Hillary Clinton and Donald Trump today scrambled to make their final pitch to voters in the closely-contested US presidential race dogged by controversies like the Democratic nominee’s email scandal and sexual assault allegations against her Republican rival.
As the countdown began for the most bitter and divisive presidential election in the US history, Clinton, 69, and her running mate Tim Kaine’s campaign received a last-minute boost by news that the FBI had found no new troublesome emails in a review of the former secretary of state’s private server and she will not face criminal charges.
“Based on our review, we have not changed our conclusions that we expressed in July with respect to Secretary Clinton,” FBI Director James B Comey told Congress leaders in a letter after a renewed probe into her use of private email server as secretary of state following a cache of recently discovered emails.
Seeking to become the first female president of America, Clinton relieved by the latest development will end her campaign with a rally in the battleground state of North Carolina at midnight local time.
Republican candidate Trump will close his campaign with an event in Grand Rapids, Michigan, a state where he is hoping to pull off a huge surprise.
Trump, 70 called the vote tomorrow a final chance to turn back foreign forces menacing American identity, while Clinton said the country’s long journey toward equality for women and minorities was at risk of being reversed in a day’s balloting.
Trump claimed that he is leading in battleground States and is headed to win the White House race, much to the surprise of the pollsters and the media.
“You have to get everyone you know to the polls. We are going to win. We are going to have one of the greatest victories of all time. This is going to be Brexit times 50,” Trump told cheering supporters in Leesburg, a suburb of Washington DC in Virginia.
“I think, we are up in Colorado. We are doing very well in Nevada. Doing really well in North Carolina. I hear, we are going to do very well in the State of Virginia. We are winning Florida. I think, we are doing very well in Pennsylvania,” he said.
Trump promised a raucous crowd that he would end trade deals supported by “crooked Hillary”, scrap the Affordable Care Act and dramatically restrict the arrival of refugees in communities that don’t want them.
He also addressed rallies in Iowa, Colorado, Minneapolis, Michigan and Pennsylvania.
Clinton, meanwhile, campaigned in Pennsylvania, where she maintains a lead, and in Ohio and New Hampshire, two battleground states that could go either way.
“This election is a moment of reckoning,” Clinton told a crowd in Manchester.”It a choice between division and unity. … What’s really on the ballot is what kind of country we want for our children and grandchildren,” she said.
Clinton was introduced at the rally by Khizr Khan, the Gold Star father of slain American Muslim Army Captain Humayun Khan, who died while serving in the 2004 Iraq War.
Folk singer James Taylor performed at the rally ahead of Clinton’s appearance.
Major polls on the final weekend before the election day showed the race for the White House was too close to call.
Clinton appears to be entering Election Day as a solid if not overwhelming favourite.
A poll published yesterday by NBC News and The Wall Street Journal found her ahead of Trump by four percentage points nationally, and she maintains a clear upper hand in the Electoral College.
Clinton has a 65 per cent chance of winning the US presidential election, according to a leading opinion poll website which said her decline in poll numbers has leveled off and her lead has held steady over the past several days.
The website FiveThirtyEight said that Clinton has a 65.3 per cent chance of winning the presidency, according to its polls-only forecast, which is less than the 81 per cent had been forecast for her just before FBI Director James Comey had told Congress in October that he was reviewing additional emails pertinent to the case of Clinton’s email server.
While the percentage declined for Clinton it is still ahead of Trump’s who has a 34.6 per cent chance of winning the presidency.
In total, there are currently 538 electors, corresponding to the 435 members of the House of Representatives and 100 senators, plus the three additional electors from the District of Columbia.
A candidate needs at least 270 electoral votes to clinch the White House and Clinton is expected to get 291.9 electoral votes as compared to 245.3 for Trump.
The analysis predicted that Clinton could get 48.3 per cent of the popular vote while Trump 45.4 per cent.
Supporters of Clinton and Trump also went into full throttle to urge the voters to cast their ballots on the poll day as well as rally support for their presidential candidates.
Surrounded by police and law enforcement officials, groups of men and women gathered outside the Trump Towers on Fifth Avenue here, the campaign headquarters for the billionaire, as they held placards and shouted slogans in his support.
Holding banners of ‘Make America Great Again’, ‘Drain the Swamp’, ‘Stop Terrorism, Vote Trump’ and ‘Women for Trump’, the supporters shouted slogans of ‘Trump, Trump’, ‘Lock Clinton up’ and ‘Obamacare Sucks’.
At the Clinton campaign headquarters in Brooklyn, volunteers turned out in large numbers, urging voters to go and cast their ballot on and before November 8.Several young children and their families were seen tallying numbers, making phone calls and scurrying across the campaign headquarters, leaving no stone unturned as they tried to reach as many voters just a day before the elections.
Posters of Clinton, several made by young children, were pasted across the campaign headquarters as banners of ‘New York Together’ and ‘Stronger Together’ hangs across the rooms.
The two candidates have fought an ugly long battle to become the 45th president, marred by controversies ranging from FBI investigation into Clinton’s email use to sexual assault allegations against Trump.
More than 5.7 million Floridians have already hit the polls after about two weeks of in-person early voting, CNN said.
Clinton would be the first spouse of a president to reach the White House. Trump would be the oldest person to assume the office.
Trump has been widely condemned as a demagogue after calling for a temporary ban on Muslims entering the US and promising to build a wall on the Mexican border, branding immigrants as rapists and criminals.
A 2005 video recording emerged in which he bragged about groping women, after which a dozen women came forward with claims of sexual assault and harassment. He has been ostracised by key members of his own party.
Trump also made explicit accusations of voter fraud in the 2016 election.
Both candidates have set records for unpopularity and have emerged as the most hated US presidential hopefuls ever. For instance, a Pew poll conducted in September showed widespread disenchantment towards this year’s presidential contest among American voters.