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CJ: Election Day reports

Read your Citizen Journalist Reports from Election Day!

The great divide
by Dave Adamek, Schenectady, NY
Growing up in the Northeast and attending school in Boston, it was once hard for me to imagine how President Bush would ever be able to get re-elected. My recent travels and a migration South to Virginia have helped me begin to understand how deep the political divide in this country really is. The prevailing opinion in Boston this past year was that President Bush was destroying all that is good about this country. What a difference 500 miles can make though.

Once outside of the Northeast the same attitude would be met by anger and scorn. Bush is revered in much of the country. In these states, voters anguished over Democrats gaining control and making America look weak. Senator Kerry, once a respected war hero, was dismissed as a liberal from Massachusetts. Is there any worse insult in parts of the country?

To find the reason for this great divide one needs to look no further than voter's priorities. There were many reports about people voting based on moral beliefs and President Bush's campaign was wildly successful in identifying with evangelical Christians. Meanwhile many voters in the Northeast are terrified by a politician that even mentions the word "faith." Witnessing both sides of this debate has been both interesting and upsetting. While I have great respect for both sides of the argument, it is essential that Americans stop going to the voting booth to try and impose their will on other Americans. Do we really want the country to have uniform morals, or would it be better to have vast differences in a country that prides itself on being a melting

Holidays in a different-colored state
by Jose Serrano, Seminole, Fla
During this holiday I find myself traveling from one key election state, Florida, to another Ohio. Yet the lessons learned at home will impact my conversion with those with whom I will spend my Thanksgiving Holiday. The Iraqi situation has lead to tense moments at home more than likely due to a generation gap. I am a product of the Vietnam War during which I served in the military. My view that there is a comparison between both wars, and do not believe that there is justification for this war as I felt about Vietnam. Our economic situation, in my view, is the worst that I have seen. My sons and son in law are the now generation; no military service, strong supporters of war, and die hard Republicans and supporters of President Bush, and fortunately with good jobs. I posed to them the question, "Would you feel the same way if you or one of your sons were sent to Iraq?" I have yet to get a response for that question. My game plan for relatives in Ohio? Keep quiet and enjoy the holidays.

Forgot the first date, remember the first vote
by Geri Weis-Corbley, Manassas, Va.

Ron Wilkins is an articulate man that I helped to register outside the subway station in Alexandria, Virginia. He is a 60-year-old African-American man, retired military, who has never voted. He didn't believe his vote would count or matter, but his 27-year-old son had been bugging him to register. And there I was, insisting he do it now.

On election night, around 9 p.m., I got a call on my cell phone from Ron Wilkins (I followed-up with phone calls to the 100, or so, folks I'd registered and he must have kept my number.) While Bush's tally was growing and the electoral map reddening on the TV screen, Ron told me about his first election.

He arrived at the polls at 5:15 in the morning, and was second in line. He could only describe it as "ecstasy," the feeling he had walking out of the building and seeing the long line of people waiting to vote, winding down the road in the dark. He felt empowered.

"I don't even remember my first date," he said. "But, I'll never forget my first vote."  —Nov. 5, 12:34 p.m. ET

Decision 2004: chicken or steak?
by Gary Rosenthal, Olney, Md
I thought the country was divided on issues such as the war, economy, abortion, and gay rights.  I thought that these issues were so heated and debated that people would be standing in line for hours at the local polling place. 

Though when I arrived at my polling place around 6 p.m., I waited about 20 minutes to vote.  The lines were long but the process worked pretty well.  Then, I finally realized the reason everyone stood in line: a local taco shop was offering free tacos to everyone who stopped by after voting.  The real decision was apparently the choice between chicken or steak tacos.  Now that’s a real polarizing issue.  —Nov. 4, 5:15 p.m. ET

Very, very sad day in U.S., Ohio and the world
by Dr. James Genova, Worthington, Ohio

The mood today throughout much of central Ohio was one of deep sadness, depression, and shock. I am a university professor and today my students were visibly shaken by the results of last night and fear for the future in a way I have never experienced before. Who knows what the fundamentalist regime of Bush will do now that they have no more elections to run and Cheney will not seek the 2008 nomination?  This is a bleak day for the world indeed. —Nov. 3, 4:59 p.m. ET

Young Republicans
by Fatima R. Fugate, Enterprise
My son and my daughter both college students AFA and Note Dame- voted for the first time. They both value human life/dignity and have high moral values. They voted Republican all around in our state of Alabama, which shows that the polls saying Democrats are heavily supported by the youth is wrong and myth. My son and daughter reported that at their campuses there were Kerry supporters, but a bigger number were Bush supporters. I am a happier person now that I know we got a decent president re-elected.  —Nov. 3, 4:45 p.m. ET

Back to Iraq for a relative
by Debra Bird, Spring, Texas
Just hours after Kerry conceded the election, we received word that my son-in-law's brother will be heading back to Iraq after already serving 14 months.  Is this just a coincidence? How many others received their orders on the heals of the election?  Pray for our young people in Iraq and our country. —Nov. 3, 4:39 p.m. ET

Depressed in Temple University
J Taylor, Gaithersburg, Maryland

I haven't been able to read or hear from the media very much about the general mood of our country since the election.  But I thought it was significant to hear how young people view this experience.  My daughter goes to school at Temple University in Philadelphia, PA. and she called me this morning feeling very downhearted about how things turned out.  She relates that hundreds of students were standing outside the student activity center in total silence.  Stunned at what has happened in disbelief that their hopes for renewal in the country had been defeated.   She says it feels like someone died and they were all attending a wake. 
Later on she wrote to say, "...I went to the Kerry website and wrote about how I'm disappointed in him for giving up so easily. Then I started crying, but now that I've turned off the tv I'm looking for anti-bush paraphanalia and seriously thinking about not only attending school but also living overseas for a good portion of my professional life. Instead of saying "Vote or Die" people here are now saying, "Vote and Die". No one knows what to do with themselves. This is a truly sad day." —Nov. 3, 4:10 p.m. ET

The mood from Miller County
by Mona D. Rigdon, Texarkana, AR

In Miller County, Arkansas, passions ran high at the polls yesterday, as well as at the courthouse where votes were tallied and the local Union Hall where Democratic volunteers and supporters gathered to watch the results.

Spirits were high amongst the Democratic poll-watchers and volunteers as exit polls showed Kerry ahead of Bush in many states, and seemed to indicate a good chance of defeating incumbent President George W. Bush.

As results came in, faces became less animated; more concerned, but loyal supporters did not concede the victory, even when it was obvious that the chances were not nearly as good as first thought for a win. With each Democratic win, applause and victory cries rang out in the local Union Hall, and volunteers and supporters were enthusiastic and optimistic right up until the concession speech.

Although many volunteers and supporters seem to be disappointed by the concession prior to all votes being counted, they still support Kerry, and are ready to begin the battle again in four years to bring about the change that so many people are calling for.

Concerns around the area range from loved ones in Iraq, gasoline prices, and our international reputation to loss of overtime pay for financially needy families, privatization and looting of the social security fund, and separation of church and state.

One local church's billboard displayed, "God's man for President", while another email was being passed around stating the ten reasons why you could not vote for Kerry and be a Christian. One local woman stated that it was as if "a vote for Kerry was a vote for Satan", and that she did not agree with the sentiment that Bush was leading as a good Christian should. She stated that instead, he put politicians and large corporations before families and children and citizens.

Miller County gifted President Bush with their majority vote. Miller County calls upon him to show his appreciation of that gift by considering the needs of the people in the county, as opposed to the corporations.  —Nov. 3, 4:42 p.m.

Hard Work
by Robin Gavin, Ithaca, New York

Yes, we voted. And yes, I'm disappointed. However, the point has been made clearly to the present administration that our country is divided strongly on many issues. Bush did not walk away with this election hands down. He has the onus, as our President, to give serious consideration to all Americans' opinions if we are to respect his legacy. It will be "hard work", Mr. President, but worth it for our country. —Nov. 3, 3:01 p.m. ET

Deep depression
by Cindy, Ann Arbor, Michigan

I went to my workout club this morning and the place was alive with scores of outraged, discouraged and deeply dismayed people at the outcome of the election. If you live in a state that went for Kerry you wonder what you could have done to effect the outcome in other states. It has Democrats deeply discouraged at their party's efforts, doubting their competence at being able to elect a candidate and dismay that policies they didn't support will continue for four more years. It made me wonder if any of this negative outrage can be harnessed for the next presidential election. It also makes you wonder if the polling--which showed Kerry ahead in Ohio led the voters to not come out, that their candidate was going to win anyway and with the long lines assuming that this would ensure a Democratic victory. A deep depression has set over the scores of Democratic voters--once again. —Nov. 3, 11:45 a.m. ET

A moral compass
by Donna Boyles, Little Rock, Arkansas

Just look at the map, folks!  That sea of red is speaking volumes!  A 25-year-old said her vote this year was not about politics.  It was a vote for God.  You speak about a divided America, but I think you’re missing the basic division, the belief in the Word of God and this country’s moral compass!  It’s about what is right and what is wrong, not all the media hype journalists love to create.  The core of America voted for the God of Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob. 
That sea of red may be “looking back” as one panelist said late last night, but if we don’t turn the tide and return to our heritage, this country’s downward social degeneration can only escalate.  Lift up your eyes!  God Blessed America last night!  Did you recognize it? —Nov. 3, 11:10 a.m. ET

My polling person was biased
by Margaret Janowski, Wilmington

I voted in DE.  When the lady directed me to the voting booth she pointed with her pen straight down the Democrat Party ticket and said "vote this way."  I complained that she is not allowed to direct or influence voters. —Nov. 3, 3:00 a.m. ET

We can agree to disagree
by Mary Leibly, Medford, Oregon
I raced to get home from work tonight so my kids and I could watch the election unfold together. I am a lifelong Democrat and my fiancee is a staunch Republican. We agree to disagree and promised each other that no matter who wins tonight, we will not gloat! I only wish the rest of our country could figure this out and come together as a nation. I have been given the finger while driving my Kerry stickered minivan, called a lesbian-loving liberal, and one elderly gentelman felt the need to roll down his window and call me everything but a "white woman"! All because I believe in a different political agenda. I hope whoever wins tonight will make an effort at bringing us all together, instead of driving us apart. —Nov. 3, 1:45 a.m. ET

Today was an exciting day
by Pamela Cunningham, Philadelphia, Pennsylvania
Today was an exciting day for the United States.  The results are still coming in and regardless of who wins the presidential election, Americans can be proud of demonstrating their interest and love for our country.  Voting is an experience that we typically take for granted.  And thankfully today's election with its record number of voters at the polls will show the newly- elected president that this country cares about the future and understands the importance of being politically involved. —Nov. 3, 12:30 a.m. ET

Which way will Ohio swing?
I waited two hours to vote in my precinct just outside Cincinnati Ohio. I have never seen the polls so crowded. This is a great thing. It will be interesting to see if all that polling before the election was accurate at all. —Nov. 2, 10:43 p.m. ET

Battleground votes are key
by Jeanna Thomas, Dublin, Ohio
Maybe living in a battleground state and having the candidates campaign in our area once every ten minutes for weeks on end has stroked the egos of Ohioans to the point that we feel that our vote is actually worth something, and that's gotten us excited.  They say this election will likely be the most important in our lifetimes, so maybe that's got something to do with it.  Maybe it had something to do with the relief and near-elation we all have experienced knowing that we won't have to hear "...and I approved this message" for another four years, but the attitude of the voters at my precinct this morning was so refreshing, and I know this sounds cliched, but it made me proud to be an American. —Nov. 2, 10:27 p.m. ET

Election process is history in the making
by Regina Avalos, Phoenix, Ariz.
Today has been history in the making. Record numbers have come out to vote because they want a change. A change that is direly needed for this country.  So many of the young in the country, many of them voting for the very first time, have taken the power given to them by the constitution and used it to vote. They voted for Kerry or for Bush.  It doesn't matter who they voted for, as long as the voice's were heard. It is good to see those out there voting. The power of the vote is the most important power we may have as Americans. —Nov. 2, 9:56 p.m. ET

Columbus, Ohio was in the "swing" of things today as an unprecedented turnout caused long waits and not enough voting booths to go around.  Tommy Phillips, 22 of Columbus stated, "The lines are frustrating but I am pleased with the turnout because these people wouldn't be waiting in line for so long unless they were as angry as I was and want a change."  Voters were waiting for 2-4 hours in some locations but were determined to cast their vote.  Young voters were a huge trend in many polling locations in Columbus, home of the largest college in the United States, Ohio State University.  Students were seen studying in line as well has hoping their professors would understand why they weren't in class.  Will this trend be a determining factor in sweeping Ohio? Added Phillips, "The poll worker that assisted me told me she had been helping out on Election Day since 1988, and she's never seen anything like this.  Everyone looked overwhelmed, but I must say that it's an exciting time to be in Ohio." —Nov. 2, 9:39 p.m. ET

I am one of those "safety-soccer moms" whose only thought is the fact that I want my children to be able to grow-up in a world that is safe and secure and I believe President Bush is the man that can make that happen.  We need to let him finish what he has started in this war against terror, our economy, healthcare, etc. don't mean a thing if some terrorist detonates a nuclear weapon in our country.  Remember the first few days after 9/11 - nothing else mattered.  Everything else became insignificant.  First and foremost is our safety, the rest will fall into place given time.  President Bush has done alot more than his predecessor.  —Nov. 2, 7:09 p.m. ET

Can You Win The Battle and Lose The War?

You can if you spend all your time and money trying to seek out a Presidential victory and still don't control Congress. Neither Bush nor Kerry will have a mandate to lead, so Congressional support will likely be the key to whether or not the next President achieves anything or just sits in his office for at least two years doing very little. Since the Democrats made little effort to spend money in states where Kerry was a sure loser, but tight Senate races were up for grabs, they may have decided to try and win the battle at the eventual cost of the war. Taxes, Social Security reform and the funding of efforts to fight terror world-wide are all issues upon which Congressional support are vital. No matter who sits in the Oval Office, it appears the GOP will continue to set the course for America.  —Nov. 2, 6:57 p.m. ET

My voting experience was frustrating at best. I didn't get to see my Independent candidates debate with their fellow Democrat and Republican opponents which they should in the future. Something That both Nader and many Independent candidates and voters have been discussing. So I got tired of voting for one of the lesser evils and I went straight down the middle to the the Libertarian vote, which is neither, and bills themselves as the largest third party in the nation. Libertarians recognize 'beuracacy in both government and corporate environment which is cumbersome', are big on individual rights (like privacy) and small business. and last but not least Corporate Competition in a free and open market. Maybe you should do a major story on Independent Parties like Libertarian and Green and possibly let them debate on a major network with their follow counterparts. —Nov. 2, 6:33 p.m. ET

Just before 10 AM this morning I had the privilege of picking up two elderly Veterans from their group home to take them to their polling place in Chillicothe, Ohio. On the trip they chatted seriously about war, with the Vets' shared opinion that war should be avoided whenever possible. After we arrived at the local Goodwill Industries, their polling place, I helped the gentlemen out of my car and showed them the entrance, telling them I would be in the parking lot awaiting their return.  Ten minutes later they emerged from the building and then walked down the steps.  I noticed a change in the men. They were both smiling broadly. I remarked about the colorful "I Voted Today" stickers they both sported on their jackets. Then the younger of the two men stated, "This is the first time I ever voted." The older man looked at me and stated with a grin, "This is my second time."  These Veterans made my day! —Nov. 2, 6:11 p.m. ET

Today is the day the "undecided" become the decided. The votes will be cast and counted and we will have a decision for 2004. Whether we know the results today or next week is a toss up! I hope for our nation's sake that we have a clear winner. I hope more that we have a gracious and humble winner and that we can start on the road to healing. It would be my fondest wish to see the compromise come back to Congress. There are things that can be worked out if we can all give a little here and there. —Nov. 2, 6:03 p.m. ET

I was working in the middle east during the events of 9/11. My wife and I now live & work in Shanghai, China.  My colleagues from China, New Zealand, Australia, India, and all over Europe, are all feeling powerless & frustrated at their inability to affect change in the U.S. leadership. My American colleagues and I were proud to send in our absentee ballots, it gives us hope. Through the American Consulate here in Shanghai, FedEX shipped our ballots for free.  Having lived abroad, learned the customs and languages of my host countries, I find it impossible to see the world in a black & white manner. My hope is that the majority of Americans today will see beyond their borders, consider our place in the world community, and support Kerry. —Nov. 2, 5:53 p.m. ET

I witnessed several college students in line at their assigned polling/voting place and was informed that, so far today, there has been a large number of students, who are new voters, participating in today's election. It struck me that with the students' polling/voting place being in the same building as our polling/voting place, which is a few miles away from the college (a little too far to walk), could possibly be a discouragement to students to exercise their right to vote, due to the fact that not many students have their own vehicles. It would make more sense if the students had their own polling/voting station on campus. Of course we don't know if the Student Association has set up transportation for students of voting age. It would be smart for them to do so if the polling place remains outside of campus. It was delightful for me to see these students exercising their right to vote. —Nov. 2, 5:37 p.m. ET

Why have we only heard about 2 candidates? No matter how much the Republicans and Democrats would like to be the only horses in the race, there are more. The American public has not been educated about the other parties and candidates- I think that's shameful. The press has the responsibility and obligation to report on all the choices and all the issues and to provide this information without bias or favor. It's shocking to me how many people truly think there are only two political parties in the U.S. Why weren't other parties invited to participate in the political debates? Too many people said they were voting for the "lesser of two evils". The lesser of two evils is still just evil. An overhaul of the media and campaign systems needs to be undertaken immediately. —Nov. 2, 5:29 p.m. ET

Today I generally felt a sense of pride and true belonging to this great country of ours. I am 37 years old and must say that only  other time in my life that I have voted was just after I turned 18 and I did it so I could just say "Hey, I voted; I did the adult thing!"  When this year's campaign came along and all the things that have been happening in our country and around the world, I thought "Hey I do need to vote my vote does count and my voice needs to be heard" and so I got up early went to the polling place and only had about a 4 minute wait in my line.  As I stood in line I looked around to see who was up already and out making there voices heard as I was and to my amazement there was a wonderful show of young people out voting!! I'd just like to pass on to them a reminder to vote always don't do as I did make your voices heard for your votes today will help shape the country you live in as you grow older..ROCK THE VOTE young people!! —Nov. 2, 5:17 p.m. ET

I served this nation for 4 years in the U.S. Navy. It was an honor, privilege and responsibility to cast my vote this morning. Usually its a 10 minute time frame to check in and cast my vote, this morning, it was an hour. I heard one elderly lady (70 +), state with glee to another, "isn't it wonderful to see this great turnout?" This country is very blessed to even have this opportunity to affect our future, and my view is that it should be viewed as a responsibility, not just a right, since many brave and patriotic souls have been given that we may have this opportunity. —Nov. 2, 5:10 p.m. ET

This morning I was able to cast my vote in less than five minutes. I'm very proud of the fact that as a college student, the majority of my friends have been able to send out their absentee ballots or visit a voting booth today. This election is a very crucial for the fate of our nation and nothing pleases me more than seeing my generation mobilized and inspired to make a change. —Nov. 2, 5:07 p.m. ET

Driving my 6-year-old daughter to school this beautiful suburban DC area Election Day morning, a woman in a Bush/Cheney '04 bumper-stickered sedan cut me off while wildly giving me the finger. She apparently didn't care for my "Show Bush the Door in 2004" and "John Kerry: Bringing Full Sentences Back to the White House" bumper stickers.

Even after I got out from behind her, Bush/Cheney lady returned to cut me off — again, twice!  She must have thought that her thoughtful, persuasive demeanor, complemented by a slow-moving ride behind her Bush-promoting bumper, would persuade me to vote Republican. Either that or, running me off the road equals one less Democratic voter?

Along the way, someone had scrawled a hand-written poster tacked on a tree denigrating Kerry's Vietnam record. Bush/Cheney lady started gesturing to it wildly and giving me the finger again.

At the next traffic light, I put my hands together as if in prayer, then pointed at her, as if to say "I'm praying for you, lady." After that, I finally managed to put a few cars between Bush/Cheney lady and me, and got my child safely to school.

I didn't realize that Republican family values included giving people the finger, and trying to run people off the road. Certainly made it clear that my choice at the polls was the right one, whatever the outcome today.  —Nov. 2, 5:03 p.m. ET

Santa Clara County, California, better known as Silicon Valley, has fully implemented touch screen voting in all of its precincts. This morning after entering all of my votes, the machine stalled and would not allow me to cast my ballot. I wanted to scream. I called over a poll worker who repeatedly pressed a button on the back of the machine until finally the screen blacked out temporarily and then the message "Voter fled?" popped up on the screen with two touch screen options underneath it. One said, "continue voting" the other said "cast ballot". We pressed cast ballot and received a message saying my vote was recorded, but who knows? I've since found out that if something like this happens, you do have the option of casting a paper ballot at the poll rather than the computerized ballot, but no one informed me of this. 
—Nov. 2, 5:00 p.m. ET

Swapping stories while waiting in line
by Dennis Morris
I arrived at my polling station at 6:15 a.m. thinking there would be no line. Boy was I wrong: the line stretched for a block-and-a-half. I contemplated leaving and just forgetting about it then I remembered just how important all this is for future generations. I finally found a parking spot and took my place in line in a steady rain. The young woman in front of me asked me if she needed any identification to vote. She then told me she was a newly naturalized citizen and this was her first election. I congratulated her and we talked all the way to the booths as she let me share her umbrella. The funny thing is, politics never came up in our conversation. I don’t think I will ever take this privilege for granted again.
—Nov. 2, 4:59 p.m. ET

From one battleground to another, all goes well in Ohio
by Alicia Bailey Brown, Cleveland,
The first time I ever voted in was in Arkansas in 1984.  After standing in line three hours with severely aching feet just to cast my ballot, most of my candidates lost.  That experience did not exactly make me want to rush back to the polls for the next several elections, so my voter registration lapsed and stayed that way for a long time.  When the 2000 election became so heated and controversial, I started wondering if my vote could really make a difference after all.

After moving to Ohio last year, I started thinking I should register to vote here.  The only problem was I didn't know how to do it, until one day I went into my local library and saw that I could register there. I turned in the paperwork in July and got my registration card in October, so by Election Day I knew I was good-to-go. 

The polls opened at 6:30 this morning.  The media has really been playing up Ohio as a swing state, and this fact has not been lost on the thousands of Ohioans turning out in the rain to cast their ballots.  Some of my co-workers had voted before coming to work, some left later in the morning to vote, and the rest of us took our chances by waiting until the afternoon.  Those who had already voted reported a wide variety of experiences with waiting anywhere from fifteen minutes to two hours, depending on where and when they voted.

I planned on voting after work, hoping to get off early and not have to stand in line quite so long.  After researching the local races and issues online, I felt fairly comfortable with those.  By mid-morning, I was actually chomping at the bit to get out there and cast my vote.  I left work at 2:00 p.m., carrying my two little hand-held electronic games to pass any time that I would have to spend waiting in line.  Arriving at the polling place at 2:17, I checked in, went right into a booth and voted.  As I was walking out the door, I looked at my watch.  It was 2:25.  I left the polling place with a good feeling.  Even if all my candidates lose, I have the satisfaction of knowing that my vote counted and my voice was heard. —Nov. 2, 4:49p.m. ET 

It's definitely time to take a hard look at the electoral college system and make some revisions. I am a Republican who resides in the rather heavily Democratic state of Maryland. Because Maryland is not a "swing" state, my vote for President Bush is absolutely, positively worthless. I am a strong believer in voting, and will always exercise that right. But the fact of the matter is, with our all-or-none electoral system, a vote by a Republican in Maryland for the presidency is virtually a waste of time. It's also unfortunate and irritating that, for the past six weeks or so, the two major candidates have spent 95% of their time in about five states -- the swing states. What about the rest of us who would also like to attend a rally once in awhile? Reverting to a pure popular vote and doing away with the electoral college completely is not the answer, but perhaps electoral votes could be awarded by congressional districts, and not entire states, all or none. There has to be a better, fairer way. —Nov. 2, 4:09p.m. ET

Negative campaign ads deter voter
How can a person decide who to vote for if all we've heard are negative ad's throughout this campaigning days. I never heard any positive well doings from any of our candidates.  All this negativity didn't make sense.  I still haven't heard a positive on what John Kerry has done, and who is he?  I know more about what President Bush has done for our Country and only because he has been in the spotlight for a number of years.   How terrible that candidates have to resort to chopping each other down as far and as fast as they can. I am very turned off by all these this election year. —Nov. 2, 4:05p.m. ET

My sister called from Kuwait today having just arrived there from Fort Bragg NC. She told me to make sure my mom went to vote. She said tell mom not to vote for the man that will bring me and my fellow soldiers home the fastest, but vote for the man that will see this course through. I was moved by what she told me. Our young men and women will waiver at no cost and for no one, to leave Iraq is to say all the lives that have been lost all the pain the soldiers families have been was futile, one grand mistake. We must stay the course and see things through. So I voted today and hope America will do the same for the best man. —Nov. 2, 4:00p.m. ET

Motherly advice
by Robin Gavin,
Ithaca, N.Y.
My husband and I went early to vote and all went smoothly.  I have encouraged my three children to vote and they have assured me they will.  I told them not to be discouraged by long lines, should there be such in the areas they reside.  (NY, Boston, Denver.)  I told them we wait in line for sporting events, movies, restaurants, so hang in there.  I also told them this may be the most important election of their lifetime. —Nov. 2, 3:56 p.m. ET

Slowy, but surely
by LeeAnna Warren,
I wanted to vote before work this morning and I rose early just for the occasion.  I arrived at the polling station to find only eight people before me, with five booths open.  I thought this will be quick.  If took 20 minutes for the first person in line to receive their ballot, then it took the next person 15 minutes.  There where three people making sure each person was registered to vote at this polling station. 

I am glad they want to make sure each person is at the correct polling station but we live in a small town with only 1 polling station.  How hard is it to find each name on the list and mark it off.  After standing in line for 45 minutes, so I just left or else I would be late for work.   

We need a more efficent system for indicating who is to vote at each polling station.  Or the polling station employees need to be better trained.  In this day and age with our technology there has to be a better way.

I am stopping after work to stand in line — again.  Hopefully, things will be moving quicker.
—Nov. 2, 3:54 p.m. ET

The next thrill ride: voting
by Nalene,
Columbus, Ohio
I'm a 24-year-old single mother living in Columbus, Ohio.  This is my first year voting, and I felt such pride walking up to the voting booth.  It was like waiting in line to ride a roller coaster at an amusement park (the line took just about as long).  What an exciting day, and I'm so thrilled to be a part of it. —Nov. 2, 3:22 p.m. ET

SHHH! I'm trying to vote here
by Ilene Karp,
Farmingdale, NY
When I went to my polling place, I was shocked to hear the workers shouting out people's party affiliation: Democrat, Republican, Independent.  When I objected and told them I felt that was confidential information, they agreeded to speak softer and use just "R" or "D"! I questioned that as well. But they told me they are paid by the two major parties to track the number of people voting. —Nov. 2, 3:19 p.m. ET

Diverse turn-out
by Marie Valera, Jackson Heights, NY
I am 60-years-old and have been voting in NYC all my life.  Today was more remarkable than usual.  I walked toward my polling place alongside a Muslim gentleman.  As we entered the building, two women dressed in saris exited.  As I waited on line, a Hispanic woman left the voting both cheering and clapping at what she had just accomplished.  What an amazing city I live in!  —Nov. 2, 3:18 p.m. ET

Election night lock-in
by Lorrie,
Ann Arbor, MI
As I walked up to the progressive elementary/middle school my children attend, I felt proud to be apart of a great community of strong and vocal citizens.  I also felt grateful that my kids go to a school where they have a teacher who is hosting an election night lock-in where all the students and any interested parents in this 5th/6th grade class can stay as a group and watch the election results as it unfolds through the evening and join together in political discussions, sleeping over night in the class room and waking up for school together the next day.  What a great way to get kids actively involved in the election and interested in politics! These memories will stay with them forever!  —Nov. 2, 3:15 p.m. ET

A workplace dividedIn the 2000 election I waited in line to cast my vote for about 5 minutes.  Today, I waited in line over an hour.  It brings home the importance of this election to everyone.  We are a country that is divided by the direction we want to go in.  I voted for Sen. Kerry because I think we need a change for the better and Bush did not prove to me that his course of action and the course he has taken the past 4 years has been the right one.  Regardless of who wins this election, I hope we can all come together like on those post 9-11 days and feel unified.  I know that if Pres. Bush is re-elected I will support him even if he wasn't my choice. —Nov. 2, 2:55 p.m. ET

Advanced voting lessens Election Day worries

Here in Georgia I participated in the advance voting last Tuesday, exactly one week prior to election day 2004.  This allowed me to relax and ignore the last minute back biting commercials and other last minute tactics employed by various candidates.  I am very glad I voted in the advance time frame.  I suspect that there will be a very large number of people voting.  I appreciate that in as much as I spent 21 years of my life defending our great United States of America.   —Nov. 2, 2:49 p.m. ET

t only took me fifty years and a terrorist attack on American soil for me to realize just how important it is to exercise my right to vote in this great country.  So this morning at 6:30 a.m., I drove to my polling place and joined the other 100+ people already in line.  I waited an hour and a half before I was able to walk up to the polling machine and make my choice on the touch screen.  Tears of pride literally welled in my eyes as I touched the box beside the names of George Bush and Dick Cheney.  What an honor and a privilege to vote for the men I believe have the proven track record to continue to lead our country.—Nov. 2, 2:39 p.m. ET

A lot of people are sceptical about the democratic process this year.  They think the country is too divided, this election to stressful.  The best thing about this election is the involvementof our youth and minorities.  People who always felt they had a right to complain but would never vote.  They can own a piece of the responsibility now.  No matter who wins or loses, and I'm a independent Bush supporter, our country will have benefited from the stimulation this election has created. Could we possibly top 80%? The world will have to reconcile itself to America, not the other way around.  Think about that while you stand in line.—Nov. 2, 2:37 p.m. ET

Lack of voter apathy among college students
If anyone says there's voter apathy among young voters, they haven't seen the lines at the polling place at Binghamton University. I'm lucky I went to vote early, for I went down there at lunchtime and there were students everywhere, and all were excited about voting in this election. It's so amazing to think if this low young voter turnout gets reversed, that maybe the canidates will focus on the issues we care about too.  Enough is already riding on this election for us young voters.—Nov. 2, 2:19 p.m. ET

I plan to go vote tonight after I get off work and when I do so I will be thinking of my father who passed away in October of 2002. My father was born in Mexico and came to this country when he was only 8 years old. It wasn't until he was 88 years old that he finally became a citizen of the United States and in 2000 he cast his first vote in a Presidential election. It was probably one of the proudest moments for him and our family.At that monment it proved to me that our right to vote should not be taken for granted but should be taken seriously and should be treated as an honor to be able to let our voice be heard.—Nov. 2, 2:11 p.m. ET

Casting a vote involves a decision that should be made with regard to the candidate that best reflects your moral compass.  As a parent guides a child in doing right and wrong with  non-wavering of discipline, love and support, so should the most powerful person in government.  To vote for a president who lacks such moral compass when leading the entire nation, is a vote for disaster.  I didn't vote for Kerry/Edwards because as they have proven, if you wish to appease everyone, nothing will get done. —Nov. 2, 1:59 p.m. ET

Im a Bush Supporter living in a very liberal Vermont, and I felt this proud smile come across my face when I slid my ballot into the machine.  I would be so sad and dissapointed to see a Kerry victory.  I think President Bush has done a wonderful job and he stands by his choices, which I respect.  My family as well as my husbands family are all Bush supporters and I was proud and honored to vote today.  Noone wants to be at war, but this is a war that I believe we need to fight, and we need a commander in chief that knows where he stands. —Nov. 2, 1:32 p.m. ET

Mothers, Daughters and Votingby Nanette Stillwell, Grifton, N.C.I was among the first group of 18 year olds granted the priviledge to vote in a Presidential election in 1972.  Our generation was very anti the Vietnam War, but very pro the democratic process.  I challenged my 23 year old and 19 year old daughters to make me proud by voting - one by absentee ballot, the other in her college town, and they did!  I have no idea whom they chose to vote for - but they have made me proud by realizing what an incredible country we live in to  have a voice in changing leaders and doing it all without bloodshed!  America - UNITED WE STAND! regardless of the outcome of the election! —Nov. 2, 1:31 p.m. ET

A soldier's storyby Reva Hodges, Ashland City, Tenn.A few weeks ago, we welcomed a Veteran home from Iraq. He is a young Marine in his 20s and was stationed in Fallujah for seven months. This was an area of much fighting & bombing.His team leader was killed while over there. While I was talking to him I asked,if he would consider going back to Iraq. He said,"When we were first told we we're going I was not happy & thought we shouldn't be there,but since being there for seven months & seeing first hand how bad the lives of the Iraqi people have been under Saddam & how happy they are that we were there to HELP them, Then, I realized there was no way we shouldn't be there. I WOULD GO BACK IN A MINUTE,whether I WAS ORDERED to OR NOT" I then asked if he planned on voting in this Election.(he did not know my choice in the election)  He said "I'll be one of the first ones at the polls. & I'll definately be voting for President Bush. He is doing the right things for our country." —Nov. 2, 1:23 p.m. ET

MOVEON.ORG creates problems at the pollsby B Patton, Milford, Mich.
MILFORD MICH. I showed up to vote at 7:30 a.m. ET, MOVEON.ORG (two people) were inside the polling center with a large sign and hats. The female MOVEON.ORG worker had literature next to her seat. The line to the polls were directly in front of her inside. I asked why she was there and she said to inform people. I told her that the law states political groups had to be 100 feet from the door. The male MOVEON.ORG worker called me an imbecile. I voted and walked next door and reported MOVEON.ORG to the Milford Police. The MOVEON.ORG people were removed without incident. —Nov. 2, 1:04  p.m. ET

Winner deserves respect
by Ken Klarfeld, Eugene, Ore.
Last night the phone rang no fewer than 10 times with calls from the GOP and the Democrats. At 10 p.m. we shut off the ringer. My 21-year-old son voted for President Bush while his 24 year old sister voted for Sen. Kerry. Here in Oregon we vote by mail. There is no drama of going to the polls. Although this is easy I can't help but feel it takes away from the overall experience. I'm glad the campaign ends today. The country needs to come together. I'm a Bush man but if Kerry wins he will have my support and the respect the office of President deserves.  —Nov. 2, 12:58 p.m. ET

9/11 fresh in voters' minds
by Adam Zynda, Weston, Wis.
I voted in the previous 2 elections,  but never felt as passionate as I did today.  With a 5 year old son, and a 18 month old daughter, not do I vote for my self, more importantly, I vote for them.  Their lives are not pending on today's election, they will have the chance to vote and voice their opinions later.  I do vote for them in mind, I vote for a country under attack on 9/11, I vote for a leader who will represent our country and keep the tradition of America and all it stands for.

As I entered the polls today, I saw many parents, as my self, holding children's hands, pushing strollers, or holding a child close to them in the cold Wisconsin air.  I see theese people as the TRUE people who care.  Taxes will be there, budgets are cut and expanded.  That doesn't matter to a small child, but that child matters to me.  I was proud to vote today, I was happy to see my neighbors there, with our friendly good mornings and hellos, we entered the polls and were finished in minutes.  It was quiet with no distractions.  We then started our daily lives again, feeling we did the best thing we can to help our country, our community, our children, by voting. —Nov. 2, 12:51 p.m. ET

United we Stand
by Mr. and Mrs. Ruben Gomez, Phoenix, Ariz.
My husband and I both sent in early ballots.  We are very excited over this election and are hopeful that John Kerry will win.  We do live in one America and regardless of who wins we will face tomorrow as one America "United we stand." —Nov. 2, 12:38 p.m. ET

No need to change wartime president
by Ronald K. Lane, Hampton, Ga.
I voted early here in Georgia, and waited four hours and fifty minutes to do it.  All week the lines had been long, but it was worth the wit to cast my ballot.  It was easy with the touch screen ballots, and the instructions were clear and concise. 

Our whole family went with the President, as our son is leaving for Iraq very soon, and we want to make sure he is well cared for while he's there.  We just don't trust Senator Kerry with our son's life at stake.  I've been in war, and I remember the sacrifices made by those who gave their lives to preserve freedom on foreign soil.  I also remember all the disturbance the senator made in the 70's about how wrong it was and how bad we soldiers were for doing our job.  I don't know of anyone who needlessly burned villages or killed babies, but he caused the people here at home to revile and spit on us as we came home for the things we did not do.  I didn't like it then and I haven't changed my mind yet. —Nov. 2, 12:22 p.m. ET

College kids flock to the polls in Pittsburgh
by Richard Lynn, Pittsburgh, Pa.
On a local level here in Pittsburgh, student turnout has appeared to be amazing this morning.I have lived here now for 12 years. I have voted in every election. Usually, there was only me and about 3 other people at my polling place at Schenley Golf Course, and this has been true in every election for my 12 years in Pittsburgh.Today, there has been a phenomenal turnout of college students from our precinct, which encompasses Carnegie Mellon University. After I voted, I stayed with my 7 year old daughter (who pulled the lever for me) so that we could watch the turnout. The line of CMU students for their precinct never went below 30 people. There was a CMU shuttlebus called "Voter Shuttle" that was pulling up every 5 minutes with a new group of student voters. It looked like a celebration. Whatever the outcome, it was great to see young people excited to vote. —Nov. 2, 12:11 p.m. ET

Remembering women's suffrage
by Becky Mayes, Waukesha, Wisc.
I got in to line to vote at 6:30 am, with the polls opening at 7:00. I was the 157th person in line - what a beautiful sight! As the line grew, a group of high school girls joined the line. They were talking about the usual teen age stuff, but one girl was scanning up and down the line. When one of her friends asked her what she was looking at, she said "100 years ago, we wouldn't have been allowed in this line. This is pretty cool!" It was so nice to hear the appreciation from a young woman, remembering what others before her had gone through in order for her to be standing in line on a cold Wisconsin morning, waiting to cast her vote.—Nov. 2, 11:56 a.m. ET

From the swing state of Pennsylvania: I arrived at poll at 7:05AM to find 22 people ahead of me with 10 right behind me. Then a Poll volunteer asked the crowd if there were any first time voters who needed instructions on the use of the Voting Booth. To my surprise, 5 people came forward, ranging by my estimation in ages from 25 - 45. Obviously not their first opportunity to vote but certainly the first time they chose to. This seemed a good sign for this Republican for Kerry.—Nov. 2, 11:37 a.m. ET

I just got back from voting in Brooklyn and I was sent to the wrong district table because the volunteer did not read the address listing incorrectly. When i addressed this with the inspector, I was told to take off my (Kerry) button. He then proceeded to tell me that the only ones interferring with the Election were the Democrats because someone voted twice that morning in error. I then reported this to the Democratic Committee member who was at the Polls who told me that my vote didn’t matter in this election. I reminded him that every vote mattered and that in Ohio or Florida or PA, the actions of the Inspectors would prompt a lawsuit. I filed the information with the NYPIRG poll monitor and complained about the ill informed, ill trained and incompetent and possible Illegal manner in which voting was being handled in my district.—Nov. 2, 11:15 a.m. ET

Standing outside our polling site were 2 people...they were very rude and almost blocked the door. They were screeching about the wonders of Kerry and the horrors of Bush. A police officer stood near by, probably to make sure they didn't block the entrance to the school. Our precint has usually leaned to the republican/conservative side. I guess that's why they were there, to try and sway voters...but they made me more resolved to vote against their views because they were so horrid.—Nov. 2, 10:46 a.m. ET

After I had voted, I was driving home and I passed an elderly man who was walking on the side of the road.  He stumbled and fell and I pulled over to help him.  In his determination to vote, he was walking over 1 mile, on a busy road that had no sidewalk, to his poll.  After we bandaged his cut hand, he recieved a ride from another stranger on her way to the same poll.  None of the three of us spoke of who we were voting for - these will be memorable images in my mind, excercising our freedom, thankful for the opportunities in this country that we abundantly have.—Nov. 2, 9:43 a.m. ET

It's a gloomy Tuesday morning here in Bridgeton, Missouri - a town in St. Louis County - just outside of St. Louis City, Missouri... but the rain has not seemed to keep voters away as I passed 3-4 polling places this morning taking my daughter to school. Cars were lined up on the streets to pull in and pull out of polling locations. The passions are running very high around here - not just in the presidential race, but also in local issues and campaigns. It made me swell with pride and emotion to see so many people not taking there right to vote for granted as I had for so many years - you see, I am 35 years old and this will be my first Presidential Election to vote in. I had never even registered before...but after 9/11/01 I made a decision not to take any of our great American freedoms for granted again. God bless our nation and the hearts and minds of the voters today. I will report back again after I go vote this afternoon.—Nov. 2, 9:37 a.m. ET

Confusing ballots
by Kathleen Cook, Glendale, Ariz.
Looks like Arizona, previously an unheard voice in the cacophony of butterfly ballots and confusion, may be added to the list of states with troublesome and ill-conceived ballots.

Thousands of voters received early ballots in the mail, each one coupled with an extra instruction sheet in the envelope. The ballot itself had clear instructions, "Use black ink only". However, the printed instruction sheet that came with the ballot advised, "Use number 2 pencil only." So, which is it? And which votes are going to be counted? And by whom? Will the largely Republican-controlled election officials take a piecemeal approach to voiding ballots? Or will all ballots be counted, as they should be.

No voter should be penalized for Arizona's election ballot instructions error. However, history has shown us that officials are often more reasonable when those that require the reasoning are on their side. Is it possible that the votes will all be counted, until they discover whose candidate has won the "pencil" ballots as opposed to the "pen" ballots? It is only THEN that they will decide if the pencil or pen ballots are ineligible? This is just another mess waiting to happen. —Nov. 2, 12:17 a.m. ET

Through a new voter's eyes
by Prof. Horacio R. Fonseca Los Angeles, Calif.
I am a Los Angeles community college instructor and teach US history. For the past several months we’ve been discussing many aspects of the election, especially since at least 85% of my students are recent immigrants from such countries as the Ukraine, Korea, Thailand, Mexico, El Salvador, even Uzbekistan. Many of these students will be voting for the very first time as US naturalized citizens, while those who are waiting and wading — through the naturalization process can’t wait to cast their vote after acquiring US citizenship.

Many of my students are simply amazed, are hungry to learn about the electoral process and the role the electoral college plays in presidential elections.  On the other hand I’ve some students who are U.S. born who won’t even bother to go to the polls because they feel their “vote will not count” or couldn’t care.  When this is broached, the new citizens are astounded at the US-born citizens and their “couldn’t care less attitude!”  Fortunately though, I’ve been able to elicit good-healthy discussions, pitting “Bushies” vs “Kerries”; and then we have undecideds, who as of this morning told me they’ll be voting for Kerry.  In sum, this general election has created a lot of interest in the electoral process.  In fact, one of my students, now a naturalized citizen from Russia told me that she can’t wait to cast her vote - mind you I didn’t ask nor did she tell me which way she’d vote, only that she felt very honored and proud to participate. Her final comment was the traditional “Only in the America—U.S. style!”—Nov. 2, 11:55 p.m. ET

Welcome Home rally for President Bush
Cara Lyons Lege', Frisco, Texas
Wow! I just left the SMU campus! It was great to see the crowds lined up at Moody Hall for blocks waiting for the "Welcome Home" rally for President Bush to begin. I was there for another event, and got caught up in the wonder of it all.

Also, just around the corner from Moody were the Kerry supporters.There were just under 100 of them, I would estimate. In response to the chants of "Four More Years", were the young students yelling "One More Day." Lucky me to be so close to where my president was going to be. And to see a real piece of an American election. —Nov. 1, 11:52 p.m. ET

Home from Iraq, and getting out the Bush vote
SFC Martin J Novia,  N. Conway, N.H.
I have been working for the last few weeks as a volunteer for the local (Conway,NH) re-elect George Bush effort. I have been going door to door as a veteran soliciting votes for President Bush. I keep hearing, especially from women 30-70, that they are thinking of voting for Kerry "so the boys can come home". When I tell them that I just returned from Afghanistan after 15 months and that I just buried a buddy who was killed in Baghdad two weeks ago AND I support the President along with my Army buddies... they are relieved! They're relieved that they can now vote for President Bush with a clear conscience. I explain that "yes, the troops want to come home, but only after the job is finished." Shame on Kerry for proffering to the masses that we can somehow secure America "at no cost." On the contrary! The troops support President Bush and we will secure America "at all cost" —Nov. 1, 10:37 p.m. ET

Quick and easy voting in Melbourne
by Fred Kirschstein, Melbourne, Fla.

Voting here in Brevard County, Florida was quick and easy because of the early voting option which allowed you to juggle your busy schedule and still vote.  You would think the vote would be close here to count signs but when you stand waving a Bush/Cheney sign at the intersections it is evident from the honking and waving that Bush will carry Brevard by a wide margin.  Having arrived here three months ago, I've been searching for a good church.  Over the last three weeks all have addressed the election, the Episcopal Church which just lost 300 of their 500 members because of their pastor's support for gays in the church heirarchy preached tolerance and love. The Presbyterians told their folk to hold on to their faith even in a bad outcome; and, the Baptists just had a good ole fashioned "vote for Bush" rally.  The Republican party here has many black volunteers and the enthusiastic Cubans wave and honk their horns from cars which proudly carry the American flag.  All in all, just good hard working people who will give Bush enough support to overcome Palm Beach. —Nov. 1, 9:40 p.m. ET

Tense in California too
by Steve Ochs, Simi Valley, Calif.

Because California is so strongly in favor of Kerry/Edwards, we really aren't experiencing the sense of urgency felt by voters in tightly contested states.  But that doesn't mean that we aren't tense!  Everyone I know is watching the news closely and chewing up their nails with anxiety over tomorrow's election. That said, based on what I have read about the early exit poles, I am confident that we will be celebrating a definative Kerry win by midnight Tuesday.  But, there are also smaller races to worry about (if one is determined to worry).  I will be driving voters to the polls for Democratic Congressional candidate Brett Wagner (Ventura County).  Against all odds he is locked in a very close race with a long-serving Republican, Elton Gallegly.  The operation on the ground for this candidate has been pretty incredible.  It seems pretty evident, based on this congressional race as well as the people I have been speaking with's well thought out opinions on measures and propositions, that the intensity of the preseidential race has trickled down into a heightened interest in all matters political.  It's really refreshing to see. —Nov. 1, 9:10 p.m. ET

Voting in Lancaster
by Deborah Jones, Lancaster, Pa.
My son, who is 24 years old and has Cerebral Palsy, will vote for the very first time this year.  He has really had no interest in voting until this election because this election he feels very strongly about the important issues— abortion, stem cell research and the Family, and Gay Marriage.  His vote will be cast for George W. Bush.  

Our neighborhood is plastered with Bush/Cheney Signs and only a few Kerry/Edwards.  My boss who drives a half-hour to work takes a daily toll of signs on his route.  Today the totals were Bush 51, Kerry 21. 

I feel Bush will carry Lancaster, PA because of his strong views on the important issue and we are an area of Christians voting on Christina Principals.  —Nov. 1, 12:34 p.m. ET

I made sure my kids voted
by Susan, Athens
With Tennessee being a major conservative block, I made sure all of my little chickadees where registered this time.  Both of my kids have now voted for the first time and find they are feeling very proud of themselves.  With an eleven month-old grandson and another on the way, our family will do what we can to get this country back on better footing for our future in this world. —Nov. 1, 12:03 p.m. ET

The ground war in Southern California
Greg Philippi, North Hollywood, Calif.
I'm a volunteer for the Democratic Party in the Silverlake Headquarters (Sunset & Griffith Park Blvd.) in Los Angeles California. I'm a former Republican re-registered as a Democrat because I feel this race is the most important one in my lifetime. I've never been so involved. What struck me is the amount of people who are making calls and hitting the pavement for democracy without any pay and many who have taken off of work to do so. Last week we saw an increase in folks requesting lawn signs and just interested in donating money or buying a T-shirt to support the Kerry Edwards ticket. The prior week we had more folks with questions regarding polling place locations and local propositions. A small number asked me about issues over the phone. I've spoken to new voters who are not young people. One woman was 43 years old and said she's never voted. She asked if I might have time to explain the Electoral College system to her. Another new voter was a man in his twenties who stated he was glad I called cause he didn't know where his polling place was. When I told him it was in a residence he was totally blown away...just couldn't get over it. One Precinct I contacted was heavily Hispanic. A few didn't speak English very well. I put on a spanish speaker to one man who said the person I was calling would have likef to vote unfortunately he was an illegal alien and therefore knew he couldn't. Today (Monday), the day before the election I'm back out putting voter information on door handles. The Friday before Halloween we had so many volunteers we ran out of phones and people were using their cell phones. Heavy political discussions about the issues and the candidates broke out amongst some of the volunteers. I watch a lot of MSNBC and a bit of your competitors so I did a lot of the political educating. —Nov. 1, 11:27 a.m. ET

Helping my students vote
Carole Sawchuck, Lemoyne, Pa.
Tomorrow is the big day. I work for the Central PA Literacy Council, which is partially funded by the Commonwealth of PA.  Two adults who come here to polish their basic skills (reading/math/writing) have registered to vote for the first time.  One of the gentlemen has not received his voter registration card yet, so I predict he will vote provisionally tomorrow in Harrisburg, which is in Dauphin County.  When he downloaded his registration application from Rock The Vote, that was the first time he'd used a computer Internet connection.  On Saturday, when his registration card still had not come, he made his second visit on the web... this time, to the Dauphin County site to ask where he would be voting.  Another gentlemen brought in his voter registration card last month.  Folks who get drivers licenses in our state may register to vote through Motor Voter.  But this gentleman is not yet a citizen, so he practiced his English writing skills by sending his card back to the Election Board.

It is especially beautiful today with sunshine lighting up the strong fall colors of dogwood, sycamore, maple, oak and crabapple. In between lessons, we'll step outside and kick around the fallen leaves and pine needles, and talk about tomorrow. —Nov. 1, 8:12 am

Rural Ohio just talks about guns and God
by David T. Tronsgard Ed.D., Scio, Ohio

Unfortunately, here in rural Ohio, many I talk too are voting exclusively about guns and God. Appalachian folks are among the most ignorant of the American people and the least concerned about truth or logic.  They are poor and cannot see that the Democrats offer the better plans for upward mobility and economic welfare.

70% of the people around here believe in a literal Adam and Eve and they certainly eschew evolution and science.  They do not know what stem cell research is.  I hate to say it but rural Ohio is a lost cause to Democrats (and civilization.) —Nov. 1, 4:47 a.m. ET

The clown, the cowboy, and the Christmas tree talk politics
Michael S. Willeman, Topeka, Kansas
Last night I went to a costume party. The bonfire burned brightly in the back yard. We stood around drinking beer, eating queso and lil smokies. Much to my surprise politics became the centerpiece of conversation. I was quite amused by the fact that it was prompted by my friend John with his rainbow clown wig on. It wasn't long til the cowboy chimed in with his two cents. I was merely a spectator, which seemed oddly appropriate given the fact that I was dressed as a christmas tree.

Never before had I witnessed my friends participating in such a discussion. A veritable cornucopia of opinions surfaced as the moments passed. All of the relevant issues were discussed, from gay marriage to abortion and on to the war in Iraq.

Bear in mind that the crowd is by no means politically motivated. The one thing that became perfectly clear was that there is no solid choice for president. Overall I was given the impression that Kerry was the favorite simply because more of the same wasn't the best idea. With the constant ads being run on the television, the radio, in the papers, on the web it's very difficult to not get caught up in it all.

As the election season winds to a close there appears to be a great deal of relief on the horizon. Almost everyone I have talked to is looking forward to it all being over. I can only hope that the best man wins. Since I am not in a position to determine which one that is I suppose only time will tell. —Nov. 1, 2:32 a.m. ET

We were treated to a complete political landscape
by Ray Rippey, Medford, Oregon

Here in Oregon we don't have a problem with being hassled at the polls or standing in line or worrying about the weather. Oregon is completely vote by mail. It is simple to fill in the ballot, and you can drop it off at one of several locations, including all the libraries.

My wife was involved in protesting for a few weekends with several of her democratic friends on a very busy street corner in Medford (located in Southern Oregon). I brought along my video camera and tried to get a sense of which way people were leaning by noticing the honking cars with people smiling and thumbs up compared to people cussing, flipping us off, and thumbs down. It seemed to be about 50/50 the first weekend I went, but the 2nd weekend seemed to have more smiles than frowns.

It was very interesting to note how passionate people are about this election. We've had Kerry, Cheney, Edwards, and Bush all visit us this year.  Bush even stayed in the historic town of Jacksonville overnight. While that is big news in itself, to us it was even bigger news that they actually had police in riot gear shoot demonstrators with pepper balls. And if that wasn't strange enough, 3 school teachers, with tickets, got kicked out of the Bush rally (after they were seated) for wearing T-shirts that said "Protect our civil liberties" because the slogan was too radical!

Yes, the Rogue Valley of Southern Oregon got treated to the complete political landscape this year. I think most people here are glad we don't have to deal with going to the polls to cast our vote. —Nov. 1, 2:07 a.m. ET

Driving people to the polls
by Karen Eichler, Anacortes, W. Va.

This afternoon in Anacortes, supporters for both candidates took to opposite sides of the main street to rally voters.  Cars passed by with horns honking for one candidate or the other, but the occupants of the passing vehicles often disagreed.  Some drivers nodded and gave a "thumbs up" for Bush, while their passengers facing the opposite side of the street would give a "thumbs up" or a cheer for Kerry.

Many local voters have already voted by mail, but many will be casting their votes on Nov. 2 at the polls.  At Kerry Headquarters when I signed to help drive seniors and others needing a ride to the polls, I was reminded that our Kerry Headquarters was adhering to strict rules about drivers being non-partisan, with an emphasis on 1. No bumper stickers may be visible.;  2. No campaign buttons may be worn.;  and 3. There is to be no conversation about either candidate.  —Nov. 1, 9:57 p.m. ET

Battle of the yard signs
by Angela Seabert, Grand Rapids, Mich.

Here in Grand Rapids, we've seen our share of passionate politics going on.  There have been lots of yard signs stolen— one person ended up making their own sign afterwards that read "You can't steal my vote!"  The Kerry-Edwards Headquarters even had a brick thrown through it's front window, which was a real shame, since it's in a newly restored historic district.  You can definitely see sharp divisions in the different neighborhoods. Surprisingly, though, there are quite a few K-E signs (very large ones, too) in the richer sides of town.  That may make a big difference in this area, since there are so many religious zealots here.  We do have a strong college community as well, though, so it's really hard to tell.  I definitely think Michigan leans Democratic, but we'll just have to wait and see. —Nov. 1, 7:24 p.m. ET

Voting a big event in DeKalb
by Lylah Salahuddin, Atlanta, GA
Advance voting at the DeKalb County (GA) Voter Registration and Election Office in metro Atlanta was a lengthy 6-hour wait, yet without snafus.  Thousands of voters stood in a snaking line that moved every 15 minutes.  The first 4 hours at the site, one of 4 locations open for advance voting in the county, included light conversation among patient voters (mostly African-American) punctuated by visits from opportunistic Chik-fil-A salespersons hawking chicken sandwiches and water.  Once inside the football-field sized building, election staff tended to voters, processing Advance Voting forms, collecting trash and making jokes like, “Oh honey, you’re at the wrong precinct. Just kidding!”  Dedicated dads/lovers/brothers dropped off sandwiches for moms in line (some with kids). 

Several people talked of leaving, and then did, hoping they’d be able to come back at 6:00 or 6:30 and not be turned away as long as they were in line by 7:00. 

A gentleman declared he wouldn’t vote to re-elect Cathy Cox, Georgia Secretary of State for not preventing the clogged lines.  In response, a woman informed him that she had requested that the legislature grant a month-long advance voting period in anticipation of just such a problem.  She was denied her request.

Many voters screamed in celebration as they left one of 10 voting stations in the voting room, “I’m finished!”

Another man, Adam, commented, “If anyone’s wondering where the Black vote is, well here it is.”

A Democrat in a Republican polling place
by Carolina, Houston, Texas

Since this is my first Presidential election, I wanted to make sure that I got the chance to vote. The lines here in Houston for early voting were relatively short, and everyone was smiling and joking as we waited in line. Of course, I’m almost positive that of all of the people in line— the elderly, professionals, soccer moms with babies in tow— my college-age companions and I were the only Democrats, and it was quite obvious from the way we were dressed. An elderly gentleman in line ahead of us was cursing John Kerry and singing the praises of Bush and Tom DeLay. A Halliburton employee three people behind us was complaining about how the Democrats are “out to get Halliburton.” I just sort of took it all in, and went to go vote for the first time. Surprisingly, the electronic voting was no trouble at all. I was just surprised that Nader wasn’t even on the ballot. I was even more surprised, yet elated, to see a long line of kids my age waiting in line for early voting as I left. It’s about time we started caring.

Core issues to Tennessee voters
by Timothy Parshall, Hermitage, Tenn.
Voting here so far has gone well, with no reported irregularities. Lines have been from no time at all, to about an hour in some places.  Using the early vote here, it seems that Nashville, and its surrounding areas will complete the task at hand with little or no trouble.  Asking those in line how they viewed this election, I was told, that it was “important,” with many telling me it was one of the most important ever.  The volunteer state broke from Gore and the Democrats in 2000, by sending their electoral votes to Bush. The race this year is too close to call. Talking with those both in line and not, I’ve found a fairly even division between those that support Bush, and those that don’t.  It does seem, that the populace here is not happy with many things that Bush has done while in office, but, still fear the specter of terrorism.  With the 101st so close to here, in Clarksville, we have many friends and family serving in Iraq, this seems to be the catalyst for most voters here.  With the large Mexican immigrant population here, that has also become an issue with core voters.  Gay Marriage is also a smaller core issue.  All in all, it seems that the vote will go through without a hitch.  If 2000 is an indication, it would seem that Bush would win this state.  Kerry has made some inroads here, but its unlikely that its been enough to push him past Bush for Tennessee’s electoral votes.

Where's my ballot?
by Ruth Martin, Lake Worth FL and Milford, Pa.
I phoned numbers on my voting card to find out where my ballot was.  Result:

1.  Central Office 561-656-6200 incessantly busy
2.  South County office 561-276-1226. Male answered,not a clue - transferred me to Central Office.  Hung up after 35 rings and no answer.
3.  Glades Area Office 561-996-4800. Woman said she could not help me, advised me to call Central Office.  Declining to give her name, she said about 15,000 calls received daily about ballots. This was echoed by a voice nearby.  The shocker was her telling me the early votes and absentee ballots would not be counted if there was a "landslide" on Election Day. They would only be counted in the event of a close vote.  To quote her, "There will be a big stink about this".  She thought it was awful.  So do I. How about annulling Florida electoral votes due to conflict of interest with state administration.


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