The Globe is providing live updates on the presidential, state, and local races tonight. Click here to refresh the page for the latest updates.
2:01 a.m.: Obama acknowledged challenges, among them job creation, climate change, energy policy, and immigration. His first mention of the Affordable Care Act brings loud cheers.
“I have never been more hopeful about America,” he says. “I ask you to sustain that hope.... I believe that we can seize this future together, because we are not as divided as our politics suggest. We are not as cynical as the pundits believe.... We are and forever will be the United States of America.”
1:55 a.m.: “This country only works when we accept certain obligations to each other,” among them “love and charity and duty and patriotism.”
1:54 a.m.: “Our economy is recovering” Obama says. “A decade of war is ending. A long campaign is now over. And whether I earned your vote or not, I have listened to you. I have learned from you, and you’ve made me a better president. And with your stories and your struggles I return to the White House more determined and more inspired than ever about the work there is to do and the future that lies ahead.”
1:50 a.m.: “Democracy in a nation of 300 million can be noisy and messy and complicated,” Obama says. “We have our own opinions. Each of us has deeply held beliefs. And, when we go through tough times, when we make big decisions, it necessarily stirs up passions... That won’t change after tonight, and it shouldn’t. These arguments we have are a mark of our liberty.”
People in other countries are fighting for the right to argue, he says.
“Despite all our differences, most of us share certain hopes for America's future.”
1:41 a.m.: “Whether you held an Obama sign or a Romney sign, you made your voice heard and your made a difference,” Obama says.
On Romney, “we may have battled fiercely, but it’s only because we love this country deeply.”
(On long voter lines: “By the way, we have to fix that.”)
1:39 a.m.: “Tonight, more than 200 years after a former colony won the right to determine its own destiny, the task of perfecting our union moves forward,” Obama says. “It moves forward because of you.”
“We know in our hearts that, for the United States of America, the best is yet to come.”
1:35 a.m.: President Obama takes the stage.
1:05 a.m.: The Associated Press has called District 6 for Tierney, the Democratic incumbent.
1:00 a.m.: Romney urges people in both parties to “put the people before the politics.”
“I believe in America,” he says. “I believe in the people of America.” He keeps it short and to the point, signs off and is joined by his family and running mate on stage.
12:55 a.m.: Romney has taken the stage. He says he has congratulated President Obama on his re-election. “I pray that the president will be successful in guiding our nation.”
12:42 a.m.: Maryland has joined Maine in approving same-sex marriage.
12:29 a.m.: So far, Romney reportedly is not ready to concede.
12:19 a.m.: Washington has become the first state to legalize recreational use of marijuana. Like in Massachusetts, Arkansas voters considered whether to legalize the drug for medical use, though the measure there looks likely to fail.
12:14 a.m.: Here’s more from Martine Powers on Maine legalizing same-sex marriage:
Before today, no state had approved gay marriage through a popular vote, rather than a court decision or legislative act. Three other states — Washington, Maryland, and Minnesota — also had same-sex marriage questions on the ballot in Tuesday’s election.
Three years ago, the same initiative failed here by a narrow margin: 53 percent of residents voted to nullify a bill passed by the State Legislature that would have allowed gays and lesbians to legally wed.
Since then, gay marriage supporters, led largely by the group Mainers United for Marriage, waged a campaign to convince voters across the state to support the initiative. They were met by an intense advertisement campaign from groups such as Protect Marriage Maine, which argued that same-sex marriage would hurt Maine communities.
12:07 a.m.: Maine has become the seventh state to legalize gay marriage. Martine Powers is reporting from Maine. “Let this historic moment serve as proof that your future can be everything you want,” said Matt McTighe, campaign director for Mainers United for Marriage.
11:58 p.m.: We still don’t know the outcome on physician-assisted suicide and the Tierney-Tisei race. With seven precincts left to report in the 6th District, Tierney is up by more than 4,000 votes and 1.1 percentage points. Read more about the close race from Eric Moskowitz:
For Tierney, the razor-close returns were reminiscent of his first victory in 1996, a race so tight that the recount lasted a month before Tierney was declared the victor by 371 votes.
Since then, Tierney had won easy reelection each time until this year, when a persistent cloud from his family’s legal troubles and a determined challenge from Tisei made Tierney vulnerable.
That drew national attention and money, as outside groups poured $3.5 million into the district to attack Tierney or boost Tisei. And $2 million came in to try to save the incumbent. The candidates themselves spent nearly $4 million combined by mid-October, making it one of the most expensive House races in the country.
11:46 p.m.: President Barack Obama has been re-elected, the Associated Press reports. Read more on Obama’s win from Globe staff in Chicago and Boston.
11:44 p.m.: The Associated Press is reporting that Democrats will retain control of the US Senate.
11:32 p.m.: Obama takes Oregon. Matt Viser reports the crowd at the convention center is chanting, “Mitt! Mitt! Mitt!”
11:23 p.m.: The Associated Press calls Ohio for Obama. From Matt Viser in Boston: “Absolute silence at the Romney party as Fox News tells them they’ve called the entire election for Obama.”
11:21 p.m.: Analysis from Scott Helman: “Four years ago, we made much of Obama redrawing the electoral map by winning states like Virginia, Colorado, and Indiana. This year, if things hold - and indeed, it remains an if at this moment - Obama will cede North Carolina and Indiana but still preside over an expanded map. Republicans have to start thinking about appealing more broadly.”
11:18 p.m.: CNN and NBC are projecting Obama will carry the state of Ohio and win re-election. No word from the Associated Press and that’s the standard the Globe is using to call the race.
11:10 p.m.: CNN is projecting Iowa and New Mexico for Obama, and Missouri for Romney
11:08 p.m.: Warren is thanking everyone -- Mayor Menino, her nieces and nephews, labor unions, women, environmental groups, the ministers, the credit unions. “I love my credit unions.”
To them all, she says, “I’ll be your champion, I promise.”
“It was exactly 50 years ago tonight that Senator Ted Kennedy was first elected to the United States Senate. We miss his passion, his commitment, his energy, and his fight for working families. That night 50 years ago, he said that he would dedicate all his strength and will to serve you in the United States Senate. For 47 years, he lived up to that promise. Tonight, I pledge to do the same.”
10:58 p.m.: “All the women across Massachusetts,” Warren says to huge cheers, “to all the women cross Massachusetts who are working their tails off, you better believe we are going to fight for equal pay for equal work.”
“Let me be clear,” she said of the record-breaking campaign, “I didn’t build that. You built that.”
10:56 p.m.: A Joseph Kennedy III fun fact from Martine Powers: Kennedy met his fiance on the first day of his first class at Harvard Law School. The class was taught by Elizabeth Warren. “Now,” Powers writes, “they’re both going to Washington.”
Warren has taken the stage at the Fairmont Copley.
10:44 p.m.: A buoyant Brown is offering plenty of indications that he is not done with politics. “I'm going to still keep working for you, don’t worry,” he said. Later, he tells the crowd, “I’m kind of psyched that you guys hung around.”
10:40 p.m.: Brown: “You know what the most difficult part of this is? I now have to break the news to my truck that I’ll be taking it home.”
“I kept my promise to you to be that independent voice for Massachusetts, and I have never, ever, ever regretted any decision that I have made for you. You all sent me to Washington to be my own man and I am returning my own man, and for that I am very, very proud.”
10:39 p.m.: As Brown’s audience boos Warren’s win, he asks them to stop. “She won it fair and square,” he said.
10:38 p.m.: Brown has just taken the stage for his concession speech. More on Warren’s win, from Martin Finucane, Stephanie Ebbert, and Mark Arsenault:
Democrat Elizabeth Warren, the Harvard Law professor who promised to battle for a struggling middle class, defeated incumbent Republican Scott Brown tonight in the Massachusetts Senate race, despite Brown’s attempts to paint himself as a one of a dying breed, a moderate New England Republican.
The victory by Warren, who made history as the first woman elected to serve as a US senator from Massachusetts, marked a comeback by Massachusetts Democrats after Brown’s bruising 2010 upset win in a special election to fill the seat left vacant by liberal lion Edward M. Kennedy.
In a race that drew national attention, the two candidates had crisscrossed the state, aired tough TV ads, and tangled in three heated debates, while spending some $70 million between them.
10:30 p.m.: The race for District 6 between Democratic incumbent John Tierney and Richard Tisei remains close. With 58 percent of precincts reporting, Tierney has a small lead with 49 percent of the vote to Tisei’s 47 percent.
10:28 p.m.: The Massachusetts Medical Society, the state’s largest physician group, opposed the medical marijuana initiative that became law today. Dr. Richard Aghababian, the group’s president, sent this statement:
Despite the vote, the Massachusetts Medical Society continues to assert that marijuana has not been proven to be medicine. It has not been subjected to the same rigorous testing and trials as other drugs approved by the Federal Drug Administration and used every day in practice by physicians.
We have asked the Drug Enforcement Administration to reclassify marijuana so that research and clinical trials can determine whether or not it has medical value. Until its effectiveness is proven clinically and accepted by the FDA, we urge physicians to refrain from recommending it to their patients. Above all, the prescribing of drugs by a physician should be based on clinical and medical evidence, not by popular vote. Further, we will closely monitor the impact of this law and will not hesitate to recommend changes if necessary.
10:24 p.m.: From Matt Viser at the Romney headquarters: “It is a very quiet room here at Romney’s election night party. Near silence as channel switches from Fox to CBS to NBC.”
10:22 p.m.: More on medical marijuana in Massachusetts:
All New England states but New Hampshire now have legalized medical marijuana in some form.
Under the Massachusetts law, patients with HIV, multiple sclerosis, hepatitis C, or other conditions can obtain a card from the state permitting them to purchase the drug and will be allowed to possess a 60-day supply. They also may appoint a caregiver to obtain the drug on their behalf.
The Department of Public Health is charged writing the rules within about four months to fully implement the law, within the framework outlined on the ballot, and registering at least one nonprofit distribution center in each county, with up to 35 allowed in 2013.
10:18 p.m.: Kennedy: “This campaign has been defined by a grassroots operation that refused to slow down or take one day for granted.” -- Glen Johnson
10:12 p.m.: Pennsylvania and New Hampshire, swing states that Romney visited in last 48 hours, have been called for Obama.
10:08 p.m.: The Associated Press has called the Senate race for Elizabeth Warren.
10:06 p.m.: Matt Viser explains the scene at the Boston Exhibition & Convention Center. A stage adorned with 16 American flags. Guests eating beef and turkey sliders. And praline hazelnut chocolates marked with the campaign logo.
But the crowd grew nervous as the night wore on, once it became clear that Romney wasn’t quickly putting away states they thought he would such as North Carolina and Virginia.
“It’s closer than I thought it would be,” said a man from Michigan who gave his name as Henry and declined to provide a last name. “I thought Romney would win by a couple of percentage points in Florida and Ohio.”
Just then, CNN’s Wolf Blitzer announced on one of the television screens that Romney had just taken a 1,288-vote lead in Florida.
“Yes! Yes! Keep it going,” said Henry’s wife.
10:00 p.m.: Most of the nation’s polls are now closed, and Mitt Romney holds an early advantage over President Obama, 153 electoral votes to 143. The closest battleground states -- Ohio, Florida, Virginia, Colorado -- remain too close to call, and there have been no surprise results.
The most significant result so far is Obama’s victory in Pennsylvania, a Democrat-leaning state that late-campaign polls revealed to be closer than expected. Romney made a last-minute attempt to pull off an upset in the Keystone State, even campaigning on Election Day in Pittsburgh, but fell short.
Romney has picked up victories in Kentucky, West Virginia, Indiana, South Carolina, Oklahoma, Tennessee, Georgia, Alabama, Nebraska, Wyoming, Kansas, Louisiana, South Dakota, North Dakota, Texas, Mississippi and Arkansas.
Obama has won Vermont, Illinois, Connecticut, Maine, Delaware, Rhode Island, Maryland, Massachusetts, New York, New Jersey, Michigan, Pennsylvania and the District of Columbia.
In some swing states, polls remain open after their scheduled closures because of long lines. Voters who are in line at closing time are permitted to vote. -- Callum Borchers
9:59 p.m.: Brock Parker is live-tweeting Kennedy’s speech now: ”This is an incredible moment for me.”
9:58 p.m.: Glen Johnson is giving his analysis live every hour on the hour. It’s coming up.
9:49 p.m.: Here’s more on Kennedy’s win in the Fourth, from Mark Arsenault and Zachary Sampson:
“Kennedy’s win restores his family’s long connection to the nation’s capital, which dates to 1947, when 29-year-old John F. Kennedy became a Massachusetts congressman. For the next 64 years, at least one member of the Kennedy family served continuously in the House, Senate or White House. The family’s steak was broken in 2011, with the retirement of Rhode Island US Representative Patrick Kennedy, son of the late Massachusetts Senator Edward M. Kennedy. Senator Kennedy died in office in 2009.”
Mark sends this note on the Senate race, from the scene: “Expressions of disbelief at Brown party over TV call of Warren win. No one ready to accept it. ‘Too early’ is the vibe.” At the Warren party, the cheers are deafening, Ebbert reports.
9:47 p.m.: Analysis from the Globe’s Scott Helman: “As of now, Romney has lost Michigan (birth state), Massachusetts (home state), and New Hampshire (adopted state). All are blue or have a strong blue streak, to be sure, but still, it’s not exactly a ringing endorsement.”
9:45 p.m.: Massachusetts has approved medical marijuana, the Associated Press says.
9:45 p.m.: CNN is projecting Pennsylvania for Obama.
9:43 p.m.: CBS and NBC have called the Senate race for Warren. No word from the AP just yet.
9:38 p.m.: Globe Correspondent Jaclyn Reiss reports that the stage at the Bielat event is empty as District 4 is called for Kennedy. Attendees are quiet while the band plays on.
9:33 p.m.: With 15 percent of precincts reporting, the physician-assisted suicide question remains close while medical marijuana seems more likely to pass, with 63 percent of the vote so far.
9:31 p.m.: Polls are closing, and Mitt Romney holds an early advantage over President Obama, 147 electoral votes to 123. Romney has picked up victories in Kentucky, West Virginia, Indiana, South Carolina, Oklahoma, Tennessee, Georgia, Alabama, Nebraska, Wyoming, Kansas, Louisiana, South Dakota, North Dakota, Texas, Mississippi and Arkansas. Obama has won Vermont, Illinois, Connecticut, Maine, Delaware, Rhode Island, Maryland, Massachusetts, New York, New Jersey, Michigan and the District of Columbia.
In the critical swing state of Florida, worth 29 electoral votes, most polls remained open as of 8:30 p.m. -- despite scheduled closures at 7 p.m. -- because of long lines. Voters who were in line at 7 p.m. are permitted to vote.
Huge cheers erupted in the vast hall at the McCormick Convention Center in Chicago when the networks began calling big states for Obama -- Michigan, New York and New Jersey.
Steve Lockwood of McHenry, Ill., walked into the event with his wife, Shelley, after a day of canvassing and phone-banking. He was carrying a tray of nachos.
“We stood in our family room and hugged each other in ‘08, and we’re going to do it again tonight.’’
Mitt Romney told reporters aboard his campaign plane en route to Boston Tuesday evening that he “put it all on the field” and expects to celebrate a victory. -- Globe staff
9:28 p.m.: The AP has called District 7 for Democrat Mike Capuano. Representative Niki Tsongas, also a Democrat, has won a third full term.
9:25 p.m.: The AP has declared Democrat Joseph Kennedy III winner of the Fourth Congressional District. It has called District 5 for Edward Markey and District 8 for Stephen Lynch, both Democrats.
9:21 p.m.: NBC News reportedly called the Massachusetts Senate race for Warren, but then reversed course. No word from the Associated Press yet. The percentage of precincts reporting in Massachusetts is still quite low. This from Globe Political Editor Cynthia Needham: “Stay patient, it’s coming. But we want to get it right.”
9:13 p.m.: CNN is projecting that Republicans will maintain control of the House of Representatives. The Warren and Brown rallies are packed, Mark Arsenault and Stephanie Ebbert report.
Kennedy has a comfortable lead, 69 percent to Bielat’s 29 percent, though still just 16 percent of Massachusetts votes have been counted.
9:01 p.m.: CNN is projecting Michigan for Obama by a significant margin. New York, too, though that one is no surprise.
8:57 p.m.: Watch Massachusetts results come in town by town on BostonGlobe.com.
8:54 p.m.: The early polls have closed, and Mitt Romney holds an early advantage over President Obama, 76 electoral votes to 64. Romney has picked up early victories in Kentucky, West Virginia, Indiana, South Carolina, Oklahoma, Tennessee, Georgia and Alabama. Obama has won Vermont, Illinois, Connecticut, Maine, Delaware, Rhode Island, Maryland, Massachusetts and the District of Columbia.
In the critical swing state of Florida, worth 29 electoral votes, most polls remained open as of 8:30 p.m. -- despite scheduled closures at 7 p.m. -- because of long lines. Voters who were in line at 7 p.m. are permitted to vote. -- Globe staff
8:52 p.m.: The AP calls Alabama for Romney. CNN commentators are saying it may be hours before voting is complete in the battleground state of Virginia, where long lines remain. Donald Trump has arrived at the Boston convention center, Matt Viser reports.
8:48 p.m.: Early results are nearly split over a state ballot question allowing doctors to prescribe life-ending medications to people with a terminal illness. Only 28 of 2,172 precincts have reported. So far, support for legalizing medical marijuana is stronger, with 63 percent approving the measure.
8:37 p.m. From Brian MacQuarrie at the Obama headquarters: “Chicagoans starting to stream into convention center as results come in. Excitement, anticipation building here.”
8: 31 p.m.: Andrew Ryan of the Globe staff is out in Southie and reporting that 300 people remained in line when the polls closed at 8 p.m. Similar reports coming out of Dorchester. Massachusetts voting rules dictate that anyone in line when the polls close is allowed to stay and vote, no matter how long it takes. That could mean it will be awhile before we get complete results.
-- Cynthia Needham
Arkansas and Tennessee will go for Romney, CNN projects.
8:28 p.m.: Globe reporters have the campaign events covered. “Proud Mary” was playing at the Joseph Kennedy III party. There were big cheers at the Warren headquarters when a TV broadcast showed her winning (with just 1 percent of the state reporting). And there’s this from Mark Arsenault, at the Brown headquarters: “If Scott Brown needs a Hail Mary to win tonight, Doug Flutie is at the campaign party.”
8:18 p.m.:The polls may be closed, but people are still voting. Long lines remained at many voting places when the clock turned to 8 p.m., including at the Lilla Frederick School in Dorchester, pictured here.
CNN is projecting a win for Romney in Georgia. But with Illinois and New England states, Obama has a lead in electoral votes, with still a long night ahead.
8:12 p.m.: The polls in Massachusetts have closed. Just before they did, John Walsh, chairman of Massachusetts Democratic Party, was feeling optimistic. Stephanie Ebbert reports:
A year and a half ago, he said, the newly elected US Senator Scott Brown had millions of dollars in his campaign warchest and was “a little cocky about his prospects” for reelection.
“Elizabeth Warren, over the course of 18 months, built a grassroots campaign,” said Walsh. She forced a change in this campaign from style to substance. She kept relentlessly coming to the issues. She took an impossible situation to a dead heat coming in today.”
7:52 p.m.: The Election Protection coalition told the Associated Press that there were some more serious voting problems among the tens of thousands of complaints about long lines and other minor issues reported to the group today. A voting machine in Pennsylvania was recalibrated after it lit up for Mitt Romney when the button for President Obama was pushed. In Ohio, there was a lawsuit over voting software that a judge threw out. And in Florida, a robocall told voters they had until tomorrow evening to get to the polls.
7:45 p.m.: With 28 percent of the votes counted in Florida, CNN is reporting a slight lead for Obama, at 51 percent.
A note from Matt Viser, at Romney headquarters tonight: “Romney will lose MA tonight, but the backdrop on his stage will have Boston-centric scenes: USS Constitution, Old State House, Zakim Bridge.”
7:30 p.m.: CNN is projecting a Romney win in West Virginia, and the Associated Press has called the race there. CNN is projecting both candidates at 49 percent in North Carolina and Obama with a small lead in Ohio. But, again, these are based on exit polls.
7:25 p.m.: A note of analysis from Scott Helman: “As polls begin to close, let’s see how many people remain in line -- and are thus allowed by law to cast ballots. Those wait times could determine how soon (or how late) we’ll know some key results.”
Meanwhile, the stage is set for a stylish party at the Warren headquarters at the Fairmont Copley Plaza hotel ballroom. The scene beneath the chandeliers is “dazzling,” some guests are in tuxedos, and the media presence is massive, Stephanie Ebbert reports.
7:07 p.m.: From Matt Viser: “One of the few things the great people of Dixville Notch, NH, share with voters in Virginia: They’re basically tied up over this election.” Dixville, of course, is the tiny New Hampshire village, where residents pride themselves on being the first in the country to vote. Ten people voted there at midnight. Five went for Obama. Five for Romney.
7:03 p.m.: CNN is reporting Virginia is a dead heat, based on exit polls, with each candidate at 49 percent. It projects a Romney win in Kentucky and an Obama win in Vermont. The Associated Press also has called the race in those states.
6:55 p.m. A reminder from the Globe’s Scott Helman: “Everyone should remember: Exit polls are great, until they’re wrong.”
6:50 p.m. The Globe will be tracking results on an interactive map. For now, it is dotted with just hints of red and blue.
6:48 p.m. An Associated Press exit poll in Massachusetts showed that many in Massachusetts had made up their mind in the presidential race weeks ago. Almost 80 percent in a sample of 1,173 voters said they had made their choice before September. As for the rancor that marked the race between Republican Senator Scott Brown and Democrat Elizabeth Warren, voters blamed both campaigns. About one-third said both had attacked their opponent unfairly, the AP reported.
6:25 p.m. Today's Boston Globe has a handy guide to watching the election results. First up, look for exit polls from Indiana. Obama carried the state in 2008. A wide margin of victory for Romney could bode well for Republicans. But be wary: Exit polls are not always a clear predictor of who will win the state. It’s all just slightly better than reading tea leaves until the votes are counted.
Matt Viser of the Globe staff is at the Romney headquarters for the night. He reports that the event is just getting started, with light jazz is playing on the speakers and dozen of people arriving. Mark Arsenault took the photo at right of preparations at the Scott Brown headquarters tonight.
6:00 p.m. Across Massachusetts today voters faced chilly temperatures and long lines with steady resolve. While Massachusetts will vote until 8 p.m., some states are closing polls in just one hour. We’ll be posting updates here all night as results roll in and the candidates celebrate and concede.
Romney supporters are flying into Massachusetts -- literally. Their private jets are causing a traffic jam at Logan. Globe staff will be reporting from his campaign’s party at the Boston Convention & Exhibition Center, where he hopes to deliver an 1,118-word victory speech he said he finished on his way to Boston this evening, according to an Associated Press report.
“I feel like we put it all on the field,” Romney said. “We left nothing in the locker room. We fought to the very end and I think that’s why we’ll be successful.”
Of course Globe reporters are in Chicago, too, where President Obama will watch results roll in.
In Massachusetts, a very close race between Senator Scott Brown and Elizabeth Warren helped to drive voter turnout.
Outside a Brookline polling place this afternoon, 25-year-old Matt Soderberg said he voted for President Obama and Joseph Kennedy III, the Democratic candidate in the Fourth Congressional District. And, he told Globe Correspondent Brock Parker, he marked his ballot for Senator Scott Brown.
“I think he’s done a good job since he’s been in there,” Soderberg said of Brown. “He follows through on what he says.”