"I know it's going to be a tight race," added an older voter who, like many, preferred not to give his name - perhaps not surprising in a part of greater Washington that is thick with national security contractors.

"They enlarged the (voting) facility, so they must have known the same thing."

A middle-aged municipal worker, who immigrated to the United States 14 years ago from the Philippines, favoured Obama to win re-election, saying: "If Romney loses, it would be his own fault."

"What happened in 2008 is happening now," he told AFP. "There are more supporters for Obama - and Romney doesn't have his kind of organisation."

A naturalized immigrant from Japan, a three-time Republican campaign worker employed in the software industry who declined to give her name for what she called "a good reason," favoured Romney.

"I'm a very conservative person and I like his policies," she said. "I tend not to like big government and big spending."

Tuesday's very first ballots were cast just after midnight in the New Hampshire mountain hamlet of Dixville Notch, where they were immediately counted. For the first time ever, it was a tie: five for Obama, five for Romney.

In New Jersey, one of the states hardest hit by last week's superstorm Sandy, people waited in line impatiently amid rubble and rotting rubbish left by the horrendous storm.

In Hoboken, one makeshift polling station was 40 minutes late in opening, drawing complaints from the 60 people in line.

When the doors finally did open, a volunteer came out and told the grumbling crowd: "Please excuse the appearance of this place, two days ago it was under two feet of water."

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