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Will Florida go with Kerry?

November 03, 2004 01:26 IST

Whoever wins Florida will win the election this time too, several Republican leaders feel. They also fear that Florida may go the Democratic way, though the Republican Party and Governor Jeb Bush have tried to halt the move vigorously.

Reports indicate that many Republican leaders fear Ohio (20 electoral votes) and Pennsylvania (21 votes), the two other key states, could go with John Kerry. So a victory in Florida, which has 27 electoral votes, is important for President George Bush, they think.

Kapil Sharma, vice president with Madison Government Affairs, a Washington political firm, says that the computer projections also point to the need of a Florida win. Without winning there, it could be difficult to win the election, he thinks.

States like New Jersey and Wisconsin could go the Republican way, but they will not be enough to bring the magical 270 electoral votes, observers feel.

In Florida, halfway through the election, no problems were reported. There were fears of turning away large number of voters there, which is not happening. But 3,000 advocates are on the scene.

In Ohio, the Republicans have posted hundreds of their supporters to challenge the voters they feel are not qualified to vote.

Though two courts denied permission to the Republicans to challenge voters at the booth, Supreme Court Justice John Paul Stevens allowed it in an emergency ruling.

Florida's Broward County Supervisor of Elections, Brenda Snipes was quoted in the media as saying, 'I'm looking forward to having a good day and having some good results this evening. I don't think you'll be seeing us on the national news as the laughing stock of the country. We certainly will be the pride of the country, and the pride of this electoral process, at the end of the day.'

The Democratic Party and the filmmaker of Fahrenheit 9/11, Michael Moore, expressed satisfaction at the smooth running of the election in Florida.

TV channels are not showing results of exit polls and there is no prediction of the possible winner. It is making TV programmes more or less boring, many people say.

Though TV channels will not show exit poll results, the web has no such restriction. Many major sites have promised to publish the news as and when it is available.

The voter turnout is expected to cross 121 million. About 105 million people voted in 2000.

Bush claimed that he would win the election. Before flying to Ohio, he said, 'I believe I'm going to win. My hope, of course, is that this election ends tonight.'

The final Reuters/Zogby polls showed Bush leading Kerry 48-47 per cent. But some other polls project a Kerry win.

So no pollster is ready to predict about the possible winner.

A Correspondent