Election '04: Heavy Voting Across Country
Jim Young/Reuters/Landov; Larry Downing/Reuters/landov
With long lines at polling places – including a 90-minute-plus wait in Manhattan's Districts 7 and 10, adjacent to the World Trade Center – officials are predicting a record turnout in the first wartime election in a generation.
"This election is in the hands of the people, and I feel very comfortable about that," President Bush told reporters early Tuesday morning after voting near his ranch in Crawford, Texas, along with his wife and daughters.
The Republican incumbent, who said he thinks he's going to win, added: "I've given it my all." Of his opponent, Massachusetts Sen. John Kerry, Bush said: "I wish him all the best. He and I are in the exact same position. ... I'm sure he's happy, like I am, that the campaign is over."
Kerry, promising to take the nation "to a better place," as he said during an early morning Wisconsin rally, ended up voting along with his daughters at the Massachusetts Statehouse in Boston.
"I don't think anybody can anticipate what it's like to see your name on the ballot for president," said the Democratic challenger. "It's very special. It's exciting." His wife cast her ballot earlier in Pennsylvania. Told about the long lines at polling places, Kerry said, "It's just a magical kind of day."
Experts are predicting that as many as 121 million Americans may vote, topping the record of 106 million in 2000, The New York Times reports.
The 2004 Election is being called the longest and most expensive in history, let alone the tightest. Both parties, aware that every vote is key, had been urging Americans to get to the polls Tuesday – a ploy that apparently worked.
Long lines were sighted at precincts from Florida and North Carolina to West Virginia and Michigan, the Associated Press reports. "We even had people waiting in line before we opened at 6:30 a.m.," said Wayne County Clerk Robert Pasley in Wayne, W.Va. "In some places, there was more than a dozen people waiting, and that's heavy."
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