Election day. A long day. I worked at the polls, rising at 4:00 am so that I’d be able to help get the machines set up, the signs hung and the documents and forms organized in time for voting to begin promptly at 6:00.
There was a record turnout, and voters stood patiently, sometimes for as long as two hours, in the tiny school gymnasium. While there was no doubt about the outcome in this overwhelmingly Democratic borough, we anxiously awaited word about how the rest of the country voted. Workers, supervisors, voters and police officers texted friends and googled news reports, eager to learn what non-Brooklynites were doing.
After 15 hours we closed the doors, shut down the machinery and hand-counted every vote. Then the crew shuffled out the door and headed home. I was too tired to stay up and wait for the official announcements, so I didn’t bother to look at reports. I thought I’d wait and find out in the morning.
We expected it to be a close race. It wasn’t. We thought we’d have to wait all night for the results. We didn’t. At exactly 11:00, a scream, then a shout, sounded in the street. Horns began honking, people yelling, and above the din arose a chant: O-Ba-Ma! O-B-Ma! O-Ba-Ma!
The race was over. America had voted for change and put the wheels in motion to set out on a new course. Amazing, said many of us. Never thought we live to see the day, we said. But the people had spoken and Barack Obama was chosen as our new President-Elect. The American people did it. Yes, we did.