Latest updates: News organizations call Obama winner
Networks call election for Obama
Shortly after President Barack Obama picked up a big block of electoral votes on the West Coast, multiple news networks projected him the winner of the presidential election. Most networks called the battleground states of Ohio and Iowa for the president, giving him the victory.
The raw vote in Ohio remained close and Gov. Romney had not yet conceded.
The Democrats also had a strong night in the Senate where they will retain control. They could even end up adding a vote to their majority.
Four Democratic women - Clair McCaskill in Missouri, Elizabeth Warren in Massachusetts, Tammy Baldwin in Wisconsin and Debbie Stabenow in Michigan - led the party's successful defense of its majority.
Wins by Democratic women help party hold Senate
Projected wins by four Democratic women - Claire McCaskill in Missouri, Elizabeth Warren in Massachusetts, Tammy Baldwin in Wisconsin and Debbie Stabenow in Michigan - are putting Democrats in a strong position to hold on to control of the Senate.
In the races called so far, Democrats have picked up two seats. That increase could shrink after the race is called in Nebraska, where former senator Bob Kerrey appeared likely to lose.
In an Illinois congressional race that attracted national attention, Tammy Duckworth was projected to defeat Rep. Joe Walsh, a Tea Party favorite.
Election 2012 RCP Live Blog - Real Clear Politics
Romney path to White House uphill; Dem wins in Senate
Gov. Mitt Romney's campaign had hoped to win Wisconsin, Pennsylvania and possibly Michigan. All are historically Democratic states but the polls were close and the Romney campaign hopeful.
But, based on various network projections, President Obama has won all three states, leaving Gov. Romney with only a narrow path to the White House. He would most likely have to win Florida, Virginia and Ohio to have a chance.
At 8:30 p.m. CST, NBC had President Obama edging ahead of Gov. Romney in the electoral college, 158-152.
Two Democratic women were projected as winners in the Senate - Elizabeth Warren in Massachusetts and Tammy Baldwin in Wisconsin. Those projected wins make it likely the Democratis will continue to control the Senate.
Presidential Network Calls | New York Times
Romney leads narrowly as race moves west
As the race moved west and the polls closed at 8 p.m. CST, Gov. Mitt Romney maintained an electoral vote lead vote over President Barack Obama. But there had been no surprises and battleground states remained too close to call.
NBC called Pennsylvania for President Obama. If that projection holds up, it will disappoint Gov. Romney who made a late play for the state.
Gov. Romney added Texas, the Dakotas, Nebraska and Wyoming to his earlier wins in the South to give him 154 electoral votes. President Obama won Michigan, the state in which Mitt Romney grew up. He also won New York.
Meanwhile, in the Senate, NBC called the Massachusetts Senate race for Elizabeth Warren, a pickup for the Democrats. If that projection holds up, the road for Republicans to gain control of the the upper body will be uphill.
NBC calls Pa. for Obama | NBC
Presidential race close as polls in eastern U.S. close
As the polls closed in Missouri and Illinois, the presidential race remained close nationally. NPR projected Gov. Mitt Romney narrowly ahead of President Barack Obama in the electoral college - 82-65. NPR called Illinois for President Obama.
There had been no surprises in the battlground states with votes too close to call in Virginia, Ohio, Florida and North Carolina.
Based on NPR projections, Gov. Romney added Alabama, Mississippi, Tennessee and Oklahoma to the states he had won earlier - South Carolina, Indiana, Kentucky, Georgia and West Virginia. President Obama was projected to have won the the eastern states where he was heavily favored - Delaware, Maryland, Maine, Massachusetts, Rhode Island, Connecticut, D.C. and his home state of Illinois. Earlier he had won Vermont.
NPR Big Board | NPR
Romney leads in early states
Gov. Mitt Romney had won five early states, according to NPR projections. He had 49 electoral votes with projected wins in Georgia, South Carolina, Kentucky, Indiana and West Virginia. President Obama was projected the winner in Vermont with its three electoral votes. All of those results were predicted by the polls.
Polls have closed in Virginia, with the popular vote evenly divided. It is too close to call.
NPR Big Board | NPR
Exit polls: Economy biggest issue
The economy was the biggest issue by far in the presidential election, based on exit polls conducted for the Associated Press. In the key battleground state of Ohio, voters were evenly split as to whether President Barack Obama or Gov. Mitt Romney would be better handling the economy.
Even though President George W. Bush's name wasn't on the ballot, about half of voters said in that they blame him more than Obama for economic woes.
Just under one-quarter of voters thought they were better off than four years ago and a majority thought the country was on the wrong track. Slightly more voters thought the economy was improving than getting worse -- 39 to 31 percent.
A majority of voters thought that Romney favored the rich, while 43 percent thought Obama favored the middle class and 31 percent the poor.
Voters were evenly divided over "Obamacare." Forty-seven percent said they wanted the law preserved or expanded, while 45 percent said they wanted it repealed in whole or part.
Exit polls 2012: Voters blame Bush | Politico
Exit polls 2012: Voters split on Obamacare | Politico
Exit polls 2012: Mitt Romney favors rich | Politico
Ohio Exit Poll: Split over best to handle economy | WFMJ.com
Battleground polls begin closing at 6 CST
The polls begin closing in the battleground states at 6 p.m. CST in Virgina. North Carolina and Ohio follow 30 minutes later and Florida, New Hampshire and Pennsylvania 30 minutes after that, at 7 p.m. CST. If the results are those states are clear, the trend for the presidential election could be known early in the evening.
If either candidate were to win Virginia, Ohio, Pennsylvania and Florida - all four - he would be likely to win the election. Below are the closing times in the battleground states, according The Hill. They are adjusted for CST.
6 p.m.: Virginia
6:30 p.m.: North Carolina, Ohio
7 p.m.: Florida, New Hampshire, Pennsylvania
8 p.m.: Colorado, Michigan, Wisconsin
9 p.m.: Iowa, Nevada
Nation prepares to elect a president
Today, finally, the nation goes to the polls to vote in what pundits are predicting will be a close race. Over the weekend and leading into election day, many pollsters have predicted that President Barack Obama would score a narrow win over Republican challenger Mitt Romney. But there are many paths to victory, and this interactive graphic shows the ways to victory for both candidates. New York Times
GOP faces obstacles in regaining Senate control. | Wall Street Journal
Gay marriage, marijuana highlight state propositions. | AP
States hit by storm scramble to help voters cast ballots. | New York Times
Five things to watch after the polls close. | Politico
"Election Day" doesn't exist anymore. | Washington Post
Share your Election Day stories with the Beacon | Public Insight Network
Beacon reporter Dale Singer and Beacon contributor William Freivogel have contributed to this report.