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Ohio The Swing State To Watch In Presidential Race


From NPR News, this is ALL THINGS CONSIDERED. I'm Lynn Neary, filling in for our regular hosts who are preparing for a long night of election coverage.

At this hour, voting continues in every state, and we're going to hear how things are going in a few of the places that could decide the election. One of them is Ohio, worth 18 electoral votes. Residents there have been inundated with ads and visits from the candidates. Now the voters get their say.

We begin with NPR's Tamara Keith, who is in Columbus. Hi, Tamara.


NEARY: So what's the scene like there, Tamara?

KEITH: Well, I'm at Beechwood Elementary School, which is in the Whitehall neighborhood of Columbus, and, you know, the cars are just sort of streaming in and streaming out of this elementary school parking lot. People are coming in to vote. They aren't having to wait very long, and they generally seem happy with the process.

NEARY: Now these are people who have, as we said, been inundated with ads. The candidates have been in that state constantly, and the turnout seems to be good from what you're saying.

KEITH: It sure looks like the turnout is good. You know, it's hard to tell. This morning, there were lines at many polling places, and then those lines went away as people made it through in about half an hour to an hour. And now it's just sort of a slow, steady stream, and it will no doubt ramp up again now that people have left work for the day or leaving work for the day.

NEARY: And, of course, Ohio is so crucial in this election, and nobody really knows if we're going to know the results, firm results from Ohio tonight, right?

KEITH: Yeah. Well, I spoke to a lot of voters who really would like the results to be in; they just want this to be over. You know, they - there are relatives they can't talk to. They don't want to answer their phones or their doors because they're just getting inundated. And if it is as close as some people think it could be, then we may not know the results tonight. We may not know them tomorrow. We may not know them until 10 days from now at the earliest, and that's because provisional ballots - these are people who show up at the polls and, for some reason, aren't in the book, or maybe they had gotten an absentee ballot, but ended up not mailing it in and then showed up at the polls - they have to vote provisional, and those ballots can't be opened until November 17.

NEARY: Now, do you have a feeling that the people there really got the message that this is a crucial election, or is the overriding mood relief?

KEITH: Well, I think that they are definitely glad that it is hopefully about to be over, but they all - everyone I spoke to took their responsibility as a voter very, very seriously, thought about it carefully, didn't just think about it as a partisan, but thought about the candidates carefully and took it extremely seriously, in part, because they are at sort of the center of the political universe and they know their vote counts. But a lot of people also said, oh, well, yeah, I know that my vote counts a lot, but everybody's vote counts.

NEARY: NPR's Tamara Keith in Columbus, Ohio. Thanks, Tamara.

KEITH: Thank you. Transcript provided by NPR, Copyright NPR.