Josh Marshall reprints a wonderfully moving account of early voting in Florida:
My job is to get people to the polls and, more importantly, to keep them there. Because they’re crazily jammed. Crazily. No one expected this turnout. For me, it’s been a deeply humbling, deeply gratifying experience. At today’s early vote in the College Hill district of East Tampa — a heavily democratic, 90% African American community — we had 879 voters wait an average of five hours to cast their vote. People were there until four hours after they closed (as long as they’re in line by 5, they can vote).
Here’s what was so moving:
We hardly lost anyone. People stood outside for an hour, in the blazing sun, then inside for another four hours as the line snaked around the library, slowly inching forward. It made Disneyland look like speed-walking. Some waited 6 hours. To cast one vote. And EVERYBODY felt that it was crucial, that their vote was important, and that they were important.
The best of all was an 80 year old African American man who said to me: “When I first started I wasn’t even allowed to vote. Then, when I did, they was trying to intimidate me. But now I see all these folks here to make sure that my vote counts. This is the first time in my life that I feel like when I cast my vote it’s actually gonna be heard.”
To see people coming out — elderly, disabled, blind, poor; people who have to hitch rides, take buses, etc — and then staying in line for hours and hours and hours… Well, it’s humbling. And it’s awesome. And it’s kind of beautiful.
I don’t know about you, but reading this makes me feel really good and proud to be an American. And the thought of some people reading it and grinding their teeth makes me feel even better. (If correspondents have to cry, they ought to save it for occasions like this.)
It brings to mind this civil rights-era song.
Update: Long lines of early voters are not limited to low-income African-American neighborhoods. They appear to be the rule throughout Florida.