Democrats launched a massive campaign for their candidate but Kerry finished with a little superstition, going to the restaurant he has visited on every Election Day, after casting his vote in his home city of Boston.

“I’m very confident that we made the case for change, the case for trust in a new leadership, a new direction, a fresh start,” the Massachussetts senator said after voting with his two daughters, Alexandra and Vanessa.

Highlighting the tight race with Mr Bush, the Democrat held one last campaign event in Wisconsin, a Democratic state under threat from Republicans, before returning to Boston.

“We’re going to link hands and hearts and we’re going to take America to a better place,” Senator Kerry told 250 supporters in the town of La Crosse. “Let’s get the job done.”

Amid signs of a heavy, verging-on-record participation, Senator Kerry was to rest and spend part of the late part of the day in interviews with local television stations in a bid to persuade reluctant voters to turn out.

Senator Kerry also joined Bush in expressing hope that there would be no legal challenges that would hold up the final result.

The Massachusetts senator recounted his experience on the campaign trail since securing the Democratic nomination in March.

“When you go state-to-state and people, so many thousands of them, invest their hopes in you. People tell you their life stories. They share their troubles. They share their dreams. If you’re not moved by that, you’re missing something. And I’m deeply moved by it.”

His wife Teresa Heinz Kerry and her sons Chris and Andre voted in her home city of Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, before joining her husband.

Democrats are upbeat about the high turnout in the vote that they believe would boost Senator Kerry.

“We have a lot of evidence that the turnout is very heavy. We see that in anecdotes, in the lines and in the reports we get,” said Joe Lockhart, a top adviser to Senator Kerry.

“We have all indications that the turnout will be at levels we haven’t seen for 20 or 30 years,” he told reporters.

The Kerry campaign is planning a victory rally, which could quickly morph into a political wake if Mr Bush wins a second term, in Boston’s Copley Square, where Kerry will be joined by his vice presidential running mate, Senator John Edwards.