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Canadians gather to watch U.S. election results both in-person and virtually

People across Canada will be gathering Tuesday night to watch the results of the divisive U.S. presidential election.

Watching particularly closely will be Americans living here.

Given the COVID-19 pandemic, most get-togethers will be virtual but some in-person events are planned.

A spokeswoman for Democrats Abroad says the organization is holding a Canada-wide Zoom watch party.

She says more than 400 people have said they will attend with others expected to join as well.

Several pubs and restaurants across the Prairies are hosting some form of election-night party.

It’s unlikely, however, that even those hanging in all night will know whether Republican President Donald Trump keeps the White House or loses it to Democrat former vice-president Joe Biden. Most experts believe it will still take days if not months to get the final results of the vote.

People are excited and anxious, not just about the election, but also when the results will be known, said Jennifer Phillips with the Vancouver chapter of Democrats Abroad.

“We are accustomed to knowing who won the election on election night,” Phillips said. “We usually see an unofficial media projection.”

The good thing about virtual gathering, she said, was that it allows people to connect from across Canada.

The election comes at a time when Canadians’ view of the United States has distinctly soured. One recent poll found more than three in five Canadians have an unfavourable view of the U.S.  Polls have also suggested about two-thirds of Canadians were hoping to see Biden win.

Democrats Abroad have been especially busy in recent months urging the estimated 620,000 expatriates in Canada to get out and vote. Especially in border swing states such as Michigan, Americans living in Canada could have tipped the scales of the presidential vote. 

Prime Minister Justin Trudeau has expressed hope for a “smooth transition or a clear result” from the election.

“If it is less clear, there may be some disruptions and we need to be ready,” Trudeau said.

This report by The Canadian Press was first published Nov. 3, 2020.

Colin Perkel, The Canadian Press

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