311,591,917 people. 50 states. Two candidates and just one election. What could possibly go wrong as America goes to the polls in 2012?
As voting gets well and truly under way, reports are emerging from across the pond of all sorts of unusual blips in the great democratic process, from hastily covered-up polling station propaganda to devious voting machines with their own political agenda.
To fuel the conspiracy theorist in you and keep us amused as this long night to a new world order unfurls, we'll be gathering the oddest tit bits, twit pics and rumours from around the web and cramming them into the slideshow below.
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Hats off to this election judge in Obama's Chicago home ward who didn't let a small matter like handing out ballots get in the way of his loyalty to the president. With breathtaking disregard for the impartiality of his role the unidentified man took to his task wearing an Obama hat.
According to a journalist at The Tampa Times, thousands of voters in Florida were contact on Tuesday morning by robots who erroneously informed them that they had until 7pm on Wednesday to cast their ballot - a full 24 hour after the real deadline. Apparently it was caused by a 'glitch' in the SOE system (the election software used in the area), though anyone looking for a conspiracy theory will be excited to hear this from the DailyKos: A woman the Times interviewed said that after she received the robo-call, she phoned the number that came up on her caller ID and was directed to the office of the supervisor of elections. She said she spoke to two women there in succession, each of whom told her the call she had received was impossible. "They were very uncooperative," she said. The supervisor of elections for Pinellas County is Deborah Clark, a Republican, who has worked for the elections office for more than 30 years, and held its top post for 12. That's an elected post that pays $128,000 a year. The Democrat who ran against her in 2008, Jack Killingsworth, lost by a 23 percent margin. He's running again this year. The county has 233,325 registered Democrats, 226,010 registered Republicans and 167,013 others.
Republicans in Philadelphia walked into their local polling station only to be greeted by a giant mural of the man who makes their blood run cold and their trigger finger twitch: President Obama. The mural - also featuring a quote from the President - attracted enough complaints to prompt a judge to order workers at the station to cover him up. Their feeble first attempt - involving three pieces of paper (pictured) - wasn't sufficient to allay fears that floating voters might be won over to the Democrats by seeing a giant painting of Obama on their way to the booth.
This lady, 55-year-old Deanna Swenson, has been relieved of her duties as an election work in Oregon on suspicion of altering ballots. The registered Republican was allegedly taking tickets where no choice had been specified and helpfully choosing for them - no prizes for guessing which. According to the Willamette Week, a tearful Swenson insisted to them that she'd only altered two ballots. Swenson has been working in elections since 2000.
More (Republican) ghosts in the machine over in Pennsylvania, where a video was posted in YouTube showing an electronic voting machine that opted for Romney even when votes pressed 'Obama'. However before you start looking for Paul Ryan crouching behind any machines with a screwdriver in his hand, Republicans have also reported that some machines are converting Romney votes in to Obama ones. A Pennsylvania electronic voting machine has been taken out of service after being captured on video changing a vote for President Obama into one for Mitt Romney, NBC News has confirmed. Republicans have also said machines have turned Romney votes into Obama ones.