US Election 2020

USA Election 2020: why will Donald Trump vote in Florida?

The President will vote at West Palm Beach, Florida as both candidates look to maximise their vote share in one of the most hotly-contested swing states.

USA Election 2020: why will Donald Trump vote in Florida?
TOM BRENNER REUTERS

President Donald Trump will cast his vote for the 2020 presidential election in West Palm Beach, Florida. The Republican nominee will become the first sitting president in history to cast his ballot in the Sunshine State after doing so on Saturday morning.

Florida is now Trump’s home state after changing his permanent address from New York City in 2019 and is the location of his treasured Mar-a-Lago resort which he has previously referred to as his “Southern White House”. The state was also a key part of his successful 2016 campaign, securing a narrow victory over Hillary Clinton in Florida with a winning margin of 1.2%.

Despite repeatedly complaining about the (disproved) risk of mail-in ballot fraud the President cast his vote in Florida’s primary election in August by absentee ballot. Trump has often voted by mail in the past but clearly felt unable to do so this time around given his recent criticism of remote voting.

Both campaigns set their sights on Florida

Trump’s decision to vote in FLA comes as both candidates look to focus their resources on the Sunshine State as we draw close to Election Day. The President has made two visits to Florida’s enormous ‘The Villages’ retirement community, with a population of around 80,000, in the last two weeks and four visits to the state in as many weeks.

"I love The Villages. They fight for us," he said, in a recent rally in Florida.  Vice President Mike Pence is also going to be in Florida this weekend with a Make America Great Again rally in Lakeland, Central Florida.

Democratic challenger Joe Biden has also been on a charm offensive in Florida and held a drive-in rally in Miramar earlier this month. He has also held events in Little Haiti and Little Havana in South Florida during the course of the campaign.

At the Miramar rally Biden declared: “Here in Florida, you can determine the outcome of this election. We win Florida and it’s all over.”

Desperate to secure the win on the east coast, the Democrats are rolling out the big guns on Saturday with a rally held by former President Barack Obama in Miami. Biden’s running mate Kamala Harris was also out in Orlando and Jacksonville recently to mark the opening of early voting in the state.

Why is Florida so important in the 2020 presidential election?

With 11 days still remaining of the campaign over 50 million Americans have already cast their votes to decide the next president of the United States. With the number of votes left to fight over shrinking rapidly candidates are focusing their energies on the key swing states, with Florida the most highly prized of them all.

There are 29 Electoral College votes on offer in Florida and securing them would be a major step toward the White House for the victor. The state has a built a reputation as the king-maker in recent elections, backing the winning candidate in every race since 1996.

A recent CBS News poll found that just 3% of Florida’s likely voters think they could change their mind in the build-up to the election, meaning the margin of error for the candidates is wafer-thin. Rather than trying to swing some already decided voters it seems like both campaigns are simply looking to maximise their turnout in the final days. Over $250 million has been spent on TV ads in that one state alone and the outcome looks crucial in deciding the next president.