Twenty minutes before the polls opened at 7 a.m. the parking lot was full at the Georgian Forest Elementary School in Silver Spring, Md. Inside, about 200 people formed a twisting line on both sides of the hall that stretched from the gym down to the library. The line moved quickly once voters were given access to the 12 touch- screen voting machines.”Hey, what time did you get here,” a woman said to friend who emerged from the gym at 7:29 a.m.”I came straight from the gym,” said the friend. “What time was that?” “Six-forty. See you later,” said the friend as she turned toward the exit.Others in the line remarked that they never had seen a line so long so early at the school. “I came with my granddaughter. It’s her first time voting,” a big guy with a big voice told a retired acquaintance in line across the hall from him. “It’s a big day,” he said.
The people in line reflected the diversity of eastern Montgomery County. There were Latinos, young African American couples with children in tow, Asian Americans and long-timers whose residency predated the diversity. Some of them stopped to look for themselves in the pictures of the graduating classes from the school.