WASHINGTON (AP) — Around the country on Election Day 2012 with AP reporters bringing the latest developments to you:
BROADCASTING YOUR VOTE
Tweet the Vote! According to a study published by the Pew Internet and American Life Project, 22 percent of registered voters have told others which candidates they support on a social networking site like Twitter or Facebook.
Those broadcasting their political views and votes are from both parties — 25 percent of President Barack Obama's supporters have posted their preferences and 20 percent of Massachusetts Gov. Mitt Romney's supporters have done the same.
Forty-five percent of registered voters ages 18-29 say they have been encouraged to vote for another candidate via social media, the Pew study says.
— Mary Clare Jalonick — Twitter http://twitter.com/MCJalonick
Stop us if anything in here sounds familiar.
Election. Burglary. Political party office.
Police detectives are investigating an overnight burglary at the Seattle headquarters of the Washington state Democratic Party. Someone arriving for work found a broken window and open door and got police involved at 5:30 a.m. Tuesday.
It's not yet known what might have been taken — and police spokesman Mark Jamieson says there's no immediate indication of a political motivation.
He calls it a burglary in a building that happens to house campaign folks.
— Doug Esser — Twitter http://twitter.com/apseattle
One more thing to add to the list of potential nightmare scenarios if the presidential election is extremely close: Provisional ballots that aren't counted for days or weeks.
Voters cast provisional ballots for a variety of reasons, including failing to bring ID to the polls, not updating voter registration after moving or trying to vote at the wrong precinct.
A federal election law passed after the 2000 presidential election gives voters the option to cast a provisional ballot, if poll workers deny them a regular one. In Ohio and Pennsylvania, voters who don't bring an ID to the polls can still have their votes counted if they produce an ID after Election Day. In Ohio, provisional voters have up to 10 days post-election to produce an ID.
If voters in Florida don't bring an ID to the polls, they must sign a provisional ballot envelope. Canvassing boards then will try to match the signatures with those in voter registration records, a process that conjures up images of the 2000 presidential election in Florida.
"It's a possibility of a complete meltdown for the election," said Daniel Smith, a political scientist at the University of Florida.
— Stephen Ohlemacher — Twitter http://twitter.com/stephenatap
After landing this afternoon at Pittsburgh International Airport, Mitt Romney walked from his plane to a fence on the edge of the runway. What he saw: a huge crowd gathered in a nearby parking garage to watch his arrival.
"That's when you know you're going to win," Romney said after waving to the roaring crowd.
Check out a photo here: http://pic.twitter.com/X4eDutqG
— Steve Peoples — Twitter http://twitter.com/sppeoples
NO MORE FRONT PORCH
Michael Oreskes, a veteran political journalist since the 1970s and now The Associated Press' senior managing editor for U.S. news, will be checking in briefly with Election Watch throughout the day. Here is his first report:
Once, admittedly a long time ago, campaigning for president on any day — let alone Election Day — was considered undignified. Candidates were limited to campaigning from their front porches.
That was then. Now we are seeing scenes America has never experienced before as part of its greatest unifying event, Election Day.
There was the president of the United States, on hold, waiting for a supporter in Wisconsin to come back on the line so he could make a final plea for turnout. Obama was visiting a campaign office near his home in Chicago.
That scene was nothing compared to what was playing out in Ohio. Mitt Romney and Paul Ryan were hopscotching the ultimate battleground state in a last ditch appeal. And Ryan had a shadow: Vice President Joe Biden somehow flew in too, in a last-ditch effort to mess up the Republicans' final message.
So much for campaigning from the front porch.
— Michael Oreskes
RYAN'S BACKUP PLAN
Paul Ryan has a backup plan.
In addition to being Republican Mitt Romney's running mate, the Wisconsin congressman is seeking re-election to the U.S. House. Ryan has held his 1st District seat in southeast Wisconsin since 1998.
State law allowed Ryan to run for VP and Congress at the same time.
It's been an uphill climb for his challengers for the House, Democratic businessman Rob Zerban and Libertarian Keith Deschler. Zerban tried for weeks — unsuccessfully — to get Ryan to debate him.
And what if Ryan wins twice Tuesday?
He would have to resign from Congress and a special election would be held to fill the House seat.
— Dinesh Ramde — Twitter http://twitter.com/dramde
WEDDED TO POLITICS
Talk about being wedded to politics.
Jonathan Carroll and Stephanie McClure of Hoboken, N.J., chose Election Day to form their own perfect union. Well, they figured they didn't really have a choice.
Carroll says the original plan was to get married at a banquet hall in the shore community of Point Pleasant, but Superstorm Sandy devastated the area. Any thought of waiting beyond Tuesday to tie the knot was wiped away by an oncoming nor'easter that is expected to hit New Jersey on Wednesday and could result in more delays.
So Carroll and McClure said "I do" at Hoboken City Hall on Tuesday, while voters cast ballots across the way.
"You know how they say a rough beginning equates to a smooth ending?" Carroll said. "If that's the way it goes, it's going to be cake and ice cream the rest of my life."
— David Porter — Twitter http://twitter.com/DavidPorter_AP
'THESE THINGS MATTER'
Two views from a San Diego polling place:
On one hand:
San Diego poet Veronica Cunningham, 60, proudly held sheets of "I voted' stickers to give out to the children at the schools where she works and said it felt good to vote as a gay Latina:
"A lot of people I know here think their vote doesn't matter because we're not in Ohio. But I think everybody should either put out or shut up. Anyone who cares about who you are, your ethnicity, your beliefs, should vote because these things matter in an election. I expect a few things from my country and I'm hopeful for Obama. After eight years with Bush, you can't expect one, lone African-American man to be responsible for this whole mess. I definitely think he should be given a second chance. People really have short memories."
On the other hand:
Elizabeth Marckwardt, a 57-year-old nurse who wore a sun hat to vote, was keeping her fingers crossed that Romney would defeat the president. She said the country is being smothered by big government that is squelching the private sector:
"I don't know what I'll do if Romney doesn't win. I'll go into a depression. I'll have to find a happy place for the next four years. Maybe I'll watch cartoons or something."
— Julie Watson — Twitter http://twitter.com/watson_julie
SO MANY RACES
One particular race — the one for the right to reside at 1600 Pennsylvania Avenue — gets the most attention on Election Day. There are thousands of others, too, of course.
The Associated Press tabulates results in 4,818 contested races, including 379 statewide races, nationwide.
That's in addition to declaring thousands of uncontested races. There are even 13 uncontested contests for the 435-seat U.S. House of Representatives.
Tuesday's races include 33 spots in the Senate and 11 governorships.
The AP also will tally 177 statewide ballot measures, along with state legislative races in 44 states, hundreds of state constitutional offices, judicial and mayoral races, many local ballot measures — and on and on it goes.
When does this start to wrap up? The first polls close in parts of Indiana and Kentucky at 6 p.m. EST. The last, in a small sliver of Alaska, shuts at 1 a.m. EST.
— Don Rehill
Politicians on the ballot Tuesday aren't the only people praying for landslide margins. Election administrators hope for them too.
Take Jane Platten, director of the elections board in Cuyahoga County, Ohio, the most populous county in the critical battleground state with about 928,000 registered voters.
Platten says she is confident in her county's system of paper ballots that run through a scanner. She worries more about problems she calls "environmental" — like when one of her poll workers got in a fight with a voter, head-butted him and bit his nose last year. Or bad weather, like the ice storm that hit the area on presidential primary day in March 2008. Those types of problems keep her up at night, she says.
When an election is as close as the presidential contest is expected to be in Ohio, even the little distractions can make a difference, says elections expert Kimball Brace, president of the Washington-based consulting firm Election Data Services.
"Any tiny little thing can throw things off," he says.
— Jennifer C. Kerr
CHRISTIE'S PLAIN TALK
Count on New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie to put it plainly.
Some complaints and confusion arose after a last-minute provision in his state allowed people displaced by Superstorm Sandy to vote via email or fax.
The American Civil Liberties Union's New Jersey office asked a judge to intervene in the email voting process in Essex County, saying about two dozen voters complained they had not received their ballots.
An election official in Hudson County said a backlog was created by voters requesting email ballots even though they weren't forced from their homes by the storm.
Christie, as is his wont, put the matter in simple terms during his briefing Tuesday.
"If you haven't been displaced by the storm, get off your butt and go vote," Christie said. "I voted. There's no reason anybody else shouldn't vote. I'm pretty busy."
— Geoff Mulvihill — Twitter http://twitter.com/GeoffMulvihill
BIDEN'S CLEVELAND VISIT
Vice President Joe Biden enjoyed lunch Tuesday at Cleveland's Landmark restaurant, a greasy spoon that often attracts factory workers, municipal employees and regulars from a neighborhood of African Americans, eastern Europeans, Middle Eastern immigrants and Spanish speakers.
Biden, accompanied by his wife and other family members — including several grandchildren — stopped at the blue-collar lunch counter to eat and shake hands in the ethnic Cleveland neighborhood.
"It's the iconic Cleveland restaurant," Cleveland Councilman Joe Cimperman said.
— Matt Rourke
'GANGNAM STYLE,' OBAMA STYLE?
Yes, those hard-hitting questions keep coming for the candidates, even on Election Day: President Barack Obama was asked by one interviewer Tuesday about the "Gangnam Style" dance craze.
During a radio spot with WZID-FM in New Hampshire, the commander in chief was pressed on whether he and first lady Michelle would do a rendition of the South Korean rapper PSY's hit, which has hundreds of millions of views on YouTube.
"I just saw that video for the first time," Obama replied. "I think I can do that move. But I'm not sure that the inauguration ball is the appropriate time to break that out."
"Maybe," he concluded, "do it privately for Michelle."
— Howard Fendrich — Twitter http://twitter.com/HowardFendrich
For those of you wondering, this nugget just in from Romney's Wendy's visit: He ordered a quarter-pounder (no cheese), chili and a Frosty.
It's been a long few days for sure. "He's kind of operating on fumes," Romney's running mate, Paul Ryan, tells the AP, speaking about the presidential candidate and their hectic schedule.
— Steve Peoples — Twitter http://twitter.com/sppeoples
TASTE OF DEMOCRACY
It's not at all scientific, but it is delicious: A Roseville, Minn., bakery is offering Obama and Romney cookies to test its customers' preference in the presidential race.
Roseville Bakery owner Amy Johnson says she's done her cookie poll in the past two elections, and it correctly predicted the winner both times.
It boosts cookie sales, too. Customer Muriel Sharpe read about the cookie poll online and when she heard Obama was behind, she drove in Tuesday morning and snatched up two dozen Obama cookies.
She passed some out to other customers. Then she bought eight more.
Despite her efforts, Romney still held an 830-to-731 lead over Obama in cookie sales.
Johnson says the political cookies have sparked some heated discussion between customers and gotten her young staff more engaged in what's going on.
— Amy Forliti — Twitter http://twitter.com/amyforliti
VOTING IN THE DARK
On New York City's Staten Island, voters lined up outside dark tents to vote in areas still without power after Superstorm Sandy. In the Jersey Shore community of Little Egg Harbor Township, voters cast ballots in a mobile polling station dubbed the "vote-a-bago", just one week after Sandy devastated towns and cities along the state's coastline.
Check out two AP videos:
The first: http://bit.ly/SUBf3k
The second: http://bitly.com/UgLWBT
— Mary Clare Jalonick — Twitter http://twitter.com/MCJalonick
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