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And here is the most up-to-date, sophisticated, calculated and precise assessment of the outcome of today's election in America, straight from the table of Military Intelligence commander Maj. Gen. Aharon Ze'evi-Farkash - the Republican party incumbent, George W. Bush, is expected to win - or lose - to the Democratic Party challenger, John Kerry. Or it will be a dead heat.

Farkash took valuable time out to compose that assessment when he was finished delivering his fabulous insight into Yasser Arafat's position on the timeline between life and death.

More daring, because of the financial risk involved, is the stock market's anticipation of the results. The political gambling site, intrade.com, gave Bush a 54 percent chance of victory. That means that the total number of people who translate their opinions into hard cash from their wallets, as opposed to the commentators and Military Intelligence commanders, reached the group conclusion that a Bush victory is the correct investment.

The numbers were somewhat volatile over the past few months, even when the polls showed an advantage to Kerry, and three weeks ago, when Bush's fortunes seemed to wane as a result of the debates, declines resulting from a panic sell-off of Bush contracts were quickly stopped by purchases of Bush contracts.

There's no mistake about the general trend of erosion from Bush to Kerry, but the trends are given to pendulum motions, and the only question is which way the pendulum has swung when the polls close and the votes are counted. In the 1968 elections, Richard Nixon's advantage over Hubert Humphrey began to collapse two days before the vote. The conventional wisdom is that if the campaign had gone on one more day, Humphrey would have won. In 1980, Ronald Reagan passed Jimmy Carter in the polls three days before the vote.

A senior American representative in Israel who voted by absentee ballot last week said the worries about irregularities in the voting are not exaggerated. He is registed in Florida and received three voting forms. A shift in Florida or Ohio or any of the other 50 states opens the door to the risks involved in the electoral college system, which seemingly harms the "one man-one vote" principle.

Practically, however, the electoral college system reflects the fundamental logic of the American system, born of the need for existing independent bodies, the 13 colonies that declared independence from Britain, to give up a little of their own sovereignty for the sake of a central government - and to resolve the conflict between equality for all and the balance of forces between large and small. The U.S., it must be remembered, is the union of states, not individuals.

The formula that the founding fathers devised gave the large states more power in the House of Representatives, according to the population, and equal power - each state has two representatives in the Senate. When Congress is asked to break a tie in an election for president, the voting is tallied according to the delegations from each state.

Critics of the electoral college are not volunteering to give up America's special position - and that of the Russians, Chinese, French and British - at the UN and to grant the six billion people of the world equal rights in the vote to shape it. Unified Europe forgets the ideal of every vote being equal when faced with the number of Turks.

The American recipe is not less fair than the elections to parliament in Britain, where a vote is lost - in terms of its influence on the choice of the prime minister - if the personto whom it was given loses their race in the district, and similar complaints can be found about the voting threshold here. Eliezer Mizrahi and Geula Cohen hurt Yitzhak Shamir in 1992 about the same way that Florida's flaws in 2000 hurt Al Gore.

America's supreme effort is to maintain checks and balances, or in Hebrew, brakes and suspension, like a four-year checkup for the car. Indeed, the Americans want such a safe family car, more solid than fast, so balanced, so calm as it breaks, that there won't be any risk at all, no matter who sits behind the steering wheel.