I will be updating this post as new information comes in today. I’ll be live-blogging in earnest when the polls start closing in the East. A couple of updates to start with, however.
– Ed Morrissey’s been following the burble about Romney being up by 92K votes, in early voting, over Obama in Ohio. If you heard that figure, it’s not valid. Ohio officials affirm that the vote count hasn’t started. We do know that turnout is up in counties that went for McCain in 2008, and down in counties that went for Obama.
– In New York, Wendy Long, candidate for US Senate, recounted at her campaign website her struggle against a pollworker when she went to vote. The pollworker told her that she had to mark her ballot for the Democratic candidates or it wouldn’t be accepted by the machine. Apparently, the woman assumed Ms. Long is an idiot. Long eventually prevailed and was allowed to insert her ballot wthout voting for Democrats. The machine accepted it.
– For more on early shenanigans with the vote, see this summary featuring Pennsylvania, Michigan, and Florida.
– I voted about 9 AM this morning at my local polling place in inland SoCal. The early-morning rush was about over, and I only stood in line for about 10 minutes. There were no campaigners for either political party hanging around the no-soliciting perimeter. I was the second-youngest person I saw the whole time I was there, which is typical. Some news outlets are predicting a very high turnout in California today; it seemed to me about like 2008, but I will do a drive-by check later.
– A former local GOP official was told, when he went to vote in person in Virginia, that he had already voted. He had not, however, nor had he requested to vote by mail. Guy Benson has the scoop.
– From Breitbart: Chicago election officials dismissed yesterday over ballot-tampering charge. Will all these irregularities force recounts and lawsuits in every swing state?
– Erick Erickson (RedState) has an acquaintance in Virginia who found someone else had already voted using his name.
– A judge ordered the giant Obama mural in the Philadelphia polling place covered up. Fox has a photo of the “covered up” mural.
– Something smoky going on in Philly. Record number of voters having to cast provisional ballots because they’re names aren’t in the books at their polling places. Just sloppy bookkeeping? (It’s affecting Obama voters, not just others.)
– Sandy victims struggling to the polls. God bless ’em!
– Hmmm. One reason why so many Philly voters’ names aren’t in the books at the polling stations?
– Field Poll sez: California turnout looks like 2008 so far.
– LAT: LA County on track to have lower turnout than 2008. Loss of enthusiasm in the Bluest of the Blue?
– Have done my lunch-hour swing around local polling stations. Not that impressive. Lines out the door at some places, but not very long lines. Reports from around the state confirm California voters aren’t putting up an epic turnout. The Field Poll prediction is 1 million less than 2008, and I doubt it will be more, for sure.
– Another polling place with an Obama mural on the wall; this one in Washington, DC.
What’s with the murals, anyway?
– Shenanigan Watch: Ohio.
– From Florida, and way too good to check: woman wearing MIT T-shirt stopped at polling station in Boca Raton.
– Joe Biden campaigns in Pittsburgh, refers on local TV to “Pittsburgh Browns” football team.
– Houston Democrats offer “Obama phones” if you’ll vote for Obama (Bonus: hilarious video).
First major result of the night (other than the two tiny hamlets in New England that voted at midnight):
– With 3% of precincts reporting in Indiana, where the polls have now closed, Romney is up 22% on Obama. (Mourdock is up by 11 points in the Senate race.) The usual caveats apply at this early stage. Romney won’t win by 22 points, and Mourdock may not win at all.
– More early returns: Obama way up in New Hampshire, up in Florida by 10 points with 4% of the votes tallied. Romney reportedly a heavy winner in Pasco and Volusia Counties, however. Florida should close up.
– Romney way up in Kentucky. No word yet on numbers for Allen and Kaine in the VA Senate race.
– AP now shows Romney leading in Virginia and Florida. He leads the aggregate popular vote now 632,902 to 540,475. Allen up 59-41 over Kaine in Virginia for US Senate.
– Polls now closed in Ohio, West Virginia, and North Carolina. Everyone calling West Virginia immediately for Romney.
– Several tweeters note long lines remain at polling places in Florida and Virginia, although polls are closed (except in the Florida panhandle, which will close in 19 minutes). The counts in those states will take a while. Romney has a big lead with 2% of the Virginia vote; that will tighten up. Obama has a big lead in Florida, and that too will tighten up.
– Everyone calls South Carolina for Romney based on exit polls.
– Romney with an early 57-42 lead in Ohio, but less than 1% of the vote is counted.
– Fox awarding Georgia to Romney.
– Virginia will suspend reporting of election returns until all have voted. Lots of folks still standing in line at the polling stations. Have seen one report that Prince William County will keep the polls open until midnight. Don’t know if that’s possible or a valid report.
– Romney has pulled ahead by about 130K votes in Florida. Still very tight with 23% reporting.
– Maryland, Delaware, Rhode Island, Massachusetts, Connecticut, and Illinois called for Obama.
– Oklahoma called for Romney (shock, shock).
– Current popular vote tally: Romney 8,732,985, Obama 7,932,860.
– The contest remains a dead heat, with Romney ahead by about 1 milliong right now in the popular vote. Fox’s calls have Obama and Romney with 153 electoral votes each, but Virginia, Ohio, North Carolina, and Florida still undecided. Some of the states were called pretty early; we’ll see how the vote tally actually goes as the hours wear on. With the GOP whiffs in the Senate races, it looks like we will continue to have a divided Congress. If Warren does defeat Brown, that will represent an absolute shift in the Democrats’ favor.
There have been many reports of long lines at the polling places in Florida and Virginia, with some observers predicting that it would takeanother 2 or more hours after the polls closed to get all the folks in line through the process. So we may not know how these states go until quite late.
The California polls close in 45 minutes. It turns out the county I’m in, Riverside County, had a record turnout today. But it wasn’t in the city of Riverside or the main suburbs (where I live). It was in the recreational and retirement communities (e.g., around the lakes) and further east, in the more rural desert area. Polls in the “Desert Cities” around Palm Spings were hopping all day. In line with the direction of the galvanized rural vote, those voters probably went a good 80-90% for Romney. The rural counties upstate have also reported big turnouts. But the rural and suburban counties can’t outweigh the coastal cities. California will presumably go for Obama. It is likely that San Diego will go for Romney in 2012, after awarding Obama the narrowest of victories in 2008. Orange and Ventura Counties will assuredly go more strongly for Romney than they did for McCain.
– California polls closed 3 minutes ago; California already called for Obama. As predictabe as Oklahoma, in its way.
– North Carolina has been called for Romney.
– And there are reports of voters still waiting to vote in polling lines in Florida. Calling Florida or Virginia before the count is finished looks pretty risky tonight. George Allen has conceded to Tim Kaine in the Virginia Senate race. Kaine was up by a mere 20K votes, but presumably the internals on both sides projected a Kaine win.
– Missouri called for Romney.
– Scott Brown concedes to Faux-cahontas in Massachusetts.
– Josh Mandel concedes to Sherrod Brown in Ohio.
– Fox projects a GOP Senate pick-up for Nebraska, where Deb Fischer looks to knock off Bob Kerrey.
– Fox calls Ohio for Obama, with 69% of the vote counted and less than 50K votes separating the candidates. Maybe they’re right, but for now, let’s wait and see what happens with the vote count. Thank God Ohio, Virginia, and Florida are all in the hands of Republicans, and that means all the votes will be counted, regardless of expert projections.
It will be interesting to see what Romney does.
– UPDATE: With 82% of the vote counted in Ohio, Romney leads Obama by 20K votes. Your call as to whether you think Michael Barone or Karl Rove had the stronger argument about the remaining 700K-odd votes to be counted in Ohio.
But — Florida is looking bleaker for Romney. Obama appears to be opening up a lead, which has stretched to about 48K with 96% of the vote counted. And Virginia isn’t looking a lot better for Romney. Obama has about a 24K vote lead there with 95% of the vote counted.
So far, Romney is standing firm and reportedly doesn’t plan to concede early. Even if he squeaks out Ohio, however — and if early calls like Fox’s on Nevada just now are wrong (Fox called the Silver State for Obama) — it’s looking dicey in two states he has to win, given that he’s still behind in the Midwest, where everyone called Wisconsin and Minnesota for Obama with hardly any of the vote in. Romney could actually make up ground in those states — barely 50% of the vote has been counted, and he’s within 3 percentage points in each of them — but it’s hard to see a path to 270 if he doesn’t get ALL of Ohio, Virginia, and Florida.
– Jeff Flake got his Arizona Senate seat at last. Ted Cruz won in Texas. It’s pretty tight between Heller (R) and Berkely (D) in Nevada.
– It’s 9:39 PM here, 12:39 on the 7th on the East coast, and Obama has finally edged Romney for the first time tonight in the popular vote. The difference is 25K votes out of about 49,900,000 for each. California is the big banana, and with 83% of the vote here still to be counted, the candidates will get well into the 50-millions by tonorrow.
Florida and Virginia, yet to be called, have Obama up over Romney by wider leads than in Ohio. Both have 97% reporting. Ohio’s still at 91%.
– UPDATE: Fox says Romney to concede in about 10 minutes. Looks like it’s over.