Detroit Voting: Days of Hope

DETROIT (Howard University News Service, Friday, Oct. 31, 2008) &mdash: As Election Day 2008 draws near, the anticipation of voters in Detroit is clear as campaign billboards line the streets, a forest of election signs competes with trees and shrubs in the yards of residents, and radio commercials frantically urge Detroiters to get out and vote.

Five days before Election Day, thousands of voters lined up outside of the Detroit Board of Elections building in hopes of casting absentee ballots.

“Never in my wildest dreams did I believe I would live to see a black man become the president. God must be trying to tell us something,” Edith Cummings, an 89 year-old Detroit resident, said. I got off my sick bed to help make history.

The projected waiting time for voters hoping to vote on Friday was about 3 hours.

“I got my ‘wait ticket,’ took my kids to school, went grocery shopping, and it [was] still not my turn. But it’s well worth the wait,” Aundrea Jackson, a Detroit resident, said.

Surprisingly, the atmosphere was peaceful, even with the long waiting time.

“Everyone has been very cooperative,” Bridgette Marks, an election volunteer, said. “I guess a glimpse of hope for our dying city has kept everyone in high spirits, even in waiting.”

Tuesday, Nov. 4, 2008. Early this morning, hundreds of voters lined up outside Beth Eden Missionary Baptist Church on Detroit’s east side, waiting for the poles to open.

“It is beautiful to see so many African-Americans up at the crack of dawn eagerly awaiting their opportunity to make a change,” Jim Harper, an election monitor, said.

This polling place serves as the main voting site for three District 7 precincts. The large number of voters at this site has made the voting process longer than desirable for many voters.

“I have been here since 7:30 a.m., and I didn’t expect the lines to be this long,” said one Detroiter when asked about the long wait.

“I’ve been in line for an hour now, and I have to be to work by 9 a.m., so I am going to try to come back after work. This wait is ridiculous, but I will be voting,” Lauren White, a Detroit resident, said.

Other voters have decided to take the day off and celebrate an early victory at the polling sites. ” We are out here making history. We have the grill fired up, and we plan on staying all day. It’s a beautiful day to make a change,” Otis Martin said when asked what he planned to do to pass the time at the polling site.