Opening Act: The Vote

COLUMBUS, Ohio – I’m spending election day and night in the nation’s temporary capital. The fun piece to write, and re-write, is the one that asks whether a horrifying recount freezes the election in place for weeks. Ohio won’t count its provisional ballots, cast by voters who say they’re legit but don’t appear on the precinct list, until November 17. Not to jinx it, but there’s no great reason to be worried. Ohio only recounts if the final margin is below 0.25 percent. Assuming normal turnout, that would be around 15,000 votes; if the polls are right, the winner should break that easily. Up to 250,000 provisionals could be cast, but both parties expect that vote to break for the Democrats, as it has in every election. So, unlikely that a close race with Romney down by 15,000 or so would be reversed by provisionals.

HuffPo does your homework and lists poll closing times. How the hell do people vote in Indiana?

An otherwise fun Jeremy Peters piece about cable news anger veers off the track here:

In her ad, Rachel Maddow breathlessly decodes the logic behind the push to overhaul state voting laws. “The idea is to shrink the electorate,” she says, “so a smaller number of people get to decide what happens to all of us.” Such stridency has put NBC News journalists who cover Republicans in awkward and compromised positions, several people who work for the network said.

That’s strident? Then why have courts knocked back these hastily-passed voting laws on the grounds that they’d shrink the electorate?

Businessweek has an informative piece about Vigo County, Indiana, which almost always breaks for the winner, although the Obama turnout machine gave it a 2008 result (57-41) that can’t be repeated this time. The piece also includes this winning quote-descriptor combo:

It’s “classic Middle America,” said [Evan] Bayh, now a partner at McGuireWoods LLP in Washington.

And Ari Berman, who’s worth following all day, previews the Election Protection effort by liberals. It’s gotten far less ink than the conservative “True the Vote” campaign.