Trump versus Biden – now it’s getting serious: First polling stations open in the USA for the presidential election. In Ohio, an important swing state, there are massive voters. When talking to Trump voters, it becomes clear: The corona disease does not bother them. It only strengthens them.
The grounds around the Hamilton County Electoral Commission building are teeming with people. Cars are trying to drive into the parking lot from all directions. Sheriffs direct the traffic so that pedestrians are not run over.
It is the first day in Ohio state citizens can vote in person at the polling station for the US presidential election. And people take advantage of the offer – not only at this polling station on the outskirts of the city of Cincinnati.
US election campaign: early voting is booming
National statistics show that early voting is extremely popular this year. There are still almost four weeks to election day on November 3rd, but more than four million Americans in 31 states have already cast their votes by postal vote or in person.
According to the United States Election Project, which collects data on early voting, it was just 75,000 at a similar point four years ago. That corresponds to almost two percent of the current figures.
Ohio is one of the key states in the US presidential election, a so-called swing state. Sometimes the majority here votes republican, sometimes democratically. Winning swing states is the only way to win the election. Ohio has proven to be a good prognostic state for the outcome of the election.
Since 1944, the people here have only voted for the defeated candidate once, namely when they voted for Richard Nixon by a majority in 1960, but John F. Kennedy won the election.
According to Marjorie Moseley, who is standing with a group of Democratic volunteers across the street from the polling station, many people looked forward to voting on the day that Ohio polls open. “Some camped out here last night, others came at 6:30 a.m.,” she says. The polling stations opened at 8 a.m.
Many decisions in the US election were made for a long time
Hamilton County’s enthusiasm is reflected across the country. “Never before have so many people voted so far in advance,” said Michael McDonald, who heads the United States Election Project, to the Reuters news agency. “People vote when they have made up their minds, and we know that a lot of people voted long ago.”
That appears to be true for voters who came to the Hamilton County Electoral Commission this morning. Many say the current developments regarding the coronavirus infection of US President Donald Trump did not influence their decision.
“I would never have voted for Trump,” says Bonnie, an older woman on the way to the polling station. “I hope some people in Ohio will change their minds when they see him reap what he sows. But his die-hard followers don’t care what he does.”
Trump’s COVID-19 illness leaves his voters cold
Two Republican volunteers stand next to the Democratic group. However, they have “no comment” to make and do not want to talk about Trump’s COVID-19 illness. A Republican voter, John, says Trump’s diagnosis hasn’t weakened his support for the president – on the contrary. He “took all the necessary precautions and got it anyway,” says John.
“But the good thing is, with everything that’s happening right now in the area of therapy, he’s living proof that it can be survived and that it’s not a death sentence as the Democrats want you to believe.”
The fact that Trump contracted COVID-19 after almost never wearing a mask and that he is downplaying the pandemic that has killed more than 210,000 people in the U.S. to date doesn’t worry his grassroots.
Many Democratic voters, on the other hand, are furious at the president’s recklessness and behavior after he fell ill – like walking in front of his supporters while he was still in the hospital. “If I had the virus and drove around in the car with my wife, waving to people, I’d probably go to jail,” says Greg Brown. “He sets a bad example for his followers.”
Democrat Angela: Angry about Trump’s treatment in military hospital
Brown says he voted for Democratic presidential candidate Joe Biden because he wants someone in the White House who is “smart” and can bring Americans together.
Angela is pissed off at the marked differences between the treatment of Trump at Walter Reed Military Hospital and that of other people with COVID-19. “He’s pretending it’s not real, like it’s okay because he’s getting all these special and amazing treatments,” she says. “The working people, the people who elected him to the post get nothing.”
Suspicion among Republicans because of fewer infections among Democrats
Colleen is standing near the parking lot entrance with her friends Eileen and Terri. The three women came not only to vote, but also to show their support for the president. Eileen is handing out sample ballot papers showing all Republican candidates eligible to vote in Hamilton County.
Colleen holds a sign that reads “Trump Pence”. COVID-19 has “not changed anything” that she will vote for Trump. “Isn’t it suspicious that all these Republicans got it but not Democrats?” She asks. “That’s strange. Aren’t you tested?”
The three friends are excited about the possibility that Trump could be president for four more years because they say he’s done a great job so far. “Trump worked tirelessly for the Americans,” says Eileen. “Biden hasn’t done anything for 47 years.”
Adaptation: Uta Steinwehr, author: Carla Bleiker
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