Tight US Election Now in Voters' Hands

Voters at their voting machines at the Utah State Capitol Tuesday, Nov. 6, 2012, in Salt Lake City.
Voters at their voting machines at the Utah State Capitol Tuesday, Nov. 6, 2012, in Salt Lake City.
VOA News
American voters are deciding whether to re-elect President Barack Obama or pick a new leader for the next four years, Republican challenger Mitt Romney.

The candidates made a final push for votes Tuesday in what opinion polls say is a tight race.

Voters waited in long lines at polling places throughout the country, with some sporadic problems reported.  Both candidates have dispatched lawyers to monitor the voting for any irregularities.  The Justice Department has nearly 800 observers at polling places in 23 states to respond to any allegations of fraud.   

After a year-and-a-half of campaigning, three debates and thousands of televised campaign ads, nationwide pre-election surveys show the two candidates in a virtual deadlock.
 
But the surveys also show Obama with a slight edge in a handful of key battleground states that are likely to determine the outcome.

U.S. presidential elections are not decided by the national popular vote, but rather by a two-century-old Electoral College system in which each of the 50 states' influence on the outcome is roughly equivalent to its population.  

Each candidate needs at least 270 of the available 538 electoral votes to win the election.


Congressional seats

Voters also are electing all 435 members of the House of Representatives, and 33 of the 100 members of the Senate. Analysts generally say Republicans will continue to hold their majority in the House, while the president's Democratic Party could maintain its slim majority in the Senate.

Millions of Americans already have cast ballots in early voting over the last month.  

Obama voted a few days ago in his home city of Chicago, Illinois, and spent Tuesday there.  He taped interviews for broadcast in key states and playing basketball with friends, one of his Election Day traditions.  Obama also called voters from a campaign office.

  • Bob Auletta makes his way into a polling place at Toms River East High School to vote on Election Day in Toms River, New Jersey, November 6, 2012.
  • Friends and campaign workers line the highway across from the voting headquarters in Bronson, Florida, November 6, 2012.
  • Fire house in Bradley Beach, New Jersey, becomes the only voting facility for residents who usually have four during general elections , all due to Superstorm Sandy, November 6, 2012. (Celia Mendoza/VOA)
  • President Barack Obama calls Wisconsin volunteers as he visits a campaign office call center the morning of the 2012 election in Chicago, November 6, 2012.
  • Poll workers Eva Prenga, right, Roxanne Blancero, center, and Carole Sevchuk try to start an optical scanner voting machine in the cold and dark at a polling station in a tent in the Midland Beach section of Staten Island, New York, November 6, 2012. The original polling site, a school, was damaged by Superstorm Sandy.
  • Republican presidential candidate, former Massachusetts Gov. Mitt Romney and wife Ann Romney vote in Belmont, Massachusetts, November 6, 2012.
  • Voters line up outside a polling station at Yorkshire Elementary School in Manassas, in Prince William County, Virginia, November 6, 2012. (David Byrd/VOA)
  • Lindsay Reiter votes while holding her 5-month-old daughter, Savannah, at an elementary school in Bowling Green, Ohio, November 6, 2012.
  • People prepare to cast their ballots inside a polling station just after midnight on November 6, 2012 in Dixville Notch, New Hampshire, the very first voting to take place in the 2012 U.S. presidential election.
  • Ballots are removed from the ballot box to be counted in Dixville Notch, New Hampshire, November 6, 2012, as they cast the first Election Day votes in the nation.
  • The votes sheet shows the results from Dixville Notch, New Hampshire, November 6, 2012 after residents cast the first Election Day votes in the nation. After 43 seconds of voting.
  • U.S. Republican Presidential candidate Mitt Romney (L) and his wife Ann Romney (R) at a rally late November 5, 2012, at the Verizon Wireless Arena in Manchester, New Hampshire.
  • U.S. President Barack Obama speaks at his last campaign rally in Des Moines, Iowa, November 5, 2012.
  • People vote early at a polling station in Chicago, Illinois, November 5, 2012. (Ramon Taylor/VOA)

Romney, a one-time venture capitalist, voted Tuesday morning in Massachusetts, the northeastern state he once governed, but where Obama is expected to win easily.

Romney then traveled to the closely contested state of Ohio in the central part of the country to visit a campaign office and then flew to neighboring Pennsylvania, a state long-thought to be safely in Obama's grasp, but one where Romney hopes an upset might occur.

Obama's running mate, Vice President Joe Biden, also headed to Cleveland, Ohio, to counter Romney's visit.  Romney was joined there by his running mate, Wisconsin Congressman Paul Ryan, who then headed to another battleground state, Virginia.

Last-minute sprint

President Obama and Romney traveled across several key battleground states Monday in a final effort to sway any remaining undecided voters.

US President Barack Obama speaks at his last campaign rally in Des Moines, Iowa, on November 5, 2012.US President Barack Obama speaks at his last campaign rally in Des Moines, Iowa, on November 5, 2012.
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US President Barack Obama speaks at his last campaign rally in Des Moines, Iowa, on November 5, 2012.
US President Barack Obama speaks at his last campaign rally in Des Moines, Iowa, on November 5, 2012.
Obama made campaign stops in Wisconsin and Ohio, before holding a final rally in Iowa, the state that gave him his first primary victory in his historic 2008 White House campaign.  The Democratic incumbent touted his accomplishments during his presidency, including the bailout of the U.S. auto industry and the killing of Osama bin Laden, but said he needed another term to complete his agenda.

"Our fight for change goes on," Obama said.  "Because we know this nation cannot succeed without a growing, thriving middle class and sturdy ladders for everybody who's willing to work to get into that middle class.  Our fight goes on because America's always done best when everybody's got a fair shot and everybody's doing their fair share, everybody plays by the same rules.  The people of Iowa understand that.  That's what we believe, that's why you elected me in 2008, and Iowa, that's why I'm running for a second term as president of the United States."

US Republican Presidential candidate Mitt Romney (L) and his wife Ann Romney (R) at a rally late November 5, 2012 at the Verizon Wireless Arena in Manchester, New Hampshire.US Republican Presidential candidate Mitt Romney (L) and his wife Ann Romney (R) at a rally late November 5, 2012 at the Verizon Wireless Arena in Manchester, New Hampshire.
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US Republican Presidential candidate Mitt Romney (L) and his wife Ann Romney (R) at a rally late November 5, 2012 at the Verizon Wireless Arena in Manchester, New Hampshire.
US Republican Presidential candidate Mitt Romney (L) and his wife Ann Romney (R) at a rally late November 5, 2012 at the Verizon Wireless Arena in Manchester, New Hampshire.
Romney held a rousing late-night rally in New Hampshire, where he launched his campaign more than a year ago, after events in Florida, Virginia and Ohio.  The former Massachusetts governor said his record as both a successful businessman and politician shows he, not Obama, would bring about real change for the nation.

"I built a business, I turned around another one, I helped put an Olympics back on track, and with a Democrat legislature, I helped turned my state from deficit to surplus, and from job losses to job growth, and we went from higher taxes to higher take-home pay," noted Romney.  "And that's why I'm running for president, because I know how to change the course the nation is on, and I'll do it."

Voters in the small New Hampshire towns of Dixville Notch and Hart's Location cast their ballots at midnight local time (0500 UTC) Tuesday, keeping with tradition in being the first locations in the nation to vote on Election Day.  Obama and Romney tied at five votes each in Dixville Notch.  In Hart's Location, the president won 23 votes while Romney finished with nine.
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by: Andrew from: Oregon
November 07, 2012 1:31 PM
Honestly I think Ron Paul would have been a better candidate.
Now we gotta to wait in long lines for poor quality health care.

by: Jeremy R. from: Why
November 07, 2012 2:05 AM
REALLY! Good luck America, if its still America in the end. Speaking of the end..............I hope your all ready for it.
"GOD BLESS THE REAL AND ONE AND ONLY UNITED STATES OF AMERICA!" If anyone aside from our veterans (which if you recall are now "terroristic threats") can remember what the United States of America stands for and represents. Good luck to you all,and may God bless all our children!!!

by: Peter from: UK
November 06, 2012 6:20 PM
I think your next president should a man for all the people in your muilti faith ,multi race country and not be a prisoner of any one group or interest

by: Oliver from: New Zealand
November 06, 2012 5:32 PM
While it may be too close to call in the US, if you threw the vote open world wide, it would be Obama by a landslide!

by: ben from: canada
November 06, 2012 4:50 PM
I am stunned at some of the comments here. While Obama did not do what was expected of him he did more than is apparent. What baffles me is that everyone goes on about how he bailed out the banks. He did, he had to honor the deal that the republican president before him had made. The world of politics and power is far more frustrating and complicated than we really ever get to see. Personally I don't really mind who anyone votes for as long as they do it with an open mind and an understanding of what is at stake and who has done what. The lies and propaganda coming out of the Romney camp are profoundly disturbing. Romney will drive the USA farther into the ground much faster than it has already been driven for the past 40 years.

by: Befuzzled from: FL
November 06, 2012 4:08 PM
Why do politics always have to include insults?

by: sheldon from: morgan
November 06, 2012 3:37 PM
Obama all the way.. Romney, no way !!!

by: mike jones from: wv
November 06, 2012 3:24 PM
Actually the banks aren't rich. Some people that work for the banks are rich.Some of them made real smart moves. And some of them are crooks.But mostly laws that have been passed to try to divide the spoils between the smart and educated and the mostly drugged induced general brown bagger have brought on social inequities that will not be solved for the country as a hole ever. But on a positive note ,so far anyway, the Usa is still demographically 100 times better off than the far east land mass of asia and so far advanced above Africa that we will continue to survive at a higher living standard than most in the world will ever know, even though we continue to fall towards the left side of politics. A small world continues to get smaller and true conservatives continue to die out.In the end the only thing that will survive will be your god.

by: James from: Jersey City, NJ
November 06, 2012 3:20 PM
For you narrow minded libs , did you forget that Romney wasn't "conservative enough" in 2008 to be the nominee, also was elected to one of the most liberal states in the nation and lastly appealed to enough voters in 1994 to almost unseat Ted Kennedy in the Senate? He is not trying to become president to help 1% of the nation. The man has clear goals and will be great. He isnt Bush (what happened to everyone blaming Dick Cheney?) and he will be his own man. People are broke because our policies don't allow it otherwise. INFLATION. Our dollar can only cover so much these days and there is only so much room for growth no matter the salary under Obama. Obama and Dems constantly complain that the tax code isn't fair YET HE extended the tax cuts , YET HE had 2 years with control of congress and chose to do nothing except for health care which he jammed through against even his own parties will. FACTS! And you people from other nations , we respect you but remember that though we haven't always been right we do help around the world where we are wanted as well. I'm shocked by the notion that ANY republican , moderate or conservative, is evil. The odds just aren't there. Come up with something new to say!

by: Some guy from: Germany
November 06, 2012 3:14 PM
@Mike from USA: Sorry that I do not "stay out of [y]our politics," but really - if you guys (meaning U.S. governments) keep playing the world's policemen, the world should get a vote for you presidents, too. And believe me, no bigoted conservative like Romney (who, as others have observed as well, is a copy of Bush Jr.) would get even a shot at getting into the White House. Now why's that? Simply because Republican presidents tend to get involved a lot more into stuff that aren't their business, i.e. start wars all over the world instead of ending them, as Democrat presidents tend to do. You stay out of our business (well, not to say that I've been touched by your wars personally, living in Germany, but go ask someone from the Middle East) and we stay out of yours, simple as that.

Go re-elect Obama, America, before it's too late! The world will thank you for it. I totally go with Jon from Canada regarding the U-turn in international reputation: Get Romney and you'll spark tons of Anti-Americanism all over the world. Again.
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