Call it democracy in action. America took to the polls to decide the next president, experiencing unique challenges, from dealing with the aftermath of Hurricane Sandy in the Northeast to controversy over election software in Ohio to the more routine long waiting lines.
To help put it into perspective, CNBC.com has gathered the best pictures from coast to coast to show what's happening during an election that will determine the future of the nation.
Click ahead for images from the 2012 elections.
Posted 6 Nov. 2012
Supporters of U.S. President Barack Obama cheer after networks project Obama as reelected during the Obama Election Night watch party.
Supporters of U.S. President Barack Obama cheer after networks project Obama as reelected during the Obama Election Night watch party at McCormick Place in Chicago, Illinois.
Mitt Romney concedes defeat, saying: "I have just called President Obama to congratulate him on his victory."
Spectators react to the election results displayed on large televisions during Mitt Romney's campaign election night event at the Boston Convention & Exhibition Center.
Spectators react to the election results displayed on large televisions during Mitt Romney's campaign election night event at the Boston Convention & Exhibition Center in Boston, Massachusetts.
Elizabeth Warren takes the stage for her acceptance after beating incumbent U.S. Senator Scott Bown.
Former Governor of Virginia, Tim Kaine makes his acceptance speech after winning the Virginia Senate seat from Former Governor George Allen.
U.S. Sen. Claire McCaskill speaks to supporters as her husband Joseph Shepard and other family members look on during an election night party in St. Louis, Missouri. McCaskill won in her re-election bid against U.S. Rep. Todd Akin for the Missouri U.S. senate seat.
Republican presidential candidate, former Massachusetts Gov. Mitt Romney talks with members of the traveling press aboard his campaign plabe on November 6, 2012 en route to Boston, Massachusetts. The presidential race remains tight as Americans are heading to the polls to cast their ballots.
Brad Walker, 36, a first-time voter, puts his sticker on his nose after casting his ballot at St Patrick's Church polling station November 6, 2012 on the southside of Youngstown, Ohio. Recent polls show U.S. President Barack Obama and Republican presidential candidate, former Massachusetts Gov. Mitt Romney locked in a tight race.
Former Governor of Virginia, Tim Kaine does a quick walk through at the Richmond Marriott election night party location on November 6, 2012.
Sen. Scott Brown autographs his book at the Reilly Elementary School in Lowell as supporters hold signs outside the polling place on Election Day, Nov. 6, 2012.
Rockaway residents wait on line to cast their ballots in an unheated makeshift tent set up as a polling place at Scholars' Academy, PS 180, in the Rockaway neighborhood on November 6, 2012 in the Queens borough of New York City. The Rockaway section of Queens was one of the hardest hit areas. Many voters in New York and New Jersey are voting at alternate locations in the presidential election due to disruption from Superstorm Sandy.
A stand-in for Republican presidential candidate Mitt Romney does a walk-through inside the ballroom where Romney is scheduled to speak later this evening at the Boston Convention and Exhibition Center in Boston, Massachusetts, U.S., on Tuesday, Nov. 6, 2012. U.S. President Obama is seeking to overcome the drag of high unemployment and economic weakness that has frustrated predecessors' re-election bids, while his Republican rival Mitt Romney reaches for an upset to propel him beyond his party's standing and swamp an electoral map stacked against him on the final day of the presidential race.
Elizabeth Warren votes and greets supporters at the Graham and Parks School on Election Day.
Call it get out the vote, salsa style. Mariachi musicians sing and play as they stroll from house to house to encourage people to vote in Los Angeles County.
Voters cast their ballots at the polls in a car dealership in Columbus, Ohio, considered the most crucial battleground of the election.
A biker passes by a pair of mailboxes in the Capitol Hill neighborhood of Denver. Colorado is another battleground state.
People line up to cast their ballots in the nation's capital.
A man votes at the Point Pleasant Fire House along the Jersey Shore. As the New Jersey coastline struggles to recover from Super Storm Sandy, numerous polling stations have had to be merged and relocated due to storm damage and power outages.
People cast their ballot at a polling station in a Laundromat in Chicago. President Barack Obama voted in the Windy City, his home town, on Oct. 25.
Three Obama supporters walk around Chicago's South Side to encourage people to vote.
A man casts his electronic ballot at a polling station in Washington.
Mitt Romney prepares to cast his ballot at Beech Street Center in Belmont, Mass.
Members of the Army National Guard fill out absentee ballots for the presidential election while temporarily stationed along the New Jersey coastline to help with Super Storm Sandy clean up in Bay Head, N.J.
People wait for the polling station at the Port Royal, Va., fire house to open so they can vote. Virginia was another crucial state in the election.
Residents in the New York City neighborhood of Rockaway prepare to vote in a makeshift tent set up as a polling place at a school. The Rockaway section of Queens was one of the city's hardest hit areas during Super Storm Sandy, with more than 100 homes destroyed.