Romney casts ballot, confident of Ohio win

Republican presidential hopeful Mitt Romney cast his ballot on Tuesday in the US elections with his wife Ann before heading to Ohio and Pennsylvania for one last push to get out the vote.

The Romneys voted at the Beech Street Centre in the town of Belmont, Massachusetts, the community centre where they voted in the Republican primary in March.

Romney, who served for four years as governor of Massachusetts, a Democrat-leaning state, were greeted by a crowd outside the building as they entered, some bearing signs in support of President Barack Obama.

A pro-Romney sign read: "Mitt and Ann enjoy your new White House."

The Romneys picked up voting materials and walked over to a row of voting booths in the room, cast their ballots side by side, then inserted their sheets into a ballot collection box, a process that took about three minutes in all.

Asked who he voted for, Romney said, "I think you know," adding that he felt "very, very good" about his election prospects against Obama.

The two candidates are going to the wire on election day, with most polls showing the Democratic incumbent with a slight edge in the key battleground states where voters will likely to decide the election outcome.

Ultimate battleground
Among them is Ohio, perhaps the nation's ultimate battleground, where Obama holds a slight lead. When a reporter asked Romney how he felt about Ohio – his first stop Tuesday on a last-minute trip to thank volunteers and help get out the vote – he responded, "Yeah, I feel great about Ohio." 

Romney will return from Ohio and Pennsylvania early on Tuesday evening shortly before the first polling stations close, and will host a watch party in Boston where he and his team will watch the election results come in.

Obama, who will watch the results in Chicago, cast his ballot late last month in his home state of Illinois, becoming the first US president to vote before election day, as he highlighted a push for early voting in battleground states in a bid to boost turnout.

Meanwhile, Obama congratulated Romney on Tuesday for running a hard-fought race for the White House and expressed confidence he would win re-election during a stop at a local campaign office to thank volunteers on Tuesday.

"I … want to say to Governor Romney congratulations on a spirited campaign. I know that his supporters are just as engaged and just as enthusiastic and working just as hard today," Obama said as volunteers made phone calls encouraging supporters to get to the polls.

"We feel confident we've got the votes to win, but it's going to depend ultimately on whether those votes turn out. And so I would encourage everybody on all sides just to make sure that you exercise this precious right that we have that people fought so hard for us to have."

Obama made calls to volunteers from the campaign office to thank them for working for his re-election. "I expect that we'll have a good night, but no matter what happens, I just want to say how much I appreciate everybody who supported me, everybody who's worked so hard on my behalf."

Opinion polls show Obama and Romney in a virtual dead heat, although the Democratic incumbent 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. – Reuters, Sapa-AFP

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