As Election Day voting began in the US Tuesday morning, the first trends were in within seconds: a tie, as the race had looked in some opinion polls.
Dixville Notch, a village of 10 people in the state of New Hampshire, wrapped up voting within seconds. President Obama and Republican Mitt Romney split the votes, 5-5.
Amanda Cassel, a lifelong Republican and a resident of Braddock, Virginia, thought hard and long before not voting for Barack Obama in 2008. To not vote for him on Tuesday, she said, was not tough at all.
Her mother was forced to retire. And remains jobless. “With her retirement funds depleting, she is unable to pay her mortgage,” Cassel said after casting her vote. She voted for Republican Mitt Romney.
Virginia is a battleground state, which voted for Obama in 2008. And it is expected to decide the election this time with seven other battleground states.
Ty Bzzelo, who was out of the polling station next, voted for the president. “He has done all he could and I am convinced of that,” she said explaining her vote.
President Obama is at home in Chicago with his family all day. He will do back-to-back satellite interviews and, an election day tradition, play pickup basketball with friends.
Romney, on the other hand, is breaking election day tradition by continuing campaigning, hitting battleground states Ohio and Pennsylvania, after he and his wife voted.
Those are two of the eight battleground states that will decide the next president. The rest are Virginia, Wisconsin, Iowa, Nevada, Colorado, Minnesota, Florida and North Carolina.
Most polls show the president leading in all of them except North Carolina and Florida. And that gives him an edge. The battle in Virginia is among the keenest. And Fairfax county, where Cassel and Bzzelo live and voted, is larger than eight states, with over 735,000 registered voters.
Obama and Romney visited Fairfax multiple times. “We expect the turnout to be about 75% or 78%,” said Seth Stark a Fairfax county official.
Bzzelo stood in the queue two and half hours to vote. Was it worth it? “Sure,” she said, “this is a close fight and every count is going to count in the end.”