DDN Exit Poll Says Blacks Went for Obama Almost 9-to-1

Wow. Dayton Daily News exit polling says African Americans went for Obama by 89% to 11%.

McCain Wins GOP Nomination

MSNBC projects that McCain has 1205 delegates, wrapping up the nomimation. George Bush will endorse him tomorrow, and Huckabee is expected to do so as well.

UPDATE: Huckabee concedes; watching it on MSNBC and CNN.

List of Cuyahoga County Precincts Open Until 9:00

Here is the list, courtesy of the Obama campaign (after the break).

Age Gap: Young Ohioans for Obama, Seniors for Clinton

Big, big age gap numbers, per CNN exit polling: under 29, 67% went for Obama; over 60, 63% for Clinton.

MSNBC Says Obama Campaign is Trying To Keep Polls Open in Cuyahoga County

Word just in - Obama campaign wants to keep Cuyahoga County polls open due to bad weather.

UPDATE: The Obama campaign has sent out an email message urging voters standing in line to stay in line:

With reports of lines at polling stations all over the state, the Obama for Ohio Campaign is urging voters to stay in line and vote.

Any voter who was in line by 7:30 and remains in line will be able to vote, no matter how long it takes to get through the line.

“Every vote counts in Ohio and we want to ensure that every voter has a chance to be heard,” said Ohio State Director Paul Tewes.

“We will continue to monitor the polls to ensure that all Ohioans who choose to participate in today’s election are able to do so regardless of who they choose to vote for.”

2nd UPDATE: Fifteen Cuyahoga County precincts will stay open until 9:00 p.m. This results from an order by a federal judge, sought by the Obama campaign, based on a shortage of Democratic ballots at those locations.

OH House-10: Rep. Eugene Miller on MSNBC

I happened to catch State Rep. Eugene Miller (D-Cleveland) on MSNBC about an hour ago. He was talking about the difficulty of holding the line for Clinton when most of his constituents in the heavily African American 10th Ohio House District were voting for Obama. He said that his primary opponent, Freddie Moore (D-Cleveland), was benefiting at the polls from having loudly proclaimed his (Moore's) support for Obama. As to whether he was supporting Clinton due to the influence of Rep. Stephanie Tubbs Jones (D-Cleveland), Miller conceded that he is a "good trooper." However, when Miller was asked if he would withdraw his support for Clinton if Tubbs Jones did, Miller turned the tables on his questioners by answering, "As Tubbs Jones goes, so goes Hillary Clinton." Chris Matthews and Keith Olbermann both praised that as a skillful answer.

Ohio Women Turnout Whopping 59% in CNN Exit Poll

This could be the story of the night. CNN exit polling pegs turnout by Ohio women at 59%. I had heard predictions of maybe 55%, not 59%. This is huge -- Clinton leads among women by 54% to 45%.

BREAKING: No results until after 9:00 PM

This just in from WTOL TV in Toledo:

Sandusky County polls open until 9 p.m.

SANDUSKY COUNTY -- News 11 has learned that Sandusky County will close polls at 9 p.m. They had run out of Democratic ballots around 3:30 p.m. on Monday so extended poll hours.

No results will be released by other counties until 9 p.m.

When they started printing new ballots, there was a malfunction. So, new ballots were delivered to the polls.

News 11 received calls about this situation from people in several towns, including Vickery, Gibsonburg and Fremont."

UPDATE: From Ohio Secretary of State Website:

Because the polls in Sandusky County will remain open later due to a court order, no Ohio county board of elections may report results until after 9:00 p.m. this evening. Please check this web site again after 9:00 p.m.

Crappy Weather Last Hour in Cleveland

The ugly ice storm that Earl posted about in Toledo arrived in Cleveland about 6:30 p.m., so that last hour at the polling places was a nightmare. It is easy to imagine lots of voters giving up when their cars were sliding around on the road and it was difficult to walk on the sidewalks.

UPDATE (from Earl)

So how bad is it?

Now THAT is a bad freakin' weather map.

I got home about 5:00 PM. Since then, almost two inches of frozen precipitation has fallen and the winds are howling. My poor car is encrusted.

Remember that for most rural counties, someone from each rural polling place has to drive to the county seat to deliver the paper ballots and memory cards, all BEFORE the counting can start.

Ohio Polls Close; Race Too Close to Call

Ohio polls closed moments ago, and MSNBC calls Ohio for McCain but says it is too close to call between Clinton and Obama.

Robocalls From Barack AND Hillary

I returned home about an hour ago to find that BOTH Barack Obama and Hillary Clinton had called me, duly recorded on my answering machine. Interesting to compare - Obama is shorter and less specific, Clinton refers to "low turnout" (?) and to the lousy weather:

robocalls.mp3

Exit polls (Ohio)

Just in: from exit polls, CNN just reports that in Ohio Obama has maintained his 2:1 advantage in the youth vote. Concurrently Hillary Clinton has maintained her 2:1 ratio in the senior vote.

More to come.

Update: 6:18P - From ABC NEWS: "Change" Tops "Experience"

"Turnout among women looks to be up in these preliminary results -- they account for about six in 10 voters in Ohio, compared with 52 percent in Ohio in 2004"

Update 6:24: Obama wins Vermont, tie in Ohio, Texas and Rhode Island


Update: 6:32: CNN reports exit polls which show: Voters wIthout college degree support Hillary Clinton 56% to Obama's 43%. Those voters who are college graduates support Obama 56% to Clinton's 43%

Lots of Cross-Over Voting by Republicans

In his post at the Sky News web site today, blogger Dave of NixGuy.com wrote that while "there’s been some talk about Republicans voting Democratic in order to
run against Hillary as they see her as the weaker candidate in November," he thinks that in the end "most Republican voters will vote on the Republican ticket."

Still, there are reports of lots of cross-over voting. Reporters for The Plain Dealer wrote on Openers this afternoon that "poll watchers throughout Ohio are noting large numbers of Republican voters crossing over to vote in the Democratic Primary." They say that one precinct in thoroughly Republican Chagrin Falls had 70% Democratic voting, a reversal of the usual ratio. In another Republican stronghold, Chester Township in Geauga County, Democratic ballots outnumbered Republican ballots by nearly 50% early in the day.

NW Ohio: Turnout vs Severe Ice Storm

Just as we head into the peak voting hours, NW Ohio is getting lashed by a severe ice storm. It's horrible. The temperature is hovering between 27-29 F. And the ice is just pouring down. Rural roadways are beyond treacherous. I just saw an emergency crew using a Hurst Tool ("jaws of life") to extricate an accident victim at the junction of OH 25 and Bays Road, just north of Cygnet.

In my little precinct in 2006, for the fall general election, we had 328 citizens cast their ballot out of 585 who were registered. During the OH-05 special election back in December, we had 168 ballots out of 600 who were registered.

As of 4:00 PM today, we had about 175 voters.

However, that number includes 44 citizens who were changing party affiliation for today's vote.

In Wood county overall, we had a record number of absentee and early voters and for the first time ever, more Democrats (2,269) than Republicans (1,911.)

Before the ballots can be tallied, the precinct judge from each of these rural polling locations must make their way into Bowling Green with their data cards. I just made that trip in daylight and it took me 55 minutes (and I was driving too fast.) Tonight, in the dark, after the polls close, it could be a challenge to get into BG from some of the outlying rural polling locations in the southern part of the county.

With everything that is going on, I do NOT expect results to be in early.

Link for Election Results at Ohio Secretary of State

Check it out -- it's very pretty. Especially the interactive map.

Clinton could win all of the remaining contests and still lose

The Obama Campaign says it's about delegates. The Clinton campaign says it's about winning the states the Democrats need to win in a general election. The slate.com delegate calculator highlights the situation we are in. Hillary Clinton could win by relatively healthy margins in all of the remaining contests and she could still lose the nomination.

Test your scenarios and try it for yourself here.

Cuyahoga County BOE Gearing Up for Counting 400,000 Ballots

I was at The Warehouse this afternoon. That's what they are calling the satellite facility set up by the Cuyahoga County Board of Elections to receive and count the hundreds of thousands of paper ballots expected to be cast at polling locations around Ohio's most populous county today.

Above is the receiving area. Notice the temporary tents set up insure that the paper ballots don't get damp if there is a downpour. The networks satellite trucks are parked around the corner. Deputy Sheriffs are rerouting traffic to keep the streets around the building clear.

A shipment of ballots arrived while I happened to be nearby. Lots of security, including police officers driving the unmarked vans that carry the ballot boxes.

The ballots are carried into an elevator and brought up to the second floor, where elections workers like those above are separated from media and observers by long lines of bicycle stands (at least that is what those things look like). These workers were going to be doing some kind of processing of ballots, but it wasn't happening while I was in the place. The room is extremely noisy -- lots of people talking, and all of that sound echoing in the huge space.

In this photo you see seven of the fifteen high speed optical scanners, called M-650's. Another row of eight is nearby. The people around the first M-650 are counting ballots that I saw delivered, while a local TV news person and cameraman look on.

Secretary of State Rejects Obama Campaign Letter Attempting to Authorize Poll Observers

This doesn't seem like a real big deal, but Marc Armbinder has copies of an authorization letter that the Obama campaign attempted to use to authorize poll observers, and a letter written by a Deputy Secretary of State informing the Obama campaign that the letter is legally insufficient.

It sounds like the Clinton campaign is over-reacting, calling it part of a "pattern" of disruptive actions and comparing the episode to the conduct of Republicans in 2004. Puh-leez.

Ross County Also Seeks Emergency Order Due to Flooding

The Chilicothe Gazette has just posted an story reporting that "regional flooding is shutting down roads and shut out voters at some precincts in Ross County today," causing the Board of Elections to seek a court order allowing voters closed out of polling places to vote provisionally at the board's main office. This is in addition to the ten counties already mentioned over at BSB.

The story also says that one other county "has extended voting hours to accommodate flooded out voters," but doesn't say which one. Does anyone know?

Video of Ohio primary voter: 95 years old & counting on McCain

Great thank you out to Dr. Herman C. Weinberg for letting me interview him this afternoon. Wiggins Place is part of the Menorah Park Complex in Beachwood, Ohio, several miles east of Cleveland. My oldest child volunteers there every week and works with the tenants on the computers (he’s been doing this since June or July). They love him there and indulged me today.

Please, watch, listen and learn.

Washington Post/Newsweek Live Web Broadcast Tonight

Just in case CNN, MSNBC, and the broadcast networks leave you jonesing for more political coverage tonight, or you want to see talking heads on your computer and TV at the same time, the live-streamed broadcast by WashingtonPost.com and Newsweek.com looks good. They are doing a preview at 4:30 p.m. EST, followed by a three-hour live broadcast starting at 7:00 p.m. Here is the line-up of analysts: Bob Woodward, Dan Balz, Chris Cillizza, Anne Kornblut, Howard Fineman, Michael Isikoff, Holly Bailey, and Eleanor Clift. They also plan to get insights from a host of others, including from Ohio our own Sen. Sherrod Brown and Cleveland Mayor Frank Jackson.

Paper, or Electronic? Primary Puts Spotlight On Voting System Switch

Today is the big test for Cuyahoga County's changeover from electronic voting to paper ballots and optical scanners. A few days ago The Plain Dealer published a guest editorial by University of Maryland Political Science Professor Paul Herrnson, arguing that the switch creates more problems than it solves. Today Cuyahoga County BOE member Sandy McNair responded, defending paper ballots and pointing out extensive security measures adopted by the board to prevent ballot tampering.

Don Hollister, a former current member of the Green County Board of Elections, continues the discussion with the following comment. - Jeff

[Herrnson's] article confirms my experience as a Board of Elections member in Greene County. Although I refused to vote for the touch screen (Diebold DRE) machines that we did buy, their performance in the five recounts that we have had has been consistently perfect. That is, the count on the electronic memory cards has been exactly the same as on the paper roll that also records the vote.

I recognize that there are many problems with these machines, but once a vote is recorded accuracy seems to be assured. This was not the case with the punch card system that we had before nor is it with the optical scan system that we have used for mailed absentee and early voting ballots. The punch cards, essentially old IBM cards, were counted by a computer that recorded light shining through the punched holes. The famous hanging chads would flip in and out of place. Thus, with the punch cards we considered a variance of two or three votes per precinct (400-800 votes) as routine "chad error" not meriting further hand recount.

Absentee Voting Was Heavy in Cuyahoga County Yesterday

There were long lines at the Cuyahoga County Board of Elections yesterday, the last day for voting absentee ballots in person at the board offices. The Plain Delear reports that more than 1,200 people voted absentee in person yesterday, and public radio station WCPN reports that people waited about 90 minutes.

Big last-day absentee voting could signal big interest in the primary election and therefore a big turnout today. It could also have to do with the forecast of bad weather, causing some voters to decide to get voting out of the way in advance, or it could be a result of the emphasis on early voting in GOTV calls and canvassing.

Democratic Congressional Primaries

The presidential primary has grabbed all the attention the last few weeks but there are eight contested Democratic primaries in congressional races being decided today.

I expect Victoria Wulsin to defeat Steve Black handily in OH-02. Wulsin has a raft of endorsements and high name recognition. Black started out behind, lagged in fund-raising, and took the race in a sharply negative direction.

Jane Mitakides should easily secure the nomination in OH-3, bouyed by the Dayton Daily News endorsement and her experience from running in this district in 2004. David Esrati (D-Dayton) ran an innovative campaign as an outsider activist but doesn't seem likely to have generated broad support across the district. Former mayor Charles Sanders (D) ought to pack it in after this campaign, after his previous unsuccessful efforts in this district and OH-02.

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