U.S. Sen. Bob Casey declares victory, Freed concedes Pa. AG race
Polls have closed in Pennsylvania, New Jersey and Delaware, with Barack Obama projected to have won all three. Philadelphia voters reported problems with names missing form rolls, misinformation about voter ID. And New Jersey Shore voters found themselves redirected to consolidated voting sites as the state copes with cleanup from superstorm Sandy.
Now, we move onto the results portion of the election season.
U.S. Rep. Chaka Fattah was on his way to a watch party on City Line Avenue, where he'll meet up with state Sens. Anthony Williams and Vincent Hughes, City Council President Darrell Clarke, City Councilwomen Cindy Bass and Blondell Reynolds Brown, among others.
He spoke to NewsWorks' Aaron Moselle about his resounding victory and upcoming tenth term in the U.S. House.
"The results of my race are probably not a surprise to anyone in the district, but it's obviously a tremendous honor," he said. "I'm in the prime of my career and I've got a lot of work to do."
He said priorities going forward include retaining and growing manufacturing, neuroscience and garnering federal support for coops and employee-owned businesses.
As he mentioned earlier in the day, he will announce an aggressive effort focused on issues related to poverty in the city.
"This is one of the challenges that we face locally that's not talked about," said Fattah.
With 78 percent of the vote counted, Democrat Kathleen Kane leads Republican David Freed in the state Attorney General's race. The numbers from the Department of State's website: Kane (59 percent); Freed (38.6 percent).
Freed is said to be currently conceding the race to Kane.
NewsWorks' Zack Seward reports that with 70 percent of districts reporting statewide, Republican incumbent U.S. Rep. Jim Gerlach is leading in each of the four counties in Pennsylvania's 6th Congressional district. Gerlach has already spoken to his supporters. Challenger Manan Trivedi is holding out until more results are in.
With nearly 96 percent of the vote counted, U.S. Rep. Bob Brady leads Republican challenger John Featherman by more than 72 percent (163,839-26,137).
Featherman told NewsWorks Azusa Uchikura that he feels he did better than expected.
"We knew it was going to be a very hard race, an uphill battle, for us to win. But we tried very hard," said Featherman. "I had a wonderful experience, I met so many voters. It's the beginning, it's not the end. When you run as a Republican in Philadelphia you don't win the first time.
"I guarantee you, John Featherman will be back. Like the terminator said, 'I'll be back.'"
Incumbent U.S. Rep. Chaka Fattah has garnered more than 91 percent of the vote in the second congressional district. Independent challenger James Foster, a newspaper publisher in Germantown, said, "It looks like Democrats just pulled one big lever because there was a lot of pressure for them to do that."
He said the results were "not unexpected."
"No sour grapes here," Foster said Thursday night. "I did this completely on the basis that I felt the city was so corrupt, and that the corruption was entrenched in the bones of the system, that the only way for it for be dealt with was for an independent to bring it to the surface."
When asked if he would take another run for Congress, Foster said, "If I'm still living in Philadelphia at that time, I probably would."
With 56 percent of the vote counted in the state Attorney General's race, Democrat Kathleen Kane leads Republican David Freed. Kane has 61.2 percent to Freed's 36.4 percent, according to the Department of State's website.
In the presidential race, Romney is projected to win Utah and Montana while Iowa and Nevada are too close to call.
This just in from NewsWorks' Mark Eichmann in Delaware:
Gov. Jack Markell and every other Democrat running on the statewide ticket won easy victories.
President Obama and Delaware's own Vice President Joe Biden also won the First State, making it a clean sweep for Democrats and cementing Delaware's status as a blue state.
Gov. Markell earned his second term in office over Republican Jeff Cragg.
Markell's de facto running mate, Lt. Governor Matt Denn, also easily defeated his Republican opponent Sher Valenzuel.
Delaware's senior U.S. Sen. Tom Carper will serve a third term after easily defeating his Republican challenger Kevin Wade. Independent candidate Alex Pires had little to show for his caustic campaign against Carper.
U.S. Rep. Jim Gerlach (R) spoke to his supporters, thanking them for all their support in a district which covers Chester County and beyond. Returns aren't in yet, but everyone is pretty confident he will win. Most people are leaving, according to Susan Phillips.
Of presidential-race note: Colorado, Virginia, North Carolina, Ohio and Florida are all still too close to call.
NBC News calls New Hampshire, which was positioned of somewhat of a battleground state, for Barack Obama.
Philadelphia vote totals so far (with 65.26 percent counted):
Obama: 372,003 (83.9 percent)
Romney: 67,733 (15.2 percent)
Also, with just over 56 percent of the vote counted, incumbent U.S. Rep. Chaka Fattah is leading challengers Robert Allen Mansfield (Republican) and James Foster (Independent) with 92 percent of the vote.
Wisconsin has just been called for Obama. Coupled with Massachusetts, projections now show that the GOP ticket held neither Mitt Romney nor Paul Ryan's home states.
NBC News reports that an Ohio win for Obama means a national loss for Romney.
NewsWorks' Elizabeth Fiedler checks in from Bucks County with this vignette: a "gasp went up from the crowd just a few minutes ago when Fox news projected Obama winner in PA."
From NewsWorks' Zack Seward, in Reading, Pa." "Results slowly trickling in in PA-06. No sign yet of Democratic challenger Manan Trivedi here at the Liberty Tap Room in Reading. Trivedi lost handily to Republican incumbent Jim Gerlach in 2010. The 2012 rematch leans Gerlach, but Trivedi's campaign manager says high turnout in Chester County may boost the Democrat's chances."
NewsWorks reader John Adams emailed in with this question: "Why do the networks call the winner of a state with so few votes in?"
Dave Davies responds: "The networks pay for a nationwide service that polls voters in selected locations that they think will be a reliable predictor of the outcome in a state. The projections have generally been accurate, though in 2000 networks projected a winner of Florida then backed away after further returns came in."
Barack Obama has won Pennsylvania and its 20 electoral votes, according to NBC News projections. Much pressure on Mitt Romney to win Ohio, where Obama currently holds a lead.
NBC News has just called New Jersey for Barack Obama. Also, U.S. Sen. Bob Menendez has fended off a challenge from Joe Kyrillos.
According to NewsWorks editor Alan Tu, CBS News is projecting that Menendez has defeated his Republican challenger Joe Kyrillos, but the vote count is far from finished. With just 6 percent of the precincts, Menendez led 60 percent to 38.
NBC has also called the U.S. Senate race in Pennsylvania for incumbent Bob Casey.
Polls have just closed in 14 states. Colorado, Wisconsin, Arizona and Minnesota are still too early to call, per NBC News. Obama projected to win New York, New Mexico and Michigan. Romney projected to win both Dakotas, Wyoming, Kansas, Nebraska, Mississippi and Texas.
Per Philadelphia County election results: With 13.7 percent of Philadelphia's votes counted, Barack Obama leads Mitt Romney by 70 percent of the votes counted (70,043-12,406). U.S. Sen. Bob Casey leads challenger Tom Smith by a similar margin in the city.
According to the Pennsylvania Department of State, Obama leads Romney 75 percent to 24 percent with just 3.92 percent of the vote counted.
Virginia, North Carolina, Ohio and Florida remain too close to call, according to NBC News, which still has not called New Jersey for Obama as other news agencies have.
ABC News, CBS News, Fox News and Bloomberg News have projected that Barack Obama will win the state of New Jersey. (NBC News has not yet done so). If those projections hold, that gives the incumbent two of the three states in NewsWorks coverage area. Pennsylvania has still not yet been called.
Arkansas has been put into the Romney column.
Several states have been already been projected in the presidential race.
Romney: Indiana, Kentucky, West Virginia, Tennessee, Mississippi, Alabama, Georgia, Oklahoma and South Carolina. (82 electoral votes)
Obama: Maine, Vermont, Massachusetts, Rhode Island, Illinois, Maryland, Washington D.C. and Delaware. (64 electoral votes)
No surprises here.
NBC News has declared Pennsylvania too early to call. The same goes for Florida and New Hampshire.
However, it has already put Delaware in the Obama column along with Connecticut, Washington D.C., Maryland, Rhode Island, Massachusetts and the home state of Illinois.
The polls are now closed in Pennsylvania, New Jersey and Delaware.
According to Kimberly Haas of NewsWorks, Amy Sweeney, Democratic Committeewoman for the 21st Division of the 5th Ward in Northern Liberties, said that at 7:30 p.m., they had had 900 of 1,400 registered voters turn out (65 percent).
NBC News is calling Indiana, Kentucky, South Carolina and West Virginia for Mitt Romney and Vermont for Barack Obama.
Ohio, Virginia and North Carolina are too close to call.
As Delaware voters head to the polls, several candidates are glad the campaigns are over.
While the polls will be open in Delaware through 8 p.m., Delaware Democrats are feeling confident that this blue state will stay that way. First-term Congressman John Carney says strong turnout for the Presidential election will benefit him and other Democratic candidates.
"I think people are really going to come out and vote, and that will favor the Democrats in Delaware with the registration numbers being what they are today."
Vice President Joe Biden cast his ballot early this morning at the traditional Biden family voting spot, AI DuPont High School in Greenville. After voting, Biden told reporters, "This is the eighth time I've run statewide in the state of Delaware, and it's always a kick."
He encouraged voters who may have to wait to vote to stick it out. "People are standing in line a lot of places, and I urge them to stand in line as long as you have to in order to vote." When asked if this was the last time he would vote for himself as a candidate, Biden replied, "No, I don't think so."
After voting in Wilmington, Biden jumped on a plane and made a campaign appearance in the battleground state of Ohio. After that event, he is expected to join President Obama tonight in Chicago.
For Delaware's senior U.S. Senator Tom Carper, he's looking forward to the end of the day which marks the end of a rough campaign. "The time it's election day, I would accept any outcome just to have it over. I felt that way 13 times, I feel that way again. Glad the campaign is over, it's been a hard campaign." Carper says he's hopeful that he'll be able to serve the people of Delaware in the Senate "for a while longer."
4:20 p.m. — Voter ID problems in Delaware County
NewsWorks reader Walter High offers a report of problems at Delaware County polls with the misstatement of ID requirements for first-time voters. (See 11:30 a.m. post further down for a similar earlier report from Strath Haven High School).
"My wife and I are new residents," said High, a resident of Wayne, Pa., and first-time voter. "At our polling place [Wayne Presbyterian Church], we were told we must show photo ID to vote. Having just read the law, I offered recent utility bills and voter registration form in lieu of a photo ID. They told me that would not suffice. They did allow us to vote, once we showed them the law. But they noted that the county board had told them to use provisional ballots in earlier incidents."
Pennsylvania's Delaware County Election Bureau offerd conflicting responses to the incident.
The first person who answered the phone said first-time voters must present photo identification. That's wrong. When we questioned that policy, our call was passed along to the voter registration office. There, we got the right answer:
"If you do not have a photo ID, you can use a non-photo identification that includes your name and address."
This includes documents such as a current utility bill or paycheck.
It's still unclear what information poll workers in Delaware County were given, and if some first-time voters — without photo identification — were required to use a provisional ballot today. We've asked for clarification from the folks in the Delaware County's public relations department, and we're waiting to hear back.
"My concern of course it that the county has it wrong and that there are provisional ballots being cast that don't need to be," said High. "And more importantly, if they have been cast, they should be counted whether or not people make the effort to show up with ID at a later date."
NewsWorks Editor Brian Hickey talked with NAACP President Benjamin Jealous today, who says NAACP officials have photos of Philly polling places with misleading "show ID" signs posted.
"We're seeing more voter intimidation than four years ago," said Jealous. "[This] fight [is] so important as it pits those who believe in democracy's promise vs. those who exploit its worst tradition: disenfranchisement."
Hickey also talked with Mayor Michael Nutter at Relish in West Oak Lane this afternoon about the long lines at the polls.
"I've seen people wait in long lines for the lottery, especially when the Powerball is a big prize," Mayor Nutter said. "[The] long line is worth it."
At Journey's Way in Roxborough, NewsWorks contributor Bas Slabbers reports that 264 of the 637 registered voters in the 21st Ward's 27th Division have voted so far.
1:35 p.m. — Court rulings on Phila. polling places
Common Pleas Judge John M. Younge has ordered that a mural depicting President Barack Obama at a Philadelphia polling place be covered up in its entirety.
Voting booths are set up directly in front of the mural at Franklin School in the city's 35th Ward. Linda A. Kerns, of the Pennsylvania State Republican Committee submitted the petition.
NewsWorks' Brian Hickey, who's all over the map today checking out election doings, reports that U.S. Rep. Chaka Fattah, never a fan of Pennsylvania's voter ID law, proved it today:
"Fattah did not bring ID when he voted today. Was told he'd need to in future elections. When I asked him about it after voting, he argued that having voted for Presidents Carter, Clinton and Obama in 'a place where the neighbors know you,' and signing a book stating you are who you say you are 'should be sufficient.'"
"It's looking like a messy election."
That's from Zack Stalberg, President and CEO of the Committee of Seventy, the city election watchdog.
Here's the Committee's first update on the day, based on reports from its volunteers on the phones and at the polls.
* Election Court is dealing with a host of minority (Republican) inspectors being denied access to their polling places in Philadelphia. (WHYY/NewsWorks' Benjamin Herold reports this was an issue at the Guerin Recreation Center polling place (Ward 48, Division 13) in South Philly.
* The New Black Panthers reportedly showed up, though no one can find them now. Reports were that they were outside a polling place at 11th and Germantown streets. (NewsWorks' attempts to find this activity or confirm it have so far not been successful.) Update: Committee of Seventy also reports no luck finding any sign of New Black Panther activity. (For background on who they are and why it matters, see 9 a.m. post below.) Also, reports are the Mayor Nutter himself went to the area to check out the report and found nothing.
* There are "You need a photo ID to vote" signs at a number of polling places. Seventy has asked the City Commissioners to have Judges of Elections take those signs down immediately. . You don't need a photo ID to vote today in Pennsylvania, though elections officials are supposed to ask you if you have one.
* A polling place at 7th and Cayoga Streets - in the city's Latino area - has numerous voters who do not speak English - and reportedly no interpreter in sight.
Here are a few updates from our Northwest Philadephia news team:
One of the two voting machines at Allens Lane Art Center in Mt. Airy was broken when polls opened this morning. He says a technician was on the way and the line was moving more smoothly by 8 a.m.
Turnout was heavy early today at the Lingelbach Elementary School in Germantown today. NewsWorks contributor Kiera Smalls talked to some in line who said they were going to leave and come back later to vote.
Ruby Payette, a young first-time voter from Mount Airy in Philadelphia, summed up the emotions of a lot of people on this anxious day as America elects a president:
"I've been talking to some friends that I know are voting for opposing parties from me," she said. "I'm kinda scared, but at the same time excited. Because I get to have a say in my president."
Early reports to the Committee of Seventy, the Philadelphia election watchdog group, indicated a number of Republican poll watchers have reported problems getting access to polling places or being treated rudely by election workers. A number of cases have been referred to today's Election Court.
Also, there is a report of members of the New Black Panthers Party allegedly intimidating voters in a polling place on Germantown Avenue east of Broad Street. An incident in 2008 at a Spring Garden Street polling place involving members of this group became a national cause celebre, as some conservatives claimed it showed the Obama Justice Department was slow to pursue complaints of intimidation against Republican voters.
The Committee of Seventy is also hearing numerous complaints that voters are being told they need to produce photo identification to vote. A new state law requiring voters to show photo ID was suspended for this election by a Pennsylvania judge, who said the state hadn't done enough to help people obtain the needed ID.
The committee also put out an alert about an email being distributed around Philadelphia that tells people, falsely, that pulling a straight Democratic Party lever in the voting booth will not register as a vote for President Obama. This is not true. Straight party votes for either the Republican or Democratic parties will register a voter for the party's presidential nominee.