Election Day Live: Obama Called Winner, Big Night for Drug Reform
Today's the day. We've reached the end of a long, brutal campaign season. 2012's Presidential race saw nasty character attacks and shameless deceptions; wide-scale voter suppression efforts; the purchase of our democracy by obscene wealth thanks to Citizens United (and way too much Donald Trump). As we round the final stretch, AlterNet will be updating all day to keep you up on congressional races, ballot initiatives, voting issues, and everything else you need to know, so check back in!
11:40 Marijuana initiatives appear to pass in Washington, Colorado and Massachusetts
Stop the Drug war says the news looks like a clean sweep for drug reform.
11:13 PM NBC projects Obama as the winner
per NBC news.
10:41 Progressive Alan Grayson called winner for House Race
10:07 Obama Romney tied at 162 Electoral Votes
Per NBC news. Claire McCaskill declared the winner by Fox News.
9:56 Obama called winner in New Hampshire
Big first swing state victory declared by NBC news. Florida's Bill Nelson and Connecticut's Chris Murphy called winners for the US Senate by the networks
9:38 Tammy Baldwin called the winner in Wisconsin
Obama called the winner of Wisconsin, Tommy Thompson loses to Tammy Baldwin, a progressive pick-up for Democrats.
9:32 NBC with a new electoral vote tally
158 Obama to 153 for Romney, says NBC. FoxNews declares Sherrod Brown the winner in Ohio and Donnelly the winner over Mourdock in Indiana.
9:15 Fox News calls Pennsylvania for Obama & More
9:02: CNN with new results
8:34 CNN has Romney with 73 and Obama with 64
Many key battleground states too close to call.
8:02: CNN has new Electoral Vote talliies
7:53: More early states for Romney
Mitt Romney has carried West Virginia, and South Carolina Fox News projects.
7:20: Indiana awarded to Romney
NBC News reports that Romney has enough votes to win Indiana.
7:17: First electoral votes results announced
Obama awarded Vermont's 3 electoral votes, Romney Kentucky's 8 on the NYT Big-Board
7:12 Mourdock in Trouble in indiana
GOP Sen. Candidate Mourdock is getting weak numbers in rural districts of Indiana.
6:32 PM: Indiana+Kentucky early numbers
We've got presidential numbers for Indiana and Kentucky, and Indiana's Senate race.
6:22 GOP knives coming out early?
Chris Christie has attacked "know-nothing disgruntled Romney staffers" after the sparks flew over the NJ Gov.'s focus on the aftermath of the storm that devasted the Northeast, according to a new article by AlterNet's Laura Gottesdiener.
6:13 Run-Down on Where Obama Holds the Early Voting Advantage
AlterNet's Alex Kane writes that Obama and the Democrats hold the early voting advantage in Florida, Iowa and Nevada."
AlterNet's Lynn Parramore writes that the "early voting favors Obama, but (notoriously unreliable) early exit polls show a possible Romney swing."
6:06 No Parking for Democrats
In SW Pennsylvania, Mother Jones reports:
Early this afternoon in Charleroi, Pennsylvania, there were five signs in place aimed at stopping Democrats from parking near a polling station, according to Pennsylvania voters Erica Gust and Lori Marks. One read: "NO PARKING FOR DEMOCRATS - WALK THAT WILL BE THE MOST WORK YOU DO ALL DAY." The signs were mounted on barricades—one directly in front of the polling place entrance. According to Gust, who snapped the enclosed photo with her smartphone, when she returned later in the afternoon, the sign directly in front of the entrance had been removed, but the four others remained. The polling place is on Van Vorrhis in Fallowfield Township, in southwest Pennsylvania.
5:27 Nate Silver doing alright.
Despite incurring the wrath of the intellectual heavyweights who make up the right-wing blogosphere, Nate Silver is still the go-to polling guy in this election. The New Republic reports that a staggering 20 percent of the New York Times' traffic came from Silver's FiveThirtyEight blog yesterday:
Earlier this year, approximately 1 percent of visits to the New York Times included FiveThirtyEight. Last week, that number was 13 percent. Yesterday, it was 20 percent. That is, one in five visitors to the sixth-most-trafficked U.S. news site took a look at Silver’s blog.
4:44 Conservatives Outraged About Something Legitimate
There's been quite a bit of silly outrage over nothing from the right today, but this one was a legitimate beef. CBS:
Local Republicans went to court to have a judge order a mural of President Obama covered up at the Ben Franklin Elementary School polling place in the Northeast Philadelphia.
The Judge of Elections in this district says the mural has been there for several years and it was an oversight.
Officials with the City Commissioner’s Office say the mural has since been covered.
4:37 Update to Romney-Loving Voting Machine Story Below
Experts say that machine was poorly calibrated. It has since been recalibrated and is back online, according to Mother Jones.
4:25 Confusion in PA
Phildelphia City Paper reports:
Many Philadelphians who believed they were registered to vote received a surprise today: Their names weren't in the voting book at their polling place. As a result, they were asked to vote by provisional paper ballot. Committee of Seventy now sees the issue of registered voters being required to vote by provisional ballot as being an even greater concern than voter-ID-related problems at the polls today. They've been getting reports that many voters, recently registered, aren't listed in the poll books, and some voters have left rather than cast a paper ballot.
We're also hearing that Pennsylvania's bizarre voter ID situation -- poll workers can ask for ID but voters don't have to provide it -- is causing a lot of confusion. Steve Rosenfeld is rounding up the latest poll issues around the country -- we'll have that for you soon.
3:22 Ohio Viewers Hit By Anti-Obama TV ‘Special’ On Election Eve
"If you live in or around Columbus, Ohio, and were watching TV last night, you may have seen a local news team presenting some peculiar analysis of the presidential race. ABC affiliate WSYX in Columbus aired a half-hour “election special” twice on Monday night — first at 6:30 p.m. instead of World News with Diane Sawyer, and later at 11:30 p.m., during the slot normally held by Nightline. Rather than a side by side comparison of the two major party candidates, however, the special featured some of the most partisan criticisms of President Barack Obama, and spent relatively little time examining Republican nominee Mitt Romney."
3:20: Final Poll Closing Times in Eastern Time:
7:00 pm: GA, IN, KY, SC, VT, VA
7:30 pm: NC, OH, WV
8:00 pm: AL, CT, DE, DC, FL, IL, ME, MD, MA, MS, MO, NH, NJ, OK, PA, RI, TN
8:30 pm: AR
9:00 pm: AZ, CO, KS, LA, MI, MN, NE, NM, NY, ND, SD, TX, WI, WY
10:00 pm: IA, MT, NV, UT
11:00 pm: CA, HI, ID, OR, WA
1:00 am: AK
3:12 BREAKING: Court Rejects Last-Minute Bid To Block Ohio From Using Software Patch on Voting Machines
A federal judge refused to grant a temporary restraining order in Ohio, which is the center of the political universe today. AlterNet's Steve Rosenfeld has the story.
3:06: The Misinformation Continues in Florida (h/t to Daily Kos).
The Tampa Bay Times reports:
An hour after polls opened Tuesday morning, the Pinellas County Supervisor of Elections Office mistakenly placed hundreds — possibly thousands — of automatic calls to voters instructing them that they had until 7 p.m. Wednesday to vote.
But that is wrong. Polls close at 7 p.m. Tuesday. Any ballots turned in after that time won't be accepted.
2:47 Wingnut Email from the Koch Brothers
Newsmax, the crown zirconia of Outer Wingnuttia publications, is hoping to cash in on an Election Day e-mail that features David Koch making dire predictions for the future of America should President Barack Obama win a second term.
One of the richest men in America, Koch is executive vice president of Koch Industries and co-founder with his brother Charles of the powerful political advocacy group Americans for Prosperity, which has played a major role in present-day American politics.
In this election year, Americans for Prosperity has raised an estimated $150 million and unleashed a barrage of television ads and a high-tech voter mobilization drive in key battleground states. And Koch has personally hosted a fundraiser for Romney at his home on Long Island.
Koch fears that inflation could be on the horizon.
“The Federal Reserve is creating money to buy these Treasury bonds, and if that policy continues for too long, we’re going to start to see inflation.
“We can have runaway inflation at some point in time,” which will drive up the interest rate on the national debt to perhaps 9 percent. “That’s absolutely unsustainable,” he added.
Koch and his organization have become a lightning rod this political year. President Obama, for example, called Koch and his brother “secretive oil billionaires.”
But Koch is not about to back down.
“What bothers me about [Obama] is that he seems to be anti-business,” Koch told Newsmax. “Business provides 3 out of every 4 jobs in our economy, and gosh, does he attack business just relentlessly.”
2:37 Break-In At Obama Campaign Office in Washington State
This is a breaking story and it's too early to say if it was politically motivated. Washington Post:
According to reports from Seattle, the Washington state Democrats said someone broke into their campaign headquarters Monday night. Brian M. Rosenthal, a Seattle Times reporter, wrote on Twitter that the office was the state headquarters for President Obama’s and Washington state gubernatorial candidate Jay Inslee’s campaigns.
2:22 Confusing Voters in CT
Republican Linda McMahon is running for a Senate seat against Democrat Chris Murphy in a deep blue state, and she's trying to do everything in her power to distance herself from Mitt Romney and her party. Last week she urged black voters to support her and Obama. And now, the Connecticut Mirror reports:
The U.S. Senate campaign of Republican Linda McMahon outfitted its urban poll standers today in purple T-shirts styled after those worn by SEIU, the liberal union that is backing Democrat Chris Murphy.
"It clearly is a rip off of our shirts," said Paul Filson, the political director of SEIU, which represents many minority health care workers. "It definitely is confusing."
The shirts are part of an effort by McMahon to blunt the urban vote Murphy needs in Hartford, Bridgeport and New Haven, where her workers also have left literature urging a vote for Obama and McMahon.
"There are thousands of Democrats across the state of Connecticut who are supporting President Obama that are also supporting Linda McMahon today. We want to make sure their voices are heard," said Corry Bliss, her campaign manager.
He did not deny the similarity to SEIU garb.
Filson said SEIU has about 500 members working today to get out the vote for Obama and Murphy, many also wearing purple T-shirts.
2:05 Voting Mitt-function
A voter captured video of a Pennsylvania electronic voting maching that picks Mitt Romney, despite repeated attempts by the operator to choose Barack Obama. The machine has been taken out of service, but as Think Progress points out, there's no way to know if it skewed any other votes towards Romney.
1: 58 PM GOPer compares opponent to a deer?
Faced with winning a race for U.S. Senate that is proving to be far more difficult than he expected it to be, former Wisconsin governor Tommy Thompson has found himself prone tobullying gaffes of the sort he made yesterday, at a stop in La Crosse at the Mid City Steel plant. From the La Crosse Tribune:
Thompson joked while talking to workers at the La Crosse steel fabricator that he got a deer even before the [hunting] season opener. Actually it was one of his campaign cars; he said he was riding in the bus behind it when the crash happened early Sunday near Shawano.
1:32 Has Romney given up on Ohio?
Michael Falcone writes that Romney seems to have given up on Ohio, and is now focusing his energy on Pennsylvania:
All the body language from the Romney campaign suggests that they see Ohio as a long-shot. Instead, it is now Pennsylvania that paves their path to 270. The Keystone state has eluded plenty of industrious and hopeful Republicans before Romney. While the western and central parts of the state tilt red, the city of Philadelphia and its sprawling and populous suburbs are the key to winning the state. And, those Philly suburbs, once a GOP bastion, have been voting Democratic for the last dozen years.
Fox News pundit Sean Hannity was excited to share his vote today, tweeting a picture of his ballot. Hannity's enthusiasm may have broken the law though, writes Think Progress:
This may be a misdemeanor under New York Stateelections law which prohibits voters from showing a ballot “after it is prepared for voting, to any person so as to reveal the contents.”
12:55 Zip to the polls!
Time to zip on over to the polls. Grist reported this morning that Zipcar is offering half price on cars today to help get you to the polls. Jess Zimmerman writes:
Hate all politicians? Your excuse sucks. Think your vote doesn’t matter? Your excuse sucks. Don’t have reliable transportation to your polling place? Your excuse … is actually pretty valid. But never fear, because Zipcar is offering half-price reservations today to help you get out and vote.
You don’t have to vote to get the discount — you have to vote in order to be a responsible citizen and a decent human being, but for the cheap Zipcar you just have to be a member and make a reservation between 5 a.m. and 9 p.m. Pricing depends on where you live, but with the discount, cars will probably be $3 to $4 per hour.
12:43 PM Alabama on racially tinged language?
Around 170 ballot measures will be put to voters today. Among the most interesting is a measure in Alabama that would remove racially tinged language about segregation from the state's constitution. Ballotpedia:
The Alabama Segregation Reference Ban Amendment, also known as Amendment 4, will appear on the November 6, 2012 ballot in the state of Alabama as a legislatively-referred constitutional amendment.
The measure would remove language from the Alabama Constitutionthat references segregation by race in schools. The measure would also repeal Section 259, which relates to poll taxes. The proposed ballot measure was introduced during 2011 state legislative session. The proposal's formal title is Senate Bill 112.
The vote was so close -- a margin of 1,850 votes out of 1.38 million -- that an automatic recount will take place Monday. But, with few expecting the results to change, the amendment's saga has dragged Alabama into a confrontation with its segregationist past that illuminates the sometimes uneasy race relations of its present.
"There are people here who are still fighting the Civil War," said Tommy Woods, 63, a deacon at Bethel and a retired school administrator. "They're holding on to things that are long since past. It's almost like a religion."
There are competing theories about the defeat of Amendment 2, the measure that would have taken "colored children" and segregated schools out of Alabama's constitution.
12:38 PM What about parts of the country ravaged by Sandy?
Hurricance Sandy has left disaster in its wake up and down the Eastern seaboard, with many residents in New Jersey and New York struggling to survive without electricity, gas or adequate access to food -- hardly the ideal scenario to get out the vote. Officials have taken steps to avoid mass disenfranchisement in the area, such as allowing voters cast out of their homes to use provisional ballots, while New Jersey is letting people vote through fax or email. Here is the NYT on some early reports from New York today:
At several polling sites in New York City the vote scanning machines being used for the first time in a presidential election malfunctioned, forcing workers to resort to paper ballots and slowing the process even more.
On the Upper West Side of Manhattan, hundreds of voters waited on the sidewalk and packed into a gym at Public School 163. Voters had to wait in different lines to determine their election district, to get a ballot, to fill out the ballot and to get the ballot scanned. The process took an hour. There was no help for the disabled, and people grew increasingly upset.
Across the storm-damaged region on Monday, bleary-eyed, disheveled residents drove long distances and waited in long lines at government offices to cast early ballots, and many said voting felt like an important step back toward normalcy.
On Tuesday, the line to vote at an East Village polling station extended half a block down First Avenue and rapidly built westward on Ninth Street. By 8:40 a.m. at least 175 people were patiently reading papers, manipulating smartphones and drinking coffee, advancing not even a foot a minute.
12:21 PM: Voters are reporting long lines around the country. In Virginia, a crucial swing state, there were early reports of long waits that may have discouraged people from voting.
The Election Awareness project, operated by the Electronic Frontier Foundation, received this complaint from a woman in Virginia:
Voter is frustrated because she has been standing in line to vote for two hours. The polling place does not have enough machines to accommodate the number of people that they knew would be voting today. She thinks this is a voter intimindation problem. The polling place is in a minority neighborhood with lots of elderly and single mothers. People are leaving the polls because they have to vote - "something has to be done". Outrageous. She wants something to be done about this polling place. Salem Middle School - Virginia Beach, VA (near Lynn Haven Parkway).
The Wall Street Journal writes that some Virginians were discouraged by the long lines:
At nearby Stonewall Jackson High School, some people went away without voting Tuesday morning due to long lines, said Amy Myers, who works with Organizing for America and was standing outside the polling site telling voters she could help with problems. “We had some people say they waited an hour and 15 minutes,” Ms. Myers said. “And lots of people walk away because they can’t wait that long.” After 9 a.m., she said the lines appeared to be moving faster.
A commentor on a sports blog who said they were from Arlington, Virginia, observed the following:
My voting station was a couple of blocks away at an elementary school. The line was wrapped around the playground... after waiting in line in the 35-degree temperatures outside, we finally got inside, where the line meandered around the gym like a line at Disney World.
More than a two hour wait. This is a very heavy 'Democratic-leaning' area, and four years ago I only waited about 45 minutes. So I'm interested in what this turn out means. I guess we'll find out.
A few other glitches in the state according to the AP and CBSDC:
Power outages briefly disrupted voting at at least three polling places in Eastern Henrico. Dominion Power says all electricity was restored by 7:41 a.m.
In Spotsylvania, election official John Adams says one precinct had machines available only for one of two congressional districts. Additional machines were brought in.
The Grayson County Voter Registrar’s office says a poll worker made a mistake setting up voting machines at one precinct.
Malfunctioning ballot counting machines were reported at a polling place in Newport News.
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:
The order states: “Individuals outside the polls are prohibited from questioning, obstructing, interrogating or asking about any form of identification and/demanding any form of identification from any prospective voter.”
Allegheny County Common Pleas Judge Guido A. DeAngelis, one of two judges overseeing Elections Court, issued the order and said such actions by partisans “could have a chilling effect” on voting.
Common Pleas Judge Jeffrey A. Manning, who also is overseeing the court this morning, said the only people permitted to ask for ID are the poll workers inside the voting locations.
Poll watchers will ask for photo ID, but voters need not show identification for this year’s election.
Voters who encounter irregularities at the polls can report them by calling 412-350-5466 or 877-868-3772.
11: 27 AM Fox does what it does best: scaring conservative white people with alarming invented tales of urban blacks. This morning they brought back their favorite bogey man from the last election, the Black Panther. From TPM:
Fox News reported on Tuesday morning that a member of the New Black Panther Party showed up at a polling place in Philadelphia at the same location where a member was spotted carrying a nightstick in 2008. Fox's video didn't show the member carrying any weapons this year but did show him opening the door for a voter.
11:07 AM: Reports of egregiously race-based voter intimidation efforts:
We have received information that strongly suggests the Republican Party, under the guise of combating alleged voter fraud, has assigned Election Day poll watchers disproportionately to majority African-American precincts in Allegheny County. We are in receipt of a partial list of targeted precincts that was distributed at a poll watcher training conducted by the Pittsburgh Tea Party Movement. The Pittsburgh Tea Party Movement conducted this training, on behalf of the Republican Party, as part of its program to combat alleged voter fraud in Allegheny County. We understand the Republican Party has targeted approximately 111, out of a total 1,319 precincts, in that county. The partial list, which is attached hereto as Exhibit A, includes 59 of the total 111 precincts targeted by the Republican Party. We are unaware of any history of voter fraud at any of these 59 locations. We are concerned that these locations are being targeted for impermissible, racially-motivated reasons.
(From a letter addressed to Assistant US Attorney General Thomas E. Perez, by the Service Employees International Union (SEIU), Common Cause, The Advancement Project, The Lawyers Committee for Civil Rights Under Law and the ACLU).
10:30 AM: In recent elections Republicans have sounded the alarm over voter fraud, mostly as a cover and justification for voter suppression efforts like draconian ID laws that disproportionately impact minorities. One inconvenient fact of this strategy is that fraud is so rare it's almost non-existant. Also, recent cases have mostly involved Republicans. Yesterday, Clackamas County, Ore, announced that they caught a registered Republican poll worker altering ballots:
Swenson, who is registered as a Republican, also worked previous elections, at least back to 2010, said Scot Sideras, county counsel.
Swenson is accused of filling in the names of Republican candidates on ballots where voters did not make a choice. Tampering with ballots is a Class C felony punishable by up to five years in prison and a fine of $125,000.
10:25 AM: Poll expert Nate Silver gives Obama a 91.6% chance of winning today. "Whether because of Hurricane Sandy, the relatively good economic news of late, or other factors, Mr. Obama appears to have gained ground in the closing days of the race." Silver writes on his NYT blog fivethirtyeight.
(Silver also had some choice words for America's pundits last night on the Colbert show. Click here to see which deadly disease Silver prefers to America's pundits).
9 AM: It's everyone's last chance to make absurd predictions based on no evidence about todays's outcome, and America's election prognosticators have not dissapointed. AlterNet's Lynn Parramore writes a hilarious round-up of the most absurd predictions based on the flimsiest reasoning spewing from America's pundit psychics.
Predictor: Dick Morris/FoxNews
Call: Romney (by a landslide)
Reasoning: Liberal Media Conspiracy
”It will be the biggest surprise in recent American political history…It will rekindle the whole question on why the media played this race as a nailbiter where in fact Romney’s going to win by quite a bit.”
I dunno, Dick. There’s probably a reason Andrew Sullivan created the Dick Morris Award for “stunningly wrong cultural, political and social predictions.”