As of 10:50amET, over 50% of voters in this division (i.e., precinct) have already voted. And in what is already one of the most active polling places in the entire city, I am confident we will surpass the 90% mark by 8pm.
For some odd reason, the local Fox Channel affiliate has been camped out at our polling place in front of the church here since 4:30am. They have not interviewed anyone -- just kinda sitting in their broadcast truck. I spoke to the on-air guy a couple times to brag at how awesome our 3 divisions are that share this polling place, and he just politely nods his head.
Today has been an amazing day so far, which is saying a lot, given that I have worked every election here for the past 2 1/2 years and voted without fail for the 6 1/2 years I've lived in Philadelphia as Chicago expatriate who grew up in the neighborhood where Barack Obama served as state senator.
After the groundswell of early voters, the polling place became a ghost town by 8:30am, and the only folks left were the election officials, the church staff, the Democratic committeepeople, the older Black man who was the token Republican in this Obama-lovin' sea of nervous excitement and the dozen or so Obama volunteers shipped in from Brooklyn and Vermont. In fact, there were more Obama volunteers at our polling place who had nothing to do than there were actual voters once the tide had ebbed from the morning rush.
I pointed out that sending Obama volunteers to my polling place was like sending sand to the beach. My neighborhood is so Obamalicious, there are more White lesbian couples with Black children than registered Republicans. In fact, there were probably more McCain-Palin lawn signs (2) on the church's lawn than actual McCain voters.
But enough about my wonderfully economically, racially and culturally diverse neighborhood.
The simple fact is that this morning I saw faces of new young voters, first-time elderly voters, Blackfolk coming out so overcome with emotion and recognition of today's import that they could not keep from crying; Whitefolk smiling giddily as though they were keeping a secret they were trying so hard to let out.
I saw children of all ages -- some as young as two who could say with pride, "Rockobama!". Busloads full of students headed to school yelling out of their windows, "Obama, Obama!"
A feeling is in the air that was not there in 2004.
And in under two hours, I will be sharing this moment when my wife and I bring our 5- and 2-year old sons to push the big green VOTE button when we cast our ballots for Obama this afternoon.
They know it's election day. But what they will not know for years to come is just how much their lives will change -- all of our lives -- no matter how subtlely -- just by the very fact that Barack Hussein Obama may be our next president no matter how imperfect the candidate or the political system that has thrust him to this auspicious moment in time.