04 November 2008

US 2008: Huge Turn-Out for the US Elections

A huge turn-out for the US presidential election and various other elections (for the whole House of Representatives and a third of the Senate) is reported from all over the United States.
Everywhere the number of people voting is significantly higher than in previous elections, and this is - as most analysts predict - positive for
Barack Obama, whose campaign has motivated and energised especially younger people to come out and vote.

State-wide voting in the US eastern time zone opened at 6 am (11am GMT), with Kentucky and Indiana the first polls to close, at 11 pm GMT.

Senator Barack Obama voted early in his adopted home city of Chicago, Illinois (photo left), while Senator John McCain cast his vote in his home state of Arizona, before going on another desperate last-minute tour to motivate yet undecided people to vote for him. If this tireless effort will help him to close the gap he has to Barack Obama in all of the opinion polls (see my earlier entry) is however doubtful.

The last area to close voting, at 6 am GMT tomorrow morning, will be the Aleutian Islands & St. Lawrence Island in Alaska.

However, if exit polls are reliable, it is likely the outcome of the presidential election will be known long before then, at the latest when California, the last major state, ends voting at 4 am GMT.

Following their tradition, the tiny New Hampshire towns of Dixville Notch (photo right) and Hart's Location voted already just after midnight local time (5 am GMT) and were the first two precincts in the USA to report a result. Senator Obama won a majority in both places.

The final Gallup daily tracking poll before the election day said that Barack Obama is leading the presidential race with 53% to 42% for John McCain.

There are eleven other official candidates for the presidency, the most prominent of whom is Ralph Nader, a consumer and green issues advocate, who is standing in a presidential election for the fourth time.

Eleven states will also vote to elect governors, and partial elections are being held for the US Congress.
Democrats held 236 of the 435 seats in the outgoing House of Representatives and 51 of the 100 Senate seats. 33 of the Senate seats are up for election or re-election this year.

Eleven states also vote on various referenda on State law, several of them concerning so-called 'gay marriages' and restrictions on abortion.

One of the first states to come under the lime light of the US and international media will be Virginia, which has in the past voted strongly Republican, but has been heavily targeted by the Democrats this year. As both candidates will need to win Virginia in order to secure a majority in the Electoral College, the result from George Washington's home state will be an early indicator how things are going.

I will be up all night, monitoring the incoming results, and analyse what is happening.
So if you are also staying up, you are welcome to look in here from time to time for comments and updates.

The Emerald Islander

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