US election diary: No room on the electoral roll for Robbins

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The Independent US

* Tim Robbins offered himself up as living proof of how difficult it is to vote in the United States – he had to get a court order before he was allowed to cast his ballot for president. The Shawshank Redemption actor and staunch Obama supporter arrived at the polling station where he has been voting for years, only to find his name missing from the register. "I have not moved, I have not changed party affiliations. There's no reason why it shouldn't be in the rolls," he complained. After the Board of Elections confirmed that he was a bona fide voter, a judge issued an order allowing his presidential preference to be recorded – some five hours later. One wonders if his partner and fellow thespian, Susan Sarandon, encountered similar strife.

* In one Californian house at least, the presidential vote was balanced on a knife edge. "I think the polls are looking very good for McCain. You know, in the latest polls, it's... 50-50, I mean that's in our own house," the Republican Governor, Arnold Schwarzenegger, joked. While he is firmly behind the party choice, his wife, Maria Shriver, proved that blood is thicker than water and backed Barack Obama, the man many believe has taken on the mantle of her uncle JFK. While The Mac may not have won over Maria, at least, as Arnie quipped, he has 100 per cent of the vote "amongst Austrian-born body-builders!"

* One notable absence from this election day was the outgoing President, George W. Having cast his absentee ballot several days ago, there was no footage of him at the polling station (something for which John McCain was exceedingly grateful). Mr Bush spent the day out of sight in the White House residence. However, he did have some cause for celebration – his wife Laura's 62nd birthday.

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