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Last Updated: Wednesday, 3 November, 2004, 16:01 GMT
Q&A: What's going on?
The White House has claimed victory for George W Bush in the US presidential election. However, John Kerry has not conceded. Mr Kerry needs to win Ohio to stay in the race.

Q: Why does the White House believe Mr Bush has won re-election?

Because they say he will win Ohio, which will give him 20 votes in the Electoral College that decides the election. Without those 20 votes, John Kerry has no hope of winning.

Q: Why is the result in Ohio delayed?

Because of the uncounted so-called provisional votes. Mr Bush is ahead in the counted vote by 136,221, which Republicans claim gives them a "statistically insurmountable" lead. After their most recent tally of the number of provisional ballot papers in 87 of Ohio's 88 counties, state officials spoke of some 147,570 such votes. The deadline for these votes to be checked and counted is 15 November.

Provisional voting is allowed if a voter is not on the register. The vote is then held for checking before the count is made. In the past in Ohio about 10% of such votes have been rejected.

Q: Will Mr Kerry concede if he thinks he will lose Ohio?

Yes. If he accepts that he has no realistic chance of winning enough provisional votes to overcome Mr Bush's lead in the regular votes, he will have to. But he might want to wait until the issue is crystal clear.

Q: When will we know the result?

It could come quickly if Mr Kerry concedes. If not, it could take until the Ohio provisional votes are counted.

Q: Is this a re-run of Florida in 2000?

It is almost as close as in 2000 but in a different way. In Florida there were disputes about the votes (the "hanging chads" etc). This time, so far at least, it is not about the legality of the votes but about waiting until the count is done. Legal challenges are possible, though.

Q: Who has won the popular vote this time?

President Bush will win the popular vote, unlike last time. He is ahead by 51% to 48% with 1% for the outsider Ralph Nader. If he wins both the popular vote and the Electoral College vote, Mr Bush will have laid to rest some of the ghosts from 2000.

Q: What happened in Florida this time?

Mr Bush is the comfortable projected winner by 52% to 47%. So there is no repeat of the Florida fiasco of 2000. A win in Florida puts Mr Bush into a strong position to win the presidency.

Q: What happened in the Senate and House of Representatives?

The Republicans did well and are set to increase their control over both Houses of Congress. The leader of the Democrats in the Senate Tom Daschle was defeated.


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