Diary: From cannabis in Alaska to ice-cream bribery in Columbus

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* In Alaska, voters considered whether to legalise cannabis; in New Jersey a voting centre at a school was reopened after a suspicious white powder was found to be salt.

* In Alaska, voters considered whether to legalise cannabis; in New Jersey a voting centre at a school was reopened after a suspicious white powder was found to be salt.

* In Columbus, Ohio, a plane trailed a banner in the sky urging people to get out and vote. In Lufkin, Texas, Republicans accused Democrats of bribing mentally disabled students with ice-cream. They also alleged that Democrats improperly used a state van - not an ice-cream van - to take students to the polls. Such was the flurry of odd stories from across the breadth and length of the US as up to 120 million people - perhaps 60 per cent of all eligible voters - went to the polls.

* In Guam - about 3,500 miles west of Hawaii and 19 hours' flying time from Washington - Republicans scored an early win when George Bush beat John Kerry by 17,264 votes to 9,540. The vote was a straw poll and did not count towards the actual election, but the territory prides itself on having selected the winning candidate since 1984.

* In the battleground state of Ohio, newspapers ignored a directive from the secretary of state banning journalists from polling places. "We are going to proceed on the assumption we will get in and will until we get thrown out," Doug Clifton, editor of The Plain Dealer in Cleveland, told Editor and Publisher magazine. He estimated up to 50 of his news staff would try to get in to polling stations. At least one paper,

The Columbus Dispatch, registered employees as election challengers. "We filed to be challengers because election officials said they would strictly enforce laws regulating who can be in polling places - voters, poll workers and challengers only," the Dispatch editor, Ben Marrison, wrote in a column. " Dispatch staffers are registered as challengers for every precinct in Franklin and Delaware counties."

* In Alaska, where polls before voting showed Mr Bush with a 57-30 per cent advantage, voters were asked whether possession of cannabis should be legalised. The state already allows legal possession of small amounts. "This is a very broad initiative that says, instead of the prohibition model, let's try the regulation model," said David Finkelstein, a former state Democratic legislator .Meanwhile, the Drudge Report website claimed that in Philadelphia, Republicans said they had discovered almost 2,000 votes planted on machines before the polls opened.

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