7 November 2012 Last updated at 01:53

As it happened: US voting day

  1.  
    0600:

    Welcome to the BBC's live event page for the US election. Thanks for joining us on the day when tens of millions of Americans go to the polls to pick their president.

     
  2.  
    0602:

    It's bright and early on election day, here in the US. In a handful of states - Connecticut, Indiana, New York, New Jersey, New Hampshire, Virginia, Louisiana and Maine - polling stations are already open even though it's only just gone 06:00 EST (11:00 GMT).

     
  3.  
    0605:

    Throughout the next 36 hours, we'll be bringing you minute-by-minute updates, analysis and appraisal from our correspondents across the US and political experts, as well as a selection of your tweets and emails.

     
  4.  
    0610:

    Americans are voting on the next president of the United States - a contest in which incumbent Democratic President Barack Obama is facing Republican presidential nominee Mitt Romney.

     
  5.  
    0615:

    But in many states, voters will also have the option to cast their ballot for a third party candidate. Here you can find a list of all 27 candidates appearing on the presidential ticket in at least one US state. These candidates are not expected to win the White House, but the BBC has explored whether these candidates could make a difference if the election is very, very close.

     
  6.  
    0624:

    Just after 0000 local time in New Hampshire, two tiny towns became the first in the nation to vote. Dixville Notch has 10 registered voters total and Hart's Location has 34 voters. Here's one of Election Day's first voters, in Dixville:

    A man casts his ballot inside a polling station just after midnight n Dixville Notch, New hampshire 6 November 2012
     
  7.  
    0625:

    The results so far? Hart's Location voted overwhelmingly for Obama - 23 votes to Romney's nine (with two for libertarian candidate Gary Johnson), while Dixville Notch tied, five to five, reportedly for the first time ever. It will be some time before we have the rest of the nation's results.

     
  8.  
    P Froehlich, Virginia Beach, Virginia

    tweets: Lines in Virginia Beach about the same as four years ago. Maybe 200 to 300 in line.

     
  9.  
    Tommy, Anoka, Minnesota

    emails: Well we're finally here - election day 2012. I continue to believe that the outcome is not going to be as close as some pundits are predicting.

     
  10.  
    0632:

    Polls are now open in West Virginia, North Carolina and the crucial swing state of Ohio.

     
  11.  
    0636:

    The election features among current US trending topics on Twitter with Happy Election Day, #Vote2012 and #GoVote the early risers. In the battle between the candidates it's early advantage to #VoteObama

     
  12.  
    0644:

    Our colleagues in BBC Monitoring, which gathers news and comment from around the world, report that Saudi-owned pan-Arab newspaper Al-Sharq al-Awsat has this to say: "If Romney wins, then we should expect a tougher US stance on the conflict in Syria as Romney is obviously more intent on stopping Al-Asad's killing machine."

     
  13.  
    David Myers in Lexington, Kentucky

    tweets: Trying to vote. Machines not working. Poll workers showed up 20 minutes late and didn't have time to test equipment.

     
  14.  
    Matt Quintanilla in New York

    tweets: This line is getting restless. There are no poll workers yet. It's also 34 degrees.

     
  15.  
    The BBC's Yuwen Wu

    A lot of interest in China - more than 2.8 million postings about the elections on Sina Weibo, the largest social media site in China.

     
  16.  
    The BBC's Katty Kay in New York

    tweets: Obama camp starts election day very confident, question is, will their last minute momentum bring in actual votes.

     
  17.  
    0658:
    Voting in Alexandria

    The BBC's Paul Blake sent us this photo of queues of voters in Alexandria, Virginia

     
  18.  
    0700:

    It's now 07:00 EDT (12:00 GMT) and more polls are now open - Delaware, the eastern part of Florida, Georgia, Illinois, Maryland, Massachusetts, the eastern part of Michigan, Kentucky, Missouri, Pennsylvania, Rhode Island, South Carolina and the District of Columbia.

     
  19.  
    Corri Love in Carmel, Indiana

    tweets: They can't get the machines to work! Been here since 0545 and no one has voted!

     
  20.  
    Jonathon Perelli in Washington DC

    tweets: First in line, first to vote, feeling very punctual and patriotic. God bless the United States of America! #election2012

     
  21.  
    0706:

    What do young voters have to say about this election? BBC's Newsbeat spoke to young adults in the southern US to ask what's on their minds. "This election is very, very important," one says .

     
  22.  
    Christy Bernard in Colombus, Ohio

    tweets: It's 29 degrees and we're in line outside. Good thing I brought gloves and a scarf!

     
  23.  
    Katty Kay Presenter, BBC World News

    tweets from 30 Rockefeller Plaza in New York, where she is filming the election day special of MSNBC's breakfast show Morning Joe: "30 rock looking fab!"

    Katty kay at 30 Rock
     
  24.  
    0716:

    Vice-President Joe Biden is currently voting in his home state of Delaware - making him the first of the candidates to vote today.

     
  25.  
    0717:

    Obama has already voted, two weeks ago, becoming the first US president to cast his own ballot early. He took a short break from campaigning to vote in his home town of Chicago. As Obama was leaving, he thanked the staff and joked: "I can't tell you who I voted for."

     
  26.  
    0723:

    Commentators say that in a close election where turnout will be critical, early voting could represent a chance for the candidates to lock up support early. Earlier, the BBC took a look at trends in early voting and how it became a political strategy.

     
  27.  
    0727:

    In 34 states, plus the District of Columbia, early voting has been under way for several days, even weeks. Some 31 million ballots have already been cast - but none will be counted until today.

     
  28.  
    Paul Vasile in New York City

    tweets: Voting in Central Harlem, 140th st. Long lines, few machines. Very small room that is overcrowded and people frustrated. Democracy in action.

     
  29.  
    0739:

    In addition to the presidential race, many Congressional offices are up for re-election, including the entire House of Representatives and one-third of the Senate.

     
  30.  
    0740:

    Here, Virginia Senate candidate and former governor Tim Kaine leaves his polling place in Richmond, Virginia. His race against George Allen is one of our six senate campaigns to watch.

    Democratic Senate candidate, former Gov. Timothy Kaine, and his wife, Anne Holton, walk back home after voting in Richmond, Virginia 6 November 2012
     
  31.  
    David in Albany, New York

    emails: I voted at 7:10 AM and was only the 11th voter of the morning. Polling staff reported that they were locked out of the new polling location and had to wait in the 23 degree temps while they located someone to let them in. All is working smoothly now.

     
  32.  
    Stacie Cherie Morris in Durham, North Carolina

    tweets: Polls are open and North Carolina is a #swingstate therefore every vote counts #govote

     
  33.  
    0800:

    Many more states are now due to open their polls - Alabama, Arizona, Iowa, Kansas, Minnesota, Mississippi, parts of North Dakota, Oklahoma, parts of South Dakota, Tennessee, Texas and Wisconsin.

     
  34.  
    Clinton Manning in Boston, Massachusetts

    emails: Woke up early to cast my vote in Boston. A long queue, but keen to cast my vote, hope it's all worth it!

     
  35.  
    Olivia Casey Hyatt in South Carolina

    tweets: ‏Why is it always cold on election day? If I get sick standing in line to vote, I'm sending my doctor's bill to the new president.

     
  36.  
    The BBC's Emily Maitlis

    tweets: #BBCNewsUSA last rehearsals on the touchscreen before the big night. Pray for a gremlin-free one."

    Emily Matlis
     
  37.  
    0806:

    Why can't the US hold its election and vote by text or email? The BBC's Matt Danzico investigates why in this Living Online video.

     
  38.  
    Laura Seel in Birmingham, Alabama

    tweets: The line to vote in Hoover is wrapped around the building..this could take a while. #election2012 #govote

     
  39.  
    0812:

    Mitt Romney's running-mate Paul Ryan will vote in his home state of Wisconsin and then head to Boston, where the Romney campaign has made the convention centre in the city their home for election night.

    A ballroom is prepared for the election night event for US Republican Presidential candidate Mitt Romney 5 November 2012
     
  40.  
    0813:

    After voting in Belmont, Massachusetts, Mitt Romney will make stops in Cleveland, Ohio, and Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, today - an uncommon move for a presidential candidate.

     
  41.  
    Renu Grover in New York

    tweets @BBC_HaveYourSay with pictures of the queues at her polling station: "@BBC_HaveYourSay #2012election awful line at 630AM UES NYC district 70" adding "Nobody knows where the end of the line is."

    Queues at a New York polling station, by Renu Grover
     
  42.  
    0824:

    More than half of all the American states are now open for voting.

     
  43.  
    The BBC's Philippa Thomas

    tweets: "Waking up in #Chicago to #Obama ad: "we've gone too far to turn back now". Will ENOUGH voters stay with him, or does it end where it began?"

     
  44.  
    Luke Cardille, Cleveland, Ohio

    emails: It has seemed like Romney and Obama are only running for office in Ohio. I have gotten numerous calls and tons of political mail. This is my first election as a voter and I have never realised how badly we get hit here in Ohio. We have had around 300 political ads on TV every day here in Cleveland.

     
  45.  
    Isabelle in London

    an early voter, tweets: @BBC_HaveYourSay my polling station was my house and a stamp, approximately 2 months ago

     
  46.  
    0831: BBC Mundo's Carlos Chirinos, Florida

    says: Long queues in one of Miami's polling stations. Florida has one of the most complex voting ballots.

     
  47.  
    Rebecca Custer in Philadelphia

    tweets: been voting for 17 yrs and I still get a thrill. Our greatest liberty. Don't take it for granted. #VOTE2012

     
  48.  

    NBC News' Carrie Dann tweets from Delaware: "Asked outside his polling place if this will be the last time he votes for himself, @JoeBiden, smiling: "Oh, I don't think so.""

     
  49.  
    0836:

    BBC Monitoring translates a tweet from Russian senator Alexander Torshin, who is serving as a US election monitor: "We are in the state of Tennessee. We have been given unlimited access to polling stations. There is huge interest in the work of Russian observers."

     
  50.  
    0837:

    We're expecting Republican nominee Mitt Romney to cast his vote in Belmont, Massachusetts, shortly.

     
  51.  
    Wilson Holm in Detroit, Michigan

    tweets: Waiting in line to vote! Wish this many people showed up at all elections. The line is outrageous #Vote2012

     
  52.  
    0843:

    Two men vying for the the same job - our photo gallery follows Obama and Romney from childhood to fatherhood to the candidate we know today

    Comp from parallel lives photo gallery
     
  53.  
    0847 EST:

    For those of you just joining us, here's a recap of where we are. Tens of millions of Americans vote today for, among other things, a new president.

     
  54.  
    0849:

    Democratic president Barack Obama faces Republican challenger Mitt Romney in the 2012 race for the White House.

     
  55.  
    0850:

    Pundits say the fate of the election is going to depend on what happens in a small handful of battlegrounds - or states that either candidate has a shot at winning.

     
  56.  
    0854:

    In the fight for those key states, the campaigns and groups that support them have blanketed the airwaves with as much as $1bn (£620m) on more than one million political adverts in just 10 states, the Associated Press reports. We have our own handy graphic to walk you through those eye-popping numbers.

     
  57.  
    Laura Trevelyan BBC News, Florida

    asks Debbie Wasserman Schultz, chairwoman of the Democratic National Committee and a Florida congresswoman, if Obama could lose Florida and still win. Wasserman Schultz tells the BBC at a polling station in Pembroke Pines, Florida, that she's confident Obama will win Florida though he has many more paths to victory to Romney.

     
  58.  
    0857:

    Mitt Romney has now voted in Belmont, Massachusetts, before heading to his final two campaign stops.

     
  59.  
    Andrew Steele in Woodbridge, Virginia

    emails: We had a fire alarm accidentally set off. Luckily we weren't evacuated but the fire service did turn up to check out the building. I ended up queueing for one hour and 45 minutes, the longest I've ever experienced for an election.

     
  60.  
    Jonny Dymond BBC News, Boston

    tweets: "Election day in New Hampshire and the political advertising rolls on (this one for Mass.) #election2012"

    poltical advertising on election day
     
  61.  
    0905:

    Here's Mitt and Ann Romney voting at an otherwise quiet polling station in Belmont, Massachusetts. An odd experience to see your name on the ballot?

    Mitt Romney votes in Belmont, Massachusetts 6 November 2012
     
  62.  
    0910: Mark Mardell BBC North America editor

    writes in his blog: That is what Democrats will be doing all day - nagging and dragging people to the ballot box.

     
  63.  
    0913:

    Polls now open in Wyoming, Utah, New Mexico, Nebraska, Montana and Colorado - and we have an election day photo gallery of voters

     
  64.  
    0915:

    Voting is well under way in Washington DC this morning, with lengthy queues reported in several places

    Voters wait inside the polling station to cast their ballots at Metropolitan AME Church in Washington, DC on 6 November 2012
     
  65.  
    0918:

    As he left the polling station, Romney was asked how he felt about his chances in Ohio, a crucial election state for both candidates. "I feel good about Ohio," he said, as he heads to - you guessed it - Ohio.

     
  66.  
  67.  
    Ed Bayley in Bergenfield, New Jersey

    emails: Arrived at 6:15am, only had to wait a couple of minutes to vote. An exciting experience for a British expatriate and relatively recent US citizen, as this is the first presidential election I've been eligible to vote in.

     
  68.  
    0925:

    A quick reminder that all times here are in Eastern Standard Time (EST, which is GMT -5).

     
  69.  
    Katty Kay Presenter, BBC World News

    tweets: "Surprising how many Republicans say the Super PAC money was badly spent and didn't help much."

     
  70.  
    Joanna Edie in Virginia

    emails: I saw one woman in a wheelchair, one black man who couldn't have been older than 18, two people on crutches and one elderly woman whose granddaughter assisted her in the booth next to me. It was an uplifting reminder of how democracy works and how important voting is at any age, despite any circumstances.

     
  71.  
    0929:

    Voters in this election say their highest priorities are jobs and economic recovery, as well as taxes and healthcare. Here's where Obama and Romney stand on the key issues

     
  72.  
    0935:

    Across the country, congressional seats in both chambers are up for re-election. The New York Times has a helpful guide to the Senate seats and the seats in the House of Representatives that are in play this year. We've also picked out some of the most closely-watched races for you to look at.

     
  73.  
    0936:

    The BBC's Franz Strasser: Washingtonians line up around the block this morning in the Adams Morgan neighbourhood. The District of Columbia has three electoral college votes.

    Franz's compliation of voting, 6 November 2012
     
  74.  
    0939:

    The BBC's Arturo Wallace: The US elections are front page news in all of Colombia's main dailies, which right now seem much more interested in the US presidential vote than in the meeting with the left-wing Farc rebels that will take place today in Havana

     
  75.  
    Kathi Elizabeth with no power and no car in New Jersey

    emailed: I am going to pack up my little three-month-old daughter and keep her warm in her stroller and hike into town along the expressway, next to the flooded river, to cast my vote.

     
  76.  
    Jillian in St. Louis, Missouri

    tweets: In and out of polling place in 10 minutes. They had problems with electronic voting, so I went old school paper ballot. #Vote2012 #stl

     
  77.  
    0944:

    The US election is one of the most widely-covered news events but the Guardian, which is based in the UK, takes a different approach in telling the story of how we got to election day - through a graphic novel format.

     
  78.  
    0946:

    "Even though Romney has made all kinds of campaign promises, he is not friendly to China," says a commentary on Chinese Sina news portal, as seen by BBC Monitoring. "For China, the US and the world, things may not get better with Obama, but they will certainly not get worse."

     
  79.  
    Chrissy Schmidt

    tweets: I will be very happy to not have political ads running every second of every day starting tomorrow! Ugh! #Vote2012 #Election2012

     
  80.  
    0950:

    Paul Ryan has cast his vote in Janesville, Wisconsin, the city where he was born.

     
  81.  
    0954:

    Wisconsin is one of the key swing states and Republicans hoped the addition of Ryan to the Romney ticket would boost their chances of winning its 10 electoral college votes.

     
  82.  
    0955:

    Voters at the Boston Public Library this morning

    Voters at the Boston Public Library
     
  83.  
    1002:

    Just passed 10:00 EST (15:00 GMT), which means the rest of the "lower 48" US states have opened voting - California, Idaho, Nevada, Oregon and the rest of Vermont.

     
  84.  
    1005: Paul Adams BBC News, Chicago

    "Not fired up, but resolute," an Obama supporter says after casting their vote in northwest Chicago. It's a typical view in this heavily blue area.

     
  85.  
    Joseph Matt in Hudson, Ohio

    emailed: Queued up for over 30 minutes at 7:50AM. Besides one of the two ballot scanners being jammed, everything went smoothly.

     
  86.  
    1007: Laura Trevelyan BBC News

    Outside the Honda car showroom in Davie, Florida, the line to vote snakes round the parking lot. More than 200 people waiting to vote in the Florida sunshine.

     
  87.  
    1016:

    Unlike his opponent, who is still campaigning today, the president will give his voice a rest and play his customary basketball game with staff and friends. It's an election day tradition/superstition.

     
  88.  
    1017 EST:

    And the last of the candidate votes is in. As we reported earlier, Paul Ryan cast his ballot in Wisconsin and here's the proof, with his family and the media standing by.

    Republican vice presidential candidate Paul Ryan casts his ballot with his wife Janna, son Charlie and daughter Liza on election day in Janesville, Wisconsin 6 November 2012
     
  89.  
    1024:

    Among the more contentious issues has been new voter ID laws, which could affect millions of Americans. The BBC's Franz Strasser shows us who is subject to these rules and how in this data visualisation video.

     
  90.  
    1027 EST: Clarice Redding in Palm Beach, Florida

    tells the BBC: "I queued for five hours for early voting on Saturday and I've heard from friends who have been waiting for three hours today. It's crazy in Palm Beach County, there's real aggravation at the polls."

     
  91.  
    Scott L in Atlanta, Georgia

    emails: I voted before coming to work. One of the machines used to check identification wasn't working, so the wait was about 45 minutes instead of the usual 15 or 20. Everyone took it pretty well, though.

     
  92.  
    Gina B in Cambridge, Massachusetts

    tweets: Now that I've cast my ballot, the true test is if I can keep myself away from election news & focus on my job today. But seriously #GoVote!

     
  93.  
    1040:

    Our international readers might be curious as to what a US ballot looks like. Short answer: there's no one ballot style across all the states, but they do have some similar themes. Pictorial answer: here's one style from Washington DC

    A sample oversized ballot in Washington DC
     
  94.  
    1044:

    And another ballot from New York City, this time close up:

    A ballot from New York City
     
  95.  
    Paige Catton in Los Angeles

    tweets: Now I feel really bad that I missed the registration date to vote. #vote2012

     
  96.  
    Kurt Alfrey in Hoboken, New Jersey

    emails: After all the flooding, Hoboken has turned out and is voting. Let's hope the same can be said for the rest of New Jersey.

     
  97.  
    1049:

    The BBC's Helena Merriman: Most Democratic voters we've spoken to in Chicago say there isn't the same enthusiasm this year as four years ago but that they still believe strongly in voting

     
  98.  
    1052:

    Eritrea is one of the very few countries where no one is reporting about the presidential race in the USA, BBC Monitoring observes. In a country where private news media do not exist, none of the state-owned outlets have been observed to carry any reports about the US election.

     
  99.  
    1054 EST:

    BBC Monitoring, which gathers news and comment from across the globe, says this could be explained by the poor state of relations between Eritrea and the USA, strained since the 1998-2000 border war between Eritrea and Ethiopia, in which the Eritreans accused Washington of siding with their adversaries.

     
  100.  
    Ashley Smith in Minneapolis, Minnesota

    emails: I live in a very densely populated area and waited over an hour and a half to vote this morning. No one in line complained, and the school hosting the poll offered free coffee and cookies. This is my first time voting in person and it's been a good experience.

     
  101.  
    Florida voter Jackie, in Orlando,

    tells the BBC: "I got in line at 0730 and only got to vote at 0900, just as the rain was starting to come down. I have been voting at the same polling station for nine years and never waited longer than 20 minutes. There was a lot of frustration. There were also just two polling officers, which didn't seem to be enough. But, after 90 minutes and one rainstorm, I did it, and it was worth the wait."

     
  102.  
    1057 EST:

    So, just to recap for a moment. Tens of millions of Americans are expected to cast their votes today, bringing to an end a long and - at times - bitter election campaign.

     
  103.  
    1101:

    Polls are open across nearly all parts of the US. Alaska opens its polling stations now, which leaves only Hawaii, where they open at 1200 EST (1700 GMT), in one hour.

     
  104.  
    1103:

    Among the voters today were Vice-President Joe Biden, Republican presidential candidate Mitt Romney and his running mate Paul Ryan. The president voted last month - one of 31m Americans to vote early.

     
  105.  
    1104:

    Pundits say the fate of the election is in the hands of a cluster of battleground states, which are broken down here in a handy guide.

     
  106.  
    1106:

    While Romney heads to key states Pennsylvania and Ohio to campaign, President Obama has a slower election day. His schedule includes a raft of interviews with various media from his Chicago home, as well as his traditional election day pick-up basketball game.

     
  107.  
    1109:

    So what happens to voting in places hit by storm Sandy? Polling goes on. In one section of Staten Island, New York, an unheated tent with flashlights serves as the election centre.

    Poll worker Lisa Amico, right, helps voters by flashlight in a dark and unheated tent serving as a polling site in the Midland Beach section of Staten Island, New York, 6 November 2012
     
  108.  
    1112 EST:

    Ahead of election day, we spoke to people on Staten Island about how they felt about the vote, given the terrible circumstances following the storm.

     
  109.  
    1115:

    The BBC's Rajesh Mirchandani in Colorado: Roy D Moore Jr, 89, from Colorado Springs, wears his 'I voted' sticker after casting his ballot at Woodmen Valley Chapel. 'I'll be back in four years to do it again,' he said. Officials here reported above average turnout. There were 80 people in line and most had waited 45 minutes to vote.

     
  110.  
    William Marquez BBC Mundo, Washington

    In Columbia Heights, a neighbourhood with a large Central American community, long lines of voters have formed. Washington DC only represents three electoral votes, but Hispanic participation here may be indicative of voting patterns in other states.

     
  111.  
    1123:

    At a campaign office, Barack Obama is making calls to volunteers: "Karen, this is Barack Obama. No, it is... Thank you for working so hard."

     
  112.  
    1124 EST:

    Another piece of US election ephemera: The "I voted" or "He votado hoy" sticker - a popular, if temporary, way of showing civic pride.

    Stickers in Spanish and English are seen at the polling station at Metropolitan AME Church in Washington, DC on 6 November 2012
     
  113.  
    Brian Hoffman in Tallahassee, Florida

    tweets:I voted in #Election2012 in Florida. The optimist in me says "My vote matters!" The pessimist in me says "Will they know how to count it!"

     
  114.  
    1130:

    Facebook is offering a real-time map visualising US voters which it describes as "a representation of people on Facebook who clicked an Election Day prompt to share with their friends that they're voting in the 2012 US election".

     
  115.  
    1134:

    The BBC's Valeria Perasso, Hispanic affairs correspondent, says: In Arizona, levels of interest among Latinos is much higher than the national average - 60% said they are more enthusiastic than in 2008, while the national average is 34%, according to a pre-election poll by Latino Decisions

     
  116.  
    Aaron Maxa from Alexandria, VA, USA

    emails: In and out in less than 45 minutes. The line was long at my polling place but everyone was calm and generally happy. Going "backwards" to a paper ballot this year in Virginia seems wasteful and overly cumbersome. When someone in the line asked an official, we were told it was for more accurate audit capabilities.

     
  117.  
    1140:

    The Associated Press reports that while in labour, a pregnant woman in the Chicago area made a detour en route to the hospital to vote in Dolton, Illinois. No word yet on if the baby has been born.

     
  118.  
    1147:

    Mitt Romney has now arrived in Ohio, to make his final campaign stop in the crucial swing state. He'll be in Pennsylvania later today.

     
  119.  
    1150 EST:

    Earlier, President Obama paid a surprise visit to a campaign office in Chicago, where he put in some calls.

    Barack Obama
     
  120.  
    1156:

    The BBC's Philippa Thomas in Chicago can give us more on the 21-year-old who voted while in labour with her first child. Galicia Malone gave birth to a daughter and a county official said he wished all voters showed such determination.

     
  121.  
    Adam Ruechel from Madison, USA

    tweets: the worst part about voting absentee is that I don't get the classic "I Voted Today" sticker! So wear it with pride if you get one! #GoVote

     
  122.  
    Ron Miller from Virginia Beach, Virginia, USA

    emails: I decided to wait until 1100 to vote. There was an hour-and-a-half queue to wait in.

     
  123.  
    1206:

    This year's election will cost more than $2.5bn (£1.6bn). But where does the money come from and how is it spent? We break it all down in this nifty three-minute explainer.

     
  124.  
    1218:

    Polling booths in the US can be found in all kinds of places. This election day we've heard about car dealerships and this launderette in Chicago.

    People cast their ballot at a polling station in a laundromat, November 6, 2012 in Chicago, Illinois in the US presidential election
     
  125.  
    1222:

    Historian Douglas Brinkley tells CNN that since the disputed election of 2000, there have been "miraculous" efforts to increase turnout, which has steadily gone up from 51% in 1996 to 63% in 2008. Too early to say how 2012 will fit in.

     
  126.  
    1230 EST:

    If you like pub quizzes, take note. Nevada is the only US state that gives voters the option of "none of these candidates" on the ballot. This and nine other election oddities are explained in this handy guide

     
  127.  
    Martin Watson from St Louis, Missouri, USA

    emails: I voted earlier this morning at a well-run polling place, using an efficient electronic ballot. Within about 20 minutes, I was able to make my way through nine pages of elections and ballot initiatives. Despite the media's hype and negativism, I'm always hopeful about my nation on election day.

     
  128.  
    1233:

    The BBC's Arturo Wallace, Colombia correspondent, says: Puerto Ricans are also voting today, although not to choose the next president of the United States. Instead, they get to elect a new governor, a new no-voting representative to the US Congress and local legislators. And they also have to decide whether to become the 51st US state, seek independence or remain an "associated free state" of the US.

     
  129.  
    Kristin Milligan from Fort Myers, Florida, USA

    tweets: Two and a half hour wait, but I voted! Eighteen voting booths, one scanner. Inefficient @ Precinct 9. #Election2012 #FGCU #ivoted #npelect

     
  130.  
    1243:

    In Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, there is some confusion over the timing of the state's new voter ID law. "There's a lot of honest misunderstanding, and maybe some not so honest," said Zack Stalberg, the CEO of poll-watching group Committee of 70, told the Philadelphia Inquirer.

     
  131.  
    Laura Trevelyan BBC News

    In Liberty City, Miami, Sybrina Fulton, mother of murdered teenager Trayvon Martin, is outside a polling station, encouraging people to vote. It's important to use your right to be heard, she tells the BBC. In this predominantly African-American neighborhood, many have voted early.

     
  132.  
    1250 EST:

    Mitt Romney and running-mate Paul Ryan have arrived in Ohio for their final stop in the state and will speak there shortly

    Governor Mitt Romney and his running mate Paul Ryan wave as they exit a campaign charter airplane Cleveland, Ohio 6 November 2012
     
  133.  
    1254:

    We now have some video footage of President Obama's surprise visit to that Democrats' office in Chicago, where he congratulated Mitt Romney on his "spirited campaign".

     
  134.  
    1303:

    As Paul Ryan arrived in Cleveland, Ohio, there was an unexpected visitor on the tarmac - Joe Biden's motorcade was pulling away from Air Force Two. The vice-president's unannounced stop in the city on Tuesday brought the opponents unexpectedly close to each other on election day.

     
  135.  
    1306:

    A reminder of how global the attention is today - schoolchildren in west London held their own US election, with Obama winning by a landslide.

     
  136.  
    1309:

    Tayyaba Waqar from Washington, DC, sent in this picture:

    A polling station in Washington. Picture: Tayyaba Waqar A polling station in Washington. Picture: Tayyaba Waqar
     
  137.  
    1312 EST:

    BBC Monitoring shares this take from Egypt's Al-Fajr newspaper - three of the children of Egyptian president Muhamed Morsi hold US nationality but have announced they will not vote in the election.

     
  138.  
    Joe Bo from Trumbull, Connecticut, USA

    #ivoted for the first time today!

     
  139.  
    1314:

    BBC Brasil's Caio Quero says Brazilian immigrants in the United States are watching the election closely. In Boston's Allston neighbourhood, Brazilians here are hoping for an Obama victory, saying they fear the consequences of Mitt Romney's immigration policy, he reports.

     
  140.  
    Scott in Wisconsin

    emails: No problems voting at my polling location. Lots of people, young and old in this small university town are eager to cast their ballots. I was in and out in 15 minutes at 9am local time.

     
  141.  

    Elias Lopez from New York has tweeted this picture of free massages being offered outside a polling station in Manhattan, New York. He says 'back rubs at my polling place - stress-free democracy #election2012'

    A man performing a massage in New York. Picture: Elias Lopez Free back rubs outside a Manhattan polling booth. Picture: Elias Lopez
     
  142.  
    1320:

    From BBC's Helena Merriman in Chicago: Just met a woman leaving a polling station. Last time around she voted for Obama. This time she says she and everyone she knows voted for Romney as they were so disappointed in Obama.

     
  143.  
    1331:

    The BBC's Franz Strasser: Thousands of people are posting images of their 'I voted' buttons on the social network site Instagram. We have collected a few of them here

     
  144.  
    Brett Taylor from Tennessee, now Afghanistan

    emails: Disappointed because friends and I that are deployed in Afghanistan never received our absentee ballots. Need to find a better way for deployed soldiers to vote. Kind of late now for this election. Something to definitely think about next time.

     
  145.  
    1337:

    BBC Persian's Majid Joneidi says: Social issues and the state of the US economy are the main issues concerning voters in Cleveland. But this doesn't mean that they are totally ignorant of foreign policy. When they hear me reporting in Farsi for BBC Persian TV, they start asking about how Iranians see their election. One question raised by several voters was "Who do they like more, Obama or Romney?"

     
  146.  
    Jaspreet from the USA

    tweets: Loved voting this morning - crowded parking lot, lines to fill out the ballot, but also friendly people and baked goods. #vote2012 #forward

     
  147.  
    1340:

    A little music with your election day - members of the mariachi band "Gallos de Jalisco" serenade Californians to get out and cast their vote in the Sun Valley district of Los Angeles

    Members of the mariachi band "Gallos de Jalisco" serenade California citizens to get out and cast their vote on  6 Novembers 2012 in of Los Angeles.
     
  148.  
    The BBC's Kate Dailey

    tweets: "Long lines don't always mean big turnout - In my ward, bottlenecks at checkin kept wait to 90 minutes, but only 740 had voted by [1300]."

     
  149.  
    1346 EST:

    Talking of queues, one website is crowdsouring to see where the longest waits are. So far, voting in Florida will take you the longest time.

     
  150.  
    Aaron in Arlington, Virginia

    emailed: I just moved earlier this year from a completely non-competitive state (California) to one of the key battleground states here in Virginia, felt like my vote this morning had orders of magnitude more significance than four years ago, a strange and illogical artifact of our outdated electoral college system

     
  151.  
    Jonny Dymond BBC News, Boston

    tweets: "Worth watching; which way will Congress go, decides debt deal; what Hispanic nos. will Reps get, decide GOP future #election2012"

     
  152.  
    1352:

    Election day laughs at Romney HQ in Richmond Heights, Ohio:

    Mitt Romney and Paul Ryan talk to supporters and campaign workers at a campaign office during the in  Richmond Heights, Ohio  6 NNovember 6, 2012
     
  153.  
    1356:

    Just to update you on what the Republican nominee has been doing today, he voted in Massachusetts then flew to Ohio, where he and Paul Ryan have now made an impromptu stop at fast-food chain Wendy's. The candidates are making their very last pitches for votes in the state. Next up, Pennsylvania.

     
  154.  
    John Herman in Sarasota, Florida

    emails: Voting is crazy here today! People waiting hours to vote. Never has been like this.

     
  155.  
    @squeekas in Iowa

    tweets: today will actually be the first time I vote at age 36. that's how important this election is to me! #Vote2012

     
  156.  
    The BBC's Ian Pannell

    tweets: VP Candidate Ryan sends "URGENT" email warning "heavy Democrat turnout. We have to counteract with a late surge"

     
  157.  
    1407:

    Romney and Ryan will move on to Pittsburgh before heading back to Boston for election night

     
  158.  
    1410:

    As if there wasn't enough for voters to think about between the presidential and congressional races, there are another 174 questions on ballots in 38 states. They span topics from legalising marijuana, the death penalty and gay marriage, to fluoride, casinos and even a bridge to Canada.

     
  159.  
    1435:

    Megan Tracz from Washington DC, took this picture of a polling queue. She tweets: The line for democracy was long but so worth it! Election day could be a holiday in DC #ivoted @postlocal

    The queue at a polling station in Washington DC. Picture: Megan Tracz
     
  160.  
    1439:

    BBC's James Gordon reports from Florida: Hundreds are waiting in line at a polling station in Broward County and many are doing their best to keep cool in the 80F sunshine. The voters here are pleased that come tomorrow they will no longer have to endure endless negative campaign ads. "It's an invasion of privacy!" one woman tells me.

     
  161.  
    1447:

    BBC Persian's Majid Joneidi in Cleveland, Ohio says: A legally blind man in a voting station told me the last time he had voted was in 1992, when Bill Clinton won. Asked why he is voting today, he told me: "To save my country." He said Obama's economic policy was dangerous for the nation.

     
  162.  
    1441:

    Voters displaced by Hurricane #Sandy are using text messaging services run by start-up organisations such as Mobile Commons. The company tweets: "Voters affected by #Sandy can get info on where to #vote by texting WHERE to 877877 or DONDE to 877877..."

     
  163.  
    The deputy chairman of Egypt's ruling Freedom and Justice Party

    tweets: "Never forget that a president, who was the worst in the US history, destroyed Afghanistan and Iraq; and ruined the world's economy, starting from the USA and Europe."

     
  164.  
    Joe McNair in Neiderwald, Texas USA

    emails: I live in Texas and there is not a competitive race anywhere on the ballot. So do I waste the money for gasoline to drive the seven miles to my rural polling station to stand in line to vote in an election that means nothing and the result is a foregone conclusion or do I sit home and watch TV? Somehow I do not think this is what the founding fathers had in mind, this is hardly worth fighting a revolution for.

     
  165.  
    1500:

    BBC Colombia correspondent Arturo Wallace says a mock US election is being held in the northern village of Turbaco. Obama is said to be winning by a landslide. Turbaco is the hometown of Demo, a donkey offered as a gift to Obama during the Summit of the Americas held in the nearby city of Cartagena last April.

     
  166.  

    BBC's Joan Soley tweets: "#Romney has arrived in Pittsburgh, PA"

     
  167.  
    1510 EST:

    "I voted" stickers are being handed out to Americans at polling stations around the US. But New York City residents have for the most part gone sticker-less throughout the day, sparking a backlash on Twitter and Facebook, All Media NY reports.

     
  168.  
    Clare originally from Kentucky, now in Birmingham, UK

    emails: I am an American living in the UK at the moment. I voted via absentee ballot. It's so neat and interesting to see so many non-Americans interested in and following the election!

     
  169.  
    1520:

    Which stage will host the victor? The two photographs below show preparations in Boston at the Romney campaign stage (top) and in Chicago at the Obama campaign stage (bottom).

    The Romney stage in Boston
    The Obama stage
     
  170.  
    Ashley Bledsoe

    tweets: If you don't take the time to vote, you can't complain about the outcome of the election.

     
  171.  
    1532 EST:

    To recap, Romney is in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, his final campaign stop of the day. He'll then head to Boston to await the results. He was in Ohio earlier with running mate Paul Ryan, where they crossed paths with Vice-President Joe Biden, who was on a surprise trip to Cleveland. Obama visited a Chicago campaign office and will await results at a convention centre in the city.

     
  172.  
    1550:

    Reports circulate of voting-machine glitches. Pennsylvania polling officials say one of their machines had to be rebooted after switching a vote from Obama to Romney. There was a similar snag on Monday in Pueblo County, Colorado, this time of machines turning votes for Romney to Obama. But an official told the BBC that was user error and those particular machines were not in use today.

     
  173.  
    1551:

    At least one member of the New Black Panther Party, a US-based political organisation that began in the late 1980s, is reportedly patrolling voting sites in the city of Philadelphia. Dressed in black clothing and a black beret, he is monitoring the stations and holding doors open for visitors, several US media outlets are reporting.

     
  174.  
    1558:

    Pundits have been expecting the overall early vote count to lean Democrat, although the Denver Post reports that Republicans have the early-voting edge over Democrats in that potentially pivotal swing state.

     
  175.  
    1558:

    Why do Americans not vote online or via their mobile phones? The BBC's Matt Danzico investigates the cyber-security issues that are stopping the US from adopting these technologies in general elections. A similar Washington Post article asks: "If Estonia gets to... Why can't America?

     
  176.  
    1608:

    The US has polling stations in some unexpected places, from casinos to shopping centres. Here, Barbra Hunter casts her ballot in - of all places - a Chicago pet store. Wonder who Oreo the cat (pictured in the foreground) voted for...

    Polling station in a pet store in Chicago
     
  177.  
    1611 EST:

    Voters have been asked their party affiliations by poll workers in Virginia, the Richmond Times-Dispatch newspaper is reporting. Allegedly workers there were confusedly following procedures for a primary, instead of for a general election.

     
  178.  
    Martin Jeffries from Washington DC, USA

    emails: I became a US citizen just seven weeks ago. I stood in line for a little over an hour today enjoying the sunshine and conversation before being able to cast my vote for the first time ever in the US. A big moment, for me.

     
  179.  
    1618:

    Diane Latiker, founder of the Chicago campaign group Kids Off the Block, tells the BBC's Gary Duffy that enthusiasm among Afro-American communities has revived in the final days of the Obama campaign.

    Diane Latiker
     
  180.  
    1624 EST: Paul Adams BBC News, Chicago

    says: "I have entered a cavernous Obama election night venue, we're welcomed by a toxic mix of exhaust fumes, hammering and bursts of white noise from the sound system. Four years are clearly not enough to prepare for this."

     
  181.  
    1626:

    On his final campaign stop of the election, Romney poses with campaign workers at a voter call centre in Green Tree, Pennsylvania:

    Romney poses with campaign workers during a visit to a voter call centre in Green Tree, Pennsylvania
     
  182.  
    1629:

    The BBC's Jamie Coomarasamy is at a polling station in Racine County, Wisconsin, where he says there is a round of applause after anyone identifying themselves as a first-time voter casts a ballot.

     
  183.  
    1646: The BBC's Kate Dailey

    writes: "This year networks have agreed to withhold exit polls until each state's polls close. In 2004, exit polls favoured John Kerry, but it was George Bush who won. Election officials also worry that releasing such polls early can unduly influence the election." See this Reuters piece for more information.

     
  184.  
    1658:

    The 2012 presidential campaign is the most expensive ever, having passed the $2bn fundraising mark. Super PACs alone (independent fundraising groups) spent $416m on conservatives, with liberals at $205.4m and "other" at $7.5m, according to the Center for Responsive Politics.

     
  185.  
    1703:

    Earlier, we saw a pregnant woman vote while in labour. Now we have a report of a near-death experience involving a voter. A Michigan man was filling out his ballot when he apparently dropped dead, only to awake moments later, the Detroit News reports. "He had no heartbeat and he wasn't breathing. I started CPR, and after a few minutes, he revived," the man's wife told the newspaper. She added that the first question her husband asked when he regained consciousness was: "Did I vote?"

     
  186.  
    1704:

    Here's American ingenuity for you. Kevin Zish, took this photo of the Vote Mobile, a seven-seater bicycle that is taking students at the George Mason University campus in Fairfax, Virginia, to the polling station. He says volunteers are also equipped with megaphones to encourage voting. Both presidential candidates have visited the university to gain support.

    The Vote Mobile in Fairfax, Viriginia. Photo: Kevin Zish
     
  187.  
    1706 EST:

    US stock markets ended the trading day higher. "Wall Street embraced the notion Tuesday that the uncertainty that came with the presidential campaign soon would be over," reckons Market Watch.

     
  188.  
    1721: The BBC's Ben Bevington

    says: "Every last vote counts in Virginia. Obama volunteers Patricia Brown and Eddie Witcher are knocking on doors near the BBC's election night location in Richmond. They remain confident but admit turnout doesn't seem as high as in 2008. "Some who voted last time just aren't interested this election," says Eddie.

     
  189.  
    1739:

    Perhaps not surprisingly, the economy may be the deciding factor in the election, according to a new Associated Press exit poll. Six in ten Americans polled while leaving US voting sites named the economy as the top issue facing the nation. Only about a quarter of those questioned said they were in a better financial state than four years ago.

     
  190.  
    1740:

    AP's exit poll also reports that about half of Americans place more of the blame for America's poor economic state on former President George W Bush than they do on Barack Obama. Fewer than half of those polled said they believe the US economy is strengthening, following the recession.

     
  191.  
    1741: Paul Adams BBC News, Chicago

    reports: "Polls will soon be closing on the east coast of America, as a long and bitterly fought presidential election campaign comes to an end. President Barack Obama has spent the day in his home town of Chicago, while his Republican rival, Mitt Romney, voted in Boston before making two final campaign appearances, in Pennsylvania and Ohio."

     
  192.  
    1749:

    Bob Dylan said Barack Obama would reclaim the presidency by a "landslide", the Miami Herald has reported. Mr Dylan was in the middle of playing his song "Blowin' in the Wind" on Monday night in the US state of Wisconsin when he made the prediction. "Don't believe the media. I think it's going to be a landslide," he said.

     

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US Presidential Election 2012

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