It culminates months of work identifying possible supporters through sophisticated databases, then knocking on doors and making their pitches.
In general terms, polls show Republicans more enthusiastic about the election and that could be reflected in the turnout. But snapshots from early voting states show massive turnout by Democrats in some urban precincts, a signal both of the voters’ level of support for Obama and of his highly-effective get-out-the-vote machine.
Attention once again started to turn to Florida and its election laws, with early voters having to wait as long as seven hours outside the polls. Governor Rick Scott, a Republican, refused to keep locations open longer. Even some Republicans criticized how the voting has been handled.
“I don’t know what went on in Florida, but I do have to say that in this day and age, it’s inexcusable that in this country, we have anything like this going on,” former New Jersey governor Christine Todd Whitman, a Republican, said on MSNBC. “I’ve led delegations around the world to watch voting and this is the kind of thing you expect in a third-world country, not in the United States of America.”
The last day of early voting in Cleveland’s Cuyahoga County ended with Qiang Shen, 48, of Strongsville, a Chinese-food deliveryman and naturalized citizen who was casting his first-ever ballot for Barack Obama.
“It’s a joy,” Shen said. “One vote may have no effect, but this experience is so exciting.”
After a series of courtroom battles this summer and fall put Ohio’s voting rules under a national microscope, the finale of early voting played out under an ashen sky. Despite the weather, the mood was festive; loudspeakers blared music from the steps of a nearby church, and a man in an Obama mask roamed the line, having his picture taken with voters.
Shen and his wife, Denise Luu, another first-time voter for Obama, had shown up in the parking area near the county’s election board as the seconds ticked by to the 2 p.m. close. “The guy told me, ‘you need to run,” ’ he said.
Some Cuyahoga County early voters reported lines of up to two hours Monday.
After rallies in Wisconsin and Ohio, Obama ended the night in Iowa, site of his surprise caucus win over favorite Hillary Clinton in 2008, a win that propelled him eventually to the presidency.
If he wins the states he campaigned in Monday, as well as those considered by most political analysts to be at least leaning toward Obama, he would earn the 270 Electoral College votes needed to win reelection.
Romney started the day in Florida, then headed to Virginia, Ohio, and New Hampshire.If Romney wins those four states, as well as those at least leaning toward him, he would become the nation’s 45th president.
Romney closed out his day in New Hampshire, the state where he launched his presidential campaign 524 days ago and where he delivered several of the major speeches of the campaign.
“This is a special moment for Ann and me, because this is where our campaign began,” Romney said, speaking to a crowd at the Verizon Wireless Arena in Manchester. “And then your primary vote put me on the path to win the Republican nomination. And tomorrow, your votes and your work right here in New Hampshire will help me become the next president of the United States.”
Alan Wirzbicki of the Globe staff and correspondent Callum Borchers contributed to this report. Matt Viser can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.