Political news

The race for Washington governor remains too close to call. But Democrat Jay Inslee said Wednesday he’s already forming a transition team to prepare to take office. The former congressman leads Republican attorney general Rob McKenna 51 percent to 49 percent.

In a Seattle press conference, Inslee acknowledged ballots are still being counted. But he said he’s confident enough to begin the transition process.

You swore your allegiance. You voted. Perhaps you even volunteered your time. But your candidate just lost. What do you do now?

Some psychologists say you can look to the coping tactics of die-hard sports fans, who generally have to deal with defeat more than once every four years.

Play the blame game: You can blame the defeat on someone or something other than your candidate, says Tufts University associate professor of psychology Sam Sommers. In sports, you can blame factors like weather, an injury, or — most often — the referees.

Democrat Jay Inslee has a slim lead over Republican Rob McKenna in the race for Governor of Washinton. The initial ballot count shows Inslee with 51 percent to McKenna’s 49 percent.  In Bellevue, McKenna told supporters he’s still optimistic he can win and will wait for more votes to be counted. But, Inslee told a packed election night room in Seattle he expects the trend to continue in his favor.

Paul Evans / Flickr

First came marijuana as medicine. Now comes legal pot for the people.

Colorado and Washington have become the first states to allow pot for recreational use.

Those who have argued for decades that legalizing and taxing weed would be better than a costly, failed U.S. drug war now have their chance to prove it.

Supporters of President Obama partied outside the White House on Wednesday morning, chanting "Four More Years!" and "U-S-A!" — and singing off-tune renditions of The Star-Spangled Banner.

"I knew I'd be coming here. I just didn't know whether I'd be coming to protest or to celebrate," said AnaLysa Sawyers, 38, a teacher from Maryland.

"You're driving up from redwood country, in the most beautiful park in America ... and when it's not on your radar, you have no idea it exists," says photographer H. Lee — referring to the marijuana industry that has proliferated, though unofficially, in that region of Northern California.

Gary Davis / KPLU

"I just phoned our son up in Bellingham and said, get ready for the wedding."

Washington United for Marriage has declared victory in the same-sex marriage referendum. Maine and Maryland became the first states to approve same-sex marriage by popular vote last night.

“This is a clear win,” the group's campaign manager Zach Silk said in a press release.

“We have run the numbers every which way, and we can now confidently say that we have won. This is an historic day for Washington, an historic day for our country and, most of all, for families across the state who have dreamed of this day and the wedding celebrations to come.”

So far, official “Yes” votes have a slight advantage of 52 to 48 percent. Counties were expected to post additional vote results Wednesday afternoon.

However the group said in the press release:

With 60 percent of the vote counted, R74 already has the support of 65 percent of King County and is performing well in key Eastern Washington counties.  Simply put, it’s now impossible for opponents to overcome the 52-48 percent spread for R74.

Video: KPLU videographer David Kellogg captured the hopes and tensions of election night as one same-sex couple waited for elections results:

The Associated Press

Washington joined Colorado in voting to become the first states to legalize and tax the sale of marijuana for recreational use, but people shouldn't expect to be able to buy a bag of legitimate weed any time soon.

Nor should they expect the law to go into effect with out a fight with federal law agencies, said Sam Kamin, professor of law at the University of Denver Sturm College of Law.

“My gut feeling is that the federal government won’t currently tolerate the commercial recreational sale of marijuana, that is they will not allow it to be regulated like alcohol. That just seems a bridge too far,” he said.

Seattle voters have approved a $290 million, 30-year bond measure to rebuild the seawall along the downtown waterfront on Elliott Bay.

And King County voters have approved a $119 million, six-year renewal of a levy to pay for fingerprint processing system for law enforcement. The Seattle Times reports (http://is.gd/RPHYiZ ) the two measures will increase property taxes on a $360,000 home in Seattle by $68 a year. The seawall is a necessary part of the project to replace the Alaskan Way Viaduct with a tunnel and renovated Seattle waterfront. 

OLYMPIA, Wash. (AP) — Election officials estimate that hundreds of thousands of votes are left to count in the race for governor of Washington.

Secretary of State Sam Reed says about 1.2 million ballots remain to be counted in Washington.

He says that's about half the expected total.

Reed told KING-TV more results due from counties Wednesday afternoon will likely show trends in the tight race for governor and other close races.

He says the outcome of the governor's race between Jay Inslee and Rob McKenna should be clear by Friday "unless it's a real nail-biter."

Transcript of President Obama's victory speech in Chicago. Source: Federal News Service

Editor's Note: NPR transcripts are created on a rush deadline by a contractor for NPR, and accuracy and availability may vary. This text may not be in its final form and may be updated or revised in the future.

(Cheers, applause.)

AUDIENCE MEMBERS: (Chanting.) Four more years! Four more years! Four more years! Four more years! Four more years! Four more years! Four more years! Four more years!

The Associated Press

Washington state's race for governor remains too close to call, with hundreds of thousands of ballots left to count.

Early results Tuesday night showed Democrat Jay Inslee with a slight lead over Republican Rob McKenna. The two candidates have been competing in one of the most watched and most expensive gubernatorial races in the country, with the campaigns and outside political groups raising and spending some $40 million in the race.

Gary Davis / KPLU

Washington voters are narrowly approving same-sex marriage in the state, following the lead of voters in Maryland and Maine, where ballot measures on same-sex unions also are holding slim leads.

With about half of the expected vote counted Tuesday night, Referendum 74 was passing with 53 percent of the vote.

The referendum asked voters to approve or reject the state's new law legalizing same-sex marriage. That law was passed by the Legislature and signed by Gov. Chris Gregoire earlier this year, but it's been on hold pending the election's outcome.

Americans elected Barack Obama to a second term Tuesday, with the president capturing or on the verge of winning all of the key states that had been at the center of his hard-fought campaign against Republican Mitt Romney.

"Whether I earned your vote or not, I have listened to you," Obama said early Wednesday at a speech before thousands of supporters in Chicago. "I have learned from you. And you've made me a better president.

Still unsure how you want to spend your evening as the exit polls arrive? KPLU has you covered. We have aggregated multiple events around Seattle tonight, so take your pick or enjoy an evening of bar hopping around the city.

A look at preliminary results from exit polling in Washington state conducted by Edison Media Research for The Associated Press and television networks:

ECONOMY: Washington voters were focused on the economy with a majority calling it the top problem facing the country — though more voters say it's on the mend than think it's getting worse. Just over 1 in 5 say the economy is now excellent or good.

Here's the plan for our Election Night coverage:

-- Starting between 5 p.m. and 6 p.m., we'll be live-blogging. Not here in The Two-Way, but right on the homefront of NPR.org and on our "Election Night 2012" results page. If all goes as planned, our updates should flow on to your screen automatically.

Ashley Gross / KPLU

People in Seattle City Hall live and breathe politics. For the past few months, they’ve also been able to eat politics. Obama and Romney sugar cookies have been selling well at the City Grind Espresso stand at Seattle City Hall, although owner Jon Streeter says there hasn't been quite the same hype as in 2008.

"They've been steady, and I think there are more places to get them, so I think overall they're probably  selling as well, but for us they're not nearly the big deal they were four years ago," Streeter said.

Police are investigating an overnight burglary at the Seattle headquarters of the state Democrat Party.

Spokesman Mark Jamieson says it was reported at 5:30 a.m. Tuesday by someone arriving for work.

He says there's no immediate indication of a political motivation. He says it's a burglary in a building that happens to house campaign folks.

State Democrats Communications Director Benton Strong says the building at 901 Rainier Ave. S. also serves as an office for Organizing for America and Jay Inslee for Washington.

The first big wave of results for elections in Washington state are expected at about 8:15 pm. Here's a countdown clock set for that time.

As the voting day has progressed, we've seen some reports of irregularities.. Throughout the day, we'll be surveying our reporters and other news organizations and keep track of significant irregularities in this post.

So far, the big problem has been long lines. Some voters have had to wait hours in line to cast their ballot in battleground states like Florida and Virginia and those affected by Superstorm Sandy like New York.

We'll start with Florida:

Big Dubya / Flickr

This is the first presidential election in which no one in Washington is voting in a voting booth. Lots of people prefer voting by mail – it’s convenient, they don’t have to rush from work to get to the polls before they close. But in downtown Seattle, KPLU found lots of people who wax nostalgic for the good old days of voting in person - among them, Terri Vail, Antonio Hicks, Brad Bloomquist, and Peter Orange.

An alleged case of ballot tampering in Oregon’s Clackamas County has implications for races statewide. Officials say a volunteer elections worker is suspected of marking votes for Republicans in races a voter had left blank.

Clackamas County is considered a key swing area in statewide races in Oregon. It's also home to several hotly contested legislative districts that could determine the balance of power in the Oregon House.

**Refresh this page often for the latest updates.**

A quick head's up on what this is. The Battleground is an aggregation of NPR member stations' content produced during election night. It's curated by the staff at NPR Digital Services, including Eric Athas, Teresa Gorman, Will Snyder, Kim Perry and Erin Teare Martin. The list of participating stations and states is posted at the bottom.

(Revised at 5:46 pm ET)

On the final day of the 2012 campaign for the White House, President Obama and Mitt Romney are making the last push for votes in states each believes critical to achieving the 270 Electoral College votes needed for victory.

Obama was scheduled to campaign in three swing states, while Romney had events planned in four. The only overlap was in Ohio, considered the linchpin of the election.

As Eyder said earlier, "it's almost over."

The campaign, that is.

But if you haven't had enough of it all yet, here's are three places to go if you're looking for tips on what to watch for and when to watch for it.

All you political junkies with iPhones and Android devices … there’s an app waiting for you.

The election results mobile app from the Washington Secretary of State’s office will give you up-to-date results for all federal, state and local races. The secretary of state’s office released the iPhone app two years ago and added the Android one this year because of strong demand.

As relentlessly as the candidates have courted voters, they've also shown their love to donors.

A report by the Center for Responsive Politics places the total cost of the 2012 elections at an estimated $6 billion, which would make it the most expensive election in U.S. history