Voters begin to cast ballots in Minnesota, Virginia, South Dakota and Wyoming.
- Donald Trump and Joe Biden will campaign in Minnesota, which Trump lost by a slim margin in 2016.
- In-person early voting begins in four states today, including Minnesota.
- Biden released a new TV advertisement about Trump’s alleged insults of military veterans.
- Trump is trying to capitalise on his Middle East deal by touting it in a new TV advertisement.
Hello and welcome to Al Jazeera’s continuing coverage of the US elections. William Roberts and Steve Chaggaris will update you throughout the day.
Read all the updates from yesterday (September 17), including coverage of Biden’s Pennsylvania town hall and Trump’s late Wisconsin rally, here.
11:30 ET – Early voting starts in Minnesota, Virginia, South Dakota and Wyoming
Lines of people formed at county registrar offices in Northern Virginia as early voting began in four states including Minnesota, South Dakota and Wyoming.
Virginia Senator Tim Kaine, who was the Democratic vice presidential nominee in 2016, tweeted a picture of himself voting in person.
I just voted early for @JoeBiden, @KamalaHarris, and Democrats all the way down the ticket here in Virginia—what a great day! I hope you’ll join me—it’s easy, convenient, and boy does it feel good to vote for competence, character, and compassion: https://t.co/B21QKpeiSj pic.twitter.com/tTS4ysyDUj
10:30 ET – Trump and Biden head to Minnesota
Minnesota has not voted for a Republican president since Richard Nixon in 1972, yet Trump surprisingly came within 1.5 percent of beating Hillary Clinton there in 2016.
Trump and his campaign believe they have a chance to flip that reliably Democratic state this year and he is travelling to Bemidji in the less-Democratic northern part of the state for a campaign rally today. For his part, Biden will also head to northern Minnesota today for a campaign event in Duluth.
Al Jazeera Online’s William Roberts has more on why Minnesota might be fertile ground for Trump.
Another reason they are in Minnesota: Today is the first day of in-person early voting in there and in three other states – the first states to start in-person voting in advance of the November 3 election. Even though mail-in voting is getting most of the focus during the pandemic, in-person early voting has been an increasingly popular voting method in recent years.
10:00 ET – Trump highlights UAE-Bahrain-Israel deals in new advertisement
Donald Trump’s campaign released a new TV advertisement declaring the president accomplished the impossible: The UAE-Bahrain-Israel normalisation deals.
“They said it couldn’t be done. But President Trump did it,” the advertisement says before mentioning his Nobel Peace Prize nomination (he is one of 318 total nominations in 2020).
Clearly Trump sees the deals he helped broker as a major selling point to voters. Al Jazeera Online’s Political Editor Steve Chaggaris writes that it is probably wishful thinking.
09:30 ET – Biden advertisement slams Trump’s alleged military vets comments
Trump’s opponents have been making a big deal about a report that the president allegedly referred to those who died in war as “losers” and “suckers”. Now, Joe Biden’s campaign is running an advertisement about those comments.
The TV advertisement features an Air Force veteran who notified families when loved ones died during military service. “These military families suffer,” he says. “And those spouses are not suckers. And those children are not losers.”
Trump has vociferously denied the specific allegations in the report, however, he has made widely-covered public comments in recent years denigrating veterans.
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