2. "A defining choice for years to come"
Alabama polls open at 8 a.m. ET. The CNN countdown clock promises first exit polls as soon as the polls close, at 8 p.m. ET.
Voters are choosing between Republican Senate candidate Roy Moore, embroiled in sexual assault allegations involving teenaged women, and Democrat Doug Jones, a former federal prosecutor, in the race to fill Attorney General Jeff Sessions' Senate seat.
Why it matters, from Axios' Shannon Vavra: If Moore wins, it means Republican voters were willing to ignore weeks of coverage of the allegations against Moore — or simply didn't believe them. If Jones wins, it means Moore blew a winnable race for a safe Republican seat.
For sexual assault survivors and allies, a Jones win would be another major win in a season of burgeoning progress.
The stakes, from AP's Zeke Miller:
- Was Moore worth it? The Republican Party's decision to maintain support for Roy Moore stands to be a defining choice for years to come.
- For the president, it's a matter of practicality — a loss would narrow the GOP's thin majority in the Senate.
- But other Republicans worry it's a short-term ploy that has sacrificed their moral authority.
- Democrats have pulled out the stops for Jones, including recorded calls from former President Obama.
- Democrats are winless in five contests for vacant Republican congressional seats this year.
- Dem wins in November in governor's races in Virginia and New Jersey, and a Maine ballot measure for Medicaid expansion, provided optimism for next year's midterms.