PRE-ELECTION NERVES

Associated Press
Voters enter the Cuyahoga County Board of Elections in Cleveland on the last day of early voting in Ohio Monday, Nov. 5, 2012. About 1.6 million people have voted early in Ohio. (AP Photo/Mark Duncan)
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Voters enter the Cuyahoga County Board of Elections in Cleveland on the last day of early voting in Ohio Monday, Nov. 5, 2012. About 1.6 million people have voted early in Ohio. (AP Photo/Mark Duncan)

Politicians on the ballot Tuesday aren't the only people praying for landslide margins. Election administrators hope for them too.

Take Jane Platten, director of the elections board in Cuyahoga County, Ohio, the most populous county in the critical battleground state with about 928,000 registered voters.

Platten says she is confident in her county's system of paper ballots that run through a scanner. She worries more about problems she calls "environmental" — like when one of her poll workers got in a fight with a voter, head-butted him and bit his nose last year. Or bad weather, like the ice storm that hit the area on presidential primary day in March 2008. Those types of problems keep her up at night, she says.

When an election is as close as the presidential contest is expected to be in Ohio, even the little distractions can make a difference, says elections expert Kimball Brace, president of the Washington-based consulting firm Election Data Services.

"Any tiny little thing can throw things off," he says.

— Jennifer C. Kerr

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EDITOR'S NOTE — Election Watch shows you Election Day 2012 through the eyes of Associated Press journalists. Follow them on Twitter where available with the handles listed after each item.

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