White House candidates aim at swing states

With a mere week and a half left to U.S. Election Day, the presidential candidates are targeting swing states in their bids to win the keys to the Oval Office. Barack Obama and John McCain are doing their best to sway undecided voters.

The Democrat candidate, Barack Obama, will be spending most of the remaining nine days of the campaign in states won by President Bush four years ago. He concluded a swing through the West with two rallies in Colorado, while his Republican rival, John McCain, has made the battleground state of Ohio a top priority.

His running mate, Sarah Palin, the Alaska Governor, was making another push to sway voters in the state of Florida, where polls show McCain is trailing narrowly behind Obama. Florida is another of the key battlegrounds that can make or break the presidential dreams of Barack Obama and John McCain.

In the 2000 election it was the scene of a vote-rigging scandal, which led many to accuse George W. Bush of stealing the election from Al Gore.

Voting computers have now been introduced, so there is no prospect of a repeat of the problem with hanging chads as there was back then. Instead, there are concerns about the complexity of the voting process and that the computers might be vulnerable to hackers.

Election officials are trying to dispel those fears, saying there’s no evidence hackers are targeting voting equipment and that, despite the apparent complexity of the ballot casting process, it’s actually not that hard to follow. Practice sheets have been introduced to give people a better chance to vote properly and ensure their vote is counted.

According to official results and with much controversy, Florida supported the Republicans in the last two presidential elections. Opinion polls suggest there is a real possibility of the state turning Democrat come November.