The White House says President Bush has defeated Democratic Party challenger John Kerry to win a second term in office, but Mr. Kerry has refused to concede the very tight presidential election.
With 99% of precincts reporting, Mr. Bush has 51% of the popular vote to 48% for Senator Kerry -- making Mr. Bush the first candidate to win a majority of the popular vote since his father, George H.W. Bush, did it 16 years ago.
But right now, no projection shows either President Bush or Senator Kerry winning a majority of the electoral college votes that are needed in victory. Whoever wins the most votes in a state receives all of that state's electoral college votes. The 538-member electoral college will formally elect the next president in December.
A candidate needs 270 electoral votes for victory, and many U.S. news organizations say the race is still too close to call. So far, some projections give Mr. Bush 254 electoral votes against 252 for Mr. Kerry. Other projections give the incumbent 269 electoral votes against 242 for Senator Kerry.
The 20 electoral votes of midwestern state of Ohio are seen as crucial The current ballot count in Ohio has President Bush ahead by about 140,000 votes. But the Kerry campaign refuses to concede Ohio, saying 250,000 ballots remain to be counted there.
Exit polls indicate Mr. Bush did best in the South and West of the country. Mr. Kerry was strongest in the Northeast, Midwest and West Coast.
Turnout was reported heavy as voters finally declared their choice for president after a long and heated campaign focused on the war on terrorism, Iraq and the economy.