Ohio polls close; waiting game begins
OHIO, USA - Polls closed in crucial swing state Ohio at 7:30 pm on Tuesday, November 6. The waiting game begins but it's not sure for how long.
Ohio could decide the presidential race in favor of President Barack Obama.
Ohio Secretary of State John Husted reported that all but one county - Fairfield County - in Ohio have transmitted the results of absentee voters.
Results of votes cast on Election Day are also coming in a "rapid pace," Husted said. "We are unaware of problems that would substantially slow the process," he added.
As of 930 pm, one remaining precinct has voters still lining up. It's a precinct at the Ohio State University, a university known to support President Obama.
But there's a potential problem for Ohio. Depending on how tight the results are going to be, it could come down to provisional ballots that won't be counted until 10 days after the elections. It could keep the whole nation waiting.
Husted warned the media against speculating on the provisional ballots. There is no partial data, he said.
Ohio election law makes it very easy for Ohio voters to cast their votes. If there are questions on the eligibility of the voter, he or she is still allowed to vote although her ballot is considered provisional. Election officers are given 10 days to validate the vote.
Andy Foster, 21, of Columbus, Ohio is a provisional voter.
"I had to vote provisionally because of my change of address," he told Rappler. Ohio election officials will have to check that he did not vote in his other address.
Britney Mann, 29, is also a provisional voter. "The postmaster did not deliver my confirmation. It went to the Board of Elections. Therefore, I cannot vote normally," a frustrated Mann told Rappler in a voting precinct earlier Tuesday.
Mann said she wants the elections to be so tight so they would need to count her vote. "I can only hope that that will happen so my vote will be counted," she told Rappler.
Provisional ballots have overturned the result of the "normal" ballots in Ohio's 2008 congressional race, when there were 200,000 provisional ballots.
Reports suggest there is a higher voter turn out in Ohio in this election compared to 2008.
Race could soon be over
Ohio is a must-win for both Obama and Romney.
Pre-election surveys have given President Obama a narrow lead but Republicans are confident of their ground game.
General analysis of survey trends give Obama a starting point of at least 237 electoral votes over Romney's 206. It means Obama only needs 33 electoral votes to reach the necessary 270 to win the elections.
Barring the need to wait 10 days to count the provisional votes, the race to 270 electoral votes could soon be over.
Observers say the race is over if Obama wins the first 3 swing states - New Hampshire (4), Virigina (13), and Ohio (18).
It will drag a few more hours if Romney wins Virginia.
As of 10 p.m., New Hampshire and Ohio leaning in favor of Obama. Virginia leaning in favor of Romney. - Rappler.com