Michael D. Shear
Voters who surged into polling places across America on Tuesday were sharply divided over whether either Donald J. Trump or Hillary Clinton had the experience and character to lead the nation, and large majorities of those who cast ballots expressed doubts about the honesty and integrity of both candidates.
A race that has been dominated by ugly, personal attacks appears to have taken a toll on voters, who said in early exit polling that they had serious misgivings about Mr. Trump’s treatment of women and about Mrs. Clinton’s use of a private email server.
The country’s mood appears darker and more pessimistic than it was four years ago, with about 60 percent of voters saying the country is seriously on the wrong track, compared with only about half of voters who said that in 2012. More than two-thirds of Tuesday’s voters said they were dissatisfied or even angry with the way the federal government was working.
Many voters who cast ballots early in the day said they were eager for a president who could bring change to Washington, though they expressed dismay that issues like the economy had been largely overlooked in the brutal, long and nasty campaign.
Here are some of the day’s other highlights:
• Does anyone trust the presidential hopefuls? Months of personal character attacks by both candidates appear to have left voters largely dissatisfied with their choices, according to early exit polls: Only about four in 10 voters viewed Mrs. Clinton as honest and trustworthy, while slightly fewer said that Mr. Trump was honest.
• Whose résumé is better? Mrs. Clinton’s experience appears to pass the test with voters, about half of whom said the former senator and secretary of state was qualified to serve as president. Fewer than four in 10 said the same of Mr. Trump, who has embraced his status as a businessman and a Washington outsider.
• How did the scandals play? More than four in 10 voters said Mrs. Clinton’s email controversies bothered them “a lot,” while a larger proportion — six in 10 — said they were bothered a lot by Mr. Trump’s treatment of women.
• Will it be a record-shattering day for voting? It is too early to tell. But there are some indicators of the turnout across the country. Voting was robust in the bellwether state of Florida, where early voting was particularly in vogue. By 1 p.m., more than 900,000 voters had cast ballots in Miami-Dade County, surpassing the total turnout from four years ago, according to Robert Rodriguez, a spokesman for the board of elections.
The Hispanic population, a sleeping giant, is now awake. The Hispanic turnout will be far higher than it was in 2012. It has the best shot of deciding the election in Florida, where Hispanic voters represent a well-above-average share of the population.
Trump campaign sues over Nevada voting.
The Trump campaign filed a lawsuit on Tuesday seeking to have votes in Nevada impounded on the grounds that poll workers illegally extended early-voting hours to accommodate people who were waiting in long lines.
Thousands of Hispanic voters lined up outside polling places to vote on Friday in Clark County, which is home to Las Vegas and has the state’s largest Hispanic population. Record turnout has raised fears among Republicans that they could lose the battleground state, and Trump campaign officials have been complaining that the extension of hours in some locations is evidence that the election is rigged.
The lawsuit alleges that the people were allowed to vote illegally because they cast ballots after the published closing times at polling places.
The campaign also sent a letter to Nevada’s secretary of state asking for an investigation into the allegations of “egregious violations.”
Clinton and Trump vote.
Parents held their children in the air to get a glimpse as Mrs. Clinton voted for herself in Chappaqua, N.Y., on Tuesday morning.
“It’s a humbling feeling,” Mrs. Clinton said.
Mr. Trump appeared to be in good spirits when he arrived at a Manhattan polling place on the Upper East Side just before 11 a.m. with his wife, Melania, to vote for himself.
He was met with a mix of cheers and boos as he left his motorcade and waved to pedestrians.
Inside Public School 59, Mr. Trump shook hands with other voters and offered high-fives to some children who came along with their parents.
The vice-presidential candidates also voted in the morning.
George W. Bush leaves the top of his ballot blank.
Former President George W. Bush and his wife, Laura, did not vote for Mr. Trump, a Bush spokesman said, making official their rejection of the Republican presidential nominee.
Mr. and Mrs. Bush “left the top blank and voted Republican down-ballot,” according to Freddy Ford, an aide to the former president.
Mr. Bush, his father and his younger brother, Jeb, all indicated after the primary contest that they would not support Mr. Trump. The 43rd president has avoided commenting publicly on the campaign ever since, even as he obliquely criticized Mr. Trump’s brand of populism at a series of fund-raisers for Republican Senate candidates.
Bob Dole is the only former Republican nominee who supported Mr. Trump’s candidacy.
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