Live Election Day Blog

By: Jason Colthorp
By: Jason Colthorp

Check here for updates as my day progresses in the newsroom.

I thought I'd share my thoughts on election day as it happens and bring you any exit polling, updates from the newsroom and what food we're ordering in tonight.

8:15 a.m. 
The pundits on MSNBC's "Morning Joe" are already calling an Obama landslide.  Somewhere Thomas Dewey is shaking his head.

12:20 p.m.
I head to my polling place in Clinton County.  No lines really at all as it takes me and my daughter about 15 minutes to vote.  However, poll workers say it's been a busy morning.

2:50 p.m.
My first assignment of this long day will be to head to a local polling place and give an update on the 6:00 news.  I'll find out if it's a madhouse there and how excited voters are.  I think this is one of the most exciting days to be an American no matter what happens tonight.

3:27 p.m.
First exit polls in.  John McCain has won East Olive Elementary in St. Johns 91-75 over Barack Obama.  Apparently, Mrs. Munger's 3rd Grade class carried McCain to the victory.  Not exactly Dixville Notch, but it does bust the myth that Obama will win the younger voters.

3:45 p.m.
First reports of voting irregularities in Michigan and it comes from Michigan State University.  This is the alert email I received.  (Note: I think the first sentence should read "are not on the rolls.")  We have a reporter checking into this.

Election Day Problems in Michigan  
Michigan State University , Wilson Hall, Precinct 15 

We’ve just received a phone call from a Rock the Vote Volunteer. She reported that young voters with their voter registration cards are being told they are on the rolls. They also are being told they “should vote at home”. Initially, the volunteer was concerned about the low voter turn out @ noon, she was informed by an unnamed poll worker that students who live on MSU’s campus who have voter reg cards that identify Wilson Hall as their polling location were being turned away and informed that they are not on the rolls.

5:00 p.m.
Getting interviews at Hill Center after live shot died at North Elementary School.

5:01 p.m.
Live shot dies at Hill Center.

5:02 p.m.
Finish interviews at Hill, go back to station to edit and write my live shot for 6.

5:35 p.m.
Take off for new live shot location-- Holt High School's 9th grade campus.

6:00 p.m.
Shot set up just in time as we go on air.  I do my thing-- voters are moving quickly, yada, yada, yada.  What you don't see at home is how frantic some of these situations end up getting.  I was trying to get sound in my earpiece to hear David toss it to me.  I finally do and then there's an echo.  So, once I start talking on air I have to either turn down the volume or pop my earpiece out.  Sometimes it looks flawless others like tonight, you can see the camera bounce becasue we were caught off guard. 

Hopefully our other live shots from campaign rallies will go better tonight, but it's not looking promising as we lose Lauren Zakalik's live shot from Jackson during the 6.

7:00 p.m.
NBC calling Kentucky for McCain.  8-0 lead in the race to 270.

7:52 p.m.
I hit with our second cut-in... no updates on local races yet.  It was a little hectic with some ad-libs.

8:36 p.m.
Unbelievable busy right now trying to get results... back in a minute.

9:55 p.m.
I call Obama "President" Obama.  I wasn't told about it until midnight.  If anyone noticed, that was NOT a Freudian slip.  But I guess it turned out to be a prophetic slip.

10:08 p.m.
Michigan has been called for Obama... Levin wins... Mike Rogers campaign thinks it's going to win... Tim Walberg internals show a win despite trailing in early polls... Prop 1 & 2 will pass... Look for Obama to win the whole thing by 11 p.m.  He's at 207 electoral votes and California will give him 55 more on his way to 270.

10:35 p.m.
After inadvertantly calling the Supreme Court race for Diane Hathaway based on solid exit polling, we decide to stick with it for the next update.  Inadvertantly just means we weren't ready to call this for her yet.  Our bad!

10:44 p.m.
Julie texts me to say one of our graphics put Prop 1 ahead by a percentage of 53-49.  Nice.

10:52 p.m.
I go on air and say we will be taking viewers to the top of the hour when NBC will call the race for Obama.

10:53 p.m.
Executive Producer Jeff Proctor gets in my ear and says, "NBC is demanding no affiliate says they will be calling the race for Obama."


11:00 p.m.
Senator Barack Obama will be the 44th president of the United States.

11:02 p.m.
David and I have no scripts and no idea what's coming next.

11:04 p.m.
Finally, consensus in the control room and we have a battle plan to send it to Jamie live at the UAW hall.

11:05 p.m.
David and I start weaving in and out of national coverage as the announcement is made.  We update some local races and hear from John McCain.

11:16 p.m.
David and I realize we never needed scripts, because we didn't even look at them.

11:35 p.m.
We say good-bye for the night on News Ten with one race really up for grabs.  Tim Walberg and Mark Schauer are separated by just a few thousand votes with about 100,000 still to be counted.  It will be a long night for Lauren Zakalik at Walberg's camp and Lauren Evans at Schauer's set-up in Battle Creek.  It also appears Hathaway will win the Supreme Court race and we won't have egg on our face.  I should say "me" since it was me who read it.  Whew.

11:36 p.m.
I exhale for the first time in about 20 minutes.

11:49 p.m.
Obama is well over 300 electoral votes. It's a landslide.  Rogers will return to Congress... Dunnings wins... Wriggelsworth wins... Rick Jones, Joan Bauer, Mark Meadows, Barb Byrum, all landslides.  Brady Harrington-- the Eaton County Drain Commissioner who got caught up in a back taxes scandal-- should win 51-49.

11:53 p.m.
Andy T of Andy T Farms calls me to demand results of the Bingham Township Fire Millage.  It passed 742-712.

12:00 a.m.
Barack Obama and family take the stage in Chicago to a wild frenzy of fans.  Cue another inspirational speech from a great orator.

12:10 a.m.
A great job done by our staff tonight to bust their butts to get election numbers and endure the mass chaos that an election night brings.  If you've never lived through one, it's constant talking and yelling as information comes in at a rapid pace forcing everyone to revise their immediate graphic, script and rundown every few minutes.  Then there's coordinating with our reporters and photographers in the field.  What do we need from them in 20 minutes?  In 40?  Their assignments change constantly and they have to adapt like everyone and this was one of those nights where it came together successfully. 

I'm going home to sleep.

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