Over 20 million cast early votes in US midterms polls

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…. Control of Congress at stake as Americans vote in mid-term election***

More than 20 million people across the US have already cast their ballots for the crucial midterm elections slated to be held on Tuesday.

According to Catalist, a data company that works to compile counts of ballots cast before Election Day, the votes were coming in from seven critical states — Arizona, Florida, Nevada, Georgia, Texas, Tennesse, Montana, CNN reported on Monday.

In Arizona, Representatives Kyrsten Sinema (Democrat) and Martha McSally (Republican) were vying to become the first female senator to represent the Grand Canyon state.

According to an NBC/Marist poll released last week, Sinema topped McSally by 6 points.

So far, 34 per cent of votes have been cast by Democrats and 43 per cent by Republicans, while independent voters accounted for 18 per cent, with another 8 per cent recorded as “unknown”.

In Florida, the Senate race is between Democratic incumbent Senator Bill Nelson and Governor Rick Scott, CNN reported.

Over 3 million votes have been cast ahead of Tuesday`s midterms so far, the Catalist data showed, surpassing what was reported at this point in the last polls held in 2014.

Examining the early votes, 40 per cent were cast by Democrats and 42 per cent by Republicans.

CNN`s most recent polling showed Nelson was just a two-point lead over Scott.

Republican Senator Dean Heller and Democrat Jacky Rosen are in the fray in Nevada. The state is also home to two House races that were leaning toward Democrats.

CNN polls have Heller and Rosen nearly even, with the latter led by three points.

Nearly 290,000 votes have been cast so far in the Silver State, the data showed, with roughly 40 per cent cast by Democrats and 38 per cent by Republicans.

About 1.3 million ballots have been cast in Georgia so far, and all eyes were on the race for Governor between Democrat Stacey Abrams and Republican Brian Kemp.

In Texas, over 2 million ballots were cast so far in the race between Republican Senator Ted Cruz and Democrat Beto O`Rourke. CNN`s latest polling had Cruz ahead by an estimated seven points.

The state is also home to five competitive House races out of its total of 36, and a governor`s race where Democrat Lupe Valdez is running to be the first out LGBTQ and Latina Governor.

In Tennessee, Democrat Governor Phil Bredesen is up against Republican Marsha Blackburn. CNN poll has Blackburn leading Bredesen 49 per cent to 45 per cent, while over 1 million early votes cast so far.

In Montana, at least 220,000 votes have been cast early for the race between Democratic Senator Jon Tester and Republican Matt Rosendale.

In the meantime, after a divisive campaign marked by fierce clashes over race, immigration and other cultural issues, Americans began voting   on Tuesday.

The election is to determine the balance of power in the U.S. Congress and shape the future of Donald Trump’s presidency.

The first national election since Trump captured the White House in a stunning 2016 upset is generally seen as a referendum on the Republican president and his policies.

“Everything we have achieved is at stake tomorrow,” Trump told supporters on Monday night in Fort Wayne, Indiana, at one of his three rallies to stoke turnout on the last day before the election.

All 435 seats in the U.S. House of Representatives, 35 U.S. Senate seats and 36 governorships are up for grabs on Tuesday in elections focused on dozens of competitive races from coast to coast that opinion polls show could go either way.

Democrats are bidding to pick up the minimum of 23 House seats they need for a majority, which would enable them to stymie Trump’s legislative agenda.

Republicans are expected to retain their slight majority in the U.S. Senate, currently at two seats, which would let them retain the power to approve U.S. Supreme Court and other judicial nominations on straight party-line votes.

But at least 64 House races remain competitive, according to a Reuters analysis of the three top nonpartisan forecasters, and Senate control was expected to come down to a half dozen close contests in Arizona, Nevada, Missouri, North Dakota, Indiana and Florida.

Democrats also threaten to recapture governor’s offices in several battleground states such as Michigan, Wisconsin, Ohio and Pennsylvania, a potential help for the party in those states in the 2020 presidential race.

During a whirlwind six-day blitz to wrap up the campaign, Trump repeatedly raised fears about immigrants, issuing harsh warnings about a caravan of Central American migrants moving through Mexico toward the U.S. border.

Additional report from Zee