Americans braved long lines and a tense Election Day climate to deliver the final verdict Tuesday in the raucous race for the White House between Donald Trump and Hillary Clinton, as the campaigns made last-minute bids to drive out turnout in what could be a close contest.
“Go out and vote,” Trump urged on Fox News, as he talked up his chances in key battlegrounds.
As Clinton cast a vote for herself in Chappaqua, N.Y., she was met by cheering crowds and told reporters the experience was “humbling.”
“I know how much responsibility goes with this and so many people are counting on the outcome of this election," she said, as she aims to make history and become the first woman elected U.S. president.
The historic day started off neck-and-neck in three early-voting New Hampshire precincts.
Polls opened and shut quickly in the tiny hamlets of Dixville Notch, Hart’s Location and Millsfield just after midnight Tuesday. Under New Hampshire state law, communities with fewer than 100 voters can get permission to open their polls at midnight and close them as soon as all registered voters have cast their ballots.
Clinton won more votes in Dixville Notch and Hart’s Location, but Trump was the overwhelming favorite in Millsfield, with a 16-4 advantage.
The traditional early vote in New Hampshire kicked off what promises to be a busy election day, after Trump and Clinton visited key battleground states late Monday into early Tuesday to make one last plea to American voters.
Speaking in Grand Rapids, Mich., Trump urged voters to ask themselves before they entered the voting booth: “Do you want America to be ruled by the corrupt political class or do you want America to be ruled by the people?
“Today is our independence day, today the American working class is going to strike,” he added.
Clinton visited North Carolina State University in Raleigh, N.C., for a midnight rally. Clinton was led in by performances from Jon Bon Jovi and Lady Gaga and then by her husband Bill and daughter Chelsea.
“Tomorrow night this election will end but I want you to understand that our work together will be just beginning. We have to bridge the divides in this country.”
Clinton also made her final plea to middle class voters.
Clinton’s speech in Raleigh echoed her entire trip Monday as she made her final campaign stops in key states. Clinton vowed to unite a divided nation.
“Anger is not a plan,” the Democratic presidential nominee said in Pittsburgh, Pa.
As Clinton spent the day blasting what she called her opponent’s “divisive vision” for America, Trump blamed her and her husband’s policies for manufacturing job losses and vowed a change if he’s elected.
“We are going to bring back jobs that have been stolen from you. We’re going to bring back wealth taken from this country,” Trump, the Republican nominee, said in battleground state North Carolina, the second of his five stops Monday.
He pulled out all the stops at the second to last rally of his campaign in Manchester, New Hampshire.
Trump appeared with his running mate Mike Pence and many members of his family at the SNHU Arena, the same arena where he held his final rally before the New Hampshire primary. His win in that race paved his way to the party's nomination.
"It all began for me in New Hampshire," Trump said after taking the stage.
The race remains tight in the final hours. The latest Fox News Electoral Scorecard shows Trump’s prospects improving in four key states -- Arizona, Iowa, Utah and North Carolina – though Clinton still has the advantage on the electoral map.
Clinton made her final campaign swing Monday, less than 24 hours after the FBI concluded a revived probe into her personal email use as secretary of state, lifting a cloud off her campaign in the final hours as she seeks to become the first woman elected president in U.S. history.
Before embarking on her three-state campaign swing, Clinton told reporters that she has "some work to do to bring the country together" and that she wants to be president for those who vote for her and those who don't.
Trump on Monday resumed his breakneck race through the country to make a final appeal to voters to help him "drain the swamp" in Washington. In the wake of the FBI announcement, he urged voters to "deliver justice at the ballot box."
“She wants to fight ISIS?” Trump said Monday in North Carolina about Clinton, who has essentially led for the entire 2016 election cycle. “She wants to fight nobody. She’s got no chance.”
Trump is aiming for an upset victory Tuesday, which is still possible if he is able to win key toss-up states and pick off one or more strategic states considered Democratic territory.
The former reality TV star shocked the country’s political class this spring when he defeated 16 major candidates in the Republican primaries, among them several senators and governors.
While seeking victories in the so-called battleground states, which have a mix of voters who could go for either major party candidate, Pennsylvania is considered critical for Trump.
The state has not elected a GOP presidential nominee since 1988 in the candidates’ race to get 270 Electoral College votes.
The Associated Press contributed to this report.