraised Trump since the summer while setting consecutive monthly records for a U.S. candidate, has outspent his Republican rival.
(Production: Deborah Gembara)