After the election: Looking at results | Minnesota Public Radio News

After the election: Looking at results

MPR News' full coverage of the 2018 midterm elections, including the latest breaking news, analysis and results.

    Kyle Shiely on Twitter

    Twitter“The line to vote is growing as people are waiting for officials to collect ballots as they wait for a new machine at Edgecumbe Rec in St Paul. #MNVotes”
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    Going to vote? Here are free rides you can get on Election Day

    From public transportation to electric scooters, here's a rundown of free or reduced-cost rides to polls on Election Day.
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    Reports of long lines, broken machines as voters go to polls

    ATLANTA (AP) — Long lines and malfunctioning machines marred the first hours of voting in some precincts across the country Tuesday. Some of the biggest problems were in Georgia, a state with a hotly contested gubernatorial election, where some voters reported waiting up to three hours to vote.

    At a polling place in Snellville, Georgia, more than 100 people took turns sitting in children's chairs and on the floor as they waited in line for hours. Voting machines at the Gwinnett County precinct did not work, so poll workers offered provisional paper ballots while trying to get a replacement machine.

    One voter, Ontaria Woods, said about two dozen people who had come to vote left because of the lines.

    "We've been trying to tell them to wait, but people have children. People are getting hungry. People are tired," Woods said. Woods said she and others turned down the paper ballots because they "don't trust it."

    Joe Sorenson, a spokesperson for the county's supervisor of elections, said some precincts "have had issues with express polls," devices election workers use to check in voters and create access cards for voting machines.

    Across the United States, even before Tuesday's vote, there were a wide variety of concerns with voting and registration systems around the country — from machines that changed voter selections to registration forms tossed out because of clerical errors.

    Election officials and voting rights groups have feared that voter confidence in the results could be undermined if such problems become more widespread Tuesday, as millions of Americans decide pivotal races for Congress and governor.

    Georgia's governor's race is one of the most closely watched contests, pitting Democrat Stacey Abrams, who is seeking to be the first black woman in U.S. history to be elected governor against Brian Kemp, the veteran secretary of state who has come under fire from Democrats for overseeing an election in which he is on the ballot.

    Reports of security vulnerabilities within the state's online voter registration portal prompted a flurry of accusations from Kemp's office, which claimed without providing evidence that Democrats had tried to hack into the system. Democrats dismissed that as an effort to distract voters from a problem in a system Kemp oversees.

    In a voting precinct at a senior living complex in Atlanta, voters waited in the rain in long lines that stretched around the building. Confused workers turned voters away from the parking lot.

    Hannah Ackermann said election officials at the polling site in Fulton County offered various explanations for the delay, including blaming workers who didn't show up and overloaded machines.

    County elections director Ricard Barron said had heard about long lines, but no other issues. He said some of the long lines are "because the ballot is really long."

    Reports of broken ballot scanners surfaced at polling places across New York City. Turnout was so heavy at one packed precinct on Manhattan's Upper West Side that the line to scan ballots stretched around a junior high school gym on Tuesday morning. Poll workers there told voters that two of the roughly half-dozen scanners were malfunctioning and repairs were underway.

    There was also confusion in Phoenix, Arizona, after a polling site was foreclosed on overnight. The owners of the property locked the doors, taking election officials by surprise. Voters had been sent to another precinct nearby, but Maricopa County Recorder Adrian Fontes tweeted that the location in Chandler was up and running shortly after 7 a.m. Tuesday.

    There has been concern that last-minute court rulings on voter ID requirements, the handling of absentee ballots and other issues in a handful of states will sow confusion among voters and poll workers.

    "We expect poll workers will be overwhelmed, just as voters are overwhelmed, and there will be lots of provisional ballots," said Sara Henderson, head of Common Cause in Georgia, where voting-rights groups have been raising numerous concerns about election security and voter access.

    The problems come amid a surge of interest, with registrations and early-voting turnout running well ahead of what is typically seen during a midterm election.

    The election marks the first nationwide voting since Russia targeted state election systems in the 2016 presidential race. Federal, state and local officials have been working to make the nation's myriad election systems more secure. They have beefed up their cybersecurity protections and improved communications and intelligence-sharing.

    The U.S. Department of Homeland Security, FBI and other federal agencies have opened a command center to help state and local election offices with any major problems that arise.

    There have been no signs so far that Russia or any other foreign actor has tried to launch cyberattacks against voting systems in any state, according to federal authorities. There was also no indication that any systems have been compromised that would prevent voting, change vote counts, or disrupt the ability to tally votes, U.S. officials said.

    But early voting and voter registration has been problematic in a number of states. Problems include faulty machines in Texas and North Carolina, inaccurate mailers in Missouri and Montana, and voter registration problems in Tennessee and Georgia.

    In other states, including Kansas, Election Day polling places have been closed or consolidated, leading to worries that voters will be disenfranchised if they can't find a way to get there and cast a ballot.

    DHS officials have boasted that the 2018 midterms will be the most secure election in U.S. history, pointing to federal intrusion-detection sensors that will protect "90 percent of election infrastructure," as DHS Undersecretary Christopher Krebs tweeted in mid-October. Those sensors sniff for malicious traffic, and are installed on election systems in 45 states.

    But similar sensors used at the federal level have performed badly. According to a Sept. 14 letter from the Office of Management and Budget, those sensors had a 99 percent failure rate from April 2017 onward, when they detected only 379 out of almost 40,000 "incidents" across federal civilian networks.

    Nationally, some 6,500 poll watchers are being deployed by a coalition of civil rights and voting advocacy groups to assist people who encounter problems at the polls. That is more than double the number sent to polling places in 2016, while the number of federal election monitors has declined.
    -- Christina A. Cassidy, Colleen Long and Michael Balsamo, Associated Press
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  • What’s going on outside Minnesota’s borders?

    Wisconsin Gov. Scott Walker by Steve Apps from the Wisconsin State Journal via AP.
    Our neighbors to the south, east and west are voting Tuesday, too. 
    Here’s a roundup of their big-ticket items. 
    • Iowa: There’s a tight race for governor between Republican Gov. Kim Reynolds and Democrat Fred Hubbell. The state’s four congressional districts are on the ballot, too. 
    • North Dakota: The Senate race between Democratic incumbent Heidi Heitkamp and Republican Kevin Cramer is one of the most closely watched contests in the country. Former Vice President Joe Biden recently stopped in Fargo to stump for Heitkamp. The state’s sole U.S. House seat is on the ballot, too, along with a measure to legalize recreational marijuana for adults over 21. 
    • South Dakota: The state will vote for a new governor in an open-seat race and vote for its sole congressional representative. Voters will also decide on a ballot measure that would increase the tobacco tax
    • Wisconsin: Incumbents Sen. Tammy Baldwin, a Democrat, and Republican Gov. Scott Walker are fighting to keep their seats in Wisconsin’s most notable contests. All eight seats in the U.S. House are on the ballot, too. 
    —Cody Nelson, MPR News 
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  • Dems Smash Fundraising Expectations

    Democrats can celebrate tonight if their voters are as enthusiastic as their donors, who showered cash on the party's candidates and organizations in almost every phase of the midterms money chase.

    House: Democrats raised more in 55 of the 73 most contested races. Democrats beat Republicans more than 2-to-1 in small-donor contributions of $200 or less.

    Senate: Incumbent Democrats outraised Republican challengers in eight of the 11 most competitive races. The three exceptions: Florida Gov. Rick Scott, Indiana legislator Mike Braun and New Jersey businessman Bob Hugin, who each kicked in between $10 million and $52 million of their own cash.

    National party committees: Democratic House and Senate committees outraised Republican counterparts. The Republican National Committee easily outpaced the Democratic National Committee, as usual.

    SuperPACs and political nonprofit groups: Conservative superPACs spent nearly $100 million more than liberal groups. But among "dark money" nonprofit groups, which don't disclose their donors, liberals spent $25 million more. Many Democratic candidates have vowed to eliminate dark money groups if they get elected.

    It all adds up. The Center for Responsive Politics projects that the midterms will end up costing $5.2 billion.

    — Peter Overby, NPR

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  • Key Ballot Initiatives To Watch

    A marijuana plant grows in a greenhouse in Mendocino County, Calif. Several ballot initiatives up for consideration Tuesday would expand marijuana use. Josh Edelson | AFP | Getty Images

    While Washington struggles to find compromise on legislation, there are dozens of ballot initiatives to watch across the country, including several that would expand marijuana use, expand Medicaid, curtail abortion rights, enact criminal justice changes and deal with gun rights.

    Here’s a look at some of the most notable:

    Ballot bonus: There are also some odd or, shall we say, outside-the-box ballot initiatives, too. One in Florida bans both vaping and offshore drilling in one go. Proposition 1 in Idaho (the Authorize Betting on Historical Horse Races Initiative) would — no kidding — authorize gambling on horse races that already happened. Apparently, this has been an issue debated in Idaho for years.

    — Domenico Montanaro, NPR

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  • No Signs Of Election Hacking, DHS Says

    Federal officials say they haven't seen any effort by Russia or any other foreign country to interfere with election infrastructure, such as voting machines or voter databases. They say any issues voters are seeing are common problems that happen every election.There are sporadic reports of voting equipment failures and long lines in some precincts across the country, but the Department of Homeland Security says officials have seen no indication of anything out of the ordinary. The department is holding media briefings every three hours.

    DHS says the biggest voting issues it is seeing fall into three categories: bad weather causing power outages and poll location changes; normal technical glitches caused by aging voting equipment; and misinformation spread both accidentally and maliciously. The department does say that foreign actors continue to try to influence the American public “through actions intended to sow discord.”

    “I can confidently say that the 2018 elections will be the most secure elections in the modern era,” said DHS Secretary Kirstjen Nielsen. “At this time we have no indication of compromise to our nation’s election infrastructure that would prevent voting, change vote counts, or distrust the ability to tally votes.”

    — Miles Parks, NPR

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  • First exit polls are almost here
    It's about 4 p.m. here in St. Paul with hours left to vote. It's only 2 p.m. across the West Coast. Still, the first exit polls are about to arrive.

    NPR has a nice roundup of how to make sense of exit polls. 
    For the early ones, NPR writes, the major takeaways are often what issues are most important this campaign: 

    "One major takeaway from these early exit polls is the salience of particular campaign messages and public policy. Issue polling can be a helpful proxy for partisanship. In 2016, we saw that far more Republicans than Democrats considered immigration to be the most important issue facing the country, something that contributed to Trump's victory.

    Ahead of the midterms, the two most prominent issues have been health care and immigration. President Trump has consistently tried to energize his base by stoking fears over illegal immigration. Meanwhile, Democrats have tried to refocus this election on health care and the need to maintain the Affordable Care Act.

    The degree to which we see voters emphasize either of those issues in their exit poll responses could be a sign of higher Republican or Democratic engagement."
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  • Early exit poll: Trump, health care are keys for voters 
    Take this with the healthy level of skepticism required when analyzing exit polls, but CNN says this election is about President Trump and health care. 
    CNN says two-thirds of voters are considering the president when voting for congressional candidates, and more people oppose Trump than support him. 
    The cable network also says 40 percent of voters surveyed consider health care their top issue. 
    Remember: There's a long way to go tonight. 
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  • AP survey: Health care, immigration high on voters' minds

    WASHINGTON (AP) — Health care and immigration were high on voters' minds as they cast ballots in the midterm elections, according to a wide-ranging survey of the American electorate conducted by The Associated Press.
    AP VoteCast also shows a majority of voters considered President Donald Trump a factor in their votes.
    A majority of voters overall say the country is headed in the wrong direction. Still, about two-thirds say economic conditions are good.
    With control of the Senate and the House of Representatives at stake, Trump encouraged voters to view the first nationwide election of his presidency as a referendum on his leadership.
    VoteCast debuted Tuesday, replacing the in-person exit poll as a source of detailed information about the American electorate.

    In all, the survey included interviews with more than 113,000 voters nationwide.
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  • This post is about weed and the midterms
    Marijuana plants shot by Robyn Beck for AFP/Getty Images.
    Marijuana is on the ballot across the U.S., and it’s about a lot more than getting high. 
    The most notable are ballot measures to legalize marijuana for recreational use for adults 21 and older in North Dakota and Michigan
    Missouri and Utah will also vote on whether to legalize medical marijuana. 
    Proponents of the measures are pushing cannabis legalization for health, civil liberty and justice reasons.
    Those against the measures say it’s a public safety concern and that research on the drug is lacking.  
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  • In line at the polls and hungry? Here's how to fix it

    Mmmm, by Dennis Wilkinson - Creative Commons.
    It's dinner time in Minnesota and the polls are still open.
    If you're among the many people getting off work and heading to the polls about now, has you covered. 

    "Send us reports of long lines and we'll send in the delicious reinforcements," the website reads. 
    The organization started after reports surfaced of long lines at early voting places in 2016. 
    The site says it's not a charity (it's officially a 501c4, for tax purposes) and it's not partisan.
    It just wants to feed democracy. 
    "Pizza to the Polls is here to deliver the one thing that pairs so perfectly with freedom: piping hot ‘za," the site says. "We take reports of long lines from folks around the country and then find local pizza places to deliver the goods."
    As of 5:19 p.m., the volunteer team had sent 6,774 pizzas to 414 polling places. They had over $150,000 left to spend. 
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  • Missouri Senate Race Comes Down To The Wire

    Josh Hawley and Claire McCaskill greet supporters. Michael Thomas, Scott Olson | Getty Images

    One of the closest Senate races in the nation is taking place in Missouri, where U.S. Sen. Claire McCaskill is facing a tough challenge from GOP Attorney General Josh Hawley.

    McCaskill is widely seen in Missouri as one of the state's sharpest political minds and retail politicians. But she's had to navigate a state that's much more Republican than when she first won a Senate seat in 2006.

    Many of the state's rural and suburban counties that McCaskill previously won voted in force for Donald Trump in 2016. The two-term Democrat believes she can reach an ideologically diverse set of voters by emphasizing her support for Affordable Care Act protections and opposition to steel and aluminum tariffs.

    "If voters look at that contrast, I think we'll be fine," McCaskill said.

    Hawley, meanwhile, is hammering home his backing of Trump, who campaigned Monday night in Cape Girardeau. He has lambasted McCaskill for not supporting the president's tax cut plan or judicial nominees.

    The first-term attorney general believes McCaskill is out of step with a state that voted for Trump by nearly 20 percentage points.

    "They’ve never accepted this president as legitimate and they’ve accepted the will of ‘we the people,’ " Hawley said.

    McCaskill holding on to her seat is key for Democratic hopes of retaking the Senate.

    — Jason Rosenbaum, St. Louis Public Radio

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  • Major voting issues, long lines in Georgia

    The state's contentious governor's race is pushing droves of people to the polls, making some voters wait for hours.
    There's even a last-minute legal challenge to remove Brian Kemp — the Republican gubernatorial candidate — from his role as secretary of state. 
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  • 6 p.m. poll closures: Georgia, Indiana, Kentucky, South Carolina, Vermont, Virginia

    There are key races right off the bat with the Georgia governor's race, the Indiana Senate race and House races in Virginia and Kentucky, in particular. Half of Kentucky closes at 6 p.m. ET, and that includes the key race in the 6th Congressional District. It will draw a lot of attention, but national Democrats caution not to read too much into a loss there, because Trump won it by 15 points.
    Pay closer attention to congressional races in Virginia and Georgia. GOP Rep. Barbara Comstock in Virginia's 10th District in the D.C. suburbs is expected to lose. If Democrats can flip either or both of the 2nd or 7th Congressional District races in Virginia, those could also be signs of a big night for Democrats.
    Georgia offers two key races in the Atlanta suburbs — one of which is the 6th District, which was the site of a hotly contested special election last year that Republicans held, but polls show the race is even tighter this time around.
    On the Senate side, Indiana Democrat Joe Donnelly's fate will likely be critical to Senate control. As for governors' races, Georgia has one of the most closely watched races between Democrat Stacey Abrams, vying to be the first black woman ever elected governor in the country, and Republican Brian Kemp. The race's final days have been marred by controversies over voting access, which Kemp oversees as the Georgia secretary of state.
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  • 6:30 p.m. poll closures: North Carolina, Ohio, West Virginia

    We'll get more answers in the battle for the House with two toss-up races in North Carolina and a toss-up contest in Ohio. But the marquee event in this hour is the West Virginia Senate race, where incumbent Democrat Joe Manchin, who voted in favor of confirming Brett Kavanaugh to the Supreme Court, is expected to hold on. Democrats need him to win if they hope to have any chance at taking over the Senate, as much of a long shot as it is for them to do that this cycle.
    In Ohio, Democratic Sen. Sherrod Brown is easily expected to win re-election even in a state Trump carried two years ago, but the open governor's race is a much tighter contest.
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  • The State Of The Country Is Pessimistic


    Americans are in a pessimistic mood as they cast their ballots this midterm election. That’s according to both preliminary exit polls and the inaugural Fox News/AP/NORC massive pre-election survey.

    A majority in both polls said the country is on the wrong track. And a majority, roughly two-thirds of voters in both surveys, also said that President Trump was a factor in their vote.

    Americans have long been cynical about the state of politics, so it’s difficult to read too much into which party might benefit from the mood of the electorate. But it is telling that about three- quarters of voters say Americans are now more politically divided — that’s according to CNN’s analysis of early exit polls.

    — Asma Khalid, NPR

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  • Turnout among voters of color

    Many are projecting record turn-outs in this year's midterms. According to ABC News, exit polls are showing Record high turnout for nonwhites in Georgia races. This is especially compelling in a state that has 4 “majority minority” districts, and another 4 where voters of color make up 1/3+ of the potential electorate.
    Race of potential voters in Georgia
    As we have reported, "the United States is becoming much more racially diverse. By 2045 populations of color are projected to outnumber non-Hispanic Whites. This change has already come to the nation’s 123 “majority-minority” congressional districts.How do those districts vote? Overwhelmingly in favor of Democrats." 
    -Craig Helmstetter, APM Research Lab
    by chelmstetter edited by Michael Olson, MPR News 11/7/2018 12:55:44 AM
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    7 p.m. poll closures: Alabama, Connecticut, Delaware, Washington, D.C., Florida, Illinois, Maine, Maryland, Massachusetts, Mississippi, Missouri, New Hampshire, New Jersey, Oklahoma, Pennsylvania, Rhode Island, Tennessee

    Here comes the first big wave of races — almost 30 competitive House races, five competitive Senate races and seven big ones for governor. A lot will be known depending on how this hour shakes out especially about control of the Senate with big races up for grabs in Florida, Missouri, New Jersey and Tennessee.


    Florida is likely the most crucial state in this the hour, with important races up and down the ballot. The governor's race features Democrat Andrew Gillum, vying to be the state's first African-American governor, and Republican Ron DeSantis, who has hewed closely to Trump. Strategists think Gillum could help buoy Democratic Sen. Bill Nelson in his tough re-election race against outgoing Republican Gov. Rick Scott. Democrats also could flip several congressional seats in the state.


    New Jersey and Pennsylvania are important pieces of the puzzle for Democrats in their hopes of taking back the House. Democrats are expected to flip two open GOP seats in New Jersey, but could oust two other incumbents as well. And thanks to court-ordered redistricting in Pennsylvania, Democrats could net as many as four or five seats there.


    There are several other competitive gubernatorial races closing this hour, too. Illinois, where more than $280 million has been raised, is Democrats' surest flip. But Democrats also have a surprising chance in the open contest in conservative Oklahoma. At the same time, Republican governors in Maryland and Massachusetts — traditionally blue states — look poised for easy re-election victories.



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