If it is very, very close, then we will be waiting until they start counting these ballots on Nov. 17. And there will be continued legal fights over which of the various types of ballots should be counted---such as ballots where voters may have put the wrong info on the outside of the envelope. It would be very ugly.
There are different types of election crimes which occur. Absentee ballot fraud is relatively rare, but we see cases each year. Election officials stealing elections sometimes happens. The kind of fraud which almost never happens is impersonation fraud---where someone walks into the polls and claims to be someone else. That's the kind of fraud which a voter id law prevents. So state voter id is aimed at a mostly non-existent problem. I cover the fight over this in my new book, The Voting Wars.
Problems with long lines, fights over who can observe at the polling place, incorrectly asking or not asking for voter id, people being told to cast provisional ballots who don't have to, machine breakdowns---really anything which can matter in a very close election.
We have a patchwork on election day---not a single election run by a uniform, nonpartisan election administrator, but something like 10,000 elections. Some are understaffed and inadequately trained. Plus we have partisans running our elections.
We need to fundamentally rethink our approach to federal elections.
DENVER -- When President Obama held his final campaign rally in Colorado on Sunday night, he was forced to backpedal from some of the usual pre-election rhetoric, telling the crowd, "In two days, everybody in the country has a choice to make. You've already made a choice, many of you..." And it's likely that many in the crowd had already voted. Fifty-one percent of Colorado's registered voters cast ballots before Election Day, either early or through the mail. Among those early ballots, 32,963 more came from Republicans than Democrats, about a 2 percent lead. But it's unaffiliated voters, who've cast 29 percent of the ballots so far, who will finally determine the outcome of the election in Colorado.
There's no way to know right now what's going on there. At least I cannot tell. Some things are ok in polling places while others are not. I'll be following this closely to see what develops.
The future of campaign finance law, at least with the current Supreme Court, is that there will be fewer and fewer limits put on money in politics. The best we can do is enhanced disclosure, which the Supreme Court has blessed but which Congress has not put in place.
BOISE, Idaho -- Lines are longer than usual in Idaho so far, but reports from around the state are that they are moving quickly.
Though the top of the ballot is thin this year -- none of Idaho's statewide seats are up -- Secretary of State Ben Ysursa expects as many as 78 percent of registered voters to turn out, for two main reasons: Mitt Romney, who has visited the state many times to raise money and who spent some time in a relative's Idaho ranch as a youth, and a slate of controversial education reform propositions that have attracted more than $1 million in spending on both sides (considered a lot in a state with just 1.5 million residents).
Idaho has two congressional seats, both held by Republicans, who traditionally have an extra edge here in presidential election years.
Seven-term Rep. Mike Simpson, who has won comfortably since his first race, faces Democratic state Sen. Nicole LeFavour, who has a core of strong support in the Boise area but faces tougher crowds in more conservative southern and eastern Idaho. Outspoken freshman Republican Rep. Raul Labrador, a tea party favorite who has stood up to both President Obama and Speaker John Boehner, faces a newcomer: former NFL wide receiver Jimmy Farris.
The Idaho Legislature will remain one of the most Republican in the nation, but there are a few key races in Boise and elsewhere -- the first since the redistricting caused by the 2010 Census.
Updates from the Gem State will come from Idaho Public Television's Greg Hahn, the host and producer of Idaho Reports, a weekly show devoted to the Legislature, state politics and other statewide issues.
I don't see that happening, even if Romney wins the popular vote but loses in the electoral college. Small states, Republicans, and others like the electoral college.
Okay folks, last question for Rick and then we'll pick up with Peter Brown with Quinnipiac polling.
Columbia, S.C. -- Long lines are the norm in sunny Columbia, S. C. Some precincts complaining of not enough voting machines or machines that are broken. Several hundred of us waited patiently in line at Brennen Elementary School. Nice way to catch up with your neighbors!
It is not secure and I normally don't like it except for emergencies. Here, it is better than disenfranchising voters, but we are already are hearing problems voters are having returning these ballots by email.
Our next guest is Peter Brown, assistant director of the Quinnipiac University Polling Institute, and chief spokesman for the institute's polls in the swing states of Florida, Virginia and Ohio. Quinnipiac also has polled in the past month in Connecticut, New Jersey, Pennsylvania, Colorado and Wisconsin.
In general, you can trust them. They're accurate, generally within the margin error with 95 percent confidence. But the margin of error is often the difference between winning and losing. A poll with a thousand respondents is plus or minus three points for each side of the election. For the sake of argument a poll finds that the race is 45-45. That's the most likely result. But there's a three percent margin of error on each candidate, so each could be as high as 48 or as low as 42. So it could be 48-42 either way.
NEW YORK CITY -- And so it begins! At the firehouse in Nesconset, N.Y. , locals lined up to vote before work, coffee in hand. Almost all of Nesconset's power has been restored and gas has become less scarce, so this Monday, everyone could return to work. This was my first time voting for the president and when I put my ballot into the machine it was liberating. Now I am off to Stony Brook University to see what voting will be like there. Did student residents care enough to fill out absentee ballots? Did commuter students get the chance to vote before class or are certain polling places washed away? We will find out. Reported by Philly Bubarbais.