Thanks so much to everyone who's sent in your story from Election Day; they were all wonderful reads, and we're sorry we can't post more of them. Here are two very different letters -- one from the other side of the pond. There are three more after the jump.
From Montgomery, Alabama:
I’m a 59-year old white guy who votes at a “predominantly black” voting place. Both campaigns regarded Alabama as inevitably Republican.When I think about it there was little point in casting my vote for Obama here. There is no realistic hope of overtaking the McCain flood or grabbing any electoral votes for O. Still, I’m happy I did it.
I’ve lived here my whole life. I remember my Dad explaining the Montgomery Bus Boycott to me when I was six years old and it was going on all around us. The Freedom Riders took their licks at the Greyhound Bus Station downtown here when I was around 12 years old, and the Selma-to-Montgomery march ended on Monroe Street here when I was 15. My daughters are 13 and 15 like Obama’s and I wonder if they will ever understand what happened back then and what today means. Maybe they won’t and maybe that’s a good thing. Maybe it’s even the point.
From Hamburg, Germany:
We cannot vote here in Germany but today all over Europe and the rest of the world a lot of people are anxiously looking to the US. Will Obama make it? While most of us think he is ahead, there are nagging doubts. Will the Republicans in some way pull off a last minute stunt that will guarantee an electoral college majority for McCain?
We have a hard time understanding the high obstacles for voting in your elections. Is today normal workday? We vote on Sundays. Why are waiting lines as long as those in third world countries? This is strange for us. Why is it that you have actively to register to vote?
We are well aware that American presidents have a high impact on our life - you bet Dubya did. Thus, we feel somewhat powerless. The only certainty over here is that we feel uncertain..
From Chesterfield County VA:
I live in the Salem Church precinct and my husband and I went to the polls this morning at 5:40. Even though the polls weren’t opening until 6:00, there were people in line already and parking was a BIT of a challenge.
When the polls opened at the line went quickly. A voting official said that the computers to validate IDs had some issues at first but that technicians fixed the problem immediately. One of the officials was walking around saying' "Good Morning and welcome to America." That was cool. Folks seemed very excited and willing to wait -- also cool!
We voted and were numbers 249 and 250 to cast our ballots. There were hundreds behind. We were home by 7:00.
From Northern Georgia:
Today is unseasonably warm in Deep Red North Georgia, so I had my convertible top down as I drove the hour of backroads between my home in Big Canoe and the Atlanta suburb of Alpharetta where I work.
Traffic around the three polling stations I passed was heavy enough that I had to slow down and got to see what was going o.
At 6:45am, the first station (Ball Ground, GA) was jammed; the sizeable
parking lot was packed and volunteers had been deployed to redirect peopleto ad-hoc overflow parking. Further down the road, 7:02am, a repeat. A larger parking lot, also overflown.
I got to count stickers on the parked and parking cars; a little
over half McCain-Palin, the rest Obama. In line, waiting voters were
talking and laughing, friendly with each other; I couldn't hear what theywere saying but you could make an educated guess about who was supporting who, and this didn't seem to be producing any friction.
Third stop, 7:18am. Traffic stopped dead as volunteers try to find spots for the fleet of incoming pick-em-up trucks. People standing outside talking loud on their cell phones, plenty of laughter. Lots of exchanges between people who body language says don't know each other, fashion analysis says probably didn't vote the same way. Enthusiasm and energy, but not too many signs of frustration with the process or enmity about differing choices.
A few years ago, a school teacher I know had to abandon her efforts to
organize a local chapter of North Georgia Democrats due to death threats, vandalism and such. There was no sign of that kind of thing here today, which is probably the best news there is. Despite the bare knuckles that flew in this election, it may be that we'll actually come together as a country after all, even up in these hills.
From North Carolina:
I was working at a voting station when this older African-American woman came up to me. She asked for some help. She didn't know the name of the man she wanted to vote for, but she could describe him.
She said he was a "light skinned guy".
"You mean Barack Obama?" I asked.
"Yes! That's him!"