The Clinton Herald, Clinton, Iowa

2012 Election Coverage

November 5, 2012

8 questions about the presidential election

Q: Will there be a winner on election night?

A: There is a decent chance that by the time most Americans wake up on Wednesday morning, the seemingly endless campaign will finally have ended. But all the elements are in place for a Florida-style donnybrook of recounts, lawsuits and partisan intrigue. Pivotal Ohio is a tossup in many polls and at the center of most overtime scenarios. State law provides for an automatic recount if the margin separating the candidates is within one-quarter of a percent of the total votes cast. But before any recount begins, each of the 88 county election boards has until Nov. 27 to certify results and submit them to Secretary of State Jon Husted. Unless he decides to expedite the process, a recount would be unlikely to begin before early December. The state has a history of Election Day troubles, and this year could be a logistical nightmare. Husted decided to have absentee-ballot applications mailed to 7 million registered voters. So far, about 350,000 residents who requested the ballots have yet to mail them back. If they decide instead to vote in person on Tuesday, they must use provisional ballots — a precaution against double voting. Officials could be inundated with provisional ballots, which must be evaluated individually. At the center of it all is Husted, a Republican who has drawn criticism from Democrats for his attempts to limit early voting. Under Ohio law, the secretary of state is given unusually broad power over elections, and Husted could play a critical role in determining the next president.

Q: How much of an issue could voter fraud be?

A: Almost none — at least at the polls this week. While Republicans and grassroots "ballot integrity" groups contend that many illegal votes go undetected, there is scant evidence to support the claim. An analysis of more than 2,000 alleged cases of voter fraud over the past 12 years by News21, the Carnegie-Knight investigative reporting project, found the rate of actual wrongdoing "infinitesimal." Instances of voter impersonation, which prompted many states to debate or enact tough ID laws, were "virtually non-existent," News21 reported. Many purported cases of fraud turn out to be the result of mistakes by election officials. "The idea that impersonation fraud could be done on a large enough scale to affect the outcome of any major race, without detection by government officials, is ludicrous," Richard Hasen, a law professor at the University of California at Irvine, wrote in his new book, "The Voting Wars." Voter registration, however, has been a source of abuse and scandal. In 2008, a registration drive by the community organizing group ACORN produced an estimated 400,000 incorrect, duplicated or fraudulent submissions with false signatures. This year, the Republican National Committee said it cut ties with organizer Nathan Sproul after dozens of suspect registration forms were discovered by Florida officials.

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2012 Election Coverage
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    Democrat Rep. Dave Loebsack has been elected to a fourth term representing southeastern Iowa’s 2nd Congressional District.

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  • 29d744e862f22d1f200f6a706700f1e3.jpg GOP renews control of House

    Republicans recaptured control of the House early today, besting Democrats in a billion-dollar battle and ensuring that the chamber will be dominated by their conservative agenda.

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  • Screen shot 2012-11-07 at 1.21.25 AM.png VIDEO: Obama in victory speech says 'best is yet to come'

    In his victory speech after being declared the projected winner over Gov. Mitt Romney, President Barack Obama thanked his supporters and said we are "an American family, we rise and fall together as one nation, as one people."

    November 7, 2012 1 Photo

  • 988dee58638e301f200f6a7067006eba.jpg Obama tapped for 2nd term

    A triumphant President Barack Obama heralded his re-election with a call to action early today, telling Americans that their citizenship doesn’t end with their vote and declaring that the “best is yet to come.”

    November 7, 2012 1 Photo

  • Screen shot 2012-11-07 at 12.33.47 AM.png VIDEO: Romney concedes election

    In his concession speech, Gov. Mitt Romney congratulated the President and his supporters.

    November 7, 2012 1 Photo

  • a625192462972b1f200f6a706700bafb.jpg Democrats maintain control of Senate

    In West Virginia, Democratic Sen. Joe Manchin won a full term even though his state went heavily for Republican presidential nominee Mitt Romney.

    November 7, 2012 1 Photo

  • Obama carries Iowa, where economy was top issue

    President Barack Obama carried Iowa on Tuesday as voters said the economy isn't good, isn't necessarily getting better, but isn't Obama's fault, according to preliminary results from exit polling for The Associated Press.

    November 7, 2012

  • 16269f604b481f1f200f6a7067000374.jpg Iowa voters pick Obama in presidential election

    Democrat President Barack Obama won the battleground state of Iowa Tuesday, a hard-fought victory in the state he credits with launching his presidency four years ago.

    November 7, 2012 1 Photo

  • ELECT624.jpg Same president faced with reshaping new landscape

    After a long and arduous campaign, a newly reelected President Barack Obama confronts his next challenge: binding together a deeply divided nation and turning from campaigning to governing.

    November 6, 2012 1 Photo

  • money-grungy.jpg 'Fiscal cliff' clock starts as election fades to background

    After an election focused heavily on the economy and the soaring national debt, Washington will immediately turn to a year-end debate that has the potential to dramatically affect both: the looming "fiscal cliff."

    November 6, 2012 1 Photo

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