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Election Day Live: Obama Called Winner, Big Night for Drug Reform

Today's the day. Follow AlterNet for election coverage.

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Virginia does not have early voting. 

12:15 PM: We may not have the results from this election for a while. Nate Cohn  wrote about how the popular vote can take quite a while to come into focus:

With the West Coast providing the margin of victory for any Democratic candidate in a close election, Republican presidential candidates outperform their eventual share of the popular vote until the West Coast reports its results. In 2008, California, Washington, and Oregon voted for Obama by a 4 million-vote margin, representing nearly half of his national popular vote victory.

But the time zones are not alone in delaying results from Washington, Oregon, and California. In most eastern states, the overwhelming majority of votes are counted by the end of Election Night, since only a small share of absentee or overseas ballots arrive after the election. But elections in Washington and Oregon are now conducted entirely by mail and 41 percent of California voters voted by mail in 2008. In some states, ballots only need to be postmarked by Election Day and it can take days before all of the votes arrive and weeks before they get counted, usually in modest batches once or twice a day....

As a result, initial returns and derived estimates can significantly underestimate the final Democratic share of the popular vote. Even though Obama ultimately won 53.6 percent of the two party vote in 2008, Obama and McCain were still deadlocked at 50 percent when the networks projected Ohio for Obama. When the 11PM poll closings gave Obama his 270thelectoral vote, the new president-elect only held 51.5 percent of the two party vote, even though California had already tabulated and reported many of its early votes. By the time Katie Couric signed off from CBS News sometime after Indiana was called at 2:10 AM, Obama held 52.5 percent of the two party vote—a margin two points short of his eventual victory.

And the New York Times  looks at what would happen if it comes down to the wire in Ohio:

Ohio, like several of the other battleground states that are expected to determine the outcome of the election, has a labyrinthine  recount procedure that ensures weeks of delay and the likelihood of a mountain of lawsuits.

Election officials and election law experts are praying for a result here that Daniel P. Tokaji, a law professor at Ohio State University, described as “outside the margin of litigation.”

What sets Ohio apart is the large number of provisional ballots — those that election officials could not verify on Election Day for any number of reasons: because the voter had a new address, did not provide proper identification, did not appear in the state’s computerized voter registry or had requested an absentee ballot and turned up at the polls on Election Day. Under federal law, voters whose eligibility cannot be verified at the polling place must be allowed to cast at least a provisional ballot; such ballots must be counted if election officials later confirm that the voter is legitimate.

On the other hand, Obama seems to have enjoyed a late surge in the national polls, and it may well turn out to be “outside the margin of litigation.”

 

11:43 AM Early this morning county officials in Pennsylvania received complaints that Republicans were intercepting voters on their way to a polling station in Allegheny County and lying to them about voter ID requirements. Voters are not actually required to show ID to vote there and a Judge just handed down an order prohibiting electioneering. From the Pittsburg-Tribune:

 
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