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|Kerry Concedes |
- - After the highest voter turnout since 1960, Kerry hands over the White House to its incumbent.
AFTER a long morning of debate, projections and estimations, a White House Aide reported that Kerry called the White House and conceded to President George Bush.
Some 122 million voters came in droves to U.S. polls yesterday, to create one of the most divided elections within the last 100 years of American history. Queues spanned blocks and remained well into the night, and many polls stayed open far past closing hours, allowing voters to cast their ballots well into the evening.
Here in London, the U.S. Embassy estimated that 250,000 Americans were likely to tune into late-night television coverage of election happenings. Despite the disputed validity of absentee ballots in the 2000 election, Democrats Abroad U.K. registered 14,000 voters in Britain this year, stressing that the large chunk of voters was thought to help the tight margin that gave President Bush his first White House victory - a victory from 537 Republicans living abroad.
Early evening marked Senator Kerry well ahead of the race, with most of the East standing strongly for Kerry, including Washington DC, Maryland, Connecticut, his home state of Massachusetts. With the close of the polls in the Midwest and South, however, President Bush gained the heavily campaigned-for Florida, as well as bellwether Missouri and his own voting ground of Texas.
Late night marked a mediocre squabble, however, with all eyes falling on the provisional votes of Ohio. Some projected 250,000 provisional votes (votes cast by unregistered voters, which are screened for validity by officials before they are counted) are thought to be the focus of a possible litigation drama next week, although White House Chief of Staff Andrew Card Jr. didn't believe the provisional votes would sway the election.
"We are convinced that President Bush has won re-election," he said.
National Public Radio reported that counting the provisional ballots will take an expected eleven days, with the amount of valid ballots unlikely to overtake the President's lead.
Democrat Vice Presidential Candidate John Edwards stressed that the party would wait for the final word, before concession.
"John Kerry and I made a promise to the American people that in this election, every vote would count and every vote would be counted. Tonight, we are keeping our word," he said.
With the lawyers and election officials moving into Ohio and the projected valid provisional ballots to be minimal, however, the BBC reported that John Kerry's words to the president were congratulatory, and that he hoped to start working towards a better nation, together.
The decision marked a dissapointing end to a long-awaited campaign for Democrats, and a triumphant cheer for the Bush White House.