Election Day 2012: Obama wins (LIVE BLOG)

U.S. President Barack Obama delivers his victory speech after being reelected for a second term at McCormick Place November 6, 2012 in Chicago, Illinois. Obama won reelection against Republican candidate, former Massachusetts Governor Mitt Romney.
Spencer Platt

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UPDATE: 11/07/12 4:35 PM ET

What a difference four years have wrought

The first family, four years ago, on November 4, 2008, in Chicago, Illinois:
First family obamas november 2008

The first family last night, after President Obama won reelection.
First family obamas november 2012

BuzzFeed has collected a series of pictures of the Obamas over the years.

UPDATE: 11/07/12 4:25 PM ET

Leaders react to Obama's re-election

German Chancellor Angela Merkel, whom Obama will have to work closely with on finding a solution to the eurozone's debt crisis, said, "I want to offer my warm congratulations to the reelected President Barack Obama," according to Radio Free Europe/Radio Liberty. "We know each other well and I also look forward to cooperating with respect to stabilizing the trans-Atlantic relationship between the German federal government and the United States of America. But also between the European Union and the United States of America. I wish [him] good luck today."

British Prime Minister David Cameron said, "I have really enjoyed working with him over these last few years and I look forward to working with him again over the next four years."

China's Foreign Ministry said President Hu Jintao and Premier Web Jiabao called Obama to congratulate him, according to Radio Free Europe, while a spokesman for Russian President Vladimir Putin said the president viewed Obama's reelection "very positively."

Read more reactions from around the world here.

UPDATE: 11/07/12 3:55 PM ET

Reactions to Obama's victory

Here are just two examples of the variety of reactions to President Obama winning re-election.
Elex reaction 9

Elex reaction 7

For more reactions from around the world, check out GlobalPost's PlanetPic.

UPDATE: 11/07/12 3:45 PM ET

Fears of "fiscal cliff" send Dow plummeting

A day after President Obama's election, the Dow fell to a three-month low amid fears of a "fiscal cliff." The term refers to the $607 billion in tax increases and federal spending cuts that would automatically go into effect January 2013.

"Traders on the floor are thinking, before the election President Obama wasn't able to resolve the fiscal cliff so what makes you think he's going to be able to do it after the election?" Todd Schoenberger, managing principal at the BlackBay Group in New York, told Reuters.

More on this story here.

UPDATE: 11/07/12 2:30 PM ET

Netanyahu's relationship with Obama

President Obama's re-election brings into question the future of his tense relationship with Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu. The Washington Post reported that Netanyahu quickly promised to continue to work with Obama "in order to assure the interests that are vital to the security of the citizens of Israel."

Netanyahu also said he would meet with the US Ambassador to Israel, Dan Shapiro, on Wednesday.

However, Netanyahu's opposition in Israel predicted tougher times for the prime minister, warning that he would have to explain what they described as his intervention on behalf of Mitt Romney.

Earlier this year, Netanyahu garnered attention when he pulled out a cartoonish diagram of a bomb to illustrate his worries about Iran gaining nuclear weapons capabilities while addressing the United Nations General Assembly.

Watch his UNGA speech from Sept. here:

UPDATE: 11/07/12 2:05 PM ET

Rick Berg concedes in North Dakota

Rep. Rick Berg conceded to Democrat Heidi Heitkamp in North Dakota's hotly contested race to fill the Senate seat vacated by Democrat Kent Conrad, according to the Associated Press.

UPDATE: 11/07/12 2:00 PM ET

Obama, the next four years

Bloomberg Businessweek has chosen a stunning cover to represent the next four years of Obama's presidency.

Reasoning that the challenges Obama faces in the next four years will age him, the magazine published an image of Obama with grey hair and wrinkles, to reflect the toll that the fiscal cliff and tough decisions on the economy, business and defense could take on him.

Check out both Obama's cover and what would have been Mitt Romney's cover if he had won.

UPDATE: 11/07/12 1:50 PM ET

Balance of power remains pretty much the same after the election

Obama's win isn't an automatic victory for the Democrats. He will return to a Congress that has largely remained the same, with Democrats controlling the Senate and Republicans controlling the House, as The New York Times reported.

But while the balance of power hasn't changed, the Senate has elected a record number of women in high-profile races, which could perhaps scare off other lawmakers from making any more "legitimate rape" comments. The House could also change in subtle ways. The News Tribune reported that the House may be "more politically polarized" next year with an exodus of moderates from both parties.

UPDATE: 11/07/12 1:45 PM ET

"The Great Divide" in wealth plagues Connecticut voters

GlobalPost's Charles M. Sennott reports on the inequality plaguing residents of Connecticut on election day.

"The journey is not long, but the distance between Greenwich and Bridgeport couldn’t be further apart. If there was a thermal mapping of income inequality in America, Connecticut’s 4th congressional district, which is bookended by these zip codes, would be burning bright red."

UPDATE: 11/07/12 12:36 PM ET

Internet accuses Diane Sawyer of being drunk on election night. Did Diane Sawyer show up drunk to one of her most important days at work? Girl, we've all been there. Many have accused the news anchor of appearing to be drunk on air last night. And a video reel of Sawyer's election coverage has gone viral.   

Even the Associated Press agreed that it seemed like the bottle was doing most of Sawyer's reporting: "Sawyer spoke more slowly than usual while seeming to prop herself on outstretched arms at the anchor desk she shared with George Stephanopoulos," the AP said.

Social media users also quickly picked up on her slurred speech. Singer Josh Groban tweeted,"I'll have what Diane Sawyer is having." New York Times reporter Brian Stelter  warned people not to rush to conclusions, tweeting: "Many people saying she seems drunk on air. Alternative theory: she gets this way when she's really tired." But those alternative theories did not stop a fake Twitter profile from "Drunk Diane Sawyer" from getting created.

UPDATE: 11/07/12 11:50 AM ET

Obama wins the popular voteThe latest figures now show that Obama has also defeated Mitt Romney in the popular vote (sorry, Donald Trump). In total, slightly more than half of America wanted Barack Obama to win, giving him 50.3 percent of the popular vote, or the support of 59,725,608 voters. Mitt Romney received 48.1 percent of the popular vote, or 57,098,650 people.

UPDATE: 11/07/12 11:00 AM ET

Donald Trump has Twitter meltdown

In a series of tweets, Donald Trump not-so-subtly let it be known that he is unhappy with Obama's win. He also appeared to have mistakenly believed that Obama lost the popular vote (results for the popular vote are still coming in, but the Huffington Post reports that Obama will likely win that too). Trump declared his anger at the electorial college system in one tweet. He has since deleted it, but not before Gawker captured a screenshot. "More votes equals a loss...revolution!"--Donald Trump(@realDonaldTrump) via Gawker                                                                                                              

UPDATE: 11/07/12 9:39 AM ET

Pro-Obama Sandy survivors relieved by win

BROOKLYN, NY — On election night about 200 enthusiastic Obama supporters gathered at the Galapagos Art Space to watch election results come in, but reminders of Hurricane Sandy were not far away.

The space, just a block from the East River, suffered $200,000 worth of damage from a massive 14-foot surge that dumped five feet of water on the venue during last week's storm. A neighborhood gathering spot for locals and artists, Galapagos sits below the Brooklyn Bridge in DUMBO on a block now lined with dumpsters and generators providing electricity to the area's flooded buildings and warehouses.

"We were totally devastated, this entire venue was up to our neck in water," said Galapagos director Robert Elmes. "We set a deadline and a finish line and we had to cross it ... We knew we had to, or we wouldn't stay alive."

Over 80 volunteers came to help — they siphoned water, mopped, shoveled mud.

After a long week, many Obama supporters were finally able to enjoy some good news. "The entire room burst into applause!" exclaimed Shree Dhond, a communications consultant, who was stranded in Connecticut during the storm. "It's good to be in a space when you hear good news like that. It's great to feel that energy."

Read more from GlobalPost writer Jennifer Mattson here.

UPDATE: 11/07/12 9:39 AM ET

Full video of Obama's acceptance, Romney's concession speeches

UPDATE: 11/07/12 5:49 AM ET

Obama's Africa home village reacts

GlobalPost's Kenya correspondent Tristan McConnell is all over the response from Obama's ancestral home village of Kogelo, Kenya: 
Folks there were so excited they pulled an election all-nighter, reports Uganda's New Vision

UPDATE: 11/07/12 5:05 AM ET

First openly gay senator elected in US

America has its first gay senator with a win by Wisconsin's Tammy Baldwin, whose election Tuesday also sees her the first women to take on the job on behalf of the state, according to CNN. Watch her react to the win here: 

UPDATE: 11/07/12 4:52 AM ET

Hillary to Barack: keep the seat warm, hon

UPDATE: 11/07/12 4:26 AM ET

Meanwhile, a sigh of relief from across the Atlantic...

The world's reaction to the Obama win? Pleased ambivalence, according to BBC News correspondents.

Europe: expect them to be "waking up this morning with a general sigh of relief," says Chris Morris from Brussels.

Africa: ditto that, continent happy because "there is no sign of a grand 'Obama Doctrine' for Africa," writes Andrew Harding from Johannesburg. Well, that's all right then. 

China: to be honest, a little distracted with their own historic leadership change today, says Martin Patience in Beijing, but Obama is a particular subject of concern for the government due to his pointed policy "pivot" to the region. 

Iran: mostly pleased, Iranians "very happy to see Barack Obama once again in the White House" because he might (emphasis might) "give Iran peaceful nuclear rights," according to Mohsen Asgari in Tehran. 

Afghanistan: response here ambivalent to the point of apathy, writes Quentin Sommerville from Kabul, due to the fact that the election "was unlikely to make much of a difference to American policy" in Afghanistan. 

Pakistan: maybe a little disappointment here, given that Islamabad "has traditionally felt more comfortable with Republican governments," says M Ilyas Khan, writing from the capital. 

Here's a few foreign tweets from ordinary peeps: 

UPDATE: 11/07/12 3:48 AM ET

New Yorkers celebrate Obama win

GlobalPost's Jennifer Mattson reports from Sandy-struck New York City, having spent the night with Obama supporters at a Brooklyn art space flooded in last week's storm. 

"This guy is doing everything he possibly can," New Yorker Marcus Bance said, responding to Obama's win. "Give the guy a chance."

Read it all here

UPDATE: 11/07/12 3:36 AM ET

Election 2012 sees historic win for women

Move over, Barack Obama. Ladies, take a bow. Especially you 19 (maybe more) female senators, whose election represents the largest-yet female presence in America's the powerful legislative body, according to The Huffington Post

OK, Obama, you can come back on stage now, because the reality is, women love you -- "Obama won re-election last night because women voters had his back," as The New York Post had it

Provisional exit polling data cited by the Post said Obama took 54 percent of the votes cast by women, who represent approximately 53 percent of the electorate. The Washington Post put Obama's women-vote up on Romney by as much as 10 percentage points. 

Regardless of the exact figures, special civic kudos go to 21-year-old Galacia Malone, who cast her ballot while in labor -- yes, as in, her water had broken and she was literally on the way to a Chicago hospital. Crazy. GlobalPost's Talia Ralph has more here

UPDATE: 11/07/12 3:13 AM ET

The speech

Thank you, PBS! Watch President Obama's emotional acceptance speech in Chicago today:

UPDATE: 11/07/12 3:08 AM ET

The wait is over

That goes for you too, Big Bird. 

"I love Americans," tweets photo-uploader @jeczaja. "They do stuff like this."

I love Americans. They do stuff like this. on Twitpic

UPDATE: 11/07/12 3:01 AM ET

Read Obama's victory speech, watch Mitt Romney's reaction

The New York Times has published a full transcript of Obama's charismatic acceptance speech, which he delivered to throngs of adoring fans and a rain of confetti in Chicago today.

Republican candidate Mitt Romney meanwhile offered a gracious concession speech, saying he had already called Obama to offer his congratulations. The Republican candidate also told supporters America is at a "critical point" and "at a time like this, we can't risk partisan bickering and political posturing," adding, "our leaders have to reach across the aisle to do the people's work."

Watch it all here, courtesy of World News Australia

UPDATE: 11/07/12 2:41 AM ET

The Tweet heard around the world? 

Barack Obama's acceptance tweet has already beaten all Twitter records, says TechRadar. Here's the goods, details below: 
Beating out Mitt Romney is one thing, but topping teen pop star Justin Bieber's Twitter record is another. But seems he's done it, with "four more years" already re-tweeted 350,000 times and and favorited by 122,000. Move over, Bieber, with your old 223,376 retweet record -- read it all here at TechRadar.

UPDATE: 11/07/12 1:36 AM ET

Obama to America: 'The best is yet to come"

Barack Obama has delivered a victory speech to supporters after being announced the projected winner. "We are an American family, we rise and fall together as one nation, as one people," Obama said, reported The Huffington Post. "For the United States of America, the best is yet to come."

His "four more years" tweet is already being hailed as "most popular tweet of all time," retweeted 350,000 times in just over an hour, according to TechRadar

The video of Obama's acceptance speech hasn't been officially issued yet, but you can watch it in two-minute installments over at FOX here

Before stepping onstage in Chicago, the president-elect told supporters online that he wanted to thank them "first," adding: "I will spend the rest of my presidency honoring your support, and doing what I can to finish what we started." Read it all here

While we wait for the speech video, here's a live feed of election events, courtesy of the Sydney Morning Herald: 

UPDATE 11/07/12 12:37 PM ET 

Washington and Colorado legalize marijuana for recreational use

Washington state's voters approved a measure to legalize recreational use of marijuana, setting up a showdown with the federal government, which outlaws the drug, AP reported.

While pot taxes could bring in millions of dollars in revenue each year, sales won't technically start until legislature to govern the legal weed industry is implemented.

“The victories in Colorado and Washington are of historic significance not just for Americans but for all countries debating the future of marijuana prohibition in their own countries,” said Ethan Nadelmann, executive director of the Drug Policy Alliance, in an emailed statement. “This is now a mainstream issue, with citizens more or less divided on the issue but increasingly inclined to favor responsible regulation of marijuana over costly and ineffective prohibitionist policies.”

Oregon is also voting for similar measures.  

For more about the burning questions of legalizing marijuana, visit Globalpost's in-depth series.  

UPDATE: 11/07/12 12:32 PM ET

Maine residents vote in favor for same-sex marriage

In a historic vote, Maine residents have voted to legalize gay marriage, three years after voting against the measure.

According to the Associated Press, Maine is one of four states voting on same-sex marriage. While Maryland, Maine and Washington all head up-or-down votes on the ballot, Minnesota had a proposal to ban gay-marriage in the state constitution.

UPDATE: 11/07/12 12:25 AM ET

Paul Ryan keeps House seat

He may have lost a shot at the vice presidency, but Paul Ryan held on to his House seat in Wisconsin, which he has held since 1998.

The Associated Press noted that even before he was chosen as Romney's running mate, Ryan was seen as a rising star in the Republican party, gaining recognition for his austere budget. He won against Democratic challenger Rob Zerban.

UPDATE: 11/07/12 12:10 AM ET

Karl Rove blasts Fox News on Fox News

Karl Rove criticized Fox News for calling Ohio for President Obama, calling the decision "premature," Politico noted.

Fox News' Chris Wallace noted that the Romney campaign does not "believe Ohio is in the Obama camp," with a top Romney aide telling him that the campaign disagreed with the network's call.

"I think this is premature,” Rove said. “We’ve got a quarter of the vote. Now remember, here is the thing about Ohio. A third of the vote or more is cast early and is won overwhelmingly by the Democrats. It’s counted first and then you count the election day and the question is, by the time you finish counting the election day does it overcome that early advantage that Democrats have built up in early voting, particularly in Cuyahoga County."

The Romney campaign has not yet conceded.

UPDATE: 11/06/12 11:45 PM ET

Obama wins the election

The AP finally called the election for Obama.

UPDATE: 11/06/12 11:35 PM ET

Tim Kaine wins Senate seat in Virginia

Former Sen. George Allen, a Republican, conceded to Tim Kaine in the race for retiring Democratic Sen. Jimm Webb's seat.

"We haven’t succeeded," Allen said, according to The Washington Post. "Tonight after a very hard fought contest, we’re reminded how closely divided we are."

UPDATE: 11/06/12 11:28 PM ET

Obama wins Ohio, CNN calls election for Obama

The AP, along with other networks, has reported that Obama has won the battleground state of Ohio, leading CNN to report that Obama has been elected for a second term.

CBS News also reported that Obama has been projected to win Ohio, which gives the President more than 270 electoral votes.

UPDATE: 11/06/12 11:20 PM ET

Obama wins, according to MSNBC

NBC News is projecting that Obama wins.

UPDATE: 11/06/12 11:15 PM ET

News outlets project wins in multiple states

The AP and CNN have projected that Obama has won in California, Washington, Minnesota, and New Mexico.

Romney has been projected to win Idaha, North Carolina, and Missouri.

UPDATE: 11/06/12 11:05 PM ET

Tammys might achieve historic wins

Tammy Duckworth, who will be the first female combat veteran elected to Congress, is projected to win her district in Illinois, according to the BBC.

Meanwhile, Tammy Baldwin has become the first openly gay senator winning a seat in Wisconsin, according to Slate.

UPDATE: 11/06/12 10:50 PM ET

Richard Mourdock concedes in Indiana

UPDATE: 11/06/12 10:49 PM ET

Obama wins Maine, Romney wins Arizona

Obama has won all four electoral votes in Maine, the AP reported, while Romney won Arizona. Arizona, which has 11 electoral votes, has a long history of supporting Republican candidates for president.

Maine is also one of four states with a same-sex marriage question on the ballot. However, according to the Boston Globe, while three years ago the same initiative failed in Maine, there's chance that yes votes have an edge this time around. The President had also won Maine in 2008 with 57.6 percent of the vote.

UPDATE: 11/06/12 10:35 PM ET

Joe Kennedy projected to win House seat in MA

There will be a Kennedy in Congress again, if projections for Joe Kennedy to win a seat in the House of Representatives in Massachusetts' 4th District are accurate, according to Al Jazeera.

UPDATE: 11/06/12 10:25 PM ET

Claire McCaskill defeats Todd Akin in Missouri

Missouri Sen. Claire McCaskill (D) successfully defended her seat from challenger Rep. Todd Akin, according to The Huffington Post. Akin, a Tea Party-backed Republican, drew national headlines in August when he said that victims of "legitimate rape" had ways of preventing pregnancy.

UDATE: 11/20/12 10:20 PM ET

Obama wins NH, Romney wins Utah

The New York Times has reported that Obama has won the battleground state of New Hampshire, while Romney has won in Utah.

Though New Hampshire only has four electoral votes, it's one of the most competitive states in the nation. It's the only state that Former President George W Bush won in 2000 but lost in 2004.

According to CBS News, both Ohio and Nevada are also leaning towards the president.  

UPDATE: 11/06/12 10:03 PM ET 

Joe Donnelly defeats Richard Mourdock in Indiana

Democrat Joe Donnelly has defeated Tea Party-backed Richard Mourdock for the Senate seat in Indiana, AP reported.

Though Mourdock was initially the favorite in Indiana after he beat 6-term Senator Dick Lugar in the primaries, he began slipping in the polls after stating that pregnancy from rape is "something God intended to happen."

The Hill blog reported that Mourdock's loss bodes well for Democrats, dimming Republican hopes to retake the Senate, which had seemed likely earlier this year. 

Read more: Richard Mourdock makes controversial rape comment; Romney distances himself

UPDATE: 11/06/12 10:00 PM ET

Obama wins PA, Wisconsin

The New York Times reported that at least three television networks called Pennsylvania and Wisconsin for President Obama. Fox News, CBS News and NBC News called Pennsylvania, with 20 electoral votes, and Wisconsin with 10 electoral votes, for Obama, despite a strong push by the Romney campaign.

UPDATE: 11/06/12 9:50 PM ET

Elizabeth Warren wins MA

Elizabeth Warren defeated Sen. Scott Brown in the race for the Senate seat in Massachusetts, which was formerly held by Sen. Ted Kennedy, according to Bloomberg.

Reports of her win made the rounds on Twitter prematurely, attributing NBC News as the source, but Brian Williams clarified that NBC had not made the earlier call.

UPDATE: 11/06/2012 9:33 PM ET

Kristen Gillibrand wins Senate seat in NY

New York Senator Kristen Gillibrand has won her bid for reelection, defeating Republican challenger Wendy Long, the AP reported. 

This will be Gillibrand's first full, six-year term in the Senate. Gillibrand has had to face voters twice in two years, after she replaced former Senator Hillary Rodham Clinton in 2009.

The AP also reported that Democrats have also won Senate seats in Minnesota, and Michingan and the GOP has won Senate seats in Texas and Wyoming.

UPDATE: 11/06/12 9:25 PM ET

Romney loses Michigan

UPDATE: 11/06/12 9:15 PM ET

More races called

The AP is reporting that Romney took Wyoming, Kansas, Louisiana, Nebraska, South Dakota, North Dakota, Arkansas, and Texas, while Obama took Michigan, New Jersey and New York.

UPDATE: 11/06/12 9:05 PM ET

Obama carries northeast, while Romney secures conservative states

President Obama carried Connecticut, Rhode Island, Vermont, Maine and Massachusetts, according to the AP. He also won Delaware, Maryland, Illinois and the District of Columbia.

Romney held Alabama, Georgia, Tennessee, South Carolina, Oklahoma, Kentucky and West Virginia.

Polls are closing in many states at 9 p.m.

UPDATE: 11/06/12 8:50 PM ET

Democrat Chris Murphy takes CT Senate seat

The Associated Press reported that Democratic Rep. Chris Murphy defeated Republican Linda McMahon, a former wrestling executive, in the race for the Senate seat that was recently occupied by retiring independent Sen. Joe Liberman in Connecticut. McMahon spent more than $42 million of her own money in the race.

UPDATE: 11/06/12 8:35 PM ET

An eyeball referesher: hand-drawn election coverage from NPR

If you're already sick of looking at polling maps, here's a refreshing take on covering the election. Artist Wendy MacNaughton is sketching scenes of NPR's election reporting in action. Here's an example: 

Moving back to the maps, ABC News is reporting that Obama has taken New Jersey, which was ravaged by Hurricane Sandy.

UPDATE: 11/06/12 8:25 PM ET

NYT Blog keeps an eye on Virginia 

The New York Times' FiveThirtyEight blog is looking to early Virginia results, where just over three-quarters of the vote has been reported in Chesterfield County, Va.

So far, Mitt Romney leads President Obama 54 percent to 45 percent, and if the trend continues, "Romney’s performance there would match almost exactly Senator John McCain’s margin of victory in Chesterfield County in 2008: 53 percent to 46 percent," the NYT reported. 

It still remains too early to call the state. 

UPDATE: 11/06/12 8:15 PM ET

NPR calls Maine and Illinois for Obama; Mississippi for Romney 

Obama has taken two more states and Romney has grabbed one more, according to tweets from NPR. 

CNN, meanwhile, has Obama ahead in electoral votes 64 to 56, with Romney winning the popular vote so far at 52 percent to 47 percent. 

UPDATE: 11/06/12 8:08 PM ET

A slew of state projections rush in

Polls have closed in 25 states across the country, and results have been called in some of them. Rhode Island, Massachusetts, Maryland, Maine, Illinois, DC, Delaware, and Connecticut have been projected for Obama, according to CNN. Romney has been projected to win Oklahoma, Tennessee, Alabama, and Georgia, according to CBS News

UPDATE: 11/06/12 8:00 PM ET

Republican House leader projected to easily win his race

Early results show House Majority Leader Eric Cantor of Virginia had won his race, the Associated Press reported

The first 15 Representative races called by the AP, all were won by incumbents — three Democrats and 12 Republicans. Only 60 contests for the 435 House seats are expected to be competitive. 

UPDATE: 11/06/12 7:40 PM ET

Romney projected to take West Virginia, South Carolina 

Romney has taken West Virginia and South Carolina, CNN reported, bringing his total number of electoral votes to 33. Obama's votes remain at 3 so far.

UPDATE: 11/06/12 7:40 PM ET

Ohio voters urged to STAY IN LINE

Ohio voters, who have the fortune/misfortune of living in one of the crucial battleground states, are in for the micro-battle of waiting on line to vote for hours and hours. 

Everyone from Obama himself to the Roots' Questlove are urging voters to brave long lines despite the polls closing at 7:30 p.m.; those in line will still be allowed to cast their votes. 

And a slightly harsher warning:

UPDATE: 11/06/12 7:30 PM ET

New Jersey extends deadline for email ballots to Friday

Overwhelmed by New Jersey voters’ requests for email ballots, officials in the storm-battered state announced late this afternoon that they were extending the deadline for email voting until Friday, Nov. 9, the Associated Press reported.

Over the weekend, Gov. Chris Christie said voters displaced by Hurricane Sandy could vote via email ballots, using a system usually reserved for Americans living abroad, Politico reported

Hudson County Deputy County Clerk Janet Larwa told the AP that by 3 p.m. today, her county had received 4,000 requests for email ballots. "It's a different kind of nuts," she said.

GlobalPost has more right here

UPDATE: 11/06/12 7:15 PM ET

Obama takes Vermont; Romney grabs Indiana, Kentucky

The first results are trickling out, with Obama projected as winning Vermont for 3 electoral seats and Romney taking Indiana and Kentucky for 8, Google News, CNN, Wall Street Journal and others are reporting.  

UPDATE: 11/06/12 7:00 PM ET

Obama's got two speeches — still no word on Romney's second

It's officially closing time in Virginia, South Carolina, Georgia, Florida, and New Hampshire, and Obama is ready for both outcomes, he told FOX31 Denver political reporter Eli Stokols

“You always have two speeches prepared because you can’t take anything for granted,” Obama said. “It is an extraordinary privilege to serve the people, whatever the office. I have served as a state senator, a US senator and now as the president. And each and every time I’ve been reminded that it is the people where power ultimately resides; and I’m their representative, I’m their servant." 

“My hope is that after four years of working as hard as I can every single day to help working families all across Denver and all across America, that people will decide that this is someone who works hard for me and cares about me and I want to make sure that he can finish the job.”

Romney has yet to prepare a concession speech, according to the Washington Post

UPDATE: 11/06/12 6:50 PM ET

Speaking of taking exit polls with a grain of salt...

Several sources are reporting early exit poll results. Taegan Goddard's Political Wire is reporting the following, sourced to "Republican staffers" and "provided for your enjoyment only. It's probably best to ignore them." 

7:00 - Virginia - Tied

7:30 - North Carolina - Romney +1

7:30 - Ohio - Obama +4

8:00 - Florida - Romney +1

8:00 - New Hampshire - Obama +3

8:00 - Pennsylvania - Obama +4

9:00 - Colorado - Tied

9:00 - Minnesota - Obama +4

9:00 - Wisconsin - Obama +4

10:00 - Iowa (wave 1) Obama +3

10:00 - Nevada (wave 1) Obama +5

The Drudge Report is also calling early exit polls, reporting that North Carolina and Florida have gone to Romney, while Obama has snatched up New Hampshire, Pennsylvania, Michigan, and Nevada. Ohio, Virginia, Colorado and Iowa remain toss-ups.

All of this taken with that heavy grain of salt mentioned earlier. 

UPDATE: 11/06/12 6:35 PM ET

Romney pens 1,1180-word victory speech

Mitt Romney had victory on the brain Tuesday as he took his final election flight from Pittsburgh to Boston, writing a victory speech but no concession speech, the Associated Press reported

"I feel like we put it all on the field. We left nothing in the locker room. We fought to the very end, and I think that's why we'll be successful," Romney told reporters aboard his plane as he flew to Boston to meet up with Paul Ryan for his election night event. 

Wall Street Journal blogger Rex Nutting reports that the first couple polls are leaning towards Romney: 

In addition to Virginia, polls in Vermont, Georgia, South Carolina, Indiana, Kentucky and some of Florida close at 7 p.m. ET. But Virginia is the nail-biter of the bunch, having been staunchly Republican until electing Obama in 2008. Salon.com says its now "one of the swingingest of the swing states." 

UPDATE: 11/06/12 6:15 PM ET

A guide to exit poll watching

Exit polls are as exciting as they can be misleading, and the last thing a news outlet wants to do is get tripped up by inaccurate data.

“It’s an interesting contest of peek-a-boo,” Frank Newport, editor in chief of the Gallup Poll, told the Washington Post. “The only people who have access are the paying clients. Everybody else can only see what those clients leak out or report. It’s a bit of a game in that sense, depending on what comes out, like reading tea leaves when the Vatican is choosing a new pope.”

Enter the Washington Post Wonkblog’s guide to watching the exit polls

Among the cardinal rules: Ignore any polls that come out before 5 p.m. ET, and take early exit polling results with a “giant grain of salt." Oh, and keep your eye firmly on the demographics, says David Flaherty, CEO of the right-leaning Magellan Strategies: they might be the greatest indicator of which way a state is leaning. 

The Wall Street Journal has also rounded up a list of the 10 things pollsters are probably keeping from you

UPDATE: 11/06/12 5:45 PM ET

As the first polls prepare to close, America chows down

The first polls are beginning to close in Indiana and Kentucky at 6 p.m. ET, thoughts turn to the results...and to dinner. Restaurants around the country have been offering up deals and special meals to celebrate the election. 

Everyone from Tim Horton's (as in, the Canadian donut shop and cafe) to Hooters (yep, really) is offering freebies and discounts to people who flash their "I voted" stickers, the Christian Science Monitor reported

Food blog Menuism also has a round-up of Election-inspired meal deals across the country, and bartenders are having their fair share of fun too.

The Policy Restaurant and Lounge in Washington D.C., for example, has whipped up two cocktails, one for each candidate. The Basil "Barack" Berry features blueberry Stoli, orange blossom simple syrup, muddled basil and lime, soda and blue curacao. The Pomegra "Mitt" mojito mixes pomegranik Stoli, cranberry juice, simple syrup, muddled mint and lime and soda, WTOP reported

The best part? When the presidential winner is announced, the winning cocktail will be offered for free during happy hour 5 p.m. to 8 p.m. on Wednesday. 

UPDATE: 11/06/12 5:30 PM ET

International observers don't mess with Texas, Iowa

International election observers heard the message loud and clear last month: Don't mess with Texas.

Iowa, too, told foreigners to stay out of the election in their state.

So on Tuesday, international observers in Texas were "keeping their distance from polling stations after the state's attorney general threatened them with arrest," the Guardian reported. In Texas, the monitors have to stay 100 feet away from polling places; in Iowa, the distance is 300 feet.

Michigan also reportedly blocked observers from monitoring polling stations.

Texas Governor Rick Perry defended his state's decision in October, tweeting:

But the irony is pretty thick, coming from citizens of a country that routinely sends democracy trainers and monitors to virtually every corner of the globe. And, considering they've been a routine part of US elections since 2002 (remember who was president then? A hint: they hailed from Texas.)

Read more about the history on international observers and US elections in this piece from GlobalPost's Jean Mackenzie.

UPDATE: 11/06/12 5:25 PM ET

Burglary at Seattle HQ of Democratic Party

Police are investigating a burglary at the Seattle headquarters of the Democratic party in Washington state, according to the Associated Press.

Someone arriving for work in the early morning hours reported finding a broken window and the door open. Police spokesman Mark Jamieson said there was no immediate indication that the break-in was politically motivated.

Watergate II, much?

UPDATE: 11/06/12 5:20 PM ET

Dissident blogger Yoani Sanchez says Cuba has 'never been so dependent on US'

GlobalPost's Venezuela correspondent Girish Gupta caught up with Yoani Sanchez, the blogger behind Generation Y and author of "Havana Real," to get her thoughts on the US Election. 

Sanchez says that while Cubans keep mum about their own elections, they are "very attentive" to those in other countries, especially America. Why? 

The government here says that the revolution allowed Cuba sovereignty. I don’t think Cuba’s ever been as dependent on the US as now. If the White House says yes, Havana says no. If the White House says red, Havana says green. If the White House says east, Havana says west. We've never been so dependent on US politics as we have an obsession with doing the opposite. I’d prefer to live in a sovereign country that wasn't constantly following the political agenda of a foreign country ...

UPDATE: 11/06/12 5:10 PM ET

Obama's grandmother from Kenya: 'My grandson will win' 

Well, Obama's got one vote from Africa for sure: Sarah Obama says her grandson, Barack, will get a second term.

The 90-year-old grandmother to the POTUS, speaking from the village of Kogelo in Kenya, said that his charm and personality are what will pull him through. 

“His style of leadership skills which he has used to unite all the races in the US is the reason why he is liked by many,” Sarah said in the village of Kogelo, Xinhua News Agency reported.

GlobalPost correspondent Tristan McConnell, who is at Sarah's home and will be filing detailed reports from Kenya, confirms: 

UPDATE: 11/06/12 5:00 PM ET

Provisional votes have all eyes glued to Ohio

Ohio is already a hotly contested state, but voting in the Buckeye has gotten even more attention after its courts have ordered that voters, rather than polling station officials, fill out provisional ballots, which are used to record votes from voters' whose eligibility may be in question. 

Provisional votes are still counted, but also leave open the possibility that improperly filled out ballots be discarded, CNN reported. Local election boards get 10 days to figure out if those people who cast provisional ballots were eligible. 

As GlobalPost's Election correspondent Jean MacKenzie reports from Ohio

Ohio requires a potential voter to show ID. Those without adequate identification can file provisional ballots, and then have to prove their eligibility after the election. Provisional ballots will only be counted in the event of a very close election requiring a recount.

“I sure hope we have a clear result tonight,” sighed one poll worker, who did not give her name because she was not authorized to speak with the press. “If not, there will be multiple lawsuits. I would hate to see Obama start a second term under that kind of a cloud.”

Over 200,000 people used provisional ballots in Ohio during the 2008 election, and roughly the same amount will be cast this time around. 

"We are going to watch those ballots closely," Obama senior adviser David Axelrod said on CNN's "Starting Point." "We want to make sure that everybody's voice is heard in this election."

Romney's camp has also said they will be "ready" for legal intervention in the state if necessary. 

For everything you ever wanted to know about provisional ballots, Ohio Secretary of State Jon Husted has you covered

UPDATE: 11/06/12 4:45 PM ET

Bring on the maps

No election is complete without the infamous monitoring maps tracking how the country leans and ultimately votes. RealClearPolitics' latest incarnation is showing Obama ahead in electoral votes with 201 to Romney's 191, with 146 "toss-ups" in the grey zone, literally. 

CNN's map remains safely blank until the first polls close at 7 p.m. ET, though they're also planning a takeover of the Empire State building, which will light up with meters in blue and red to illustrate who is winning the race to the clinching number of 270 electoral votes. To each their gimmicks, right? 

Meanwhile, the New York Times is playing the nostalgia card with a look back at its old front-page sketches of how the country voted, state-by-state. Their new take is pretty nifty, if not a little dizzying. 

And if you're sick of reading all your friends' admonishing Facebook posts, you can always turn to the social media site's map tracker, which is working off data based on people clicking on an Election Day 2012 prompt on the site. Perhaps not the most accurate, but definitely better than the political brawls playing out on walls across the country. 

UPDATE: 11/06/12 4:25 PM ET
Reporting from Ohio

GlobalPost's correspondent Jean MacKenzie is on the ground in Ohio, touring polling stations. Here are some of her tweets from this afternoon:

Follow more of the conversation here.

UPDATE: 11/06/12 4:15 PM ET

Venezuelan President Hugo Chavez weighs in

Venezuelan President Hugo Chavez said last night, "From our point of view, we don't have much hope either will make important changes in relation to the US' worldview, with Latin America or with Venezuela. This is thanks to the backwardness of the extreme right in the US."

GlobalPost's correspondent Girish Gupta noted that it was a change of tune from what Chavez said in early October, while campaigning for his own re-election: "If I was from the US, I'd vote for Obama ... Obama is a good guy."

UPDATE: 11/06/12 3:50 PM ET

Irregularities reported in two key states and hard-hit New Jersey

Irregularities have been reported in Ohio, New Jersey and Florida today, according to a round-up of reports by the Washington Post. In Florida, there were reports that automated phone calls erroneously said that polls were open until 7 p.m. Wednesday, rather than Tuesday.

In Cleveland, Ohio, some voting machines were jamming and malfunctioning, according to the Cleveland Plain Dealer. That didn't help voters speed through the long lines that were also reported there.

Some of the most widespread issues, however, were reported from the areas hit hardest by superstorm Sandy last week. In New Jersey, the e-mail and fax voting system that was implemented specifically to aid displaced voters didn't seem to be keeping up with demand, with voters who requested ballots via e-mail or fax saying they did not receive ballots back, according to NJ.com.

UPDATE: 11/06/12 3:30 PM ET

Long voting lines across US

Thousands of Americans waited in line to vote today, with Florida reporting some of the longest lines, followed by Virginia, New Jersey, and New York.

New York voters faced confusion at the polls, with officials shuttling voters to provisional polling booths, after the superstorm Sandy destroyed or flooded polling stations.

GlobalPost spoke to Nathan Storey, co-founder of the app VoteScope, which helps voters find their polling stations. Read the Q & A.

One Chicago mother-to-be didn't let going into labor deter her from voting. Once Galicia Malone finished voting (with her contractions coming five minutes apart), she headed to the hospital to deliver her baby. More on that here.

Elsewhere, this happened...

UPDATE: 11/06/12 2:45 PM ET

Vice President Biden votes, sparks speculation

Vice President Joe Biden cast his vote in Greenville, Delaware, sparking speculation on a 2016 presidential run when he responded, "No, I don't think so," to the question on whether he thought it was the last time he’d vote for himself.

"I hope everyone exercises their right to vote,” Biden said. “Stand in line as long as you have to."

Read more here.

Watch here:

UPDATE: 11/06/12 2:35 PM ET

Voting machine in PA taken out of service

A voting machine in Pennsylvania has been taken out of service, according to NBC News. The problem came to light after a video was posted by a user "centralpavoter," showing the machine changing a vote for President Barack Obama into one for Mitt Romney.

The user posted an account of his experience under the video, saying that a volunteer at the voting station responded to his concerns with: "It’s nothing to worry about, everything will be OK."

Watch the machine in action:

UPDATE: 11/06/12 2:20 PM ET

How the Associated Press counts votes

Here's some election day trivia: In the US, most states don't announce the official results of their elections until weeks after the fact. The Associated Press will be deploying more than 5,000 workers on election day to collect the vote results and report them to the news media and the public. Here's how the AP counts those votes:

UPDATE: 11/06/12 2:00 PM ET

The Telegraph's US Election Night bingo (drinking?) game

Must admit this is a stellar idea: The Telegraph has come up with a printable bingo board game incorporating media election-night catchphrases.

Here's how it works: you're plunked in front of the TV, you hear one of the magic words, you beat everyone else playing to marking it first, and so forth, until you get bingo. (And then, perhaps, you have a drink.)

The words The Telegraph selected, however, are a little odd. Was "Mormon" really necessary? If "Mormon," why not "God"? And is "vulture capitalist" used so frequently as all that? Guess there have to be a few relative obscurities. 

Try your hand at it here, or heck -- make one of your own. 

UPDATE: 11/06/12 1:48 PM ET

GlobalPost foreign correspondents ask people around the world about the US election 

A look at the election through the eyes of those interviewed by GlobalPost's far-flung correspondents. Follow them on Twitter for more:

Tristan McConnell from Nairobi, Kenya: 

Erin Cunningham from Cairo, Egypt (note: MB refers to the Muslim Brotherhood, the party backing President Mohammad Morsi):

Erin Conway-Smith from Johannesburg, South Africa:

UPDATE: 11/06/12 1:33 PM ET

Check out The Guardian's scrollicious US election graphic novel

Enjoy: "America: Elect! The action-packed journey to US election day in graphic novel form." 

UPDATE: 11/06/12 1:19 PM ET

At Guantanamo, a grim election-watching audience 

Detainees at the US Guantanamo Bay detention center were told by Obama they'd no longer be sitting there at the end of his term, but there they are, watching another election, reported Al Jazeera today.

Inmates have been provided with a live election feed, and some of them "had previously watched all three presidential debates," said Al Jazeera.

The controversial Cuba-based US military detention center holds what are considered high-value detainees. Human rights activists say their arrest, treatment (particularly the use of waterboarding) and continued imprisonment on vague charges violates the law, but the US says they must remain under surveillance in order to safeguard national security.

President Obama vowed to close the center within 100 days of taking office in 2008. 

UPDATE: 11/06/12 1:09 PM ET

Howard Dean says voting irregularities could cost Obama Ohio 

Former Vermont Governor Howard Dean told MSNBC this morning that things are so close in Ohio that all it would take is voting "machines that aren’t functioning right or other forms of harassment" and Obama would lose the state, according to the Huffington Post's election liveblog.

He also said voters in Pennsylvania are being asked for their IDs, which is not legit. “A federal judge has enjoined them from doing that," he said, "but that’s what’s happening.”

Watch the interview here, courtesy of mediaite.org:

UPDATE: 1106/12 1:04 PM ET

Marijuana initiatives crop up on 6 state ballots

Initiatives to legalize the medicinal — and even recreational — use of marijuana have cropped up as major state ballot items in this year's general election.

Six state ballots include measures concerning marijuana, according to Bloomberg. Three of those states — Colorado, Oregon and Washington — are weighing whether to make marijuana legal for recreational use, which would be a first for the country.

Montana, Arkansas and Massachusetts initiatives would legalize marijuana for medicinal purposes, which is already permitted in 17 states, Bloomberg reported.

The measures are projected to pass in Montana, Massachusetts, Colorado and Washington and to fail in Oregon and Arkansas, according to the Guardian.

Read more here.

UPDATE: 1106/12 12:42 PM ET

Peruvian Shamans and Paul McCartney call it for Obama

A dozen self-described shamans in Peru have augured the election in Obama's favor, reports Canada.com. How even-handed their divining practices were, however, remains open to question: 

"[T]hey burned incense and rubbed a poster of Obama with flowers and the plant common rue, which is supposed to bring luck. Meanwhile, a poster of challenger Mitt Romney was assaulted with maracas and a sword as the shamans sang, whistled and danced in a circle for journalists, who came and went as the ceremony continued," according to Canada.com.

Buzzfeed has a pretty killer series of photos on the affair.

Meanwhile, over in London, Paul McCartney's made a special US election video that's gone viral on Twitter (retweeted 2,611 times as of this writing), watch it here: 

UPDATE: 11/06/12 12:22 PM ET

Voters on watch as reports of election irregularities start rolling in

Have you seen something amiss at a polling station? The Justice Department has deployed over 700 observers in 23 states to keep an eye on things, and staff members are available by phone toll free at 1-800-253-3931, 202-307-2767, TTY 1-877-267-8971 (fax 202-307-3961), or you can email: voting.section@usdoj.gov or submit a form here.

Alternatively, you can submit complaints to Mother Jones' fraud database or check in at The Washington Post, which today published a list of reported voter irregularities -- among them Arizona’s Democratic Party angered over a round of automated phone calls that inadvertently sent people to the wrong polling locations (whoops).

"It was totally wrong," one woman tells the Arizona Republic

UPDATE: 11/06/12 11:53 AM ET

Storm-struck Jersey town votes in a Winnebago

It's democracy on wheels! Watch it all here, courtesy of the Associated Press:

UPDATE: 11/06/12 11:32 AM ET

Some companies are really going all out

This flag-colored election-day pancake breakfast pic captures election hype while advertising a meta-American product: Peanut Butter & Co.'s Mighty Maple. The presidential election always brings out America's oddities -- not to mention its bizarre marketing strategies: 
For more election fun, check out Buzzfeed's 20 Weirdest Photo Moments Of The 2012 Campaign

UPDATE: 11/06/12 10:31 AM ET

Welcome to the vote, West Coast

Polls opened just minutes ago throughout the West Coast, with voters queuing up in California, Idaho, Nevada, Oregon, said Al Jazeera

But Californians aren't exactly jumping out of bed to run to the polls, said the Associated Press, citing a field poll saying the percentage of mail-in ballots there is expected to reach 51% in what would be the first time mail-ins would overtake in-person votes.

Sunny state voters can't exactly blame their disinclination on the weather, particularly as many of their fellow voters on the Eastern seaboard, still reeling from storm Sandy, have to slog out to inconveniently-located polling booths in order to cast their votes. 

The study also said turnout is expected to be way lower -- as much as one million less than the number that voted in the last presidential election. What's up with that, California? 

UPDATE: 11/06/12 10:00 AM ET

What's in a number?

New York Times writer and reader of statistical tea leaves Nate Silver's popular FiveThirtyEight blog currently lists a 91.6 percent chance of reelection for President Barack Obama, with a +/- 14.2 percent margin of error.

So, the win's in the bag for Obama, right? Actually, no, cautioned Silver, in a clarifying tweet:

What explains a close election when a candidate's chances are said to be nine to one? The fact that those odds still amount to a probability game. But as Salon points out, Silver predicted the 2008 election "nearly perfectly" — which gives him some clout this time around.

UPDATE: 11/06/12 9:40 AM ET

The 51st state?

While continental US citizens are lined up at the polls, their focus set on selecting the next commander in chief and members of Congress, there's a different issue highlighted on the ballot in the US territory of Puerto Rico: statehood.

Could 2012 be the year Puerto Rico petitions Congress to become the 51st state? If so, it would gain 9 electoral votes and be subject to federal income taxes — and end its "century-long colonial relationship with the United States," as Politic365 wrote.

Since 1967, according to Reuters, Puerto Ricans have voted to retain the status of their island as a territory of the United States. But support has been dwindling over the years.

Also on the ballot are the options of independence of becoming a "Freely Associated State," according to Deutsche Welle.

UPDATE: 11/06/12 9:00 AM ET

Voting day is over in these New Hampshire towns

In two tiny New Hampshire towns the presidential race is already over.

In Dixville Notch, a village made up of 10 registered voters, each candidate received five votes — the first tie in Dixville Notch history, according to USA Today.

In Hart's Location, Obama won with 23 votes, Romney received 9 and Libertarian Gary Johnson received 1 vote. Both towns have held their first-vote status since 1948.

UPDATE: 11/06/12 7:15 AM ET

The end of a long, strange trip...

You made it to the end of the campaign trail! Celebrate with a look back — way back — at the most memorable moments of the presidential contest.

UPDATE: 11/06/12 7:00 AM ET

And the #WorldVote goes to...

GlobalPost asked our non-American Twitter followers to answer two questions: Who would you vote for, Obama or Romney? And what foreign policy affects you most?

Hear their thoughts on US engagement overseas here.

And hear more thoughts on US foreign policy from around the world in the video below: