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Obama Reelected to Second Term: Truthout Live Blog Election Day 2012
(Image: Jared Rodriguez / Truthout)

Obama Reelected to Second Term: Truthout Live Blog Election Day 2012

(Image: Jared Rodriguez / Truthout)

History will remember the 2012 presidential election campaign as being among the wackiest, most expensive, least informative, whiplash-inducing events ever seen in real life on this planet. Remember the GOP primaries? The hilarious “anyone-but-Mitt” frenzy that gave the likes of Herman Cain, Donald Trump, Newt Gingrich and Michele Bachmann their own star turn? Magic. That wonderful carnival of nonsense has delivered Mitt Romney and Barack Obama to this, the finish line, at last. No more campaign commercials carpet-bombing the airwaves; after this, you get to be bombarded by Christmas advertising for the next two months. It’s almost like a punishment, really.

All day today, and for however long it takes for the deal to go down, BuzzFlash at Truthout Editor Mark Karlin and I will be blogging the election, keeping a special eye out for reports of voter intimidation, long lines, and other forms of deliberate chaos that are almost certain to be inflicted upon the voting public. We will also be covering important House and Senate races across the country, local races of interest, as well as various ballot initiatives that are taking place. Truthout will be covering it all, so check in here throughout the day, and especially when the first polls close on the East Coast.

Here we go.

-William Rivers Pitt, 06 November 2012


Obama wins Ohio, Iowa and Oregon.

274 Electoral College votes.

It’s over, folks.

Obama has been re-elected.

William Rivers Pitt, 06 November, 11:15 p.m.


11:00 p.m., and…

California, Hawaii and Washington for Obama.

Idaho for Romney. MSNBC calls North Carolina for Romney, too.

Oregon, for reasons passing understanding, is too early to call.

Florida, Ohio, Virginia, still in the wind.

EC tally: 243 Obama, 203 Romney

WRP, 06 November, 11:05 p.m.


It Was a Race About Race
Let’s face it, while exit polls voters identified the most important issue in the 2012 presidential contest as the economy, the number one unspoken issue was race.
For four years, a significant percentage of the US population has used every code word and threat to defile Obama — the son of a white mother and black father — as a foreigner in his own land. As fellow journalist William Rivers Pitt wrote earlier today on the Truthout Election 2012 blog, “The Republican Party has made it a matter of survival to convince people, who are in every other way probably very good and decent types, that half the country, indeed their own neighbors, are swarming with The Enemy, and that Enemy does not deserve basic American rights like voting.”
Will was writing that in reference to how many white Republicans and the Republican political apparatus basically only view whites as having voting rights. It sounds like a radical theory, but in essence it is true.
Exponentially increase that racially biased attitude and you have something like a nuclear political attack launched against Obama over four years. It was such a sordid, seedy, bilious act of tribal vilification of a black man that one can only recoil at how long the Confederate attitudes of racial superiority have lingered through generations.
Race wasn’t mentioned in the debates – heck poverty was ignored. Race wasn’t on the ballot.
However, race was very much part of the coded appeal to white voters by the Romney campaign and many Republican candidates.
Race matters. More than nearly 150 years after the Civil War, we are still a nation struggling with a legacy of emotional feelings of racial superiority and entitlement.
A nation divided by race remains a nation divided.
We can settle our economic problems, but our racial friction and discord have continued as the lamentable subtext of our political discourse since the founding of the United States.
It must be confronted frontally.

Mark Karlin, 06 November 10:44 p.m.


So Much For “Legitimate Rape”…

Claire McCaskill defeats Todd Akin.

Utah and Montana go for Romney. Iowa and Nevada are too early to call, but Obama leads in both.

EC tally: 162 Obama, 162 Romney

William Rivers Pitt, 06 November, 10:10 p.m.


The Granite State…

…goes for Obama.

EC tally: Obama 162, Romney 153

WRP, 06 November, 9:53 p.m.


Strike That. Reverse It.

Warren Wins in MA.

And Richard Mourdock has been defeated by Joe Donnelly in Indiana.

William Rivers Pitt, 06 November, 9:47 p.m.


Not So Fast…

NBC has rescinded its call that Warren wom in Massachusetts. Stay tuned.

WRP, 11/6, 9:37 p.m.


Obama Wins Wisconsin

EC tally: Obama 158, Romney 153

William Rivers Pitt, 06 November, 9:30 p.m.


Hey Hey PA

Obama wins Pennsylvania.

EC tally: Romney 153, Obama 148

Senator Warren

NBC has declared Elizabeth Warren the winner in the MA Senate race.

Bob Casey has also won in PA.

William Rivers Pitt, 06 November, 9:10 p.m.


9:00 p.m. returns…

Michigan, New York, New Jersey and New Mexico for Obama. Democratic Senator Menendez from NJ keeps his seat.

Texas, Louisiana, Kansas, Nebraska, North Dakota, South Dakota and Wyoming for Romney.

Arizona is saying too early to call, though Romney leads. Wisconsin and Minnesota are too early to call, though Obama leads.

Ohio, Virginia, Pennsylvania, Florida, Missouri, North Carolina and New Hampshire remain in the wind.

MSNBC projects the GOP will retain majority control of the House of Representatives.

EC tally: Romney 153, Obama 128

William Rivers Pitt, 06 November, 9:10 p.m.


Exit Poll Cited by New York Times Shows Support for Healthcare Reform

It’s been a given in the Washington punditry consensus that the US public opposes health care reform – and actually when Americans are polled on whether or not that they support “Obamacare,” the vast majority oppose it.

What, in reality, happened is the White House won healthcare reform, but lost control of the debate. The Republicans used Madison Avenue techniques to get citizens to oppose a mythical government program that would allegedly limit choice and supposedly would amount to a government takeover of individual health choices.

In short, the GOP turned what many progressives considered a sellout to private insurers into something akin to the British National Health System (where healthcare providers are actually employed by the national government). Actually the National Health System is broadly popular in the UK, but that is not the system that Obama got passed.

The Affordable Healthcare Act created a patchwork network of medical care that is definitely more private insurer oriented than Medicare and that provides as much choice in physicians and care as a PPO, which restrict who an insured individual can see by the private insurance companies.

So it is not surprising that a New York Times exit poll showed that only 25% of the population wants to completely repeal the law; 25% want some changes; and the rest support it.

In reality, when you break the provisions of the Affordable Healthcare Act down, most of the individual features receive widespread support – that is when people are asked about fact, not the fictional monster of “Obamacare” created by the Republicans.

In the future, progressives need to seize control of the narrative. The Republicans are much better at selling and defining public policy. They keep it simple and scary.

Something to think about that extends beyond elections.

Mark Karlin, 06 November 8:56 p.m.


At 8:30 p.m…

Arkansas has gone for Romney.

Linda McMahon lost her Senate bid to Chris Murphy by so many points that it isn’t worth elaborating on.

EC tally: 88 Romney, 64 Obama

William Rivers Pitt, 06 November, 8:35 p.m.


The 8pm Returns

Illinois, Massachusetts, DC, Rhode Island, Delaware, Maine, Maryland and Connecticut go for Obama.

Tennessee, Alabama, Oklahoma and Mississippi go for Romney. Georgia, which came in at 7pm, also goes for Romney.

Pennsylvania is too close to call, but Obama has a lead. Virginia is too close to call, but Romney has a lead.

New Hampshire and Florida are also still too close to call.

Ohio is too close to call, but Obama has a big lead.

Angus King, the Independent candidate, has won the Senate race in Maine.

Electoral College total: Romney 82, Obama 64

William Rivers Pitt, 06 November, 8:10 p.m.



The polls in Pennsylvania, New Hampshire and Florida close at 8:00 p.m., about ten minutes from now. It is difficult to overstate how important these three states are to both campaigns, so I won’t try. Really really really important. A great deal of the ballgame. Stay tuned.

William Rivers Pitt, 06 November, 7:50 p.m.


Electoral College Challenge Question to Truthout/BuzzFlash Readers: Which States Allow Some Electoral Votes to be Cast by Congressional District

Answer: Only Maine and Nebraska

According to

Electoral College Challenge Question to Truthout/BuzzFlash Readers:
Which States Allow some Electoral Votes to be Cast by Congressional District

Answer: Only Maine and Nebraska

According to

“Only two states, Nebraska and Maine, do not follow the winner-takes-all rule. In those states, there could be a split of Electoral votes among candidates through the state’s system for proportional allocation of votes. For example, Maine has four Electoral votes and two Congressional districts. It awards one Electoral vote per Congressional district and two by the state-wide, “at-large” vote. It is possible for Candidate A to win the first district and receive one Electoral vote, Candidate B to win the second district and receive one Electoral vote, and Candidate C, who finished a close second in both the first and second districts, to win the two at-large Electoral votes. Although this is a possible scenario, it has not actually happened.”

Nevertheless, all the Maine electoral votes are expected to go to Obama tonight, and all of Nebraska’s electoral votes to Romney. In 2008, John McCain won two of Nebraska’s congessional districts, while Obama won one congressional vote in Nebraska’s 2nd District. McCain won the two statewide electoral votes for Nebraska, making it a 4-1 split in the state.

Nevertheless, all the Maine electoral votes are expected to go to Obama tonight, and all of Nebraska’s electoral votes to Romney.

Mark Karlin, 06 November 7:35 p.m.



Ohio and North Carolina, at 7:30 p.m., are both too close to call. West Virginia has gone for Romney. Georgia and South Carolina are still too close to call.

Mourdock is losing in Indiana, but they haven’t finished counting yet.

William Rivers Pitt, 06 November, 7:35 p.m.


First Round

Vermont goes for Obama.

Indiana and Kentucky for Romney.

South Carolina and Georgia are “too early to call.”

Virginia is “too close to call.”

…and Bernie Sanders has retained his Senate seat.


William Rivers Pitt, 06 November, 7:05 p.m.


Almost There

The first polls close in less than an hour. Watching the TV “news” is an option, I suppose, but a bad one. Allow me to sum up what’s happening on the “news” networks thus far:


Yeah, like I said, stick with us. We’ll keep you up-to-the-minute posted…without all that.

William Rivers Pitt, 06 November, 6:30 p.m.


Obama Makes Likely Victory Party a Ticket Only Event

Many have argued that in the first four years of the Obama administration, the nation has traveled from hope and change to a status quo that protects us from the forces of evil, but has been slow to move the nation forward on such issues as defense cutbacks, less military hegemony, climate change, reduction of poverty, the return of many civil liberties, etc.

If Obama wins, the cheers may be more for keeping the barbarians from entering the gates of the White House, preventing a decades long control of the Supreme Court by the right wing corporatists and social reactionaries, and defeating racism by an electoral vote. But the cheering won’t all necessarily be for Obama as president, should he win. It will be for what a second term will block from happening in terms of keeping the pathologically inclined from taking over control of the US government.

Back in Chicago, this change in expectations is partially symbolized by the change in venue for the victory party, should it occur. Fully confident of winning in 2008, Obama held an open air, everyone invited, victory celebration in Chicago’s Grant Park. At that time, according to the Chicago Tribune, an estimated 240,000 celebrants attended the election night rally. Many came from across the United States. It wasn’t just an election then; many people thought that it was a movement.

This year, however, the Obama election eve gathering will be held in the Lake Michigan McComick Place building, one of many in a vast convention center complex. Only ticketed individuals will be allowed in, limited to a few thousand campaign-related volunteers and staff.

It’s a long way from the grassroots-hope-and-change propelled campaign of 2008. The public is not invited.

The perception of a movement has yielded to the stark reality of politics.

Mark Karlin, 06 November 2:35 p.m.


Voting Mayhem in Pennsylvania: Just What the GOP Doctor Ordered

The Republican effort to make voting in Pennsylvania a chaotic, restrictive effort is apparently bearing fruit:

Voting and civil rights activists said Tuesday that Pennsylvania’s new voter ID law was causing mass confusion across the state as people tried to go to the polls. Because of a judge’s ruling in October, the law attempted to walk a line by allowing poll workers to ask voters for photo identification while also giving voters a big loophole to cast a regular ballot without it.

The Election Protection coalition’s voter hotline here began lighting up with complaints soon after polls opened. Some voters said they were upset about being asked for photo identification. Others said they had been turned away because they did not provide it. “We’ve definitely gotten reports about voters being turned away,” Eric Marshall, co-director of the Election Protection coalition, told TPM. “We’ve had reports of people who have shown up, been asked, and when they didn’t show ID they were turned away.”

In my whole life, I have never seen anything like what has been happening today, in America, to people who are just trying to cast a vote. There is a word for those who would thwart the free vote of others, in secret, to get what they want.

That word is “Cowards.”



William Rivers Pitt, 06 November, 5:30 p.m.


Polls, Polls: Do We Need to Actually Vote?

The battle of the polls has been going on for months now. It’s an industry to single handedly must add a point or two to the US employment rate, what with all the pundits who rely on polls, analyze them, the campaigns who live and die by them, etc.

But they are there, looming out at you daily from the Internet, television or the newspaper. It’s like a juicy piece of gossip that you don’t want to hear but can’t help eavesdropping upon.

So, for those with a poll fix, we offer two Obama leaning tracking prognosticators, but that will be it for the day. After all, Americans are voting now, not answering polls – and polls don’t elect anyone; voters do.

We start with the celebrated, and sometimes controversial Nate Silver, a former sports statistician wunderkind who developed probability models for professional baseball players. He is the model after which the film “Moneyball” is based.

Silver switched to politics and made a name for his accuracy in the 2008 election. He is now the chief election predictor for the New York Times (NYT). His November 5 NYT column indicates his probability perspective for the presidential election: “Late Poll Gains for Obama Leave Romney With Longer Odds.”

If Silver’s probability calculations are correct, Romney has been left with no likely pathway to an electoral college victory, based on Silver’s swing state forecasting. Silver’s final probability forecast is that Obama will end up with 303 electoral votes and has a 90.9 percent chance of winning.

The Huffington Post’s polling columnist, Simon Jackman, is predicting Obama will win with 303 or 332 electoral votes (if Florida goes for Obama). Jackman gives just the slightest of edges (well within statistical error) to Obama in regards to the national popular vote: 50.1% to 48.4%.

If you go to, you will see a number of reports of voter suppression occurring in battleground states, so these predictions may be undercut – as the 2000 presidential election was – by voter disenfranchisement and dirty tricks.

Nevertheless, Silver calculates that Obama has a 90.9 percent chance of winning a second term.

Mark Karlin, 06 November 2:35 p.m.


Keeping Tabs on the Crime Syndicate

What I have so far:

Tea Party Group Blocks Florida Voters, Stops Water Handouts at Polls

New Polling Places, Unresponsive Websites Create Confusion in Cook County

GOP Senate Candidate Behind Robocall Fraud Busted

Registered Philly Voters Forced to Cast Provisional Ballots in Large Numbers

Right-Wing “True the Vote” Intimidators Barred from Polls in Ohio

12,525 Florida Voters Get Robocall from Elections Boss Saying They Have Until “Tomorrow” to Vote

NAACP Accuses Mississippi Country Clerk of Failing to Process Thousands of Voter Registrations

Video of Voting Machine Flipping Votes from Obama to Romney Goes Viral

Oregon Election Worker Fired for Altering Ballots to Republican Straight Ticket

Judge Orders Republicans to Stop Asking Voters for ID Outside Homestead PA Polling Place

…but no, everything’s fine. Don’t worry, this is America…right?


William Rivers Pitt, 06 November, 4:20 p.m.


Lawsuit Against “Experimental” Software Patch in Ohio Voting Machines Rejected

A lawsuit filed by Bob Fitrakis against an “experimental” software patch that was added to electronic voting machines in Ohio has been thrown out by a US District Court judge.

From the Associated Press:

Fitrakis and his attorney had wanted the judge to order Ohio Secretary of State Jon Husted to stop using the software and break the state’s contract with Omaha, Neb.-based Elections Systems & Software.

A “back door” in ES&S software and hardware creates “an imminent risk” that people not supervised by election boards could “alter the recording and tabulation of votes cast by Ohio voters in the General Election,” according to a lawsuit filed Monday on behalf of Fitrakis, a longtime Ohio elections activist.

(US District Court Gregory) Frost rejected those arguments after reviewing comments from a computer analyst testifying on behalf of Fitrakis at Tuesday morning’s hearing.

William Rivers Pitt, 06 November, 2:40 p.m.


Ka-boom: After Giving Obama a Late Boost, Chris Christie Slams Romney Staff

Okay, okay, Chris Christie was just complementing Obama – effusively, with a brother from a different mother kind of enthusiasm – because of what the president did in providing federal aid and support to the New Jersey after Hurricane Sandy.
If you believe politicians have moments of actual sincere emotion and appreciation, then you believe Christie had no ulterior motives. You might be right. After all, there isn’t anyway to prove otherwise.
But given the world of politics being a cynical wonderland, you’d have to also at least allow for the possibility that something else was at work. For instance, maybe Christie wants to run for president in 2016 and having Romney in the White House would nix that possiblity. Perhaps Christie had a falling out with Mitt. Or perhaps Christie, like Bloomberg, read the inside polls and knew he was going to llikely have to deal with Obama as president for four more years.
It could be none or all of the above.
The Huffington Post just reported that Christie, per his style, blasted the Romney staff for accusing him of disloyalty: “So all this other noise,” Christie declared,”I think, is coming from know-nothing, disgruntled Romney staffers who, you know, don’t like the fact that I said nice things about the President of the United States. Well, that’s too bad for them.”
The statement just further reinforced Obama’s role as president and Christie praising him.
Along with Bruce Springsteen, Chris Christie is providing Obama with quite a boost from the Garden State.

Mark Karlin, 06 November 2:35 p.m.


No Chance to Vote Against Global Warming on Election Day: Victim of Bi-Partisan Neglect

It will be ironic if Barack Obama, as largely predicted, will eke out a second term on the tails of Hurricane Sandy. The natural disaster, one in a steady streaming of climate change alerts, provided Obama with the platform to be presidential and increase his election support just at the right moment.

New York’s Mayor Michael Bloomberg, whose city was hard hit by Sandy and Hurricane Irina before that, even was moved to endorse Obama for a second term, just a few days before the election. Bloomberg said it was because of the looming impact of global warming that he was backing the current president, but cynics might speculate that the New York mayor was just reading the inside polls and seeing that Romney was not going to win.

Yes, it’s true that the vast majority of the Republican caucus does not believe in climate change. But the Democrats in DC and the White House have hardly been outspoken on the need for addressing the environmental deterioration of our world – and the catastrophic threat of not dealing with the warming of our earth.

Perhaps Obama is marginally better on alternative energy and at least admits that there is a climate change problem. Perhaps one can argue that his hands are tied by a Tea Party Congress and a Republican caucus in the Senate that will filibuster any effort to put the breaks on climate change. On the other hand, Obama has signaled that he will eventually approve the full Keystone XL pipeline, which climate expert Bill McKibben predicts will put the planet over the tipping point (due to the harmful atmospheric effect of extracting oil from shale).

So it will be up to grassroots activists after election day to save the earth, because the corporations that pull the strings in DC aren’t going to let any efforts to reduce climate change advance otherwise. It’s going to take a citizens’ movement to prevent a Biblical-style ravaging of the earth.

Remember you have to do more than vote; you need to become an advocate for our planet. It’s too imperative of a task to leave in the hands of politicians.

Mark Karlin, 06 November 2:05 p.m.


Youth Activists Defend the Vote in Ohio

A fantastic YouTube video of young activists defending the right to vote today in Cleveland, Ohio.

Click here to watch.

William Rivers Pitt, 06 November, 3:00 p.m.


Casting Fellow Americans as “The Enemy” to Justify Vote Theft

Election day is only half over, and my desk is already flooded with stories and first-hand reports of voting irregularities. Voters in Pennsylvania are being harangued by GOP “poll watchers” to show ID, even though they absolutely do not have to, and a judge finally had to intervene. An election worker in Oregon was caught altering ballots so that they would show a straight-Republican ticket. Voters in South Florida are enduring historically long lines to vote. A lawsuit has been filed in Ohio to protest the “experimental” patch added to software in voting machines in dozens of counties.

In instance after instance, these actions are being taken by Republicans, from Secretaries of State and state legislatures at the top all the way down to “True the Vote” Tea Party footsoldiers looking to frighten people away from their polling places.

A part of me looks at all this and wonders, “What kind of fascist scumbag summons the gall to steal the right to vote from a fellow American?” But then it hits me: the root cause of all this is the fact that the GOP has, for many years now and especially since 9/11, pushed the idea that people who don’t agree with them are un-American and dangerous. For those who have swallowed this line of crap, the idea of actually stealing someone else’s right to vote becomes understandable. It’s a matter of National Security! These terrible un-Christian terrorists have to be stopped!

It’s fairly self-evident that if you have to cheat and scare people to win, your ideas lack merit…but the larger issue here is the kind of America that is being created. The Republican Party has made it a matter of survival to convince people, who are in every other way probably very good and decent types, that half the country, indeed their own neighbors, are swarming with The Enemy, and that Enemy does not deserve basic American rights like voting.

One hell of a whirlwind will be reaped if matters continue like this.

William Rivers Pitt, 06 November, 2:05 p.m.


Greg Palast Reports on Ominous Black Voter Suppression in Ohio, While Voting Irregularities Occurr Elsewhere

One video going viral shows a person apparently voting for Obama and Romney appearing as the selected choice. See it here and you decide about the perils of electronic voting. It does raise the question that like any electronic machine, voting machines can randomly malfunction – or be intentionally made to malfunction.

That is their danger to the voting process. MSNBC reports that the voting machine in question in Pennsylvania has been taken out of service.
Meanwhile, in Hurricane ravaged states such as New Jersey, voting is not going well in the hard hit areas, according to Talking Points Memo:
Superstorm Sandy is having a devastating effect on voting in New Jersey, Lawyers’ Committee for Civil Rights Under Law executive director Barbara Arnwine told reporters at a news conference on Tuesday morning.
Voters were being asked for I.D. even though the state has no law requiring it, voting locations opened late and some locations didn’t have ballots, she said. “In a word, there’s just one word to describe the experience in New Jersey, and that is catastrophe,” Arnwine said.
Meanwhile, other irregularities are being reported at locations around the country, including Colorado.
More ominously, Greg Palast just reported in an e-mail about Sunday voting for blacks in Ohio:
The line, about 80% African-American, snaked through the state building then out, through and around the building’s parking complex.
After the hours of waiting, the patient citizens got their ballots—or thought they did. They didn’t get ballots. They got this: “APPLICATION FOR ABSENT VOTER’S BALLOT.”
In prior elections, and in some other counties in this current polling, early voters got ballot ballots, not absentee ballots.
I immediately got voting rights attorney Robert Fitrakis, on the phone. I told Fitrakis, also a professor at Columbus State College, about handing voters absentee ballots instead of regular, vote-now ballots.
“That’s insane!” he said, “Completely wrong.” And stone cold dangerous to the vote count./
It’s simple: Not all absentee ballots get counted. Indeed, as I pointed out in Billionaires & Ballot Bandits, the US government data indicates that 488,136 mail-in ballots were rejected after they were cast in 2008. The New York Times puts it at two or three million cast and not counted. Not incidentally, the US Civil Rights Commission found that African Americans are 900% more likely to cast “spoiled” votes (those cast and not counted) than a white voter.
Palast continued:
I asked Fitrakis if many of these voters would lose their vote. “Absolutely,” he replied. “Jon Husted is the most partisan Secretary of State in America.”
I asked the elections manager at early voting why early voters were given absentee ballots, not allowed to use voting machines, as in prior elections.
“In case there is a need to re-count votes.” Huh? Then why not have white-day voters also use these not-quite-ballots?
What’s this all about? After all, these “absent” voters on Sunday weren’t absent at all. One thousand were lined up right outside his office.
This absentee ballot game was only the latest attack on the right of citizens of color to vote. He noted that Ohio had purged a million and a quarter voters from the voter rolls in the past two years. Which voters? In some rural white counties, not one name was purged. But in Cleveland, Ohio, some Black precincts suffered the removal of more than half the voters’ names from the rolls.
A bad moon is on the rise in Ohio. Is Ohio the new Republican Florida of 2000?
Wait, under Governor Scott, Florida in 2012 is the Florida of 2000. The GOP in Ohio is just catching up as it has been trying to do for years.
Mark Karlin, 06 November 1:05 p.m.


State Propositions and Initiatives Galore in 2012
With all the attention on the national political races between the two major parties (and please remember that there are third parties that merit attention), don’t forget that citizens are able to vote on initiatives and propositions in many states.
Of course, California is the leader in the proposition movement and this year’s crop offers many major ones of interest to Truthout readers. Often, the battle over propositions can draw as much money as big political races. In the last rew years, large contributions connected to the Mormon Church helped defeat an equal marriage prop in the Golden State. A large amount of money and coalition building was involved in the failed marijuana decriminalization proposition not too long ago.
This year, depending on your priorities, one of the hottest propositions is #34 in California, which would repeal the death penalty. Prop #37 is is another hotly contested one. It is drawing a lot of funds from agric-chemical corporations to defeat it, because it would require genetically modified food to be labeled as such.
Around the nation, there are initiatives concerning easing legal restrictions on marijuana. On the other side, a number of Tea Party groups got propositions on the ballots in some states to forbid state participation in “Obamacare.” (This is a legally dubious strategy, but the initiatives are valid as far as being on the ballot.)
So keep reading the Truthout live blog. We’ll be watching these and other voter referendums, although the results tend to come in later than the elections.
You can locate many of the 2012 state initiatives and propositions by using the National Council of State Legislatures database, sortable by state and topic.

Mark Karlin, 06 November 12:53 p.m.


Elizabeth Warren v. Scott Brown, and the Matter of Turnout

For those of you watching the Brown v. Warren Senate race in Massachusetts, something to consider: Scott Brown won in 2010 during a midterm election season, which means turnout was way, way down. I hate that people don’t show up for midterms beyond 30-35%, but there it is.

This is not a midterm election season, and approximately 300,000 more people will vote in Massachusetts today than voted in 2010. This is a good thing for Warren, who was leading in all the polls to begin with. Hard-core partisans always come out for the midterms, and Brown was boosted by outside money from Tea Party activists and their corporate paymasters. That outside boost is not in play today, and a lot more Democrats will be going to the polls today than went two years ago.

William Rivers Pitt, 06 November,12:45 p.m.


Michael Moore’s Letter to a Non-Voter

Michael Moore has penned a letter to a non-voter that is worth reading. A snip:

I cannot believe it is possible that, after a group of rich plutocrats wrecked the economy, threw people out of work and stole our future, we may actually hand the keys to our country over to…a rich Republican plutocrat who made millions by throwing people out of work! This is insane, and despite all the legitimate criticisms of Obama, he is nothing like the tsunami of hate and corporate thievery that will take place if Mitt Romney is president. As bad as it feels now, it will only get worse. I need your help to stop this.

I can’t promise you that your life will get better, easier under Barack Obama. I do think he cares and I know for sure that if the other guy is sitting in the Oval Office, I can guarantee you that not only will your life not get better, it will get much, much worse. Don’t take my word for it. Just ask your parents what life was like before a 30-year pillage by the Republicans of the middle class. Your parents bought a house and eventually owned it outright. They weren’t in debt. College was free. They bought a new car every 3 or 4 years. They took vacations and were home for dinner by 5 or 6 PM. They had a savings account in the bank. They didn’t live in fear of not knowing if they’d even have a job next year.

That’s all gone. I don’t know if we can get it back, but I do know that Mr. Romney would love the chance to complete the final elimination of the middle class and the American Dream.

William Rivers Pitt, 06 November,12:20 p.m.


GOP “Poll Watchers” in PA Ordered to Stop Asking Voters for ID

The Pennsylvania GOP’s attempt to impose a voter ID law on the state has been well-documented. Recently, a judge ordered the law not be put into effect for this election, meaning that voters in Pennsylvania DO NOT need ID to vote…but that hasn’t kept GOP “poll watchers” from intimidating voters and demanding ID today. Finally, a judge had to step in.

The story is here, from the Pittsburg Post-Gazette. A snip:

An Allegheny County judge on Tuesday issued an order to halt electioneering outside a polling location in Homestead. County officials received a complaint shortly before 10 a.m. Tuesday that Republicans outside a polling location on Maple Street in Homestead were stopping people outside the polls and asking for identification.

The order states: “Individuals outside the polls are prohibited from questioning, obstructing, interrogating or asking about any form of identification and/demanding any form of identification from any prospective voter.” Allegheny County Common Pleas Judge Guido A. DeAngelis, one of two judges overseeing Elections Court, issued the order and said such actions by partisans “could have a chilling effect” on voting.

William Rivers Pitt, 06 November, 12:00 p.m.


50 Ways to Steal An Election, With a Hat Tip to Paul Simon

Paul Simon immortalized the hit song with advice on a breaking up a romantic relationship, “50 Ways to Leave Your Lover.”

The same may be said for GOP efforts to steal elections, particularly in a presidential year. Given that Greg Palast wrote an entire book, “Billionaires & Ballot Bandits: How to Steal an Election in 9 Easy Steps,” an election blog doesn’t allow the space to review the entire Republican voter strategy.

Today, for instance, a Tea Party offshoot, “True the Vote,” is sending out an untold number of “monitors” to basically intimidate minority and other likely Democratic voters from casting their ballots. This is a long standing voter suppression tactic dating back to the post Civil War South. William Rehnquist, the late Chief Justice of the Supreme Court, volunteered as a voter suppression monitor in his early years in Arizona.

But the reality is that when it comes to keeping non-white voters from exercising their constitutional right to elect a government, the GOP has mastered so many techniques that it is hard to keep track of them all.

Take the voter suppression laws passed by states that were fully controlled by Republicans this year. Most of these laws didn’t just require photo ID’s to vote, they also restricted early voting hours, increased requirements for absentee voting, lengthened the residency requirement for registering to vote (having a big impact on college students), etc. In short, instead of trying to maximize voter participation; the laws are aimed at minimizing non-Republican voting.

The take-away from all the voter suppression efforts is really quite simple: many white Christian Republicans believe that minorities and non-white immigrants weren’t really intended to have the right to vote. In short, they should be denied voting privileges because the US was founded by white Christians.

It may sound like an extremist opinion, but it’s not. The reason Barack Obama has been branded as the “other” – the man born in Kenya, a socialist, a Muslim – is because a black man shouldn’t be president of a “white” nation, according to significant percentage of the US white population.

Voter suppression and the peril of stealing elections through electronic voting machines aren’t just a political power play; they express the viewpoint that only certain Americans are entitled to vote by the nature of their skin color and their economic status.

Mark Karlin, 06 November 11:55 a.m.


When to Watch What

Here are the times the polls close across the country:

7:00 pm: GA, IN, KY, SC, VT, VA
7:30 pm: NC, OH, WV
8:00 pm: AL, CT, DE, DC, FL, IL, ME, MD, MA, MS, MO, NH, NJ, OK, PA, RI, TN
8:30 pm: AR
9:00 pm: AZ, CO, KS, LA, MI, MN, NE, NM, NY, ND, SD, TX, WI, WY
10:00 pm: IA, MT, NV, UT
11:00 pm: CA, HI, ID, OR, WA
1:00 am: AK

William Rivers Pitt, 06 November, 11:25 a.m.


What Nevada Tells Us About the 2012 Election

Nevada used to be a reliable red state in presidential elections.

But it went for Obama in 2008 and is likely to go for him again in 2012.

Nevada symbolizes the changing electoral politics in presidential elections in many ways.

First of all – and this is a startling figure – nearly 75% of likely voters have already cast their ballots in the gambling state prior to Election Day. That symbolizes – although in a much larger way than most states that allow advance voting – how more and more US citizens are not waiting to cast their ballots until the first Tuesday in November.

The Democratic votes are exceeding the Republican votes in the Nevada vote to a degree that would make it very hard for Mitt Romney to win with the remaining 25% of the vote cast today.

Furthermore, Nevada has a growing Latino population, a Native American population and other minorities that are putting the squeeze on the rural white vote.

The mother lode of votes in Nevada come from Clark County, home of Las Vegas. Despite the unemployment rate in the Golden Nugget State exceeding 11%, the unions – which are quite powerful in Vegas – have been going full bore for Obama.

The blue direction of Nevada in presidential politics does not bode well for the Republicans. There simply aren’t many inroads the Republican Party is likely to make in currently blue states – and toss up states are generally, over the years, trending blue in national votes.

You don’t need to take a gamble on Nevada representing a Democratic Party trend over the past few years. It’s a development that is likely to spread to more states over the coming years due to demographic changes in the US populace and the growing pushback from workers against management and corporate efforts to scale back earnings and benefits.

Mark Karlin, 06 November 11:19 a.m.


One Person, One Vote

One of my upstairs neighbors is a really great guy from St. Louis, big Cardinals fan, has a steady job, and is 24 years old. For the last three months, all I’ve heard from him is how voting is a waste of time, they’re all the same, and what’s the point since Obama is going to win Massachusetts in a landslide. I gave him my standard lecture on how we are all public servants in a democracy with three very easy responsibilities (Go to Jury Duty, pay your taxes, and vote). I reminded him that there are a dozen other important races on the ballot, including a couple of initiatives that are important to him. I worked on him, and worked on him, and worked on him, very slowly and steadily and calmly and quietly.

He just popped his head in the door and asked for directions to our polling place.

So there’s that.

William Rivers Pitt, 06 November, 11:05 a.m.


Lawsuit Filed in Ohio over “Experimental” Software Patch Added to Voting Machines

The details from Harvey Wasserman:

Heard by Judge Gregory Frost, the case is Robert Fitrakis vs. John Husted and Election Systems & Software. It revolves around an “experimental” software patch newly attached to the electronic voting systems in 39 Ohio counties. The patch is ostensibly meant to facilitate the transmission and analysis of the Ohio vote count as conducted on machines supplied by the E.S. & S. company.

In fact, the software opens the Ohio electronic vote count to undetectable manipulation by the office of Secretary of State John Husted, a Republican. Husted has the power to do that now, but this new software “improvement” makes the job of flipping Ohio’s vote count significantly easier. The patch involves the transmission of possibly more than four million votes—-roughly 80% of the Ohio vote. In a race as tight as this one, manipulation of a tiny percentage of the votes that are to be moved by this software could change the outcome of the entire national election. It could also cost U.S. Senator Sherrod Brown (D-OH) his seat, as he is locked in a virtual tie with his Republican opponent Josh Mandel of Cleveland.

William Rivers Pitt, 06 November, 10:45 a.m.


Dick Morris Jumps the Shark and Predicts Romney Landslide

What is Dick Morris, Bill Clinton strategist turned Fox News toad, inhaling?

In “The Hill,” Morris wrote a commentary on November 5 predicting that Romney will win 325 electoral votes.

Morris claimed in this ultra-outlier forecast that seems based on fantasy rather than facts some rather incredible outcomes :

Yup. That’s right. A landslide for Romney approaching the magnitude of Obama’s against McCain. That’s my prediction.

On Sunday, we changed our clocks. On Tuesday, we’ll change our president.

Romney will win the states McCain carried in 2008, plus: Florida, Indiana, Virginia, North Carolina, Colorado, Iowa, Ohio, New Hampshire, Pennsylvania, Wisconsin and Minnesota.

The man who was once caught up in a scandal involving his hiring of prostitutes to suck their toes also believes that Romney will beat Obama by five million votes nationally.

A favorite of FOX news, Morris truly represents punditry that thrives in an alternative universe.

Mark Karlin, 06 November 10:31 a.m.


It Begins

My brain just crawled out of my ear and committed suicide in the bathroom. I don’t blame it. Yes, I’m listening to Chuck Todd, Haley Barbour and Tom Brokaw on MSNBC. At the same time. Every two years I have to have a news station on all day long. It has been a rough re-entry into that sad necessity this morning. What an utter wasteland is cable TV news. Ugh.

A few important non-TV stories to get your morning going:

New York Times: Nate Silver’s final word on the election

Christian Science Monitor: Is Ohio Voting Software Vulnerable to Fraud? Court to Hear Election Day Case

CNN: Key Ballot Initiatives Across the Nation

Political Wire: The latest, and last, polls from battleground states

Yes Magazine: 12 Ways You Can Safeguard Your Vote

William Rivers Pitt, 06 November, 10:10 a.m.


Why Is Mitt Romney in Pennsylvania on Election Day?

Normally, presidential candidates might do a morning round of handshaking on election day, but then retire to wherever they are going to watch results and get reports through the day on reported voting turnout in key districts for either party. But Mitt Romney is spending part of Tuesday making a last minute swing through Ohio and Pennsylvania?

So why?

The answer is that according to most predictions, given the marginal but generally consistent leads of Obama in battleground states (with the exception of North Carolina and toss-ups in Florida, Colorado, and Virginia), Romney is projected to lose the other contested states, which would mean a decisive Obama electoral victory, whatever the popular vote.

Ohio, the unlikely key state electorally this year (and in 2004), has stayed as a likely Obama victory with two recent polls showing a four or five point margin of error. In addition, Obama is far ahead in the early Ohio voting based on party affiliation. In short, the betting money is going with Obama in Ohio. If Obama wins Ohio, plus Wisconsin and Nevada, along with the other projected wins, he will be re-elected with a safe electoral margin.

The opposite is true for Romney. He cannot win the electoral count, it would appear, without both Ohio and Pennsylvania.

Although Pennsylvania has narrowed in the last couple of weeks, the Romney campaign has few options left on its electoral chess board. In 2010, Pennsylvania elected a tea party governor, US senator and legislature. So the Romney campaign believes it has a chance to upset the polls and Pennsylvania’s history of voting for Democrats for president. In addition, Pennsylvania has no advance voting, so election day is a complete roll of the dice.

However, it is safe to say the last minute scheduling of Romney campaigning in Ohio and Pennsylvania on Election Day is a Hail Mary attempt.

He is visiting these two states because they are the only options left for an electoral victory.

Mark Karlin, 06 November 9:57 a.m.


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