Live blogging the election – November 4th

The long election season made a star out of baseball statistician Nate Silver, who used his particular skills to create fivethirtyeight.com, a site devoted to analyzing polling data and trends. Yesterday his site predicted a 98.1% probability of an Obama win. Today we find out if he and his numbers live up to the hype or he crashes and burns as fast as he soared up.

6:30 A.M.: The tiny town of Dixville Notch in New Hampshire was the first to announce its results yesterday and Obama beat McCain by 15 votes  to 6. The last time the town voted in a Democrat was 1968. A harbinger, or just something for us to hang our hat on till the first results come out around 3 p.m. pacific?

Exit polls from early voting reveal a significant lead for Obama but the remaining voters are polling in a dead heat. Anything can happen. Here we go………..

7:06 A.M.: Barack and Michelle Obama have finished voting. Obama heads to Indiana to continue campaigning. The lage Biden family singlehandedly swings Delaware.

8:40 A.M.: Back from school drop-offs. Turns out Thornton Junior high, my son’s school is a polling place. A line snaked out from the polling room..not too long though. it was great to see democracy in action.

CNN reports bad weather in…..the ‘Red’ states! Hmmm, are all those prayers in Coimbatore working? Off to my polling place now. If you haven’t voted yet, go, go, go. Even votes in blue states count- if the results are close, a solid lead in the popular vote will give the candidate a better mandate.

9:17 A.M.: I did it! Just cast a historic vote for Barack Obama, who, if elected, will be the first African American President of the United States. Obama/Biden were fourth on the list in my precinct, after Cynthia McKinnley, Alan Keyes and Ralph Nader. Like a nervous test-giver, I checked and rechecked my inking. In Fremont, California, we don’t bubble in our selection – we draw a line connecting two sections of a broken arrow. There is a touchscreen voting machine, but nobody uses it and the poll workers don’t encourage it. It sits on its lonesome off to one side and is generally brought out only in case someone with a disability needs it.

If you are reading this, share your story of voting today.

9:38 A.M.: The talking heads on TV are being pretty cautious. Looks like it is going to be a close one, no matter what the pollsters have been saying. Virginia results come in early at 4 p.m. Pacific amd those should provide some idea of which way this election is going. In Indiana, some polls close at 6 and some at 7. I predict a narrow McCain win. If he loses, it is likely to be a landslide for Obama nationwide.

10:28 A.M.: Usual stories of problems with voting machines. In Philly, apparently voting for Obama and then pressing the button for straight Democratic ticket cancels the Obama vote out. Ridiculous. Why can’t we have simple paper ballots everywhere like we do at my precinct? This is the downside of federalism and privatization.

CNN just showed video of a woman making her decision via coin toss. “Heads it’s Obama, tails it’s McCain.” It landed heads. This is in Illinois.

11:32 A.M.: Going to take a break now. From all accounts voters are coming out in droves and treating this election with the seriousness it deserves. There is an electric feeling in the air. Keeping my fingers crossed that all the polls cannot be wrong.

1:05 P.M.: Obama plays basketball with friends. It is a superstitious pre-election ritual.

1:15 P.M.: I don’t think I can just sit around for the next couple of hours for the first results to trickle in. Going to make some calls to Get Out The Vote(GOTV). Montana voters, here I come. If you want to join me, head over to barackobama.com and follow directions.

1:53 P.M. Made a bunch of calls to Montana. Mostly encountered answering machines and left guilt-tripping messages asking them to get their butts off the couch and go vote( ok, not exactly in those terms). The few live ones I got had already voted. Yay!

2:08 P.M.: Still getting frantic emails from the Obama campaign to GOTV. They want a voting number so big it takes care of any kind of voter purge, voter suppression, machine problems….

2:18 P.M.: First exit polls are coming out on CNN. Beware, these were off 4 years ago when they predicted a Kerry victory and left the Democrats with a complete lack of belief in polls since then.

3: 12 P.M.:First results are due any moment from Kentucky and Indiana. Some polls in Indiana close at 4 pm Pacific.

3:21 P.M.: Early results from Kentucky going 59-40 for McCain. Yawwwn.

3:28 P.M.: Early results from Indiana. About 19000 votes in. Obama leading 55-44.

3: 37 P.M.: Indiana neck and neck now. At 4 the polls close in the Obama friendly counties.

3:50 P.M.: Still close in Indiana. According to 538.com, the counties that have reported are showing a much better result for Obama than they did for Kerry four years ago.

4:00 P.M.: CNN calls Vermont for Obama and Kentucky for McCain. No surprises.

4:18 P.M.: Virginia, Indiana, Georgia polls have closed but too close to call.

4:24 P.M. Politico has a great map on the home page that allows you to look at county by county results in each state.

6:35 P.M. Ohio goes to Obama. Time to break out the champagne?

6:45 P.M.  John King of CNN performs his magic on the board. Looks tough for McCain even if he wins all teh battleground states he is trailing in right now. Results are slow in coming in, the turnout was probably overwhelming for the election officials around the country.

7:39 P.M. Congratulations, President-elect Barack Hussein Obama!!!!!!!!!!!

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