No complaints out of Columbus as Election Day winds down
According to poll workers, there were lines in the early morning — before the polls opened at 6:30 a.m. But by noon the business of voting was proceeding smoothly and steadily in this residential neighborhood in northeast Columbus. There were no signs of the long lines reported at Ohio State University and in other areas of the capital.
These are well-established and immaculately maintained streets, with a population that is mostly African-American. That was expected to tilt the vote toward the president, something residents are not at all shy about.
“Barack Obama is my voice that is not being heard,” said Micah Hollins, an 18-year-old student, who was voting at Eastgate Elementary School. “I think he is the voice for a lot of people.”
It was Hollins’ first election, and he was pretty excited.
“I think Obama will win,” he said. “I don’t know anyone who is voting for Romney.”
Certainly not Ivra Bassett, a 65-year-old veteran who voted early.
“I would hate to see where this country would go if Romney is elected,” he said. “I think he would get us into Iran the same way George Bush got us into Iraq.”
Bassett is a Vietnam vet. “I served, Romney did not,” he said. “It is amazing how these guys are always willing to send other people’s kids to war.”
He was helping his friend cast his vote at the Brenthill Recreation Center.
“We have driver’s licenses,” he said. “If not, they’ll take a utilities bill or something, so it’s not too bad.”
Ohio requires a potential voter to show ID. Those without adequate identification can file provisional ballots, and then have to prove their eligibility after the election. Provisional ballots will only be counted in the event of a very close election requiring a recount.
“I sure hope we have a clear result tonight,” sighed one poll worker, who did not give her name because she was not authorized to speak with the press. “If not, there will be multiple lawsuits. I would hate to see Obama start a second term under that kind of a cloud.”
There were no complaints from voters surveyed about malfunctioning voting machines, an issue that has been discussed widely in the media.
No one seemed very upset about the voter ID requirement.
“I think the number of people without an acceptable ID is miniscule,” said Zakiyyah Muhammad, who was voting at St. Philip’s Episcopal Church. “It’s an overreaction that everyone’s so upset, I think.”
Muhammad was born and raised in Columbus, and is a Muslim. Her parents, she said, converted before she was born.
“It’s difficult to be a Muslim in America,” she said. “I keep getting blamed for 9/11.”
Muhammad voted for Obama, mostly because of his social policies. “I think women should have control over their own bodies,” she said. She was also skeptical of the Republican challenger, Mitt Romney.
“No one is really voting for him,” she said. “They are voting against Obama. I think a lot of it is racial.”
There was one couple at the St. Philip’s polling station that was firmly in the Romney camp — David and Sherrie Jenks, a white couple with four children.
“We have to stop mortgaging our kids’ future,” said David Jenks. “We need less government, less spending. Every time the government gets involved in something, they screw it up.”
Jenks, who works in the medical device industry, is not wealthy. He and his wife bought an abandoned house in this mostly black neighborhood and are fixing it up. But he believes that those with money should be left alone to do what they do best.
“I can’t create jobs,” he said. “I don’t have enough money. I’d love to be Bill Gates, but I’m not. There have to be people with money who can make jobs for the rest of us. If you tax them less, they will create more jobs.”
The couple feels the polarization in their community very deeply. Jenks said he got a Romney sign, but did not dare to put it in his front yard.
“I’m pretty fearless, but I’m not stupid enough to put a Romney sign in front of my house in this neighborhood,” he said. Instead, the couple put the sign on the corner of their street. “It lasted a day and a half,” he laughed.
David and Sherrie Jenks are committed, but not angry. If Obama is elected, said Jenks, they will “make the best of it.”
“We may have different ideologies, but we are all Americans, after all,” he said.
More Related Stories
- Eric Holder versus journalism
- A progressive defense of drones
- There's no substitute for government disaster relief
- Holder signed off on search warrant for reporter
- Mississippi could begin prosecuting women for miscarriages
- Mike Judge: "Bowling for Columbine" made me pro-gun
- Closing Gitmo is not enough
- Murkowski: Palin too disengaged to run for Senate
- In IRS scandal, new GOP tactic is ignorance
- Code Pink activist berates Obama at national security speech
- Cuomo: "Shame on us" if New York City elects Weiner
- Coburn calls questions about tornado aid "typical Washington B.S."
- Conspiracy theorists clash over London attack
- Voting is not a right
- Destroying the planet for record profits
- Ahead of Obama's speech, U.S. acknowledges four American drone killings
- Pic of the day: Barack Obama at prom
- Anti-Islam backlash in London after machete attack
- Must-see morning clip: Bill O'Reilly visits "The Daily Show"
- Obama’s drone speech will probably be maddening
- Boehner: "Inconceivable" Obama didn't know about IRS targeting
Featured Slide Shows
The week in 10 picsclose X
- 1 of 11
Lisa Montgomery embraces her nephew Thursday after a tornado tore apart her home in Cleburne, Texas. The twister killed six people and destroyed entire swaths of the North Texas town.
Credit: AP/LM Otero
Jack McMahon, the defense attorney for abortion doctor Kermit Gosnell, speaks outside the Criminal Justice Center in Philadelphia Tuesday. His client was convicted of killing three babies in his clinic, and will serve multiple life sentences.
Credit: AP/Matt Rourke
A photo taken Monday captures Vice President Joe Biden's response to a Milwaukee second-grader's innovative proposal to end America's epidemic of gun violence. This guy!
Credit: AP/Jenny Aicher
Sen. Rand Paul, R-Ky., flanked by a grouper-eyed Michele Bachmann, addresses the IRS' admission that it targeted Tea Party groups in advance of the 2012 election. In an op-ed for CNN Thursday, the Kentucky senator slammed the president for his faux outrage.
Credit: AP/Molly Riley
Ousted IRS chief Steven Miller is sworn in on Capitol Hill Friday. Miller testified before the House Ways and Means Committee on the extra scrutiny the agency gave conservative groups applying for tax-exempt status.
Credit: AP/J. Scott Applewhite
Attorney General Eric Holder pauses as he testifies on Capitol Hill before the House Judiciary Committee Wednesday. Holder is under fire, among other things, for the Justice Department's gathering of phone records at the Associated Press.
Credit: AP/Carolyn Kaster
O.J. Simpson sits during an evidentiary hearing at Clark County District Court in Las Vegas, Nev., Thursday. Simpson, who is currently serving a nine-to-33-year sentence in state prison for armed robbery and kidnapping, is using a writ of habeas corpus to seek a new trial.
Credit: AP/Las Vegas Review-Journal/Jeff Scheid
Major Tom to ground control: On Sunday astronaut Chris Hadfield recorded the first music video from space, a cover of David Bowie's "Space Oddity."
Credit: AP/NASA/Chris Hadfield
When it rains it pours. President Barack Obama speaks during a news conference Thursday with Turkish Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan, inexplicably inspiring an #umbrellagate Twitter meme.
Credit: AP/Jacquelyn Martin
A smoke plume rises high above a road block at the intersection of County A and Ross Road east of Solon Springs, Wis., Tuesday. No injuries were reported, but the the wildfire caused evacuations across northwestern Wisconsin.
Credit: AP/The Duluth News-Tribune/Clint Austin
Recent Slide Shows
- 1 of 11