This is TALK OF THE NATION. I'm Neal Conan in Washington. The candidates repeatedly tell us that now it's finally up to the voters, which is true as far as that goes. But it's also up to the campaign volunteers who ferry supporters to the polls, to squadrons of poll-watchers who keep an eye out for shenanigans and to the legions of lawyers who will draft appeals and protests and orders to show cause.
Passionate preparations, raucous rallies, debatable decisions, last-second scandals and the awful, awful suspense, Hollywood celebrates Election Day dramatics, even when the vote's in high school.
(SOUNDBITE OF MOVIE, "ELECTION")
REESE WITHERSPOON: (as Tracy Flick) Dear Lord Jesus, I do not often speak with you and ask for things. But now, I really must insist that you help me win the election tomorrow, because I deserve it and Paul Metzler doesn't, as you well know.
While voters head to the polls, the candidates repair to hotel rooms and a select group of campaign staff prepares one final set of remarks. Well, two sets, actually. One for victory, one for defeat. You probably remember the remarkable scene four years ago when then President-elect Barack Obama addressed a rapturous crowd of more than 200,000 in Chicago's Grant Park.
Candidates vying for public office on every level subject themselves to intense public scrutiny, constant fundraising and attacks from opponents. Some run because they want power or hope to champion particular issues. Others want to see agendas through or feel they have legacies to fulfill.
According to the National Democratic Institute, the world will be watching as results of Tuesday's U.S. presidential election are tabulated. So we thought we'd turn the tables and take a look at how voting is exercised in other countries.
Host Michel Martin continues the conversation about the big issues missing on the campaign trail. Issues like crime, caregiving, poverty and climate change might affect millions of people, but they may not win a lot of votes. Martin speaks with a panel of journalists about whether these issues will enter the conversation over the next four years.
Voters have been bombarded by political ads, but some topics have gotten very little attention this election season. Host Michel Martin speaks with a panel of journalists about some of this election's hidden issues. She speaks with NPR's Marilyn Geewax, Jennifer Ludden, and David Schaper, as well as The Washington Post's Melinda Henneberger.
For most of us, Election Day marks a welcome end to months of relentless political ads and partisan bickering. You show up at your polling place, run the gantlet of sign-wielding campaign volunteers, and join your fellow Americans in long lines that inch toward the voting booth.
The finish line is in sight as voters make their final decisions on Election Day. Here's a guide to key times of the day across the nation. Stay with NPR throughout the day as we follow the presidential race and key battles that will determine control of the House and Senate.
Join NPR to hear live coverage, which begins at 8 p.m. EST on NPR.org and many member stations.