I voted today! (UPDATE)

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I arrived at my polling place about 6:30 this morning, under a gloomy, humid sky, and a pleasant November chill in the air. I was surprised to find only a few parking spaces left. Surprised because in my 17 years of voting at this polling place, there’s never been more than a handful of people in front of me to vote. Today there were 40. At 6:30 in the morning. A lot of them with umbrellas. I was trying to detect who would vote for who, but I gave up and resigned myself to the realization that casting a vote, that greatest of gifts the Founding Fathers left us, is as personal as the brand of toothpaste you use.
They’d moved the polling place to another building in the same complex, behind the old trailer that had been used for years. Pleasant company, a bunch of kids with their moms running around. I went inside at 7:55 AM, took five minutes to find my name and get the paperwork, filled in the ballot, and left by 8:10. Can you guess who I voted for?
Folks, there are going to be long lines all day today. Be patient. This is a great right and privilege we have in this country. Go vote. It is your sacred duty to yourself and to your children’s future.
Update by Robert:
I’d like to piggy-back on George’s post since my experiences this morning were eerily similar to his. I arrived at suburban southwestern Miami Precinct 769 in Portable H just after 630 AM with about 35 to 40 people in front of me. Folks were mostly quiet with general conversation floating around in the misty and pleasantly cool morning air. No loud or boisterous political talk, just a few women wearing McCain/Palin paraphenelia, and a woman clutching her rosary as she waited in line. A reporter from local NPR affilliate WLRN was there as well, apparently because my precinct happens to be split 50/50 between Republicans and Democrats. A battleground precinct in a battleground state: who would have thought I lived in a micro-battleground! Anyway, at around 650 AM, I heard the reporter ask: “Are there any Obama supporters here?”. After a few seconds of total silence, a gentleman about 6-7 people behind me started to blurt out all sorts of stuff about the war and oil going to China, etc. etc., blah blah blah. An angry liberal. WLRN surely got some good sound bytes, but most of the people in line just murmured in a combination of amusement and disgust. The guy later commented that he wanted to move to “a liberal place like Virginia”. I couldn’t help but chuckle.
“So many people voting on pure emotion instead of logic and reason”, I remarked to a middle-aged gentleman right behind me. He agreed.
For me, Election Day is and has always been a sacred day. No early voting, if I can at all help it. Precinct workers are always a little surprised to find me smiling and offering a hearty “Good Morning” at the crack of dawn when I walk into the portable to register. I can’t help it. Election Day is a wonderful day simply because I get to do what so many Americans take for granted: choose our leaders. My parents, grandparents and other relatives lost that ability when Cuba was gripped by dictators in the prime of their lives. Because of my family’s history, I will NEVER EVER take this day for granted, and neither should you.
Finally, I did something that I have never done on Election Day. I drove a few mintues down the road to my church, went inside, sat down in a middle pew for a few minutes, reflected on the important choice which faces us today, and prayed. I didn’t pray for a candidate (although God surely knows who I want to win), but I did pray for America to trust God’s will, as tough as that is sometimes. I also prayed for us to elect those who respect life, and finally for all of us to wake up on Wednesday morning with a commitment to stand together and do our best for this great country of ours, regardless of the outcome.

17 thoughts on “I voted today! (UPDATE)”

  1. Wow, George you are lucky? 40? At mine, there are seemingly thousands…2004 was chaotic, so I early voted on Sunday.
    I also wrote about the two McCain rallies, both at FIU and at UM. The latter was amazing in large part due to Albita bringing down the house, as she sang la chambelona as we waited for Mac to arrive.
    You can read more about it, if you’d like, here.
    Road to Victory
    My greetings to Robert, and Val too!
    Cheers,
    Victoria

  2. For the first time, I choked up when I voted. This is either because I was moved that I had the freedom to do it or because of the thought that I might lose it.
    For the first time in my polling place there were about a hundred extra people in a separate line which took a lot longer. There was a lot of checking going on there. Who are these people? They are new voters I guess.

  3. Oh dear. Even Fox is concentrating on “Florida voting woes”, in that constant unfair meme after 2000.
    Apparently, signature machines have failed in 5 precincts, one in Clearwater. This happens all the time, with any kind of machine, it’s not worthy of being reported, but they have a bug up their bum about us.

  4. I may post this message on more than one posting today, but I get giddy and excited about this day! It’s SUCH a priviledge to have my voice heard. We also have to thank our brave soldiers that risk their lives to continue this process.
    GOD BLESS AMERICA!!

  5. I also voted this morning in Broward County. Very long line. One interesting thing is that very few in the line were members of the much vaunted 18-24 youth vote. I guess the long lines discouraged them. LOL!

  6. Amen Robert! I’m right with you. I woke up this morning and prayed a rosary for our great country to trust in God’s will. It is not always easy but it is God’s plan. Have a great day everyone and remember to VOTE!!!

  7. I too prayed George, like you, not for a specific candidate but for God’s will to be done, and that the best candidate for the next 4 years of America be elected.
    As well, for voters to trust in the outcome.

  8. Precint 770 in Kendall (McCain/Mario Diaz-Balart)In at 10:05 am out by 10:25 am, lots of people voting (about 40), but because you have the paper ballots, the slower ones do not tie up the faster people, like when we had the machines. One person in line ahead of me in each step of the procedure. Where is everyone voting that the lines are so long………? It felt good to vote Mario Diaz-Balart in spite of all the Joe Garcia signs.
    It felt very good to be able to vote as it is not only my right, but my duty. Have been voting since 1970.

  9. I voted, California voter turnout appears to be heavy. There’s a rumor that fights have broken out over Prop. 9. But I think its just that, a rumor. Keep praying folks, it could be a long day.

  10. Yes Ziva,
    I feel that is going to be a very long night (and maybe a very controversial one) as so many people are voting.
    Don’t be surprised if we learn of the outcome sometime early tomorrow as I’m sure that is going to take a long time to tally all the votes.

  11. Ziva, I’m surprised there was no fights over Prop 8. There were some heated arguments over the weekend on the main streets where I live between both proponents.

  12. Voting at Banyan Elementary took 25 minutes at 11 am. What a relief. The mood of the crowd was restrained giddiness.
    Thanks for voting. Good luck today, and I mean it sincerely.

  13. I’m grateful to be an American today and happy that I exercised my right to vote this morning. I’m glad everyone here has shared a similar experience. My precinct was problem free with nice people helping out.
    I just came from church where we prayed the rosary. For what it’s worth, there were many people there are lunch time. May God’s will be done.
    God bless America!!

  14. I can relate to the lady who was holding her rosary while standing in line. She probably wanted to go ahead and vote, and then leave without any arguments or fights breaking out around her.

  15. My $0.05 anecdote: voted early here in TX before heading to so. FL and in both places I noticed a lack of McCain signs and volunteer presence. The GOP office mgr. here told me that Obie pays his hordes and that was part of the reason.
    No matter, I checked out early voting places in Kendall and Gables and thankfully found McC/P supporters braving the heat with signs and flyers. Like the last 2 elections, it’s the turnout, stupid. Voter turnout will decide it if we’re going to overcome all the fraud and the participation of the kool-aid drinkers.
    So take heart, if you’re lining up for any length of time today: it’s you and your family’s future. A pleasant surprise was to see many drive-bys giving us the thumbs up at the McC/Palin signs in a liberal enclave near UM. Take your water bottle, your pastelitos, iPod, colada, radio, or whatever creature comfort you need to endure la cola, but don’t stop. VOTE!

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