This past Sunday –- the last day for early voting in Florida –- the line at the Kendall Branch Library wrapped around the building and stretched down the street, almost all the way to Kendall Drive. This morning at 7:45, traffic was remarkably subdued. Where were the lawn-parking hordes that had littered the streets with McCain/Palin and Raul Martinez flyers? This morning the library parking lot wasn’t even full, and the line of voters didn’t even extend as far as the sidewalk. Under gray skies and cool breezes, the sign holders and flag wavers were at a blissful minimum. The McCain guy barely muttered a “g’morning” as this New Times reporter walked past him. Ruth Zalph, an elderly Obama campaigner; and Jean Ritter, who held signs and flyers with bold "No On 2" messages on them, were more approachable. Ritter gave eloquent reasons to support her cause, and Zalph could only speak for herself, not for her demographic.
“As far as my age, I find it hard to say who people are voting for. I support Obama for so many reasons: An end to the war in Iraq. A way to improve our status around the world. To stop the outsourcing of jobs. And the deregulation of Wall Street. McCain has voted for all of it, and with Bush all the way. He’s a warrior. That’s in his nature. We don’t need a warrior right now. No justice, no peace. There will never be peace without justice.”
Voters trickled in dribs and drabs; the shockingly short line moved quickly. People sipped coffee and read the sample ballots being handed out to them. One woman put on mascara and got ready for work while waiting in line. Many of the freshly stickered voters didn’t have the time or desire to chat with New Times after they cast their ballots. “I gotta run -- I got work,” one woman practically shrieked as I made eye contact with her. “Sorry, honey, I gotta get to work,” declared a mother, who had just voted with her teenage daughter in tow. They seemed relieved at the speed of the voting process.
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At the 7-Eleven across the street, the voting results seemed more immediately apparent. “Sorry, we’re out of Obama cups,” the cashier informed an inquiring customer. A stack of red John McCain cups remained.