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By Melissa Bounoua

It is 8pm at the Reynolds institute of Journalism. “It is seems to be more journalists than real people” said Lasse Berg Soerensen, a exchange student in journalism at MU who came to see the preliminary results.

Every thirty minutes or so, the room is live and people can answer KBIA and KOMU journalists questions.

RJI Live

At 8:38pm, the question asked in this town-hall type meeting is about media coverage.

Prakash Jayabalan

At 8:38pm, Prakash Jayabalan, an English citizen who studies Pathobiology at MU participated in  the debate about media coverage of the Elections. “I think unlike the British media where you  can get hard news,  in the American media there is a lot of social commentary. We know that Fox News is more Republican and MSNBC is rather Democratic” he said, as he came for the first time at the RJI.

Comedy show

Around 9pm a Comedy Show started about the Elections with actors playing John McCain, Sarah Palin, Barack Obama and Joe Biden.

People are still waiting for more precise results and journalists receive the result a blank map is filled with the College Electoral Votes. At this moment: there are 207 for Obama and 135 for John McCain.

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By Melissa Bounoua

McCord Etsuko, the last voter at Memorial Union

At 6:55pm in Memorial Union on campus, the last voter has such an incredible story. Etsuko McCord, 83, got into the Emergency room at the Boone County hospital yesterday night. And she is not from Boone County, so yesterday night she thought she couldn’t vote.

But after a day of negotiation, she made it, five minutes before the closing of the polling place, she went to Memorial Union with an assistant who helped her to go through the whole process and at 7pm, when all the staff was happy to close the polling place after a long day, Etsuko McCord was even happier. She made it. “I am so happy, especially after all I had to fight for to eventually  cast my vote“, she said.

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Etsuko McCord voting with some help at 6:55pm

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The Staff is happy that the polling place closes after a long day of votes

By Lisa Pham in Paris

parisFor the Americans in Paris, tonight will either be a night of celebration or despair.

Liz Webber, 22, an American intern at the International Herald Tribune in Paris, is planning to go to an all-night party hosted by Americans Abroad for Obama at the Palais Maillot in Paris where 1200 supporters are expected. “If McCain wins, I’ll try not to cry,” she says. Explaining that her birthday next year is the same day that the new President will take office, Liz hopes that she will “be drinking to celebrate and not to drown my sorrows.

Does it feel weird to be in Paris while the elections are on?I do feel slightly removed from it all,” she admits, “especially since I voted a few weeks ago by mail. But I am still very nervous!” Like most of her friends in New York, Liz is politically liberal. It is her second time voting in the presidential elections. “Although I do like Obama, I’m really voting for the party and not the person,” explains Liz. “The Republican beliefs in limited spending on social programs, tax cuts for the rich and curtailing a woman’s right to abortion completely go against my values.

With doors opening at midnight on Tuesday (8pm in the US), the party includes entertainment, analysis, bagels, cream cheese and live interactive blogging. The event should last until wednesday morning. There are also rumours of a Sarah Palin piñata to round off the festivities.

Depending on how close the results are, the Americans here in France might not know who wins until Thursday. Early indications are expected around midnight.“I’m looking forward to being surrounded by a lot of like-minded Americans and non-Americans,” says Liz. “I hope we end the night on a happy note.

By Baptiste Etchegaray

The St Luke – UNC Methodist Church on Ash St has turned into a polling place today, something you would never see in France. This polling place is not like others: nobody is officially recorded there, it’s only in case there is excessive overflow of voters elsewhere. After voting, a laptop sends the information to the propper polling place.

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At 9:30 AM, the place was empty. Oh, don’t think people are not going to the polls today! It’s just that everything is going very well,” Election Supervising Judge Dan Fischbach explained. “And if you come back this evening after work, I guess it will be much busier!”

Sitting on a chair outside, a Democratic volunteer gives everyone a “Voter’s Bill of Rights” that reminds voters with their basic rights. As for example, “If you are in line at your polling place at 7:00 PM, you have the right to vote”.

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The volunteer, a retired director of a MBA program at MU, explains that on Election Day, churches are public areas where confession doesn’t matter. Ironically, his name was… Mickael Christy!

By Charlotte Pudlowski, from Chicago

It sometimes happens that journalists are not watching the event, but embody it and are watched by people.  It was the case this morning at Grant Park, Chicago. 

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Grant Park is where Barack Obama will pronounce his speech on Tuesday evening – either a victory or a concession one. Thousands of foreign reporters gather to attend the event. 

To get access to the media zone, the price goes from $715 for a blind radio position (table space and chair behind the riser, power, two credentials and a radio line) to $1870 if you are a rich outlet (that includes a main riser position services, two unlimited long distance/local phone lines and one wired high speed internet connection). If you can’t afford this, you can still go to the free general media area: “outdoors, unassigned and may have obstructed views”

Outside the golden area, joggers and passerbys look at crews’ arrival, from as far as Africa and Italy. They will set up in order to be ready for the expected historical moment. But no pictures from the inside, until 4AM tomorrow. 

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By Charlotte Pudlowski from Chicago

Zariff, Barack Obama’s hairdresser

 

 

 

A few blocks away from Obama’s house, in Chicago, you would think that the second most famous man after the Democrat candidate is John McCain. Well, you would be wrong. That’s the Black senator’s barber.

At 5234 S. Blackstone stands “Hyde Park hair salon”, where Zariff has been cutting Obama’s hair for fifteen years. And now that the presidential candidate is traveling all over the country, journalists have been taking over

I entered the shop this morning, along with a TV crew working for an African channel, and another one was already waiting to talk to Zariff. When I came back around noon, a journalist from Hong Kong was there, and four journalists from Netherlands were in action. Everybody was looking forward to asking questions about Obama. What conversations did he have with his neighbors? Has his haircut changed in fifteen years ? Has  Read More

By Melissa Bounoua

Ryan Philippe at Generic, a nightclub in Columbia on Saturday night.

The Hollywood actor Ryan Phillippe was in Columbia yesterday night to support Barack Obama. After Don Cheadle and Taye Diggs, two other actors that stopped in Columbia these last two month, the main actor of Sex Intentions and Gosford park gave a little speech at Generic Nightclub on Broadway to encourage young voters to go vote on November 4th.

About 50 people attended the event, but Ryan Phillippe didn’t seem as popular as Taye Diggs or Don Cheadle. Mainly because, he didn’t seem really into it. He arrived one hour late and spoke for ten minutes. His speech was really vague, “hey, what’s up guys, so you have to go and vote next Tuesday, and make history!” he started. Among the curious people that came, Lasse Berg Sorensen, a Danish student was there, and he wondered: “How many actors are gonna come to support Barack Obama?“.

Other Hollywood actors came before him, and three days before the Election, it is not sure whether Ryan Phillippe convinced a lot of young voters or not. After his brief speech, people went to talk to him but it was not really to discuss about the Election. Usually, our Public Life editor at the Columbia Missourian, Scott Swafford, is quite reluctant to talk about celebrities during the Elections.

This Saturday night, politically speaking, there was nothing to be excited about. Sometimes celebrities just won’t be the best person to support a presidential candidate. Being famous doesn’t systematically make you a good political supporter.