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US Elections Live: The best is yet to come, says Obama

12.30 pm: Obama ends to thundering applause, confetti and Springsteen

And Obama finishes to thunderous applause, fireworks, bits of Red White and Blue paper fluttering down on the stage and people and Bruce Springsteen. The speech was emotionally charged, including stumps of his campaign speeches, and eloquent ideals of what made America the greatest nation on earth, peppered with promises to take the country forward on a path of progress.

"I’ve never been more hopeful about our future…and ask you to sustain that hope", he said, adding, "Tonight you voted for action, to focus on your jobs, not ours."

Read the full text of Obama's speech 

12.23 pm: Obama waxes eloquent about 'what makes America special'

Obama is all eloquence and poetry now, talking about "what makes America special". So far we have covered the spirit of work, duty, patriotism, generosity, resilience, you name it. Some truly quotable moments:

"We are and forever will be the United States of America, the greatest nation on earth"

"We believe in a generous America, open to the dreams of an immigrants daughter who pledges to our flag."

"We want our children to live in America where there is no debt or poverty."

"The freedom that so many Americans have fought for comes with responsibility"

12.15 pm: Special thanks for the volunteers

Obama has well deserved special words for his volunteer team. "I want to thank the best ever campaign team in the history of politics..All of you are family. Thank you for believing all the way. I will always be grateful for lifting me up and going all the way", he says.

He also has kind words for Romney, saying that he is looking forward to sitting with him to discuss how they could best work together for the betterment of America. "Despite our differences, we have the same hopes", he said.

12.13 pm: No new dog for the Obama family

Obama makes another touching tribute to Michelle Obama and to his two daughters. "You are becoming strong beautiful women just like your mother. I am so proud of you. But for now, one dog is probably enough", he says to laughter and applause.

12.09 pm: 'The best is yet to come", says Obama 

President Obama takes the stage to thundering applause and the strains of 'Signed, sealed and delivered' by Stevie Wonder. He begins by telling the crowd that America has reaffirmed the spirit that has triumphed over war depression, and lifted the country from the depths of despair.

"The best is yet to come", he says.

Obama takes a moment to thank all Americans who came out to vote regardless of who they voted for, and mentions the long lines at the polling booths that were such a problem today. "I'll do something to fix that", he says.

12.03 pm: President Obama arrives at McCormick Place

Pres Obama has departed for  McCormick Place to address supporters. His motorcade twice as long as usual. Includes VP Biden too. And the crowd goes mad. And look at how much his daughters have grown since the last time he did this four years ago!

And just in case you're wondering about the music in the background, they're playing Stevie Wonder's "Signed, Sealed and Delivered."

11.30 am: Romney calls for an end to partisan bickering

After thanking his wife, children, volunteers and everyone else who helped him on his campaign, Romney calls for an end to partisan politics, saying that the nation was at a critical point, and that this was not a time for partisan bickering. "I so wish I had been able to lead you and this country in a different direction, but the nation chose the other candidate, and I earnestly pray for him", he said.

Romney added that despite his defeat he believed that principles endured, adding that the principles that founded the country would lift the country out of the economic quagmire that it presently found itself in.

The full text of Romney's speech can be read here

11.26 am: Romney begins speech, gracious in defeat so far

Governor Mitt Romney has put on a brave face, graciously congratulating Obama and saying he prayed that he would be able to guide the nation properly. He also thanks Paul Ryan, saying that he "was the best choice he made after Ann"

11:15 am: Romney concedes after Virginia is called

Romney has conceded defeat according to both CBS and CNN. He will speak soon.

11:00 am: The popular vote

The popular vote is neck and neck, with Obama taking a marginal lead. If California has pushed Obama ahead of Romney, it finally proves that the California vote does count.

And this election's rockstar FiveThiryEight blogs Nate Silver tweets, "There's been a clear shift toward Obama in national polls. Based on most recent data, he may lead by 2-3% in popular vote."

10:30 am: Romney yet to concede, awaiting Obama's address

Interestingly, Romney is yet to concede. Supporters too are yet to react. The Chicago HQ is still awaiting the Obama address. Typically the defeated concedes before the winner speaks. One theory is that he isn't willing to concede, the other is that he doesn't have a concession speech.

The New York Times, now has Obama at 285 and Romney at 200.

Meanwhile, some dramatic news on Marriage Equality (same-sex marriage). It looks clear now that Maryland and Maine will bring marriage equality into effect by popular vote - and the margin in Minnesota has narrowed to 4 points against. With 50 percent of the votes in in Washington, the margin is pro-equality 52 - 48. That's an amazing shift. And Obama did a turn around and supported it. It was not political harakiri for him.

10:20 am:  Tracking the Indian Americans and Asians

Congratulations, Grace Meng. New York has elected its first Asian American congresswoman.

Manan Trivedi has lost and Maggie Hassan is the only Democratic woman governor

10:10 am: Obama sends out Thank You email to supporters

Full text:

I'm about to go speak to the crowd here in Chicago, but I wanted to thank you first.

I want you to know that this wasn't fate, and it wasn't an accident. You made this happen.

You organized yourselves block by block. You took ownership of this campaign five and ten dollars at a time. And when it wasn't easy, you pressed forward.

I will spend the rest of my presidency honoring your support, and doing what I can to finish what we started.

But I want you to take real pride, as I do, in how we got the chance in the first place.

Today is the clearest proof yet that, against the odds, ordinary Americans can overcome powerful interests.

There's a lot more work to do."

But for right now: Thank you.

Barack

9:50: Obama re-elected the American President

CNN calls it, the Republicans have been thumped. Barack Obama has been re-elected the President of the United States. Crowds roar in Chicago. New York breaks into a jig.

And Obama tweets this 'aww worthy' picture:

and also says "the seat's taken".

9:40: the final moments

CNN calls Iowa and New Mexico for Obama. Oregon is called for Obama. There is no real comeback strategy that one can see for Romney.

CNN projects Missouri for Romney. Romney breaks the 200 barrier, at 201. Obama at 256.

CNN projects Ohio for Barack Obama.

9:25: Who will be the next American President?

We are getting closer to making that call says CNN. Rajdeep Sardesai on CNN IBN is braver and has tweeted that Obama will be re-elected, barring last minute shocks. There are some jokes on twitter that yes, Fox is tired of this and has switched to a weatherman's report. CNN has called California, Hawaii, Washington for Obama. Finally, CNN calls Wisconsin for Obama, North Carolina for Romney.

President Obama is ahead at 238, compared to Romney's 191.

Democrats will also keep control of the Senate, says CNN.

9:20 am: Now we're waiting for Florida, Ohio and California

CNN has also called Minnesota for Obama, Arizona for Romney

9:00 am: The wind is blowing the American President's way. 

Wisconsin is going to Obama says ABC News. CNN though has still not called it. The wind is blowing the President's way. And remember Wisconsin is Paul Ryan's state...

Obama has been re-elected. Image from Barack Obama's Twitter account.

CNN is now saying "this may not go as late as we expected." John King is saying the numbers don't favour Romney in North Carolina or Virginia. Romney holds a slim lead but outstanding counties are almost entirely blue.

8.41 am: Romney's path to 270 electoral votes is looking harder

CNN is saying that Romney's path to the Presidency and the magic number of 270 electoral voters is looking increasingly difficult although early results show Romney leading. Why? Well, because the results from a lot of traditionally Democratic states have not come in as yet, and Obama is performing fairly well so far.

And in Florida, CNN analyst John King strongly suggests Florida may go blue with 80 percent of the vote counted -- a tally which has Obama leading by one point. The reason: the votes still to come in are from the traditionally blue counties like Miami-Dade. That will be a big win for Obama, and a decisive one.

And analysts all agree that there is no way Romney can win the election if he loses Florida.  So far voting is neck and neck, with CNN showing vote shares at 50-50. Obama is down by 636 votes, at this moment. And remember they're still voting in Florida. Long lines.

8:30: CNN now calls Utah for Romney, New Hampshire for Obama

Meanwhile, BBC is solemnly discussing the NASCAR vote. Solidly blue collar conservative, I've been following that for awhile says one analyst. It's been trending a little towards Obama for a few weeks now, he says. Oh didn't one candidate make a slip up by saying he didn't follow NASCAR but knew some owners says another.

Very interesting says the patrician host and then says "What's NASCAR? Is that trucks?" All of this works much better when heard in posh British accents.

8:15 am: Not Florida, Ohio is going to be the decider

Al Jazeera is wondering if Mitt Romney is thinking he should have picked popular Ohio senator Rob Portman as his running mate. He might have had a better chance in Ohio. Paul Ryan didn't help him take Ryan's home state Wisconsin. Portman incidentally played Obama during Romney's debate prep and that certainly helped Romney in the debate. But Lynn Sher says on Al Jazeera that VPs dont win elections anyway. They might just energize the base for awhile.

The wind is blowing the American President's way. Reuters

8:10 am: Everyone agrees on Pennsylvania.

Both BBC and CNN are calling the state for Obama. The African American turnout in Penn HIGHER than 2008. Obama campaign saying this is a national trend.

8:00 am: Back to Florida

It is still neck and neck in Florida. CNN is showing vote shares at 50-50. Obama is down by 636 votes, at this moment. And remember they're still voting in Florida. Long lines.

CNN  honchos excited about repeat of 2004 in Florida (correction we meant 2000 election). But the big difference -- Florida won't decide this election. Obama can still win without the Sunshine State. It's all about Ohio this year. But a close count in Florida doesn't bode well for Romney. So far. Romney,  in the words of the pundits, is "still in the game" but he shows no signs of the sweeping tallies he needs to win.

7:50 am: Why the senate race is important

If Obama wins is it back to status quo in America? The Republicans retain the House, perhaps increase their margin there. They don't get a filibuster-proof majority in the Senate. Obama could then struggle to govern.

CNN analysts say congressional candidates complain Obama didn't come out to help them. He only recorded robo-calls for one Democratic congressional candidate. And used reliably blue state California as an ATM machine but ignored key Congressional rates there that would have helped Nancy Pelosi come back as Speaker.

7:45 am: Tweets, tweets, tweets

Two tweets that made us laugh about Romney losing Massachusetts.

Manish Vij ‏@manish_vij
Romney loses his home states, Massachusetts and Michigan.

Nathan Jensen ‏@NateMJensen
To be fair, Romney's home state is really the Cayman Islands.

7:35 am: Meanwhile in the Senate races.

NBC calls Massachusetts for Elizabeth Warren (D). She replaces Sen. Scott Brown (R).

These were Key senate race Democrats were fighting for. In governor races Katrina vandenHeuvel ‏@KatrinaNation Maggie Hassan wins NH! Will be only pro-choice Democratic woman Governor

Republicans will keep control of House of Representatives.

7:25 am: The big calls

Kansas, Louisiana, Nebraska, North Dakota, South Dakota, Texas, Wyoming, Mississipi - all for Romney

Michigan, New York for Obama

7:20 am: The never-ending lines

It shouldn't take this kind of heroism to cast your vote: CNN pundit Van Jones on two hour lines in Florida. Don't miss our photo post on the stunning lines. 

Tell that to Indians in remote villages who travel great distances and wait all day to cast their ballot.

Mark Knoller ‏@markknoller tweets - Virginia State Board of Elections suspends reporting results so voters still waiting "not unduly influenced by preliminary results."

7:10 am: More projections

Now CNN calls Alabama for Romney. Yawn.

What's interesting is the pace of media calls - Fox, the most aggressive is calling the electoral votes for Obama 78 - Romney 88 and at the other end of the spectrum is the NYTimes and AP at Obama 65 - Romney 51.

7:00 am: The Florida question

Signs of hope for Obama in Florida? His numbers are bigger in Miami-Dade county than 2008 and he is winning in some of the bellwether swing counties. Still too early to call, but an unexpected sliver of hope for Obama in a state where he has consistently trailed Romney.

CNN has just called Arkansas and Tennessee for Romney.

Arkansas is another one of the six states Pres Obama has not visited since taking office says Mark Knoller, CBS News White House Correspondent, Radio

6.54 am: It's the economy stupid

That old Clinton campaign mantra has since become conventional wisdom. And all the exit polls, be it CNN or BBC, show that the economy is indeed the number one issue for voters.

So what would it mean if Obama did indeed win this election -- a president who has presided over a sluggish economy, failed to deliver on promises, real or perceived, to deliver America out of its fiscal crisis?

One BBC pundit describes such a win as "stunning" and unprecedented. Will Obama rewrite the golden rule of US elections? If so, what does it say about the American voter? That's one of the big questions hanging over this Election Day.

BTW: "Macaca man" George Allen is in the lead in the Senate race in Virginia. He is at 53.1% of the vote against Democrat and former governor Tim Kaine's 46.9% according to New York Times. Allen lost to Jim Webb last time around especially after he singled out an Indian American filming him in the crowd calling him "macaca."

6.50 am: 11 million tweets with #Election2012 Hashtag

This is BIG!

Twitter Government ‏@gov, which describes itself as a handle that provides "Updates from the Twitter Government & Politics team, tracking creative & effective uses of Twitter for civic engagement has just posted this: “BREAKING: Tweets around #Election2012 just surpassed 11 million for the day.”

6.35 pm: CNN projects 7 more states for Obama

CNN has projected a bunch of states for President Obama, giving him 64 electoral college votes to Romney's 56. The latest projections gave Obama the states of Connecticut (7 electoral votes), Delaware (3 electoral votes), District of Columbia (3 electoral votes), Illinois (20 electoral votes), Maryland (10 electoral votes), Massachusetts (11 electoral votes) and Maine (3 of 4 electoral votes).

Meanwhile in Florida, counting so far shows Obama leading by 51 percent to Romney's 49 percent. These are based on real votes, not exit polls.

Some good tweets on the elections so far:

6.28 pm: Obama exhorts people to #StayInLine

As polls begin closing across states in the country, President Obama is reminding voters that they can still vote as long as they just #StayInLine!

And on the subject of voting, what did Michelle Obama wear when she voted? This, for all our page 3 type readers. “Mrs. Obama voted in style, wearing a mustard yellow and white embroidered cardigan by L'Wren Scott. She accessorized with a delicate pearl and bead necklace" says Fashionstyle.com.

6.01 am: CNN projects West Virginia, Indiana for Romney

Based on its exit polls, CNN has said it expects Romney to take West Virginia and Indiana, giving him 24 electoral college votes to Obama's 03. It has declined to project for Ohio, although it said that exit polls in the key swing state of Ohio indicate Obama winning 51 percent of the vote to Romney's 48%.

More good news for Obama in Florida, with early counting giving the President a slight lead (51% -48%) in the swing state. Florida is crucial for Romney, with political commentators saying that he has absolutely no chance of winning the Presidency if he loses the state.

Meanwhile the data crunchers over at Businessweek have said that the earliest that they will be able to conclusively call the election will be 9 pm EST (6.30 am India) and that is if Mitt Romney wins. Why? Because according to the publication,  "states leaning his way close earlier than those leaning toward President Obama. That’s if Romney wins toss-ups such as Virginia, Ohio, Florida, and New Hampshire. If he doesn’t, we’ll all have to stay up later."

The report adds that "the earliest there will plausibly be an official call for Obama is 11 p.m. And that’s assuming that he carries most of those toss-up states. The reason it’s later for Obama is mainly California and its 55 electoral votes. The polls don’t close there until 11 pm EST (8.30am India)

5.42 am: Voting ends in swing state of Florida, early counting begins

Voting just about ended in the key swing state of Florida, but results have already started coming in. So far, early results show a dead tie in terms of voter percentage, although Romney is ahead by 712 votes. Only five percent of the vote is in though.

Meanwhile 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."

The question at ill we ever get to hear it?

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."

“Asked on his final campaign flight whether he might get a puppy if elected, Romney said “one of the benefits would be to get another Weimaraner.”

5.34 am: Fox News calls Kentucky, Indiana, Georgia for Romney

The Fox News channel has called a few states, projecting that Republican Mitt Romney will carry Kentucky, a deeply Republican state, so no surprises there. However it has also projected that he will win Indiana, which Obama won in 2008.

The channel has also called Georgia for Romney, but has said Obama will win Vermont - which has long been considered a liberal bastion.

CNN has also called Kentucky for Romney.

First projections from Al Jazeera also hand Indiana and Kentucky for Romney and Vermont for Obama.

5.07 am: Inside polls showing Obama leading in Ohio

Both Team Obama and Team Romney are waiting for their first result to come in, with only very early exit polls trickling in. Inside Romney polls indicate that Obama is leading by five points in Ohio, which is significant given that historically no Republican has won the White house without winning Ohio. These are still very very early days though.

Poor Ohio. Every four year both parties descend on that state with a vengeance because it's the state both want desperately. They have been spammed, robo-called and had the candidates tramping up and down it for weeks.

But CNN's Peter Hamby said that the Romney campaign's internal polls had Obama winning the state by 5 points at the end of the campaign. That's why they went to Ohio on the last day. Sources close to Romney campaign feel they might have lost Ohio says Al Jazeera.

Here are some more facts that are coming out through the exit polls, as listed out by the Washington Post:

so far the electorate is shaping up to be broadly similar demographically to 2008 (on race, age, etc.), but, as expected, appear to be a shade more Republican
- tons of lock-in, around seven in 10 say they made up their minds before September
- no surprise, but economy is overwhelming top issue, none of the other three come close — true in national data and across all nine states we subscribed to.
- voters are flipped from 2008 in their interest in a more active federal government. But the limited government sentiment may end up dampened from 2010
- voters nationally split on what to do about “Obamacare,” with slightly more saying get rid of some or all of it.
- indicators of the overall mood of the country are tilted in a far more positive direction that was the case four years ago, with more now saying things are going in “the right direction” and fewer now say the economy is deteriorating. As expected, the improvements are among Democrats.
- The union vote may be headed to a record low, later waves of course, will give a better tally.

Great anecdote coming in by the way, of a girl who was refused entry into a polling station because she was wearing a MIT sweatshirt. The officials (who clearly have some spelling issues) had thought she was trying to influence people to vote for MITT (Not MIT) Romney. More on that here.

4.45 am US voters frustrated by long queues, voting glitches 

Sporadic complaints about voting procedures surfaced from Pennsylvania to Florida on Tuesday, while long lines in many states posed their own challenges in what could be one of the closest presidential elections in US history, the Reuters news agency reports.

It was unclear what impact controversies over everything from the presence of poll watchers to software installation on tabulation machines would eventually have on an election that caps the long and bitter presidential campaign. National opinion polls showed President Barack Obama and Republican challenger Mitt Romney in a virtual dead heat.

As the reports trickled in however, the team behind the President's Twitter account tried to urge people to stay in line and cast their votes:

Watchdog groups said there was confusion over voter ID requirements in Pennsylvania, a state Obama had been expected to win, but that Romney visited in recent days as he sought to expand the battleground.

"Poll workers have been poorly and wrongfully trained, and they are standing there and sitting there and requiring people to show ID, and sending people home if they don't have the ID," said Barbara Arnwine, executive director of the Lawyers' Committee for Civil Rights, at a press conference in Washington. "The state of Pennsylvania ought to be ashamed."

A judge in Pennsylvania last month blocked the state from requiring voters to show photo identification, a setback for Republican state officials who had championed the law.

Zack Stalberg, president of the Committee of Seventy, a Philadelphia-based elections watchdog, said most of the hundreds of calls the group has received so far were about "massive confusion" over voter ID requirements.

Six-hour wait time for voters!

Long lines at polls in many states prompted concerns that some voters would give up without casting their ballots. Lengthy waits to vote were reported in Florida, Virginia and Ohio, all key swing states, as well as New Jersey and New York, states walloped a week ago by superstorm Sandy.

Civil rights leaders said the lines threatened to be an international embarrassment for the United States.

"When you look at the lines that have formed in places like Ohio, they are longer than the lines in Baghdad and Kabul," said Wade Henderson, president of the Leadership Conference on Civil and Human Rights.

In the densely populated Miami area, wait times on Tuesday ranged from 15 minutes to more than three hours to vote a lengthy ballot. A lawsuit had been filed already on Sunday in Florida over the waiting times for early voting, which in some cases on Saturday stretched to six and seven hours.

4 am: Exit polls show weak economy is top of the mind for US voters

Associated Press news agency reports the findings of an exit poll:  the presidential election hinges on the economy. The survey of voters as they left polling places on Tuesday showed that nearly 6 in 10 voters said  the economy was the top issue facing the nation, with unemployment and rising prices hitting voters hard.

About 4 in 10 said they thought  the nation's economy was on the mend, but more say that things are getting worse or are bad and stagnating.

About half of the voters said 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.

3.00 am: Wall Street ends stronger 

US stocks finished stronger on Tuesday as voters went to the polls to elect the next US president. The bellwether Dow Jones industrial average gained 133 points, or 1 percenty, and the two other leading indices - the S&P 500 and Nasdaq - edged up 0.8 percent and 0.4 percent respectively.

Market were bracing for an uncertain win for either candidate, which would have heightened political uncertainty. Memories of the 2000 elections, which were marked by protracted legal battles that delayed the final verdict, were haunting investors.

Meanwhile, gold had a good day on short-covering as well as bargain-hunting ahead of the results. Comex gold prices ended the US day  sharply higher, well above the $1,700 level.

As Firstpost had noted earlier, Wall Street would like Mitt Romney as President, because it believes that his plan to cut taxes on capital gains and dividends, as well as for corporations, will do it good. Business leaders also feel that the US is more likely to avoid going over the fiscal cliff with a Romney presidency.

2:40 am: Long lines, glitches, other hurdles irk civil rights activists

A Reuters report speaks about the problems faced across the country by voters, primarily that of long line, software glitches and other problems faced by voters. But will long lines really affect the outcome of the polls?

In India it definitely hasn't been a problem..

2:15 am: Obama doens't plan to dance Gangnam style if he wins polls

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." AP

2:10 am: Resilient New Yorkers flock to polls after Sandy’s wrath, says Firstpost's Uttara Choudhury

Perennially resilient and busy New Yorkers are going to the polls in sunny, but frigid, weather to cast their vote. Special buses have been deployed to hard hit areas to shuttle voters to polling stations.

"No storm or flood water is going to stop me from getting my man (Obama) back to the White House," said school teacher Loretta Harris, who had a tree crash into her front porch during the superstorm last Monday.

All schools are closed in New York for Election Day, although some of them are running bake sales to help people affected by Sandy.

To keep things uncomplicated, New York Governor Andrew Cuomo has signed an executive order allowing registered voters, who are displaced, to go to any polling station to cast their ballot.

“There are complications on election day, because you have people who are displaced, you have people who are in shelters, you have people who are staying at a friend's house, and it's often a far distance from their residence and a far distance from their original polling place. We want everyone to vote, just because you are displaced does not mean you should be disenfranchised," Cuomo said.

New Yorkers have taken Cuomo’s words seriously and are flocking to polling staions. The media has received reports that poll workers are struggling to handle the crowds.

2:00 am: Is the US election really secret ballot anymore?

Thousands hit Twitter and Facebook even as they voted, many of them for the first time.

The Washington Post highlighted how a recent Pewpoll pointed out that almost one fifth of all voters have shared whom they voted for and almost one in ever three voters were encouraged to vote by contacts on Facebook and Twitter.

So far 1.5 million tweets have made their way into cyberspace and could be the most tweeted subject ever.

1:45 am: Romney continues whirlwind campaign tour, goes to Pennsylvania

Romney's still travelling and he's now in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania in an attempt to get the swing votes in his favour.

Now here's another theory why US markets rose this morning. Reportedly because one site said that the Republican candidate was in the lead in the swing state of Ohio.

The Wall Street Journal reported that one news outlet said Romney had a lead in Ohio, and given the markets are more in love with Romney presently they may have spiked as a result.

Gives you an idea how close this election is.

1:30 am: Obama hits basketball court, Romney gets burger

It's a election tradition and Obama's not about to break it. He's on a basketball court in Chicago where he's reportedly started playing already.

Romney, meanwhile, in Ohio is getting himself a burger at Wendy's and waving at fellow diners along with VP candidate Paul Ryan.

1:20 am: What are the random things to look out for to know who will win?

ABC has put up this hilarious list of what signs to look for in order to know who's going to win the poll. Among the factors that matter include if the Washington Redskins win their game, who kids pick to win and who Nate Silver picks as the winner (he picked Obama, but said he doesn't expect a landslide victory).

Meanwhile in Colorado, the Republicans are claiming a lead in early voting in Colorado:

1:10 am: Machine records votes for Romney even if you voted for Obama

Voter machines are notorious no matter where they're used. In Pennsylvania, a machine reportedly recorded votes for Romney even if you voted for Obama.

MSNBC said that the errant machine was removed but here's a video uploaded by the voter showing the machine running amuck:

And here's what the voter said:

My wife and I went to the voting booths this morning before work. There were 4 older ladies running the show and 3 voting booths that are similar to a science fair project in how they fold up. They had an oval VOTE logo on top center and a cartridge slot on the left that the volunteers used to start your ballot.

I initially selected Obama but Romney was highlighted. I assumed it was being picky so I deselected Romney and tried Obama again, this time more carefully, and still got Romney. Being a software developer, I immediately went into troubleshoot mode. I first thought the calibration was off and tried selecting Jill Stein to actually highlight Obama. Nope. Jill Stein was selected just fine. Next I deselected her and started at the top of Romney's name and started tapping very closely together to find the 'active areas'. From the top of Romney's button down to the bottom of the black checkbox beside Obama's name was all active for Romney. From the bottom of that same checkbox to the bottom of the Obama button (basically a small white sliver) is what let me choose Obama. Stein's button was fine. All other buttons worked fine.

I asked the voters on either side of me if they had any problems and they reported they did not. I then called over a volunteer to have a look at it. She him hawed for a bit then calmly said "It's nothing to worry about, everything will be OK." and went back to what she was doing. I then recorded this video.

There is a lot of speculation that the footage is edited. I'm not a video guy, but if it's possible to prove whether a video has been altered or not, I will GLADLY provide the raw footage to anyone who is willing to do so. The jumping frames are a result of the shitty camera app on my Android phone, nothing more.

Pshaw! Homer Simpson foresaw this ages ago. Check out the Simpsons take on the elections in 2008.

12:50 am: US stocks gain as market expects bipartisanship to make a comeback

Hope springs eternal on Wall Street and traders are growing more confident that America bipartisanship is set to make a comeback — no matter who wins the White House.

"I think whoever wins is going to have to reach across the aisle to reach a deal that would avert the fiscal cliff. Lame duck Congresses aren't known for doing big things, but I think it will manage a compromise,” said New York hedge fund manager Rick Wiskari.

For markets an Obama win means more of the same, for good or bad. There is a good deal more excitement on Wall Street about a Romney presidency and potential change at the top. But no one is betting on it — Romney has never for a moment been favoured by the odds makers.

The Dow Jones Industrial Average rose 13,282.07 points 169.63 points or 1.29 percent to 13,282.07 at 1.49 pm EST.

While Republican control of the House and Democratic control of the Senate are not expected to change, most traders feel that after four years of divisive politics and polarization, bipartisanship is set to make a comeback.

12:35 am: How to track the exit polls

Now of course we don't know the first thing about how the US polls do. But the folks at Washington Post have been kind enough to explain what to look for in the exit polls:

1. Trust exit polls only after 6 am India time

2. If you do see early exit polls, don't trust them

3. Early exit polls will favour Obama

4. The demographics matter (yes it matters how many white people vote)

12:15 am: Pregnant woman insists on voting before being taken to hospital, 5 indicators on who's going to win

An ABC report says that a preganant woman who was being taken to deliver her baby insisted on being taken to a polling booth before being taken to a hospital. Why? Because it was her first time voting.

21 -year-old Galicia Malone stopped at Precinct 88 in Chicago to cast her vote and was then rushed to a hospital.

Also if you're wondering what to look for when the elections results start coming out, the Wall Street Journal has come out with five indicators that will tell you who the next President of the United States will be:

1. A good turnout will favour Romney more than Obama

2. The number of white people who turn out to vote (the higher the number the better Romney's chances are)

3. Whether the student community still loves Obama or sees him as a failure

4. How well Romney does in Virginia

5. What happens in some key counties of Ohio

11:45 pm: Two killed in a shootout in California

A California newspaper is reporting that three people have been shot at a workplace in California.

The Fresno Bee reports that the shooting occurred at the Apple Valley Farms plant in the central part of Fresno. A call to police by The Associated Press was not immediately returned.

No additional details were immediately available, including the conditions of the victims.

A Fox News report however stated that two persons were killed and eight injured. The cause of the incident is also not known presently.

11:15 pm: If tweets were votes, Obama would win

According to a Huffington Post article, more tweets have mentioned Obama than Romney, which according to one group of scientists means that he's set to hold on to the President's post.

There's only one problem, it's not very clear according to the study in what context Obama was mentioned. So if someone tweeted "Obama is a &^%&^%&! I'm never going to vote for him" it would still go in his favour though Romney may be the one benefiting from the vote.

Unless of course the voters are being subliminally influenced by mentioning Obama's name too many times and would vote for him without knowing why. (There's a good conspiracy theory for the Republicans if they lose the elections. Just blame Twitter)

10: 45 pm: Democrats, Republican groups trade charges of influencing voters

Fox News is keeping up the string of allegations against the Obama campaign and alleges that Republican inspectors were thrown out of a polling booth. They also said that at one polling booth there was a large image of Obama emblazoned on a wall which might have influenced voters. Read more here

Meanwhile, the Huffington Post quoted a report as saying a pro-Republican group, True the Vote, may face legal action. (Read more here) Incidentally the group was one that was quoted by Fox in an earlier report.

The charges seem to be flying thick and fast as both groups seem to be preparing for a close elections this time round.

10:25 pm: French restaurant comes up with Obama burger, Romney omlette

For 24 hours, the popular Breakfast in America diner in central Paris is offering two special additions to the menu: an Obama Burger and a Romney Omelette. The owner will count how many dishes are sold by the end of the day and the U.S. election winner, as decided by French palates, will be declared.

One problem: The Obama Burger is bursting with sausages and pickles, whereas the Romney Omelet is plain and simple — almost guaranteed to sell less.

"This morning we had some customers from America who were very unhappy. They were Romney supporters and were offended," says diner owner Craig Carlson, a U.S. citizen from California.

"We tried to explain it's just a joke and we tried to put a little slant on it. (Romney) always says he is a regular American, a plain American." AP

10:15 pm:Unique cases of electoral fraud in US reported

There may be no chance for booth capturing in America but supporters of both sides are accusing each other of un-sportsman like behaviour during the polls. Letters saying that people's citizenship could be taken away if they voted, activists reportedly asking voters to pick Obama and voters registered to a trailer park that's no longer there are just some of the cases that US authorities are guarded about. Fox News in this report  says how authorities are working to curb the extent of fraud.

9:50 pm: Obama makes unscheduled stop at small campaign office, makes calls

President Barack  Obama was supposed to be playing basketball but he's instead choosing to make an unscheduled stop at a campaign office in Chicago where he made some calls to Democrat supporters asking them to vote.

"You were so polite to me when you didn't know who I was..." Obama told the voter at the other end of the line before asking them to vote.

"Hopefully we'll have a good day," he told the supporter he called.

Romney meanwhile landed in Cleveland, Ohio where he's expected to make a final campaign thrust.

Earlier today Obama congratulated Romney on the presidential campaign, Reuters reported.

"I ... want to say to Governor Romney congratulations on a spirited campaign. I know that his supporters are just as engaged and just as enthusiastic and working just as hard today," Obama said as volunteers made phone calls encouraging supporters to get to the polls.

"We feel confident we've got the votes to win, but it's going to depend ultimately on whether those votes turn out. And so I would encourage everybody on all sides just to make sure that you exercise this precious right that we have that people fought so hard for us to have," he said in Chicago.

Obama made calls to volunteers from the campaign office to thank them for working for his re-election.

"I expect that we'll have a good night, but no matter what happens, I just want to say how much I appreciate everybody who supported me, everybody who's worked so hard on my behalf."

9:40 pm: Voting continues, here's a site that claims to track every vote

Voting has begun in all states of the US.

Here's a site that claims to track as each vote is being cast in the US based on Facebook. Pity it doesn't show who's going to win.

9:15 pm: An awesome synopsis of the US election campaign so far

The Guardian as always stuns with a graphic novel about the US presidential campaign so far. It's so awesome it can't be described and is an absolute must read. Read it here.

9:00 pm Can the US elections end in a tie?

Implausible as it sounds, can the US presidential elections end in a tie? According to a MSNBC video, it can!

It even speaks about how the swing states, if they are evenly distributed could result in 269 electoral college votes for both Romney and Obama.

And in that alternate reality, you could also have the unusual possibility of Romney as president and Biden as vice president.  Check out the video for more.

Also an indication of how close the election is expected to be is highlighted by this projection for the state of Florida:

And according to the National Review, Romney's in the lead in the crucial state of Ohio (who would've thought a Republican news portal would say that??):

https://twitter.com/NROcorner/status/265836530994663424

8:40 pm: Obama's optimistic but not that much

The president says he's optimistic about the outcome of the elections but doesn't really know if he'll win.

"I feel optimistic but only cautiously optimistic. Because until people actually show up at the polls and cast their ballot, the rest of this stuff is all just speculation." AP quoted President Barack Obama as saying in a radio interview with "The Steve Harvey Morning Show."

8: 25 pm: Republican VP candidate Paul Ryan casts his vote

Republican vice presidential candidate Paul Ryan casts his vote.  So all the candidates in the running have now cast their votes.

The Onion's also doing its coverage of the elections and in keeping with their standard approach to news, here's how they believe Romney is going to win over Obama supporters in the swing state of Ohio. By claiming the president's dead.

Read more here.

8: 15 pm: What are US markets most afraid about? A hung election

Given the neck and neck race, US markets are holding their breath and hoping that there's a clear outcome on who the winner is and there is no legal battle to decide the next winner.

A Reuters article says that what everyone wants is a clear winner.

"If we wake up Wednesday morning and we don't know the results, that also pushes off the dealing with the fiscal cliff, which is the next most important thing in our agenda," said Art Hogan, managing director of Lazard Capital Markets in New York.

Markets are terrified of this next step for the United States - figuring out how to stave off the fiscal cliff, or $600 billion in tax increases and spending cuts that could kick in next year and send the U.S. economy reeling.

Read more here.

8:00 pm: US markets open in the green despite sluggish trade

All the US markets have largely opened in the green as the country votes for its next president. The NYSE, Dow Jones Industrial Average and Nasdaq are up on the opening bell.

However, with sluggish trade due to the elections they're up only marginally.

7:45 pm: CNN gives Obama an edge over Romney, no rum for voters

CNN's poll of polls puts the President just one percent ahead of Romney. Here's what they say:

Obama - 49 percent
Romney - 48 percent

Voters are getting a sticker that says "I voted" after they cast their vote. As David Frum, Contributing Editor, DailyBeast/Newsweek says things were a lot better during George Washington's time when voters got rum for participating in the elections. In India, its not entirely unheard of.

7:30 pm: Mitt Romney votes with wife in Massachussets

Mitt Romney has cast his ballot in the U.S. presidential election.

Asked who he voted for, Romney replied, "I think you know."

The Republican challenger still has campaign rallies Tuesday in the crucial battleground state of Ohio and neighboring Pennsylvania.

Romney's wife, Ann, was at his side when the pair cast their ballots near their Massachusetts home. Romney will return to Boston on Tuesday night for an Election Day reception. AP

7:15 pm: Democrats have 250 attorneys ready if any dispute arises over Ohio results

Former Ohio governor and co-chair of the Obama campaign, Ted Strickland is certain of Barrack Obama's victory not only in the swing state of Ohio but in all other centres as well to bring him back to power.

"The president's victory in Ohio and other states is going to be clear cut..." he told CNN.

But what if there's a dispute over provisional votes in Ohio or any other dispute?

"We've got about 250 attorneys on stand by," he said.

7:00 pm: Superstorm Sandy doesn't deter voters from staying away from polling booths

Neither rain nor sunshine nor a superstorm has been able to dim the enthusiasm of these voters as they queued up to cast their vote in the presidential elections. Here's an AP video:

6:45 pm: US markets up as elections begin

U.S. stock futures are heading higher in light trading on Election Day as polls open on the East Coast.

Dow Jones industrial futures are up 38 points to 13,091. The broader S&P futures have tacked on 4.4 points to 1,416.40. Nasdaq futures are up 11.5 points to 2,673.75.

Many investors remained on the sidelines with the presidential contest so close.

A private survey of home prices and a government report on job openings and labor turnover were expected later Tuesday morning. AP

6:30 pm: CNN says Obama is in the lead but still a long away off from 270

Here's the prediction as per CNN.

Obama's still in the lead here but he's a long way off from the magic number of 270.

And this is what the site Real Clear Politics has to say about the standings for now.

Obama's in the lead here as well but it is the swing states that hold the candidates fate for now. Which way will they swing?

6:15 pmObama's expected to win, but not by a landslide

Ok so some pollsters already believe that despite the swing states remaining undecided, Obama's going to win. But not by that much. This is what Nate Silver had to say.

Polling stations have opened across the eastern United States and parts of the Midwest as Election Day dawned. At least 120 million people were expected to render judgment on whether to give Obama a second term or replace him with Romney.

National opinion polls show Obama and Romney in a virtual dead heat, although the Democratic incumbent has a slight advantage in several vital swing states - most notably Ohio - that could give him the 270 electoral votes he needs to win.

As Americans headed to voting booths and long lines formed in some places, campaign teams for both candidates worked the phones feverishly to mobilize supporters to cast their ballots.Reuters

5:55 pm: Obama to play basketball, Romney goes all out to woo uncertain voters

Barack Obama's campaign is done. He's shed tears at the last campaign rally and is going to go to Chicago where he'll play basketball until the results ball drops.

Romney is not done yet though. In a last gasp attempt to win over the undecided voters in the city of Cleveland in the swing state of Ohio, and Pittsburgh in Pennsylvania.

5:40 pm: Vice president Joe Biden casts his vote

Vice President Joe Biden, the man who brought the Democrats back into the game as far as televised debates go, is now in line to cast his vote in Delaware. He's standing in line politely. Not something we're used to seeing here in India.

And now he's done. No surprises who he's voted for.

5.01 pm: Obama keeps campaigning on social media

Campaigning and rallies have ended, but the good fight is still being fought over social media. And now the battle is to make sure that people actually go out and vote.  President Obama, who is active on both Facebook and Twitter is making sure he pulls out all the stops, encouraging citizens to not only vote, but also bring a friend.

A sample on Twitter:

Mitt Romney's updates have however seem to have ended along with his campaign. His last Facebook update was 13 hours ago and his last Twitter update was 20 hours ago. Maybe he'll get more active once results start trickling in.

Meanwhile, in good news for Obama, Nate Silver filed his last prediction, giving Obama a 91.6 percent chance of winning, 14.2 percent higher than Silver’s October 30 projection.

4.38 pm: Will the 23 votes Obama won in New Hampshire set the trend for millions?

"A remote New Hampshire town called Hartsfield's Landing votes first in the primary election at 12:01 am, hours before the rest of the state, and has accurately predicted the winner of the presidential election for decades,” says Wikipedia, describing a fictional town in an episode of the sitcom West Wing.

New Hampshire laws allow towns with less than 100 citizens to vote at midnight. And Hart’s Location, on which the fictional town Hartsfield’s Landing is based, has voted, and the results are out – and Obama is the winner by yards.
“Hart's Location election results @BarackObama 23, @MittRomney 9, @GovGaryJohnson 2 #nhpolitics says @JamesPindell on twitter.

@markos on twitter gives us this reference point: “Hart's Location 2008: Obama 17, McCain 10. 2012: Obama 23, Romney 9."

So, notwithstanding what the pollsters say, if the Hart’s Location trend is anything like that of the Hartsfield's landing, however small the margin, Obama will win the elections!