Open Thread on Election Night

Share your voting experience – how long did you wait? Any interesting observations or conversations? Where and with whom are you watching election returns tonight?
Whatever thoughts you chose to share. Please if at all possible real names and locations highly preferred. The more specific you can be the better–remember you are writing comments for people in other locales that include other countries, etc.


Posted in * Culture-Watch, * Economics, Politics, Blogging & the Internet, US Presidential Election 2012

49 comments on “Open Thread on Election Night

  1. Bob Livingston says:

    I just voted. 1500 local. Made it between post-lunch and school out groups. Only waited 5 minutes. Took me longer than that to chat with all the election workers. I am running for Mayor of Lakeland Minnesota. It’s on the St. Croix River 5 miles south of Stillwater MN and forms part of the boundary between Minnesota and Wisconsin. Our city is just across the I-94 bridge from Hudson WI. The mayor’s race has been surprisingly tough and negative. I stayed away from that stuff and I think I’ll pull out a win. I’m probably going to watch the returns from my home with Blue, my 14 year old cocker spaniel. I’ll get most of the results on my computer from a county service that is very quick. I won’t comment on the Presidential race. If I tried, my description of both campaigns would not pass the censors.
    Bob Livingston

  2. Ross says:

    Washington State went 100% vote-by-mail a few years ago, so there are no polling places any more. I kind of miss them — it used to be a pleasant civic ritual to stop by the elementary school across the street from my house on my way to work, greet the volunteers, and fill out my ballot.

    As it is, I voted a week and a half ago, and mailed in my ballot. The online tracking system reports that my ballot has been received and my signature on the outer envelope verified.

    In addition to the presidential race, we also have a marriage-equality referendum on the ballot, and both sides have been doing vigorous get-out-the-vote campaigns. I expect turnout to be pretty high this year.

    I’m guessing that my votes are in opposition to most of the people who read T19; but regardless, I hope that everyone out there who is registered to vote, does so.

  3. Katherine says:

    Ross, I knew there was vote-by-mail in Washington but didn’t know it was universal. Interesting.

    Here in North Carolina, something between 40%-45% of people voted early, either by absentee ballot (mail) or in-person early voting. Nonetheless my north Raleigh polling place has been busy. Early indications were that Republicans were energized here, and that’s what it looked like to me (I was there 2.5 hours handing out voting guides).

  4. Emerson Champion says:

    In Maryland, especially in Anne Arundel County, there were a lot of ballot questions. There were quite a few reports of very long line during the early voting days, so we went when the polls opened at 7:00 a.m. Though there were probably over 100 people in line at our polling place, we were out of there by 7:30 a.m.

    Since Maryland is a safe state for the Democrats, there was very little local advertising for the President or most of the Democratic office holders. Most of the campaign advertising had to do with 4 statewide ballot questions concerning redistricting, in-state tuition for illegal aliens, same-sex marriage, and table games in existing casinos/adding a new casino in Prince George County.

  5. Karen B. says:

    I was in the US for a conference the week of Oct. 14 – 21, including 2 nights at my US residence in Charlotte, NC. So I was able to take advantage of early voting and vote in person at our local library branch on Sat. Oct. 20. I had to wait in line for over an hour! My first time voting in NC. It was fun to chat with people in line (it was a gorgeous sunny day that afternoon), and I also got a chance to register for a library card while waiting – a twofer.

    My brother voted in person today in Charlotte, and he had only a 5 minute wait.

    I’ll be staying up as late tonight as I can to watch election returns on the computer. Our internet is terrible today, so probably no online streaming… just text based news I think. The embassy was hosting an election watching party tonight, but I chose not to go.

    I’ve really got no sense which way the election will go. I do think it could go into overtime ala 2000 due to voting controversies or states that are too close to call and trigger automatic recounts. We’ll see.

    It was very weird being here in Africa for the 2000 recount and Florida fiasco. I was a Florida resident back then, and had voted in Palm Beach County of all things (by absentee ballot, so no hanging chads for me.) I went to the Embassy election night party that year, and we all left at 1 a.m. local time when FL was called for Gore, thus giving him a presumed lock on the electoral college. But then we woke up to Voice of America on the shortwave radio (little to no internet here then) telling us that BUSH had won… and then of course the news that NO ONE was a clear winner and there would be a recount.

    In 2008 I went to bed before election returns were in, only to be woken up at about 2 in the morning by all the honking and cheers in the street when Obama was declared the winner. I was sleeping and all my African neighbors were following the results on TV or Radio!!!

    This year my local friends seem less interested in or concerned about the election. Those who’ve talked to me about the election seem mixed in terms of who they want to win. Some still support Obama, but others have clear concerns about him and have told me they’re hoping Romney wins.

  6. RalphM says:

    Northern Va, Fairfax County – 11:00 AM, took about 20 minutes total, but only because the wife and I opted for the paper ballot. Five electronic machines and about 10 tables for filling out paper ballots – there were probably 50 or more in line for the electronic option. I asked the poll worker at the exit door how it had been. His reply was there had been a line all morning, but that at 6AM it had been a very long line waiting to vote.

    Northern VA gets listed as the blue part of the state, but Romney signs outnumber Obama signs in yards about 10 to one. TBD.

  7. Karen B. says:

    One of my favorite ways to follow the election from here in Africa is the BBC Live Text page.

    Here are the 3 latest entries.

    [blockquote]NBC’s Sarah Huisenga tweets: “Romney says he’s ‘only written one speech at this point’… says it’s ‘a victory speech. It’s about 1,118 words.'”

    The BBC’s Simon Pitts at the US embassy in London reports that the Statue of Liberty and a statue of Elvis are “on greeting duties”.

    Asked by a media gaggle on his plane how it felt to see his name on the ballot, Romney said: “That was quite a moment. We’ve been working for this a long long time and to be on the ballot for the president of the United States is very humbling… I hope that I have the chance to serve.”[/blockquote]

    I like that quote from Romney. Indeed the Presidency is a VERY humbling thing to contemplate!

  8. Karen B. says:

    An interesting TWITTER factoid from the WSJ live election blog:

    The Election Comes to Twitter

    Shira Ovide:

    For Election Day–like any big event these days–people took to Twitter, Facebook and other social-media services to document their votes, grumble about long lines at the polls and make last-minute pitches for their favored candidates. After all, if you didn’t relay your vote on Twitter, did the election actually happen?

    At about 3:30 p.m., Twitter reported that its users had posted about 1.4 million posts, or tweets, with the hashtag “#ivoted” or similar terms. Twitter said the pace of broader election-related tweets so far has reached a peak of about 15,000 tweets per minute at 2 p.m. Eastern Time. That compares with a top election-season peak until Tuesday of around 150,000 tweets per minute during the October presidential debate in Denver.

  9. Katherine says:

    My daughter arrived at her polling place in Fairfax, VA, at 6 a.m., waited outside in sub-zero weather for thirty minutes and then twenty minutes inside before getting her ballot.

    At this point Drudge has exit poll state results. I do not believe exit polls for predicting state results. Watch the numbers roll in instead.

  10. Karen B. says:

    From the WSJ live blog…

    [blockquote]No television around tonight? No problem. The Empire State building will display CNN’s projections of states and electoral votes on its spire tonight, the network says. The tower’s mast will be “lit in blue and in red on two sides each to represent President Obama and Gov. Romney’s respective electoral vote totals,” CNN said in a release.[/blockquote]

    Maybe this will help all the folks in North Jersey still without electricity to follow the results?!?! LOL! (actually NOT laughing, I have a number of good friends, including some quite elderly, in NJ who have suffered greatly from the cold and the lack of power in Sandy’s aftermath.)

  11. Karen B. says:

    I see ABCNews’ website is calling South Carolina for Romney now. No surprise of course, but still a bit startling given that the current reported vote tally (with 1% reporting) shows this:



    I had to look hard at those numbers for a second. It would be like saying 75% of the Diocese of SC supported KJS in her battle over +Mark Lawrence, I don’t think so!

  12. Lynne says:

    Voted early in Florida–parking lot full, and we waited about 1/2 hour in line. Pleasant experience.

  13. Kendall Harmon says:

    #1 I really appreciate your sharing. Very interesting stuff.

  14. Kendall Harmon says:

    99% of precincts reporting in bellwether Vigo County, Indiana: Obama 49.3%, Romney 48.8%

    Vigo voted 53% Bush in 2004 and 57% for Obama in 2008.

    Talk about close.

  15. Karen B. says:

    Interesting to see that there’s still such a big difference in how the TV Networks vs. the “print media” call the states. ABC is much more agressive (and so is the BBC site I’m following). The NYT, WSJ and WaPo sites are generally waiting for the Assoc. Press to call a state, so their electoral vote counts are significantly lower. Interesting…

  16. Kendall Harmon says:

    Lots of Calls now

    Romney wins: Okla; Obama wins: Conn., Md, Del, DC, Ill, Mass, Maine, RI

  17. Tory+ says:

    Elizabeth and I stood in line for an hour+ this morning. Not nearly as long in 2008. Indeed, we have never done that before in Fairfax, CO. And we vote every election. NOVA is about 55/45% Dem/Rep. This kind of voter turn out seems to favor Dems, at least in this part of the state. Though the Republicans I speak to seem very confident. Hard to read.

    I have never seen an election that appears to be this close and such variation in polls. WP certainly favors Obama and quotes all the polls that favor him. Smells fishy. I think if Romney wins VA and OH, he will win it all. Those are the states I am watching particularly closely.

  18. MattJP says:

    I took my “mail-in ballot” down to city hall in Battle Ground, Wash. today. No lines in sight but there were multiple drop-off locations in town. I’ve mailed it in in years past but it was a good experience to drop my ballot off in the box in our city hall. May the best man win!

  19. Karen B. says:

    LOL! Here’s an awesome tweet sent to the BBC Election coverage page by a reader. LOVE IT!!!

    Kate Dailey, BBC News

    tweets: Hug your spouse. Play with a puppy. Learn to knit. But avoid trying to decode exit poll “clues”. That way lies madness.

  20. Vatican Watcher says:

    In Iowa City, IA.
    Voted today in the early PM at the local elementary school. Always fun with kids around walking behind while filling out the ballot.
    Only waited in line a few minutes.
    No major state wide issues this year and no senators up for reelection. Aside from the presidency, the only big thing is the GOP has been pushing for a no vote on the retention of the only supreme court justice up this time around who voted for same sex marriage a few years ago.

  21. Ross says:

    Early returns (approx. 20% in) are looking good for Romney in Virginia, and for Obama in Ohio. Florida is reporting steadily (a little over half the vote counted right now) and the lead keeps flipping back and forth; it’s very close.

  22. Karen B. says:

    So… looking at the map on the NYT page

    As of now (just after 08:30 pm Eastern), so far only one state that has been called has changed columns from the 2008 Election. That’s Indiana.

    All the excitement is yet ahead…

  23. Pageantmaster Ù† says:

    The BBC are taking ABC’s poll calls, Sky are sampling several other News networks. I have given up on BBC who as usual are engaging in [their own] wishful thinking, but am flicking between Sky who are aggregating news, and Al Jazeera who as usual have spent any amount of money on buying the best journalists and coverage.

    Prayers for good governance to come out of this close election.

  24. revdb says:

    Watching the returns with my adult grandson and hoping that we can continue to show the world a fair election with fair treatment of all people who arrive at the polls to vote. Yes we need to be sure that all who vote are properly qualified, but we should never discourage the voting of any qualified citizen.

  25. Pageantmaster Ù† says:

    I am scratching my head on those calling results based on 1 or 2 percent returns.

  26. Karen B. says:

    Both FL and NC currently at 50% – 49% (with FL showing Obama up by 1% and NC showing Romney up by 1%), both states with significant portions of the vote counted. (nearly 60% for each)

    I’m glad I never was a nailbiter… I’d have bleeding fingers by now!

  27. Katherine says:

    Try watching [url=]RealClearPolitics[/url] for raw votes and calls as this develops. Nice one-page summary.

  28. Karen B. says:

    Hmmm. FL could get ugly. WaPo is reporting this

    [blockquote]Nov. 6 — FLORIDA — Steaming, hundreds of voters in line watch polls close on them. Some 300 people were still in line at Ronald Reagan High School in the Miami suburb of Doral when the doors shut, even though voters arriving before 7 p.m. were entitled to vote, the Miami Herald reported. Some precincts in Broward County, to the north, halted when ballots ran out. Many voters gave up rather than weather six-hour lines. See the full story. [/blockquote]

    and Nate Silver at the NYT has this:

    [blockquote]A Close Race in Florida

    In the final pre-election forecast at FiveThirtyEight, the state of Florida was exceptionally close. Officially, Mr. Obama was projected to 49.797 percent of the vote there, and Mr. Romney 49.775 percent, a difference of two-hundredths of a percentage point. [/blockquote]

  29. Karen B. says:

    Wow, the ABC raw data for FL is currently showing these totals:

    Obama (D)
    Romney (R)

    that’s right. about 300 votes difference between the two, with about 75% counted.

  30. Teatime2 says:

    I’m in West Texas — no swing state or mystery here at. My son and I voted about 4 pm. The polling place was doing brisk business. I live in a diverse, working class precinct, prolly a bit more balanced btw blue and red.

    A bit of fun — our city bus service provided rides to the polls and a city van showed up with some folks, including a blind man who had a rather energetic service dog with him. The golden retriever mix got loose and happily trotted around the polling place. He came to see me and get a pat on the head before the van driver decided it would be a good idea to take him for a walk while his master voted and before they loaded up the van and got everyone back home, lol.

    We headed home after stopping at the Natural Grocers to pick up some snacks. Love their selection of cheeses, hummus, etc. I was invited to an election watching party but am glad I declined — that actual party was covered on the local tv news! Ugh …

  31. Karen B. says:

    SURPRISE: Networks look to be calling PA for Obama with only 9% of the vote in. I’m quite surprised by that, and that is BIG news for Obama, if it holds.

  32. Karen B. says:

    Some now are calling Wisconsin for Pres. Obama. Another tough call for Romney. But, I was just playing with the electoral map.

    Romney could still lose NH and Ohio, but TIE the electoral vote at 269 – 269 if he wins FL, NC, VA, IA, CO and NV.

    I predict he will win all of those EXCEPT IA, thus giving Obama the election at 275 / 263.

    We shall see….

    I’m getting pretty sleepy here (it’s 2:45 a.m. in my time zone). Don’t know how much longer I’ll be awake.

  33. Teatime2 says:

    KarenB, it’s not big news. If PA went for a GOP prez candidate, then THAT would be big news. On tv here, they’re talking about that.

    Personally, I’m encouraged that an Independent beat both the Dem. and GOP candidates for Olympia Snowe’s Senate seat! Yay! Time to chip away at the 2-party stranglehold.

  34. Kendall Harmon says:

    iIs about the three swing states I thought it would be about, and the electoral math hugely favors Obama. The President at 90’s now on Intrade.

    Romney’s only shot was to gain all three and it looks well nigh impossible from here.

  35. Karen B. says:

    Looking very grim for Romney. I just hate that CA has 55 electoral votes and that it’s winner take all… Basically it’s a huge lead right from the start for the Dems. Sigh. But that’s a debate for another day.

    I’m going to watch for another 30 min max and then get a few hours of sleep.

  36. Scatcatpdx says:

    I beginning to wonder how I can live a life of an international wanderer and ex pat. I am wonder is America going more to European socialist democracy. When I die I wan buried in international waters.

    I will be re re registering as an independent “refusenik” I am tired of the conserve wing of the GOP and just don not care about America I got my life to live.

  37. Karen B. says:

    Closing in on 90% of FL vote counted acc. to Real Clear Politics, and Obama has been holding on to a .6% lead pretty consistently for awhile now.

    Am I right in remembering that .5% is the cut off for a mandatory recount in FL?

  38. Karen B. says:

    Wow. FL, NC, VA all at 50 – 49 with 75% + of the vote counted in those states.
    OH at 50-48 with 65%+ counted

    If these all stay this close or even tighten up, we could have recounts in several states. And even if we don’t have recounts this near 50-50% split continues to bode TERRIBLE things for moving forward in a constructive way.

    I’m very sad tonight as I don’t think this looks like a good outcome for ANYONE right now.

  39. Milton Finch says:

    Yes, KarenB. One half of a percent difference triggers an automatic recount in Florida.

  40. Karen B. says:

    Given the razor thin margins in several states, it’s safe to say 3rd party candidates perhaps made a crucial difference. And also the Hurricane Sandy “bounce” for Pres. Obama.

  41. Pageantmaster Ù† says:

    Well, I have been watching Ohio on Katherine’s Link at #27 with interest. At 75% counted it was declared for Obama with a 1% lead. Now at 82% counted, Romney is 0.5% ahead at 49.4%. It seems that is 18 votes and there are close votes in Virginia and Florida and quite a lot of undeclared results. What is one to make of it? Over here we declare results when they have been counted.

  42. Pageantmaster Ù† says:

    He he – Ohio results have flipped back the other way at 87% counted.

  43. Ross says:

    By my math, with Colorado going for Obama, it doesn’t matter even if Ohio goes back to Romney — not even if Florida and Virginia also break for him. He’d still only end up with 266.

    Even Fox News has called it at this point.

  44. Pageantmaster Ù† says:

    It does look as if the President has a 3% lead in Colorado…with half the votes counted, but perhaps Americans are more statistically obedient than we are.

  45. Pageantmaster Ù† says:

    What now looks like a clear result, and some gracious speeches. Prayers that the US will have good governance and get to grips with its problem finances. I was shocked to learn today that servicing interest payments costs twice what is spent on educating children.

  46. Katherine says:

    Pageantmaster, we appreciate your prayers, but with these election results we are unlikely to get good governance or clear thinking on our financial problems. We may drag the rest of the world down with us. We had a chance, and we have thrown it away.

  47. Kendall Harmon says:

    Vigo County, Indiana, remains amazing to me. They have gotten it right every time since Eisenhower.

    Final vote there–18,474 for Obama; 18,312 for Romney

  48. Kendall Harmon says:

    Congratulations to poster #1

    He was elected Mayor with 49% of the vote.

  49. Kendall Harmon says:

    I should note for the record that Intrade completely nailed this final result.