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First Votes Are In and The Race for Electoral Votes Is On

(NEW YORK) -- President Obama and Mitt Romney matched each other state for state in early returns as attention turned to a trio of swing states where polls had closed but results were so close a winner had yet to emerge.

The electoral votes of Ohio, Virginia and Florida are vital to each candidate's success. In Virginia and Florida, lines stretched from some polling places even after they had officially closed.

In the initial flurry of early returns, there were no major surprises, as tensions and excitement rose in a race so close it remained a statistical tie in many places.

As expected Obama won his home state of Illinois and also won Romney's home state of Massachusetts.

Early on Romney picked up much of the deep South and Oklahoma, while Obama picked up the New England states.

Obama also won New Jersey, the state most affected by last week's superstorm Sandy, in which some affected voters cast paper ballots or voted via email.

The state projections give Obama 173 electoral votes while Romney has collected 174. The candidates are vying to reach the goal of 270 electoral votes needed to win the presidency.

Copyright 2012 ABC News Radio

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