On Tuesday, millions of Florida voters will once again hold the fate of the nation in their hands. While all eyes are on Ohio, America's most Southern state has the potential to call the election early. With a population of over 19,000,000, the Sunshine State offers a whopping 29 electoral votes -- the largest prize offered of any swing state. As of Sunday, November 4th, New York Times blogger and lauded statisitician Nate Silver pegs Florida as the closest state: odds tip in Governor Romney's favor, but stand at 53.8% chance of win, versus Obama's 46.2%, significantly less predicatble than Ohio and Virginia (85% and 71% Obama, respectively).
Florida is also home to one of the most crucial battles for control of the Senate. Incumbent Sen. Bill Nelson (D) is currently 6.9% ahead of his challenger, Fort Meyers Congressman Connie Mack IV (R), according to the RealClearPolitics polling average. The race has been tumultuous, and, while things are looking good for Sen. Nelson, this is far from a done deal.
PolicyMic will be covering the 2012 election from the State of Florida live. For live updates, bookmark and refresh this page. All images are credited to the linked source in the update.
11/10/12 - 1:10PM - UPDATE - Florida has finally been called. Rep. Allen West (FL-18) refuses to concede with 100% reporting; he is down by over 2000 votes.
11/8/12 2:08PM - UPDATE - Ballots still being tabulated.
FINAL UPDATE: OBAMA WILL WIN THE SUNSHINE STATE (Just under 99% reporting). ALLEN WEST LIKELY TO LOSE. It has been a great night everyone!
1:22AM - UPDATE - CNN has yet to call. My final analysis of the presidential race can be found here. Note that FL-18 is still too close to call. Rep. Allen West (R-Palm Beach Gardens) currently down against challenger Patrick Murphy by less than 1000 votes.
12:42AM - UPDATE - I AM PROJECTING THAT BARACK WILL WIN FLORIDA. COMMENTARY TO FOLLOW.
12:07AM - UPDATE - Donald Trump is calling for a revolution. Florida still out.
11:59PM - UPDATE - Florida 96% reporting. Miami still lagging, with 82% reporting. Tentatively calling Florida for Obama.
11:53PM - UPDATE - Rep. Allen West (R-Palm Beach Gardens) clings to slight lead in 18th Congressional District with over 90% reporting.
11:45PM - UPDATE - HuffPo is calling the following House races. Republican: 1, 2, 3, 4, 6, 7, 8, 10, 11, 12, 13, 15, 16, 17, 19. Democrat: 5, 9, 14, 20, 21, 22, 23, 24. Only 18th District remains a mystery.
11:36PM - UPDATE - Obama still ahead in FL. 96% reporting. No call from CNN.
11:25PM - President Obama poised to add FL cherry to reelection Sundae.
11:22PM - UPDATE - CNN PROJECTS OBAMA REELECTION REGARDLESS OF OUTCOME OF SUNSHINE STATE. UPDATES TO COME LESS FREQUENTLY.
11:16PM - UPDATE - MSNBC projecting Obama's reelection iminent; regardless of FL. Outcome.
11:11PM - UPDATE - Make a wish America. Obama up .54%. With current CNN projections of 249 - 191. Romney will lose if he cannot pull ahead in the Sunshine state. 95.11% reporting.
11:07PM - UPDATE - Reporting has stalled in FL. Obama maintains narrow lead. Democrats retain Senate per CNN projection.
11:04PM - UPDATE - Obama stands nationally at 238 to Romney's 191. With Florida that would bump Romney to 220 or Obama to 267. This is CRUCIAL to Romney's survival.
10:52PM - UPDATE - Miami 75% reporting; statewide 94%. Obama margin at +.48%, just inside of recount mandate. Nobody go away just yet.
10:49PM - UPDATE - Florida poised to fall again to the lawyers: state law mandates recount if margin less than .5%.
10:43PM - UPDATE - Nighttime voting in Miami, photo courtesy Politico.
10:42PM - UPDATE - Obama up 20,000; Johnson at 41,000. Liberal ballot access may cost Romney White House. Barr/Sheehan at about 7500 votes, just behind Stein's 8100.
10:36PM - UPDATE - Gary Johnson running at around 40,000 votes. Poised to spoil Florida and possibly election. If Gov. Romney loses FL, it will likely be within the margin captured by Johnson. Payback for Nader undoubtedly.
10:34PM - UPDATE - Take a little break. Cheer on the Gateway to the Americas as people are STILL IN LINE TO VOTE.
10:32PM - UPDATE - Obama lead cut in half. Miami still under 70% reporting.
10:28PM - UPDATE - Obama lead opens to 50,000
10:26PM - UPDATE - Georgetown University's Sellinger Lounge cheering on President Obama and Sen. Elect Elizabeth Warren.
10:20PM - UPDATE - Obama lead holding at 40,000. Almost 90% of state counted; however, just under 2/3 of Miami-Dade reporting. Things are looking up for a razor thin Obama win in Florida
10:16PM -UPDATE - CBS Miami notes, corroborated by Associated Press, 60% threshold for ballot measure passage makes it nearly impossible for them to pass. Amendments 1 (Healthcare); 6 (Abortion restrictions); 8 (Public funding for religious institutions) all projected to fail. More info available at link.
10:14PM - UPDATE - Obama lead nears 40,000
10:09PM - UPDATE - HuffPo is calling the following House races. Republican: 2, 3, 4, 6, 7, 8, 11, 12, 13, 15, 16, 17, 19. Democrat: 5, 9, 14, 20, 21, 23, 24. Other districts too close to call.
10:07PM - UPDATE - Local news: Miami Beach approves historical property preservation measure.
10:03PM - UPDATE - 54% reporting from Miami-Dade according to CNN. 1 panhandle county still missing. Unclear which. Update to come.
9:57PM- UPDATE - Obama opens up lead in Florida. Almost to 40,000.
9:56PM - UPDATE - Twitter says the darndest things. Mic if you agree!
9:53PM - UPDATE - Obama up 30,000. I am so fired up y'all. NO CLUE WHAT WILL HAPPEN HERE.
9:52PM - UPDATE - CNN noting that 40% precincts reporting in Miami-Dade County. Saying that, given statewide stats, things look good for Barack. Still not solid enough to call.
9:48PM - UPDATE - Obama lead small; holding. PS. Congratulations Sen. Elect Elizabeth Warren. Corporations are NOT people.
9:40PM - UPDATE - Miami Herald Exit Poll shows razor thin Obama margin, 51%-49%. Further evidence for the President's lead; however, all circumstantial and not tied to ballots that have been cast and counted.
9:38PM - UPDATE. Who's leading now.
It appears as though the lead is going back and forth between Romnay and Obama; however, most of the votes are out and polls are still open in much of Broward and Miami-Dade Counties, which make up for 25% of the electorate. Duval County, Romney's bulwark is, 95% counted. I would say, even if Obama dips back behind, with Miami out, he probably holds a small lead statewide. Things are way too close to predict without the Magic City and these numbers are likely already out of date.
9:34PM - UPDATE - Obama back on top. Unclear where numbers coming from. CNN disagrees with State BOE disagrees with HuffPo. Not only on numbers but who is reporting them. Much like the rest of today's polling, Florida is utter chaos right now. Some counties are nearly done; some are still voting.
9:31PM - UPDATE - The Key to Romney's Narrow lead. Broward and Miami.
9:28PM - UPDATE - Associated Press noting that only about 40% of precincts in Miami Dade are done voting. Obama is by NO means out of the running in the state. We might see the Sunshine down here before this is called.
9:24PM - UPDATE - Romney pulls ahead.
9:21PM - UPDATE - BREAKING, ROMNEY PULLS AHEAD IN FLORIDA. NARROW LEAD. DEM AREAS STILL OUT AND VOTING.
9:19:PM - UPDATE - Cnn noting returns still largely out in heavily democratic Miami Metro Area. About 10-20% of precincts there reporting v. ~80% statewide. If Obama holds even a slight run behind statewide and wins in Miami, FL could turn blue.
9:13PM - UPDATE - Obama up 13000. Farther than CNN thinks.
9:00PM - UPDATE - HuffPo is calling the following House races. Republican: 3, 4, 7, 12, 13, 15. Democrat: 5, 14, 20, 24. Other 17 districts too close to call.
8:57PM - UPDATE - Obama margin: 21,000 and change.
8:55PM - UPDATE - Twitter reports of additional 4 hour lines to vote in parts of the state. STAY IN LINE. YOU WILL GET TO VOTE.
8:53PM - UPDATE - Breaking. Obama lead narrows to 500 votes. 500. Miami begins to trickle in.
8:48PM - UPDATE - Obama margin: 30,000. Still no data from Miami-Dade. Roseanne running a distant 4th, but close to Jill Stein. I have a feeling we're gonna be up all night here folks.
8:44PM - UPDATE - NBC Miami reporting that results have been held up by lines.
8:38PM - UPDATE - Obama up less than 30,000 votes. Heavily Republican Jacksonville almost all talled. Miami has yet to report.
8:35PM - UPDATE - 0% reporting in Miami-Dade; 75% reporting in Duval.
8:32PM - Obama lead narrows, persists.
8:30PM - UPDATE - HuffPo is calling the following House races. Republican: 3, 4, 7, 12, 15. Democrat: 5, 14, 20, 24. Other 18 districts too close to call.
8:25PM - UPDATE - Just a comment: I think HuffPo and CNN are holding back information for a better story. Obama lead narrow, but holding.
8:20PM - UPDATE - BOE shows narrowing of Obama lead, no votes in from Miami-Dade yet. 68% of Duval county reporting. I would imagine this is skewed Romney atm.
8:17PM - UPDATE - Florida State BOE update, Obama up by 90,000. Vote tallies for HuffPo and CNN are behind and disparate with one another. interesting development.
8:14PM - UPDATE - HuffPo is calling the following House races. Republican: 3, 4, 12, 15. Democrat: 5, 14, 20, 24. Other 19 districts too close to call.
8:12PM - UPDATE - Note: CNN website tallys out of date, will rely on BOE site until state is called.
8:07PM - UPDATE - Florida Board of Elections posts 1st update, Obama up 150,000.
8:04PM - UPDATE - CNN Projects Sen Bill Nelson will retain his Senate seat w/ 40% reporting.
8:00PM - UPDATE - ALL POLLS CLOSED STATEWIDE. Those in line will be able to vote.
7:55PM - UPDATE - Thanks for this Chris! If Romney cannot win big in Duval, he'll need to make up serious ground in the rest of the state. Which is unlikely, if his stronghold falters.
7:53Pm - UPDATE - Still Early on, HuffPo has Obama up in Tampa, Orlando, and Miami. Down in Jax. No update from FL BOE.
7:48PM - UPDATE - HuffPo claims 23% of African American electorate in FL disenfranchised by state policies.
7:33PM - UPDATE - CNN claims 23% of FL votes counted. Obama up by almost 100,000.
7:30PM - UPDATE - Obama now up statewide, <1% reporting.
7:28PM - UPDATE - Graphic from HuffPo. Obama's leading BIG in Orange County, but down by about 3,000 statewide.
7:20PM - UPDATE - Word from the ground: Miami New Times says Miami-Dade absentee results in (no update to the State BOE site). Reporting, with caveat that this number is expected to favor GOP:
7:12PM - UPDATE - Sun Sentinel shows vastly different story at Boyton Beach polling center than we've seen in Miami, Tampa, or Jacksonville.
7:07PM - UPDATE - ABC calls FL most expensive state in 2012, with campaign spending at $167,037,580
7:00PM - UPDATE - POLLS ARE NOW CLOSED IN THE PENINSULA. State BOE will allow all in line to cast their ballot. First results expected at 8:30pm.
6:55PM - UPDATE - Wise advice
6:50PM - UPDATE - FL Secretary of State Detzner expects over 9,000,000 votes to be cast.
6:43PM - UPDATE - Hileah voter tells NBC Miami that officials are "disorganized;" news outlet reports record turnout predicted.
6:39PM - UPDATE - Florida State Board of Elections will hold back results until all polling places are closed. No word on whether counting will begin while people are still in line.
6:37PM - UPDATE - Pollwatcher allegedly ejected from Broward County precinct; conservative website claims "Massive voter fraud."
6:12PM - UPDATE - Commenter on Naples News echos feelings of many as accusations fly statewide of voter suppression.
5:51PM - UPDATE - Reports on Facebook and Twitter of election officials pulling white voters from the lines to avoid wait may be georgraphically, not racially charged, blogger says.
5:43PM - UPDATE - Sarasota Herald Tribune pegs "5 Counties to Watch:" Duval (Jacksonville), Broward (Ft. Lauderdale), Collier (Naples), Hillsborough (Tampa), and Sarasota. All 5 are EST, so expect returns to flood in in large numbers around 8:30PM. Also coming in with them are democratic strongholds Miami-Dade and Palm Beach as well as swing worthy Orange (Orlando), Pinellas (Tampa metro), and St. Lucie (Port St. Lucie) counties.
5:18PM - UPDATE - Bazinga! Reports on Twitter that FL polling stations running out of pens to fill in ballots. Less than two hours before polls close in the Peninsula!
5:15PM - UPDATE - According to CBS Miami, between absentee and early voting, nearly 50% of Monroe County (Including the Florida Keys and the bulk of the Everglades) have already submitted a ballot. Republicans have a narrow edge in registration in the nation's Southernmost county, which Obama carried by less than 2000 votes 4 years ago.
4:28PM - UPDATE - Let's hope we Floridians are holding up like this, given that it's 50 degrees warmer in Miami right now. So much respect for people waiting in line for 8 hours to prove a point. With charges of voter suppression alrerady rampant, it is heartwarming to know that not only are people widely cognizant of the fact, but willing to fight back!
4:09PM - UPDATE - New York Times editorial accuses election officials in Miami-Dade, Broward, and Palm Beach Counties of active voter suppression, compares 7-hour wait and irregular hours to "Third World Country."
3:25PM - UPDATE - Illegal, Pro-Obama campaign poster spotted in Tallahassee polling station,
3:04PM - UPDATE - Lee County officials reporting issues with vote scanners: voter haste and unusually long ballot to blame.
2:59PM - UPDATE - Tampa Bay Times reports on new election laws: early voting totals due within 30min of polls closing; updated totals required every 45min thereafter. Election officials in Seminole and Pinellas counties anticipate easy compliance. Come 8:30PM EST, we should have some really interesting numbers to play with.
1:44PM - UPDATE - Break to national scene. Karl Rove delusion. Claims there are 12 tossup states; Mitt and Barack "tied" at 191 guaranteed. His final tally? 285-253 Romney. See his ridiculously unfeasible map below. Promise there will be no more national until FL is called.
1:39PM - UPDATE - Tampa Bay Online reporting voters having difficulty locating polling places in Hillsborough County and being unable to reach county elections board. Among other issues: power loss and broken scanners at open stations.
1:14PM - UPDATE - No notice of error on Pineallas County Supervisor of Elections website. Give Supervisor Deborah Clarke a ring at (727) 464-8683 to see what she's doing to rectify the situation on what should promise to be the last day of her employment.
1:01:PM - UPDATE - Tampa Bay Times reporting that the Pinellas County Board of Elections began sending robocalls to voters this morning at 8:00AM reminding them that they have until 7:00PM TOMORROW to cast their vote. This "mistake" was caught half an hour later, with an indeterminate number of calls having been made. There are 626,348 registered in the county. Obama carried the area in 2008 by a margin of about 37,000 votes - nearly 16% of his total margin statewide.
11:41AM - UPDATE - Look at the size of these lines in Miami-Dade County.
11:37AM - UPDATE - As of 9:00AM, voter turnout in Duval County stood at 45%.
11:05AM - UPDATE - Check out the long lines in Jacksonville.
10:32AM - UPDATE - "Long lines and drizzle" reported in Orlando. Chance of rain 80% in Tampa. Spotty weather conditions could help Romney in a small but significant way. We've all heard the addage that Republicans fair better in worse weather. Even small margins can make a difference, particularly in Florida, where, as the First Lady noted last night in Miami, President Obama's victory in 2008 amounted to only 36 votes per precinct. The I-4 corridor is crucial to victory for Romney. While Orlando and surrounding Orange county went big for Obama in 2008, Tthe President only narrowly won Hillsborough County, home to Tampa. If Romney overperforms here, combined with a strong showing in Jacksonville, he could lock the state up early. He's certain to do well in the conservative panhandle, which will be the final portion of the state to report.
9:48AM - UPDATE - Click here for fulltext of FL state constitutional ballot initiatives and here for a shortlist. Of note are Amendments 1, 6, and 8, which directly prohibit non-compliance penalties for failure to purchase health insurance as outlined in the Affordable Care Act (1), restrict public funding of abortion services (6), and allow for religiously affiliated institutions to receive public funding (8).
11/6/12 - 8:47AM - UPDATE - WaPo notes that with 4.5 million votes cast, 12 million registered voters, and expected turnout around 75%, FL voting already "half over." While smaller than '08, Dems retain an early voting lead of 167000. This is only party affilitiation, not actual vote.
11/6/12 - 12:47AM - UPDATE - Nate Silver's forecast tips slightly to Obama; no significant change from 54% Romney two days ago. Still anyone's game down here.
11/5/12 11:34PM EST - UPDATE - Polls open at 7:00AM Eastern. Polls will close at 7:00PM Eastern in the peninsula. Those in portions of the panhandle West of the Apalachicola River will remain open until 8:00PM Eastern, 7:00PM local time. Polls open in les than 7:30 hrs y'all. Get fired up!
11/5/12 11:23PM EST - UPDATE - Final poll from PPP shows Sen. Bill Nelson +5%; RCP final avg going into election day is Nelson +6.5%.
11/5/12 11:02PM EST - UPDATE - Final three polls show disparate results: Romney +5, TIE, and Obama +1. Close to a true toss. I think a Romney win is every-so-slightly more likely here; however, an Obama win, while devastating to the national campaign, would not be shocking.
11/5/12 11:00PM EST- UPDATE - New York Times infographic shows, if Obama wins Florida, Romney has 1 path to victory, to win all other swing states.
A Must Win For Romney
Created using CNN's electoral map tool.
Of the 9 swing states, Florida is most crucial to Romney's electoral math. Florida falling into Obama's column puts the president at 266 electoral votes. The governor would then have to carry every remaining swing state, save New Hampshire, in order to win the election. Let's look at some of things that make Florida too close to call:
The state's most populous city, Jacksonville prides itself as the "Bold New City of the South." As the addage goes, with respect to FL, "the more North you go, the more Southern it gets:" just 20 miles from the Georgia state line, this was the only of the state's 10 largest cities to favor McCain in 2008. As a conservative stronghold, a larger than average turnout here could buffer against the more liberal Palm Beach, Broward, and Miami-Dade counties, where Obama is certain to win big.
The Latino Vote
The Gulf State is nearly 23% Latino. While this is generally thought of as a plus for Democrats, Florida's large Cuban and Puerto Rican communities tilt the overall "Latino community" more conservative than in other states. Dissapointment over immigration reform could hurt the president here, but perhaps not as much as Gov. Romney's "self deportation" remarks.
Gov. Rick Scott (R) has led a crusade to remove non-citizens from the voter registration books; critics decry the policy as inefficient and even racially charged. Florida sued the Department of Homeland Security. The Department of Justice sued Florida. No one emerged happy. For further details, see this article from the Washington Post. Early voting regulations are also subject to intense criticism, placing Florida at the forefront of voter supression controversy this cycle. This is certain to have an impact. What exactly that is remains to be seen.
There you have it, tune in Tuesday, when the speculation goes out the window and the only thing that really matters, votes, speak for themselves.