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Last Updated: Wednesday, 3 November, 2004, 14:03 GMT
Ohio deadlock fears start to fade
By Michael Buchanan
BBC News, Ohio

Voter queue in Columbus, Ohio
Some people had to wait for up to eight hours to vote

There had been fears in the US that Ohio would become the Florida of the 2004 election.

Both President Bush and Senator Kerry quickly identified it as a key state and both spent considerable time, money and effort courting its voters.

They were helped by sympathetic organisations which worked tirelessly to register new electors and get irregular voters to the polls.

The long queues at ballot stations on Tuesday were a testament to the degree to which all sides were successful.

Most people had to queue up to vote, with some voters having to wait for more than eight hours to cast their ballots.

After such trench warfare, it is perhaps no surprise that the election result should be so contested.

Forlorn hope

But Ohio, at least for the moment, is no Florida.

Interim results give President Bush a clear lead of almost 137,000 votes, with at least 146,000 provisional ballots awaiting verification.

That process, which is expected to last for days, will begin at noon (1700 GMT) on Thursday.

However long it takes, Mr Kerry will have to win virtually every single conditional ballot that is allowed, in order to carry Ohio and with it the presidency.

So while it is mathematically possible, it looks like a forlorn hope.

And with the White House already claiming victory, the pressure is mounting on Mr Kerry to concede quickly and allow Americans to try to get over another divisive election.



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