one lever, pulled.

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My voting experience was quick and easy. I think I spent more time confirming my ballot was marked correctly than I spent waiting in line. I guess going in the middle of the morning will do that for you. I wasn’t expecting it, but the historical significance of the moment totally overwhelmed me, and I will admit that I got something in both of my eyes when I voted for Barack Obama. I’ve voted in every election since 1990, and this is the first time I’ve ever felt genuinely hopeful when I cast my ballot, instead of resigned.

Have you voted? Feel free to share your experience if you like.

138 thoughts on “one lever, pulled.”

  1. I think it’s funny that most west-coast people wait “in line” while east-coast people tend to wait “on line” instead.
    I hear “I waited on line” and I think “well you need a faster connection, don’t you?”

  2. So mine is a kind of non-voting story, and one of how upset I am with the government. This was supposed to be my 2nd presidential election, and it has been the 2nd one in which I was not given the chance to vote. I am from Ohio, but I go to school at the University of Windsor in Windsor, Ontario. Last election, I was sent an armed forces absentee ballot, and they “couldn’t” send me the right one in time. This time I was so excited to vote in what might be the most important election of my lifetime, and I sent in my application for the absentee ballot and it never came. I shouldn’t be surprised, I am a registered democrat who’s going to school in Canada, after all. I heard of many similar situations in the last election, but it doesn’t make it any less frustrating.

  3. That’s very well put, “hopeful instead of resigned”. I’ve never had any strong opinions on an election; I’ve always thought that each is as bad as the other. Quite a cynical view. And I’m not a naturally cynical person. Now the world has hope, and it’s so so important that this optimism is rewarded!

  4. I rolled into my polling place at 6:15 AM and was voter #16. I didn’t get a cool “I Voted” sticker so I wore my Obama button all day instead. I got many thanks for Barocking the vote today too. I also found out that one of my fellow hospitalists drove to PA last weekend and knocked on 400 doors to get out the vote for Obama. Wicked awesome.

  5. I voted early a week ago- during Georgia’s first cold snap. So I got to do the wait-two-hours-in-40-degrees bit. But I got to wait alone and be the Token Independent in the conversation while in line. It was probably the most fun voting experience yet. :)

  6. Took me ~45 min at 6AM to cast my totally redundant Upper West Side NY vote for Obama. Now I’m just watching Virginia and for the first time ever wishing I hadn’t moved. :(

  7. Went at around noon to vote…although there were quite a few people there, I didn’t actually have to wait. It felt incredibly satisfying to cast a vote FOR Obama (contrasted with ’04, which was really AGAINST Bush). I’m in Illinois, so I’m probably just a small drop in what will likely be a large Obama bucket, but it was still cool.

  8. I voted this morning, and let me tell you: I just felt good doing it! This is only my second time voting, as I voted in the 2004 election when I was twenty-one years old. I was seriously happy the whole day. Should Obama take this election, it will be unbelievable. I’m a young Black woman, and this is truly a huge moment. I’m still in a state of shock, because I’m watching all these results, but I don’t want to make any pre-conceived notions about the outcome. But.. you never know!

  9. I know what you mean, I keep trying to claim its just an allergy or something — but really, there’s something in my eyes (both of them). I respect Senator McCain, but I want to be able to say the words “President Obama”.
    God knows, we LOVE him here in Hawaii.

  10. Voted, sick in my jammies. No wait; no sticker. Petted a beautiful Siberian Husky on the way out; made getting off the couch even more worth it. Saw two 18 year olds voting for the first time; it was a moving sight, and then I though, “I could be their mother. Oh my…” Still sick, shouldn’t have gotten off the couch, head wants to explode, but I did what I had to do!
    [email protected]

  11. I got teared up just reading this blog and all the posts.
    I voted at 2 pm this afternoon, the second I got off work. I went in too early to vote in the morning. I actually didn’t have to wait in line, though there were quite a few people there. Most of them were already filling out their ballots.
    I was so happy to vote for Obama. I’ve had my MySpace page all tricked out the last few weeks trying to get people to vote for Obama, and I’ve been talking to everyone at work about it.
    Most everyone I know if voting for Obama, but so far McCain is still in the lead in Missouri.
    It looks like Obama has the lead right now though, so hopefully things will work out as more precincts report.

  12. Oh yeah, I did get a sticker and I wore it proudly all day. I’m also proud of my son and his friends. The ones who are old enough to vote, voted for Obama.
    My son is only 17 so he can’t vote in this election but he said he would vote for Obama if he could. I’m so happy that he cares and he’s smart enough to think for himself.

  13. My mom took me & my 15 year old sister to the polls after she got off work, and we BOTH voted for Obama.
    We also voted for Congressman John Murtha, the guy who everybody was pissing on for the last few weeks because he said Western PA was racist & redneck. From personal experience, it IS racist & redneck…and it also knows when its elected officials are doing good for them, because Murtha just won another term. He may have said it the wrong way, but the man is and has always been doing what’s right for PA, and having met him myself at one point, he’s just an all-around good guy.
    Hopefully, the rest of the election turns out just as well! 😀

  14. I voted at 8:10am, with the polling place only a short walk from my apartment. A beautiful day for a walk, even if short, the air crisp and clean after a few days of rain. I felt confident in my vote (Obama! No on 8!), and was on my way back 5 minutes later. Certainly the most historic election I have ever voted in.

  15. I’m quite worried that too many of the people that voted have no idea what they are voting for, beyond an image, or a “stick it to the man” concept.

  16. I haven’t voted since 1996, but I felt this election was too important to miss out on. I got off work and headed off to vote, very excited. It was pouring down rain and hail so hard I had to turn my wipers on high and actually thought about not voting because I’d have to walk around a building and wait in the line in rain; but I couldn’t walk away from this vote.
    I waited in the rain, got to go in to vote and when I came out the sun was brilliantly shining, no rain coming down, and a lovely rainbow greeted me over the hill. I felt warm inside, like I participated in something great and the world smiled with me.

  17. “I think I spent more time confirming my ballot was marked correctly than I spent waiting in line.”
    You and me both. I had to check, check, re-check and one more time before I drop the ballot in the box. (I’m in Massachusetts, so it shouldn’t matter, but you can never be too sure!)
    Despite my best efforts, I can’t make the results come in faster by concentrating. (Concentrate HARDER!!)
    I feel I should take a moment to thank Jon Stewart and Stephen Colbert, without whom I couldn’t have made it through two years of the longest campaign ever…
    (I can has sleep nao?)

  18. I haven’t read everyone’s comment here, so I’m sure I’m repeating stuff that’s already been said a few times, but I also felt hope as I filled in that little circle on the ballot.
    And then I felt pure, abject terror as I was watching the returns on MSNBC, hoping McCain wouldn’t somehow pull a rabbit out of his hat.
    And now, with Obama at 333 electoral votes and McCain at 146, I’ve got tears in my eyes.
    I will still be paranoid, however, until 100% of the votes are counted. I will also be paranoid because I’m sure there are nuts out there who would just LOVE to assassinate our first black president. May that never come to pass.
    McCain is giving his concession speech right now. *whew* Thank the gods that Caribou Barbie will NOT be a step away from the presidency. She frightened me more than McCain, to tell you the truth.
    Good on McCain for keeping a stiff upper lip at this point. I think after such a long, tiring campaign, I’d be a sobbing puddle right now.
    May Obama put the country on the path to recovery and restoration, in the eyes of Americans and the eyes of the world.

  19. Record turnouts in Virginia meant a 2 1/2 hour wait JUST TO GET SIGNED IN at the polls, but after that the voting was quick. I voted electronically for the first time. Scary! My extremely patient 5 year old kept asking me when “Brock-a-bama” was going to show up. Still, I felt as giddy as I did voting for Clinton in ’92 that my vote might actually be counting for something good. Awesome.

  20. UMB, my boyfriend, and I headed to the polling place (a church, of course, but don’t get me started on that) to take place in this historic vote.
    UMB had never voted before, and he was excited to finally feel like a part of the process.
    As we approached the door, a group of four girls, who must have turned 18 yesterday were walking out. Seriously, they looked young enough to warrant a felony.
    Anyway, as they walked out, the youngest looking of the girls said to her friends, “You know what? I made a difference today. I voted NO on Prop 8!”
    I didn’t explain the tears in my eyes to the woman at the registration table. I think she understood anyway.

  21. Left work at 5 pm and headed home. Grabbed a bite to eat and a coat and headed down to Los Robles.
    I got on the wrong side of the street and had to run across. The street was packed with cars headed north. The crowd was kind of insane.
    Headed inside, showed the guy at the door my sample ballot, and he led me to the orange table, where a lady with the last name of Concepcion was trying to tell the old African-American gentleman exactly how to spell her name for the sample ballot. She got it right eventually. Got my ballot and headed to the booth, then picked up the pen thing and started hitting the buttons.
    Checked, double-checked, and triple-checked the scan-sheet to make sure I hadn’t accidentally voted for Ralph Nader, then walked it to the box and slid it into the scanner. The guy looked tired as hell. “It looks to be a long night,” I said. He nodded. “Yeah, it does.”
    Headed home, popped open a Pyramid Hefeweisen, and sat down in front of the TV. Did my daily bit for Nanowrimo. Watched the guy on CNN call it for Obama, pointing out that McCain would need to win California, Hawaii, Oregon, or Washington to win it. . . and that’s assuming he swept the rest of the board.
    Reflected how bizarre it was to talk about the election in gaming terms
    Then I logged onto and watched the world change.
    God bless Obama, and God bless the USA, and God bless Senator McCain. Palin, I can do without.
    Now, here’s to four years of change, and to hoping that Obama doesn’t fuck it up.

  22. I voted on Thursday last week during Georgia’s early voting period.
    Waited 25 minutes then popped next door to borrow some Timothy Zahn and David Hume from the library!
    Also someone pinch me.. I can’t believe it happened. After 8 long years we stood up and demanded a change. I am so proud as an American.

  23. I early voted this year like I usually do. The line wasn’t long and I, too, spent more time checking to make sure the screen actually said “Barack Obama/Joe Biden” and not “McCain/Palin”. (I checked about three times, just in case my eyes were failing me.) This is my third presidential election (of my adult life — the “election” I voted in at school in the 6th grade didn’t really count. We did, however, vote for Bill Clinton so that was something.) but it was the first one that I actually cared about. While I liked Al Gore and John Kerry just fine I mostly just voted for them because I didn’t want Bush to be president. I can’t say that I teared up when I voted but I was awfully giddy and excited. Yeah, my vote was in Texas so it didn’t win Obama any electoral votes but I felt good about sharing my voice. I voted with my beliefs and my conscience and it sure did feel great to actually care for once. :)

  24. I voted in the Canadian federal elections a few weeks back. I wish I could have felt the pride you did when I voted. It’s like that episode of South Park “Douce and Turd.” I only really had a choice between a giant douche and a turd sandwich; a weak, inexperienced leader, or the one that was only successful because of it (plus the NDP, Greens, Bloc…). All of whom seem encased in partisan shells. Congratulations on Obama’s win, the rest of the planet is breathing a sigh of relief.
    Canada really needs a Trudeau right about now…

  25. Wil sed “I think I spent more time confirming my ballot was marked correctly than I spent waiting in line.”
    Ha! I did that too! Stood there for a minute looking over my ballot again and again, just to make sure I did it right.

  26. @jester:
    Unless they start closing all schools that are used as polls, I’d rather go anywhere else. I don’t want strangers, some of whom could be pedophiles/etc. in my kids’ school while they are there. Also, a friend’s 2 kids almost got run over yesterday by some inattentive person looking for parking at the start of the school day.
    Disclaimer: my opinion, just something to consider

  27. (From Scotland) Just watched your new President’s speech and we were both overwhelmed. Cracked open a bottle of JD to celebrate & toast this great man and event. Not a dry eye in the house. Good luck rebuilding America. – Linda & John. xx

  28. Hez (p. 3 of comments):
    “I [voted] from the only Democratic county in predominantly Republican Texas. Travis County represent!”
    Check out Dallas County for 2004 (near 50-50), 2006, 2008 … and check out the Valley for who knows how far back. Always an odd feeling to be able to pick out your own county easily from those color-coded maps.
    Rio Grande Valley counties with higher percentage for Obama than even Travis County’s 64.1% — check out #3 on the list!:
    Starr County – 84.5% Obama
    Zavala Co. – 84.2%
    Maverick Co. – 78.2% <–now THAT’S funny!
    Brooks Co. – 75.7%
    Dimmit Co. – 75.1%
    Duval Co. – 74.8%
    Jim Hogg Co. – 73.6%
    Webb Co. – 71.5%
    Presidio Co. – 71.3%
    One hopes that’ll shut up the ignorant pundits who said Latinos wouldn’t go for an African-American candidate. (For the uninitiated: The Rio Grande Valley is predominately Latino.)
    And count me as another who was disappointed they had no stickers, but at least I can say that for the first time in my life, I voted for the candidate who’ll be taking the oath come January (as only my second major-party selection in all these years).

  29. They did not give me a sticker or a pin but when I heard the news at roughly 10PM or so (I am too in awe to remember) they gave me something much more meaningful. Hope.

  30. I was volunteering for the campaign & had taken Election Day off to help in the final get-out-the-vote push. The Obama HQ was just 3 blocks down the road from my apartment, which made volunteering even easier than when I volunteered for Kerry back in ’04. Since that meant being at HQ by 9AM, I had to go to my poll and vote early. I got there by 7:15. The line stretched out the door, down the sidewalk, out through the parking lot, and over halfway up the block to the other end of the building. There must have been over 300 people in line ahead of me, but everyone was relaxed, respectful and mindful of our purpose. By 8:45, I still hadn’t crossed the threshhold, so I called HQ to let them know I’d be running a bit late. They said, “Just get here when you can.” I got my “I voted” sticker, headed out the door, and down the street to HQ, which was abuzz with the most infectious, positive energy I’ve experienced in well over 12 years. The excitement was palpable. We were sent out in canvassing teams to remind committed voters to get out and do so. By 11:30 AM, we’d had such a turnout of volunteers that we’d completely canvassed the KC metro area. After checking back in, one paid staffer told us that turnout this year exceeded the total turnout for ’04 by 40%. Wish I had the precise figures, but that was extremely encouraging. I did 2 more canvasses that day, then went over to my friend Michelle’s to watch returns with her and a group of her “tree-hugger” friends. When McCain conceded, we popped the champagne. Then we got a call from our friends Cary & Carl in Chicago. They were in Grant Park, awaiting Barack’s acceptance speech. By the time he’d finished, there wasn’t a dry eye in Michelle’s living room. YES WE DID! As I drove home, there were some impromptu fireworks going off over various neighborhoods. It was better than the 4th of July. As exhausted as I was, I still couldn’t get to sleep that night. What was even better were all the smiles on everyone’s faces the next day. We’ve finally shaken the monkey off our collective back. And I am no longer ashamed of my country.

  31. I went to vote early in the morning, hoping against hope, that the line wouldn’t be too long. Of course it was around the block at 5:50am!
    I went home and dithered and dallied, then at 3:30pm I decided I’d give it another try.
    I went out in the pouring rain at 3:45pm and I was the third person in. I voted and I was home by 4:00 pm! Huzzah!
    After the nightmare of the last 8 years, it’s as if we’ve finally woken up and it’s invigorating.

  32. Wish I could have voted, but hey, I’m French. Weird how the rest of the world wish they could have voted for Obama as well. Must admit it was the very first candidate I felt really enthusiastic about, and that’s including the various candidates I voted for in the elections of my own country (and as a side-information, I never voted for Sarkozy). Was very moved Obama made it. I feel reconciled with America.

  33. Being british my boyfriend and i didn’t get to vote. It sure felt like christmas eve we went to bed- the minute my alarm went off at 7am we jumped out of bed and switched on the BBC to see Obama’s speech bering broadcast. Tears did form in my eyes, for once the world felt just – a man in a position of power for the right reasons and a the vision for change.
    I felt proud, and hope britain is just as inspired.

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