Election Day: A look at battleground states

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NEW YORK — Americans are voting in huge numbers on Election Day. More than 130 million Americans will decide if Donald Trump or Hillary Clinton will be the 45th president of the United States, and turnout across the country will be a huge factor in the outcome.

A great deal of attention is focused on battleground states. CBS News correspondents are tracking the vote from Florida to Arizona.

About 6.4 million people, roughly half of Florida’s registered voters, cast their ballots early. That’s the most of any state with early voting, reports CBS News correspondent Mark Strassmann. A big chunk of them – 976,000 people — are Hispanic, nearly double the number in 2012.

For those who haven’t voted yet, there’s a concerted ground effort especially by the Clinton campaign to get them to vote in a presidential race most polls conclude is too close to call. The Trump team does not have nearly the same level of organization here.

Florida has come a long way since the “hanging chad” debacle of 2000. How people mark these ballots and how Florida votes will be a major determinant in who wins the White House.

North Carolina
Hillary Clinton and Donald Trump have visited North Carolina a combined 21 times since their conventions, reports CBS News correspondent Jan Crawford.

The latest CBS News Battleground Tracker shows Clinton with a slim three-point edge, 48 percent to 45 percent, over Trump in the state. The winner will get North Carolina’s 15 electoral votes.

More than three million people have already voted early, that’s about 12 percent more than in 2012, when Mitt Romney won the state.

Both sides are saying the early voter turnout gives them an advantage. But at this point, it’s hard to tell who actually has the edge.

Donald Trump has talked several times about potential voter fraud in Philadelphia. A task force dedicated to preventing voter fraud and intimidation has received additional workers, reports CBS News correspondent Jericka Duncan.

District Attorney Seth Williams says his office has nearly 100 assistant district attorneys and investigators assigned to the voter fraud task force. If their office gets a call, they will send task force members to the polling place in question.

Overall the district attorney says he does not feel the electoral process will be compromised. One of the largest black churches in this area galvanized 400 men, called voter advocates, to watch for anything abnormal.

The Department of Justice will have more than 500 people across 28 states to monitor the polls on Election Day. Columbus is in Franklin County, one of the three places in Ohio where Justice Department monitors will be watching, reports CBS News correspondent Dean Reynolds.

More than 1.8 million people in Ohio have already cast their ballots. Election officials said that’s nearly 11,000 more than in 2012.

Ohio has picked the winner in all but two elections since 1904. If Trump wins without Ohio, he would be the first Republican to pull that off. If Clinton does, she would be the first Democrat to do so since John F. Kennedy in 1960.

Election officials said they are not worried about voter fraud or someone hacking the system because most ballots in Ohio are paper and the voting machines are not connected to the internet.

Nevada has seen a record number of early voters. Across the state, early voting numbers show about 46,000 more Democrats voted than Republicans. That’s about the same as President Obama’s roughly 48,000-vote lead after early voting in 2012, reports CBS News correspondent Anna Werner.

About 17 percent of eligible voters in Nevada are Hispanic, and Democrats are hoping that increased voting among Hispanics will help carry the state.

We spoke with a public administration professor at the University of Nevada, Las Vegas, who said Trump could win the Election Day vote but still lose the election because of the strong early voting especially among Hispanics.

Nevadans are also voting on a highly competitive race to replace Senator Harry Reid. That could determine which party leads the U.S. Senate.

Republicans are expected to win Texas, but the reliably conservative state could see a closer-than-usual presidential contest — closer than it has been in decades, reports CBS News correspondent Omar Villafranca.

In the last four presidential elections here, the Republican candidate has won by a margin of 10 points or more. That includes a nearly 16-point victory for Mitt Romney four years ago.

A surge of Hispanic voters is credited with giving Clinton the boost. Almost 4.5 million Texans have already voted in the state’s 15 largest counties — about a million more voters for early voting than in the 2008 contest.

It’s going to be a hot one in Arizona, with temperatures pushing 90 degrees. But even before dawn, there were big lines of people trying to beat the heat and get their votes in.

It’s a tight race in Arizona but Donald Trump holds a slight lead over Hillary Clinton, reports CBS News correspondent Ben Tracy.

Just two weeks ago, Clinton thought she might be able to pull off an upset win in the state that usually votes Republican. But after the FBI director said the bureau was once again reviewing her emails, Trump once again took the lead.

Clinton’s campaign has spent $2 million in ads here and also sent her running mate Tim Kaine to give an entire speech in Spanish, trying to energize the Hispanic vote. That is a first for a major party candidate.

Since 1952, Arizona has voted Democratic only once — in 1966, when voters backed Bill Clinton.

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