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New York, Wisconsin and Kansas voters decided Tuesday whether to speed Bill Clinton's march to the Democratic presidential nomination or stall it under a cloud of questions about his character.

The Republican side held far less drama; President Bush was picking up 100 New York delegates by default but faced challenger Patrick Buchanan in Wisconsin, Minnesota and Kansas. Bush was the big favorite everywhere.New York was the key in a topsy-turvy Democratic race between the Arkansas governor and former California Gov. Jerry Brown. The candidates concentrated intently on New York, and both got down-and-dirty in a city known for pointed-elbow politics.

Clinton worried about low turnout in yet another contest in which most voters were expected to stay home because of little enthusiasm for their choices. City election officials in New York said early morning turnout was fairly light but forecast an upturn for later in the day.

A number of voters arriving at the polls just after their 6 a.m. opening said they would go for former Sen. Paul Tsongas of Massachusetts, who has dropped out of the race but is gauging whether to re-enter.

Tsongas voters told reporters they had little enthusiasm for either Clinton or Brown.

"I've been hoping for an open convention, and I hope this will throw it open," said Sandra Schecter, 50, who works in the publishing industry. At the same polling place in the Bronx, Frank Ferrante, 71, a retired worker, said he was for Clinton because "he's better than anybody else, and that goes for Bush, too."

Brown began his day by attending Mass in Manhattan and greeting voters in the Bronx. He vowed to fight on no matter what the verdict Tuesday.

"This is the people's campaign," he said. "There is only forward movement."

In the fight for New York, Clinton focused his fire on Brown's flat-tax proposal, saying it would punish the poor, increase the deficit and endanger Social Security. Brown called Clinton a "prince of sleaze" and distributed fliers questioning his rival's commitment to civil rights and Israel.

In New York Clinton finally heard the questions that compelled him to acknowledge that he had tried marijuana in college and did, after all, receive a draft notice in 1969 before promising to join an ROTC program in Arkansas.

His carefully worded prior answers prompted new questions about Clinton's candor.