Final hours of the race 2008

DKS Editors

Editor’s Note: All time stamps are Eastern Standard Time

8:37 p.m.

Phoenix – Four days ago, David Dodt received a phone call from someone in Washington. The lead singer of the David Dodt Band wasn’t surprised. A local Phoenix musician, Dodt was asked to play for the John McCain election night party.

Dodt has been warming up the crowd since 5 p.m. along with son and his base player and his base player’s son. The band has played a wide range of music, from country to blues.

But how did he vote?

“Oh, I voted McCain, I’m a third generation Arizonan,” Dodt said.

The band set up last night, but was unable to do sound checks until this morning. Dodt said the band is comfortable playing in front of large crowds, and the historical aspect of the night makes it even more exciting, he said.

The David Dodt Band will play a few more sets scattered between speakers and results.

– Brock Harrington

8:25 p.m.

Phoenix – McCain supporter Dawn Truelove is one of the lucky ones. Instead of having to endure months of making campaign phone calls, attending rallies and making shirts, Truelove had to work one day.

Of course that day was the most important day of the campaign, Nov. 4. Truelove, who has lived in Phoenix since 1980, volunteered today at a McCain headquarters for the first time this election season.

Her reward? A trip to the biggest party the Republicans will throw all year. Dancing with friends to Beatles songs, Truelove has enjoyed the party since 5 p.m.

As the results of Kentucky, West Virginia, South Carolina and Oklahoma were announced, people such as Truelove and Linda Miracle, wearing a skirt made out of McCain lawn signs, cheered.

Miracle, surrounded by cameras and reporters wanting to get the scoop on how she made her dress said it wasn’t hard.

“I just couldn’t sleep one night, and we had all these signs, so I took duck-tape and made it,” Miracle said.

The band will continue to play throughout the night, only pausing its playlist for the brief electoral map update.

– Brock Harrington

7:31 p.m.

Phoenix – As John McCain supporters entered the Biltmore Hotel and Resort tonight, they were greeted with a surprise sign when they turned into the grand entrance of the Waldorf collection hotel.

They were greeted by simple message: “Obama.”

Kevin Sweet, a junior tourism major at Arizona State learned that the senator was holding his election night party at the legendary Phoenix hotel that once housed Ronald Reagan when the he visited.

Sweet, an ardent supporter of Illinois senator Barak Obama, decided to skip the day-long coverage of the election and decided to make a sign and protest.

Grabbing a Sharpie, a Religious holiday calendar and his ipod, Sweet wrote “Obama” on the back of the calendar and found a spot near the entrance. Sweet arrived at noon and has stood on the corner all afternoon, holding his sign and listening to Frank Zappa music.

“I could have stayed at Arizona State all day, but I never did anything to help Obama until today,” Sweet said.

Sweet has received a mix of reactions, from honks of approval, waves from bus drivers who have passed by throughout the afternoon, to the eloquent one-finger waive. Sweet said when he arrived he toured the Biltmore and asked Hotel personal where he could stand they referred him to the corner.

The John McCain election night party is being held in the Andrew Lloyd Wright ballroom inside the Biltmore compound. While McCain supporters file in expecting to celebrate, Sweet will likely be the last Obama supporter they see until the election is over.

“This state’s pretty red, but some people like me,” Sweet said

-Brock Harrington

3-6 p.m.

Late afternoon voters at polling sites around Kent State were able to cast votes with little to no wait – a big difference from what early morning voters experienced.

“Its been a life changing experience,” said Ashley Byrd, a freshman business management major who voted for Barack Obama. “I feel like a made a difference.”

Byrd, a first time voter, waited only 10 minutes in line to cast her ballot at the United Methodist Church polling site on East Main Street. But by the time she had left the polling site towards the end of the afternoon the wait had increased to 25 minutes.

Fred Skok, a presiding judge at the Student Recreation and Wellness Center, said the site had a steady influx of voters throughout the day, with most people showing up between 6:30 and 8 a.m. The rec center was where a majority of Kent State students who live on campus voted.

Skok, who has worked the polling sites for the past three presidential elections, said this election has been the busiest he has ever seen. By 3 p.m. more than 500 people had cast their vote in precinct 4A, one of the two precincts voting at the rec center.

The rec center was not the only polling site to experience a higher than normal voter turn out. Amanda Ennis, the presiding judge at the Kentway Retirement Center on Summit Street, said she expected more than 80 percent of the 520 voters registered in precinct 5B to have voted by the end of the day – either through absentee ballots or in person.

During the 2004 presidential election, Kentway was where a majority of students went to cast their votes before the rec center was approved as a polling location. Ennis, who was a poll watcher at Kentway during the 2004 election, said the lines for this election were no longer than a 20-minute wait at the busiest time.

– Sarah McGrath

3:46 p.m.

Phoenix – Dan Canter walked out of the St. Stephens Byzantine Catholic Church Polling Place with a giant tube around his neck while carrying a Shop-Vac in his hand.

On Sunday, the pastor of the church noticed that a room besides the voting building beside the church had flooded. So Election Day, Canter, the church’s maintance man who is originally from Zanseville, had his work cut out for him (this of course came after Canter spent the morning removing political signs from the church’s front lawn).

Luckily, he won’t have to worry about voting lines. According to several voters, St. Stephens is always quick on Election Day. However, that’s not saying the location would have been ill prepared for a high turnout. The location had chairs lined up outside, but few people were using them.

“I haven’t seen any lines today, and I’ve been here all day,” Canter said.

The biggest problem a voter seemed to have was Phelipe Gutierrez, a commercial tire service worker. On his way to work, Gutierrez decided to stop at his local polling place to vote on one issue, the presidential race.

On his way to voting Obama, Gutierrez was rushing out of his car and accidentally locked his keys in his car. Thirty minutes later, Gutierrez was late for work while waiting for the locksmith after spending just five minutes in the booth.

But it was all worth it to Gutierrez, who believes Obama is the right choice for America.

“He’s younger, and it’s time for something new,” Gutierrez said.

Chris Stockton, a retired Quest Communications employee, said the paper ballot was simple and easy to use. Stockton said it was time to vote Obama, because she wanted new blood in the White House.

“I don’t like Bush,” Stockton said, after comparing McCain to the current president.

– Brock Harrington

3:42 p.m.

OSU Votes

COLUMBUS – OSU Votes, a group on the campus of Ohio State University, has students voting.

The group is part of Ohio Public Interest Research Group, a non-partisan interest group whose goal is to get people out to vote.

“We don’t care who you vote for, we just want everyone to get registered so our age range starts to have a voice,” said Kassie McCleery, an OSU votes volunteer.

McCleery has donned many faces to get people to vote. Today she was the “voting fairy,” with a pair of wings, halo and magic wand. MCleery went from polling location to polling location on her bike, making sure everyone voted today. Earlier in the year, McCleery was the “voting robot,” encouraging people to vote.

Students around campus registered to vote because of work of McCleery and OSU Votes.

“They walked up to me and handed me a registration card,” freshman biochemistry major Brianne Brocker said. “All I had to do was fill it out and they took care of the rest.”

OSU Votes volunteers got to the polls around 5:30 a.m and will remain there until the final vote is cast. For their efforts, OSU Votes registered nearly 3,000 students.

More info:

– Jeff Russ

3:25 p.m.

KENT- The four main polling locations around Kent – Kentway Retirement Center, the Student Recreation and Wellness Center, United Methodist Church, Church of the Nazarene – were prepared for long lines this morning when voting began.

Presiding Judge Amanda Ennis is working the Kentway polls, Precinct 5B.

“We have had about 322 votes so far,” Ennis said. “That’s about 60 percent of our precinct, and it’s only noon.”

She said the lines were long this morning, but died off around 11 a.m. The longest anyone had to wait was around 15 to 20 minutes.

One resident of Kentway, Clifton Dailey, 75, said he can’t even remember how many elections in which he has voted.

“It must be somewhere around 100,” he said with a laugh. Dailey said his strategy for voting is picking the least likely person to win. In this case, he voted for Ralph Nader.

“I think the Electoral College picks who it wants to win anyway,” he said. “My vote doesn’t mean anything.”

Dailey said he didn’t mind Barack Obama, but felt jaded by the electoral process.

Over at the rec, the lines were a bit longer. Around 1 p.m., there were about 20 to 25 people standing in line to vote in Precinct 5C, the area near Eastway.

As of 11 a.m., 253 ballots had been cast.

However, the line for Precinct 4A was much shorter.

Presiding Judge Fred Skok said the lines were long at the beginning but have been steady the rest of the day. As of 11 a.m., there had been 198 ballots cast.

Kaisha Sherrills is the community affairs chair for Black United Students. She was helping count the votes at the rec. This is the first presidential election in which she has voted.

“This is just so historical,” Sherrills said. “If I don’t like something, it’s my responsibility to get out there and change it. I believe my vote counts and that it makes a difference.”

Sherrills is a senior psychology major with a certificate in non-profit management.

She voted for Obama because she thought he could do the most to help education and health care.

The atmosphere was relatively quiet at the Church of the Nazarene.

Presiding Judge Margie Gaydos said about 150 people had cast ballots as of 1:45 p.m. for Precinct 4B. There were no problems with the voting machines that couldn’t be easily fixed.

On the other side of the room, Franklin Township Precinct E had had a total of 237 ballots cast as of 2 p.m.

The last polling location, the United Methodist Church on Route 59, was fairly busy with voters casting their ballots for Precinct 6D.

There were about 15 people standing in line, with all eight voting machines occupied.

&mdash Megan Rozsa

1:38 p.m.

COLUMBUS – As the campaigns gear up for election parties downtown tonight, it still remains unclear whether Ohio will be able to declare a presidential winner tonight.

Paul Beck, professor of political science at Ohio State, said it depends how close the race is in Ohio.

“If the race is really close, then that means we won’t know, and we won’t know for a while,” he said.

Beck said if Ohio’s race narrows, the state will head to a count of provincial ballots.

“If there are a lot of those, it can really clog things up,” he said.

Meanwhile, many Ohio state students are donning political shirts and sporting stickers signifying they voted today.

Beck said the campus student body seems to favor Barack Obama.

“Since my window opens to the Oval, I hear all sorts of things,” he said, referring to McCain and Obama supporters urging students to vote.

&mdash Jackie Valley

1:14 p.m.


COLUMBUS – Among the McCain and Obama supporters outside the Jessie Owens South Recreation Center at Ohio State University is “Average Joe” Schriner. Schriner is running as a write-in candidate for president. He and his family is set up almost exactly 100 feet from the rec. center, the legal distance allowed onelection day. His goal is to just get the other politicians to recognize him.

As I walked to Ohio State this morning, his motor home was parked about half a mile away from the rec. center. According to his wife Liz, the family has traveled over 200,000 miles for his campaign.

“As independents we don’t have the big money, so we have to travel a lot of miles on the car in order to get recognized,” she said. “It’s what we do all the time, but what makes us a different independent is that we travel all over the place.”

Joe’s campaign is based on many issues, including life values, more jobs, social justice for the poor and a return to the family farm, according to his literature.

As of noon he had passed out all his cards, but no one I talked to said they voted for Joe the Painter.

More information on Joe: Vote for Joe

&mdash Jeff Russ

12:13 p.m.

KENT – Most of the polling locations in Kent were quiet and relaxed mid-to-late morning. Few people waited in line, with the average wait time only a couple of minutes.

But the Church of the Nazarine on E. Summit Street was the exception. About 50 people waited in line, most of them for about 30 minutes at least. Despite the longer line at this location, it was nothing compared with the line Kent State student Sheema Samdani experienced while attempting to vote early.

“I went to the Board of Elections yesterday, and there was a three-and-a-half hour line. So compared to that, this is not bad at all,” said Samdani, a Franklin Township resident. “I thought there would actually be a longer line here.”

But doing whatever it takes to vote seems to be the theme today.

“I suppose (the line at the Church of the Nazarine) is inconvenient, but it’s nothing to get mad about. Most people expect it to be crowded,” Franklin Township resident Robert Fear said.

&mdash Holly Schoenstein

48 hours out

CHICAGO – A walk around the fenced perimeter of Grant Park, where Barack Obama will speak Tuesday night, shows preparations for the event are already well underway, two nights before the Democratic presidential candidate will take the stage.

About a dozen media satellite trucks have taken up shop outside the park, with massive media tents and trailers waiting for the journalists who will soon arrive. CNN already has a bus parked inside.

A worker for a company contracted by the Obama campaign to help secure the site, said they expected about 750,000 people to gather for what will undoubtedly be an historic event, whatever the result of the election. (About 70,000 will be ticket holders, the rest will gather outside the park, hoping to catch a glimpse.)

She was one of many employees stationed at every entrance to the park (and there are several), instructing people to keep out.

“You won’t get 50 feet before they shoot you,” she shouted, telling passersby that the secret service was still sweeping the park.

We weren’t the only ones circling the park, scoping out what was going on inside. Joggers, dog-walkers and uncredentialed journalists walked along the miles of chain link fence, straining for a view of the preparations and chatting about what was to come.

A man pushing his young daughter in a stroller, hearing us talking about the short supply of tickets, stopped to say that thrifty Obama supporters might be surprised to find tickets sold on Web sites like Craigslist and Ebay.

We also met a Chinese journalist who said she applied for the $900 media credentials but was turned away, along with other international press. So she’s going to cover the event from the outside.

On a side note, the cleaning staff here at the Congress Plaza Hotel is on strike, and we are curious if they timed it to coincide with the influx of media and Obama supporters flooding this side of the city. We’re going to talk to them tomorrow. The hotel room is clean, but Gavin found an orphaned pack of cigarettes in the side table drawer next to the Gideon Bible. It’s not your standard welcome gift from a hotel.

&mdash Theresa Bruskin