A man on a friend's shoulders holds up a sign saying "We have overcome" — a play on a popular civil rights tune — at the Barack Obama victory rally in Chicago. (Melanie Stetson Freeman/AFP/Getty Images)
IOWA CITY, Iowa — Barely had the confetti stopped swirling on Election Night when the recriminations began. The howls of anger and pain from the political right almost drowned out the roars of jubilation from relieved and excited liberals. The challenger, Mitt Romney, was not conservative enough, they fumed. No, he was too conservative. It was his constant policy ballet that doomed his candidacy. No, Romney was too entrenched in unpopular positions to appeal to a wide enough swath of the public.
U.S. President Barack Obama delivers his victory speech after being reelected for a second term at McCormick Place November 6, 2012 in Chicago, Illinois. (Win McNamee/Getty Images)
HANOVERTON, Ohio — Slightly hoarse but jubilant, newly re-elected President Barack Obama sounded a message of hope and reconciliation in his victory speech, delivered in what was for most Americans the wee hours of Wednesday morning. Obama made a clean sweep of the table — while Florida is still not completely decided, Obama reached the magic number of 270 Electoral College votes needed to win even without Florida’s 29.
Voters stand on line at the polls November 6, 2012 in Columbus, Ohio. (Jay LaPrete/Getty Images)
COLUMBUS, Ohio — Election Day dawned bright and beautiful here — a crisp fall day under a cloudless blue sky. According to poll workers, there were lines in the early morning — before the polls opened at 6:30 a.m. But by noon the business of voting was proceeding smoothly and steadily in this residential neighborhood in northeast Columbus. There were no signs of the long lines reported at Ohio State University and in other areas of the capital.
US President Barack Obama takes the stage during a campaign rally in Columbus, Ohio, on Nov. 5, 2012. After a grueling 18-month battle, the final US campaign day arrived Monday for Obama and Republican rival Mitt Romney, two men on a collision course for the world's top job. (Jewel Samad/Getty Images)
COLUMBUS, Ohio — It could have been a sense of irony that prompted Mitt Romney to choose the music for his grand entrance into the Landmark Aviation hangar, where about 10,000 supporters had been waiting for hours. As his plane rolled in, the first stirring strains of Aaron Copeland’s “Fanfare for the Common Man” sounded, and the crowd went wild. The anything-but-common candidate and his wife smilingly accepted the deafening accolades of the adoring fans.
Republican presidential candidate Mitt Romney in Ohio on Oct. 25, 2012. (Justin Sullivan/AFP/Getty Images)
COLUMBUS, Ohio — Ohioans may be forgiven for thinking that they are the only game in town as Election Day nears. Now, allegations are swirling that Ohio votes will be counted using experimental software, maintained by a firm with ties to Romney.
Barack Obama speaks after visiting hurricane Sandy affeected neighborhood in Brigantine, New Jersey, on October 31, 2012. (Jewel Samad/AFP/Getty Images)
BUZZARDS BAY, Mass. — It’s now just a weekend and a wake-up before Election Day, and those living outside the battleground states may be forgiven for thinking that they simply do not exist. Once the Sandy moratorium expired, the candidates launched themselves into frenetic activity, caroming like so many billiard balls between Ohio, Florida, Virginia, Colorado, Wisconsin, Iowa, New Hampshire and Nevada. It is a sign of just how close this race is that Iowa’s six electoral votes are being courted as assiduously as Ohio’s 18.
A motorcade for US Republican presidential candidate Mitt Romney cruises through Delray Beach, Fla., Oct. 20. (Emmanuel Dunand/AFP/Getty Images)
BOCA RATON, Fla. — Once again, it could all come down to Florida. There is, arguably, no greater plum for the candidates at this point than the hotly contested Sunshine State, whose 29 Electoral College votes could put Barack Obama over the top or relieve Mitt Romney of the necessity of sweeping multiple smaller states. Romney resumed his campaign there on Wednesday with three stops in Tampa, Jacksonville and Coral Gables. He talked up his economic expertise and said it was time for a "new course," but refrained from direct attacks upon the president, who was still dealing with the aftermath of Sandy.
Former US President Jimmy Carter, right, watches election workers in Jakarta, Indonesia during a visit to a polling station on July 5, 2004. (Paula Bronstein/Getty Images)
BOCA RATON — It is not at all difficult to imagine international observers at US polling places. In fact, they have been here in every election since 2002, which means it was on a Republican president’s watch — George W. Bush, to be exact — that the practice began.
Homes and businesses burned down in the Rockaway, Queens during superstorm Sandy. Can New York City and other areas hit hard by the storm recover in time for the Nov. 6 election? (Spencer Platt/Getty Images)
BUZZARDS BAY, Mass. — Sandy’s berserker rage may not yet be exhausted: If the damage is severe enough, and if the states cannot get things under control quickly enough, the storm could still cause another major disruption: postponement of the 2012 presidential election.
GlobalPost correspondent Jean MacKenzie is taking to the road to reconnect with a country she left more than two decades before. In the run-up to the 2012 presidential election, MacKenzie aims to form a picture of the hopes and dreams, and the frustrations and fears, that will move her fellow countrymen to make what might well turn out to be one of the most important decisions of our lives.