November 4th, 2008
07:54 PM ET

New president, new baby

Tyson Wheatley
iReport producer, CNN.com

We're hearing some compelling stories as voters head to the polls across the country today - but few can match the intensity of Los Angeles couple Doug and Tracie Van Doren.

Right now, the two are heading to Cedar Sinai hospital to have their first child. Earlier today, Tracie was standing in line to cast her vote when she started feeling contractions - then her water broke. She didn't want to get out of line, but had no other option.

Doug raced Tracie to her doctor, who confirmed the great news. Tracie asked if she could still vote. Her doctor said she had several hours before she needed to get to the hospital. "She wrote us a doctor's note," said Doug. "This is an important election for us, and we just didn't want to lose our chance to vote."

Back at the polling station, Tracie and Doug handed election officials their note. "They brought us right in and to the front of the line and we both voted right away," Doug said. He snapped a picture as Tracie cast her vote. "We're going to get a new baby and a new president all on the same day."

Tracie casting her vote.

See their iReport here.

Filed under: 2008 Election • iReport • Tyson Wheatley • Voting
November 4th, 2008
07:43 PM ET

Young Voter Turnout – Ridiculous or Sublime?

Rob Grabow
Author, "Voting with Our Pants Down"

The bar for young voters is relatively low. It was 36 years ago in 1972 that an all-time high - just 55 percent of us - punched chads or ticked ballots.

So, what about this year...one for the record books?

Preliminary early voting suggests otherwise. I wrote a book about young voters and have been shouting at the rain about why this year would be different, why we could be counted on. I've had to square these early, seemingly lackluster results with plentiful, contradicting anecdotal and material refutation. It hasn't been easy.

In fact, it wasn't until today, like a smack of hope, that an explanation struck me when I walked into a UPS store, refreshed after a good night's sleep. I asked two young workers, both long-time acquaintances, whether or not they had voted. "Not yet." Each insisted their ballots would be postmarked by the end of the day. I was skeptical, but I just received a text from one of them. Ballot mailed.


Filed under: 2008 Election
November 4th, 2008
07:12 PM ET

Voting Hoaxes

Matt Smith
CNN Wires Writer

Voters in several states have receiving bogus text messages or e-mail urging supporters of Democratic presidential candidate Barack Obama to put off voting until Wednesday because of long lines, spurring threats of prosecution in at least two states.

The messages - a perennial election stunt - popped up Tuesday on mobile phones and computers in the battleground states of Florida, Virginia and Missouri, as well as in several other states. One falsely claimed to be a "CNN breaking news" alert.

"All Obama voters, due to long delays, are asked to wait and vote tomorrow 11/05," that message stated.

Election Day is a one-day event, of course - and in a statement issued Tuesday, Missouri Secretary of State Robin Carnahan said she had "no tolerance" for anyone attempting to confuse voters.


Filed under: 2008 Election
November 4th, 2008
07:06 PM ET

"The worst, filthiest election"

Michael Cary
CNN Senior Producer

There's a sense of excitement in Clark County, Nevada, this election day, not only because of the historic nature of the contest, but because there's been a real battle for the state's five electoral votes.

We talked to voters outside a polling location at Basic High School in Henderson, a city neighboring Las Vegas, after they cast their votes in the school's gym.

"This is the biggest moment in my life, and I think there's a lot riding on this," said Ryan Moxley, a 31-year-old maintenance manager who said he voted for Obama. "This is a very historic time and I'm glad to be part of it actually."

81-year-old retiree Daniel Schears expressed a far different opinion. "This is the worst, filthiest election I have ever witnessed," he said, adding that he's been voting since he was 21. "They have lied. They have told all sorts of stories that are not true, and to me, I don't care what side they're on, that's terrible."


Filed under: 2008 Election • Michael Cary
November 4th, 2008
06:28 PM ET

Life as a provisional voter

[cnn-photo-caption image=http://i2.cdn.turner.com/cnn/2008/images/11/04/art.gavoting.jpg]
Paul Varian
CNN Senior Executive Producer

I've just found out what a provisional voter is - me.

When I went to vote at City Hall in Avondale Estates, Ga. (pop. 2,600), I was greeted by the same friendly faces I see election after election - the volunteers, mostly retirees, who make sure everything goes like clockwork. And it always does.

There were no long lines - quick in, quick out. But when my turn came, I was told I had already voted on Sept. 25 at one of Dekalb County's two or three early voting centers.

In fact, that was not the case. But that's what the records showed. My precinct guy called the county and they had it in black and white - somebody using my name apparently had cast a ballot in person under the early voting procedures in place in many parts of the country. Or my vote was somehow recorded by mistake.


Filed under: 2008 Election • Paul Varian
November 4th, 2008
05:15 PM ET

Bet you're wondering what's up at the White House

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Kathleen Koch
CNN White House Correspondent

Only one thing breaks the sound of silence at the White House today – the pounding of hammers outside the north fence as workers construct the inaugural parade grandstand.

President Bush, for the fifth day in a row, has no public events on his schedule. Even the White House briefing has been canceled for the day.
Mr. Bush and the First Lady cast their ballots for John McCain via absentee ballot on October 24th. In every preceding election, the President voted in person at the polls in Crawford, Texas.

White House Press Secretary Dana Perino says President Bush plans to stay at the White House tonight and watch election returns come in with family and friends, while celebrating Laura Bush's 62nd birthday.

At the White House briefing Monday, Perino commented on the president's absence not only from the campaign trail – but from the ballot.


Filed under: Kathleen Koch • Raw Politics
November 4th, 2008
05:11 PM ET

Getting the count right

Ian P. Cook
The RAND Corporation

As the votes are finally counted, enormous questions remain about the reliability of voting machines. West Virginia, Colorado, Tennessee and Texas have reported problems with their machines. Paper ballots have been put on standby in Pennsylvania. The District of Columbia is citing voting errors due to “static electricity” found on the voters themselves.

Come Wednesday morning it may be nearly impossible to tell the difference between legitimate votes and those created or lost by the machines.

It’s too late to fix the machine problems. But it is still possible to enhance the integrity of the election. By posting on websites the raw voting data – not just the vote counts ultimately approved by precinct and state election authorities – election bodies can help deter the threat of fraud, raise the likelihood of detecting systematic errors, and elevate the level of public trust in the election results.

The United States adopted electronic-based voting and vote-counting at a rapid rate in the aftermath of the contentious 2000 election, in part supported by the Help America Vote Act. The 2002 legislation called for replacing punch-card voting systems, created the Election Assistance Commission to assist in the administration of federal elections, and established minimum election administration standards.


Filed under: 2008 Election • Ian P. Cook
November 4th, 2008
05:10 PM ET

Get out and vote

Editor's Note: You can read more Jami Floyd blogs on In Session”

Jami Floyd
AC360° Contributor
In Session Anchor

The lines are long this election day and it is a glorious thing. Because there is no right more sacred in a democracy than the right to vote.

And for years we have taken that precious right for granted. Too many black folks have taken it for granted despite the heroes who gave their lives to give us the right to be counted as full citizens, empowered with this right to choose. For too long women have stayed home on Election Day despite our brave foremothers who so bravely stood for the right of their daughters and granddaughters to have the same choice as men. For too long the working poor have not appreciated the power we have to change our circumstances by casting a ballot.

But not today. Not anymore. Because after eight long years, set in motion by an election in 2000 that was stolen, not won, after six years of war with the wrong enemy and 4,189 soldiers lost and $700 billion later on the heels of a failed economic policy that led to the biggest bail out in U.S. history, Americans are waking up to a new day today. Election Day.

So make sure you are a part of it. Make sure your voice is heard. Don’t take anything for granted. And get out and vote.

Editors note: See more of Jami's posts at the In Session Blog

Filed under: 2008 Election • In Session • Jami Floyd • Voting
November 4th, 2008
05:02 PM ET

Next president inherits difficulties in Iraq, Afghanistan

[cnn-photo-caption image=
http://i2.cdn.turner.com/cnn/2008/images/11/05/art.iraq.elex.jpg caption="A U.S. soldier watches a broadcast of U.S. President-elect Barack Obama during a post-election event at the U.S. Embassy in Baghdad, Iraq."]
Peter Bergen
CNN National Security Analyst

Even before the election results are known, the Bush administration is making plans for the transition of management of the Afghanistan and Iraq wars to the next president.

A review of Afghan policy has been under way for many weeks, led by Lt. Gen. Douglas E. Lute, the senior National Security Council official responsible for Afghanistan and Iraq. The classified strategic review is expected to be completed this week, according to a staffer involved in preparing it.

Military and administration sources say the review was commissioned after growing alarm in the Bush White House about the deteriorating situation in Afghanistan, which has recently seen more U.S. military deaths than in Iraq. The country has experienced a sharp spike in violence along its eastern border with Pakistan since the summer. Those officials say the Bush administration felt that the review of Afghan policy could not wait months for a new administration to get up to speed.

Since mid-October, senior Bush administration officials have taken pains to brief advisors of both campaigns on the deteriorating situation in Afghanistan, according to participants in the meetings. One meeting, with advisors to both John McCain and Barack Obama, was held at the private Army and Navy Club and was organized, in part, by Barnett Rubin, a professor at New York University and one of the country’s leading experts on Afghanistan. The tone of the meeting was described by one participant as “realistic” and “certainly NOT upbeat.”

Filed under: 2008 Election • Afghanistan • Iraq • Peter Bergen
November 4th, 2008
04:21 PM ET

Sidelined at the White House

[cnn-photo-caption image=http://i2.cdn.turner.com/cnn/2008/images/11/03/art.obama.mccain.buttons.jpg]
Kathleen Koch
CNN Correspondent

What a long, strange trip it's been. And what a long, strange day at the White House.

Staffers and the media all arrived at the usual time. Read the usual newspapers and wires. Made the usual calls. But there is an odd feeling of just going through the motions... that whatever we do today won't matter tomorrow.

We know we are on the sidelines. Voting is underway. The president has been more or less out of sight since Friday. So there are no events to cover. No briefings. No liveshots.

One thing is certain. It will all change tomorrow.

Heard today around the White House -

A network photographer:

"Nothing's happening. Not here, at least."

A wire service reporter:

"It's boring. Like a morgue around here."


Filed under: Kathleen Koch • Raw Politics
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