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Election Day: Americans choose between Clinton and Trump amid reports of long lines and poll problems

Posted at 5:33 AM, Nov 08, 2016
and last updated 2016-11-08 16:11:59-05

Election Day is here, and America is electing its 45th president, making Hillary Clinton the nation’s first female commander in chief or choosing billionaire businessman Donald Trump, whose volatile campaign has upended U.S. politics.

Voters across the nation are reporting long lines on social media and searching on Google terms like “provisional ballots” and “inactive voter status.”

New York City voters have reported issues like misplaced ballots, broken scanning machines, late ballot delivery and long wait times. Some people reported waiting for several hours in lines stretching around several city blocks.

Polls are open in the five boroughs until 9 p.m. Tuesday. Don’t know where to head? Search your address here.

And if you have problems at the polls, tell us what you see. Fill out a form here.

Clinton, Trump head to the voting booth

Both candidates started their Election Day by casting their ballots at local schools Tuesday morning.

Clinton voted in Chappaqua earlier this morning with husband, former President Bill Clinton.

Clinton’s running mate Tim Kaine voted early Tuesday morning in Richmond, Virginia.

Trump voted in midtown Manhattan later in the morning and tweeted a video from his office.

Tim Kaine ends up second in line behind 99-year-old voter

Democratic Sen. Tim Kaine displayed a time-honored trait for a vice president — preparedness — showing up at his Richmond, Virginia, polling place 15 minutes early on Tuesday.

Despite his planning, Kaine ended up second in line — perhaps also appropriate for the potential vice president.

Kaine told CNN’s “New Day” that he “got to my polling place about a quarter until 6,” and that “there was already a line” when he arrived.

The Virginia senator was beaten to the polls by 99-year old Minerva Turpin.

“Well, Ms. Turpin gave me reason to believe that I might win her vote. I voted at a senior center that’s two blocks from my house. She is the president of the residents’ association. So she welcomed me — she was the first voter, I was the second voter. She pinned my ‘you voted’ stick on after I completed my ballot,” he said.

Kaine added: “We think that there’s going to be huge turnout. And that is good news for democracy when people participate.”

“Look, you know, we’re a closely divided nation. We feel really good about the Hillary coalition, the coalition of voters of all income levels, of all races around this country that are turning out in early vote in ways that make us feel good about the likely outcome,” he said.

Kaine also talked about playing the harmonica with Jon Bon Jovi at an Election Day eve rally.

“We had a great time playing ‘You Give Love a Bad Name,’ ” he said. “I played a lot of harmonica on the trail. I would say that, and being able to speak Spanish, are the two fun things I’ve been able to do during my 105-day adventure. Being with Jon Bon Jovi on stage, hard to beat that.”

The path to 270

Tuesday’s winner will inherit an anxious nation, angry and distrustful of leaders in Washington. They’ll preside over an economy that is improving but still leaving many behind, and a military less extended abroad than eight years ago, but grappling with new terror threats.

Clinton enters Election Day with multiple paths to victory, while Trump must win most of the roughly dozen battleground states in order to clinch 270 Electoral College votes. Control of the Senate is also at stake, with Democrats needing to net four seats if Clinton wins the White House.

Control of Congress up for grabs

Don’t forget key down ballot races on Tuesday.

The Senate is up for grabs as competitive races in nine states will determine whether Republicans can hold on to power or if Democrats are able to win a slim majority.

Republicans now hold a 54-46 advantage in the Senate, but come into Election Day with more battleground seats to defend, including in Indiana, North Carolina, New Hampshire, Illinois, Pennsylvania, Florida, Missouri, and Wisconsin.

The presidential race has played a major role in virtually all of the key Senate contests, as Donald Trump’s controversies have put some Republicans such as New Hampshire Sen. Kelly Ayotte on the defensive. Hillary Clinton’s recent troubles, including the late focus on her email server, may have hurt Democrats down-ballot.

The House is also up for grabs Tuesday night, but Republicans are widely expected to keep their majority — even if their current 246 to 186-seat advantage is narrowed.

In the Senate, Democrats need five Republican seats to get to the 51 needed for a majority. If the night ends in a 50-50 split, the new vice president would give his party the majority.

Control of the Senate will be key to the early successes of a Trump or Clinton administration.

For Clinton, a Democratic Senate would represent a counterbalance to a House Republican conference that has fiercely attacked her on the campaign trail — even as some of its members have sought distance from Trump.

There’s also the more immediate impact: If Clinton wins and Democrats seize control of the Senate, Republicans could reverse months of resistance to confirming President Barack Obama’s Supreme Court nominee, Merrick Garland, and move quickly to approve him before Obama leaves office.

For Trump, a GOP Senate and House would in theory let Republicans swiftly pass legislation that reverses many of Obama’s policies.

The Associated Press and CNN contributed to this report.

This is a developing story. Refresh this page for updates.