High turnout expected as campaigns stir passions

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The Independent US

Americans appear to be preparing to cast their ballots in landslide numbers on 2 November, a reflection of the deep passions stirring supporters of both candidates in the presidential race and the fruit of frenzied efforts by each party to persuade citizens to register to vote.

Americans appear to be preparing to cast their ballots in landslide numbers on 2 November, a reflection of the deep passions stirring supporters of both candidates in the presidential race and the fruit of frenzied efforts by each party to persuade citizens to register to vote.

With the deadlines passed in most states, there is evidence that the registration drives have been unusually effective.

Experts predict that turnout could reach 60 per cent, compared to 54 per cent in 2000, and less than half in some years. Historically, higher turnouts have benefited the Democrats, but there is no saying that that will be the case this time. Barring a sudden surge of support in the polls for either John Kerry or George Bush, it is likely that the country will go into election day almost blind as to the outcome.

The flood of new registration forms is overwhelming election officials across the country and it will be several more days before a full picture emerges of how many new registered voters there actually are. But the numbers available confirm the trend. Oregon has seen about 100,000 new voters, while in Colorado the number is 300,000. In July, Florida - critical to the result in the 2000 election - registered 151,422 voters, compared with 77,000 in July 2000.

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