Tuesday, November 4, 2008

Worth the Wait

Voters in line at 8:00 a.m. at Calvin Coolidge H.S. in Ward 4

I was like a kid at Christmas this morning. I couldn't wait to vote! The polls in D.C. opened at 7:00 and I was in line at 8:00. If the line I was in is any indication, turnout today will be historic. I waited a little over an hour to vote, but as I said to a fellow voter, "This is a line worth waiting in."

The line continues up the block in front of the school.

The enthusiasm for this election was palpable and people are excited! One young man was voting for the first time. Another talked about how he hopes this election will result in more opportunities for everyone, not just a select few. We all agreed that America's isolationist policies have to end.

I spoke with voters whose parents and grandparents led the way in the fight for racial equality and justice. The shine in their eyes and the hopefulness in their voices was inspiring. Many of them have fought long and hard to see this day when one of their own is within reach of the White House.

Voters waiting in line to verify their registration and receive a card
that then allows them to pick up their ballots and vote.

I saw voters of every demographic. Sure, the majority of them were black, because D.C.'s population is largely black, but there were white people, Hispanics, Asians, young and old, gay and straight, Christians and atheists, Republicans, Democrats, Independents, able and disable, decideds and undecideds. I saw my neighbors I know and people from the neighborhood I've never met. In short, I saw America. And it is voting!

The D.C. voting ballot. Note in the upper right hand corner that
we have candidates for the offices of U.S. senator and U.S. representative,
even though constitutionally we are prohibited from having equal representation
in Congress. Nevertheless, candidates run every cycle in the hope that the Constitution
will be amended and we'll have representation.

If you haven't yet, please, get out and vote. It's the best time you'll spend in a line. Ever.


Steven, a first time voter, and Mr. Johnson, a retired math teacher,
wait in line to vote.

Continuing my 100 Strangers series, I spent the better part of my hour talking with these two gentlemen while I stood in line. We had a lovely conversation while we were waiting to cast our ballots. Both of them have lived in the neighborhood a long time. Steven, the gentleman on the left, grew up a few blocks from where we were standing and attended high school at Calvin Coolidge--the location of our polling station. It was Steven's first time voting! Mr. Johnson lives not too far from here either and is a former math teacher. His son, Brandon, was with him. This was Brandon's second election. Mr. Johnson declined to state how many elections he's voted in!

Photo copyright: D.C. Confidential, 11/04/08


Gwyn said...

Greetings from Juneau (Alaska) Daily Photo!
It's nice to see people getting out to vote.
Have a great day!

P.S. As for the html code, I haven't found it yet. I've only be able to enlarge the size by experimenting.

USelaine said...

Fantastic post! I live in a vote-by-mail precinct, so I'm a little jealous of the people that got to stand in the historic lines today. At the last election, I was told by the polling volunteers that I could photograph anything but the ballot itself. It looks like you and I both subverted that directive this time around. 6^)

marley said...

I love this post. What a perfect record for today. I loved your line "...I saw America. And it is voting."

I'm watching CNN and BBC as I type, watching and waiting. I've got everything crossed that our man wins.

babooshka said...

I have been humbled by the amount of people actually turning out to vote. We just to not have the conviction here. ot to be Obama- for all our sakes. I will be up all night a my partner works for the BBC and he is busy working on Cartoons for both outcomes? We only want one though. Exceptional post today, democracy.

D.C. Confidential said...

Gwyn: Thanks for the heads-up on the html code. I think I just need to play around more in Blogger. Happy Election Day in Juneau! Is it possible you'll be getting your governor back? Or will she be the next resident of 1 Naval Observatory Circle and occupant of the Office of the Vice President? The mystery unfolds...

USElaine: Standing in line this morning was fun! I didn't realize Willits was a vote-by-mail precinct. Too small for an actual polling station?

Marley: Thanks! Being out with my fellow citizens on this important day did wonders to begin restoring my faith in the kind of country we can be again. I'll be up tonight, too, watching the returns. Crossing all appropriate body parts for a positive outcome!

Babooshka: Thank you! I hope for the same outcome, too!

Arlene said...

That line almost gives me the chills. We waited for 1/2 hour today, but our line was only 20 folks or so. Thank heavens we didn't have to wait outside - it has been rainy & snowy here today. We would have waited in the snow if we'd've :) had to. You must have had a lot of voting booths to get through that line in 1 hour.

D.C. Confidential said...

Arlene: It was an amazing line of people! And the crowds out on the streets in D.C. right now are amazing! For black Americans, this is a stunning moment and for all Americans it is a time to work together to be united again. I'm excited to see what PRESIDENT Obama is going to do!

Debi said...

I showed up at quarter to seven (pm) and didn't have to wait at all. It always feels a bit like an exercise in futility for me. In all the years I've lived in Texas, thirty one now, all 34 electoral votes go Republican no matter who I vote for. I was proud, though, to see 44% (at the current stats) fellow Texans voted for Obama.

D.C. Confidential said...

Debi: Here's to the 44% of Texans who voted Obama! Cheers and Hooray!

Maya said...

OH, I so love this series of photos. Not only are the photos great and so well represent the experience, but the stories that go with them are inspiring! I feel like I missed out on all this by voting absentee, but I'm glad I got to experience it through your eyes.

D.C. Confidential said...

Maya: It was so fun to stand in line with my neighbors and hear the excitement in their voices. Voting is especially meaningful to them as so many of them have only had the right to vote for little more than 40 years. It was an experience I will always cherish.

movie fan said...

i can't help thinking it's awesome that there has been such long lines all over... people taking a greater interest in public issues is always a good thing

d.c. confidential said...

Movie Fan: It is. I just hope the interest holds and people continue to engage.