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Polls close in battlegrounds CO, MI, WI, NM among others

[JURIST] [JURIST Election Special] 9:00 PM ET - Polls have just closed in 13 more states: Colorado, Arizona, Louisiana, western Michigan, Minnesota, Nebraska, New Mexico, New York, Rhode Island, South Dakota, western Texas, Wisconsin, and Wyoming. Pre-election polls showed Colorado, Michigan, New Mexico and Wisconsin were all close heading into today's vote. In all, these states account for 137 electoral votes.

9:15 PM ET - With 3 percent of precincts reporting in PA, Kerry is maintaining a strong lead. Both candidates were polling strong in the respective parts of the state.

Kerry - 76,090 - 70%
Bush - 32,909 - 30%

In Ohio, with 7 percent of precincts reporting, Kerry is still several points up.

Kerry - 308,282 - 53%
Bush - 276,000 - 47%

Also earlier today, the US Supreme Court denied a request for a stay of a US 3rd Circuit Court of Appeals ruling allowing voter challenges to continue. Justice Souter ruled that the request was moot since the voter that brought had successfully voted. AP has more.

9:25 PM ET - Reports from Ohio are that voter challenges did not present a problem in most areas. A suit has been appealed by the Ohio Democratic Party to the US 6th Circuit Court of Appeals over long voting lines in Ohio. Read the notice of appeal [PDF] and the answer [PDF] from Secretary of State Ken Blackwell (documents via Election Law @ Moritz).

9:30 PM ET - With 14 percent of precincts in, CNN reports the following for PA:

Kerry - 333,748 - 72%
Bush - 131,542 - 28%

9:37 PM ET - CBS News is reporting that a district judge has blocked the counting of up to 15,000 absentee ballots in Philadelphia after their validity was questioned by Republics. A hearing is scheduled for Wednesday at 9 AM ET.

9:40 PM ET - In Minnesota, a judge refused to grant a Republican request for a restraining order to keep the liberal group MoveOn.org away from polling stations. AP has more on this and other voting issues in Minnesota here.

9:50 PM ET - Races remain close in four battleground states, with neither candidate picking up a clear lead.

In Ohio, Bush takes the lead with 16% of precincts reporting:
Bush - 545,549 - 52%
Kerry - 497,167 - 47%

Michigan shows Bush with early lead with 4% of returns in:
Bush - 76,837 - 52%
Kerry - 68,617 - 47%

Wisconsin has Bush up early with 4% of precincts reporting:
Bush - 84,541 - 57%
Kerry - 61,325 - 42%

In Pennsylvania, Kerry stays in front with 19% reporting:
Bush - 227,433 - 34%
Kerry - 443,312 - 66%

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