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Then tell us about your experience. Your Election Day open thread begins now.

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Grant Gallicho is an associate editor of Commonweal. You can follow him on Facebook and Twitter.



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My husband and I stood in line for an hour, starting at 6:00. NYT and St. Louis P-D to read while inching up the walk. Inside, badly organized, with one "official" at the end of the table doing everything, while the other five were doing nothing. I chose a paper ballot, because it was faster.Voted for President Obama, Senator McCaskill, et al. PLEASE GOD, protect our frail democracy!

Voted early on Saturday. There were two widely separate rooms at the County Building. It was probably just a coincidence but it looked like they were sending the Mexicans to one room and the Caucasians to the other one.

Long lines, but township workers were extremely well organized, juggling three different ballots, depending on which public school district you were in. Everyone friendly and hospitable, and we were out in 20 minutes.Scanning Michigan drivers licenses did not slow the lines.I warned students earlier this week about ploys telling them that their election place was changed or that election day had been changed to Wednesday. I don't give tardies on election day.

Big controversy this year was people had to enter our precinct voting location (a local elementary school) by a different door, requiring them to walk several hundred feet farther than has been the case in the past. I saw one woman struggling to get a wheelchair out of the car and set up for her mom. I waited in line about five minutes. Voters looked like a mixture of people on way to work and senior citizens.We had two electronic booths and five paper ballot booths. I took paper and a Sharpie because I'd have had to wait for the electronic.

I returned from Rome and voted this morning in Ann Arbor (Michigan) where I have my US address.My two cousins and I were among the first dozen people to arrive about twenty minutes before the 7 a.m. opening of the polls. After voting the line was stretching outside the high school polling place. Different from four years ago they scanned each voter's driver's license with a single computer. A young man in front of us had recently moved into the district but was still registered in his previous district. Sorting him out took several minutes. If this happens every ten to twenty voters, it severely slow things down.An observation: as we walked out I was struck by the quiet, almost reverant, disposition of people standing in the long line. It was like returning from receiving communion at Mass. Indeed, voting is one of the most solemn and serious moments of our civic (religious) duty.

Digression: If you were interested in the thread that Cathleen Kaveny started about Mitt Romney and the Mormon position on abortion, you should check out William Saletan's latest article about Mitt Romney over at SLATE MAGAZINE online. Saletan discusses a videotape of Romney when he did not think he was being videotaped. The videotape is revealing and informative regarding the Mormon position on abortion and Romney's understanding of that position. He was clearly angry at the interviewer, and his defense of himself and his religion is probably the best presentation of the self that Mitt Romney has managed in years, as Saletan himself argues. It's the real Romney.End of digression. I've not voted yet. But I plan to vote for President Obama's re-election.

Manassas, Virginia, ground zero as a swing district in Virginia. Obama and Romney have both made multiple visits to our little Civil War town.Longest line I have ever experienced at my voting precinct. But waiting time only about 30 minutes. Lots of 'observers.' Outside, reps of both camps handing out 'sample ballots.' Dems are blue, Republicans are orange. They seemed to be fairly evenly divided among the people who took them, although at this point I don't know why anyone would need them There are only three offices and three propositions in play.I saw many more minorities than usual, and also more young voters (although that might be a case of me being four years older myself.)My wife works as a poll worker, so I'll hear the result some time tonight around 9pm after the 7pm closing, followed by the reporting. If Obama wins Manassas, he will likely win Virginia. If he wins Virginia, you can go to be early.

"Bed." sorry.

I was headed out the door to vote when my 11-year-old stopped me. He wanted to go with me. His middle school had voted for president yesterday and he wanted to see the real thing in action. So I will vote after he gets home from school.

Dallas, TX - ten minutes - in and out. Oh yeah, polling place is a three block walk with the dog.

Voted earlier by mail. Happy to be voting, finally a US citizen, after many years of watching without being able to participate actively.Both of my children were old enough to vote for the first time, but neither registered in time. They don't care. I should have registered them, then at voting time they would have asked me for advice, and then my voting power would have tripled!

My daughter turned 18 three days ago and she's excited aas we're off to vote after work.I don't expect any difficulty though she'll bring passport since she does not yet have a license. Today her class is debating the electoral college in her government class - she was chosen to defend the system. I had an inteview on our local NPR Sunday about the so called "Catholic " vote this election and was represented as the "social justice" v."right to life" though I had very intentionally reframed that, but you'd never know it from the sound clip! Hoping desperately for Obama... and then... but that's yet another blog...

Claire - congratulations on becoming a US citizen. I'm glad to see you exercising your right to vote.

Some good reads if you are waiting on line to vote:David Frum on the "disgrace" of the U.S. voting system: Timothy Noah on why the Electoral College has to go: agree with both arguments. Thoughts?

The word from a Florida county where Early Voting took two to four hours on average, but one couple, who are not exaggerators, say they waited six hours on Saturday:Arrive at polls today at 10:40 a.m. On the way home at 10:55 a.m. Seats in the hallway for those kept out when the lines got too long inside. Once inside, things moved smartly even though at least two people were obviously trying to read the bilingual Anna Karina ballot. Six large, connect-the-arrows ballot pages total. Eight ballot marking stations, so even with two in perpetual Tolstoy mode, six stations were able to handle all of us.Deputy elections supervisor said the crowd was more numerous than the waiting chairs for about 40 minutes around 8 a.m. Rest of the day has been like what we experienced.

I voted this morning. Our polling place absorbed another polling place (Manhattan College) that was still out of power. It was very busy, but no waiting.And my commute on the #1 Subway train (from 242 to Canal) was an absolute bunt! I'm just so happy.

Voted at 10 am (EST) today (no early voting in New York). Three election districts vote in the local public school (one block and a half from our front door). The line in our ED (71) was non-existent. The two others had long lines. Maybe voters in our ED voted early and went to work. The other lines had many older voters. I love seeing the poll workers every election. They're cheerful and friendly. After I had put my ballot in the scanner and the scanner said "Thank you. Your vote has been counted; " the "inspector" added, And God Bless You!!! Even though I think Nate Silver is on the mark about results, I keep having a sinking feeling. Maybe it's indigestion (I ate peanut butter on toast for breakfast).

Voted early last week in Chicago. The place was jammed but efficient. Poll workers said they had never seen such crowds. Returning to town this evening. Will vote again if I get there in time. As we say, vote early and often!!!

Jbruns should post Manassas vote when wife come home. Virginia will be early indicator.On my way to vote in Frisco where polls are plentiful and no lines.

Re: Maragaret Steinfels indigestion... by chance, just heard Glenn Beck by chance on the radio... wow... I know about that sinking feeling-- even though I want to believe Nate's metrics....

Is early voting a good thing? A friend says she voted two weeks ago. Granted that nothing dramatic happened this year (except Sandy!), but couldn't it happen that early voters would be voting in one set of circumstances and election-day voters in another? I know that absentee voting has always been allowed, but when did early voting become common?

I voted at 8 am this morning, at the Orthodox Church about a half a mile from where I live. It took about ten minutes, all told.I think Nate's right, but I have a sinking feeling too, Peggy.

In Brooklyn's 40th district, at 10:10 a.m., line stretched out door and snaked around block. Came back at 10:45, line was longer still. More of a crowd than 2004 (Kerry-Bush), which was biggest I've seen until today, but polling-place consolidation may be a contributing factor. At 11:45, I was scanning my completed ballot. One hour, but people were patient. More talk about the storm than about the election.

Yes, of course early voting is a good thing. Voters experience all kinds of circumstances on Election Day. I had a forty-five-minute wait, and encountered some delightful but baffled poll workers (having worked several elections, I sympathize). A friend in another part of the neighborhood was in and out within five minutes. I filled in ovals next to my candidates' names. Relatives in other states will vote on touch-screen computers (awful, awful). Others are still using the dreaded punch cards (hanging chads!). Anything that makes voting easier, provided it's secure, is good.

Took a sick friend to the polls and food shopping. Then went to my poll station in Stroud Township, PA to cancel out his vote. Poll Lady asked for ID. I said I had it but was not required to show it so I didn't. No argument. I voted. Will watch a little Democracy Now but will stay away from news until tomorrow morning. I hope it's over by then.

Re early voting: I have often wondered about voting too early. Do any early voters have buyer's remorse?

I voted an hour ago at a Presbyterian Church in a suburb of Philadelphia that used to be heavily Republican and is now Democratic. There was a steady stream of voters and one of the poll watchers told me that the turnout was very good. I entered the polling booth, confessed my choices and came out saying 3 Our Fathers, 3 Hail Marys and 3 Glory Bes. It is interesting that the Gospel for today has the parable of the man who gave a great dinner to which he invited many, but one by one the invitees excused themselves, e.g., I have just married a woman, and therefore I cannot come. The servant was told to go out to the streets and alleys and bring in here the poor and the crippled, the blind and the lame (Hmm!). When there was still room at the dinner, the servant was told to go out to the highways and hedgerows and make people come in. So, I am going to the headquarters of the party I voted for and make calls to encourage (not make or compel) people to vote.

Fr. Komonchak: In partial answer to your question about whether early voting is good, the following is from a story in the Palm Beach Post by Christine Stapleton (one of their good remaining reporters) this morning. It matches my memory:"Early voting began in 2004 in response to the epic voting confusion in the November 2000 election. Promoted as a benign practice to ease long lines on Election Day, early voting has morphed into a partisan battlefield. GOP proponents believed that early voting would give Republican voters, many of whom vote absentee, another means to cast their ballots before election." 'The general belief was that it would benefit Republicans,' said Kevin Wagner, a lawyer and political scientist at Florida Atlantic Universitty. 'But it didn't turn out that way.'"The story goes on to say that Democrats cast 61percent of the county's early ballots in 2008 and Republicans just 18 percent. As a result the Republican Legislature cut early voting days from 14 to eight, and lawsuits proliferated.Incidentally, the stolen election in Florida in 2000 had very little to do with long lines, the ostensible reason both parties originally bought into early voting.As I indicated above, early voters waited 2-4 hours in line for those eight days (and then in an odd absentee vote on site day yesterday) so that I could exercise my franchise in 15 minutes today. I wouldn't change a thing.

Responsorial psalm:I will praise you, Lord, in the assembly of your people.May we live those words in this assembly, whatever the outcome tonight.

I'm an Oregonian visiting my daughter in South Florida for the past few weeks. Before I left Oregon, I received our state ballot in the mail and sent it back immediately, which means I voted early as every Oregonian can just by returning their ballots early. Or they can wait until the last minute and place them in ballot boxes located in virtually every neighborhood. Voting by mail has been going on for a long time in Oregon, and I can't imagine ever going back to the old system, especially when I see the long lines at polling stations here in Florida. This is a state badly in need of election reform....not to mention a new governor who will show respect for citizens who want to exercise their right to vote!

my husband and i headed over to the jersey city board of elections on sunday morning to cast our votes. there were a surprising number of people there at 9am. and, on what under normal circumstances would have been a quiet line, everyone was chatting and comparing notes about sandy. the question of the day was "do you have power?" the answer mostly was "no".

We should set a national goal of having 85% voting in the 2016 national election, and results fairly and accurately tabulated within four hours of poll closing.

jbruns, You're ruling out the absentee ballots in Ohio postmarked before midnight tonight and to be counted on, I believe, Nov. 17. Also, serving GIs in many states are allowed to get their votes in late because they might be in an, oh, maybe firefight and not have time to meet a rigid schedule for your convenience.

I voted around 6:30am in my village in lower Westchester County. Busy, but no lines. Friendly poll workers sharing stories about finding gasoline.Filling in dots on forms (making sure to vote on the proposition on the back!) and then feeding it into the scanner. I know this system is better, but I liked the feeling of throwing the levers, knowing that if I got confused and threw the wrong one, I could correct it.We'll see how it is when my wife votes this evening.The statistical projections are interesting, but people still have to do the voting.The discouragement of voting makes me angry. We should be above that and it's a sign of the win-at-all-costs mentality that gave us four years of obstruction.Back to work!

@Tom. I voted from Viet Nam in 1968. Yes, we voted prior to election day, but I don't remember there being any particular problem getting them in. With regard to other absentee ballots, open early voting would eliminate the need for most mail ins. And, of course, results now are announced before they are all counted. So, I don't see the problem.

P.S. Of course 1968 was a long time ago before all the complications of the digital age.

An observation: People asking each other if they voted.In the space of an hour, I experienced it: the woman at the check out at the grocery store, the mailman, the manager of the liquor store. (Yes, Pennsylvanians there are some state stores that are open today despite the fact that it is a holiday for state employees. Deo Gracias.)

Re that digression on the SLATE article about Romney and abortion: It strikes me as going overboard to give Romney credit for losing his temper and thereby being "authentic." He was, after all, just defending himself, no less, but no more. His point was that you can be a good Mormon and still hold the position on the issue he held when he ran for governor of Massachusetts -- namely, that even though abortion is morally wrong, a Mormon should not impose his belief about that on other people. He said he'd changed his mind about that, but argued that it's still the position of many good Mormons. IOW, he hadn't do anything wrong back then...and he wasn't being dishonest now. A heartfelt defense, no doubt, but why the oohing and ahhing about how great it was to hear him fess up to who he really is? When Catholic pols try this, they just get piled on by other Catholics. Of course, that wouldn't be the case for Romney, since I'd guess he's right about Mormon ambivalence regarding whether or not a pol has to oppose abortion laws on the books. Still, again, I don't get why his loss of temper with the radio interviewer (who questioned his faithfulness to his religion) says anything we didn't already know. He may lie about everything else, but he takes his religion seriously. That much has been clear all along, or so I thought.

"IOW, he hadnt do anything wrong back thenand he wasnt being dishonest now"DONE anything wrong...:)

Early voting is not a good idea for many reasons, I believe, but principally because it doesn't assist the fabric of the nation -- perhaps a romantic concept, but election day should be holiday (change it Veteran's Day? or is that disrepectful) or to a Sunday (with its own obvious problems!)... with an independent electoral commission... and a thorough revision of the process of precincts. etc., so there there is never expectation of more than an hour process...Early voting has not significantly increased total voting, has it?

In and out of the polling place in 5 minutes this morning. Voted for Obama and Elizabeth Warren - and against physician-assisted suicide. Seems that Paddy Power looked at the same polls Nate did:"No need to wait until the last chad is counted -- heck, no need to wait until the polls close on Nov. 6 to find out who won the U.S. presidential election. Irish bookmaker Paddy Power has called the victory for President Barack Obama, even putting its money where its mouth is by pre-emptively paying out a whopping $650,000 on Obama bets."

"And, of course, results now are announced before they are all counted. So, I dont see the problem." Well, maybe because you don't live in Florida. In 2000 our results were announced (ABC, NBC, CBS, CNN) and re-announced (Fox) and re-announced all over again (the U. S. Supreme Court). The announcing took until Dec. 14, and, of course, got it wrong anyway. They say that Ohio and maybe some other states (including Florida) are poised to do it again this year.

I voted at 6 A.M., as I have been designated a poll watcher by my local Democratic party. Someone already mentioned that it 'was a solemn and reverent moment' and it was for me too.Later at the end of mass I adjusted the closing lines and told the folks: "the polls are open, Go in Peace!" I'm sure it was a direct translation for the Latin but it made the point and drew a laugh for the thirty or so seniors gathered in the day chapel of our parish church, where I assist as a retiree. As you might suspect, I am not a fan of bishops projecting one candidate over another and I'm inclined to think those who do are whistling in the wind and not contributing to such solemn and reverent moments. They don't appear to be very familiar with such moments except in a churchy setting and I'd suggest they take a hike, be a poll watcher, and get an everyday life for themselves for like the rest of us, they're going to be dead for a long time and there's no sense wasting the time above the ground. peace and happy voting!

Voted early then headed off to school for a mid-term exam. The line was short at 7 AM when the doors opened but much longer by the time I finished. Voted for the President, Senator Feinstein, yes to Prop 30, no on 32, no on capital punishment, circumventing the insurance commish, . . . on and on and on!

Some might find my report from Seaford, Long Island, New York, of interest:

2004 was almost (OK, barely almost) as bad as 2000 in that exit polls showed Kerry winning, to the point, they say, that even Bush thought he'd lost, up until the real votes started to be counted. I've read that was because Republicans tend to shy away from answering questions from anybody who looks like either the "lamestream media" or college kids, which apparently most exit pollers looked like ; hence, the under-counting of Republican votes in the exit polls. You'd think this could be easily remedied.

Voted at 6:15 this morning. Only a few in line, but the scanner for our district was not working. I do not know whether the ballots are put through the scanner if they get it running or whether they are counted by hand.A phenomenological note: if you really believe Nate Silver is right, a sinking feeling would be irrational. But anxiety would not be. That's me -- believing Silver is right (and, therefore, believing Obama will win), hopeful, and anxious as all get out!My biggest hope -- or maybe it's just a wild fancy -- is that however the election turns out, all candidates will graciously accept the voters' decision and our elected officials will put the business of the country before partisan politics.

I have voted by absentee ballot for the last 25 years. All it costs is a regular stamp, a good vodka martini (or 2) in my living room and the patience to decipher local initiative lies, more lies and damned lies.No muss. No fuss. No long lines. No retirees clogging the early lines as part of their daily socializing with the people they see every day anyway.

Voted at noon in West Virginia. Very organized ballot that was easy to read. Sorry to hear of a malfunctioning voting machine in Pennsylvania. Poll workers should try them first and note any irregularities.

Kindly, octogenarian and somewhat bewildered poll workers at the firestation where I was among the first half-dozen voters this morning. Their confusion was so contagious I'm not sure my ballot was counted...but I was voting in Indiana, so that's probably just as well. Voting itself is formal cooperation with evil, but I received Communion at Mass afterwards anyway.

I voted last Thursday by mail in California and voted for Obama. Some interesting propositions here too - one doing away with the death penalty (voted for it) and one mandating the labeling of GMOs (also voted for it).Voting early is a good thing, I think. Notre Dame philosophy professor Gary Gutting mentions in his NYT's post ... You already know a great deal, pro and con, about Obama and Romney ... How could a few further facts a last-minute gaffe, a change in the unemployment rate, a new attack ad make a decisive difference? Dont privilege the tiny sliver of data that comes in during the next few days over the substantial body of information youve accumulated over months and even years

Michael, I take that remark as tongue in cheek, correct? We've had so much talk about intrinsic evil and formal and material cooperation, you'd think the people are intersted in moral theology...and while I know there are folks who don't vote on principle and/or for religious reasons, I will respect their opinions, but believe that choice is is just a symbol of disengagement that is not healthy, but that's strong opinion, I guess....And not voting is abstention from "formal cooperation"-- ???

The Dow is up 133, and S&P is up too. Something is afoot. Small business pro-Democrats?Voting in New Orleans is very heavy.

What happens if someone votes early, then dies before election day? Is that vote counted? Should it be?

Shirley and I just voted at Acalanes High School in Lafayette, CA. Enormous paper ballot that you mark up with a pen, then put in a machine to read. Lots of propositions including one that someone put in just to suppress Gov. Brown's attempt to balance the budget with new taxes. Also one to abolish death penalty. Some pretty misleading propositions, though. They said turnout was good but we had no wait at all. You just bring in a card that was mailed to you, they look up your name, you sign the register and they give you a ballot. Pretty good system and has been in use for years.I hope interest in the propositions will help raise California voter turnout because Obama needs all the popular vote he can get. Feinstein should be a shoo-in.

I voted after substitute-teaching for a 2nd grade elementary school ESL class. Voted all-Democratic ticket, which means I cast no vote for many Republican candidates running unopposed. Sometimes it feels like Democrats are a "despised minority" here. Since July, the bishop of this diocese rallied churches of all denominations to attend inter-faith meetings to pray for "religious freedom" in America...really amped up folks in this very churchy TexasPanhandle city! Progressive Catholics must keep their heads down...praying...

My first time voting in our new neighborhood, so I wasn't sure what to expect, but at 2 p.m. I was the only voter at my little polling place here north of NYC. In fact the poll workers had me outnumbered 5 to 1. But the scanner said mine was the 189th ballot cast (of which I'm sure at least 100 were pre-9 a.m.), and I imagine things started picking up again at 6 or so.

Well this Catholic (since 2005), College Graduate, Single Parent, Small business owning woman went with her college student daughter to our polling place around 10:30am and voted for President Barack Obama and Sen. Sherrod Brown --Yes, I'm one of the "lucky" Ohioans who has endured ceaseless campaign ads!(We had about a 20 minute wait. A fairly decent line was forming and heard that by 7:30am there had been double the voters of the last presidential race.)

I'm another California voter. Go Obama! Go Diane Feinstein! Go Barbara Lee!

My son and I went to vote at the Longwood Jr. high last night on Long Island. We of course got on the longest line while other lines were very short or empty. We were finished in about one half hour so maybe I'm spoiled. I wasn't going to vote because of the electoral system and I reject the Mormon Cult and heretical preaching of Rev. Wright of which he is neither.

"What happens if someone votes early, then dies before election day? Is that vote counted? Should it be?"Yes, it is counted because we have secret ballots. The election officials know WHO voted, but cannot identify WHICH ballot belongs to whom, so there's no way to weed out the ones from those who may have died. Moreover, how is this much different from voting on election day and getting run over by a bus on your way home from the polls? If you're alive during the legal window of time you can cast a vote, your vote should count.Interesting related issue: The mentally infirm are also allowed to vote if they're 18. George Will's son with Down Syndrome votes. People with dementia vote. My students yesterday suggested there be a competency test to vote, and I told them the story of voting tests used in the South to "weed out undesirable" (i.e., black) voters.

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