As we mentioned last week, Digital Services will launch an election night blog aggregating NPR member station reporting on important races and initiatives from from across the country. These are the states, stations and issues we’ll be following:
Colorado’s been one of the hardest states to read as Obama and Romney continue to tie in the polls. Campaigns are spending millions on political ads to pick up the state’s nine electoral votes and many Coloradans have already cast ballots in early voting. Results will also be closely watched for a proposal to legalize small amounts of marijuana.
Florida (WLRN, WFSU and WUSF)
As usual, Florida is a critical battleground state. We’ll be tracking early predictions of long lines and confusion at the polls. Palm Beach County is already reported printing problems with its ballots. Floridans have a lot to decide this Tuesday; The state has 11 ballot measures that cover issues such as taxes, abortion, the state university system and the state budget. There are also close congressional races worth watching.
Massachusetts is almost a lock for Obama but it's also home to a very competitive and visible Senate race between the incumbent Scott Brown and the challenger Elizabeth Warren. This is one of the Senate races that could decide the balance of power. Massachusetts also has two ballot initiatives of note: the legalization of medical marijuana and a proposal to allow assisted suicide.
Missouri (St. Louis Public Radio)
The story out of Missouri is the race between Democratic Sen. Claire McCaskill and her GOP challenger Rep. Todd Akin. The race entered the national spotlight after Akin said a woman’s body biologically “has ways” to prevent pregnancy during a “legitimate rape,” in an interview in August. Akin resisted calls from Republicans to drop out of the race, and it continues to be close.
New Hampshire (NHPR)
In New Hampshire we'll be following both how Mitt Romney's home precinct votes as well as the whole state. While Obama carried New Hampshire in 2008, both candidates are spending heavily to pick up its four Electoral College votes.
The conventional wisdom for this election cycle is that it will all come down to Ohio. The state is coveted by Democrats and Republicans alike. Visits by candidates and ad dollars spent per voter are near records. And early voting has emerged as a possible deciding factor for Ohio. This is the state that could decide the election and we'll have field reports from WOSU all night
Virginia's Senate race is another one of national interest. George Allen is trying to reclaim the seat he lost six years ago, while Tim Kaine hopes to keep both of the Commonwealth's Senate seats in the hands of the Democrats. And, of course, Virginia is one of the swing states crucial for both presidential candidates. Polling averages have shown Obama and Romney to be within just a point or so of each other.
Washington has a few potentially historic measures at play. Voters will decide on the the legalization of marijuana for recreational use; Colorado and Oregon have similar measures. A same-sex marriage law passed earlier this year is on the ballot. And finally, voters will decide if they want to create a charter school system.
Michigan (Michigan Radio)
Although Mitt Romney has deep ties to Michigan, the state is leaning Democratic. There’s been renewed Republican interest in the state’s 16 electoral votes in the last stretch, but voters’ decisions on six state-wide ballot proposals could have more impact than their votes on the presidential election. Voters will decide on adding collective bargaining rights to the state constitution and one proposal that could mean residents will have to vote every time Michigan wants to build a bridge to Canada.
We'll also rely on reporting from KERA, KCUR, Vermont Public Radio, WFPL News, Boise State Public Radio and other stations across the country. All of these stations will offer the Battleground blog on their sites on election night.
Eric Athas, Teresa Gorman and Will Snyder contributed to this post.