Americans head to the polls today to decide whether incumbent Donald Trump or challenger Joe Biden will be elected president.

Biden, the Democratic candidate and a career politician for 47 years, has had a strong and consistent lead in national polls. However, Republican Trump is close in enough swing states to possibly piece together the 270 state-by-state Electoral College votes needed to hold on to the presidency for another four years.

Nearly 100 million people have already cast their ballots in early voting, putting the country on course for its highest turnout in a century.

However, it may be days before the final result is known, especially if legal challenges focusing on postal ballots are accepted in the event of a tight race. Republicans have already voiced their concerns over certain states such as Pennsylvania accepting postal ballots without postmarks meaning there is no way of knowing votes were cast in time and if they are legal.

There is also fear about possible unrest. Several cities have boarded up buildings in anticipation of possible protests, including around the White House and in New York City.

Polls opened in some Eastern states at 6 a.m. EST (1100 GMT). The most closely watched results will start to come in after 7 p.m. EST (2400 GMT) when polls close in states such as Georgia, though definitive national results could take days if the contest is tight.

According to officials there is a strict embargo on any details sourced from the initial findings of exit poll data until 5pm EST (2200 GMT).

Photo credit: Chloe James


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