WEST PALM BEACH, Fla. (Reuters) – President Donald Trump voted in his adopted home of Florida before hitting the campaign trail for rallies in three swing states on Saturday, joining more than 54 million Americans who have cast early ballots at a record-setting pace ahead of the Nov. 3 election.
Trump voted at a library 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.
“I voted for a guy named Trump,” he told reporters after casting his ballot.
Democratic rival Joe Biden and his wife Jill also hit the campaign trail on Saturday, traveling to the battleground of Pennsylvania for two events. Former President Barack Obama will campaign in Florida, making his second appearance on behalf of his former vice president after a stop in Pennsylvania on Wednesday.
With 10 days to go in the campaign, about 54.2 million Americans have already cast early ballots, a pace that could lead to the highest voter turnout in more than a century, according to data from the U.S. 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 the coronavirus, which has killed more than 224,000 Americans.
The United States set a single-day record of more than 84,000 new COVID-19 cases on Friday, according to a Reuters tally, with the spike in infections hitting battlegrounds including Ohio, Michigan, North Carolina, Pennsylvania and Wisconsin.
Many states have expanded in-person early voting and mail-in ballots as a safer way to vote during the 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.
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. [L1N2HE0GG]
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 over Trump in the state, down from seven points the week before.
Biden will hold drive-in 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 popular 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.