Tuesday, November 08, 2016

Clinton, Trump Win States - But No Battlegrounds Yet
 John Bacon
8:33 p.m. EST November 8, 2016

Republican presidential hopeful Donald Trump was the projected winner in seven early states while Democrat Hillary Clinton claimed five states and the District of Columbia as polls began closing Tuesday across the nation in the historic campaign to elect the nation's 45th president.

Polling places across battleground states of Florida, Georgia, Ohio, Pennsylvania and Virginia also were closing as the arduous and bitterly fought campaign raced to a close. Polling places in North Carolina, another swing state, were mostly closed although some precincts were being kept open due to computer glitches.

The lead was on a see-saw and too close to call in Florida, perhaps the night's biggest prize, with about 90% of the votes tallied.

Trump claimed early victories in Alabama, West Virginia, Kentucky, Oklahoma, South Carolina, Tennessee and Indiana. Indiana is a historically red state and home to Trump's running mate, Gov. Mike Pence.

"Thank you Indiana for making our state first on the board to vote to Make America Great Again! @realDonaldTrump," Pence tweeted.

Clinton was quickly projected the winner in Maryland, Massachusetts, Delaware, New Jersey, Vermont and D.C. Her running mate, Sen. Tim Kaine, is from swing Virginia, which was not immediately called.

Trump and Clinton mostly shunned public appearances as the day wore on, although Trump conducted radio interviews and their social media accounts were far from silent.

"Don't let up, keep getting out to vote - this election is FAR FROM OVER! We are doing well but there is much time left. GO FLORIDA!," tweeted Trump, who, aides say, handles his own Twitter account.

Clinton's account chimed in with "Our neighbors in battleground states need your help. Make calls to remind Hillary supporters to go vote."

Voters faced long lines at many polling places but no major impediments, even as an estimated 90 million Americans filed through schools, churches, public libraries, civic centers and grocery stores to cast ballots. Fears of voting problems pushed voting rights advocates, conservative watchdogs and even international observers to monitor voting.

When Utah, a red state, reported problems, Trump pounced, tweeting "Just out according to @CNN: "Utah officials report voting machine problems across entire country."

Not so, CNN's Brian Stelter tweeted: "No. Utah officials reported machine problems across one entire COUNTY, not the entire COUNTRY."

Voters in several states had complained of long waits and, on occasion, supply disruptions and technical glitches, from reliably blue Massachusetts to the battleground states of Virginia, Ohio, North Carolina and Michigan.

In California, violence forced a lock-down of two polling places. Los Angeles County Registrar-Recorder/County Clerk Dean Logan tweeted that voters in Azusa should seek alternate polling sites after a shooting affected two voting locations, including an elementary school. A gunman shot several people, killing one, and scattered would-be voters, police said.

Across the nation, surveys of voters leaving their polling places revealed an electorate more diverse, more educated and more upset than four years ago. The surveys also showed that black and Hispanic voters continued to grow as a percentage of the electorate, while the white vote slipped slightly.

The surveys, from National Election Pool Survey by Edison Research, also showed nearly a quarter of Americans described themselves as “angry” about the way government is functioning. Those people were at the core of Trump’s support. In 2012, about a fifth of voters described their feelings toward the Obama administration as “anger.”

The controversy over Trump's comments about women notwithstanding, the “gender gap” appears to be comparable to what voters reported in both 2012 and 2008 — female voters were more likely to support Clinton and male voters were more likely to support Trump. And while men favored Trump, his numbers appeared to be little changed from Mitt Romney's in 2012.

It was not immediately clear where turnout stood compared to four years ago. In battleground Ohio, the state's elections office said turnout appeared to be robust, with relatively few problems. Matthew McClellan, a spokesman for Secretary of State Jon Husted, said it was too soon to say if Tuesday's turnout would break records.

Voters in the Dayton and Columbus areas encountered technical problems that slowed voting and lengthened lines earlier in the day.

The problems in Durham County, N.C., included at least one precinct running out of paper authorization-to-vote forms for about 90 minutes, prompting a few voters to leave. A county spokeswoman said no voters were turned away. The forms were later replenished.

Durham County is using paper poll books instead of electronic check-in because at least five precincts had technical issues, .

Contributing: Stephen Reilly, Greg Toppo

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