Over a dozen voters from Dixville Notch, New Hampshire, kicked off the day-long polling in the U.S. presidential elections as they gathered here at 0000 eastern U.S. time (0500 GMT) Tuesday to cast their votes for a new president.
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The polls, which officially closed minutes later, showed that 15 votes went for Democratic ticket Barack Obama and Joe Biden.
Republican ticket John McCain and Sarah Palin grabbed 6 votes, while Ralph Nader and Matt Gonzalez, an independent ticket, got no votes. 21 eligible voters cast their votes.
Republican presidential candidate Arizona Sen. John McCain speaks at a campaign rally at Raymond James Stadium in Tampa, Florida on November 3, 2008. On the day before the US presidential election McCain is making a seven-state cross-country blitz in the effort to win votes in the contest against his opponent Barack Obama. [AFP]
Dixville Notch, a small village located in the far north of New Hampshire, is well known for its longstanding middle-of-the-night vote in the U.S. presidential elections, a symbolic event which marks the casting of the first ballots and the elections' initial results.
Hart's Location, a small town in New Hampshire, also shares Dixville Notch's enviable status of being one of the first places to cast votes in the elections.
There, Obama got 17 votes, McCain got 10, and write-in Ron Paul two votes.
For millions of other eligible voters, polling stations will not open until at least hours later. A few voting districts in neighboring Vermont are scheduled to open at 5:00 a.m. EST (1000 GMT), followed by the remainder of eastern states where polling stations open at 6:00 a.m. (1100 GMT) or 7:00 a.m. (1200 GMT).
Voting across the continental United States will begin between 8:00 and 11:00 a.m. EST (1300 and 1600 GMT). Alaska and Hawaii will be the last two states to join in, with voting to begin at 1600 GMT and 1700 GMT respectively.
Obama has been enjoying a comfortable leading margin of some 7 percent for a month in national polls. More importantly, he is poised to win most key states that could decide the outcome of the election.
The latest polls show in the eight key states of Virginia, Florida Ohio, Missouri, Pennsylvania, Nevada, North Carolina and Indiana, Obama and McCain each leads 5 and 2, with a tie in Missouri.
According to the estimate of RealclearPolitics.com, if the poll numbers were the election results, Obama will easily beat McCain in the electoral votes.
On the eve of the US presidential elections, Democratic presidential candidate Illinois Senator Barack Obama arrives for his final campaign rally of the 2008 presidential race in Manassas, Virginia, November 03, 2008. [AFP]
However, as goes the saying, "It's not done until it has been done",there are still some variable factors which could affect the outcome of the election, analysts said.
Whosoever finally wins the presidential race, history will be made in the United States. If Obama wins, he will be the first African American to become the U.S. president and his vice-presidential running mate Joe Biden would be the first Roman Catholic vice president.
On the other hand, if McCain wins he will be having for the first time a female vice president, also the first one in American history. Moreover, McCain would be the oldest president.
Under the U.S. constitution, the president is the head of both the state and the government, and the commander-in-chief of the armed forces of the United States. The presidency in the U.S. is the highest political office due to its influence and prestige.