About 44 people had voted in the first 30 minutes since a single polling station opened in Minneapolis, in a state Trump lost in 2016 but plans to win this time.

Voters in Virginia, South Dakota and Wyoming also began voting in person on Friday. In Virginia, election authorities in Fairfax and Arlington counties in the suburbs of Washington reported massive turnout with queues at the door.

Some Minnesota voters have said they are looking forward to voting now to avoid a possible election day crowd.

The coronavirus pandemic has altered US electoral traditions, abruptly reduced the campaigning of both candidates, and is likely to lead to an increase in early and postal voting as Americans try to reduce their exposure to the congestion that can spread the disease.

“I wanted to do that,” said Jason Miller, 33, a painter who stood in line before the polling station opened to vote with Biden. He said he can’t wait to vote against Trump.

All voters in line in Minneapolis wore masks to protect themselves from the coronavirus.

Margie Rukavina, 72, said she was “eager” to vote for Biden, but also feared she would vote on election day, given health concerns.

Republican President Donald Trump is behind Joe Biden in national opinion polls, but is trying to regain ground in Minnesota, where he lost about 1.5 percentage points to Democrat Hillary Clinton in 2016, while winning in the state. neighbor Wisconsin.

Recent opinion polls show that Biden has a comfortable advantage in Minnesota.

According to the survey, Biden leads in all three former industrial states in the so-called “rust belt”, Michigan, Wisconsin and Pennsylvania, which Trump won in 2016.

Trump was scheduled to hold a campaign rally at an airport in Bemidji, Minnesota, on Friday night. In the afternoon, Biden was to visit a union training center in Duluth before giving a speech.

The state of Minnesota was the starting point of a national movement for racial equality, following the death of African-American George Floyd, who was strangled on the knee by a police officer while in his custody.

The assassination of George Floyd provoked social upheavals at the national level, which lasted for months and shook even more the country already besieged by the coronavirus pandemic.

Trump reacted to the street violence by pledging to maintain “law and order,” saying many of the protesters are far-left radicals.

Biden denounced the violence in some protests, while expressing support for protesters’ objections to racism and police brutality. He said Trump’s rhetoric inflamed the situation.