It’s a wrap.
President Obama and Mitt Romney, after battling well into Election Day, woundÂ down their campaigns Tuesday afternoon, leaving it in the voters’ hands toÂ decide who will take to oath of office come January.
Polls will begin to close as early as 6 p.m., with results expected toÂ trickle in through midnight. The razor-thin margin between the candidates meansÂ the campaigns could be in for a long night.
Election Day, though, was unexpectedly busy for the campaigns. While ObamaÂ himself kept a low profile in Chicago, the campaign dispatched Vice PresidentÂ Biden to Ohio where he visited a Cleveland restaurant and later posed forÂ pictures with volunteers before joining up with the president.
Romney, meanwhile, made stops in Ohio and Pennsylvania — two key swingÂ states — before heading back to campaign headquarters in Boston.
“This is a big day for big change,” Romney told a crowd of campaignÂ volunteers outside Cleveland.
The visits rounded out a grueling battle for the White House. For Obama, theÂ election is the last time his name will appear on a ballot, or so he claims. ForÂ Romney, the vote marks the close of a nearly six-year run for theÂ presidency.
In an airtight contest, both candidates were expressing confidence asÂ millions of voters flocked to the polls. Obama visited a Chicago campaign fieldÂ office Tuesday morning, before playing his traditional election-day game ofÂ pick-up basketball. “The great thing about these campaigns is after all the TVÂ ads and all the fundraising and all the debates and all the electioneering, itÂ comes down to this,” Obama said.
Voting kicked off overnight in two tiny villages in northern New Hampshire.Â Obama and Romney each won five votes in the small town of Dixville Notch, whichÂ was the first to announce its results after polls opened and closed within 43Â seconds.
In Hart’s Location Obama won with 23 votes, Romney received 9 and LibertarianÂ Gary Johnson received 1 vote after 5 minutes, 42 seconds of voting. The townsÂ have enjoyed first-vote status since 1948.
Obama closed out his campaign with a late-night rally in Iowa on Monday. TheÂ event was held in the same state where a 2008 caucus victory jump-started hisÂ path to the White House.
The president was photographed with tears running down his face as he spokeÂ before a crowd of 20,000 supporters, telling them “this is where our movementÂ for change began.”
The president never mentioned Romney in his closing appeal, which sought toÂ draw on the hope and optimism of his first campaign.
Romney returned Monday night to the state where he launched his bid, tellingÂ supporters in New Hampshire during his final campaign rally that he needs theirÂ votes again.
“It’s all your votes and your work right here in New Hampshire that will helpÂ me become the next president of the United States,” Romney told a thunderousÂ capacity crowd at the Verizon Wireless Arena, which holds about 10,000 people.Â “We thank you and we ask you to stay in it all the way to the victory tomorrowÂ night.”
The final hours of the exhausting 2012 contest were played out at earlierÂ mega-rallies across a half-dozen states. Each candidate sought to close the dealÂ with voters promising “change,” while accusing the other of peddling an agendaÂ that would choke the country’s already meager economic recovery.
Romney, in Fairfax, Va., said Obama simply has not lived up to hisÂ promises.
“Change can’t be measured in speeches, it’s measured in achievements,” RomneyÂ said.
Obama, in Columbus, Ohio, claimed he’s been fighting against the “status quo”Â and opponents who bet on “cynicism.”
“I’ve got a whole lot of fight left in me, and I hope you do, too,” theÂ president told the cheering crowd.
Ohio is arguably the hardest-fought contest of the race, with both candidatesÂ visiting Monday and both pouring millions into that battleground. But with pollsÂ giving Obama a slight edge in the Buckeye State, Romney’s campaign also has madeÂ a late play for Pennsylvania — a win in Pennsylvania could allow the RepublicanÂ nominee to lose Ohio and still have a pathway to the 270 electoral votes itÂ takes to win.
The Obama campaign, though, dismissed Romney’s Election Day efforts as aÂ “Hail Mary.”
Voters across the country on Tuesday were casting ballots not just in theÂ presidential race, but a host of congressional races that will determine theÂ balance of power on Capitol Hill next year. Democrats currently control theÂ Senate by a narrow 53-47 margin.
It’s still an uphill climb for Republicans to take control — they have aÂ much easier shot at retaining control of the House.
Meanwhile, voters are deciding on an array of controversial measures at theÂ state level, including several that would partially legalizeÂ marijuana.
In the presidential race, battleground polls show a mixed picture. WhileÂ Obama has the edge in Ohio, for example, Romney has the edge in the crucialÂ state of Florida. Nationally, the latest and final Gallup survey showed RomneyÂ with 49 percent and Obama with 48 percent support.
By most estimates, Obama comes into Election Day with a slight advantage inÂ the electoral vote count. The RealClearPolitics electoral map shows the statesÂ likely to vote for Obama are worth 201 electoral votes, while those likely toÂ vote for Romney are worth 191. It takes 270 to win.
The toss-ups include: Colorado, Florida, Iowa, Michigan, Nevada, NewÂ Hampshire, North Carolina, Ohio, Pennsylvania, Virginia and Wisconsin.
Source: Fox News