US election: NZ Democrat quietly hopeful of Joe Biden win

A Biden voter based in New Zealand says she was “cautiously optimistic” the Democratic candidate would win the presidency – despite nail-biting anxiety over the neck-and-neck race.

“I don’t think I have nails left,” Christine Valverde told the Herald last night.

“It’s still too close to call. I’m still cautiously optimistic and very disappointed that it’s even close.

“I hate that it’s this close.”

Valverde, a volunteer voting representative for the Democrats Abroad New Zealand, spoke to the Herald from a packed watching party in Hamilton teeming with hopeful Biden supporters.

The Pennsylvania native mailed her ballot in September, saying Trump’s handling of the Covid-19 pandemic in America and rising racial tensions secured the lifelong Democrat’s vote.

And she’s prepared for an anxious wait to know who the next president will be, with her home state one of 15 key “swing” or “battleground” states that had yet to announce a winner last night.

“I did know that Pennsylvania has suspended counting for the night, so more than 350,000 absentee ballots won’t be counted until tomorrow.

“I know it’s not going to be over tonight. There were people who were expecting a landslide for the Democrats – I knew it wasn’t going to be that way,” she said.

In this election, 15 states fell into the category of a “swing state” or “battleground state” – meaning they could conceivably be won by either Trump or Biden, reports.

Those states were Arizona, Colorado, Florida, Georgia, Iowa, Michigan, Minnesota, New Hampshire, Nevada, North Carolina, Ohio, Pennsylvania, Texas, Virginia and Wisconsin.

Results in several key battleground states were in flux as election officials processed a historically large number of mail-in votes.

In battlegrounds, including Florida, Iowa, Georgia, Michigan and Pennsylvania, some voters showed up to their polling places before dawn to beat the crowds, but still had to wait in long lines to cast their ballots.

Valverde said she was surprised at how well Trump had been doing as the national results rolled in.

“I’m still nervous, I’m very surprised that he is doing so well after the past four years.

“Four more years of him? Come on.”

Because of the huge volume of mail-in votes, the outcome of the election may not be known for days or even weeks and could wind up in court.

Democrats typically outperform Republicans in mail voting, and the GOP looked to make up ground in election day turnout.

That meant the early margins between the candidates could be influenced by which type of votes — early or election day — were being reported by the states.

But if Trump were to be elected, Valverde said she felt “oddly calm” about it all.

“There is not a period after an election – there is a comma,” she said.

“I just think whatever happens, happens and we keep fighting.”

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