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Time to vote

"Time to vote" Continued...

The stakes in this election extend far beyond economic policy. An Obama administration given four more years likely would remain a threat to the liberty of religious organizations. Organizations like Catholic Charities already have been pressured to provide contraceptives to their employees despite the group’s faith convictions. A further eroding of this liberty may include limiting the ability of such faith groups to hire based on shared beliefs. In addition, the new president may get to appoint one or more U.S. Supreme Court justices, and those selections will affect such issues as the future of traditional marriage and abortion.

On Tuesday voters will decide more than the nation’s next president: the entire U.S. House, 34 U.S. senators, and 11 governorships are on ballots. Republicans will try to maintain its majority in the House, gain the majority in the Senate, and increase their majority in the states’ governor’s mansions. Thousands of ballot initiatives also go before voters across the nation, including four states with referendums dealing with same-sex “marriage.”

But voters will be watching most closely the presidential race. The country is so divided that one of the candidates could win the popular vote while the other candidate secures the 270 electoral votes needed to win the Electoral College (and the election). Such a split vote has happened four times in U.S. history, including in 2000. It is not a stretch to predict that the results will be so close that no winner will be announced on Tuesday night.

Indeed, the very first votes counted early Tuesday morning may have foreshadowed a long night: The small New Hampshire town of Dixville Notch traditionally casts its votes each election year as the clock strikes midnight. This year’s results: five votes for Obama and five votes for Romney. It’s the first presidential tie in the village’s history.

Edward Lee Pitts
Edward Lee Pitts

Lee teaches journalism at Dordt College in Sioux Center, Iowa, and is the associate dean of the World Journalism Institute.


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