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Thousands stream in to Obama s election party

CHICAGO, November 5 – Thousands of people began pouring in to Chicago’s Grant Park Tuesday for White House hopeful Barack Obama’s election night party, sprinting to the front to get a ringside seat as history unfolds.

A total of 65,000 supporters received coveted tickets to attend the party, passing through lengthy security checks to gain access to the event site where six searchlights arced into an unusually balmy autumn night above the stage.

Up to a million more were expected to throng the streets around the lakeside park with tens of thousands already milling around as states on the US east coast started to report their election returns.

The Illinois senator, who headed into the election up in the polls against Republican John McCain, was not expected to speak before voting finishes on the west coast at 10:00 pm Chicago time (0400 GMT).

If the election is close, it could be many hours before a result is known and Obama will not speak until a winner is declared by the television networks and McCain has conceded, should the Republican lose.

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