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Trump, Clinton voting mile apart in New York

Rivals Democratic candidate Hillary Clinton and Republican nominee Donald Trump will vote barely more than a mile apart on Tuesday in New York after sparring with each other at campaign rallies.

“Trump will vote at Hilton Hotel in New York, not at Trump Tower and interestingly, Clinton will vote just about a mile apart at the Javits Convention Centre.

“This is the first time it is happening in the recent history that two leading presidential candidates will vote in the city.

“This is one of the things that make this election historic and different,” Jeff Ryer, a Republican Chieftain in the state of Virginia told a U.S. correspondent of the News Agency of Nigeria (NAN).

A member of Senate of the state of Virginia, Frank Wagner, said the election night would be an uneasy one for both candidates.

“What you will see is that they will vote and go to war room to monitor what happens in the states as the votes come in,” he said.

Reports say spending election night not only in the same city, but barely more than a mile apart in midtown Manhattan, is creating unprecedented security headaches for New York City.

“For the first time in modern memory, both major party candidates will monitor the results here in New York and will have election night parties in midtown Manhattan,’’ New York Police Commissioner James O’Neill said on Monday.

The last time two presidential candidates were from New York was in 1944 when Franklin Roosevelt won his fourth term, defeating New York Governor, Thomas Dewey, but celebrations were subdued by World War II.

Clinton and her husband, former President Bill Clinton, live in the suburb of Chappaqua, where they moved in 1999 so that she could run for U.S. Senate. 

Trump, on the other hand, lives in a penthouse condominium atop the Trump Tower on Fifth Avenue.

The election night jitters come in the midst of a heightened terrorism alert as a bomb that exploded in the Chelsea neighbourhood in mid-September injured 29 people.

Federal officials have said they have received intelligence warnings of a terrorist threat from the Al Qaeda militant group and Islamic State, which has also called on its supporters to attack election targets.

Police officials said they would have more than 5,000 police officers out on election night, uniformed and plain-clothed, as well as bomb-sniffing dogs, and what they called “long gun trained” special forces.

Up until now, the largest deployment of security in New York City was during Pope Francis’ visit last year, which coincided with the UN General Assembly, attended by President Barak Obama and 170 other world leaders.

Aside from terrorism, the polarising presidential election has elicited strong, occasionally destructive passions.

High-rise buildings in Manhattan bearing the Trump name have been pelted with eggs repeatedly.

In Staten Island, the borough where Trump is most popular, a gigantic sign erected on the lawn of a supporter was set on fire in August.

Besides the competing election night parties, the campaign has generated particular passion and concern.

Huge crowds are expected at Times square, where people often watch election results in much the same way that they gather on New Year’s Eve.

Another key location is the 58-story Trump Tower, which has become the epicentre for protests for and against Trump’s candidacy.

On Sunday, competing crowds tried to drown each other out under the gold marquee of the building as police struggled to keep the sidewalks clear.

Clinton appears to be planning the larger, more lavish party at the sprawling Javits Centre, which occupies a city block along the Hudson River and can accommodate as many as 85,000 people.

Her campaign also received a permit for a fireworks display over the river, but the plan has been called off, according to a police official, who said he did not know the reason.

According to the New York Post, if Clinton wins there will be an after-party at the Peninsula Hotel, just one block away from Trump Tower.

Heavy security was already in place over the weekend at the Javits Center and television vans with satellite dishes were parked out front.

On Sunday, the scene was quieter in front of the Hilton, where the only evidence of an impending election event was a sign that read “No Parking on Tuesday”.

Tuesday’s historic U.S. elections will open at 6 a.m. (noon Nigerian time) and end at 7 p.m. (1 a.m. Wednesday Nigerian time), the Department of Elections, State of Virginia, said.