Live Election Blog: NPR Projects Ohio Win For Obama, Second Term

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A long line of students wait to vote outside the Ohio Union on Ohio State University's campus Tuesday afternoon.(Photo: Sam Hendren, WOSU News)
A long line of students wait to vote outside the Ohio Union on Ohio State University's campus Tuesday afternoon.(Photo: Sam Hendren, WOSU News)

11:28 p.m. – Nick Houser – NPR projects Wisconsin for President Barack Obama and calls the election for Obama. Obama has 275 electoral votes, while Romney has 203 electoral votes. Virginia, Florida, Colorado, Nevada and Alaska are still up in the air.

11:19 p.m. – Nick Houser – NPR calls Ohio for President Barack Obama. Obama now needs five electoral votes from a second term.

11:07 p.m. – Mike Thompson – Four million votes counted only 27,000 votes separate Obama and Romney in Ohio.

11:02 p.m. – Nick Houser – Polls have closed in the West Coast and NPR has called California, Hawaii and Washington for Obama. Romney picks up Idaho. These latest states put Obama in the lead with 234 electoral votes to Romney’s 193 electoral votes.

10:33 p.m. – Mike Thompson – Northwest Ohio rural counties are bellweathers. Romney is winning by 15 points, better than McCain in 2008, not as good as Bush in 2004. In Cuyahoga County with 30 percent of vote in, Obama leads Romney by 141,000. Obama won by 259,000 votes in 2008.

10:28 p.m. – Nick Houser – WOSU’s Sam Hendren reports voting has ended at the Ohio Union.

10:19 p.m. — Mandie Trimble — U.S. Senator Sherrod Brown’s wife, Connie, finishes his speech for him as he lost his voice. But Sen. Brown told supporters told the race was not about him, it was about his supporters. Brown said the middle class won tonight.

10 p.m. – Nick Houser - NPR has projected the swing state New Hampshire to Obama as well as Pennsylvania. Current Electoral votes Romney 160 versus Obama 148.

NPR also reports some Florida voters might not cast their ballots until 1 a.m.

9:53 p.m. – Nick Houser - Coverage on the live election results section of the Ohio Secretary of State’s website is spotty due to high traffic levels.

9:44 — Mandie Trimble — Supporters at Ohio Dem. headquarters are waiting to hear from U.S. Senator Sherrod Brown who is expected to deliver his acceptance speech “soon,” according to his staffers. The crowd erupted in thunderous cheers and applause as the Ohio Senate race was called by multiple media outlets.

9:18 p.m. – Steve Brown More unsurprising results: NPR projects New York and Michigan to Obama, and Kansas, Louisiana, Nebraska, North Dakota, South Dakota, Wyoming and Texas to Romney.

9:08 Tom Borgerding – Doing “The Wait” at GOP HQ in downtown Cols. Party says it knocked on nearly 3 million doors during campaign.

AG Mike DeWine says urban counties, Cuyahoga, Franklin, Hamilton will tell whether ground game succeeded. So long night appears certain.

9:02 p.m. – Nick Houser – NPR reports 700 people still in line at the Ohio Union waiting to vote.

8:50 p.m. – Mandie Trimble - Rev. Jesse Jackson (pictured right) is at Democratic Headquarters tonight. Jackson says he is watching the Ohio Senate race between U.S. Senator Sherrod Brown and State Treasure Josh Mandel.

Rev. Jesse Jackson at Ohio Democratic Headquarters

The reverend says Brown is an advocate for the middle class, especially in the poorest Appalachian counties.

8:36 p.m. — Steve Brown – NPR projects Tennessee and Arkansas will go to Mitt Romney.

8:15–Sam Hendren – Dana Walch, deputy director of the Franklin County Board of Elections, says that there could be between 20,000 and 25,000 provisional ballots cast in Franklin County. The chairman of the Hamilton County board of elections believes that c County could have as many as 20,000 provisional ballots, according to a report by WVXU. Those ballots won’t be counted until 10 days after the election.

8:09 p.m. — Steve Brown — NPR projects President Obama wins Illinois, Massachusetts, Maryland, Connecticut, Delaware, D.C., and Rhode Island, while Mitt Romney wins Alabama, Mississippi, and Oklahoma.

7:52 — Steve Brown – NPR projects West Virginia and its five electoral votes go to Mitt Romney.

7:45 p.m. — Nick Houser – The first voting totals released by the Ohio Secretary of State show President Barack Obama leading Mitt Romney. Obama has 383,700 votes to Romney’s 190,000 in the early voting period.

U.S. Senator Sherrod Brown leads Republican challenger Josh Mandel in the early voting period. Brown has 434,716 votes to Mandel’s 211,905.

7:36 p.m. — Nick Houser – The polls are closed in Ohio. If you are in line by 7:30, you can still vote.

7:32 p.m. — Steve Brown – NPR projects Mitt Romney as the winner in South Carolina and Georgia.

7:20 — Nick Houser – On Allsides with Ann Fisher, Jessica Palombo, reporter for WFSU Public Media, reports long lines in Miami-Dade County. Some voters waiting five to six hours to cast their vote.

7:07 — Steve Brown – NPR projects Mitt Romney as the winner in Indiana and Kentucky. NPR projects President Obama as the winner in Vermont.

6:40 — Steve Brown – Here are some key facts from an Associated Press exit poll of presidential voters.

  • 6 in 10 voters say the economy is the top issue facing the nation, with unemployment and rising prices hitting voters hard.
  • About 4 in 10 say they think the nation’s economy is on the mend, but more say that things are getting worse or are bad and stagnating.
  • About half of voters say the previous president, George W. Bush, shoulders more of the blame for economic challenges than President Barack Obama.
  • Just a quarter of those surveyed in the exit poll say they are better off than four years ago.

6:10 — Steve Brown – With much of the nation’s focus on Columbus, Cincinnati and Cleveland, it can be easy to forget about the other corner of the state: Southeast Ohio, an area dominated by John McCain in 2008.

Our partners at WOUB in Athens report low voter turnout into early afternoon:

Polling places located at City Hall and at Ohio University’s Baker Center only a handful of people waiting in line to vote.

Voters like Ohio University freshman Casey Harchaoui said they were surprised at the low turnout.

“I was expecting a long line,” she said. “I’m assuming most people might be in class this morning. I also think that most students aren’t from Athens County and felt more comfortable filling out an absentee ballot in their home county.

Other voters like OU senior James Bohland think the low turnout is because of early voting.

“Every time I walked past the Board of Elections office there seemed to be a lot of people there,” said Bohland.

According to WOUB, the Athens County Board of Elections reports 9,249 people in Athens County voted early this year either by mail or in person. There are 47,856 registered voters in Athens County.

5:45 p.m. — Tom Borgerding – Press row is filling up at Columbus GOP HQ on N. 3rd Street. Await first results like everyone else. Voter verdict still being rendered in Ohio until 7:30. Until then all votes and diner conversations are anecdotal.

5:10 p.m. — Steve Brown – Karen Kasler at our Statehouse bureau has some early Election Night predictions from strategists.

From Republican strategist Mike Dawson, who worked with former governor and senator George Voinovich:

The evidence today suggests that the early vote was down in the counties won by Obama and up in the counties won by McCain. That doesn’t mean that they were Democrat votes or Republican votes.

Greg Haas, the Franklin County Democratic Party chair who helped run President Clinton’s win in Ohio in 1992, agrees that it feels more like 2004 than 2008.

This is a lot more like 2004, and the incumbent president is Barack Obama. And his team has had four years, just like the George W. Bush campaign had four years against four months.

4:55 p.m. — Steve Brown – Ohio Public Radio’s Jo Ingles gives us an update on statewide voting problems. The Ohio League of Women Voters’ Carrie Davis tells her most of the problems seem to be clustered in Northeast Ohio.

We’ve had numerous reports from Summit county, the Akron area in particular. Problems involve optical ballot scanners – the things you put the ballots into malfunctioning. That same concern has been raised in Cuyahoga county.

Davis reports plenty of long voting lines in the same area. Click here to hear their entire conversation.

4:40 — Steve Brown – A conservative group has been barred from monitoring polling places in Franklin County.

Board of elections spokesman Ben Piscatelli says managers with “True the Vote” have been instructed to keep away from polling places because some applications weren’t filed properly. Piscatelli didn’t elaborate.

Catherine Engelbrecht, the director of the Houston-based organization, charged that the Ohio Democratic party was behind pressure that led several local Ohio candidates to withdraw their permission for the group’s members to act as election observers.

Engelbrecht also complained about “dangerous and offensive” suggestions that her group and an allied Ohio organization had forged candidate placement signatures that allowed the monitors to have a presence near the polling places.

4:27 p.m. – Steve Brown - A judge has rejected claims raised in an election-eve lawsuit that new software used in voting equipment in some Ohio counties could cause ballots to be altered. More from the Associated Press:

Federal judge Gregory Frost said in a ruling Tuesday that the elections activist who raised the allegation has shown zero chances of succeeding if the case went to trial.

Frost said Bob Fitrakis, a Green Party candidate for Congress, presented only theories and opinions that the software might cause voting night irregularities.

Fitrakis and his attorney had wanted Frost to order Ohio Secretary of State Jon Husted to stop using the software and break the state’s contract with Omaha, Neb.-based Elections Systems & Software.

A message was left with Fitrakis’ attorney seeking comment.

2:53 pm – Mike Thompson - Sam Hendren reports no lines,  no waiting at the MLK center on Columbus East Side.

2:44 pm- Mike Thompson –  Very long line at Ohio State student union snakes around the huge ballroom, out into the hallway, out on to the sidewalk.  Sam Hendren reports hundreds in line. Officials say they have 41 voting machines at that location.

1:47 p.m. – Steve Brown A strange situation near Chillicothe: Elections workers say they’ve received several reports of people knocking on doors and claiming to be with the Ross County Board of Elections.

“There’s someone going around, I don’t know how many people, but they’re going around and saying they’re from the Board of Elections office,” says Ross County Board of Elections Director Nora Madra, who says her office received about five complaints this morning. “They’re asking the people what time they’re going to vote, if they’re undecided, and who they’re going to vote for.”

Madra says it wasn’t clear what the group’s intentions were, but the board of elections has notified Chillicothe Police and the Ross County Sheriff’s Office.

1:15 p.m.  - Mike Thompson   Getting reports of growing lines.  Line at Ohio Union said to be long - http://via.me/-6peeupw  We’re monitoring and looking for reasons why?  Might just be enthusiasm.

12:40 p.m. – Things continue to run smoothly, at least in Franklin County. Board of Elections spokesman Ben Piscatelli tells WOSU’s Debbie Holmes that some lines remain long, but people are casting ballots without any major problems. He predicts the county will finish counting votes around 1 a.m., but that of course depends on things continuing to run smoothly.

Click here to hear Debbie’s entire conversation with Franklin County Board of Elections spokesman Ben Piscatelli. -Steve Brown

11:55 a.m. – Here’s a great look from our colleagues at WKSU at how even after months of political ad and candidate appearances, many Ohio voters are still uninformed and overwhelmed. The money quote: ““It was a little overwhelming, frankly. And it’s great that we get a lot of attention and we’re able to have so much information at our fingertips, but at the same time, it felt overwhelming to me.” -Steve Brown

11:45 a.m. –The eyes of the world continue to hone in on Ohio.

Ohio Public Radio’s Bill Cohen says reporters and TV crews from across the country and the world have descended on downtown Columbus in the place where the votes will be tabulated in this crucial battleground state. Gregg Dodd is a spokesman for the Ohio Statehouse, where elections officials have set up a special election information center. He tells Bill Cohen there are more than 200 credentialed reporters and 18 satellite trucks surrounding Capitol Square.

Click here to hear their entire interview. -Steve Brown

10:34 a.m. –Lines at most polling places in North Columbus seem to be moving relatively well.

Ben Watkins tries to block the sun from his eyes after casting a ballot at the Tuttle Park Recreation Center near the Ohio State University campus.

Mark Koutzmann, a precinct manager at a polling place in Clintonville, said the line extended out the door shortly after polls opened at 6:30 a.m. but quickly died down.

All the voters WOSU spoke to reported a straight-forward and simple process with no major problems.

Gavin DeVore Leonard volunteers with the group Election Protection to help voters at the polls.

WOSU also spoke with Gavin DeVore Leonard, a volunteer with the organization Election Protection. Click here to hear what the group is doing to monitor elections.

Leonard did not hear any serious problems from voters, although he says his colleagues reported long lines into late morning at the King Arts Complex in Columbus’ Mount Vernon neighborhood. -Steve Brown

8:00 a.m.– After months of campaign visits and a barrage of political ads, Ohio polls have finally opened for Election Day.

A sign directs voters inside a North Columbus polling place.

Voters are casting ballots in the presidential race, a U.S. Senate contest, and hundreds of local, legislative, and congressional races.

But legal issues regarding the election remain unresolved.

Secretary of State Jon Husted faces a deadline of today to file an official response to a lawsuit against his latest order on provisional ballots.

Husted last week directed elections officials to throw out provisional ballots where the voter ID information is wrong or incomplete. A group of Ohio labor unions filed suit, claiming the onus for verifying ID information on ballots falls on poll workers, not voters.

Meanwhile, a federal judge has scheduled a hearing for today in another complaint alleging voting equipment in some Ohio counties raises the possibility of ballots being altered after they are cast. The federal lawsuit against Husted and Nebraska-based Election Systems and Software says software installed by the state could allow vote manipulation by non-election board officials. -Steve Brown

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WOSU will be provide updates throughout the day on election coverage in Central Ohio.

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