Voters in North Dakota famously like to mix things up - sending one party to the White House; the other, to Congress. In a closely watched Senate race there, Democrat Heidi Heitkamp narrowly leads the count vote - the vote count. But Republican Rick Berg says he won't concede the race until a recount is complete.
The race hinged on voters like those our reporter Neta Ulaby found.
This is MORNING EDITION from NPR News. I'm Renée Montagne.
STEVE INSKEEP, HOST:
And I'm Steve Inskeep. Throughout this morning we've been reaching out for a variety of viewpoints on the election results and one person we've called is Michael Gerson, columnist for the Washington Post and former speechwriter for President George W. Bush. Mr. Gerson, welcome back to the program.
Israel is the United State's closest ally in the Middle East, and home to a large number of overseas American voters. Israelis have been debating which candidate, Barack Obama or Mitt Romney, would do more to ensure their country's security.
In China, President Obama's re-election has been greeted with muted relief, as NPR's Louisa Lim reports from Beijing.
LOUISA LIM, BYLINE: As the vote closed in the U.S., ballots were still being cast in Beijing at a mock voting booth at the U.S. embassy's election party. For Chinese students like Lily Zhang and Zhang Weiwen, the novelty of voting was a heady experience.
LILY ZHANG: It was great. The first time I vote for the American president. That's very amazing and I'm very honored.
Good morning. I'm Renée Montagne. First-time mother and first-time voter Galicia Malone of Chicago didn't expect to become both on the same day. After going into labor a 3:00 AM, the 21 year old stopped by New Life Celebration Church to vote before driving to the hospital where she delivered a baby girl.
Although exit polls showed a majority think the country is on the wrong track, voters still gave President Obama a second chance and four more years to govern. For a look at what to expect in a second term, Renee Montagne talks to Neera Tanden, who runs the Center for American Progress, a liberal think tank in Washington, D.C.
NPR's business news starts with a dive on Wall Street. Just this minute, the Dow Jones Industrial Average is down about 317 points. It's considered the worst drop of the year, so far. We're a little bit before noon in New York City. What's going on? We're going to try to find out. We're joined now by DavidWessel, economics editor of The Wall Street Journal. And David, as best you can determine, what's driving the drop?
It wasn't a great night for the Republican Party, losing bids for the White House and control of the Senate. Republicans did retain the majority in the House, and House Speaker John Boehner found consolation in that. Speaking to supporters last night, he remained steadfast in his pursuit of a conservative agenda.
Five hundred thirty-eight electoral votes were up for grabs on Election Day. President Obama has won, so far, 303 of them, a comfortable majority. Mitt Romney has 206. Twenty-nine are still unaccounted for - the electoral votes of Florida. Too close to call there. Less than a percentage point divides the candidates. But down the ballot, Democrats did well. The party retained a Senate seat and picked up a few key congressional races as well. NPR's Debbie Elliott reports.
For weeks, months - make that years - the conventional wisdom has been that the presidential election would all come down to Ohio, and Ohio would be very close. Well, that was partially right. Ohio was very close, but as NPR's Tamara Keith reports, not as pivotal as predicted.
TAMARA KEITH, BYLINE: Jack Shumate(ph) flew into Ohio last Thursday from Dallas, Texas. He came here because this was the place where he felt he could really make a difference for his candidate, Mitt Romney.
Here we are on election morning, and in the swing state of Nevada, most of the work is already done. Most of the ballots were cast in early voting. Nevada political journalist Jon Ralston has been keeping close track of the tallies. He's on the line.
Welcome to the program, sir.
JON RALSTON: Hi, Steve.
INSKEEP: So, in recent days, what have you been seeing?
Next, we go to Des Moines, Iowa where Sadhya Dirks of Iowa Public Radio joins us. Good morning.
SADHYA DIRKS, BYLINE: Morning.
MONTAGNE: And where did you start out this morning? I gather it wasn't Des Moines.
DIRKS: I was in a suburb of Des Moines. It's a more conservative part of Des Moines. It's Johnston, Iowa and I was at the Evangelical Free Church there, just talking to some voters and seeing what the turnout was like.
Republican Vice Presidential Candidate Paul Ryan cast his vote in his home state of Wisconsin this morning. To learn more about voting in that battleground state on this Election Day, we reached Shawn Johnson of Wisconsin Public Radio. He's in the town of Middleton, just outside the state capital, Madison. Good morning.
SHAWN JOHNSON, BYLINE: Good morning.
MONTAGNE: Well, tell us a little about Middleton - partly what the scene is there, but also what kind of place is it?
This is MORNING EDITION from NPR News. I'm Renee Montagne.
STEVE INSKEEP, HOST:
And I'm Steve Inskeep. Good morning. People have been joking for weeks that the candidates are actually running for president of Ohio. That's how vital the state is, but here's a reminder about the electoral map. It is at least theoretically possible for either candidate to lose Ohio and still reach 270 electoral votes by winning some combination of other states. Many of those combinations include Florida.
It's at least theoretically possible for either candidate to lose the vital state of Ohio and still reach 270 electoral votes by winning some combination of other states. Many of those combinations include Florida — infamous for voting irregularities in 2000.
Renee Montagne talks to Josh Rogers of New Hampshire Public Radio about voting in rural and urban parts of the state. Election Day starts early, at 5 a.m., in much of the state, and there's a new voter ID law.
Good morning. I'm Steve Inskeep. New Jersey Governor Chris Christie finally met his state's favorite son. He attended more than 100 Bruce Springsteen concerts without meeting the devoted Democrat. But after the Republican governor toured storm damage with President Obama, the two embraced. Campaigning with Springsteen, the president later put the two men on the phone, matching the Boss with the governor who once sang Springsteen music in a TV appearance.
Good morning. I'm Renee Montagne. When the Florida city of Boca Raton hosted the last presidential debate, even the previous debate's moderator mispronounced it. Outsiders do tend to call it Boca Raton, like baton, possibly because it dropped the E on the end decades ago. Now the mayor wants the E back in the name. She joked to the South Florida Sun Sentinel: We'll put you in jail like Al Capone if you don't say it like Boca Raton. It's MORNING EDITION. Transcript provided by NPR, Copyright National Public Radio.
SCOTT HORSLEY, BYLINE: And I'm Scott Horsley, traveling with the Obama campaign. Actually, the president's campaign travel is finished. Mr. Obama spent the night at his own home in Chicago. Today's plans call for some TV and radio interviews and maybe a game of basketball with some friends. Mr. Obama's last reelection rally came last night in Iowa, where 20,000 people gathered just outside the caucus headquarters where he launched his first presidential campaign more than five years ago.
Many Americans will spend extra time at the polls today, not just choosing candidates but also making law. They will vote on a variety of state ballot initiatives, which Josh Goodman of the Pew Center on the States is tracking.
I've printed out here a list of ballot initiatives in various states. And it's more than a page long. It's a ridiculous number. The Oregon Gillnet Fishing Initiative, the Utah Military Property Tax Exemption Amendment, Constitutional Amendment B 2012. We could go on for quite some time. This is quite a list.
New York's Mayor Bloomberg has hired a former FEMA official with experience in Hurricane Katrina to direct the city's housing recovery. NPR's Martin Kaste reports it's another sign of the seriousness of the housing shortage caused by the storm.
In Florida, Supreme Court justices are nominated by a commission and appointed by the governor. Every six years, they're up for retention. Voters decide whether to keep them on the bench or let them go.
Since the system was put in place in the 1970s, retention votes have been pro forma affairs, with justices doing little fundraising or campaigning.
Superstorm Sandy got officials in New York and New Jersey talking about how to prevent flooding in a time of global warming and sea level rise.
But the place on the East Coast that's most vulnerable to flooding is several hundred miles south, around Norfolk, Va. — and Norfolk has already spent many years studying how to survive the rising waters.
Scientists say what Norfolk has learned is especially important in light of new research showing that the coastline from North Carolina to Boston will experience even more sea level rise than other areas.