As a key swing state in the 2012 presidential elections, Florida is going to have the eyes of the nation tuned in as it helps to decide who will become the next president of the United States. With voting set to begin in less than one day, Public Policy Poling (PPP) has the race too close to call in the state. According to PPP's poling data thus far, Governor Romney is leading with elderly and white voters, while President Obama is leading with all other demographics.
According to the Pew Research Center, Obama is leading in polls in battleground states (CO, FL, IA, NC, NV, NH, OH, VA, WI) by a 2 point margin of 49-47%.
As for state propositions, of the eleven on the ballot: five address tax issues, one for health care, one for state budgets, one for government administration, one for judicial reform. The two remaining propositions are going to be the most controversial of the lot; Amendment 6 proposes a ban on public funding for abortion, and Amendment 8 repeals a ban on public funding for religious purposes.
In the race for US Senate, incumbent Bill Nelson (D) is up against Connie Mack (R).
There are seven seats in play for the US House. The NY Times predicts the 9th and 22nd districts will go democrat; the 2nd, 10th, and 16th will go republican; leaving the 18th and the 26th up for contestation.
For the latest in election results for the state of Florida, bookmark this page and refresh often.
N.B. All times will be given in EST.
**If you're voting in Florida, you can tweet @_KathleenONeill with pictures, stories, etc. I'll add selections here. **
UPDATE: Obama is re-elected as president, but Florida remains too close to call.
UPDATE 9:25 PM: With the vote tied and 67% of precincts reporting, this could be headed for mandatory recounts. Could this turn into a repeat of 2000? It's possible.
UPDATE 9:09 PM: Allen West is now leading by less than 1%.
8:46 PM: CNN exit poll data by religious affiliation
8:44 PM: CNN exit poll data
8:43 PM: The tally breakdown according to Fox News
UPDATE: 8:40 PM: CNN, Fox News and Politico all have Romney leading in the electoral college.
8:15 PM: On the state propositions, Amendment No. 6, which calls for a prohibition of public funding for abortions is currently reporting with 43.53% for passing the amendment and 56.47% for rejecting the amendment.
Amendment No. 8, which would repeal a ban on using public funding for religious purposes looks set to be defeated with 56.7% of votes rejecting the proposition.
UPDATE: 8:22 PM: With 54% of the votes tallied, Romney has taken the lead in Florida 51-48.
8:11 PM: Fox News has Obama leading with 79 electoral votes to Romney's 71.
CNN is reporting 64 electoral votes for Obama and 40 for Romney.
Politico has 64 for Obama and 40 for Romney.
8:06 PM: According to Politico, it appears as though three of the ballot propositions will pass: repeal of ban on federal funding for religious institutions; rejection of mandatory health insurance; ban on federal funding for abortion.
Update: 8:05 PM: With 41% of the votes tallied, Obama is still winning the state 51-49.
Update: 7:53 PM: In the House race, challenger Patrick Murphy is leading incumbent Allen West in the 18th district 55-42.
Incumbent David Rivera is leading challenger Joe Garcia in the 26th district, 49-47.
7:51 PM: Fox News is reporting incumbent Bill Nelson is leading Connie Mack 55-42 for the US Senate race.
7:48 PM: Fox News has Obama winning Florida 51-48 with 28% of the votes tallied.
CNN has the results at 50-49 Obama.
Update 7:40 PM: With 25% of the votes reported, CNN is reporting 51-48 lead for Obama.
7:20 PM: Politico's swing state predictions.
7:13 PM: Florida's division of elections has a countdown going to the announcement of results, which are scheduled to be announced at 8 PM EST.
Update: 7:06 PM: If you are already in line, you may still vote. If you have not already gotten in line, unfortunately polling stations in most of Florida have now closed. Some precincts in the panhandle will remain open until 8 PM.
7:04 PM: Four hour lines and rain confronted voters in parts of central Florida.
7:03 PM: Reports that some polling stations will be open later due to long lines.
7:00 PM: The polls in Florida are beginning to close. Reports of long lines are all over Twitter.
Update 6:50 PM: Hillsborough has been dealing with voting problems ranging from power outages to equipment failures and even misinformation at the hands of election officials.
6:36 PM: Republicans are expected to retain control of the House, Politico reports.
Update 6:33 PM: With polling stations set to close in just under 30 minutes, Washington Post is reporting that the Romney camp feels confident it can take Florida and with it the largest electoral vote count of all of the swing states.
6:24 PM: The five counties to watch in Florida, according to Jeremy Wallace: Broward, Collier, Duval, Hillsborough, and Sarasota.
Update: 6:20 PM: Hundreds, maybe thousands, of Pinellas County voters told they had until 7 pm Wednesday to cast their vote. Adding insult to injury, the report indicates that the Office of the Supervisor of Elections denied the possibility of such an error.
6:06 PM: According to the Washington Post there has been a spike in Google searches for the electoral college in Britain.
Update 5:40 PM: Politico says that exit polls indicate voters are still blaming Bush for economic woes more than Obama.
5:33 PM: Kenneth Roth from Human Rights Watch addresses the candidates position on human rights issues in a report published yesterday.
While much of their foreign policy positions appear similar, or at the very least unclear, Obama has both pros and cons laid out in this report. Pro: he ended torture such as waterboarding. Cons: he has failed to close Guantanamo and continues to use drones which results in civilian casualties. Read the report for details regarding the Middle East, China, Russia and more.
5:20 PM: Meanwhile, Nate Silver has Obama winning with 313 electoral votes.
Update 5:18 PM: Karl Rove predicts Mr. Romney will win FL (29), NC (15), VA (13), NH (4), OH (18), IA (6), CO (9) and Mr. Obama will get MN (10), NV (6), WI (10), MI (16), PA (20). Based on these predictions, Rove has Romney winning the election with 285 electoral votes.
1:51 PM: Politico is predicting Florida will go to Governor Romney. They also predict that President Obama will still be re-elected even if he loses the state's 29 electoral votes.
Update 1:51 PM: An Edgewater woman was denied the right to vote today and then subsequently denied a provisional ballot. Unfortunately for the voting station, the woman in question is a former elections judge. According to the state's Secretary of State, she is in fact entitled to a provisional ballot.
11:36 AM: Things to look out for: this video shows that electronic voting machines aren't registering the indended vote. Huffington Post reports that this problem has been reported throughout the country, affecting both candidates.
If you experience any suspicious activities, for the fairness of the election and the democratic process, report the problem to the poll center staff and record the problem as best you can.
If you experience or witness any suspicious activity for any candidate, you can report it to the local election offices. For the state of Florida in formation can be found here.
The local hotline number is: 1-877-868-3737.
Update 11:22 am: According to early polling data, more than 4.4 million people voted early or absentee