Tuesday, November 04, 2008

Earliest Election Returns

Things were swinging early this morning in the swing state of Missouri! I rolled out of bed at 5:15 this morning, threw on some jeans, a jacket, and a hat and walked over to my polling station at the Central United Methodist Church at 5144 Oak Street.

When I arrived at 5:25 I got into line behind about 30 people. At the front of the line there was a group of students from the University of Missouri, Kansas City who had arrived at 4:00. They were huddled under a blanket and were cramming for a psychology exam later in the day. The local NBC news affiliate was there filming. Church volunteers were handing out homemade chocolate chip cookies and Muddy's Coffee Shop had a table set up with free coffee. By the time the polls opened at 6:00 the line had about 200 people in it.

I talked with a lot of the people there. Right behind me in line there was a couple who said they have voted in every election since 1952! I was impressed by the number of students and by the determination of the crowd. One woman pulled an oxygen tank behind her. The volunteers from the church were delightful and the election officials were friendly. Everyone seemed patient.

When I walked out of the polling station at 6:20, I went over to talk with the volunteers working on campaigns. A team of seven Obama volunteers had been there since 5:00 in the morning. I didn't see a single person with the McCain campaign. I spoke briefly with the Obama volunteers (and would have spoken with the McCain volunteers had there been any.) They included a lawyer spending the day there as a legal observer and a group of people working their cell phones. I asked them if they had somebody to bring them lunch. They told me that they were so organized, they could bring me lunch.

Here are some pictures:

Arriving at the polls at 5:25. (Picture courtesy of Josine, a UMKC student.)

The line of people waiting to vote at 5:30 in the morning.