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US Voters Come Out in Droves for Historic Election

  • VOA  News

US voters are turning out in record numbers on Tuesday as voters issue the final verdict on a long and historic campaign to decide who will be the next president of the United States.

If Democrat Barack Obama is elected, he will become the nation's first African-American president. If Republican John McCain is chosen, he will become the oldest man elected to a first presidential term at the age of 72. His running mate Sarah Palin would become the country's first female vice president.

Obama leads McCain in national polls, and in some states that have historically voted for Republicans.

But McCain remains hopeful that he can attain victory, despite the polls. He is holding a rally today in Colorado, which voted for U.S. President George Bush in the 2004, but currently is favoring Obama.

The candidates cast ballots in their home states -- Obama in Illinois and McCain in Arizona earlier today. They are both planning election night parties.

Republican vice presidential candidate Sarah Palin voted in the state of Alaska, where she is governor. She told reporters that she is optimistic about the election. She also refused to reveal who she voted for, noting the importance of the right to privacy.

Democratic vice presidential nominee Joe Biden voted in his home state of Delaware alongside his elderly mother.

The economy became the central issue in the last few months of an epic presidential campaign.

McCain has pledged to cut wasteful spending and to tackle corruption in Washington, while Obama has pledged tax cuts for the middle class.

Both candidates have promised to bring change to Washington, and have sought to distance themselves from the unpopular president Bush.

Obama and McCain have also focused their campaigns on winning essential states. Each state is allotted electoral votes depending on its population and congressional representation. The winning candidate must get at least 270 out of 538 electoral votes.

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