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Inside Politics

Bush camp certain of victory

Edwards: 'We will fight for every vote'


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White House Chief of Staff Andy Card speaks to Bush supporters Wednesday in Washington.
SPECIAL REPORT
President Updated: 5:33 p.m. ET
Bush 286 EV
Kerry 252 EV
538 EV at stake, 0 undecided
Election Results Main Page
more videoVIDEO
Edwards vows to 'fight for every vote'

Ralph Nader blasts Republicans and Democrats in concession speech.

Schwarzennegger couldn't deliver California for Bush.
PROVISIONAL BALLOTS
  • Provisional ballots are punch cards given to voters in Ohio who show up at the correct polling place and are not listed on the voters' list because they have moved or due to clerical errors.
  • The votes are set aside in sealed envelopes and are counted, under Ohio law, no earlier than 11 days after the election, along with absentee ballots.
  • More than 109,000 provisional ballots were counted in 2000, about 90 percent of the total cast. The other ballots were ruled invalid.
  • Two weeks ago, a federal court in Cincinnati, Ohio, ruled that provisional ballots must be submitted at the proper polling place.
    Sources: Ohio Secretary of State, The Cleveland Plain Dealer
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    America Votes 2004
    George W. Bush
    John F. Kerry

    BOSTON, Massachusetts (CNN) -- White House Chief of Staff Andy Card said Wednesday that the Bush-Cheney campaign was convinced President Bush has won re-election, but Sen. John Kerry's camp was not conceding defeat.

    Kerry's presidential hopes hinge on the outcome of the vote in Ohio, where his campaign said early Wednesday that more than 250,000 provisional and absentee ballots remained to be counted.

    Bush led Kerry in Ohio in Tuesday's election by about 136,000 votes with 100 percent of precincts reporting.

    With 20 electoral votes, Ohio was among the most hotly contested states in Tuesday's election, and CNN projected the vote was too close to call.

    "The secretary of state's office has informed us that this margin is statistically insurmountable, even after the provisional ballots are considered," Card said.

    Card said that Bush also got about 3.5 million more popular votes nationwide than his Democratic rival.

    "This all adds up to a convincing Electoral College victory, as well as a strong endorsement of President Bush by his fellow Americans in the popular vote," he said.

    Neither candidate appeared likely to claim the 270 electoral votes needed to win the presidency while Ohio's results remained in question. (Ohio result in the balance)

    Card said Bush would make a statement later Wednesday but would give Kerry more time to reflect on the vote out of respect.

    Earlier, Kerry's running mate, Sen. John Edwards, said the campaign would "fight for every vote."

    "We've waited four years for this victory," Edwards, told supporters in Boston, Massachusetts. "We can wait one more night."

    "John Kerry and I made a promise to the American people that, with this election, every vote would count and every vote would be counted," Edwards told a crowd in Boston's Copley Square that had hoped to hear a Kerry victory speech and then dwindled as a cold rain fell and the electoral map turned redder and redder.

    "Tonight, we are keeping our word and we will fight for every vote. You deserve no less," Edwards said.

    Ohio Secretary of State Ken Blackwell said he could not put an estimate on the number of provisional and absentee ballots, but he said 250,000 might not be out of the realm of possibility.

    Blackwell, a Republican, ordered Ohio's counties to report how many provisional ballots they received by 2 p.m. Wednesday. Counting ballots would not begin until Thursday, Blackwell said in a directive.

    It is not clear how long the counting would take. Initially Blackwell said the counting of provisional and absentee ballots would not begin for 11 days.

    Early Wednesday, CNN projected Kerry would win Wisconsin, giving him a projected 252 electoral votes to Bush's projected 254.

    A Bush win in Ohio would give him a projected 274 electoral votes -- 270 are needed to win the race.

    Besides Ohio, CNN has not projected the winner in Iowa and New Mexico.

    New Mexico will not release presidential election results until later Wednesday because thousands of absentee ballots remain uncounted, according to a spokesman for the secretary of state. (Heavy turnout in New Mexico)

    In Iowa, broken machines, a delay in opening absentee ballots and apparent fatigue will delay the secretary of state's report of a final count until some time Wednesday, elections officials said. The secretary of state's office reported a record 441,911 absentee ballots had been returned by late Tuesday afternoon.

    CNN projected other Kerry wins in California, Connecticut, Delaware, the District of Columbia, Illinois, Maine, Maryland, Massachusetts, Michigan, Minnesota, New Hampshire, Hawaii, New Jersey, New York, Oregon, Pennsylvania, Rhode Island, Vermont and Washington.

    Bush was projected to win Alabama, Alaska, Arizona, Arkansas, Colorado, Florida, Georgia, Idaho, Indiana, Kansas, Kentucky, Louisiana, Missouri, Mississippi, Montana, Nebraska, Nevada North Carolina, North Dakota, Oklahoma, South Carolina, South Dakota, Tennessee, Texas, Utah, Virginia, West Virginia and Wyoming.

    Bush talked with reporters Tuesday evening as he watched election coverage at the White House with family and friends, including his wife, Laura, his daughters, Barbara and Jenna, and his parents, former President George H.W. Bush and Barbara Bush.

    "I believe I will win. Thank you very much. I feel good about it," Bush said. "I'm glad to be able to watch the returns here with my family and friends. And it's, it's going to be an exciting evening."

    Kerry's daughter Vanessa told CNN she also was optimistic about her father's chances.

    "I've been listening to some of the stuff, and it's been a great turnout, and that's incredibly exciting. And I think that's really encouraging, that this many people have chosen to be a part of this process," she said.

    Kerry began his day with an event in Wisconsin, another key showdown state both candidates have focused on in the closing weeks of the campaign.

    Kerry cast his vote at the State House in his hometown of Boston around 1 p.m. ET and then he and his wife Teresa Heinz Kerry had lunch at the Union Oyster House -- an election-day tradition for the couple.

    When asked how he felt about the campaign being over he replied, "It's not over yet."

    "I'm doing nothing beyond working until 8 o'clock," Kerry said. "I never leave any stone unturned. This is the strong close and that's what I'm doing."

    Independent presidential candidate Ralph Nader predicted Tuesday that Kerry would win the election, but he lashed into the Republican and Democratic parties, repeating his assertions that they are not responding to the needs of Americans.

    He also accused Democrats of organized efforts to keep him off the ballot, and warned the "dirty tricks" will "not be forgotten and not be forgiven." Democratic officials have previously rejected those assertions.

    The consumer advocate and political activist was accused of helping Bush win in 2000 by drawing votes from Democrat Al Gore.


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