Eight swing states will decide who wins this US presidential election.
President Obama and Governor Romney have been in top gear on their campaign trail for the past few weeks and with voting stations closed in most eastern states already, the result could come down to one state.
A number of major networks across the United States are running exit polls. The staff running these polls stand outside each voting booth and ask each voter, as they leave, how they voted. From those results a nationwide poll is configured.
The polling is neck and neck in Ohio at approximately 49 per cent each, according to a CBS news poll, and the same in Virginia according to CNN. Voter turnout is a crucial factor in those states.
Whether President Obama will be granted another four years in office or Mitt Romney becomes president is not just a matter of popularity. The actual vote for a president is made by members of an electoral college in which each state’s representation reflects the size of its congressional delegation – two senators plus its House of Representatives membership. California, the most populous state, has 55 electoral college votes, while Nebraska has just five. In most states (except Maine and Nebraska) the candidate who wins a majority of votes wins all that state’s electoral college votes.
New Hampshire, Nevada, Iowa, Colorado, Wisconsin and more importantly Virginia, Ohio and Florida are the states where the final decision could go either way.
If Governor Romney wins Ohio he will be well placed to win. President Obama would then need to win the votes of every other battleground state. However, no republican president has ever won an election without taking Ohio in their campaign.
If the Ohio vote separates the candidates by less than a quarter of one per cent, the Ohio secretary of state, Republican Jon Husted, will be required by law to conduct a recount. In that case, where provisional votes gain critical importance, we may not know the winner for at least 10 days.
In the 2008 election President Obama took Ohio with 53 per cent of the five million votes cast.
It is thought that the number of provisional votes this year will be significantly greater than in the 2008 election, slowing the count considerably. Provisional votes are cast when voters are denied a regular vote because they fail to take ID to the polls, have not updated their voter registration after moving or try to vote at the wrong polling booth. Depending on the state law, they then have to present ID within a number of days to validate their vote, or electoral officials have to match their signature to state records. – Eddie Mills