Now a pair of historic votes among last night's many ballots measures. Voters in Colorado and Washington State passed initiatives legalizing the recreational use of marijuana. But as the governor of Colorado said last night, don't break out the Cheetos or Goldfish too quickly
NPR's Wendy Kaufman reports that the measures are in direct conflict with federal law.
From NPR News, this is ALL THINGS CONSIDERED. I'm Robert Siegel.
MELISSA BLOCK, HOST:
And I'm Melissa Block.President Obama wins a second term; Democrats flip a handful of seats. in both the House and the Senate; and Republicans begin a new round of soul-searching.
SIEGEL: It's only Wednesday, but we have more than enough to talk about with our Friday regulars - E.J. Dionne, of the Washington Post and Brookings Institution; and David Brooks, of the New York Times. Welcome to both of you.
From NPR News, this is ALL THINGS CONSIDERED. I'm Melissa Block.
ROBERT SIEGEL, HOST:
And Robert Siegel. The confetti has fallen in Chicago, where President Obama celebrated a decisive reelection win early this morning. Now comes the hard work of preparing for a second term. Before flying back to Washington this evening, Mr. Obama acknowledged some of the big issues ahead.
And now on to the biggest state that is really a contested battleground. I mean, we assume New York and California are barely contested by Republicans and Texas is assumed to go to Republican.
MELISSA BLOCK, HOST:
SIEGEL: But with 29 electoral votes, Florida is always a state we look at. And our own Debbie Elliott is in Tampa at the Republican Party event there. And, Debbie, who are the key constituencies in Florida who are thought to be the ones who will decide who wins this day today?
And we're going to be checking in a lot tonight with Andy Kohut of the Pew Research Center, who's here with us now to talk about early exit polls. Andy, what are you seeing, first of all, in terms of the presidential race?
And in our studio, NPR's senior Washington editor Ron Elving. Every couple of years, here we are around this time trying to figure out who has been elected to what. Tonight, what are you looking for? What are the important signs you're looking for in the numbers as they come in?
And we're going to move on now to Ohio. Polls don't close there until 7:30, about 20 minutes from now. That's where we find NPR's Tamara Keith, who's at a polling place on the campus of the Ohio State University in Columbus. And Tamara, what can you tell us about the voting issues in Ohio. It's a closely contested state, of course, and a real electoral prize, 18 votes, 18 electoral votes.
Jennifer Ruiz and her 2-year-old daughter, "Moo Moo," at a Red Cross shelter in Little Egg Harbor Township, N.J. Ruiz and her daughter evacuated from their home in Seaside Heights.
Credit Alix Spiegel / NPR
Homes are surrounded by sand washed in by Superstorm Sandy on Oct. 31 in Seaside Heights, N.J.
Credit Mario Tama / Getty Images
Jan and Manny DiNunzio bought a home in Seaside Heights five years ago. But now the streets of the town are filled with sand, and they're not sure when they'll be able to return. In the meantime, they're living in a Red Cross shelter.
The barrier islands off the coast of New Jersey were hit hard by Superstorm Sandy, and for the moment, most residents are banned from living in their homes because the area is far too damaged.
Which is why this past weekend, in a Red Cross shelter at Pinelands High School in Egg Harbor, N.J., on the mainland, around 100 stranded island residents were lining up for dinner, while Red Cross volunteers worked hard to keep things reassuring.
"Excuse me everybody!" shouted one of the volunteers, waving her arms above her head. "Is there a Jan and a Manny in the house?"
While New York City and other places along the Northeast coast are still recovering from Superstorm Sandy, they're also looking ahead to how they can prevent flooding in the future, when sea level rise will make the problem worse. They may be able to take some lessons from coastal Norfolk, Va., which is far ahead of most cities when it comes to flood protection.
The Fairway supermarket in Red Hook, Brooklyn is the sort of place New Yorkers, accustomed to cramped spaces, talk about with amazement. It's an actual, full-size supermarket, right at the edge of New York Harbor.
It's a beautiful setting, but one that was diastrous last week, when Sandy came through.
"There were five feet of water throughout the store," Bill Sanford, the president of the company told me. "Everything was submerged."
They had to throw out dumpsters worth of food. Chicken, fish, vegetables.