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ELECTION WATCH: East Coast results, Florida lines

ELECTION WATCH: East Coast results, Florida lines

November 6th, 2012 in News

WASHINGTON (AP) - Around the country on Election Day 2012 with AP reporters bringing the latest developments to you:



"You always have two speeches prepared, because you can't take anything for granted." - President Barack Obama, speaking to Denver television station KDVR a bit ago about the fact that he has both victory and concession speeches prepared.

- Julie Pace - Twitter



It's 8 p.m. on the East Coast and more polls have closed. As expected, Obama pulled in most of these wins, though Romney took Oklahoma, with 7 electoral votes, in the center of the country.

Obama won:

- Connecticut (7 electoral votes)

- Maine (4 electoral votes)

- Delaware (3 electoral votes)

- Rhode Island (4 electoral votes)

- Maryland (10 electoral votes)

- Massachusetts (11 electoral votes)

- Illinois (20 electoral votes)

- Washington, D.C. (3 electoral votes)



In Florida, hundreds of people remained in line waiting to cast ballots at some locations even as polls closed - at 7 p.m. in most of the state, 8 p.m. in the western Panhandle counties.

Under state law, anyone already in line when the polls closed will be permitted to vote.

Shortly before polls closed in Virginia, meanwhile, the Obama campaign sent out text messages saying that volunteers were needed "right now" to make sure that everyone who was still in line as polls closed got to vote.

The text asked recipients to reply, and said an organizer would call as soon as possible with further instructions.

The campaign did not respond within 30 minutes to a text sent by a reporter.

- Curt Anderson and Matthew Daly



No surprise here: Romney has won South Carolina and Indiana.



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 latest report:


An era of good feeling? Well, after a year of brutal campaigning there was a moment of good feeling between the two campaigns, even before the polls closed.

Traditionally, the concession and victory speeches (later tonight, or whenever) contain a tip of the hat to the worthy opponent.

But Barack Obama and Mitt Romney got a head start, while voters where still lining up.

Obama said this to Romney: "Congratulations on a spirited campaign." The president told staffers at an office in Chicago, "I know his supporters are just as engaged, just as enthusiastic and working just as hard today."

Romney returned the accolades. Speaking to volunteers at a call center in Green Tree, Pa. Romney told his team they "don't need to be disparaging of the other guy."

"This president has run a really strong campaign" Romney said, according to the AP's Steve Peoples. "I believe he's a good man and wish him well and his family well. He's a good father and has been a good example of a good father."

- Michael Oreskes



More preliminary results from a national exit poll in Tuesday's elections for The Associated Press and the television networks, a survey of 19,728 voters by Edison Research:

- 52 percent of voters said President Barack Obama is more in touch with people like them, compared to 44 percent for Republican Mitt Romney.

- About 4 in 10 voters said the U.S. economy was getting better, while 3 in 10 said it was getting worse, and 3 in 10 said it was the same.

- Just under 50 percent of voters favored repealing some or all of Obamacare. Forty-three percent preferred that the health care law be expanded or left as is.

- Only 3 in 10 voters said that most illegal immigrants working in the U.S. should be deported, while nearly two-thirds said such people should be offered a chance to apply for legal status.

- Frederic J. Frommer - Twitter



Here's some context on the West Virginia win for Mitt Romney: President Barack Obama is unpopular in the state, and West Virginia GOP officials have been hoping that would lead to victories for other Republicans on the ballot.

- Mike Hammer



The AP has called West Virginia for Mitt Romney.



"Just spoke to a bunch of celebrities and we've changed our minds. Please do NOT vote. Repeat - DO NOT VOTE. Thanks" - Comedian Jimmy Kimmel on Twitter.

- Sandy Cohen -



Lady Gaga is rocking the vote in Ohio.

The pop star gave election pep-talks on three Cleveland radio stations and urged voters to cast ballots Tuesday, calling Ohio "the chosen state."

Gaga said she watched the debates with friends over a bottle of wine and did research before selecting her candidate, choosing to support Barack Obama because "he believes in equal rights for all Americans."

"Ultimately what it came down to is I feel that Mitt Romney lacks a certain amount of compassion that America needs right now, especially for young people," she said on Z Hip-Hop Cleveland. "I'm a Catholic and I make a lot of money and I want to give a lot of it back and I don't want any tax breaks. I want people in my country that don't have a lot; I want them to have more. I want them to have what I have. I feel guilty every day that I can't give it to everyone. But you can stand up and you can vote."

- Sandy Cohen - Twitter



Polls are starting to close on the East Coast. The AP has called Kentucky (and its eight electoral votes) for Republican Mitt Romney, and Vermont (three electoral votes) for President Barack Obama.



"I learned a big civics lesson today." - Fox News Channel host Sean Hannity, who tweeted a picture of his filled-out ballot (for Mitt Romney, natch), only to learn that appeared to break the law in New York state.

- David Bauder -



There are people who believe in voting, and then there's Elisa Kennedy.

The National Association of Secretaries of State honored California's longest-serving poll worker with a medal Tuesday for her years of service - 75 of them, to be exact.

Kennedy, 96, born before women got the vote, began volunteering as a poll worker in San Francisco shortly after she reached eligible voting age. FDR was president - and it was his first term.

"A lot has changed in politics and in the world since Elisa first volunteered as a poll worker 75 years ago, but her commitment to democracy and her devotion to her community has remained constant," Secretary of State Debra Bowen said in a statement.

Kennedy, who has worked nearly 120 elections, said it's the "wonderful people" who keep her coming back.

"I find it very rewarding, in that I've met so many people through the years and it's been a great satisfaction to me," she said in a statement.

- Hannah Dreier -



It's the economy, stupid.

Preliminary results from a national exit poll for The Associated Press and the television networks show that 60 percent of the 18,237 voters surveyed by Edison Research said the economy was the biggest issue facing the country.

That's about the same percentage as the last general election four years ago.

Next were health care (18 percent of those surveyed) and the deficit (15 percent).

A measly 4 percent said foreign policy was the top issue.

Of those surveyed, 77 percent of voters called the economy not so good or poor.

The biggest economic concerns were unemployment and rising prices.

Most voters - about 6 in 10 - said taxes should be increased.

- Frederic J. Frommer - Twitter



Unlike many kids who get Election Day off from school, the president's daughters, Malia and Sasha, weren't so lucky. They were flying to Chicago after classes with their grandmother.

The president's sister, Maya Soetoro-Ng, and her family were also joining the Obamas in Chicago.

The first family planned to eat dinner together at their Chicago home.

- Julie Pace - Twitter



Lines in Iowa, with its six electoral votes, weren't too bad at polling stations Tuesday - in part because up to 45 percent of the state's voters cast ballots early.

About 670,000 people had voted in Iowa by Monday night, according to Chad Olsen, a spokesman for Secretary of State Matt Schultz.

It's the sort of thing happening all around the country, though not necessarily in such high numbers.

Based on Monday's projections from George Mason University, 46.8 million Americans - more than one-third of those expected to cast ballots - would have voted by the time the first polls opened Tuesday morning.

One intriguing U.S. House race in Iowa is in the 4th Congressional District, where Republican Rep. Steve King has cruised in every race since he was first elected in 2002. The 63-year-old King acknowledged this year's challenge from Democrat Christie Vilsack has been difficult. Vilsack is married to U.S. Secretary of Agriculture Tom Vilsack, who was Iowa's governor for eight years.

- David Pitt - Twitter



Paul Ryan, his voice hoarse from days of breakneck campaigning, called in to Sean Hannity's radio show to urge anyone who hasn't yet voted to get to the polls.

"What I always tell people is, it's not over till it's over," he said.

Ryan told the conservative talk show host that good signs abound for him and Mitt Romney, from high turnout in Virginia to the thousands of supporters who turned up at rallies in the final days.

"We know people are going to look at long lines and they might think, "Oh gee that's just too long.' Don't let that happen," Ryan said. "The future of your country is at stake."

Ryan was in Virginia, where he had just wrapped up a visit to a victory center in Richmond. From there, the vice presidential nominee was heading to Boston to meet up with Romney for the election night festivities.

- Josh Lederman - Twitter



An update from the president's basketball game: Former Chicago Bulls star Scottie Pippen was one of the players, and Obama snagged him for his own team.

Also on Obama and Pippen's team was Alexi Giannoulias, a former Illinois state treasurer and 2010 Democratic U.S. Senate nominee.

"It was a lot of fun," Giannoulias said. "We won. I scored more points than Scottie Pippen, which was my dream come true."

On the other team were childhood friends Mike Ramos and Marty Nesbitt, and Education Secretary Arne Duncan, a former captain of Harvard's basketball team.

The two five-player teams played four 12-minute quarters, and referees were brought in to call fouls.

Giannoulias said Obama's team won by "like 20," with a score of "like 102, 105, 108 or so to 80-something."

The basketball game is an Election Day tradition for Obama. In 2008, Obama played basketball with aides before winning the kickoff Iowa caucuses. They decided to make the games an Election Day tradition after he lost the next contest, the New Hampshire primary, on a day when they didn't hit the court.

- Julie Pace - Twitter



They're sticklers about stickers in Nebraska's Dakota County.

The Sioux City Journal says the county has a stash of "I Voted" stickers on hand - but Clerk Ted Piepho says the stickers aren't usable because they're not bilingual.

According to Piepho, a federal mandate requires all election items in Nebraska must be offered in English and Spanish. He says the budget didn't have room this year to buy a batch of bilingual stickers.



Raise a glass, Indiana voters!

A state law barring alcohol sales before the close of polls on Election Day has been lifted, so there's no longer any need to wait to celebrate if you think your preferred candidates won - or drown your sorrows if you're worried about defeat.

The first polls close in parts of Indiana at 6 p.m. EST.

The state legislature passed a law in March 2010 that repealed a ban on selling alcohol while polls are open. That ban had been on the books for years, according to John Livengood, president of associations representing Indiana's restaurants, hotels and liquor stores.

Only two states - Kentucky and South Carolina - still bar the sale of alcohol on Election Day.

- Howard Fendrich - Twitter



This just in from AP's Steve Peoples, in the air with Mitt Romney headed from Pittsburgh to Boston:

Speaking to reporters aboard his campaign plane on his last flight on the campaign, Romney said he just finished writing his victory speech on the flight from Pittsburgh to Boston.

"It's about 1,118 words. I'm sure it'll change before I'm finished because I haven't passed it around to my family and friends and advisors to get their reaction. But I've only written one speech at this point."

He said he had no regrets: "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."

He also talked about his parents. "I think about my dad from time to time. And my mom. I sure wish they were around to be part of this," he said. "I hope they're able to watch in their own way."

- Steve Peoples - Twitter



Actress Kate Walsh is a self-described "one-percenter" now, but in a personal video posted on her website, she says she grew up with government assistance.

Walsh speaks directly to the camera in the 6 1/2 -minute video she calls "My Story: Why I'm voting for Barack Obama." The 45-year-old actress explains that her father was an Irish immigrant and her family relied on food stamps when she was growing up. As a young woman, she amassed more than $30,000 in student-loan debt before quitting college to pursue acting. With no health insurance, Planned Parenthood provided her annual check-ups.

"It wasn't until I was 36 years old and I got on "Grey's Anatomy' that I could finally pay back my student loans once and for all," she says. "And now, today, having been on television for a number of years, I am one of those one-percenters. And I'm not looking for a tax break or a tax cut. I just want to know how my taxes are going to be spent. And I want them to go back into the programs that will help the rest of America, the 47 percent, that, for me, are the foundation and the bedrock of this country. Because that's where I came from. That's who my people are."

She says she made the video "to explain a little bit about where I came from and why I'm doing what I'm doing" to support Obama and encourage people to vote.

- Sandy Cohen - Twitter



To prepare for Election Night, Romney staffers are walking across the stage at the Boston Convention and Exhibition Center, holding hands and waving to the cameras. At one point, a male and a female staffer held hands and hugged briefly. Then the man strode to the podium and waved to the bank of cameras.

The checks show staffers and TV crews how the shot will look when Romney strides in to make his speech late on Tuesday evening.

See the photo here:

- Kasie Hunt - Twitter


EDITOR'S NOTE - Follow AP journalists on Twitter where available with the handles listed after each item.