Nov. 2, 2012, midnight
Voters in the United States will elect their President on Tuesday November 6th, 2012. Democratic Party candidate President Barack OBAMA, first elected in 2008, will compete against Republican Party challenger Mitt ROMNEY for his second term as president. The U.S. electoral system is composed of single member districts, which feed into a two-party system. The president is indirectly elected through the Electoral College. Although voters in this system cast ballots for their preferred candidate, their vote actually goes to party or state-appointed electors in the state who subsequently cast their state’s votes in the Electoral College.
If a candidate wins a majority of votes in a state, they win the entire state. Additionally, a candidate must receive over 270 electoral votes to win the election. Analysts show that the electoral battleground is significantly boiling down to candidates competing for states populated with undecided voters, or swing states. The largest (and therefore most crucial) of these states include Florida, Ohio, and Virginia. In the weeks leading up to Election Day, polls show OBAMA and ROMNEY neck-to-neck in the national popular vote, and OBAMA leading by a few percentage points in the Electoral College. Ultimately, the biggest tossup will be whether the winner of the national popular vote will win the Electoral College. With ROMNEY and OBAMA almost tied in the national popular vote, this could be a possibility if OBAMA wins the electoral vote. With early voting measures in place across several states, media reports suggest that approximately 19 million Americans have already voted, or 15 percent of the electorate. Both OBAMA and ROMNEY campaigns are urging supporters to vote early, hoping early signs of success will encourage their bases to vote for them on Election Day. Yet it remains unclear whether early voting has an impact on swing states.