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Election Diary: Win or Lose, a Historic Day for Us All

For the first time, I had to wait in line to vote — and the crowds are out around the country. [Updated 3x]

by
Michele Catalano

Bio

November 4, 2008 - 4:31 am
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It was dark when I woke my daughter.  Do you know how hard it is to wake an 18-year-old the night after a party? Especially when it’s dark out? Then I reminded her why I was waking her. “It’s time to vote.”

Five minutes later we were in the car.

I’ve been voting since 1980. Never, in all my years of voting, have I had to wait on line, not even for a presidential election, possibly because I live in the suburbs, and probably because there are so many polling places within our one town.

But not today. Today we arrived at the polling place at 5:55 and there was a line of about 60 people waiting for the doors to open.  As we waited, more cars pulled up, more people joined the line and by the time the doors opened, the line had started to snake toward the end of the school.

The atmosphere was one of excitement. You could feel an electricity I have never felt on any previous election day, not even in the divisive 2004 race.  People were talking animatedly about who would win and how close it would be.  No one talked about a specific candidate; instead there was a camaraderie present that reminded me of waiting in line for concert tickets.

The man on line in front of us was clearly excited.  “This feels different,” he said. I asked how and he replied “It’s the first time I remember everyone wanting to vote. I don’t know anyone who feels complacent this year and I don’t know anyone who is staying home instead of voting.”

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