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Your guide to Election Night

Presidential elections are not about the popular vote, so dont worry about that number. Instead, keep an eye on how many winner-take-all electoral votes the candidates capture as the night goes on. Because the Electoral College vote is the only number that matters Tuesday.
Save this page and keep it handy Tuesday as the returns roll in. Well even give you a place to keep your own score.
KEEP YOUR OWN TALLY
WINNER

HAWAII 4

ALASKA 3

WIS. 10 MINN. 10

MICH. 16 PENN. 20 MD. W.VA. 10 VA. 5 13 GA. 16 N.C. 15 S.C. 9 FLA. 29

N.Y. 29 N.J. 14

N.H. MAINE 4 4 VT. 3 MASS. 11 CONN. R.I. 4 7

IOWA MONT. 3 N.D. 3 6 WASH. S.D. 3 NEB. ILL. IND. IDAHO 12 20 11 4 WYO. 3 5 ORE. UTAH COLO. KAN. MO. 7 6 6 10 9 NEV. OKLA. ARK. CALIF. TENN. 6 N.M. 7 6 55 5 11 ARIZ. 11 TEXAS 38 LA. MISS. ALA. 6 9 8

OHIO 18 KY. 8

Each state in this map is shown in proportion to the number of that D.C. 3 states electoral DEL. 3 votes. The colors show who is expected to win in each state, according to an aggregate of national media. It takes 270 electoral votes to clinch a victory.

WHO WILL TAKE THE STATE ACCORDING TO...

POLLS CLOSE AT
All times are Eastern.

6 P.M.
Indiana Kentucky*

ELECTORAL VOTES

Larry Sabato

RealClear Politics

WINNER IN...
N.Y. Times Wash. Post USA Today Fox News CNN The AP 2008 2004 2000

An Electoral College Q&A


Q: How does this work? A: We dont elect our president directly. Instead, our votes empower electors to vote on our behalf. This means the actual nationwide vote total the popular vote wont be such an important number to watch Tuesday. Whoever wins in each state even if its by the smallest of margins wins all that states electoral votes. Q: The Electoral College seems complicated. Why hasnt it been done away with? A: It would take a constitutional amendment to do that. Which would have to be approved by two-thirds of each house of Congress and then ratified by three-fourths of the states. Q: How many electoral votes does it take to win? A: The magic number is 270. Q: Is it winner take all for every state? A: Maine and Nebraska grant some electoral votes to the winners in their congressional districts. So its possible for candidates to split electoral votes in those states. Its only happened once: Nebraska cast four votes for John McCain and one for Barack Obama in 2008. Q: Is it possible for a candidate to win the popular vote but lose the electoral vote? A: Its happened three times: 1876, 1888 and, of course, in 2000. Q: When does the Electoral College meet? A: Electors meet in their respective states to cast their votes on Dec. 17. The ballots will then be counted in a joint session of the new Congress on Jan. 6, 2013. Q: Can an elector vote for a candidate other than the one hes pledged to? A: Its rare, but it happens. Theyre called faithless electors. In 2000, an elector from the District of Columbia cast a blank ballot to protest the fact that D.C. has no voting member of Congress. In 2004, an elector for John Kerry cast a presidential ballot for John Edwards, although it is believed that was a simple error. It counted, though. Q: What happens if there is an electoral tie vote? A: In the event of a 269-269 tie, the newly elected House of Representatives would then vote for president. The House would vote as state delegations, not as individuals. Each state gets only one vote. The Senate votes for vice president but as individuals, not as state delegations. Q: So, in theory, we could wind up with, say, Mitt Romney as president and Joe Biden as vice president? A: Its not likely. But in theory: Yes.

11 8
ELECTORAL VOTES WINNER

Romney Romney Romney Romney Romney Romney Romney Romney Romney Romney Romney Romney Romney Romney Romney Romney
Larry Sabato RealClear Politics N.Y. Times Wash. Post USA Today Fox News CNN The AP

Obama McCain
2008

Bush Bush
2004

Bush Bush
2000

POLLS CLOSE AT

7 P.M.
Florida* Georgia South Carolina Vermont Virginia

Look for Mitt Romney to take Florida and probably Virginia, too. But dont expect either state to be called until much later and perhaps well into Wednesday.

29 16 9 3 13
ELECTORAL VOTES WINNER

Romney TOSSUP TOSSUP TOSSUP TOSSUP TOSSUP TOSSUP TOSSUP Romney Romney Romney Romney Romney Romney Romney Romney Romney Romney Romney Romney Romney Romney Romney Romney Obama Obama Obama Obama Obama Obama Obama Obama TOSSUP TOSSUP TOSSUP TOSSUP TOSSUP TOSSUP TOSSUP TOSSUP
Larry Sabato RealClear Politics N.Y. Times Wash. Post USA Today Fox News CNN The AP

Obama McCain McCain Obama Obama


2008

Bush Bush Bush Kerry Bush


2004

Bush Bush Bush Gore Bush


2000

POLLS CLOSE AT
Is Ohio critical? Whoever has won the state in the past 12 elections won the election.

7:30 P.M.
North Carolina Ohio West Virginia

15 18 5
ELECTORAL VOTES WINNER

Romney Romney Romney Romney Romney Romney Romney Romney Obama TOSSUP TOSSUP TOSSUP TOSSUP TOSSUP TOSSUP Obama Romney Romney Romney Romney Romney Romney Romney Romney
Larry Sabato RealClear Politics N.Y. Times Wash. Post USA Today Fox News CNN The AP

Obama Obama McCain


2008

Bush Bush Bush


2004

Bush Bush Bush


2000

POLLS CLOSE AT

8 P.M.
Alabama Connecticut Delaware

9 7 3 3 20 4 10 11 16 6 10 4 14 7 20 4 11 38 3
ELECTORAL VOTES WINNER

Romney Romney Romney Romney Romney Romney Romney Romney Obama Obama Obama Obama Obama Obama Obama Obama Obama Obama Obama Obama Obama Obama Obama Obama Obama Obama Obama Obama Obama Obama Obama Obama Obama Obama Obama Obama Obama Obama Obama Obama Obama Obama Obama Obama Obama Obama Obama Obama Obama Obama Obama Obama Obama Obama Obama Obama Obama Obama Obama Obama Obama Obama Obama Obama Obama TOSSUP Obama Obama TOSSUP TOSSUP Obama Obama Romney Romney Romney Romney Romney Romney Romney Romney Romney Romney Romney Romney Romney Romney Romney Romney TOSSUP TOSSUP TOSSUP TOSSUP TOSSUP TOSSUP TOSSUP TOSSUP Obama Obama Obama Obama Obama Obama Obama Obama Romney Romney Romney Romney Romney Romney Romney Romney Obama TOSSUP Obama Obama TOSSUP TOSSUP Obama Obama Obama Obama Obama Obama Obama Obama Obama Obama Romney Romney Romney Romney Romney Romney Romney Romney Romney Romney Romney Romney Romney Romney Romney Romney Romney Romney Romney Romney Romney Romney Romney Romney
Larry Sabato RealClear Politics N.Y. Times Wash. Post USA Today Fox News CNN The AP

McCain Obama Obama Obama Obama Obama Obama Obama Obama McCain McCain Obama Obama McCain Obama Obama McCain McCain McCain
2008

Bush Kerry Kerry Kerry Kerry Kerry Kerry Kerry Kerry Bush Bush Kerry Kerry Bush Kerry Bush Bush Bush Bush
2004

Bush Gore Gore Gore Gore Gore Gore Gore Gore Bush Bush Bush Gore Bush Gore Bush Bush Bush Bush
2000

By this time, well have an idea of how the night is going. Are networks calling states as soon as polls close? That means voters are behaving as expected. Swing states like Ohio and Florida are notorious for last-minute drama, however. Ohio wasnt settled until Wednesday morning in 2004. And you remember what happened in Florida in 2000. The biggest question marks at 8 p.m. are Michigan and Pennsylvania. The latest polls suggest President Obama will take both. The outcome in solid-red Texas and solid-blue Illinois have never been in doubt.

Dist. of Columbia Illinois Maine Maryland Massachusetts Michigan* Mississippi Missouri New Hampshire* New Jersey Oklahoma Pennsylvania Rhode Island Tennessee Texas* Wyoming

POLLS CLOSE AT POLLS CLOSE AT


Obama will need a win in either Colorado or Wisconsin if he hopes to hold off a late challenge by Romney. Obama has the slimmest of leads in polls in Paul Ryans home state of Wisconsin, but Colorado traditionally a red state is just too close to call. Either state could go either way.

8:30 P.M.
Arkansas

6
ELECTORAL VOTES WINNER

Romney Romney Romney Romney Romney Romney Romney Romney


Larry Sabato RealClear Politics N.Y. Times Wash. Post USA Today Fox News CNN The AP

McCain
2008

Bush
2004

Bush
2000

9 P.M.
Arizona Colorado Kansas* Louisiana Minnesota Nebraska New Mexico New York South Dakota Wisconsin

11 9 6 8 10 5 5 29 3 10
ELECTORAL VOTES WINNER

Romney Romney Romney Romney Romney TOSSUP Romney Romney TOSSUP TOSSUP TOSSUP TOSSUP TOSSUP TOSSUP TOSSUP TOSSUP Romney Romney Romney Romney Romney Romney Romney Romney Romney Romney Romney Romney Romney Romney Romney Romney Obama Obama Obama Obama Obama TOSSUP Obama Obama Romney Romney Romney Romney Romney Romney Romney Romney Obama Obama Obama Obama TOSSUP Obama Obama Obama Obama Obama Obama Obama Obama Obama Obama Obama Romney Romney Romney Romney Romney Romney Romney Romney TOSSUP TOSSUP TOSSUP TOSSUP TOSSUP TOSSUP TOSSUP Obama
Larry Sabato RealClear Politics N.Y. Times Wash. Post USA Today Fox News CNN The AP

McCain Obama McCain McCain Obama McCain Obama Obama McCain Obama
2008

Bush Bush Bush Bush Kerry Bush Bush Kerry Bush Kerry
2004

Bush Bush Bush Bush Gore Bush Gore Gore Bush Gore
2000

POLLS CLOSE AT
Two more swing states close at 10 p.m.: Iowa and Nevada. Obamas polling lead in both is smaller than the margin of error. These states might not be called until the wee hours of Wednesday.

10 P.M.
Idaho* Iowa Montana Nevada North Dakota* Utah

4 6 3 6 3 6
ELECTORAL VOTES WINNER

Romney Romney Romney Romney Romney Romney Romney Romney TOSSUP TOSSUP TOSSUP TOSSUP TOSSUP TOSSUP TOSSUP Obama Romney Romney Romney Romney Romney Romney Romney Romney Obama TOSSUP Obama TOSSUP TOSSUP TOSSUP TOSSUP Obama Romney Romney Romney Romney Romney Romney Romney Romney Romney Romney Romney Romney Romney Romney Romney Romney
Larry Sabato RealClear Politics N.Y. Times Wash. Post USA Today Fox News CNN The AP

McCain Obama McCain Obama McCain McCain


2008

Bush Bush Bush Bush Bush Bush


2004

Bush Gore Bush Bush Bush Bush


2000

POLLS CLOSE AT

11 P.M.
California Hawaii Oregon Washington

By this time, polls have closed in all the swing states. Be on the lookout to ll in the holes in this chart as the count goes into the night.

55 4 7 12
ELECTORAL VOTES WINNER

Obama Obama Obama Obama Obama Obama Obama Obama Obama Obama Obama Obama Obama Obama Obama Obama Obama Obama Obama Obama Obama TOSSUP Obama Obama Obama Obama Obama Obama Obama Obama Obama Obama
Larry Sabato Larry Sabato RealClear Politics RealClear Politics N.Y. Times Wash. Post USA Today Fox News CNN The AP

Obama Obama Obama Obama


2008

Kerry Kerry Kerry Kerry


2004

Gore Gore Gore Gore


2000

POLLS CLOSE AT

MIDNIGHT
Alaska

Romney Romney Romney Romney Romney Romney Romney Romney


N.Y. Times Wash. Post USA Today Fox News CNN The AP

McCain

Bush

Bush

TOTAL ELECTORAL VOTES NEEDED TO WIN: 270


Barack Obama
*Polls in some states close earlier or later than shown. States are listed here at the earliest times networks are likely to call a winner.

261 235 42

201 206 131

243 206 89

237 206 95

196 206 136

184 195 159

237 206 95

277 205 56

NOTES: Media predictions are as of 3 p.m. Thursday. Larry Sabato is the director of the University of Virginias Center for Politics and a noted Electoral College expert. Fox News predictions are those of noted analyst Karl Rove. SOURCES: TheGreenPapers.com, Federal Election Commission, National Archives and Records Administration, University of Virginias Center for Politics, New York Times, Washington Post, USA Today, Fox News, CNN, Associated Press, RealClearPolitics.com CHARLES APPLE/Special to the Roanoke Times

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