10:27 p.m.: Final results from the courthouse
The last batch of election results from Douglas County have just arrived. These represent all the votes except for about 400 votes from overseas military members that will be counted by hand.
The final tally of the evening looks like this: • President Obama (D): 27,930 (59.88 percent) Romney (R): 16,998 (36.44 percent) The president does not win quite the percentage that he did in Douglas County in 2008, when he won about 64 percent of the vote.
• U.S. Congress 2nd District. Schlingensipen (D): 25,541 (56.11 percent) Jenkins (R): 18,019 (39.58 percent)
• Douglas County Commission Thellman (D): 9,610 (62.15 percent) Male (R): 5,836 (37.74 percent)
• State Senator 2nd District Francisco (D): 18,776 (73.22 percent) Ellis (R): 6,826 (26.62 percent)
State Senate 3rd District Holland (D) 10,542 (62.8 percent) Brown: 6,215 (37.02 percent.) The big question in this race is how many votes are left to be counted in Leavenworth County. This race may still be up for grabs.
State Rep 44th District Ballard (D): 7,711 (70.64 percent) Bengtson (R): 3,184 (29.17 percent)
State Rep. 10th District Wilson (D): 5,810 (60.26 percent) Anderson (R): 3,808 (39.49 percent)
Voter turnout for the night finished at 59.45 percent. That is down from the 64.68 percent in the 2008 election. That's about it from the Douglas County Courthouse tonight.
- Chad Lawhorn
10:08 p.m.: Changes in Eudora city government, and other updates
Here are a few updates on races we haven't been reporting on as much tonight.
With 75 percent of the Douglas County precincts counted, Carolyn Campbell (D) has a commanding lead over Jack Wu (R) in the State Board of Education 4th District race. Campbell leads 79.5 percent to 20.17 percent in Douglas County.
In Eudora, voters have been asked to approve a change in their city government. Voters are being asked to approve a change from a mayor-council form of government to a city commission/city manager form of government. With two of the four precincts in Eudora now counted, voters are favoring the change by 68 percent to 32 percent margin.
The race for the 42nd District state representative seat is largely based in Leavenworth County. But the district does cover the area around Eudora, and it is one of the few areas where a Republican has fared well tonight in the county. Incumbent Connie O'Brien (R) has a 60 percent to 40 percent advantage over Harold Fevurly Jr. (D).
The constitutional amendment related to lowering the tax rates for boats in the state of Kansas is a close contest in Douglas County. Nearly 52 percent of voters have opposed the amendment, while 48 percent have supported it. Those numbers are with 68 of the 97 precincts in the county reporting.
And, as a reminder, several Douglas County officials ran unopposed tonight. Those include: Rep. Tom Sloan (R), Rep. Paul Davis (D), Distric Attorney Charles Branson (D), Douglas County Commissioner Jim Flory (R), County Clerk Jamie Shew (D), Paula Gilchrist (D), Register of Deeds Kay Pesnell (D), and Sheriff Ken McGovern (R).
Still waiting for the final tallies. 9:55 p.m.: Crickets at the courthouse
Well, the final votes haven't yet been counted here at the Douglas County Courthouse, but you wouldn't know it from the crowd here at the Courthouse. The crowd is largely non-existent except for election workers. It is a different scene than it has been in many contests I've covered over the last 20 years here in Douglas County. Many times politicos of all stripes have stood around the lone copy machine in the lobby of the Courthouse waiting for an election worker to print off the final tally sheet of the night. We should get that final tally sheet within the next 30 minutes or so, but there will be little interest from candidates at this point. To put it bluntly, none of the Douglas County-based races have been close all night.
- Chad Lawhorn
9:11 p.m.: It's not just Douglas County deciding these races
While we are waiting for more numbers, a quick reminder about our numbers tonight. There are several races where Douglas County voters won't be the only group of voters deciding the race.
The state senate districts are a good example of that. Senate District No. 2 between Marci Francisco and Ronald Ellis is a good example. That district now includes a large part of Jefferson County, so until we know those vote totals we won't know a winner. So even though Lawrence resident and Democrat Marci Francisco has a big lead at the moment, she is still taking a wait and see approach. An official in Francisco's campaign told me she like to have a 7,000 vote lead heading into Jefferson County to withstand what probably will be gains made by Republican Ellis
Senate District No. 3 with Tom Holland and Anthony Brown is another example where another county is expected to play a major role. That district includes parts of Leavenworth County, where Brown is expected to fare better than he has thus far in Douglas County.
The votes are rolling in now from the Douglas County Courthouse. We now have 70 percent of the votes counted in Douglas County, and we still don't have many close local races. Democrats posted a lead early and continue to hold it.
In case anybody is wondering, President Obama is on track to win about the same percentage of votes in Douglas County as he did in 2008. In the the 2008 race, Obama won 64.13 percent of the vote, while Sen. John McCain won 33.42 percent.
With 68 of the 97 Douglas County precincts counted, Obama this year has 62.95 percent of the vote, while Romney has 33.50 percent.
A lot has happened over the last four years, but the political landscape in Douglas County does not appear to have changed much. Here's a look: • President: Obama (D): 23,575 votes (62.95 percent) Romney (R): 12,545 votes (33.50 percent)
• U.S. Congress 2nd District Schlingensiepen (D): 21,711 (59.44 percent) Jenkins (R): 13,289 (R): 36.38 percent)
• Douglas County Commission Thellman (D): 7,536 (68.12 percent) Male (R): 2,513 (31.75 percent)
• State Senate 2nd District Francisco (D): 16,788 (74.09 percent) Ellis (R): 5,837 (25.76 percent)
• State Senate 3rd District Holland (D): 8,035 (66.84 percent) Brown (R): 3,966 (32.99 percent)
• State Representative 10th District Wilson (D): 4,104 (65.99 percent) Anderson (R): 2,098 (33.74 percent)
• State Representative 44th District Ballard (D): 7,598 (70.50 percent) Bengtson (R): 3,159 (29.31 percent)
In summary, local Democrats are sitting comfortable in several races, and perhaps the biggest news is that the close race some had expected for the Douglas County Commission seat between incumbent Nancy Thellman and longtime Lawrence businessman Frank Male hasn't materialized thus far.
- Chad Lawhorn
8:46 p.m.: Dems looking good
More results have come into the Douglas County Courthouse. They still show a good night for the Democrats in Douglas County, but be aware that often the central neighborhoods of Lawrence — which generally have higher numbers of registered Democrats — are among the first to come in. The Republican vote in Douglas County usually arrives a little later in the evening.
With about 32 percent of the precincts counted the totals are:
• President Obama (D): 15,587 (65.17 percent) Romney (R): 7,552 (31.58 percent)
US Congress 2nd District • Schlingensiepen (D): 14,414 (61.7 percent) • Jenkins (R): 8,026 (34.36 percent)
• State Senate District No. 3 Holland (D): 4,789 (67.89 percent) Brown (R): 2,253 (31.94 percent)
• Douglas County Commission 2nd District Thellman (D): 5,585 (69.94 percent) Male (R): 2,389 (29.92 percent)
• State Sentate District No. 2 Francisco (D): 11,326 (75.62 percent) Ellis (R): 3,628 (24.22 percent)
• State Representative 10th District Wilson (D): 2,803 (72.06 percent) Anderson (R): 1,073 (27.58 percent)
• State Representative 44th District Ballard (D): 5,216 (70.72 percent) Bengtson (R) 2,146 (29.09 percent)
- Chad Lawhorn
8:23 p.m.: Vote counting underway at the courthouse
The first ballots boxes have been delivered to the courthouse, so the counting operation is underway here at the Douglas County Courthouse. While we wait for more results, here's some information we gathered from a report of how many people had voted by 4 p.m. today.
There are several precincts that by 4 p.m. already were at or above the 60 percent turnout mark. Here's a look at those precincts, including whether they are largely Republican or Democrat oriented. • American Legion Post polling place, 3408 W. Sixth Street: 62 percent turnout. The number of registered voters in the precinct is 356 Democrats versus 334 Republican.
• Holcom Recreation Center, 2700 W. 27th Street: 60 percent turnout. 328 Democrats vs 302 Republicans.
• Brandon Woods, 1501 Inverness Drive: 70 percent turnout. 329 Democrats vs 621 Republicans
• Liberty Memorial Central Middle School, 1400 Mass.: 61 percent turnout. 452 Democrats vs 153 Republicans
• Lawrence Heights Church, 2321 Peterson Road: 60 percent turnout. 278 Democrats vs 277 Republicans
• Langston Hughes Elementary, 1101 George Williams Way: 63 percent turnout. 669 Democrats vs 957 Republicans
• Pioneer Ridge Retirement Community, 4851 Harvard Road: 451 Democrats vs 449 Republicans
So, there you go. Seven precincts had a 60 percent turnout or higher by 4 p.m. this afternoon. That's a good indication there will be some pretty large turnouts in some districts in Lawrence. Four of the seven districts have more Democrats than Republicans registered in them, but most of them not by much.
The more important numbers were the vote totals from the advanced ballots counted earlier. Those numbers, at the moment, clearly favor Democrats in Douglas County.
We'll continue to wait for more results.
- Chad Lawhorn
7:56 p.m.: Voting wraps up in Baldwin City with steady turnout
Election workers at all three Baldwin City polling sites reported active days for Tuesday’s election.
“We’ve been busy all day,” said Sue Coon, poll supervisor at the Baldwin City Fire Department Precinct 60 voting site. “We only had one time when we didn’t have legs in the booths.”
Dorothy Martin, supervisor at Precinct 61 in Baldwin Junior High School, and Ertie Evangelista, supervisor at Precinct 62 at the American Legion Hall, also reported nice turnouts.
At about 6:30 p.m., 552 voters of the precinct’s 1,181 registered voters had made their way to the fire station to cast ballots for U.S. president and down-ballot legislative seats, including races for the Kansas Senate, Kansas House and Douglas County Commission. Shortly before the polls closed at 7 p.m., 662 of Precinct ’s 61’s 1,534 registered northeast Baldwin voters cast ballots Tuesday at the junior high. In Precinct 62 of south Baldwin, 705 of 1,365 had voted.
With the addition of advance voting numbers released earlier the Douglas County Clerk’s Office released earlier in the day, the total number of voters in was 787 in Precinct 60, 921 in Precinct 61 and 960 for Precinct 62.The three precincts each handed out from 20 to 30 provisional ballots.
Things went smoothly, the election supervisors reported and there were no problems in the first general elected in Kansas requiring a photo ID to receive a ballot.
Erika Mallery, an 18-year-old Baker University freshman, produced her driver’s license before receiving her first-ever ballot. It was a lifetime memory, she said.
“The whole experience is fun,” she said. “I couple of my friends had to drive home to vote. I’m glad I waited to register until after I started college, so I didn’t have to go to Overland Park.”
- Elvyn Jones
7:45 p.m.: First results trickling in
We have our first results of the evening. These represent a good portion (about 80 percent) of the advance votes in Douglas County. If the advance votes are an indication of how the evening will go, it will be a good night for Democrats in Douglas County. Here we go: • President Obama (D): 8,670 votes (66.95 percent) Romney (R): 3,978 (30.72 percent)
• State Senate Dist. No. 3 Tom Holland (D): 3,175 (71.44 percent) Anthony Brown (R): 1,263 (28.42 percent)
• County Commission 2nd District Nancy Thellman (D): 3,048 (70.39 percent) Frank Male (R): 1,279 (29.54 percent)
More results from the advanced ballots that have been counted down here at the Douglas County Courthouse:
• State Rep. 10th District John Wilson (D): 1,843 (69.08 percent) Erica Anderson (R): 819 (30.70 percent)
• State Rep. 44th District Barbara Ballard (D): 2,465 (74.36 percent) Patrick Bengtson (R): 845 (25.49 percent)
• State Sen. 2nd District Marci Francisco (D): 5,746 (76.17 percent) Ronald Ellis (R): 1,790 (23.73 percent)
State Board of Education 4th District • Carolyn Campbell (D): 6,470 (81.28 percent) • Jack Wu (R): 1,472 (18.49 percent)
- Chad Lawhorn
7:30 p.m.: The waiting game at the Douglas County Courthouse
Well, the polls are closed but the activity hasn't yet started here at the Douglas County Courthouse. But when it does, I'll be live blogging it for you tonight. I chatted with Douglas County Clerk Jamie Shew just moments ago, and a developing story may be that turnout is higher than even he expected. "We're seeing some numbers from earlier today where turnout is exceeding 2008 levels," Shew said. Shew said even some of the student-oriented neighborhoods where he was predicting declines from the records of 2008 are holding up well. I would be surprised if tonight's turnout beats 2008 levels, but voters may end up showing more enthusiasm for the races than was once thought. Shew had no estimate on when vote counting may wrap up tonight, but he warned that we have several hours worth of wait ahead of us. The first returns, though, may happen within the next 45 minutes or so. Shew has begun downloading advance ballots into the system. Those first numbers from the advance ballots usually are watched pretty closely because it ends up being a bit of sample of how voters from all areas of the county are thinking. We'll bring them to you when we get them. In the meantime, we'll wait for the ballots and for the people to start arriving at the Courthouse.
- Chad Lawhorn
7 p.m.: Polls close in Kansas...here we go
OK, we're going to start getting results in soon.
Our Adam Strunk filed this report from Presbyterian Manor, 1429 Kasold:
"Steve Crane, supervising judge of voting for the 23rd precinct, reported 420 of an approximate 540 people registered in the precinct had voted as of 6:35 p.m. Tuesday night, making the precinct's turnout about 78 percent. Crane said that voting went smoothly at a slow and steady pace through out the day after the line of 25 people waiting to vote when the polls opened. Crane also added that there were no issues with missing ID’s besides a few voters returning home to retrieve them. Crane said the voting count did count for the advanced ballots sent in for the precinct possibly making the voter turnout number even higher." 6:20 p.m.: Polls close in six states
With the polls closed in Georgia, Indiana, Kentucky, South Carolina, Vermont and the battleground state of Virginia, pundits are calling Kentucky for Mitt Romney and Vermont for President Obama. That gives Romney eight electoral votes, and three for Obama.
At 6:30, polls in the swing states North Carolina and Ohio close, as well as West Virginia.
We're going to sign off here for now, but you can follow all the election news on LJWorld.com, and find your favorite candidates at our election portal.
One last note: The Kansas U.S. Attorney's Office was monitoring cases of election fraud, disenfranchisement, or other problems seen at the polls across Kansas today. A spokesman from the office said there weren't any major, widespread issues, but here's the reports they received (also, if you have any complaints, call them at 785-295-2850 while the polls are open).
5:15 p.m.: Lacy: It'll be Romney
We caught up political guru Bill Lacy, director at the Dole Institute of Politics, for a bit again this afternoon.
It'll be a couple of hours before polls close on the east coast, so it may be a few hours before we start seeing exit poll data.
But he did suggest some things to watch out for as people head home and turn on the tube.
Exit poll data will start creeping in from the east coast, and Lacy said to pay attention to the demographic data, which he reiterated will be the key to the race.
If 72 percent of the voters are white, and 28 percent minority, Obama will look like the winner. That 72 percent notches up, and he could be in trouble.
There are also a couple of key states to pay attention to: Pennsylvania, where Romney campaigned heavily late; Florida; Virginia; and of course Ohio. And in Ohio, things could get interesting, Lacy noted, as a recall can be asked for if the winning margin is less than 100,000 people. Things could be that close, he said.
On a side note, one of the best parts of being a reporter is "being in the know," and asking the occasional "off the record" question of sources. I had Lacy level with me. Who's it going to be? Lacy, upfront about his republican political leanings, said it'd be Romney.
I thought I had a this hidden knowledge nugget, just between Lacy and I. But alas, he told me he's on the record as predicting Romney. And as of 4 p.m., he's sticking with it.
4:45 p.m.: Few complaints of election problems across Kansas
The Associated Press reports few issues across the state. Here in Lawrence, a few more numbers: sports copy editor Nick Gerik reports he was the 468th voter at the Carnegie Building at Ninth and Vermont at 3:45. Photographer Nick Krug said 480 voters had cast a ballot at Trinity Lutheran Church. That polling place houses two precincts: 8 and 40. There were also 50 provisional ballots cast.
Now, the AP:
WICHITA, Kan. (AP) — Election officials say voting across Kansas has gone smoothly with few complaints other than long lines at polling places.
The Secretary of State's office says it's received four or five reports of electronic voting machines selecting a different candidate when voters touch the screen. But spokeswoman Kay Curtis says the vote summary sheet allows voters to correct any discrepancies before actually casting their vote. The machines were recalibrated.
A similar complaint about voting machines was made to the U.S. attorney's office.
Kaylen Seymour, who watched polling places for the Democrats in Kansas, says the party is pleased with the way the state has handled elections. Turnout was expected to be high and lines long, but she says the party received no complaints about people not being able to vote.
4:30 p.m.: KU students talk about the election
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4 p.m.: Polls in six states close in two hours
The first polls will close in two hours, so all eyes will be on the early returns from Indiana, Georgia, Kentucky, South Carolina, Vermont and Virginia. Kansas polls close at 7 p.m.
3:30 p.m.: American Legion reports steady turnout
At about 3 p.m. the American Legion polling place at 3408 W. Sixth Street had hit the 40 percent turnout mark. The voter rolls tallied 405 voters, which was right at 40 percent of the registered voters at the precinct, said poll worker Mike Wildgen. Wildgen said the polling station was very busy during the morning hours, and generally has had a steady stream of voters throughout the day. Wildgen also said there were no problems to report with voter identification issues. This is the first election where voters are required to show a valid form of photo identification. Wildgen said, thus far, no one had forgotten their photo I.D., and most people simply were using their driver’s license as the I.D. requirement.
- Chad Lawhorn
3 p.m.: Future's so bright...
Walking by Wescoe Hall on the KU campus just after 2 p.m., I saw a group of guys handing out sunglasses with red or blue earpieces to anyone who has voted in today's election (including me, though I voted early on Saturday).
They were working for the Student Legislative Awareness Board, the KU student group that heads up get-out-the-vote efforts. Their efforts helped register more than 700 students to vote earlier this fall, said Zach George, the chairman of the group.
During the five minutes I stood there, a number of students took them up on the sunglasses offer, though some brushed them off. Such is life standing at a table in front of Wescoe, they told me.
If you want a pair of shades labeled "Rock Chalk the VOTE," you'd better hurry and get to the polls and then to Wescoe Beach — they're starting to run low.
2:35 p.m.: Problems at the polls
A few polling problems have popped up around the country - though we haven't heard about any major irregularities in Kansas.
Voting snags in Southern California: No machines, requests for ID (LA Times)
Pennsylvania voter ID: voters misinformed at some polling stations (Guardian)
PA Voting Machine Taken Offline After This Video Showed Obama Vote Going To Romney (Forbes)
Voting equipment down at several locations in Cuyahoga County; elections chief says all votes will be counted (Cleveland.com)
New polling places, unresponsive websites create confusion in Cook County (Chicago Current)
2:30 p.m.: Provisional ballots abound on campus
Just before 1 p.m., I stopped in at a polling site that's a bit out of the ordinary: the Burge Union on the KU campus.
The number of voters for the day was nearing 200 when I was there. But what made the site unusual was that roughly one in four of the ballots cast was provisional.
Election worker Leo Bistak, who was handling the provisional ballots, said that in past elections at other sites he might receive a total of six provisionals. Today that number was nearing 50 by 1 p.m.
Why? Well, election worker Phillip Wrigley said that a number of KU students had come through who did not actually live in the precinct assigned to the Burge, which includes the Daisy Hill dorms and much of the rest of the campus. They weren't sure about their polling places, or their only chance to vote today would be during a break on campus.
So Wrigley would turn around, point to a precinct map on the wall and help such students figure out where their polling places might be, and asked if it would be possible for them to make it there today. If the answer was no, they voted provisionally.
(Wrigley did emphasize that workers would prefer people to vote in their home precinct if at all possible.)
Wrigley said it had been consistently busy in the small meeting room set up for voting at the Burge, with only occasional lines forming right after classes get out.
KU sophomore Israel Smallwood voted there at about 1. It was the 19-year-old's first time voting in his life.
"When I was riding down, it felt weird: I'm finally of age to vote," Smallwood said.
- Matt Erickson
2:25 p.m.: How is Superstorm Sandy affecting the vote?
The devastation wrought by Superstorm Sandy threw a wrench in this election. But how will voters and officials cope with the uncertainty brought by the storm?
New Jersey is allowing people to vote by email and fax. The state says the results will be secure. (USA Today)
1:55 p.m.: E-polls at four voting locations
Chris Day (right), supervising judge at the polling site at Deerfield Elementary, uses new technology to scan a voter's ID and check the name and address against voter registration rolls.
The devices are called the "e-poll book." County Clerk Jamie Shew says they work just like the old paper poll books except that it scans a voter's ID and matches the name and address with the voter registration database. Voters sign the rolls on an electronic pad. Shew says e-poll books are being used in four of the largest precincts this year: Deerfield; Langston Hughes Elementary; First Bible Church; and Prairie Park Elementary. Besides being faster, it prevents mistakes such as voters accidentally signing on the wrong line. Also, if a voter shows up at the wrong polling place, the poll workers can immediately tell where he/she is supposed to vote. On the down side, Day says many drivers licenses do not use punctuation marks within names like "O'Brian," although the registration rolls do. But in those cases poll workers can do a manual search through the registration rolls to find the correct name.
Shew also said he expects around 13,600 advance ballots will be cast in this year's election, or about 30 percent of all votes in the county. That includes 8,332 ballots that were cast in person at various advance voting places. Voters who requested an advance ballot to be mailed to them have until 7 p.m. tonight to return them to the county courthouse.
- Peter Hancock
1:10 p.m.: Lunchtime links
Confused about your polling place? Here's a good link for you. (vote411)
In Dixville Notch, N.H., the first results are in. It's a dead heat, with five votes each for Romney and Obama. (WCAX-TV)
An independent analysis of early voting states indicates that late arriving ballots are trending Democratic, adding to President Barack Obama’s desperately needed early vote advantage in critical battleground states. (Politico)
Could Instagraming your ballot be illegal? (ProPublica)
A diner in France is taking America's election battle into the kitchen. For 24 hours, the Breakfast in America diner in Paris is offering two new items on its menu: the Obama Burger and the Romney Omelette. (GlobalPost)
Oops. A Chicago woman's ballot includes Abraham Lincoln and Andrew Douglas. (Chicago Tribune)
A Pew report says 22 percent of registered voters have indicated who they'll vote for on social media. (Pew)
Five important storylines for election night. (Politico)
What's your excuse for not voting? (yourexcusesucks.com)
The Internet is pretty incredible. Check out these interactive features that are a fun way to think about the election.
- 512 Paths to the White House (New
- Make your own electoral map (Huffington Post)
- Watch American vote in real time (Facebook Stories)
12:52 p.m.: Busy morning in Baldwin City
Andrew Taliaferro found the Kids Voting stations at Baldwin Junior High School convenient Tuesday. With all the regular voting booths filled, Taliaferro, a Baker University senior, filled out his ballot knelling at one of the four stations set up for junior high students.
Poll workers at all three Baldwin polling sites said they were busy Tuesday morning as those in the Baldwin City community went to the polls to help decide, among other things, who will occupy the White House the next four years, who will represent the city in the U.S. Congress, the Kansas Legislature and on the Douglas County Commission. Supervisors at all three polling sites reported all was going smoothly and more than 200 voters had filled out ballots before 11 a.m.
“It’s been busy,” said Dorothy Martin, supervisor at the Precinct 61 polling site at Baldwin Junior High School. “That’s good. It makes time go faster.” As of 11 a.m., 267 of the about 1,500 register voters in the precinct had filled out ballots, Martin said. Supervisors at the city’s other two polling sites reported similar numbers. Ertie Evangelista, Precinct 62 supervision at the Baldwin City American Legion site, said 279 ballots had be filled as of 10:30 a.m. The precinct had about 1,200 registered voters, she said. Sue Coon, supervisor of Precinct 63 at the Baldwin City Fire Department reported 204 of the 1,181 registered voters in that precinct had voted as of 10 a.m.
- Elvyn Jones
12:37 p.m.: Steady voting across the area
I cast my vote at the Lawrence Bible Chapel this morning - but only after I visited the polling place on my voter registration card, First Southern Baptist Church. A sign on the door of the church informed me and other voters we were at the wrong place. Turns out, the parking lot of the First Southern Baptist Church is being torn up, and they moved the polling place.
As the Lawrence Bible Chapel, two precincts - 20 and 71 - are being served. When I voted, around 11:30 a.m., 594 ballots had been cast. There are 2,986 registered voters in those two precincts.
Election volunteer Brian Cooper told me there had been a steady stream of voters from 7 to 9:15 a.m. Cooper said one voter told him the long line resembled a Norman Rockwell painting.
"There was a little girl eating a doughnut. It was a picturesque moment," Cooper said.
I was able to vote without a problem using my Illinois driver's license, and Cooper said voters were much more receptive to the new law than they were during the August primary.
"There aren't really a lot of complaints this time around," he said. "(People are) getting used to is, I guess."
- Alex Parker
12:10 p.m.: Images of Election Day 2012
Here are two more images that Journal-World Chief Photographer Mike Yoder made this morning. Mike and photographer Nick Krug are documenting the election today and tonight.
— Caroline Trowbridge, Community Editor
11:45 a.m.: Our morning chat with Bill Lacy
We caught up with political guru Bill Lacy, director of the Dole Institute of Politics, for some updates on the national voting landscape.
He was glued to his computer, keeping and eye the best he could. But, even with his political knowledge, he said it's too early to know much.
The key thing to monitor, Lacy said, is the makeup of voters. The race favors Obama if 72 of the voters are white, with 28 minorities. If that 72 creeps up to 74 or 76 percent, the race favors Romney.
For other political junkies, it won't be until the afternoon when we first start seeing some data that might give us some clues about how the presidential race is going, he said.
One key tidbit Lacy mentioned was that he'd never seen an election where both campaigns enthusiastically believe they'll win as much as both campaigns do in this election.
We'll be checking back with Lacy this afternoon. Oh, and you can ask your own questions of Lacy when he participates in a post-election chat on LJWorld.com at 2:30 p.m. Wednesday. You can even submit your questions in advance here.
— Shaun Hittle, reporter
11:35 a.m.: Quick update
Here's a quick report from Journal-World Chief Photographer Mike Yoder, who's out and about today documenting Election 2012
• By 11:11 a.m. Tuesday, 116 people had voted at the United Methodist Church at 15th and Massachusetts streets.
• At 11:15 a.m., workers at Central Middle School at 14th and Massachusetts were reporting 177 people had voted.
• By 11:30 a.m., 274 voters had cast ballots at the Carnegie building at Ninth and Vermont streets.
274 at Carnegie library building 11:30 AM
— Caroline Trowbridge, Community Editor
11:30 a.m.: Lining up at Prairie Park
There was a line of 20 to 25 voters at Prairie Park Elementary in southeast Lawrence at 10:50 a.m. Tuesday. At 11:08 a.m., I was 429th voter. Also was told this was the shortest line of the day and that the line zig-zagged between lunch tables earlier.
Jesse Newell, reporter
11:25 a.m.: At the Carnegie
Just before 11 a.m., there was no waiting to vote at the Carnegie building in downtown Lawrence. Supervising election judge James Dunn said the polling site had a line of about 20 just after 7 a.m. but not much of one since. However, he said, voting had remained steady all morning.
— Sara Shepherd, reporter
11:05 a.m.: In Kansas, it's the Legislature
There's little doubt how Kansas will swing in the presidential race -- and very little doubt, for that matter, whether the state will vote Republican in the four U.S. House races.
But according to The Associated Press, there are Statehouse races very well worth watching. And one of those is the race between Sen. Tom Holland, D-Baldwin City, and his Republican challenger, Rep. Anthony Brown of Eudora.
— Caroline Trowbridge, Community Editor
10:45 a.m.: Who's winning?
A co-worker just walked past my desk and asked, "Who's winning." He was joking, of course. But that's a common question we get here at the News Center on Election Day. Just a reminder: No results of Douglas County or Kansas races will be available until after the polls close at 7 p.m. Unfortunately, we'll all have to wait until tonight for the answer to the burning question of the day!
— Caroline Trowbridge, Community Editor
10:30 a.m.: In Eudora
Voting is brisk at the Eudora Township polling place. At 10 a.m. I was confronted with a line out the door, and waited about 10 minutes to vote.
Eudora seems wrapped up in the Anthony Brown/Tom Holland race for the Kansas Senate. Several politicos I have talked with think the Eudora vote may provide the swing vote in that race. My mailbox can attest that it is hotly contested. It has been full of campaign fliers for weeks, and there are yard signs everywhere.
— Chad Lawhorn, reporter
9:40 p.m.: College students at the polls
Voters were steadily trickling in at Immanuel Lutheran Church, 15th and Iowa streets, about 8:30 a.m., with hardly any wait for most and plenty of booths open. Election workers said about 15 or 20 people were lined up when the doors opened at 7, but since then things had been slow and steady. About 120 people had voted by 8:30. "If we could do that for 12 hours, we' be in excellent shape," one worker said. Workers said there had been no problems so far, and the new photo ID requirement had caused no issues. David Delton, a doctoral student at Kansas University, said he cast his presidential vote for Mitt Romney shortly after 8:30. The chief matter on his mind was the economy, he said. "My brother and dad are computer engineers in Colorado, and it seems like those jobs are always being shipped overseas or lost." Crystal Miller, a Neosho County Community College student, said she sided with Barack Obama, calling Romney a "flip-flopper." She added, though, that this election, like others, felt to her like "choosing between being mauled by a bear or being mauled by a shark."
— Matt Erickson, reporter
9:25 a.m.: A first-time voter
After a busy start to the morning, election workers say things have slowed down a bit at one of Lawrence's smaller precincts. They had a steady flow of before-work voters, but there was no line by 8 a.m. A total of 73 voters had cast a ballot by 8:15 a.m.
Anyone looking for the "most enthusiastic voter" award for Election Day will have to contend with first-time voter Xueying Wang.
"I'm so excited," said Wang, who had workers take several pictures of her voting. Wang, from China, became a United States citizen a year ago. "I feel a part of this country."
Another interesting tidbit over at Pinckney was the Kids Voting election, where students across the county participate in this year's election.
I made the mistake of asking election working Jay Taylor, "So, this is a fun little activity?"
To the contrary, Taylor said. The Douglas County Clerk's Office coordinated the voting, and Taylor said he was even sworn in for his official duties.
By the time students are of voting age, coming to the real polls will be natural, he said.
For those tallying at home, Barack Obama and Tobias Schlingensiepen had huge leads in Kids Voting.
— Shaun Hittle, reporter
8:55 a.m.: Education reporter AND political junkie
Peter Hancock, who covers K-12 education for the Journal-World is a self-described political junkie. He says he loves Election Day. And, gosh, who doesn't? If you grew up in a family like mine, where politics was a mainstay discussion at the dinner table and whenever your parents' friends gathered, how could you not get a charge out of Election Day? (Of course, there's the added bonus of no more political television commercials after today.)
Peter's been covering elections for years. And in today's installment of his blog, First Bell, he offers us some political education. Just perfect for a guy like Peter, who's work life is education and politics!
— Caroline Trowbridge, Community Editor
8:30 a.m.: At the polls with J-W photographer Mike Yoder
Journal-World Chief Photographer Mike Yoder was out early this morning, making photographs of voters in Douglas County.
Check out his photo from the former Union Pacific Train Depot in North Lawrence that now serves as the community's visitors center, where Albert Terry was in line by 5 a.m. to ensure his wife could vote and get to work on time.
Mike also headed over to Pinckney elementary school, where 5-year-old Justice Rials, a kindergartner, was participating in Kids Voting.
Check back for more from our photographers and reporters throughout the day. And don't forget to let us know what you're finding when you vote by participating in our blog.
— Caroline Trowbridge, Community Editor
7:45 a.m.: Why do we vote?
Here's an interesting Associated Press story on Why Do We Vote? It acknowledges that the chance our one vote actually deciding a race is unlikely. However, an estimated 133 million Americans will participate in Election 2012.
Some people feel a sense of responsibility to try to elect who they consider to be the right candidate. For others, it's exercising a right and trying to ensure that right isn't eroded. Some folks even admit it's a bit of a social exercise and a chance to see the same pollworkers each election. I can understand that. It is comforting for me to walk into my polling place, Central Middle School, and hear my name confirmed by the same workers on Election Day.
And for other voters, it's a family tradition. A lot of families in Douglas County will go to the polls together. The adults will vote, and their children will participate in Kids Voting. I remember taking my young daughter, now 24, with me to vote when she was a toddler. And she was so excited the first time she cast her own ballot in Kids Voting. For us, it's definitely a family affair. She and I voted together again this year, in advance on Saturday at the Courthouse. And we trace desire, need, obligation to vote to my parents and my in-laws. Just before we voted on Saturday, I handed over my 89-year-old father-in-law's advance ballot. And 10 years ago, just days before my own father died, he voted by mail.
— Caroline Trowbridge, Community Editor
7 a.m.: Polls open for next 12 hours
The polls are now open. So it's time to get out there and vote, if you haven't already taken advantage of advance voting.
If you're not sure what races will be on your ballot, the Douglas County Clerk's website has sample ballots for each precinct here. And if you aren't sure what precinct you're registered in, just fill in your information here.
Douglas County Clerk Jaime Shew is predicting a strong turnout for Election 2012, perhaps in the high 60 percent range. Don't forget that you'll need identification when you go to vote. Acceptable forms of ID are driver’s license or government-issued nondriver’s ID card; concealed gun permit; U.S. passport; government-issued employee badge; military ID; college student ID; government-issued public assistance card; and ID card issued by an Indian tribe.
— Caroline Trowbridge, Community Editor
Welcome to LJWorld.com’s Election Day 2012 coverage.
Whether you will vote today or whether, like me, you voted in advance this year, you’ll want to stay tuned to LJWorld.com and follow our coverage throughout the day and evening.
Our photographers and reporters will be out and about documenting Election Day 2012. And we’ll provide the most up-to-date returns in local, state and national races once polls close tonight.
If there’s something you think we need to know, please send me an email: firstname.lastname@example.org or give me a call at 785-832-7196. And we’d love to see your Election Day photos posted to our live blog. I know a lot of students are accompanying their parents to the polls to participate in Kids Voting. Those would be fun photos to share.
And please give us your observations about this important election. We want to hear from you.
Let the voting begin!
— Caroline Trowbridge, Community Editor
: http://Voting snags in Southern California: No machines, requests for ID
This election, voters are required to show a photo ID in order to cast a ballot
Acceptable forms of ID are driver’s license or government-issued nondriver’s ID card; concealed gun permit; U.S. passport; government-issued employee badge; military ID; college student ID; government-issued public assistance card; and ID card issued by an Indian tribe.
Keep in mind, your ID doesn't have to be issued by Kansas. I'm told my Illinois driver's license will allow me to vote.
Mark Boyle, a former news anchor for 6News, who's now working in Louisiana, posted this photo on his Facebook page. We're not sure who Self's running mate is, however.
You think you're tired of the campaign? Did it bring you to tears, and have your distress broadcast worldwide like this four-year-old Colorado girl named Abigael? Young Abigael is fed up with electioneering, and doesn't want to hear anything more about Mitt Romney - or his opponent, "Bronco Bamma."
NPR has the story.
PBS Newshour has unearthed a five-minute-long campaign ad from Gerald Ford's 1976 campaign. It was scrapped, for fear it would be too shocking to voters.
In the ad, Ford - after a long prelude - gives a speech with language that's pretty poignant: "Trust is not cleverly shading words so that each separate audience can hear what it wants to here, but saying plainly and simply what you mean and meaning what you say.
"Trust is not having to guess what a candidate means -"
A cherry bomb explodes nearby, and Ford, who survived two earlier assassination attempts, flinches.
He goes on: "It's not enough to say 'trust me.' Trust must be earned. Check out the video and read PBS' analysis of how it could have swung the election back to Ford.
In the following scenes, we see Ford parading through Dallas in a motorcade similar to John Kennedy's fatal caravan of 1963. "Neither the cherry bombs of a misguided prankster nor all the memories of recent years can keep people and their President apart," says the narrator. "When a limousine can parade openly through the streets of Dallas, there's a change that's come over America." Ford's team hoped the commercial would show that their man had closed down the bad years that led from JFK's assassination to Vietnam and Watergate. But when pollster Bob Teeter showed the commercial to a secret focus group, he discovered that "it was shocking to them..."
Want to get to know the real candidates? Frontline created a compelling documentary looking at the lives of Obama and Romney, from childhood to today.
And if you have some more time, Frontline also did a really interesting piece on the Super PACs that have had a huge financial impact on this election.
We're less than 24 hours away from Election Day, and we've been following the storylines from across northeast Kansas.
For full coverage of the campaigns, you can visit our elections portal.
Tomorrow we'll be bringing you live coverage from across Lawrence and Douglas County, as our reporters and photographers set out across the area. We'll keep you posted on developments from across the country, we'll have live results on LJWorld.com as they come in after the polls close.
In the meantime, we'll get this blog going today. First off, some observations from Chris Clark of the Associated Press.
As Kansas voters head to the polls, they will be casting ballots in the several races ranging from president to the state Board of Education. Here are five things to know about Election Day in Kansas:
1. BAD FOR CROPS, GREAT FOR VOTING
It's been dry, and while that's bad news for farmers, it's good news for the vote. Kansas residents across the state will likely head to precincts on Tuesday under sunny skies, with temperatures ranging from the mid-60s in the northeast to low-70s in the southwest. Polls open at 7 a.m. and close at 7 p.m.
2. WHERE ARE THE REST OF YOU?
Even with those expected pleasant conditions, Kansas officials anticipate only a 68 percent voter turnout on Tuesday. If true, it would be the smallest percentage of Kansas voters casting ballots in a general election since 2000, when turnout was 67 percent. One reason why a third of the state may be sitting this one out: the 2012 Kansas election season lacks a marquee race, such as for U.S. Senate or governor. Still, Secretary of State Kris Kobach has thrown down a challenge to voters: "Prove me wrong."
3. LOOKS ARE DECEIVING
While the state may lack a featured race for governor or Senate, many believe the 2012 election cycle could be among the most impactful for Kansans in recent history. Most eyes are on the individual races in the state Senate, where conservative Republicans are favored over Democrats and are expected to hand Gov. Sam Brownback a new level of power.
4. A DEEPER SHADE OF RED
Despite pockets of Democratic leadership over the years — think former governors Kathleen Sebelius, Joan Finney and John Carlin — Kansas has recently written a bold red line under its status as Republican home turf. And the math is stacked against Democrats again in 2012. The GOP is likely to take the state Senate and all four congressional seats are expected to remain Republican. The GOP also holds the governor's chair and the two U.S. Senate seats.
5. OBAMA'S FADE
Kansas Democrats were energized in 2008 when President Obama captured nearly 42 percent of the vote — the best Kansas result for a Democratic candidate in 20 years. Now the party is back to contemplating a more familiar question: How badly will the Democratic nominee lose? Obama and Republican Mitt Romney have ignored the state, assuming that its six electoral votes belong to Romney. Many expect Kansas to deliver one of the night's most lopsided totals.