WASHINGTON: President Donald Trump will vote in his adopted home of Florida before holding campaign rallies in three swing states on Saturday, joining more than 53 million Americans who have cast early ballots at a record-setting pace ahead of the Nov. 3 election.
Trump will vote in person in West Palm Beach, near his Mar-a-Lago estate, after switching his permanent residence and voter registration last year from New York to Florida, a must-win battleground for his re-election bid.
Democratic rival Joe Biden and his wife Jill also will hit the campaign trail, traveling to the vital battleground of Pennsylvania for two events on Saturday. Former President Barack Obama will campaign in Florida, making his second campaign-trail appearance on behalf of his former vice president after a stop in Pennsylvania on Wednesday.
With 10 days to go in the campaign, about 53.5 million Americans already have cast early ballots, a pace that could lead to the highest voter turnout in more than a century, according to data from the US Elections Project.
The rush to vote is a sign of the intense interest in the contest between Trump and Biden, as well as concerns about avoiding crowded polling places on Election Day and reducing the risk of exposure to Covid-19, which has killed more than 224,000 people across the United States.
Many states have expanded in-person early voting and mail-in ballots ahead of Election Day, as a safer way to vote during the coronavirus pandemic.
Trump, who has regularly condemned mail-in voting without evidence as prone to fraud, even though experts say it is as safe as any other method, voted by mail in two elections since he switched his address to Florida, a presidential primary in March and a state election in August.
“I’m here to vote!” he told supporters at a rally in Pensacola on Friday night, one of two he held in the state.
On the campaign trail on Friday, Biden and Trump renewed their battle over Trump’s handling of the Covid-19 pandemic. Biden said Trump had given up on containing the virus, while Trump accused Biden of overstating the health crisis to scare Americans into voting for him.
Opinion polls show Biden leading Trump nationally, but the race is much closer in the crucial battleground states that will decide the election. Trump will head to three of those after voting, holding rallies in North Carolina, Ohio and Wisconsin.
Biden will turn his attention to Pennsylvania, where polls show him narrowly leading Trump in a state crucial to both of their candidacies. A Reuters/Ipsos poll released earlier this week showed Biden with a four percentage point advantage on Trump in the state, down from seven points the week before.
Biden will hold drive-in campaign rallies in Bucks County north of Philadelphia and Luzerne County near his birthplace of Scranton, where he will be joined by rocker Jon Bon Jovi. Trump handily won Luzerne County in 2016 over Democrat Hillary Clinton and barely lost to Clinton in Bucks County.
Biden will get some help again on Saturday from Obama, who will hold a drive-in rally in Miami. Obama, still a popular figure in the party nearly four years after leaving office, delivered a blistering attack on Trump’s leadership when he made his 2020 campaign-trail debut in Pennsylvania on Wednesday.