Scenes at a neighborhood polling place
By Kimberly Colander
HAMPTON, Va. – Hundreds of voters lined up at A.W.E. Bassette Elementary School here at 8 a.m. to take part in the Presidential Election. Voters faced chilly temperatures and rain as they waited to cast their ballots.
On the grass surrounding the school there were numerous Barack Obama-Joe Biden signs and only one John McCain-Sarah Palin sign. There were also several Glenn Nye and Mark Warner signs in the yard. Both Democrats were respectively running for House of Representatives and U.S. Senate.
Democratic volunteers for the Obama-Biden campaign were present and working. They carried signs along the length of the line and also handed out Democratic Party sample ballots to people waiting in line.
The parking lot at the school was packed. Empty parking spots were scarce. People had to park their cars blocks away and walk to the voting location in the cold and wet weather. Most of the people in the L-shaped line were middle-aged African-Americans.
An “express vote” was offered to the elderly voters so they would not have to stand in line for hours or be exposed to the bad weather. Senior citizens were allowed to pull up to the curb and vote from their own car. Some seniors took advantage of the program, but others wanted to get the entire election experience by standing in line.
The line grew longer by the minute and at some points it was at a standstill. Although the voting process was longer than normal and the rain was consistent, most voters were not in bad spirits. They kept themselves encouraged by telling jokes and reminiscing about segregation and the fight to vote.
The voting took place in the music and physical education room in Bassettte Elementary. People came out of the room with big smiles after they had voted. They had encouraging words for the voters who were still standing out in the rain.
Kevin Douglas, a sophomore Old Dominion University student from Hampton, arrived at Bassette to vote shortly after 8 a.m. This was his first time voting, but he was not worried about making any mistakes during the voting process.
“I’m not worried about the line,” Douglas said, “The vote is more important than the line.”
After voting, Douglas said that he felt like he had played a significant role in history by taking part in this election. He said the only thing left now is to find out which of the presidential nominees win the election.
The writer is a junior at Hampton University Scripps Howard School of Journalism and Communications.