The provisional ballot noose continues to tighten around Sen. John Kerry's neck in Ohio. The Kerry camp's hope early Wednesday morning that 250,000 such ballots existed, remained uncounted, and could help erase president Bush's 100,000-plus lead in the Buckeye state has turned out to be wishful thinking.
Officials in Ohio now suggest the number of provision ballots is closer to 140,000, with Bush maintaining a vote lead of approximately 136,000 votes. Even if the provisional ballot number inches up closer to the 160,000 range, and 90 percent of those are found to legitimate, which was the rate in Ohio during the 2000 campaign, that means Kerry would have to capture more than 90 percent of those.
Said CNN legal expert Jeffrey Toobin, "It just doesn't seem possible." Over at ABC, Charlie Gibson agreed: "This is, in effect, over."