Election Day

Scott and Colleen (Albuquerque, NM): We voted early and by absentee ballot. Colleen took our paperwork into the clerk’s office the first day that early voting was allowed. Even then there were lines. But not for us absentee folks. The atmosphere was festive, people were patient, talking with one another and generally in a good mood.

W. Scott Westerman, Jr. (Ann Arbor, MI): In spite of the many polls predicting an Obama victory, I was very nervous about the outcome. When he was declared winner, I cried tears of joy, not only because I think he is an extraordinary man, but also because it revealed that the great majority of our country had grown beyond historic racial prejudices (some of which still remains, of course). I am so grateful for this outcome. I truly believe this ushers in a new era which will result in a better nation and world, inspite of the tremendous challenges which exist. YES WE CAN!!!!!

From a reader of Andrew Sullivan’s Blog (D.C.): At 3 p.m. on Election Day, the Foundry Methodist Church voting station in Dupont Circle was doing light but brisk business. As I signed my name to receive my ballot, one of the poll workers loudly asked another to ring the small bell on their table. “Everyone please listen up for a moment,” he boomed while holding on to an old black woman standing perhaps 5’2″ with a huge grin. “This is our special voter of the day. She’s 95 years old and this is her first time voting.”As everyone in the room took her in and the thundering applause echoed through the old church basement, her glinting eyes quickly teared up and she somehow managed an even bigger smile.

Stephanie Westerman (Jacksonville, FL: My voting experience was a breeze. My voting location was held at a church across the street from my neighborhood. When I arrived there were 3 people in front of me. The election employees were very friendly. I was in and out in 10 min. What I remember the most was the smell of delicious food that was at a table nearby for the election employees to munch on from 7a-7p. It made my mouth water and I certainly wished I could have grabbed a bite myself. So no horror stories here. All and all it was a great experience and I was proud to cast my votes.

AP (New York): Empire State Building skyscraper in NYC splits up its tower lights between red for McCain and blue for Obama; when it became clear that Obama would prevail, the edifice, built during the Great Depression, was bathed in blue.

From a reader of Andrew Sullivan’s Blog (Baghdad, Iraq): I’m embedded with the military in Saddam’s Presidential Palace and sent in my absentee ballot – for Obama – weeks ago. One of my colleagues [contractor, retired military] strongly supports McCain-Palin, believes Obama is a Muslim, etc. He told me he wasn’t going to send in the Federal Write-In Absentee Ballot because someone told him it wouldn’t be counted unless the election was close. Well, that’s not true. They do, eventually, count all the valid ballots for the official totals, issued several weeks later. I showed him how to print one out [from fvap.gov] and encouraged him to participate, no matter what. Even though we disagree on the candidates, he really appreciated my taking the time to ensure that he sent in his vote. Even if, in the end, his state does not count his ballot [maybe he should have requested an absentee ballot in advance, and maybe he didn’t; I don’t know], it’s important to me that everyone have a voice in this election.

LeeAnn Herrera (Davenport, IA):I decided not to vote early, for some reason it felt less “official”. I like to get up in the morning and see the grouchy blue-haired polling police but this morning even with a tiny bit of confusion at my particular polling place the blue hair’s were actually in high spirits and almost friendly. I found myself waiting in 3 lines. The first line to fill out my card, the second line to wait in my “name” line and the third and final line was the ballot line. To pass the time I would look at people and try to guess which party I thought they belonged to or who they were here to cast their vote for. Obviously, the 85 year old man on one of those wheelchair/scooters in front of me in line was there to vote for McCain but I was wrong. He was there voting for Obama, he must have pegged me too (could have been my “Obama Believe” button) because he said “I hope our guy wins it” to me. I was reminded of a lesson my father taught me decades ago “don’t judge a book by its cover”. All in all not a bad experience….I waited for a total of 30 minutes and spent a total of 38 minutes in the polling place. I was just thankful it wasn’t 8 hours like some poor people are waiting. Then I went to Starbuck’s and got my free 16oz coffee.

Gary Mescher (Grand Rapids, MI): Here in Grand Rapids the line at precinct 14 was fairly small – it took about five minutes before I got my ballot. I was in and out in about 20 minutes. Noticed early this morning as I watched CNN that Dixville Notch, New Hampshire went for Obama…first time for a Democrat since 1968. 16 for Obama – five for McCain. FYI – Walter Cronkite is 92 years old today. ‘And that’s the way it is, Tuesday, November 4, 2008.’

Chris Smith (East Lansing, MI): I will be ‘dorm gigging’ from 7-9 with the Spartan Dischords in Case Hall tonight. This involves going from top to bottom in the girls’ side of the dorm and knocking on all the doors and singing a song on each floor. I’m thinking this will be a great night to do it in Case, with all the Madison girls sitting in their room with nothing to do waiting for the polls to close!

Jeff Smith (Rochester Hills, MI): Mary and I just got home from voting up on our corner at a senior apt / living place. It took an hour and half from starting in line till finishing — lots of people and it’s a long ballot (state, local issues, etc). If the Michigan medical marijuana proposal passes — here’s my stock tip — invest in Frito Lay (MUNCHIES!!!).