Entries in Election Day (14)


First Votes Are In and The Race for Electoral Votes Is On

(NEW YORK) -- President Obama and Mitt Romney matched each other state for state in early returns as attention turned to a trio of swing states where polls had closed but results were so close a winner had yet to emerge.

The electoral votes of Ohio, Virginia and Florida are vital to each candidate's success. In Virginia and Florida, lines stretched from some polling places even after they had officially closed.

In the initial flurry of early returns, there were no major surprises, as tensions and excitement rose in a race so close it remained a statistical tie in many places.

As expected Obama won his home state of Illinois and also won Romney's home state of Massachusetts.

Early on Romney picked up much of the deep South and Oklahoma, while Obama picked up the New England states.

Obama also won New Jersey, the state most affected by last week's superstorm Sandy, in which some affected voters cast paper ballots or voted via email.

The state projections give Obama 173 electoral votes while Romney has collected 174. The candidates are vying to reach the goal of 270 electoral votes needed to win the presidency.

Copyright 2012 ABC News Radio


Democrats Grab First Gubernatorial Wins in Vermont, Delaware

Offices of the Governors(NEW YORK) -- Democrats grabbed the first two gubernatorial wins of Election Day with victories in Vermont and Delaware, two states that ABC News projects will also go to President Obama.

In both states that were expected to remain blue, Democratic incumbents Gov. Jack Markell of Delaware and Gov. Peter Shumlin in Vermont were elected to second terms. In the presidential race, Obama picked up three electoral votes in both states.

Despite the early wins in the Democrats' column, Republicans are still aiming for a historic election night in governor races. Patrick McCrory was elected governor in North Carolina.

Eleven states are voting for governors this Election Day -- eight are still held by Democrats, three by Republicans. The GOP holds a total of 29 gubernatorial seats to the Democrats' 20. One state, Rhode Island, has an independent governor. If Republicans can grab four new seats, it will push their number to 33, the highest for the GOP in almost a century.

Copyright 2012 ABC News Radio


Election Day: Romney Still Campaigning, Obama to Play Basketball

NICHOLAS KAMM/AFP/Getty Images(WASHINGTON) -- The costliest election in United States history is also one of the closest, as polls open Tuesday and the country finally picks its president after a long and divisive campaign.

After spending nearly $1 billion apiece, President Obama and Mitt Romney are today in much the same place they were months ago at the campaign's outset -- the president leads his Republican challenger by so small a margin it is statistically insignificant in most places.

The tightness of the race was expressed at midnight, when the first town to open and close its polls -- the tiny hamlet of Dixville Notch, N.H. -- evenly split its vote five to five.

On Tuesday, Romney will campaign up to the last minute, holding rallies in Cleveland and Pittsburgh, and doing interviews with radio stations in Ohio and Virginia.

Obama, meanwhile, will remain in his home state of Illinois on Tuesday, doing some satellite television interviews and playing a game of basketball -- an Election Day ritual.

The fate of the election will rest on the outcomes in a few hard-fought swing states: Florida, Virginia, New Hampshire, Wisconsin, Pennsylvania and, most crucially, Ohio.

Victory or defeat may very well come down to Ohio, a battleground whose 18 electoral votes may be as critical this year as Florida was in 2000.  Both candidates know it, and have spent more time there than anywhere else.

Ohio, or possibly Wisconsin, where Romney has trailed for months, create "a very narrow path to electoral college victory," Republican strategist and ABC News consultant Matthew Dowd.

He said the first key state where polls will close is Virginia and a defeat or victory there for Romney could be crucial to the rest of his night.

"I think Virginia is going to tell us a lot.  It's going to tell us if this night ends early for Mitt Romney or if we're in for a long night," Dowd said.

There are also a few critical demographic groups to watch, including Latinos, young people and women.

Both campaigns have battled for the women's vote, but Donna Brazille, a Democratic strategist and ABC News consultant, said Obama has an advantage with women.

"One thing to remember is that in the last six elections, Democrats are six and zero.  We've won the women's vote in every election.  That's what makes Democrats competitive," she said.

Copyright 2012 ABC News Radio


Paul Ryan Tells Iowa Crowd: ‘We Have the Momentum’

SAUL LOEB/AFP/GettyImages(DES MOINES, Iowa) – Paul Ryan held the last Romney 2012 campaign event in Iowa Monday evening, flying in from Colorado for a brief airplane hangar rally to the place where the presidential choosing contest begins: the first caucus state of Iowa. He told several hundred people his ticket will be victorious Tuesday.

“That’s why we need your help,” Ryan said, standing in front of a huge “Victory in Iowa” banner.  "That’s why we have momentum. That’s why we are going to win. And that’s why we only have one more day before we get us on the right track.”

The GOP vice presidential candidate gave a nod to the state’s caucus pride, saying they really get to know the candidates in a way other states don’t have the opportunity.

“Look, in Iowa, you have every presidential candidate in your own kitchens,” Ryan said, before referring to Obama. “I mean you really get to know candidates, and what has he been doing? He spent the entire summer and fall just trying to discredit and destroy Mitt Romney. He spent the entire time to distract you, trying to distort, trying to win an election by default, because he could not run on his record.”

This stop was the candidate’s third event and third time zone of the whirlwind day before voters go to the polls. He’s already stopped in Nevada and Colorado and still has Ohio and his home state of Wisconsin to go.

He noted that his 12 events here since being chosen as Mitt Romney’s running mate means, “We’ve kind of gotten know each other these last few months.”

The most recent Des Moines Register poll shows the president with a five-point advantage with 47 percent support to 42 percent for Romney. It’s a critical state for both campaigns and while Romney stopped Sunday, the president holds his final campaign rally in Des Moines late Monday night. It was Obama’s success in the 2008 Iowa caucuses that gave his candidacy the initial push, leading many months later to victory.

Whether his ticket is successful or not Tuesday, if Paul Ryan may have presidential aspirations of his own – which considering his trajectory, youth, and the fact he seriously considered entering the 2012 field is quite likely, he's expected to be back to Iowa often. From the state fair to the Pizza Ranches, and yes even in Iowans’ kitchens, this state gets to choose first, buoying struggling candidacies while at times ending others.

Copyright 2012 ABC News Radio


Paul Ryan Hits Pennsylvania, Sen. Pat Toomey Predicts State Will Go Red

Scott Olson/Getty Images(MIDDLETOWN, Pa.) -- Just 72 hours before Election Day, Paul Ryan dropped in on Pennsylvania Saturday, the third time he’s done so since Mitt Romney selected him as his running mate.

The Romney campaign says it is expanding the map, and states such as Pennsylvania and Minnesota are now in play for the GOP ticket, but polls still show the president ahead in both places. Although polls have tightened in recent weeks, they still show a three- to five-point lead for President Obama. Both campaigns and their allies, including super PACS, spent $16.7 million in Pennsylvania, according to ad-trackers at the Campaign Media Analysis Group.

Ryan was introduced by Gov. Tom Corbett, former Gov. Tom Ridge and Sen. Pat Toomey, and was greeted by huge cheers from a crowd of about 2,000 when they walked into the airplane hangar rally at the Harrisburg airport.  They all predicted this state, which Obama won by 10 points in 2008, would flip.

“Can I just tell you how red Pennsylvania’s gonna be on Tuesday?” Toomey, wearing  a red jacket, said. “Because I know how red it’s gonna, it’s gonna be this red, OK [points to red jacket]. This is the color of Pennsylvania on Tuesday.”

Toomey, who once shared a house with Ryan in Washington, D.C., said, “It is happening folks. It’s happening all across the country,” but he was still cautious.

“It’s all on our side, but let me stress this,” Toomey said. “There is still nothing inevitable about a victory on Tuesday.  We’ve got to make it happen, and we got to make it happen here in Pennsylvania. And we know we can do it. I mean a state that elected me statewide can elect Gov. Romney as the president of the United States that’s for sure, right?”

Corbett, also in a red jacket, playing off his state’s nickname said, “We are the Keystone State to this nation and we are the Keystone State to this election.”

Ryan, in his Red North Face jacket, said if he and Romney are elected, they will make a “covenant between us and the people whose votes we seek.

“Mitt Romney and I are making this commitment because this is a compact, a contract,” Ryan said.

The Obama campaign isn’t buying that Pennsylvania is really in play for the GOP ticket, calling its efforts  in the state  ”a desperate hunt for a path to 270 electoral votes.”

Copyright 2012 ABC News Radio


Could Election Day Be Postponed After Superstorm?

iStockphoto/Thinkstock(WASHINGTON) -- Superstorm Sandy has given rise to suspensions in campaigning by both President Obama and GOP contender Mitt Romney, but could it actually delay Election Day?

In theory, yes, but in all likelihood, no.

The Constitution leaves the "times, places and manner" of holding a federal election up to each state, but says that Congress may at any time make or alter such regulations. Election Day, which is set by Congress for all federal offices, is the Tuesday following the first Monday in November.

To push that back, Congress would have to act, which at this late date seems highly unlikely. States could implement emergency procedures that could postpone Election Day, but that could be challenged by Congress or face federal Equal Protection challenges in the courts.

This is uncharted territory, so experts aren't sure how it would be handled.

"For those states that don't already have an election emergency process in place, any departure from the established election process could easily give rise to court challenges about the legitimacy of the election," said Steven Huefner, professor at Ohio State's Moritz College of Law. "Even states with an emergency plan might find themselves facing litigation over specific ways in which they've implemented their emergency plan."

Huefner believes that most likely the storm-related election problems will be resolved by next Tuesday but that the severity of the storm ought to serve as a warning that "Congress and those States that haven't made contingency plans should do so."

Nevertheless, experts told ABC News that even minor contingency arrangements, like keeping polls open longer in some precincts or moving polling locations, will probably lead to legal challenges and more provisional voting, which can delay election results.

In Pennsylvania, a spokesperson for the Pennsylvania Secretary of the Commonwealth said Tuesday morning, "We do not anticipate any postponement happening. The general election date is set by federal law." But he acknowledged that state law allows county boards of elections to move some polling places in cases of emergency. And that Pennsylvania has a provision that has been read to allow court of common pleas judges to suspend voting if there is a "natural disaster or emergency on the date of election."

In Ohio, there is no statewide contingency planning, but each of its 88 county boards have their own emergency procedures, such as providing paper ballots should machines malfunction or plans for the relocation of polling places. Except for a power outage in one county (Erie), there have been no reported problems so far, according to Ohio's secretary of state.

In North Carolina, the executive director of the State Board of Elections has emergency power to hold elections in a district where the originally scheduled election was disrupted by natural disaster, extremely inclement weather or armed conflict.

Under Virginia law, there is no delay or postponement of a presidential election under any circumstances. Currently, nine out of Virginia's 134 early voting locations are closed due to Sandy, but those locations will be given up to eight more hours of operating time once they reopen. Most are in Northern Virginia. Also, Virginia has prioritized power restoration to polling locations, made sure voting equipment is battery-operated and that batteries are charged, and the state may set up contingency polling sites.

Battleground states New Hampshire and Florida don't expect any storm impact.

Copyright 2012 ABC News Radio


Mitt Romney Crisscrosses the Country Predicting a Victory in November

Justin Sullivan/Getty Images(CEDAR RAPIDS, Iowa) -- Landing his campaign plane just yards away from a hangar full of supporters in the Hawkeye State, a revved-up Mitt Romney predicted a win for himself on Election Day, now just 12 days away.

“The Obama campaign is slipping because it can’t find an agenda to help the American families, but our campaign is growing into a movement across this country that says we’re going to get America back, we’re going to get America strong, we’re going to provide for our families,” said Romney. “And I’m optimistic. I’m optimistic not just about winning. We are going to win by the way. And we’re going to do that.”

Recent polls have Romney and Obama neck-and-neck. Romney eked out a slight edge nationally in the latest ABC News/Washington Post poll, 49 to 48 percent among likely voters.

“I’m not just optimistic about winning,” Romney said. “I’m more optimistic about the future of America.”

It was the second time Wednesday that Romney predicted a win for his ticket, with his first prediction coming earlier in the day in Reno, Nev.

“He doesn’t have a plan to get jobs for Americans,” Romney said of President Obama during a rally in Reno. “I do, and that’s why I’m gonna win.”

Copyright 2012 ABC News Radio


How to Register to Vote Before Election Day

iStockphoto/Thinkstock(NEW YORK) -- As Election Day, Nov. 6, nears, here is a quick rundown on how U.S. residents can register to vote.

To vote by mail, residents should use the National Mail Voter Registration form. North Dakota, Wyoming, American Samoa, Guam, Puerto Rico and the U.S. Virgin Islands don’t accept the form, so residents should contact their local election offices for registration information.

The voter registration form can also be used to update information such as a name or address change or to register with a different political party.

U.S. residents can also apply to register to vote at state election offices, the Department of Motor Vehicles, public assistance offices, armed services recruitment centers, as well as public sites that have been designated as voter registration agencies.

Some states also offer online voter registration but residents should contact their local registration offices for more information.

In August, Google launched its Online Voter Guide, which allows Google users to register to vote. Users can easily access TurboVote from the Google page and register to vote or vote by mail.

In addition, the Federal Voting Assistance Program is available for U.S. citizens living abroad and U.S. uniformed service members and their family members who seek to vote absentee.

Copyright 2012 ABC News Radio


State Voting Technology Inadequate in Several Swing States: Study

Ethan Miller/Getty Images(WASHINGTON) -- When it comes to elections, you don’t need to say more than three words —  Florida in 2000 — to remind people how big an issue individual states’ voting technology and practices can be in a close election.

Twelve years later, elections practices remain inadequate in many states, including important swing states like Pennsylvania, Colorado and Virginia, according to a study produced by the Verified Voting Foundation, an education non-profit organization whose mission is to “safeguard elections in the digital age”, Rutgers Law School’s Constitutional Litigation Clinic, and Common Cause. a nonpartisan lobbying organization promoting “accountable government."

The study evaluated each of the 50 states and graded them based on an evaluation of five questions: Does the state require paper ballots or records? Does the state have adequate contingency plans at every polling place in the event of machine failure? Does the state protect overseas voters by ensuring that their ballots are not cast online? Does the state have a post-election audit to verify outcomes? Does the state use solid ballot tabulation practices?

Records, contingency plans and detailed verification processes are crucial not because there’s a chance that something could go wrong, but because history has shown that somewhere, some problem will come up.

“It’s likely that some voting systems will fail in multiple places across the country- in every national election some failures have come up,” says Pamela Smith, president of the Verified Voting Foundation on a conference call to reporters.  ”It’s Murphy’s Law even in elections that something can and will go wrong.”

Pennsylvania, Colorado and Virginia scored “inadequate” grades on the report because they use paperless machines in some or all counties, which means that no independent record is produced for the votes cast. If the vote is very close, there’s no paper trail to use in a recount, so if a voting machine malfunctions, there’s no way to find and correct the miscalculation.

Several other swing states received poor grades in other areas. Nevada was rated “needs improvement” with regard to their contingency plans in the event of equipment failures. New Hampshire received an “inadequate” rating on audits; the state does not conduct them.

With less than four months to go until Election Day, the issues cited in the report cannot be fixed in time for this election cycle. Changing a state’s voter practices is a lengthy, involved and highly bureaucratic process. Depending on the necessary changes it can involve re-allocating a state’s budget to update equipment, or it can involve passing new legislation to implement a new auditing process.

However, experts conducting the research expressed hope for changes going forward.

“There is an insufficient length of time for a jurisdiction to change to a new voting system,” said Susannah Goodman, director of the Voting Integrity Program at Common Cause. “However, many of them are moving towards that direction going forward, and I expect many of these states are going to be fully papered up and going to be able to do audits statewide and be in a much better position by the next general election.”

Copyright 2012 ABC News Radio


Election Day 2011 Recap: Democrats Score Big Wins

Hemera/Thinkstock(WASHINGTON) -- Democrats scored major victories in Tuesday’s election as two controversial GOP-backed measures -- the “personhood” initiative in Mississippi and changes to collective bargaining rights by unions in Ohio -- were defeated by voters.

“Voters don’t seem particularly interested in ideological battles that have little impact on their core concerns about fixing the economy and creating jobs,” said ABC News’ political director Amy Walter.  “Democrats will also argue that talk of anemic support from their base, especially in the key battleground state of Ohio, has been overstated.”

The “personhood” measure in Mississippi was an ambiguously worded citizen-led initiative that defined human life as starting at “the moment of fertilization, cloning or the functional equivalent thereof.”  The measure would’ve restricted certain birth control methods and in-vitro fertilization treatment, and would’ve banned all abortion.  

Meanwhile in Ohio, labor groups won a surprising victory and defeated a ballot measure that attempted to cut back collective bargaining rights for union workers.

Issue 2 would’ve eliminated public employees’ rights to collectively bargain for health insurance and pensions, barred them from striking -- workers would’ve paid a price from their paycheck if they did so -- and curbed promotions based on seniority.  It would’ve also increased health care costs for workers.  Employees would have had to pay at least 15 percent of their health care premiums and allocate 10 percent of their salary for pensions.

Here are other results from Tuesday's elections:

Voting Rights:

-- As Mississippi passed a new law that would require voters to submit a government-sponsored photo ID before being allowed to vote, voters in Maine overwhelmingly voted against a ballot initiative -- Question 1 -- that would’ve required new voters to register to vote at least two business days prior to an election.  Under current law, voters can register on voting day.  Liberals had blasted the measure as an infringement on voters’ rights.

Gubernatorial Races:

-- In Mississippi, Republicans kept the gubernatorial seat.  Lt. Gov. Phil Bryant defeated Johnny DuPree, mayor of Hattiesburg.  Haley Barbour, Mississippi’s current governor, was barred from running again under the state’s term limit laws.

-- Democrats kept the governor’s seat in Kentucky, where incumbent Steve Beshear was vying for a second term.  In a state where President Obama’s popularity has plunged, Beshear’s win over rival David Williams is a boon to Democrats, who lost multiple states to Republicans last year and, in Kentucky, lost to unconventional candidates such as Rand Paul, who won a Senate seat in 2010.

Copyright 2011 ABC News Radio

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