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Countdown to the US Presidential Election in Arizona © Piotr Malecki

As campaigning for the presidential election of 2016 in the US nears its end, Arizona has become an unlikely new battleground in what has been the most divisive race for the White House in decades.

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An old Chevrolet car standing on a street in Phoenix, Arizona. © Piotr Malecki / Panos Pictures

Replete with accusations of moral improbity and counter claims of corruption between the Clinton and Trump campaigns, the 2016 race has seen Donald Trump, the unlikely Republican nominee, threaten Hillary Clinton, the more established Democrat candidate, with prosecution on corruption charges.

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Sharon Shuster, a volunteer for the Donald Trump campaign, collecting flyers at the Republican Party’s headquarters, Phoenix, Arizona. © Piotr Malecki / Panos Pictures

Drawing on secret recordings of Trump bragging about his ability to force himself upon women against their will, Democrats haven’t missed an opportunity of pointing to Trump’s unsuitability to lead the world’s most powerful country.

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A copy of Time Magazine with a portrait of Donald Trump on its cover, plastic figures of George Bush and Hillary Clinton and a soft toy elephant (symbol of the Republican party) at the Republican Party campaign headquarters, Phoenix, Arizona. © Piotr Malecki / Panos Pictures

While the main swing states have traditionally been California (55 votes in the Electoral College), Texas (38 votes) and Florida (29 votes), Arizona with its 11 votes and a large Hispanic community turned off by Donald Trump’s anti-immigrant rhetoric could become a valuable prize for the Clinton campaign.

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Republican Party members Shuron Harvey and Sergio Arellano campaigning for Donald Trump in Nogales, a town on the border with Mexico with a majority Hispanic population. Phoenix, Arizona. © Piotr Malecki / Panos Pictures

Though it has voted Republican all but once since 1952, the electoral map of Arizona is changing and recent polls suggest the the Democrats have a good chance here. Sensing a potential game changer, the Clinton campaign has concentrated its human and other resources on getting out the vote.

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Supporters of Hillary Clinton cheering and taking pictures with their phones as Michelle Obama enters the stage to give an address during a campaign rally. Phoenix, Arizona. © Piotr Malecki / Panos Pictures

Bernie Sanders, Michelle Obama and Chelsea Clinton have all visited Arizona in the final weeks of campaigning. On 2nd November the presidential candidate herself made her way to campaign rallies in Phoenix and Las Vegas to appeal directly to Hispanic voters who have seen Donal Trump refer to Mexicans as “criminals” and “rapists” and promise to build a wall to keep out further immigrants, making Mexico pay for its construction.

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Female supporters of Hillary Clinton cheering and waving placards during a rally in Phoenix attended by Michelle Obama. Phoenix, Arizona. © Piotr Malecki / Panos Pictures

Arizona provides a litmus test for future elections with the Hispanic population of the certain US states like Texas, New Mexico and California becoming an important constituency that any future presidential candidate disappoints or ignores at his or her peril.

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A man holds up a placard while campaigning for Donald Trump at the state fair, Tucson, Arizona. © Piotr Malecki / Panos Pictures

At 17.6% of the total population, Hispanics already make up the largest ethnic minority and the proportion is set to rise dramatically over the coming decades.

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An insurance firm’s stand at a local fair. Phoenix, Arizona. © Piotr Malecki / Panos Pictures

Piotr Malecki has been travelling across Arizona in the weeks leading up to the crucial poll on 8 November, meeting both Republican and Democrat voters and gauging the mood in what many now call America’s newest swing state.

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People dressed up during a ‘Haunted Car Wash’ charity fundraising event. Phoenix, Arizona. © Piotr Malecki / Panos Pictures

To see more images, please click HERE.


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