ELECTION WATCH: Voting in darkness, author's tips

Associated Press
Poll workers Eva Prenga, right, Roxanne Blancero, center, and Carole Sevchuk try to start an optical scanner voting machine in the cold and dark at a polling station in a tent in the Midland Beach section of Staten Island, New York, Tuesday, Nov. 6, 2012. The original polling site, a school, was damaged by Superstorm Sandy. (AP Photo/Seth Wenig)
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WASHINGTON (AP) — Around the country on Election Day 2012 with AP reporters bringing the latest developments to you:

THE SCENE IN HOBOKEN

Standing in front of a pile of junked refrigerators, a flood-destroyed car and a curbside mountain of waterlogged debris in front of his Hoboken home on Tuesday morning, Anthony Morrone didn't even realize it was Election Day. Since immigrating to New Jersey in 1967, the 76-year-old retired mechanic had never missed a vote. Until today.

"No time, no time to vote, too much to do," Morrone said, rattling off a list of things he needed to do after Superstorm Sandy ravaged his home last week, including mucking out the first floor, ripping out drywall, scooping Hudson River debris out of his driveway in a home a good quarter mile from the river. "Too much going on," he added.

At Hoboken's city hall, an American flag was draped over the railing where a huge board covered with handwritten instructions on where to get ice, hot food or other types of assistance was flanked by a printed sign saying "vote here." A steady stream of voters were climbing the steps, despite the FEMA and National Guard trucks that still form a ring around the building a week after the storm.

— Samantha Henry — Twitter http://twitter.com/SamanthaHenry

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TASTE OF DEMOCRACY

It's not at all scientific, but it is delicious: A Roseville, Minn., bakery is offering Obama and Romney cookies to test its customers' preference in the presidential race.

Roseville Bakery owner Amy Johnson says she's done her cookie poll in the past two elections, and it correctly predicted the winner both times.

It boosts cookie sales, too. Customer Muriel Sharpe read about the cookie poll online and when she heard Obama was behind, she drove in Tuesday morning and snatched up two dozen Obama cookies.

She passed some out to other customers. Then she bought eight more.

Despite her efforts, Romney still held an 830-to-731 lead over Obama in cookie sales.

Johnson says the political cookies have sparked some heated discussion between customers and gotten her young staff more engaged in what's going on.

— Amy Forliti — Twitter http://twitter.com/amyforliti

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QUICKQUOTE: RAPPER'S ELECTION MATH

"I'm voting today for Obama...... Why? Because i just don't TRUST Romney. If you disagree with me...All you have to do is vote for Romney and cancel out my vote. (hash)ELECTIONMATH" — Actor-rapper Ice T on Twitter.

— Sandy Cohen — Twitter http://twitter.com/APSandy

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VOTING IN THE DARK

On New York City's Staten Island, voters lined up outside dark tents to vote in areas still without power after Superstorm Sandy. In the Jersey Shore community of Little Egg Harbor Township, voters cast ballots in a mobile polling station dubbed the "vote-a-bago", just one week after Sandy devastated towns and cities along the state's coastline.

Check out two AP videos:

The first: http://bit.ly/SUBf3k

The second: http://bitly.com/UgLWBT

— Mary Clare Jalonick — Twitter http://twitter.com/MCJalonick

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AUTHOR'S ADVICE: VOTE

Judy Blume has been writing for young readers for decades, and she posted an election-day message to them on Facebook.

"I'm voting because voting is a privilege and I've never missed an election since I turned 21 and got the right to cast my vote. (Yes, you had to be 21 to vote then)," the author writes. "It makes me crazy when I hear young people say elections have nothing to do with them. I've got news for you if you think this election has nothing to do with your life. It has everything to do with your life."

Blume says the issues most important to her this election are women's rights, the environment, health care, foreign relations and "to have a say in who will be appointed to the Supreme Court."

"I'm voting for the candidate I trust more," she says.

— Sandy Cohen — Twitter http://twitter.com/APSandy

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TARMAC FOOTBALL

While Paul Ryan rode off in a motorcade with running mate Mitt Romney, Janna Ryan stayed behind on the Tarmac and tossed the football with her children, their cousins and her brother-in-law Tobin Ryan.

Even in a maroon shift dress and knee-high boots with heels, she has a tight spiral.

— Philip Elliott — Twitter http://twitter.com/Philip_Elliott

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TWO SHIPS PASSING

Here's an odd moment just in from Election Day, courtesy of AP's Philip Elliott, traveling by plane with GOP vice presidential candidate Paul Ryan. He reports:

"Ryan wheels down in Cleveland. On final descent, VP Biden's motorcade could be seen out the right windows pulling away from Air Force Two."

Biden made an unannounced stop in Cleveland a bit ago, placing him and Ryan, his rival for the vice presidency, in very close proximity on Election Day in the very competitive state of Ohio.

— Philip Elliott — Twitter http://twitter.com/Philip_Elliott

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BIDEN DETOUR

This just in from AP reporters with Vice President Joe Biden: He's made an unannounced stop in Cleveland en route to Chicago.

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ELECTION DAY OFF

If you make cars in Detroit, the odds are reasonably good you have today off.

Employees of all three Detroit automakers have had presidential election days off for years. The United Auto Workers union says it negotiated the day in 1999, and it took effect in 2000.

All three companies extended the day off to salaried workers.

— Tom Krisher — Twitter http://twitter.com/tkrisher

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QUICKQUOTE: 'A SPIRITED CAMPAIGN'

"I also want to say to Gov. Romney, congratulations on a spirited campaign. I know his supporters are just as engaged, just as enthusiastic, working just as hard today. We feel confident we've got the votes to win." — President Barack Obama speaking to reporters in Chicago.

— Julie Pace — Twitter http://twitter.com/jpaceDC

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BURGERS VS. OMELETTES

France's version of the U.S. Election Day is playing out ... on the plate.

For 24 hours, the popular Breakfast in America diner in central Paris is offering two special additions to the menu: an Obama Burger and a Romney Omelette. The owner will count how many dishes are sold by the end of the day and the U.S. election winner, as decided by French palates, will be declared.

One problem: The Obama Burger is bursting with sausages and pickles, whereas the Romney Omelet is plain and simple — almost guaranteed to sell less.

"This morning we had some customers from America who were very unhappy. They were Romney supporters and were offended," says diner owner Craig Carlson, a U.S. citizen from California.

"We tried to explain it's just a joke and we tried to put a little slant on it. (Romney) always says he is a regular American, a plain American."

— Thomas Adamson — Twitter http://twitter.com/ThomasAdamsonAP

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CELL-FREE ZONE

If you're voting in Washington, D.C., better put your phone away.

Many early morning voters in the nation's capital ended up talking with their neighbors as they waited in long lines to vote, because they were not allowed to check their cell phones. Poll workers offered no explanation for the rule.

— Eileen Sullivan — Twitter http://twitter.com/esullivanap

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VOTING FOR TWO

A pregnant suburban Chicago woman didn't let being in labor stop her from voting in her first presidential election.

Cook County Clerk David Orr reports that 21-year-old Galicia Malone's water had broken and her contractions were about five minutes apart. But Orr says she still made the detour en route to the hospital to vote this morning at the polls at New Life Celebration Church in Dolton, Ill.

No word yet on if the baby was born.

— Tamara Starks — Twitter http://twitter.com/tbstarks

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RYAN AT THE POLLS

Republican vice presidential candidate Paul Ryan has cast his ballot — at the Janesville library in Wisconsin.

Ryan, wife Janna and his three children arrived at the Janesville library to vote in a presidential race that entered its final day on Tuesday.

Ryan did not wait in line and made his way to the front of the line. He greeted poll workers with hugs and asked one man, "Coach," if he was in touch with mutual friends.

Ryan was then heading to campaign stops in Ohio and Virginia before an election night rally with Mitt Romney in Boston.

— Philip Elliott — Twitter http://twitter.com/Philip_Elliott

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PLEASANT AND EFFICIENT

"If going to the bank or the grocery store or paying my electric bill was this easy, I'd do it every day. The poll workers were pleasant and efficient. If only everything was as easy as voting." — Issac Holmes, 52, landscaper and Las Vegas voter.

— Raquel Maria Dillon — Twitter http://twitter.com/@RaquelAPLA

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AT STORM POLLS, EMOTION

For some in the storm recovery zone, voting today is an emotional event.

On Long Island, Sarah Brewster, 39, was shaken when she entered the East Elementary School in Long Beach to vote and noticed that the clocks were all stopped at 7:27 — the time on Monday evening when everyone in the community lost power. She started crying when she emerged from the crowded school cafeteria, surrounded by more reminders of the hurricane — the loud hum of generators to keep the school open and the portable toilets on the sidewalk.

"It's emotional. You go into the building here and you see the clocks stopped at 7:27 when we lost power. It's right there in the polling place, 7:27, when it all happened here, so..."

She trailed off. Tears streamed down her face as she spoke.

"Seeing the generators and all that but it's important to be here. We've just got to keep going forward and doing the best we can in the midst of the destruction."

"It's part of our civic responsibility in the midst of all this crisis."

— Frank Eltman

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QUICKQUOTE: CAUTIOUSLY OPTIMISTIC

"I feel optimistic but only cautiously optimistic. Because until people actually show up at the polls and cast their ballot, the rest of this stuff is all just speculation." — President Barack Obama in a radio interview with "The Steve Harvey Morning Show."

— Nedra Pickler — Twitter http://twitter.com/nedrapickler

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HAPPIEST VOTE EVER

"Oh my God, I have been so anxious about being able to vote. ... It's such a relief to be able to do it. This is the happiest vote I ever cast in my life." — Annette DeBona of Point Pleasant Beach, N.J., voting in an area hit hard by Superstorm Sandy.

The 73-year-old restaurant worker was so worried about not being able to vote that she called the police department several days in advance, as well as her church, to make absolutely sure she knew where to go and when.

Her choice for president: Mitt Romney.

— Wayne Parry — Twitter http://twitter.com/WayneParryAC

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VOTING DAY DOODLE

The Google Doodle today in the United States is the word "Google" in the shape of various ballots, floating through the air into a star-spangled ballot box.

In these divisive times, the palette of fairness is calibrated perfectly: The two Gs and the E are in red, and the two Os and the L are in blue. (Check it out at http://google.com)

— Ted Anthony — Twitter http://twitter.com/anthonyted

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QUICKQUOTE: 'PLAYING POLITICS'

"There's no doubt that people have tried to put obstacles in our way in Congress, playing politics instead of doing what we need to do to make sure everybody is getting a fair shot." — President Barack Obama, interviewed on 99 Jamz in Miami.

— Freida Frisaro — Twitter http://twitter.com/FRF_12

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VOTE — FOR 2 THINGS

On a brisk, sunny morning in the heavily Democratic District of Columbia, long lines of voters wearing wool caps and winter coats stood outside schools serving as polling places along Wisconsin and Connecticut avenues, main commuter routes into downtown Washington.

At Washington bus shelters, an electronic ad flashed: "It's Time to Vote! The Presidential Election on Tuesday. X-Factor on Wednesday!"

— Sally Buzbee

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ROMNEY'S BALLOT

"I think you know," Mitt Romney says. The question: Who did he vote for?

Romney has just cast his ballot in the presidential election.

His wife, Ann, was at his side when the pair cast their ballots near their Belmont, Mass. home a little before 9 a.m. EST. The Republican presidential candidate returns to Boston Tuesday night for an Election Day reception at the Boston Convention Center.

— Steve Peoples — Twitter http://twitter.com/sppeoples

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VIEW FROM SOUTH KOREA

Two North Korean defectors working at a Seoul-based shortwave radio station that targets audiences in North Korea planned a special section on the U.S. election in their regular program Tuesday night.

In the recorded program, the defectors explained the U.S. election system and compared it with the North Korean system, where a sole parliamentary candidate will win with nearly 100 percent of the vote, according to station head Kim Seong Min.

"We also explained that in South Korea it's hard for one candidate to win more than 50 percent of votes cast, as there are diverse opinions. (In the U.S.), challengers often compete against an incumbent president, and we stressed that that's something that couldn't happen in North Korea," he said.

"We said that we hope this kind of election system will someday be possible in North Korea, and that there were revolutions in the Middle East to achieve this kind of system," Kim said.

Kim said many North Korean defectors have testified that they listened to the station's radio programs before leaving North Korea, though he doesn't know how many listen daily.

— Hyung-jin Kim

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OBAMA INDOORS

Win or lose, Barack Obama's election night party will look far different than it did four years ago, when 125,000 people gathered on an unseasonably warm night in Chicago's Grant Park. The campaign decided not to test its weather luck this year and is holding the election night event indoors, at the McCormick Place convention center.

The decision appears to have been a smart one. The weather in Chicago on Tuesday night is forecast to be cold and rainy.

— Julie Pace — Twitter http://twitter.com/jpaceDC

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QUICKQUOTE: ROMNEY ON REAGAN

"I won't guarantee that they'll get it right, but I think they will." — Mitt Romney, asked on WTAM radio in Cleveland whether he agrees with Ronald Reagan's conclusion that voters always get it right in the end.

— Nedra Pickler — Twitter http://twitter.com/nedrapickler

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VEEP VOTES

"Now voting, Joe Biden," announced the polling place worker manning a booth in Greenville, Del., the vice president's home state. Biden went into the booth and — presumably — voted for himself and President Barack Obama.

Like the other early-morning voters, Biden waited his turn in line, along with his wife, Jill.

Later, reporters asked whether he had any prediction for the outcome. "Oh, I'm feeling pretty good," Biden said.

Any final thoughts? "I hope everybody exercises their right to vote. It's a great honor. And people who are standing in line in a lot of places, I encourage you to stand in line as long as you have to."

— Matthew Daly — Twitter http://twitter.com/MatthewDalyWDC

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EDITOR'S NOTE — Follow AP journalists on Twitter where available with the handles listed after each item.

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