Early returns: Romney takes Kentucky, W. Va., S. Carolina; Obama wins Vermont
Long march to electoral victory begins
In the first states to finish voting tonight, Mitt Romney and President Obama each scored early wins.
In the inital flurry of early returns, there were no major surprises, as tensions and excitement rose in a race so close it remained a statistical tie in many places.
Based on exit polls and analysis of the vote in so far, Indiana -- went for Obama in 2008 -- is projected to turn red for Romney tonight. Romney will also pick up Kentucky, West Virginia and South Carolina. Obama, based on those same projections, will win in Vermont.
Each candidate picked up a handful of votes, but they remained far from the ultimate goal of 270 needed to win the presidency.
Among the states that have finished voting are Virginia and Ohio, which have been among the most fiercely contested battlegrounds. The winner of Virginia's and Ohio's electoral votes will not be known for hours as the votes are being counted.
Bracing for a long night, Obama today warned that if the race is close, a clear winner in the presidential election may not be determined until Wednesday morning.
"One way or another we're going to have a winner," he told ABC News' Washington, D.C., affiliate WJLA. "If it's close, it may spill into the morning, but I'm pretty confident that we'll end up having a president-elect come Wednesday."
In the final hours of the campaign today, both men did what they felt was necessary to ensure victory.
For the president that meant a traditional game of basketball, a game he has played before every major election that he has won.
The president, who voted early last month, remained in his home state of Illinois today joining old friends and confidants on a basketball court in Chicago following a morning on television satellite interviews to voters in swing states.
Among those on the court were Education Secretary Arne Duncan, Obama's former body man Reggie Love and former Chicago Bulls star Scottie Pippen. Obama's team won by about 20 points.
Obama skipped playing the pre-election game before just one race, the 2008 New Hampshire primary which he subsequently lost. Since then, the game has become a campaign superstition.