CLEVELAND, (Ohio) - Right now, Nate Silver says Trump has better than 1-in-3 shot of winning. That’s WAY too high for me. Chip in $3 now to beat him.

Read a message from the Hillary camp. Such messages come in dozens from the election cells of both Hillary Clinton and Donald Trump with the former being more active and perhaps spending more. Then there are candidates who beside the party mechanisms are reaching out to voters through text messages on phones, advertising and door knock campaigns.

Republicans usually vote on the election day while Democrats campaign was for early voting. In this election Republicans too took over to early voting. However, the figures for overall voting have been going down since year 2000.

In November 2012 election overall 58.7 percent votes were cast of those eligible to vote, which was down from 62.3 percent in 2008 and 60.7 percent in 2000.

Director of Elections, Board of Elections in Mecklenburg County Government in Charlotte, Michael Dickerson talking to The Nation said this year turnout expected was around 62 percent. “This we determine from the trend of absentee voting and early voting. Here we are using electronic voting machines that have paper fitted inside where the vote is being printed. The printouts are taken at the end of the day counted and later stacked in warehouses. The votes cast through the machine are not wasted but kept for years for record. There is no chance for fraud as we monitor everything,” Michael maintained.

It is pertinent to mention here that the issue of voter ID has been raised for many years. Since 2012, 17 states have new voting restrictions in place. Many lawsuits were filed against them. By the end of July 2016 federal courts had ruled on five voter ID cases in which restrictions had been challenged in Ohio, North Carolina, Texas, Kansas and Wisconsin. A North Carolina law was overturned as it was seen targeting the African American community. Now you do not have to have photo ID for casting vote in North Carolina. Same is the case for some other states. Regarding electronic voting many states have discarded it considering the chances of fraud due to hacking.

“Our electronic voting machines cannot be accessed through internet. These are P386 computer machines that are not on internet. And the voting is on paper, which is counted,” Michael said.

Senator Jeffery P Tarte of North Carolina Senate said they are developing special ID cards that may be used in the next election. “They are like your credit card. Once you swipe them all information about you will be available on the screen. We have to move forward and not look for ways to continue the existing system. The chances of fraud would be zero then. The technology is being developed at such high pace that I believe after one decade there would be no internet as we see it today.

“Mark my word there would be something else but not the current social media and internet usage that is being used,” the senator said.

Trump’s statements that the election will be rigged raised concerns. Can Trump pull off an upset as his supporters’ claim of having the silent support of majority? He may be able to do so.

Senior reporter at The Charlotte Observer said the election battleground was between the cities and the rural areas. “Clinton commands support in cities but is weak in rural areas and small towns. Interestingly the population of both areas is 50 percent each. So it could be anyone’s election.

“North Carolina is a swing state. Clinton came here 13 times while Trump visited the state 13 times. No Republican has won the US presidential election since 1956 without carrying North Carolina. Trump is likely to get 4 percent of African American vote while Clinton is expected to get 14 percent of these votes as her strength is in cities.

“Since 1994 695,000 people have lost their jobs in textile manufacturing in North Carolina. There is a large section of such people who feel a sense of betrayal by both the political parties. They may be working but at not the salary they were supposed to get. They are unhappy with the system. Trump is targeting the labour class and farming community,” Tim said.

It may come as a surprise but the US presidential election is not over on November 8th. If there are suspicions about the voter ID he has to fill Provisional Ballot Affirmation paper. Provisional votes are counted within 20 days.

Community Outreach Coordinator Cathy Bajic of the Cuyahoga County Board of Elections said the chances of vote fraud are none. “The vote by mail application must be received by the county board by noon on the third day before the election. The application cannot be processed unless you provide name, address, date of birth and one form of identification with your signature. For the provisional ballot Ohio’s driver’s licence number, state identification number and last four digits of the social security number are required,” Cathy said. She too said 62 percent eligible voters were expected to vote.

In the primary election in Cuyahoga County 54.75 percent people cast their vote on election day, 40.56 were absentee vote while 4.15 were provisional. About election day Cathy said they hire 6,000 people besides the part-timers and volunteers. One can understand the pattern of conducting the election in other counties by comparing it with Cuyahoga.

It is the age of smartphones and everyone whether in the cities or in rural has got one. According to law in most states you cannot take picture or make video of ongoing election process within 200 feet of the election booth. But who can stop people from making selfies or making photos of their own ballot paper? This year live video streaming is expected as live streaming tools are available from Facebook and Twitter. The media would take advantage of social media to keep up the rating of TV channels.

The debate is about the freedom of expression and the right to privacy. In the early election voting people could be seen making videos of themselves casting their votes especially the young people who are voting for the first time. Most consider breaking this state law as no offence and the election officials’ attitude too is lean and friendly. After all US election has always been more like a festive occasion. And who is going to stop everyone from using his or her smartphone.