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  • Romney concedes defeat as Obama passes 270 votes needed for victory
  • Democrats keep control of Senate
  • Republicans retain control of House of Representatives
  • Obama 303 electoral votes; Romney 206 electoral votes

Our live coverage is over. Thanks everyone!

Click here for our latest results map:

07:38
Obama: “We are an American family and we rise and fall together as one nation and as one people.”

“Whether you held an Obama sign or a Romney sign, you made a difference.”

“I look forward to sitting together with Governor Romney and discussing how we can work together.”

“I wouldn’t be the man I am today without the woman who married me 20 years ago. Michelle, I can honestly say today: I have never loved you more.”

“Thank you for believing all the way.”

“Forward. That’s where we need to go…The long campaign is now over and whether I earned your vote or not I listened to you…and I return to the White House more inspired than ever.”

“We are not as divided as our politics suggest. We remain more than a collection of red states and blue states. We are the greatest country on Earth, United States of America. God bless you.”

07:36
Obama on stage now to address his supporters in Chicago…

07:00
After an hour or so of ‘will-he-won’t-he’, Mitt Romney concedes defeat to Barack Obama saying he “can’t risk partisan bickering” and that “leaders should reach across the aisle.” Romney tells he made a telephone call to Obama to congratulate him on his victory.

06:26
A stunning statistic: across the entire United States the difference in votes cast for the candidates, among ballots counted so far, is a mere 335…in favour of Romney. Yes, that’s just THREE HUNDRED AND THIRTY FIVE votes between them.

06:05
Electoral college votes so far: Obama – 281, Romney – 203. 270 needed to win.
 
06:00
Polls close in Alaska.

05:55
Obama wins in Nevada.

05:36
Obama’s twitter pic four more years.
 
05:31
Barack Obama wins US presidential election. Electoral college votes so far: Obama – 275, Romney – 203. 270 needed to win.
 
05:24
Romney wins in North Carolina, meaning Democrats lose the state.
 
05:23
Obama wins California, Hawaii and Washington – retaining these blue states.
Romney keeps Idaho red with a win there.
 
05:18
MSNBC predicts Barack Obama has won the election and will remain president of the United States.
 
05:13
Romney wins in Arizona.

05:05
Romney expected to win in North Carolina, which Obama won in 2008. Romney has 50.4 percent and Obama has 48.6 percent (95 percent of votes counted).
 
05:02
Electoral college votes so far: Obama – 244, Romney – 178. 270 needed to win.
 
05:00
Polls close in California, Hawaii, Idaho, Oregon and Washington.

05:00
No surprise as Obama keeps hold of California and its 55 electoral votes as the early west coast results come in. He also retains Washington State further north.

04:57
Comprehensive article on the results so far in the New York Times.

04:52
Obama wins Minnesota.
 
04:50
Republican House Speaker John Boehner “says the party is willing to work with anyone”:http://www.salon.com/2012/11/07/quickquote_speaker_boehner/ but will continue to try to stop Democrats increasing taxes on the rich.

04:48
Nationwide, Romney leads Obama by 51% to 48% but the electoral college system means that Romney may win more American votes than his rival but still lose the election. This would not auger well however for an eventual second Obama term.

04:43
In key swing state Florida, where Romney must win to keep up any hopes of beating Obama, the Republican challenger trails by around 16,000 votes with 88% of ballots counted. That’s only 50%-49% in favour of Obama but figures like these are making for a very quiet atmosphere at Romney HQ.

04:14
This from the New York Times shows how Romney has far fewer ways to win than Obama. And the Republican’s options are narrowing, having failed to snatch Wisconsin, Michigan, New Hampshire and Pennsylvania

04:07
Electoral college votes so far: Obama – 157, Romney – 162. 270 needed to win.

04:06
Obama wins New Hampshire.
 
04:04
Wins for Romney in Utah and Montana.

04:00
Polls close in Iowa, Montana, Nevada and Utah.

03:35
Obama wins in Wisconsin.
 
03:30
Florida: Obama and Romney on 50 percent each (81 percent of votes counted). Could be a repeat of the situation in 2000 when “George W Bush beat Al Gore”:http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/United_States_presidential_election_in_Florida,_2000 by 537 votes.
 
03:28
Electoral college votes so far: Obama – 143, Romney – 153. 270 needed to win.

03:24
Obama wins in Pennsylvania – a key hold for the Democrats. Romney had done some last-minute campaigning in the state.
 
03:12
The Republicans are projected to keep their majority in the House of Representatives.

03:10
More results:
Wins for Obama – Michigan and New York
Wins for Romney – Kansas, Texas, Louisiana, Wyoming, North Dakota, South Dakota and Nebraska
  *03:04:
Exit polls: Arizona – 52 percent for Romney, 46 percent for Obama
Colorado – 48 percent each
Minnesota – 47 percent Obama, 50 percent Obama
New Mexico – 43 percent Romney, 52 percent Obama
Wisconsin – 46 percent Romney, 52 percent Obama 
 
03:00
Polls close in Arizona, Colorado, Kansas, Louisiana, Michigan, Minnesota, Nebraska, New Mexico, New York, North Dakota, South Dakota, Texas, Wisconsin and Wyoming.

02:44
Electoral college votes so far: Obama – 78, Romney – 76. 270 needed to win.
 
02:38
Results so far:
Wins for Obama – Maine, Vermont, Rhode Island, Massachusetts, Connecticut, New Jersey, Delaware, Maryland, Illinois.
Wins for Romney – Indiana, Kentucky, West Virginia, Tennessee, Alabama, Georgia, South Carolina, Oklahoma
 
02:33
Romney wins in Georgia and Alabama – both states stay Republican.
 
02:29
Some notes on the relevance of the Electoral College votes:  There are 538 members of the Electoral College, allotted to each of the 50 states and the District of Columbia. This is what actually elects the president.
 
02:26
Obama camp tweets Florida voters “to stay in line”:
https://twitter.com/BarackObama
if they are still queueing when the polls close.
 
02:21
Senate seats – Republicans, 38, Democrats, 35. 51 needed for overall control of the Senate.
 
02:16
Still too close to call in Virginia. “An article”:
http://www.policymic.com/articles/18481/virginia-election-results-live-exit-polls-tim-kaine-results
about the importance of Virginia.

02:11
Electoral college votes so far: Obama – 56, Romney – 40. 270 needed to win.
 
02:07
Exit polls: Florida – 49 percent for Romney, 50 percent for Obama
Mississippi – 60 percent for Romney, 40 percent for Obama
Missouri – 53 percent for Romney, 44 percent for Obama
New Hampshire – 48 percent for Romney, 50 percent for Obama
New Jersey – 45 percent for Romney, 53 percent for Obama
Pennsylvania – 47 percent for Romney, 52 percent for Obama

02:01
Obama projected to win Connecticut, Maine, Delaware, Illinois, Massachussetts, DC Colombia, Maryland, Rhode Island
Romney projected to win Oklahoma and Georgia

01:48
Senate seats – Republicans, 37, Democrats, 31. 51 needed for overall control of the Senate.
 
01:45
“Reuters/Ipsos exit poll”:
http://uk.reuters.com/article/2012/11/07/usa-campaign-exitpoll-idUKL1E8M700620121107
 shows first-time voters are supporting Obama by a 2-1 margin.
 
01:34
Initial results: 48 percent for Romney, 52 percent for Obama (23 percent of votes counted).
Virginia – 58 percent Romney, 40 percent Obama (2 percent of votes counted).
 
01:32
Exit poll results: North Carolina – Romney and Obama have 49 percent each.
Ohio – Romney has 48 percent, Obama has 51 percent.
 
01:20 Initial results in Florida: Romney and Obama each on 50 percent (five percent of votes counted). Florida expected to go to Romney.
 
01:17 Obama tweets voters in Pennsylvania that they can still vote as long as they’re in line at 02:00 CET when polls close.

01:07
According to projections, here are the electoral college votes so far: Obama – 3, Romney – 19. 270 needed to win.
 
01:04
First actual results: Kentucky goes to Romney,
Vermont goes to Obama
  *01:02:
Initial exit polls: Indiana – 55 percent for Romney, 43 percent for Obama.
Virginia – 49 percent each.  Virginia is a key state for both candidates.

01:00
Polls close in Indiana, Georgia, Kentucky, South Carolina, Vermont and key state Virginia.
 
00:56
Mitt Romney is in Boston waiting for the results.
 
00:49
More early results: Kentucky – 68 percent for Romney, 29 percent for Obama (one percent of votes counted).
Indiana – 60 percent for Romney, 38 percent for Obama (three percent of votes counted).
 
00:49
We’re getting close to the business end of the election night now – the results. In the meantime check out this cute little map of how (and when) US voters cast their ballot, in real time.

00:05
With one percent of votes counted in Kentucky, 79 percent for Romney, 19 percent for Obama. Kentucky is usually a Republican (red) state.
 
00:00
First polls close in Kentucky and Indiana
 
23:58
Incidents of faults with electronic voting machines have been reported in Pennsylvania. “Here’s a link”:http://www.motherjones.com/mojo/2012/11/voting-machine-romney-obama-pennsylvania-video to footage of one which doesn’t allow the option of voting for Obama – But, there are also reports of machines in North Carolina switching votes from Romney to Obama

23:35
President Obama has left a message on social news website Reddit urging people to get their friend, room mates and neighbours to vote – referring to it as ‘upvoting’ –
http://www.reddit.com/r/politics/comments/12r7yb/reddit_this_is_important/

23:12
The economy is the key issue for voters, according to an exit poll= carried out by Associated Press
 
22:00
New Jersey voters displaced by Hurricane Sandy given until Saturday 02:00 CET (Friday 20:00 EST) to complete fax and email ballots.

As Americans head to the voting booths, campaign teams for both candidates have been furiously working the phones to urge supporters to cast their ballots.

Opinion polls show incumbent president Barack Obama and his Republican rival Mitt Romney are in a virtual dead heat, although according to the latest polls Obama has a slight advantage in several vital swing states that could give him the 270 electoral votes needed to win the state-by-state contest. With the result in the balance, voter turn-out may prove decisive.

The outcome looks likely to be settled in just a handful of key states. US states are attributed electoral votes according to their population from California, the most populous, with 55 electoral votes and states with smaller populations having just three.

See our interactive map of electoral states

Many analysts predict Ohio, with its 18 electoral votes, will be the crucial swing state.

Ohio is home to more than 800,000 automotive jobs and industry watchers credit the president with saving many of them when he agreed to bail out General Motors and Chrysler three years ago. Romney opposed the plan.

Earlier Obama made a surprise visit to a campaign office in his home city of Chicago. He expressed confidence he would win re-election and congratulated Romney on a “spirited campaign”.

Mitt Romney, the Republican presidential nominee, and his wife Ann, cast their ballots at a voting station not far from their Belmont, Massachusetts home. Romney will watch the election proceedings at an event in Boston.

Vice President Joe Biden voted in his home state of Delaware. “I’m feeling pretty good,” Biden said when asked if he had any prediction. The 69-year-old former Senator, who twice ran unsuccessfully for the White House before becoming Obama’s running mate, has not ruled out another run in 2016.

Republican Vice-Presidential candidate Paul Ryan cast his vote in the town of Janesville, Wisconsin, where he grew up. Ryan is considered charismatic and youthful, an image some Republicans feel the Romney campaign is currently lacking.

At least 120 million people are expected to vote. Their decision will set the country’s course for the next four years on spending, taxes, healthcare and foreign policy, challenges like the rise of China and Iran’s nuclear ambitions.

As well as choosing a new commander in chief, voters will decide who will sit in the Senate and the House of Representatives.

See below: electing the US president

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